COVID-19 update: B.C. reports 799 cases, announces plans to vaccinate people 30+
VANCOUVER -- B.C. health officials announced another 799 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as the government began the process of opening up AstraZeneca vaccine eligibility to people in their 30s.
The province has now recorded a total of 127,048 coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic. Officials did not announce any new deaths, leaving B.C.'s death toll at 1,571.
In a joint written statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix also revealed they are expanding eligibility for the AstraZeneca vaccine to people who are 30 years old and older.
The first people in that age group to receive the vaccine must live in one of B.C.'s transmission hotspots. Henry and Dix indicated it would only be distributed at clinics in "some" of the hotspots, but did not specify which.
Earlier in the day, Fraser Health announced people living in 10 hotspots in that health authority region could access the vaccine at two designated drop-in locations, where appointments are not required.
"As we receive enough AstraZeneca to add appointments at pharmacies, it will be made available to anyone in the province aged 30 and older," Henry and Dix added.
"We know demand for the AstraZeneca vaccine is high in many areas. Unfortunately, available supply through pharmacies in some regions will continue to be limited until additional supplies come in."
B.C. has administered another 35,756 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines since the last update, bringing the provincial total to 1,671,128.
That includes 1,581,671 first doses – enough to vaccinate about 31 per cent of the provincial population – and 89,457 second doses.
B.C.'s age-based immunization program is currently open to those 59 and older. All adults are eligible and encouraged to register for their eventual vaccine online.
Meanwhile, the number of people battling COVID-19 in hospital has once again reached record levels.
There are now 500 people hospitalized with the disease across the province. That's up from 484 on Monday, and only two shy of the record set on April 22.
That number also includes 164 coronavirus patients in intensive care, which ties with B.C.'s ICU record set on April 21.
The province's epidemiological curve has been bending downward, however, with the seven-day average for new cases now at 879 per day. That's down from a high of 1,130 recorded on April 12.
The number of active cases has also dropped to 8,089.
Of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C., about 92 per cent – or 117,150 people – have recovered.