Hannah Ankenmann receives her first shot of COVID-19 vaccine administered by a Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Family Health nurse in early March. Small communities on Vancouver Island are receiving vaccine for entire communities. (Zoe Ducklow/North Island Gazette)

Hannah Ankenmann receives her first shot of COVID-19 vaccine administered by a Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Family Health nurse in early March. Small communities on Vancouver Island are receiving vaccine for entire communities. (Zoe Ducklow/North Island Gazette)

B.C.’s COVID-19 case count climbs to 737 on Friday

Up to 292 people in hospital, two more deaths

B.C.’s COVID-19 case count was up to 737 Friday, after 622 new infections on Thursday, a notable increase from recent days, but with increasing vaccine protection, there were no new health care outbreaks for the fourth straight day.

There were 292 people in hospital as of Friday, up from 286 in the previous 24 hours, with 85 in critical care units. Officials reported two more deaths related to the novel coronavirus, for a total of 1,421 in B.C. since the pandemic began a year ago.

For the first part of the week, new cases totalled 491 for Sunday, 460 Monday, 556 Tuesday and 498 on Wednesday.

Vaccine doses delivered in B.C. are now more than 490,000 as the age-based vaccination program continues in communities across the province. People aged 80 and up are eligible to book appointments as of March 19, with age 79 and up eligible to call as of Saturday, March 20. Appointment details and phone numbers can be found here.

Front-line workers including in grocery stores, schools and emergency services such as police and paramedics are being prioritized for vaccine starting in April, using AstraZeneca vaccine made available from a supplier in India and soon from the U.S. Employee groups will be contacted and are not to call the health authority appointment lines, which are reserved for the age-based vaccination program.

“The selection of the front-line workers for part two of this program is based on the known risk of transmission, as well as the nature and size of the workplace environment,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a statement March 19. “We remind all businesses and workers that the requirement to continue to follow COVID-19 safety plans remains in place, even if workers have been vaccinated.

“We also remind workers that health authorities will contact employers directly to arrange immunizations, and calling the age-based booking line will not provide access to the parallel AstraZeneca/SII vaccine program.”

RELATED: B.C. aims to deliver COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July

RELATED: Emergency, grocery, school staff to get shots starting April


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abby Dyer of Shawnigan Lake School. (Submitted)
Shawnigan Lake School poet wins to prize

Abby Dyer has won first place in the Senior Poem category in the Legion’s Youth Remembrance Contest

The Cowichan Valley Regional District has applied for a $199,000 grant to upgrade its emergency communication systems that are used during such events as the major windstorm that hit the Valley in 2018 (pictured).
CVRD looks to upgrade emergency communications with grant

Staff say communications issues plague emergency response efforts in area

A police car at the scene of a child’s death Friday, April 9, at the Falcon Nest Motel in Duncan. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
RCMP investigating child’s death at Duncan’s Falcon Nest Motel

First responders attended to a call about an unresponsive child at the… Continue reading

Brent Clancy, president of the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce, takes down the signs at the Lake Cowichan Visitor Centre, which closed its doors for good on Jan. 31. Mayor Bob Day says the possible creation of a Town tourism committee is not a response to the closure. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Town of Lake Cowichan looking to form tourism and housing committees

Decision not related to the Lake Cowichan Visitor Information Centre closure

“Representing the school district, legion, and Kaatza Station Museum left to right are Georgie Clark of the museum, Wilma Rowbottom of School District #66 and Ernie Spencer, representing the Legion. The museum and Legion, along with the Village will each take a piece of the old wood shop.” (The Lake News)
Lake Flashback: Soapboxes, woodshop split, taxes down

Remember these stories from Lake Cowichan?

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Most Read