British Columbia is reporting 445 new cases of COVID-19 for the entire province with ten additional deaths in that span.
Of the 445 new cases, 15 are linked to the Island Health region.
There are currently 4,347 active cases in British Columbia, while 7,035 residents remain under active public health monitoring.
Dr. Bonnie Henry says that 226 are in hospital – an increase of 2 since Feb. 11 – with 61 people in critical care as a result of the virus (a decrease of two).
Since Thursday’s numbers, there have been 135 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 218 in the Fraser Health region, 15 in the Island Health region, 44 in the Interior Health region, 30 in the Northern Health region and three new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
There were ten additional deaths related to the virus on Friday – mostly seniors, according to Dr. Henry. This brings the provincial death total over the course of the pandemic to 1,288.
Also as of Friday, the total number of cases in British Columbia over the course of the pandemic has reached 72,750.
Health officials also said that 162,982 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in B.C, 17,562 of which are second doses. Immunization data is available on the COVID-19 dashboard at: www.bccdc.ca.
According to B.C. health officials, phase one of the immunization program – the vaccination of vulnerable residents of long-term care homes as well as frontline workers – will be wrapping up in the coming weeks.
“Very soon we will be able to expand into the community groups, particularly our seniors and elders,” Dr. Henry said in regards to immunizations.
During a live press conference on Friday, Dr. Henry also noted that there are currently 16 active outbreaks at long-term care homes across the province and six outbreaks in acute care facilities.
“We’ve also seen a notable decrease of transmission and outbreaks at long-term care and assisted living facilities as immunization has rolled out and this is clear evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccines,” Dr. Henry said.
The provincial health officer took a moment on Friday to encourage British Columbians to follow restrictions over the long weekend, playfully suggesting that “mother nature is going to be on our side” with winter weather creating possible barriers to travel.
According to Dr. Henry, British Columbia has reported 46 cases of COVID-19 variants as of Friday’s numbers.
Dr. Henry says that 29 cases have been detected of the B117 variant, originally found in the U.K., and 17 cases of the B1.351 variant, originally associated with South Africa.
The BC CDC lab has been conducting ongoing surveillance over the last few weeks in order to better understand the behaviour of the new coronavirus variants present in the province.
Dr. Henry says the lab’s data has shown there hasn’t been high levels of transmission of COVID-19 variants within British Columbian communities at this time.
It was brought forward on Friday by Dr. Henry that a single case of a new variant has been detected in British Columbia over the last few days as well.
This variant is currently under investigation both internationally and across Canada and has been linked with travel to Nigeria.
This new variant is being labelled the B1.525 – a new title to add to the lexicon.
According to the latest data provided by Island Health, there are currently 202 active cases on Vancouver Island.
Of the active cases, 54 are on southern Vancouver Island, 140 on central Vancouver Island and 8 on northern Vancouver Island.
Southern Vancouver Island includes the Greater Victoria region, Southern Gulf Islands and the Port Renfrew area.
Central Vancouver Island includes the Cowichan Valley, Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville, Port Alberni and Tofino areas.
Northern Vancouver Island goes from the Comox Valley to Port Hardy but also includes surrounding areas like Alert Bay and Sointula.
Over the course of the pandemic, the Island Health region has reported 1,930 cases.