556 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in B.C.

Last call at restaurants, pubs and liquor stores will be at 8 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day (Wednesday, March 17)

PROVINCIAL Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on Tuesday announced 556 new COVID-19 cases, including 14 epi-linked cases, bringing the total number of cases to 88,929 cases in British Columbia.

There have been no new COVID-19-related deaths, and the total number of deaths in the province stands at 1,407.

To date, 424,517 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,070 of which are second doses. Vaccine appointment bookings are open for people over 83, 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 4,999 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 9,511 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 82,436 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the active cases, 280 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 84 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There have been 139 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 331 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 27 in the Island Health region, 16 in the Interior Health region, 41 in the Northern Health region and two new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There have been 116 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern identified in the province in the last day, for a total of 996 cases. Of the total cases, 130 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 921 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 41 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 34 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks. The outbreak at Acropolis Manor is now over.

Henry and Dix added: “We are all excited to get our COVID-19 vaccine, as not only do they provide protection, but also bring hope and renewal for all of us.

“Every person who receives a vaccine makes all of us safer, which is why teams are working hard to ensure every drop of available vaccine supply gets into arms as soon as possible. Already, we have been able to accelerate availability for older citizens and we hope to be able to continue to push forward at this pace.

“The vaccines are protecting more and more seniors and Elders. They are also helping break the chains of transmission in our communities where we continue to see outbreaks and spread. This is critical to our pandemic response.

“At the same time, we are starting to turn the dial to restart activities that have been on pause, starting with outdoor activities that are safer. We must continue to be cautious in our approach to achieve the right balance – moving slowly to ensure we don’t give the virus the opportunity to surge.

“A reminder for those who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day to do so safely and in line with the provincial health officer’s orders. That means that last call at restaurants, pubs and liquor stores will be at 8 p.m. on March 17, 2021, to protect our businesses and the people who work in them.

“This is a time of hope for all of us – a time when we can start to look forward, knowing brighter days are ahead. As we do, let’s ensure we are also keeping to few faces, open spaces and with all of our safety layers in place.”