In a written statement, Provincial Health Administrator Dr Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that a public health order banning gatherings and events has been amended to allow gatherings outdoor religious activities, as long as COVID-19 security plans are in place. Tuesday’s daily update included 682 new cases of COVID-19 and one other death. There are now 314 people in hospital with the disease – the highest total since January 25 – including 83 who are in intensive care.
The latest figures mean the seven-day moving average of new cases reached 617, the highest since December 20.
“As we immunize more people every day and in parallel slowly turning the dial on the restrictions we have in place, we must remember that the risk to all of us remains high, especially with indoor activities – than this. either for professional or social reasons ”Henry and Dix said.
There are currently 5,409 active cases of coronavirus in the province, the highest total since January 9. Public health is now monitoring 9,488 people across British Columbia who are isolated due to exposure to COVID-19.
A total of 86,307 people who tested positive for the virus have recovered, while 1,438 people in British Columbia have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
British Columbia has not seen any new outbreaks in healthcare facilities, and outbreaks at Revera Sunwood Retirement Community in Maple Ridge and the Brucejack mine have been declared over.
So far, 557,508 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, of which 87,168 are second doses.
Opening of vaccination slots for medically vulnerable people
On Tuesday, the province provided more details on how “clinically extremely vulnerable” people can receive a vaccine in the coming weeks.
Those at higher risk of COVID-19 due to health concerns will be able to register for the vaccination starting March 29. Eligible individuals include transplant recipients, people with severe breathing problems and some cancer patients.
“For many, knowing that COVID-19 would worsen already serious illnesses has created additional challenge and stress – concerns that will soon be alleviated,” said Henry and Dix.
About 200,000 people over the age of 16 will be included in this group, according to a government press release. A group of medical experts worked with public health to compile a list, and those who qualify can expect to receive a letter in the mail with information on how to make an appointment.
Anyone who believes they need to qualify and has not received a letter by April 15 should call the provincial call center or visit an online site that has yet to launch to make appointments for vaccination, according to the government.
Meanwhile, accelerated progress in vaccination in British Columbia means that starting Wednesday, people born in 1945 will be able to reserve their first vaccine.
On Monday, Henry expressed concern about the increase in the number of cases, but did not give a clear answer as to whether British Columbia is experiencing a third wave of the pandemic.
“People ask us if we are in our third wave,” she said. “We’ve come down from the top of our second wave, but we’ve stabilized for many weeks now and it’s a slow and steady increase. ”
Henry urged everyone to make sure all gatherings are outside, in physically distant groups of 10 people or less.
Dix pointed out that if the vaccines help, it is still not safe to return to normal life.
“The vaccines give us a lot of hope, but the orders are still in place,” he said. “If you are thinking of going to a birthday party, don’t go right away. ”
Henry and Dix said no plans should be made for large gatherings like weddings in the near future and that such plans should be pushed back to the summer at the earliest.