BC announces 438 new coronavirus cases, 16 in IH region

438 new cases, 2 deaths

The provincial government has announced 438 new coronavirus cases, including 16 in the Interior Health region.

The new cases bring B.C.’s total since the pandemic began to 81,376, although the vast majority have already recovered. There are 4,679 active cases in the province and 243 people hospitalized, 63 of whom are in the ICU. B.C. also added an additional 254 historical cases to the system.

There were two new COVID-19 deaths reported Tuesday, bringing B.C.’s toll to 1,365.

There have been 22 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in B.C., for a total of 182 cases. Of the total cases, eight cases are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 159 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant and 23 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant.

To date, 283,182 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 86,537 of which are second doses.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke Tuesday in defence of her decision to extend the period between two doses of the coronavirus vaccine to up to four months. Some other prominent scientists across North America have questioned the move.

"Our focus is on maximizing the number of people who are benefiting from that very high, real world protection that we are seeing from the first dose of vaccine in B.C.," she said, explaining they have been following new vaccine data "very carefully."

"We are following the science of vaccines," she added.

She noted the clinical trials used to develop the vaccines were using a short interval to expedite their approval. "That is why they used as short an interval as they could possibly use."

Henry said "real world data" gathered in B.C. have showed up to a 90 per cent efficiency of the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, for at least several months.

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