British Columbia health officials have reported 1,462 new cases – including 72 in Island Health – and 11 deaths from COVID-19.
From Friday to Saturday there were 545 cases, from Saturday to Sunday there were 532 new cases, and in the past 24 hours, there were 385 cases identified.
The number of confirmed cases in B.C. climbs to 84,569 while the province’s death toll now stands at 1,391.
Of the new cases, 407 were recorded in Vancouver Coastal Health, 802 were in Fraser Health, 72 in Island Health, 79 in Interior Health, and 102 in Northern Health.
There are 4,854 currently active cases in the province, 240 people in hospital — 66 of whom are in intensive care — and 8,723 people under active public health monitoring due to possible exposure to an identified case.
A total of 78,237 people in B.C. have recovered from COVID-19 while 333,327 doses of vaccine have been administered province-wide.
During Monday’s update, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s provincial health officer, said there were 144 new cases that are variants of concern identified in the province since the last update on Friday.
“The majority of these cases are in the Fraser Health region, where we are continuing to see the majority of transmission,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.
A total of 363 cases are associated with the U.K. variant while 31 cases are the B151 variant or South African variant.
B.C. has recorded a total of 394 cases with a variant of concern, with six of those cases being identified in the Island Health region.
“A quarter of these cases, we do not know exactly how they were transmitted, which tells us that the variants are some of the viruses that are being transmitted in our communities,” said Henry on Monday.
There are currently 267 active cases on Vancouver Island, according to the latest information posted on the BCCDC‘s dashboard.
Fourteen people are in hospital, one of whom is in critical care.
A total of 625 tests for COVID-19 were performed in the past 24 hours in the region.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, there have been 2,587 cases, 143 people hospitalized, 2,281 recoveries and 28 deaths on Vancouver Island.
Meanwhile, Island Health reported 231 active cases on Vancouver Island in its latest dashboard update. Of those active cases, 48 are in the South Island, 130 are in Central Island, and 53 are in the North Island.
Island Health’s data often lags behind the BCCDC’s data due to a “difference in timing of reporting across laboratory and public health data sources.”
‘Modified return’ of certain activities on the horizon
During Monday’s update, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s provincial health officer, offered an optimistic outlook for the weeks ahead, saying that British Columbians can look ahead to a “modified return” of certain activities that are currently prohibited.
“We are not going to rush to get things open, but we will take a thoughtful, careful and phased approach over the next few weeks,” said Henry. “I like to think of it as slowly turning up the dial again, rather than flipping the switch,” said Henry, stressing that British Columbia is not in a place where it can simply return to pre-pandemic life.
Such activities that could resume include in-person faith-based gatherings, small outdoor social gatherings, and children’s camps and sports in certain settings.
“What we are looking at as we head into March break or spring break at the end of this week and into next week, is seeing the return of things like gatherings outside, where it safer, activities outside that we can do in groups with precautions in place,” she said.
Health officials are also looking at allowing more inter-provincial travel in time for spring break.
“We will be looking at how we can travel and explore during March break as a family or a small group together with our household, exploring our own region and making sure that if we are going to different parts overnight within our region or within the province that we do make sure that we are not going to place that are not yet ready to receive visitors,” said Henry.
It is likely the virus that causes COVID-19 will remain for a while longer, but there is hope on the horizon, according to Henry.
“There is much we can look forward to in the coming months ahead,” she said.
“It is likely we are still going to have to deal with the virus that causes COVID-19, but we will be in a much different place by the time we head to the summer,” – Dr. Bonnie Henry.https://t.co/y1l6qanNr0
— Nicholas M Pescod (@npescod) March 8, 2021
Optomistic briefing from Dr. Henry today:
– Considering allowing small outdoor social gatherings, possible travel and kids camps/sports as early as spring break.
– More relaxed restrictions possible in coming weeks.
– In-person faith activites to resume in coming weeks.
— Rob Shaw (@RobShaw_BC) March 8, 2021
Dr. Henry on potentially lifting some restrictions: “In the weeks ahead we can start to look at this modified return of some of the activities that have been on pause…” @CHEK_News
— Joe Perkins (@JoePerkinsCHEK) March 8, 2021