British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for March 1

Every eligible adult in British Columbia should be able to receive a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by late July after the approval of a new vaccine and a decision to delay second doses.

B.C. records 1,478 new cases of COVID-19 and 8 more deaths over the weekend

A family waits to cross a street in Vancouver on Feb. 22. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • Every eligible adult in B.C. should receive a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by July, the province said.
  • B.C. has extended the acceptable time between the first and second dose of a vaccine to four months.
  • A total of 1,478 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths were announced on Monday.
  • There were 42 new variants of concern identified in B.C. over the weekend.
  • There are now 236 people in hospital due to COVID-19 with 65 in intensive care.
  • A total of 1,363 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
  • There are currently 4,464 active cases of coronavirus in the province,
  • Public health is monitoring 8,210 people across B.C. who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure. 
  • So far, 275,681 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. — around four per cent of the population — with 83,777 of those being second doses. 

Every eligible adult in British Columbia should be able to receive a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by late July after the approval of a new vaccine and a decision to delay second doses.

Health officials announced the accelerated timeline Monday as the province moved into the second, seniors-focused phase.

Seniors 80 and older, Indigenous seniors 65 and older, hospital staff and medical specialists, vulnerable populations living and working in congregated settings, and staff providing in-home support to seniors will begin getting their shots this month.

The province's vaccination plan is focused on inoculating high-risk and most elderly populations by April, followed by younger age groups in the spring and summer. 

Also on Monday, the province announced it is immediately extending the time between first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine to four months.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control — and countries around the world such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand — shows "miraculous" protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Variants in schools

Fraser Health said on Sunday that additional testing is underway at two Surrey schools after one person at École Woodward Hill Elementary and two at Surrey Traditional Elementary tested positive for a variant of concern.

One class at Woodward Hill is already isolating and will remain in isolation until March 4. Two classes at Surrey Traditional will self-isolate until March 4.

Both schools remain open.

Mass testing of classrooms at two other Surrey schools affected by a variant case, James Ardiel Elementary and Tamanawis Secondary, identified no new cases.

On Friday, Fraser Health announced that positive variant cases have been confirmed at an additional three schools: Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Frank Hurt Secondary School and M.B. Sanford Elementary School.

Police say they fined the Riverside Calvary Chapel in Langley, B.C., for not following provincial health orders. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Churches in court

Three Fraser Valley churches were in court Monday seeking to overturn provincial health orders barring in-person religious gatherings.

The orders were put in place by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry last year as a way to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and were last extended on Feb. 10.

In January, pastors with Langley's Riverside Calvary Chapel, Abbotsford's Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church and the Free Reformed Church of Chilliwack filed a petition claiming Henry had violated their guaranteed constitutional right to expression and religious worship by shutting down all in-person religious gatherings and worship services while allowing restaurants and businesses to remain open.

Wastewater tool

Metro Vancouver on Monday launched an online tool allowing residents to track the viral load of COVID-19 that researchers have found in untreated water at the region's wastewater treatment plants.

The region said the data is meant to help health authorities better understand how present the virus might be in a given area and to evaluate the effectiveness of public health restrictions.

Residents can click on a specific wastewater treatment plant on a map to see a snapshot of the COVID-19 virus trend for that area.

Case breakdown

Cases of COVID-19 variants continue to increase in B.C. with 42 more identified over the weekend for a total now of 158.

A total of 1,478 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths were announced on Monday.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 236 people, 65 of whom are in intensive care.

A total of 1,363 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

There are currently 4,464 active cases of coronavirus in the province, with public health monitoring 8,210 people across B.C. who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure.

More than 74,776 people who tested positive have recovered.  

So far, 275,681 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. — around four per cent of the population — with 83,777 of those being second doses. 

READ MORE:

What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 4 p.m. PT Sunday, Canada had reported 866,503 cases of COVID-19, with 30,731 cases considered active.

A total of 21,994 people have died.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Loss of taste or smell.
  • Headache.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or o​​​​​​ther extreme symptoms should call 911.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep at least two metres away from people outside your bubble. Keep your distance from people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

 

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