While there is light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel with news of a vaccine on the way to B.C., the virus isn’t slowing down.

Evidence of that is the 723 new cases and record 28 deaths announced at yesterday’s briefing.

The troubling death toll over a 24-hour period brings the total number of people who lost their loves to the virus to 587 since the pandemic began.

Vancouver Island added 10 new cases.

There were 135 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, including Powell River.

Provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry says while the approval of a safe and effective vaccine is encouraging, we still have a long way to go.

She added that we don’t want to fall back, “just as we begin this push forward into the final leg of what has been a grueling challenge.”

Nation-wide, Canada is not flattening the curve.

Federal health officials say unless Canadians reduce their close contacts and pay strict attention to public health restrictions, we could see between 90,000 to 135,000 new cases by Christmas Day.

Even more dire is modelling data that shows anywhere from 1,300 to 1,800 more deaths in the next two weeks, bringing the death toll to almost 15,000 since the pandemic began.

Health officials say the country is on a “rapid growth trajectory” and if we continue the way we are going the pandemic will only get worse.