564 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.; 36 in Interior Health | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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564 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.; 36 in Interior Health

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry takes reporters questions at an online news conference in Victoria, Feb. 8, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
March 04, 2021 - 2:58 PM

As B.C. ramps up the COVID-19 immunization program, the number of new cases of infection continues to rise.

In the past 24 hours, there have been 564 new cases in B.C., bringing the provincial total to 82,473. That includes 36 in the Interior Health region.

Four more people have died from the disease, bringing the provincial death toll to 1,376.

With the expected arrival of the new AstraZeneca vaccine next week, health officials are looking at ways to start administering it to first responders and essential workers, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a news briefing today, March 4.

“This is not a random process,” Dr. Henry said. “It’s not me making a decision out of the blue.”

A committee has been working on setting priorities for administering the vaccine for months and has made changes since the first vaccines arrived in December.

What they have learned is that a broad range of workers are essential because, for one thing, because they can’t work from home.

Dr. Henry hopes to have a plan for vaccinating essential workers in place by March 18. In the meantime, the AstraZeneca vaccine that does arrive in B.C. will be used to help deal with current outbreaks and clusters that are happening all too often, she said.

Locations of vaccine clinics will be available next week.

So far, 298,851 vaccine doses have been administered, including 86,746 second doses.

Dr. Henry apologized to those who were expecting second doses this week.

“I regret that our communications weren’t able to keep up as fast as the decision making,” she said.

Most of the new cases were in the Lower Mainland with 270 in the Fraser Health region and 168 in Vancouver Coastal. Another 35 were on Vancouver Island and 46 in the North.

There are 4,743 active cases with 248 people in hospital, 63 of whom are in intensive care.

There have been 46 new cases of COVID-19 variants of concern detected, but out of a total of 246 such variants detected, only 16 are still active. Most of these, 218, are of the variant first found in the United Kingdom with 28 of the South African variant. Most, 238, were in the Lower Mainland with only two in the Interior Health region.

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