British Columbia health officials have reported 853 new cases and one death from COVID-19 since their last update on Wednesday.
The number of confirmed cases in B.C. climbs to 128,763 while the province’s death toll now stands at 1,577.
Of the new cases, 187 were recorded in Vancouver Coastal Health, 574 were in Fraser Health, 30 in Island Health, 60 in Interior Health, and 24 in Northern Health.
There are currently 503 people in hospital — 178 of whom are in intensive care.
“That presents significant challenges for health care workers,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a news conference Thursday. “The overall hospital numbers are stable but the impact of increased COVID numbers in critical care is felt.”
To date, the province has delivered 1,749,375 doses of all three of the COVID-19 vaccines in use in B.C., 90,296 of which are second doses.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced Thursday that next week, the province expects to receive its first shipments of Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose vaccine. Henry didn’t say where or how the vaccine will be used, but that details will be shared “early next week.”
The province is now booking people for its age-based vaccination program who are 58 and older across the province, while more than 200,000 extremely clinically vulnerable people have been identified, 70 per cent of which have received a vaccine.
Henry said the province’s essential worker vaccination program is continuing, although it was held up by concerns surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“That has continued, particularly for first responders, for school staff and for child care staff, and it’s about 15 per cent of the overall vaccine that we’ve had in the last few weeks,” said Henry.
She added that the amount of vaccine received in the last few weeks has been “constrained,” but said B.C. will receive one-million doses of Pfizer in the next month, leading to the acceleration of the age-based and worker immunization programs.
“Every adult in British Columbia will have access to vaccines by the middle of June at the rate we expect to go by next week,” said Henry.
Asked about recent pop-up vaccination clinics in the Fraser Health region, Henry issued an apology to anyone who waited in line for hours to receive a jab amid criticism the unannounced clinics were confusing and chaotic.
Henry also reminded British Columbians to stay within their three provincial zones outlined in B.C.’s recent travel ban between some health authorities.
“If you’re unsure…whether your travel would be considered essential, then you should be staying put right now,” said Henry.