B.C. is reporting 832 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths as of Thursday (April 1), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.
By health authority, it breaks down to 310 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 388 in Fraser Health, 53 in Island Health, 42 in Interior Health and 39 in Northern Health.
There are 296 people in hospital, of whom 79 are in ICU with the virus and another 11,600 isolating at home. There have been a total of 100,880 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began., of which approximately 7,500 are currently active. B.C.’s death toll from the virus has reached 1,463.
There have been 90 new cases of variants of concern identified in the past two days; it breaks down to 80 cases of the B1.1.7 U.K. variant, nine cases of the B.1.351 South African variant and one of the P1 Brazil variant. Henry said while the usual COVID prevention measures continue to apply, “we just have to do them more carefully.”
That margin of error is that much less, it can spread more easily,” she added. There are currently 192 active cases of variants of concern, 35 of whom are in hospital. Henry said the people hospitalized with a variant of concern are mostly between the age of 19 and 50, with the P1 variant hitting the 19 to 39 age group especially hard.
Henry tried to assuage concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine, which as pulled back from younger frontline workers after concerns over extremely rare blood clots.
“The vaccine is effective and much safer than COVID-19,” she said, adding that anyone more than 20 days out from their shot is no longer at risk. Henry said there is a study ongoing about mixing and matching vaccines, which could provide a solution if the AstraZeneca vaccine remains not advised for people younger than 55. The frontline worker vaccination plan is on hold for now, while researchers decide whether or not it is safe to use it for younger people.
There have been a total of 787, 649 vaccine doses administered with all three approved vaccines, including 87,394 second doses, leading to about 16 per cent of people in B.C. vaccinated with one dose. Vaccine appointments opened up at noon for people born in 1949 or earlier.
Next week, B.C. is expecting 138,060 doses of Pfizer and 111,900 of Moderna. An additional 43,000 doses of AstraZeneca is expected to arrive Friday, to be used for people aged 55 to 66 in the Lower Mainland.
With the number of people vaccinated creeping up, Henry urged British Columbians to continue to hold the line and not spend time together in groups indoors over the Easter long weekend.
“This is not time time for any of us to be travelling for leisure,” she said. “If you choose to spend time with someone outside your household it must be outdoors.”
B.C. in the past week has implemented a “circuit breaker,” banning indoor dining, indoor adult fitness activities and indoor worship services. Outdoor versions of all the activities are still allowed.
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