PROVINCIAL Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on Monday announced a total of 2,518 new COVID-19 cases since last Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 98,195 in British Columbia.
They said: “Today, we are reporting three periods: from March 26 to 27, we had 936 new cases; from March 27 to 28, we had 805 new cases and in the last 24 hours, we had a further 777 new cases.”
There were six new COVID-19 related deaths, and the total number of deaths stands at 1,455 in the province.
To date, 699,092 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,289 of which are second doses.
Henry and Dix added: “We have been working closely with our partners across the country, Health Canada and PHAC as well as international partners to monitor vaccine responses.
“This past week a safety signal was identified among young people in Europe and although no instances have been detected in Canada yet, we are taking the precaution of suspending the use of the AstraZeneca-SII vaccine for people who are under age 55 until we receive more information.
“Vaccine appointment bookings for our age-based immunizations are now open for people 73 or older in all health authorities, and Indigenous peoples over 55. Individuals who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ and have received a letter identifying them as such are also able to book appointments.”
There are 6,902 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 10,377 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 89,722 people who tested positive have recovered.
Of the active cases, 299 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 79 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
There have been 816 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,280 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 142 in the Island Health region, 156 in the Interior Health region, 121 in the Northern Health region and three new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
There have been 321 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in our province, for a total of 2,233 cases. Of the total cases, 413 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 1,915 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 48 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 270 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.
There have been three new outbreaks at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, Abbotsford Regional Hospital and at Long Lake Chateau (Island Health). The outbreaks at Surrey Memorial Hospital, Oceana Park and Fraser Regional Correctional Centre are now over.
Henry and Dix said: “While the COVID-19 virus continues to challenge us, our goal throughout the pandemic has been to find our balance – to protect those who are most vulnerable and keep as much as is safe open in our communities.
“In the last few days, we have seen the start of exponential growth in new cases, hospitalizations and more people requiring critical care support.
“A circuit breaker is now required to break the chains of transmission in our province and allow us to safely move forward.
“Gathering indoors is too a great of a risk for us right now. As a result, for the next three weeks, from midnight tonight through to April 19, 2021, the provincial health officer’s orders have been amended.
“The full order details can be found on the provincial health officer’s website:
“Social activities need to be limited to outside only with the same group of people – that means no more than 10 close contacts in total.
“We have also seen transmission directly connected to travel between communities and remind everyone travel is limited to essential travel only – for work or medical reasons. If you or anyone in your family develops any signs of illness – especially as children return from spring break – you must stay home from work or school and arrange to get tested immediately.
“Putting new restrictions and orders in place is always a difficult decision, and at this time, it is a step back from where we wanted and need to be. But, when spikes and surges become a sustained trend, we will take the necessary steps to protect our province.
“We all have a choice – to stay safe, or put our loved ones, our friends and ourselves at risk. Making exceptions or bending the rules gives COVID-19 the edge and makes it that much harder to get to the brighter days ahead.
“Let’s all stay outside, stay apart and stay with our same group of close contacts – always using our layers of protection no matter where we may be. This is what will allow us to get through this storm together.”