15 more lives lost to COVID-19 in B.C., as 564 new cases confirmed
There are 309 people in hospital with the disease, 68 of whom are in intensive care
B.C. health officials announced 564 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths on Thursday.
In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 309 people, 68 of whom are in intensive care.
A total of 1,119 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
There are currently 4,450 active cases of coronavirus in the province, with public health monitoring 6,816 people across the province who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure. More than 56,010 people who tested positive have recovered.
There is a new community cluster in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region, in and around Williams Lake.
"We remind people to pay close attention to how they are feeling and to immediately arrange to get tested if they are feeling unwell with symptoms of COVID-19," Henry and Dix said in the written statement.
"Despite our COVID-19 curve trending in the right direction, we continue to have new outbreaks, community clusters and high numbers of new cases. COVID-19 continues to spread widely in our communities."
The total number of patients in hospital has fallen by about 11 per cent in the last week, reaching the lowest level since Nov. 28, but intensive care numbers have remained steady.
There have been no new outbreaks in health-care facilities, but six have been declared over.
Meanwhile, the latest data confirm B.C.'s second wave of the pandemic has spread across the province and is no longer concentrated in the Lower Mainland. About 39 per cent of the new cases announced Thursday were in the Interior Health, Northern Health and Island Health regions.
Update on vaccine rollout coming Friday
To date, a total of 104,901 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the province, including 1,680 second doses.
Health officials had originally scheduled an on-camera briefing for Thursday, but cancelled it as they prepare to update the province's strategy for immunization against the virus.
The premier's office said Henry and Dix will instead join a news conference Friday with Premier John Horgan and Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization rollout.
The four are expected to comment on the next steps in the immunization program that has been complicated by a hiccup in the vaccine supply from Pfizer-BioNTech.
The province adjusted its vaccination plan in response to news that Pfizer-BioNTech isn't sending any doses of its vaccine to Canada next week.