Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Penny Ballem update B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination timelines at the B.C. legislature, March 18, 2021. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Penny Ballem update B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination timelines at the B.C. legislature, March 18, 2021. (B.C. government)

B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate remains high, 15 deaths on weekend

556 cases to Saturday, 598 to Sunday, 631 on Monday

B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate continues at a rate provincial health officials consider a high risk for community infection, with nearly 1,800 new cases from Friday to Monday.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 556 new cases in the 24 hours up to Saturday, 598 up to Sunday and 631 as of Monday, March 22, with 15 deaths related to the coronavirus over the three days. One earlier death was reclassified as a COVID-19 death, bringing B.C.’s total deaths from the pandemic to 1,437.

The health care system has gone nearly a week without a new outbreak, and those at Chilliwack General Hospital and Florentine care home in Merritt have been declared over.

Active outbreaks, which can be declared with one or more positive tests in residents or staff, remain in effect at four long-term care or assisted living facilities and seven acute care wards in the province.

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix warned against relaxing restrictions as B.C. rolls out its vaccination program to younger age groups and front-line workers in grocery stores, schools and large workplaces and camps.

Henry said B.C. has recorded 1,240 cases of the U.K. virus variant so far, mostly in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions. That variant is “much easier to spread with even minimal contact in indoor spaces,” increasing risk for indoor gatherings.

Weddings, birthday parties and other gatherings outside household “bubbles” should be held outside or not at all while the infection rate continues high, Henry said.

Public health teams are testing for the Brazil variant, with an additional 20 cases identified in two clusters in the Lower Mainland. B.C. has seen 41 cases of the South Africa variant of concern, but none in recent days.

RELATED: B.C. prepares for steep increase in COVID-19 vaccinations

RELATED: Cases of COVID-19 variants increasing across Canada


@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

The old Yount school in Youbou has stood empty for years, but now a group has plans to turn it into a mixed-use property with affordable housing and tourist services. (Submitted)
Group sets sights on tranforming old Yount school property in Youbou

School District 79 has already commenced a process to sell the school through a formal proposal call

North Cowicha to extend the time lines of its official community plan update. (File photo)
North Cowichan to extend time line of OCP review

Municipality also adds $55,000 to OCP budget

Cowichan Capitals’ Logan Rands digs for the puck along the boards in the Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ zone midway through the third period of their BC Hockey League game at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Cowichan Capitals pick up first two wins of BCHL season

Brockman, Moffatt both up to four goals on the year

A nearly four-hour standoff at an apartment complex on Cowichan Lake Road in Duncan ended peacefully on Wednesday, April 14. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Police surround building as homeowner held in apartment by adult son

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A almost hitting school bus

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Road rager fails breathalyzer on busy B.C. highway in vehicle he shouldn’t be driving

Saanich police say man was operating vehicle without required ignition lock

The family of Iris McNeil, shown here with members of her family, has launched a petition to deny parole for the man who murdered McNeil in 1997. (Family photo)
Family fights killer’s release from Vancouver Island prison

Shortreed serving an indeterminate sentence at William Head Institution

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

Most Read