B.C. health officials have reported a record-high 1,013 new cases and three deaths from COVID-19 since their last update on Tuesday.
It sets a new single-day record for most coronavirus cases reported in B.C. It’s also the first time a single-day case count has exceeded 1,000.
The number of confirmed cases in B.C. has now surpassed 100,000, climbing to 100,048, while the province’s death toll now stands at 1,458.
Of the new cases, 385 were recorded in Vancouver Coastal Health, 458 were in Fraser Health, 47 in Island Health, 64 in Interior Health, and 60 in Northern Health.
There are currently 7,405 active cases in the province, 301 people in hospital — 80 of whom are in intensive care — and 11,468 people under active public health monitoring due to possible exposure to an identified case.
A total of 91,066 people in B.C. have recovered from COVID-19 while 756,080 doses of vaccine have been administered province-wide.
In the Island Health region, there are currently 181 active cases on the South Island, 156 on central Vancouver Island and 27 active cases on northern Vancouver Island.
The update comes as case counts surge in B.C. to never-before-seen levels. The previous single-day case count record was set over the weekend at 936 cases, recorded Friday to Saturday. Overall, 2,518 COVID-19 cases were logged over the weekend, while numbers were also relatively high Monday at 840 cases.
Due to a delay in sequencing, no variant data was provided by the government on Wednesday. There have been 13 confirmed variant cases in Island Health to date. Eleven have been the B.1.1.7 variant associated with the U.K., and the island has seen one case each of the P.1. (Brazil) and B.1.3.51 (South Africa) variants.
Plus, due to a sequencing analysis error, there is no update on variants of concern for the last 24 hours. The Brazilian variant had jumped 100 cases yesterday from the day before. https://t.co/v7EjnjZEAp
— Rob Shaw (@RobShaw_BC) March 31, 2021
Meanwhile, Island Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer says he was disappointed to see how many people travelled over spring break and that it could have a significant impact on variant case numbers in the weeks ahead.
“Not only were there individuals that likely came from locations with much higher levels of COVID, but we also suspect they also brought a variant version with them in terms of the likelihood,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick.
Right now, none of the variant cases on Vancouver Island are active, but that’s likely about to change, he said.
“We have sent a significant number of specimes, moreso than we have in the past, over to BCCDC to determine whether or not we have more variants on the island,” Stanwick said. “So we could be looking at a double or tripling of the numbers of variants within the next couple of weeks.”
It comes as concerns grow over rising case numbers in Island Health.
“Case counts have risen on Vancouver Island, quite true, they’ve risen on Vancouver Island such that the test positivity rate on Vancouver Island is higher than it was in Fraser Health a month-and-a-half ago,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
With Easter weekend approaching, it’s particularly concerning for remote communities like Tofino, with the holiday typically being one of the busiest travel times of the year.
“Now is not the time to travel,” said Tofino Mayor Dan Law. “Now is the time to stay safe and think about the whole community.”
It was a message echoed by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dix Wednesday.
“Right now, no one should be travelling for leisure or vacation outside of your local communities or regions,” they said in a joint statement. “The risk for all of us is too great, which means any of our usual travel and holiday weekend gatherings need to be put on hold this year.”
The province announced Monday it would temporarily ban indoor dining, indoor group fitness and indoor worship services until April 19 as part of “circuit-breaker” measures in the face of rising case counts.