559 new COVID-19 cases and 1 more death in B.C.

DR. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, on Tuesday announced 559 new cases of COVID-19, including 29 epi-linked cases, for a total of 77,822 cases in British Columbia.

There has been one new COVID-19 related death, for a total of 1,336 deaths in the Province.

There are 4,677 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 7,881 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 71,753 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the active cases, 238 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 69 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There have been 132 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 278 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 39 in the Island Health region, 43 in the Interior Health region, 66 in the Northern Health region and one new case of a person who resides outside of Canada.

Henry and Dix said: “To date, 224,354 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 58,896 of which are second doses. Immunization data is available on the COVID-19 dashboard at: www.bccdc.ca

“We continue to ready our province for widespread mass vaccination clinics, which will begin in April. We are moving forward carefully and thoughtfully to ensure our systems and our health authorities have the tools and resources to take on the significant task ahead.

“In parallel, with more vaccine increasingly available, we are turning our focus to people aged over 80 in our communities, who will receive vaccine information in the next two weeks. It is important to know everyone over 18 years old will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine and no one will be left behind.”

They added: “There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks.

“The number of cases of COVID-19 – active cases and close contacts who are required to self-isolate at home – has been creeping higher over the last week. We need to hold steady and ensure these cases don’t surge.

“As part of our continued efforts, we are paying close attention to the variants of concern to understand their effects on our province and our communities.

“Within our surveillance efforts, we recently completed a point-prevalence assessment to understand the spread of the variants of concern and have also increased our screening.

“Screening for variants requires a second, more time-consuming laboratory test that has delayed our ability to screen all new cases. We have been working to fast-track this work with new screening methods. Today, 70% of confirmed positive cases are screened, with that anticipated to increase to 100% over the coming week.

“It is our individual efforts that slow the spread of COVID-19 and our collective efforts that will see us through this pandemic. No matter the variant, the measures we take to stop the spread are exactly the same. Let’s do our part today to break the chains of transmission in our province.”