COVID-19 continues to sweep across B.C.

The province reported 682 new cases today, the majority of which were in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions.

There are now 5,409 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with another 9,488 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. 

A further 86,307 people who tested positive have recovered.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus continues to rise.

There are now 314 patients in the hospital with COVID, 83 of whom are in intensive care.

The Fraser Health region had the most confirmed cases today with 333, followed by Vancouver Coastal Health with 229.

The Island Health region had the fewest number of cases with 19.

Seventy-six cases were identified in the Interior Health region, 23 in the Northern Health region and there were two new cases of people who reside outside of Canada. 

Of note, 36 of the newly reported Interior Health cases are historic cases from 2020 identified through a data review.

There were also 144 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in B.C., for a total of 1,510 cases. 

There was also one new COVID-19 related death reported today, bringing B.C.’s death toll to 1,438 due to the virus, since the pandemic began.

And while B.C.’s COVID-trend is moving in the wrong direction, the province is giving the green light to outdoor worship services.

Worship service organizers must ensure COVID-19 safety plans are in place for all outdoor services and all attendees follow those plans. The full details are available on the provincial health officer’s web page.

As well, starting today, letters will be sent to people 16 and older who are clinically extremely vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19, to let them know they are eligible to receive an earlier vaccine through the age-based immunization program.

“Significant work has been done to identify those health conditions that would cause someone to be clinically extremely vulnerable, as well as to identify the people in our province who have these illnesses,” provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry said, in a release.

“For many, knowing that COVID-19 would compound what are already serious illnesses has created added challenge and stress – concerns that will soon be relieved.”

She added that while we are immunizing more people every day, and in parallel slowly turning the dial on the restrictions we have in place, “we must remember the risk for all of us remains high, particularly with indoor activities – whether for work or social reasons.

“As a result, to get through this storm and continue to protect our loved ones, we must all continue to use our safety layers and follow all of the public health restrictions we have in place.”