B.C. records 1,001 new cases of COVID-19 and 4 more deaths
There are 486 people in hospital with the disease, 160 of whom are in intensive care
B.C. health officials announced 1,001 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths on Friday.
In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are currently 8,842 active cases of people infected with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus in B.C.
A total of 486 people are in hospital, with 160 in intensive care — the first decline in more than three weeks.
The statement from Henry and Dix urged British Columbians to continue to take precautions to avoid infection.
"We must all continue our efforts to keep communities safe, protect our loved ones and support B.C.'s health-care system from the pressures COVID-19 places upon it," he said.
Hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by 61 from last Friday, when 425 people were in hospital, with 127 of them in critical care.
However, the number of people in hospital announced on Friday were less than on Thursday when 502 people were in hospital with 161 people in intensive care.
The number of new hospitalizations on Thursday dipped to about 46 patients, down significantly from the 60 to 70 people who were recently being admitted each day.
The provincial death toll from the disease now stands at 1,554.
Public health is actively monitoring 12,608 people across the province who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure.
On Friday, Northern Health announced a COVID-19 outbreak at Dawson Creek and District Hospital in the medical inpatient unit.
Four patients and one staff member tested positive.
Interior Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Sandalwood Retirement Resort in Kelowna, an independent living residence, where 10 residents and one staff member have tested positive.
The health authority says one person has died from the illness due to the outbreak.
So far 1,542,066 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, 88,663 of which are second doses.
60+ plus getting the jab, 18+ registering
British Columbians aged 60 and older who have registered to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will soon begin receiving invitations from the province to book their shots, while everyone from age 18 can now register for their vaccination.
The province announced the updates to its age-based Get Vaccinated program in a statement Friday morning.
It means more than 90,000 residents aged 60 or older will soon get their vaccination appointments.
The move to allow all adults above age 18 to register signals a big jump from age 25 and up.
British Columbians aged 60+ will be receiving invitations to book their COVID-19 vaccine. At noon today, people aged 18+ will be able to register. Every vaccine makes us all safer, and gets us closer to putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind us. <a href="https://t.co/7ijSs9iVXN">https://t.co/7ijSs9iVXN</a> <a href="https://t.co/nPLxgELiB3">pic.twitter.com/nPLxgELiB3</a>—@adriandix
Starting at noon on Friday, everyone in the province aged 18 or older can register for their first dose of vaccine either online, by phone at 1-888-838-2323 or in person at a Service B.C. location.
Once registered, individuals will be contacted when it is their time to book an appointment.
Meanwhile, people born in 1981 or earlier remain eligible for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine through pharmacies and, in some hard-hit areas, special clinics.
Officials have released a list of 13 community health service areas that have seen the highest COVID-19 case rates, which will be given top priority through the clinics. Eligibility for those clinics is based on postal code.
People who wish to get the AstraZeneca vaccine through a pharmacy need to book their shot with the pharmacy itself. The province provides a list of participating pharmacies online. Pharmacies have limited supplies of the vaccine.
Now more than ever, our colleagues need your help.<br><br>Read the open letter from Dr. Richard Stanwick and <br>Dr. Ben Williams: <a href="https://t.co/FLlByyi4Ei">https://t.co/FLlByyi4Ei</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19IslandHealth?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19IslandHealth</a> <a href="https://t.co/A1DOXALWO1">pic.twitter.com/A1DOXALWO1</a>—@VanIslandHealth
Meantime, the top doctors from Island Health have written an open letter on behalf of the health authority asking people in B.C. to help health workers who they say are feeling the pressure of the third wave of the pandemic in the province.
Dr. Richard Stanwick and Dr. Ben Williams wrote that health-care workers are meeting the challenge of caring for patients sick from COVID-19 but, "are being stretched to their limit as this pandemic continues."
They are asking people to not gather indoors, avoid all non-essential travel and to stay home if they are sick.
"Your efforts to stick to these principles are a show of support for our front-line workers. And they need all that support more than ever right now," reads the letter.
On Friday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth restricted non-essential travel between three regional zones within the province to try to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Friday's statement from Henry and Dix reiterated the request people stick to their own community to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
"Now is the time to stay close to home and to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible, to keep yourself, your family and your community safe," it said.