545+532+385 new COVID-19 cases and 11 more deaths in B.C. since Friday

“Modified return of some of the activities that have been on pause

PROVINCIAL Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on Monday announced 1,462 new COVID-19 cases, including 19 epi-linked cases, since Friday, for a total of 84,569 cases in British Columbia.

They said: “Today, we are reporting on three periods: March 5 to 6, we had 545 new cases, March 6 to 7, we had 532 new cases and in the last 24 hours, we had a further 385 new cases.”

There have been 11 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,391 deaths in the province.

To date, 333,327 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 86,925 of which are second doses. Immunization data is available on the COVID-19 dashboard:  www.bccdc.ca.

Henry and Dix said: “Today, vaccine appointment bookings are available for people over 90 and Indigenous peoples over 65. Appointments are available in multiple locations around the province.

“We have seen extremely high call volumes, and the teams are working to respond as quickly as possible. We ask everyone who is outside of this age group to please wait to call until your registration window begins.”

There are 4,854 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 8,723 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 78,237 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the active cases, 240 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 66 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There have been 407 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 802 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 72 in the Island Health region, 79 in the Interior Health region, 102 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There have been 144 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in our province, for a total of 394 cases. Of the total cases, 87 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 363 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant and 31 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant.

There has been one new health-care facility outbreak at Cottonwoods Care Centre (Interior Health). The outbreak at Royal City Manor is now over.

A thoughtful, careful approach

Henry and Dix said: “Our goal throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has always been to have as much as is safe open, while also protecting those who are at highest risk. As part of this, we regularly review the public health orders we have in place to determine what restrictions may be safely eased.

“With our immunization program ramping up and our days soon getting warmer once again, we can start to look at a modified return of some of the activities that have been on pause.

“We know that a thoughtful, careful approach is required, which means we need to think of resuming activities as slowly turning a dial, instead of flicking a switch.

“We know outside is better than inside, bigger spaces are better than smaller and our layers of protection will still be needed. These principles will guide our decisions in the weeks ahead.

“As part of these efforts, faith leaders have been regularly convening and we are working together to develop an approach to enable the gradual return of in-person religious services later this month. The focus is to both meet the specific needs of different faiths and ensure public health precautions are being maintained.

“There is much that we can look forward to as we look ahead. In honour of International Women’s Day, let’s take a moment to recognize the many, many women who have been instrumental in B.C.’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

“This past year has challenged us all, and we have learned that we are stronger and far more resilient by supporting and encouraging each other along the way. Let’s keep building on the momentum we have gained and continue to do our part to put COVID-19 behind us.”