B.C. had 1,006 new COVID-19 cases, four deaths, in past 24 hours

1,006 new cases, four deaths

UPDATE: 3:55 p.m.

Despite more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. Thursday, active cases in the province continue to trend downwards.

As of Thursday, there are 8,733 active cases of the virus in the province, down by 173 since Wednesday. An additional 12,846 people are self-isolating after coming into contact with a COVID-positive person.

Hospitalizations have continued to increase though, with a new high of 502 COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals.

There are 796 active cases of the virus in the Interior. Of these, 32 people are hospitalized, 13 of whom are in ICU. To date, 124 Interior residents have died from COVID-19.

As of Thursday, 42 cases of the B.1.617 (India) variant of interest have been identified in the province. Like other variants, this strain appears to be more transmissible. Earlier, Interior Health's chief medical health officer Dr. Albert de Villiers said he did not have information about whether this specific variant has been found in the Interior.

In her statement, Dr. Bonnie Henry said she supports the federal government's move to suspend all flights from India and Pakistan following a serious outbreak across those countries.

Additionally, Dr. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced earlier that surgeries in nine Lower Mainland hospitals will be postponed for at least two weeks as COVID-19 hospitalizations rise.

Additional restrictions on travel within B.C. are expected to be unveiled Friday.

ORIGINAL: 1:20 p.m.

Another 1,006 British Columbians tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, including 83 Interior residents, and two more Interior residents have died from the virus.

The new cases bring the total positive tests since the beginning of the pandemic to 122,757. Dr. Bonnie Henry did not provide the number of active cases in B.C. at the beginning of her press conference Thursday.

Hospitalizations have continued to increase in recent weeks, and as of Thursday, 502 British Columbians are hospitalized with COVID-19, up by 19 since Wednesday. Of these, 161 people are being treated in ICU.

This is once again the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations the province has seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that as a result of the rising hospitalizations, non-urgent surgeries across nine Lower Mainland hospitals will be postponed for at least the next two weeks. A similar move was made across the entire province last spring. Dix said over the next two weeks, about 1,750 surgeries will be postponed.

Four more British Columbians have died from COVID-19, bringing the total deaths in the province to 1,550. Of these, two were Interior residents, bringing the total number of Interior deaths to 124.

There were 43,484 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in the last day, for a total of 1,500,430 doses. Of these, 88,475 were second doses.

As of Thursday, British Columbians 25 and older can now register for their COVID-19 vaccine appointment. And while those 40 and older can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at local pharmacies, vaccine bookings for those 60 and older will begin later today.

To date, 32.8 per cent of all eligible British Columbians over the age of 18 have received a COVID-19 vaccination.

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