British Columbia is reporting 800 new cases of COVID-19 for the entire province with five additional deaths in that span.
Of the 800 new cases, 45 are linked to the Island Health region. As far as the Island numbers go, this marks the highest daily case number since 46 were reported back on Feb. 19.
This marks the first time that cases have reached the 800 mark in 2021. The previous high mark in this calendar year was 761 cases, recorded back on January 7.
Today marked the highest single-day number since January 7 as well. The Province has now reported 1,516 new COVID-19 cases in the last 48 hours.
There are currently 5,856 active cases in British Columbia, while 9,964 residents remain under active public health monitoring.
Dr. Bonnie Henry says that 306 are in hospital – an increase of 3 since Mar. 24 – with 79 people in critical care as a result of the virus (a decrease of six).
Since Wednesday’s numbers, there have been 264 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 381 in the Fraser Health region, 45 in the Island Health region, 50 in the Interior Health region, 58 in the Northern Health region and two new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
There were five additional deaths related to the virus on Thursday. This brings the provincial death total over the course of the pandemic to 1,446.
There have been 191 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in B.C. as well, for a total of 1,772 cases.
Of the total cases, 215 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 1,549 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 47 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 176 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.
Also as of Thursday, the total number of cases in British Columbia over the course of the pandemic has reached 94,769.
Health officials also said, to date, 610,671 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province, 87,212 of which are second doses.
Religious Gatherings Variance
The province announced on Thursday that it will be allowing places of worship to once again hold indoor services as part of a one-time variance.
After consulting with faith leaders, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it represented “a first step in the gradual reopening of indoor faith and spiritual group gatherings in British Columbia.”
The variance will allow faith organizations to host in-person religious services for four days anytime between March 28 to May 13. Each faith will identify the days that are most appropriate for them, such as Easter Sunday.
The maximum capacity will be set at 50 people or 10 per cent of the place of worship’s allowable space, whichever is less — conditions similar to last fall, when in-person services were allowed to be held indoors.
Increased COVID-19 fines
The province also revealed Thursday that it has more than doubled its penalty for people who promote or attend gatherings currently banned under provincial health orders.
The government says that effective immediately, the Violation Ticket Administration and Fine Regulation would be amended to increase the fine from $230 to $575 for those attending or promoting non-compliant gatherings.
Meanwhile, the fine for people who organize or host a banned event remains at $2,300.
According to the latest data provided by Island Health, there are currently 233 active cases on Vancouver Island.
Of the active cases, 105 are on southern Vancouver Island, 109 on central Vancouver Island and 19 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 3,022 cases.
More COVID-19 information
If there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in a school, public health contacts affected school community members directly. Regional health authorities also post-school notifications on their websites, providing the date and type of notification (outbreak, cluster or exposure) for impacted schools.
The Island Health school site can be found here.
Provincial mental health and anxiety support can be found at www.bouncebackbc.ca
Island Health’s COVID-19 data breaks down North, Central and South Island case counts and lists the number of days since any new lab-diagnosed cases. You can find the data here along with any public exposures.
According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide is more than 125.2 million. More than 2.74 million deaths have been recorded.