COVID-19 update: B.C. surpasses 90,000 cases since start of pandemic
Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
VANCOUVER -- B.C. health officials announced another 622 cases of COVID-19 and eight related deaths on Thursday, shortly after sharing new details on the province's vaccine rollout plan.
British Columbia has now recorded a total of 90,049 infections and 1,419 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.
The number of coronavirus-related deaths announced Thursday was more than double the average of about 2.8 recorded over the preceding two weeks.
Hospitalizations have also been climbing in recent days, and increased once again to 286, with 85 patients in intensive care.
B.C. has also confirmed another 136 COVID-19 cases involving variants of concern, bringing the provincial total to 1,132. Some 143 of the province's 4,941 active cases involve variants of concern.
About 93 per cent of all cases identified so far – or 83,613 people – have recovered.
But the big focus for provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix on Thursday was the province's immunization program. They announced the front-line workers who will be eligible for doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and unveiled a new timeline for the general population.
“With the steady supply of three safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in B.C., we are making meaningful strides in our province-wide pandemic response and immunization program," Henry and Dix said in a joint written statement.
“On our current age-based trajectory, everyone who is eligible for a vaccine will have access to a vaccine before July 1, 2021. This is encouraging news for all of us."
The province has now administered 465,584 doses of vaccine, mostly doses of Pfizer-BioNtech's vaccine but with 82,603 of Moderna's and 1,067 of AstraZeneca's.
That total includes 378,464 first doses – enough for about seven per cent of B.C.'s population – and 87,120 second doses.
Despite the encouraging news on the vaccine front, Henry and Dix stressed the need to continue following public health guidelines. That means regular hand-washing, mask-wearing and physical distancing, plus only gathering in groups of 10 at most, and only outdoors.
“Until we have the confidence the pandemic is behind us, we all need continue to follow the COVID-19 safety plans, to be vigilant in our precautions and diligent in our efforts to stop the spread," they said.