1,005 new COVID-19 cases and 6 more deaths in B.C.; Dix on vaccine rollout

PROVINCIAL Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minsiter Adrian Dix on Friday reported 1,005 new cases, for a total of 117,080 cases in British Columbia.

There have been six new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,530 deaths in the province.

There are 10,081 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 15,877 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 105,291 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the active cases, 425 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 127 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There have been 259 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 536 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 49 in the Island Health region, 110 in the Interior Health region, 51 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There are currently 5,739 cases of COVID-19 that are confirmed variants of concern in B.C. Of the total cases, 212 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 3,858 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 71 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 1,810 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

In B.C., 1,282,091 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, 87,970 of which are second doses.

Henry and Dix said: “Spending time outside is important for our physical and mental well-being. But we have to remember that while being outside with others is much lower risk than being inside, it is not without risk.

“Even if we are outside, we need to stay small and continue to use our layers of protection. This means keeping a safe distance and wearing masks, especially if someone is higher risk for serious illness.

“Be purposeful about who you are seeing and where you are going, and stick with the same close contacts.

“If you choose to see a close friend for brunch on a patio, then make sure it is the same friend every time. If you decide to have a barbecue in your backyard, then keep to your roommates or family only. Or, if you visit your neighbourhood park with another family, then make it with only one other family and do activities that allow everyone to keep a safe distance from each other.

“It is easy to look for loopholes, but rather let’s look for how we can keep each other safe.

“We need to stay local and stay in our neighbourhoods. We need to stay outside and with our same close friends. So let’s all do our part this weekend so we can stop the spread and put COVID-19 behind us.”

DIX’S STATEMENT ON VACCINE ROLLOUT

Dix said: “We know how eager people are to be vaccinated. I am proud of B.C.’s rapid delivery of vaccines into people’s arms, especially in our age-based, clinically extremely vulnerable and Indigenous vaccination campaigns. By the time new shipments of Pfizer arrived this week, we had utilized our existing supply. The same is true for Moderna.

“The delay in Moderna’s shipments is disappointing. The sooner we get vaccines in people’s arms, the better, and inconsistency in delivery is a consistent problem. This is simply a reality and not an issue of blame.

“That said, the federal government has said it will send additional doses of Pfizer in May and June. Doses in April would be more helpful, but we appreciate the ongoing effort and commitment of the federal government.

“Right now, Pfizer continues to be the workhorse of B.C.’s age-based vaccination program. It has the most reliable delivery schedule and we can properly prepare for its arrival.

“For people 55 and up, we encourage them to go to their local pharmacy and get vaccinated with AstraZeneca as soon as they can.

“While our ability to offer vaccine doses to people in B.C. depends on supply distributed by the federal government, as well as consistent and regular delivery of allocated doses by vaccine suppliers, the provincial and federal governments’ logistics teams are working closely together and are routinely providing important feedback to improve the process.

“Shipments from suppliers can be delayed, arrive early or arrive late, necessitating a fast and nimble approach to shifting levels of vaccine supply in B.C.

“We’re making significant progress here in British Columbia – more than 1.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C. We’re moving ahead, as quickly and as safely as we can, and I encourage everyone to get their COVID-19 vaccine and help us move forward, together, to a healthier province.”

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