723 new COVID-19 cases and 28 new deaths in B.C.

DR. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, on Thursday announced 723 new cases of COVID-19, including one epi-linked case, for a total of 40,060 cases in British Columbia.

There have been 28 new COVID-19-related deaths, and the total number of deaths now stands at 587 in the province.

There are 9,524 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 346 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 83 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Currently, 11,947 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 28,948 people who tested positive have recovered.

There have been 135 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 456 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 10 in the Island Health region, 82 in the Interior Health region, 40 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks and the outbreak at Rotary Manor has been declared over.

Henry and Dix noted: “With the approval of a safe and effective vaccine in Canada, as well as our COVID-19 immunization program starting next week, we have reached a new stage in B.C.’s response.

“While this is encouraging, we still have a long way to go before we can have the confidence that our communities are safe and protected from this virus.

“We don’t want to fall back just as we begin this push forward into the final leg of what has been a gruelling challenge.

“Despite how tired we might be and how much we all want to be able to resume the activities that we enjoy and are important to us, right now we need to continue to stand together by staying apart, follow the public health orders and use all of our layers of protection until the vaccine is available for all of us.

“The process to receive, distribute and administer a COVID-19 vaccine is complex and in these early stages, changing quickly. That is why our provincewide immunization framework has been built to allow us to be flexible, adaptable and in step with these changes.

“The sequence for immunization has been carefully considered based on our three pandemic goals: to protect those who are most vulnerable, to save lives and to minimize the disruption within our communities.

“Each of us will get our turn and until then, let’s keep these goals in mind. Your turn may be next month or farther down the road, but for every person who gets a vaccine, we are all a little safer.

“There will be a time when we can take off our masks, when we can hug our loved ones and travel to see friends. We will get there, but we are not through this storm yet. So, for now, we need to stay small, stay local and help each other to push back on COVID-19.”