British Columbia

B.C. records 420 new cases of COVID-19 and 6 more deaths

B.C. health officials announced 420 new cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths on Friday.

There are 319 people in hospital with the disease, 107 of whom are in intensive care

A Do Not Travel sign sits on the median of the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Horseshoe Bay and Lions Bay, B.C., on April 23. Non-essential travel remains restricted between three regional zones in British Columbia. (The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)

B.C. health officials announced 420 new cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths on Friday.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are currently 4,507 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A total of 319 people are in hospital, with 107 in intensive care.

The provincial death toll from the disease is 1,667.

So far, 2,744,020 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 142,406 of those being second doses.

Later Friday night, Vancouver Coastal Health announced that an outbreak had been declared on a unit at Richmond Hospital after seven patients tested positive for the virus.

On Thursday, Henry announced that youth aged 12 to 17 in B.C. will be vaccinated at community clinics throughout the province.

Children between the ages of 12 and 17, about 310,000 people in B.C., can register through the online portal. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was recently approved for use in children of that age group.

Dix, speaking on CBC's The Early Edition Friday morning, said about 60 per cent of eligible adults in B.C. have had a vaccine dose, as have more than 80 per cent of people aged 60 and above.

Officials have said B.C. is on pace to have each eligible adult receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by Canada Day.

Registering can be done online through the Get Vaccinated portal, by calling 1-833-838-2323, or in person at any Service B.C. location.

Locals only

Provincial travel restrictions between health regions remain in place until after the long weekend.

Premier John Horgan said B.C.'s circuit-breaker restrictions are expected to end on Tuesday, the same day the province plans to announce a roadmap for lifting restrictions throughout the summer.

Travelling outside of three regional zones without an essential reason remains prohibited until then. Violators can be fined up to $575.

"This long weekend is the time to stick with all of the public health orders and travel restrictions — staying small, staying local and getting registered for your vaccine if you have not already done so,' read Friday's statement from the province.

"We need to keep pushing COVID-19 down to be able to safely turn the dial on the current restrictions. The only way we can do that is to keep using our safety layers and getting more and more people immunized."

The three zones, based roughly on health region boundaries are:

  • The Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health areas)
  • Vancouver Island (Island Health)
  • Northern and Interior regions (Northern health and Interior Health)

B.C. residents cannot book accommodations or camping sites outside their zone and BC Ferries staff are contacting travellers to confirm the reasons for their travel. RCMP have also set up checkpoints to enforce the non-essential travel ban.

Restrictions on gatherings, indoor dining and travel will remain in place until May 25. Henry has said that small gatherings should be possible by the Canada Day long weekend.

The Friday statement from the province said that Tuesday's announcement will include details of how families and businesses can plan for the summer months.

"We'll be taking a gradual approach to our restart, monitoring our progress as we go to ensure cases, outbreaks and hospitalizations don't start to creep up. And, we need everyone to also do their part — this long weekend and in the weeks ahead," it read.

With files from Bridgette Watson

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