B.C. had 542 new COVID-19 cases, seven deaths, in past 24 hours

542 new cases, seven deaths

There were 542 new cases of COVID-19 identified in British Columbia over the past 24 hours, including 43 in the Interior.

The new cases bring the total positive tests to 81,909 since the beginning of the pandemic, but there is currently 4,654 known active cases. Active cases are down by 25 since Tuesday.

Of these active cases, 246 people are hospitalized with the virus – up by three since Tuesday – 64 of whom are being treated in ICU.

Active cases have continued to drop in the Interior, with 368 cases currently active in the region. There remains 17 Interior residents hospitalized, seven are whom are in ICU.

Another 8,617 people across the province are self-isolating after coming into contact with a COVID-positive person.

Seven more people have died from the virus, for a total of 1,372 COVID deaths.

The province announced 18 more cases of “variants of concern,” for a total of 200 cases in the province. These include 176 of the B.1.1.7 ( or U.K.-linked) variant and 24 of the B.1.351 (or South African-linked) variant. Of these, 11 cases remain active.

No new COVID-19 outbreaks were announced Wednesday.

The slow roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine continues in B.C., with just 6,627 new doses administered in the past 24 hours. This brings the total doses to 289,809, 86,616 of which were second doses.

On Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the time between administering the first and second doses in B.C. will be extended to four months, up from 42 days.

“Our goal is to protect as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, through the available COVID-19 vaccines. With a single primer dose, these vaccines are helping to stop outbreaks and reduce serious illness and death,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement Wednesday.

“Setting the second booster dose at 16 weeks allows us to expand the number of people who will have access to these safe and effective vaccines, and may provide more durable and longer lasting protection.

“We are pleased to see that today, the National Advisory Council on Immunization, as well as Canada’s Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, have endorsed this approach.”

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