DR. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, on Thursday announced 908 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases in British Columbia to 95,677.
There have been three new COVID-19-related deaths, and the number of deaths in the province now totals 1,449.
To date, 637,856 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,233 of which are second doses.
Vaccine appointment bookings are now open for people 74 or older and Indigenous peoples over 55. Starting on Monday, individuals who are clinically extreme vulnerability and have received a letter identifying them as such can also book their vaccine appointments.
There are 6,245 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 9,996 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 87,866 people who tested positive have recovered.
Of the active cases, 294 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 81 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
There have been 294 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 438 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 55 in the Island Health region, 43 in the Interior Health region, 78 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
There have been 140 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in our province, for a total of 1,912 cases. Of the total cases, 258 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 1,666 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 47 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 199 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.
Henry and Dix warned: “While we are in a different stage of our COVID-19 pandemic than where we have been before – safe and effective vaccines that are increasing the protection for all of us – we are facing a sustained increase in clusters of new cases and outbreaks, including increasing cases caused by variants of concern. This is particularly concerning in the Lower Mainland areas.
“This requires all of us to continue to put our safety layers at the forefront of all we do.
“We have been able to slowly turn the dial on some restrictions. However, we all need to remember while some activities are safe for us to do, others simply are not.
“We can be outside with the same small group of people, but gathering inside is high risk for all of us. We can soon see our Elders and seniors in care, but we must follow the safety protocols that remain in place.
“Seeing different friends on different days – even if we are outside – is unsafe. So is gathering in our homes where the layers of protection, like physical barriers and masks, are not used.
“Social connections and the sharing of a meal or a hug is important for us all, yet we must be vigilant that our need for those connections doesn’t put ourselves or those we care about in harm’s way. Rather, step away from our screens and step outside with our small core group of close contacts.
“Equally important in staying informed about what has been an ever-changing pandemic. There is myriad misinformation, especially on social media, that fuels our apprehension and anxiety. If you are unsure, err on the side of caution or go to a credible, reliable information source, like the BC Centre for Disease Control, for the latest updates.
“This weekend, choose to be safe, choose to stay small and choose to continue to do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our province.”