519 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths in B.C.

DR. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health on Wednesday announced 519 new cases of COVID-19, including six epi-linked cases, for a total of 59,072 cases in British Columbia.

There have been 12 new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,031 deaths in the province.

To date, 63,430 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in B.C.

There are 4,810 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 360 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 76 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Currently, 7,260 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 51,893 people who tested positive have recovered.

There have been 117 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 235 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 34 in the Island Health region, 84 in the Interior Health region, 45 in the Northern Health region and four new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There has been one new health-care facility outbreak at Cariboo Memorial Hospital.

Henry and Dix said: “Our focus is to ensure we safely deliver the available COVID-19 vaccine supply as quickly as possible to as many people as possible throughout B.C.

“This will be the largest and most complex immunization program ever delivered in our province. It requires close alignment and co-ordination with public health teams, health authorities and many others in our health sector to ensure this is done safely and quickly.

“Right now, our focus is on those who are highest risk, and we are tracking and reporting on this regularly.

“As our supply increases and immunization program expands to more and more people in the province, this process will get increasingly complex. This is why we have asked Dr. Penny Ballem to join the B.C. immunization response team as the executive lead.

“Dr. Ballem brings a depth of experience in health care, as well as in municipal government. She has been tasked to work alongside the minister of health, the provincial health officer and Dr. Ross Brown to ensure we are ready for widespread community immunization when the vaccine supply increases and is more readily available, starting in April.

“Many people are wondering about when they will have access to the vaccine. Work is underway to align the available supply with a person’s level of risk. More COVID-19 immunization information is available at www.bccdc.ca.

“The COVID-19 virus doesn’t recognize our fatigue and it is putting all of us to the test. So let’s continue to do all we can to stop the spread as we look to the brighter days ahead.”