498 new COVID-19 cases and 4 more deaths in B.C.

THERE have been 498 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours and total number of cases now stands at 89,427 in British Columbia.

There have been four new COVID-19-related deaths. The total number of deaths in the province is now 1,411.

Provincial Helath Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said on Wednesday: “To date, 444,140 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,093 of which are second doses. Vaccine appointment bookings are open for people over age 82, adding one year each day this week for people 80 and older by the end of the week, along with Indigenous peoples over 65.”

There are 4,851 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 9,472 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 83,083 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the active cases, 281 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 83 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There have been 128 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 291 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 12 in the Island Health region, 31 in the Interior Health region, 36 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

Due to a lab sequencing issue, no new variant of concern data was available. As of the most recent report, there have been 996 confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern identified in the province.

There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks.

Henry and Dix said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that how we spend time with family and friends is different than what we did before. As we did last summer, it means using our layers of protection and always having safety top of mind.

“We can renew those important social connections, and the public health orders now allow for outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people in public spaces or outside our homes.

“If you choose to see others, then please connect safely, so you are not inadvertently increasing the risks to your loved ones or yourself.

“Some may choose a day of snowshoeing, others a bike ride with friends or a playdate at your local beach. The key is to keep it small, to keep to the same group of people and to keep using your protective layers.

“This is a time of hope and renewal for all of us. Let’s continue to work together to get to the brighter days ahead.”