The COVID-19 pandemic rages on in B.C. as the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrive in the province.

Provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 2,146 new cases since Friday, including 29 on Vancouver Island.

Meanwhile, there were 300 new cases reported in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region, including Powell River.

Well over half of the new cases are in the Fraser Health region with 1,474.

As well, there were 49 deaths from the virus over the past three days.

There are now 359 people in the hospital with COVID-19, 87 of whom are in intensive care.

Dr. Henry says even though shipments of the vaccine arrived late last night, we can’t let our guard down.

“There are no safe gatherings right now and we have to be cautious because we are so close, but we cannot let up now,” she said. 

She cautioned that when you invite people outside your immediate household, they could be inadvertently bringing the virus with them. 

Dr. Henry noted that a few minutes of shopping is quite different from spending time with friends or extended family that you haven’t seen for a while.

“Our homes don’t have those many layers of protection that we find in other places. We spend more time close together, we aren’t using masks, for the most part, we don’t have those barriers and those safe distances that we have in place in workplaces and other public settings.”

Preparations for the first immunizations begin in B.C. tomorrow, at two unidentified sites in the Lower Mainland, one in Vancouver and one in the Fraser Health region.

By next week, Dr. Henry says vaccines approved by Health Canada will be available in every health authority across the province.