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

PROVINCIAL Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on Tuesday announced 682 new COVID-19 cases, including 15 epi-linked cases, bringing the total number of cases in British Columbia to 93,253.

There has been one new COVID-19-related death, and the number of deaths in the province now totals 1,438.

To date, 557,508 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,168 of which are second doses. Vaccine appointment bookings are now open for people 77 or older and Indigenous peoples over 55.

There are 5,409 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 9,488 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 86,307 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the active cases, 314 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 229 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 333 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 19 in the Island Health region, 76 in the Interior Health region, 23 in the Northern Health region and two new cases of people who reside outside of Canada. Of note, 36 of the newly reported Interior Health cases are historic cases from 2020 identified through a data review.

There have been 144 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in the province, for a total of 1,510 cases. Of the total cases, 171 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 1,357 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 43 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 110 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks. The outbreaks at Revera Sunwood Retirement Community, as well as the Bruce Jack Mine, are now over.

Henry and Dix said: “Starting today, letters will be sent to people 16 and older who are clinically extremely vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19 to let them know they are eligible to receive an earlier vaccine through the age-based immunization program.

“Significant work has been done to identify those health conditions that would cause someone to be clinically extremely vulnerable, as well as to identify the people in our province who have these illnesses.

“For many, knowing that COVID-19 would compound what are already serious illnesses has created added challenge and stress – concerns that will soon be relieved.

“In addition, the provincial health officer’s order on gatherings and events has been amended today to provide a variance for outdoor worship services.

“Worship service organizers must ensure COVID-19 safety plans are in place for all outdoor services and all attendees follow those plans. The full details are available on the provincial health officer’s web page: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

“While we are immunizing more people every day, and in parallel slowly turning the dial on the restrictions we have in place, we must remember the risk for all of us remains high, particularly with indoor activities – whether for work or social reasons.

“As a result, to get through this storm and continue to protect our loved ones, we must all continue to use our safety layers and follow all of the public health restrictions we have in place.”

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