British Columbia

7 more lives lost to COVID-19 as B.C. records 722 new cases

B.C. health officials announced 722 new cases of COVID-19 and 7 more deaths on Friday.

There are 445 people in hospital with the disease, 157 of whom are in intensive care

People are pictured at a Fraser Health COVID-19 registration kiosk at Guildford Mall in Surrey, B.C., on May 6. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

B.C. health officials announced 722 new cases of COVID-19 and seven more deaths on Friday.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are 6,757 active cases of people infected with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus in B.C.

The daily new cases make Friday the 19th straight day the province's rolling average has fallen, where it now sits at just above 694 cases per day.

A total of 445 people are in hospital, with 157 in intensive care.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are down by 13 per cent from last Friday, when 511 people were in hospital with the disease. 

The number of patients in intensive care is down by about 10 per cent from 174 a week ago

The provincial death toll from the disease now stands at 1,602.

So far, 2,042,442 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 99,461 of those being second doses. In the last 24 hours, 46,946 people received vaccine shots in B.C. — the second-highest daily total since the immunization campaign began — including 3,605 second doses, the highest mark since February. 

The province says 45 per cent of those who are eligible have received at least one dose.

Out of the total population of British Columbia, however, including those who aren't eligible such as children, approximately 39.6 per cent of individuals have received at least one dose.

Health authorities have said at least 60 to 70 per cent of the total population should be immunized to achieve herd immunity.

Don't travel, do get a shot

Friday marks the beginning of another weekend British Columbians are not permitted to travel outside their health region. This order is in effect until the end of the May 24 long weekend.

Restrictions in place are designed to curtail the spread of the virus, while health officials race to vaccinate the population.

Currently, anyone 18 and older in British Columbia can register for their vaccination now if they have not already done so. This can be done online through the "Get Vaccinated" portal, by calling 1-833-838-2323, or in person at any Service B.C. location.

People in B.C. aged 49 and above can now receive a vaccine. People living in hot-spot neighbourhoods, people who are pregnant and front-line workers are also being prioritized.

Interior Health announced it is accelerating immunizations for people aged 30 and over in two communities with high transmission: the District of Summerland and the Rutland neighbourhood in Kelowna.

People living in these communities born in 1991 or earlier, and who are registered to get vaccinated, will soon be invited to book appointments.

Henry confirmed Wednesday that teens will soon be part of B.C.'s immunization plan after Health Canada approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people as young as 12

On Thursday, B.C. recorded its first case of a vaccine-induced thrombosi, related to the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, a rare side-effect of what health officials maintain is still a highly effective vaccine.

The woman, in her 40s, is in stable condition.


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