716 cases of COVID-19 in B.C., 38 in Interior Health | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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716 cases of COVID-19 in B.C., 38 in Interior Health

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for a news conference in Victoria, Nov. 23, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
March 24, 2021 - 3:27 PM

Health officials are reporting 716 new cases of COVID-19 today, including 38 in Interior Health, for a total of 93,969 cases since the start of the pandemic.

There are 5,573 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 303 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, with 85 in intensive care, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health said in a joint statement. There were also three new COVID-19 related deaths, raising the death toll to 1,441.

There are 71 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in  B.C. , for a total of 1,581 cases. Of the total cases, 148 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 1,397 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 44 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 140 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

While the case count continues to rise, so too do the number of people vaccinated. To date, 582,634 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, 87,180 of which are second doses. Vaccine appointment bookings are now open for people 76 or older, and Indigenous peoples over 55.

"Just as our COVID-19 pandemic response has required a whole-of-province effort, so too does our COVID-19 immunization program," Dr. Henry and Dix said in their joint statement.

"We have seen much progress in recent weeks. The timing for our age-based program has been accelerated, front-line workers will soon be immunized and now, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable with complex and challenging health conditions will also be able to get immunized.

Starting next Monday, March 29, people who receive a "clinically extremely vulnerable" letter will also be able to book vaccine appointments.

As immunizations take off so too has a new opportunity.

Today, Premier John Horgan announced that a new team of people from the tourism sector will be joining the age-based vaccination efforts to provide non-clinical support to immunization teams. That means more than 1,400 tourism and hospitality workers will get jobs.

"British Columbians have risen to many challenges during this past year, with people and businesses finding new and innovative ways to support each other," Premier John Horgan said, in a press release.

Tourism and hospitality businesses have already begun to call and train hundreds of staff who have been laid off due to the pandemic.

Workers from these industries will provide their expertise and logistical support as non-clinical staff at immunization clinics to help move people through the clinics efficiently and safely. Many of these workers bring additional language skills as well.

"There may be more hurdles or challenges ahead, but we can be assured knowing that our greatest strength throughout this pandemic has been working together, united in our focus to get through this storm. Let's all be a part of the team that is helping to make a difference through our individual and collective efforts," Dr. Henry and Dix said.

Of all the new cases, 230 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 383  in the Fraser Health region, 21 in the Island Health region, 38 in the Interior Health region, 42 in the Northern Health region and two new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2021

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