800 new COVID-19 cases and 5 more deaths in B.C.

“We have also seen a notable spike in the number of new cases, especially amongst those 19 to 39 years of age”

DR. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, on Thursday announced 800 new COVID-19 cases, including six epi-linked cases, bringing the total number of cases in British Columbia to 94,769.

There have been five new COVID-19-related deaths, and the number of deaths in the province now totals 1,446.

To date, 610,671 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,212 of which are second doses. Vaccine appointment bookings are now open for people 75 or older, and Indigenous peoples over age 55.

There are 5,856 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 9,964 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 87,351 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the active cases, 306 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 79 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There have been 264 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 381 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 45 in the Island Health region, 50 in the Interior Health region, 58 in the Northern Health region and two new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There have been 191 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in the province, for a total of 1,772 cases. Of the total cases, 215 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 1,549 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 47 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 176 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

There has been one new outbreak at Chilliwack General Hospital.

Henry and Dix said: “One of our primary goals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to do all we can to protect those who are most vulnerable to the virus due to severe illness.

“We know our seniors and Elders – especially those residing in long-term care – have carried a disproportionate burden facing higher risks, combined with the isolation required to stay safe. Recognizing the majority of seniors and Elders in long-term care are vaccinated, starting on April 1, the visitor restrictions will be eased. For the presentation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021HLTH0022-000551

“Through the ongoing dialogue with a wide range of faith leaders, we have also developed a limited variance to the gathering and events order allow for indoor services on four days between Sunday, March 28 and Thursday, May 13, 2021.

“Each faith can identify the days most appropriate for their faith – whether for Easter, Passover, Ramadan or Vaisakhi.

“The maximum capacity is 50 people, or 10% of the worship space capacity – whatever is less. There are a number of safety requirements and protocols that must be met by worship service organizers and attendees alike.

“The full details and requirements for service organizers and attendees are available on the provincial health officer’s website: 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 this is encouraging news, in parallel we have also seen a notable spike in the number of new cases, especially amongst those 19 to 39 years of age. This tells us some people are taking on more risk for themselves and their loved ones than what is safe right now.

“We remind everyone that although some outside activities are allowed, we must keep going with our protective layers. Until everyone has been protected with immunization, our protective layers must be the first and last thing we think about – whether at home, work, school or elsewhere.”