716 new COVID-19 cases and 3 more deaths in B.C.

DR. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, on Wednesday announced 716 new COVID-19 cases, including two epi-linked cases, bringing the total number of cases in British Columbia to 93,969.

There have been three new COVID-19-related deaths, and the number of deaths in the province now totals 1,441.

To date, 582,634 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,180 of which are second doses. Vaccine appointment bookings are now open for people 76 or older, and Indigenous peoples over 55.

There are 5,573 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 9,696 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 86,857 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the active cases, 303 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 85 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There have been 230 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 383 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 21 in the Island Health region, 38 in the Interior Health region, 42 in the Northern Health region and two new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There have been 71 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in the province, for a total of 1,581 cases. Of the total cases, 148 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 1,397 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 44 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 140 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

Henry and Dix said: “Just as our COVID-19 pandemic response has required a ‘whole-of-province’ effort, so too does our COVID-19 immunization program.

“Together, hundreds of public health experts, physicians, nurses and other health-care professionals are leading the efforts to safely get vaccine into as many arms as possible, as quickly as we can.

“We have seen much progress in recent weeks. The timing for our age-based program has been accelerated, front-line workers will soon be immunized and now, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable with complex and challenging health conditions will also be able to get immunized.

“Starting next Monday, March 29, people who receive a clinically extremely vulnerable letter will also be able to book vaccine appointments.

“Today, Premier John Horgan announced that a new team of people from the tourism sector will be joining the age-based vaccination efforts to provide non-clinical support to our immunizations teams.

“There may be more hurdles or challenges ahead, but we can be assured knowing that our greatest strength throughout this pandemic has been working together, united in our focus to get through this storm. Let’s all be a part of the team that is helping to make a difference through our individual and collective efforts.”