In Friday’s COVID-19 update, health officials announce 737 new cases and two deaths from the virus since the last briefing on March 18.
It’s the second-highest daily case count this year, closely behind January 7, when there were 761 new cases reported in a 24-hour period.
The number of confirmed cases in B.C. climbs to 90,786 while the province’s death toll now stands at 1,421.
Of the new cases, 163 were recorded in Vancouver Coastal Health, 426 were in Fraser Health, 32 in Island Health, 33 in Interior Health, 82 in Northern Health and one new case of a person residing outside of Canada.
There are currently 5,207 active cases in the province, 292 people in hospital — 85 of whom are in intensive care — and 9,412 people under active public health monitoring due to possible exposure to an identified case.
A total of 84,078 people in B.C. have recovered from COVID-19.
Since the start of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan, 490,022 have been given a vaccine shot, 87,139 of those are second doses.
Today’s numbers were announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix during a media briefing.
Variants of Concern in B.C.
In the past 24 hours, there have been 68 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are considered to be variants of concern, for a total of 1,200 cases.
Of the total cases, 149 are active and the remaining people have recovered.
This includes 1,094 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 41 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 65 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.
COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Alongside the original age-based rollout plan, public health officials say the availability of the AstraZeneca/SII COVID-19 vaccine has allowed B.C. to create a parallel vaccine program.
“It is separate supply that supplements and adds onto the age-based vaccines, allowing us to strategically target active outbreaks and higher-risk populations and locations,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a release on Friday.
With the AstraZeneca supply for the coming weeks confirmed, Dr. Henry says they are able to start immunizing front-line workers. As more vaccine becomes available, availability will be able to expand to even more people on the front lines.
“For those who have been at work throughout the pandemic, supporting so many others, please know your efforts are recognized and valued. Everyone is important and everyone will have their turn,” said the PHO.
MORE ABOUT THE SECOND ROLLOUT PLAN: Teachers, first responders, grocery store workers among those to get COVID-19 vaccines in next phase of B.C. rollout
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