British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for March 15

B.C. health officials announced Monday that 10 more people have died of COVID-19, as the province recorded 1,506 new cases over the last three days.

Health officials announced 1,506 new cases over the last three days and 10 deaths

Groups of people in Vancouver gather in Jonathan Rogers Park two days after provincial officials lifted restrictions on gathering. As of March 11, 2021 groups of 10 people from different households can get together outside. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • On Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 1,506 new cases over the last three days and 10 new deaths.
  • A total of 1407 people have died in B.C. as a result of COVID-19.
  • There are currently 4,987 active cases in the province.
  • Over 9,000 people are under active public health monitoring.
  • 81,890 people have recovered from the virus in B.C.
  • 409,103 doses of vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 87,059 second doses. 
  • An outbreak has been declared at a glass manufacturing company in Langley, B.C.
  • A second outbreak has been declared at Vancouver General Hospital.
  • Health officials announced Monday the first shipment of the Astra Zeneca-Oxford vaccine will be used for workers in vulnerable sectors.
  • Starting at noon on Monday, seniors aged 84 or older can begin calling to book a vaccine.

Health officials announced Monday that 1,506 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in B.C. over the last three days.

The latest numbers, the first since Friday, include 269 people in hospital and 76 patients in critical care. Right now, there are 4,987 active cases of COVID-19 across the province.

To date, 1407 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 and 81,890 people have recovered. There are now 4,652 active cases of the novel coronavirus in B.C.

On Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry said 163 cases have now been identified as being linked to variants of concern for a total of 880 cases, including 195 that are still active.

Since the province's vaccination program began late in 2020, 409,103 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 87,059 second doses. 

10 or less outside

On Thursday, health officials eased restrictions for the first time in four months to allow outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, but asked that people stick to the same group.

Despite the province's daily case numbers hovering above 500 in recent weeks, Henry said the riskiest settings are indoors and the chance of spread is minimal outside.

Henry stressed the province's restrictions on indoor gatherings will remain in place for now. Only people who are part of the same household should meet indoors, including at restaurants.  

Vancouverites celebrate restrictions on outdoor gatherings

7 months ago
0:39
A group of people danced in the streets after B.C.'s provincial health officer allowed gatherings of 10 people outside 0:39

Vaccine bookings

On Monday, Henry announced that since the province's vaccination program began in late 2020, 409,103 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 87,509 second doses.

Sunday, Dix told CBC News that despite initial problems with phone booking systems for COVID-19 vaccines, the province is now ahead of schedule when it comes to making appointment for those who are currently eligible.

Dix promised an online system will be available across the province soon. 

"We are putting an online platform together for everyone in B.C.," he said. "That is going to be put in place for the 75 to 79 category, so that will be in a week or so." 

Seniors are pictured holding onto their family members while walking into a COVID-19 vaccination centre in Surrey, British Columbia on Monday, March 8, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Dix says B.C. has now vaccinated about half of everyone in the over 90 age category. 

Starting on Monday at 12 p.m., seniors aged 84 or older can call to book their vaccine, which the province says is sooner than originally anticipated.

According to the booking schedule the province has laid out for this week, each day a new age group one year younger will be eligible with those born in 1938 eligible to call Tuesday, those born in 1939 eligible to call Wednesday, and so on.

The province has urged people to wait until they become eligible before calling for an appointment to avoid overwhelming call centres.

On Monday, provincial officials also announced the first doses of the initial shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be used to inoculate workers in vulnerable sectors including food processing plants, farms and greenhouses as well as industries requiring employees to live in shared spaces, such as work camps.

Liquor restrictions on St. Patrick's Day

The province will also ban liquor sales at restaurants, bars and liquor stores after 8 p.m. on Wednesday to limit gatherings on St. Patrick's Day similarly to rules imposed for New Year's Eve. 

Over the weekend, Fraser Health announced that 44 employees of Vitrum Glass have tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak at the glass manufacturing company in Langley, B.C.

The health authority says it provided testing and immunizations on site and those identified as cases and close contacts have been instructed to self-isolate.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) announced two potential exposures at Bimini's Beer Hall on West 4th Avenue and The Blarney Stone on Carrall Street in Vancouver.

The possible exposures occurred on March 6 at Bimini's during operating hours and on March 5 at The Blarney Stone during operating hours.

The health authority says the exposures are believed to be low risk, but is asking anyone who was at either establishment on the specified dates and times to self-monitor themselves for symptoms.

On Monday, VCH announced an outbreak of COVID-19 has closed another ward at Vancouver General Hospital.

A statement from Vancouver Coastal Health says two patients had tested positive for COVID-19 on an in-patient unit in the hospital's Jim Pattison Pavilion.

The unit is now closed to all admissions, transfers and most visits, but other hospital facilities, including the emergency ward, remain open.

Surrey school safety

The Surrey School District has introduced new measures for teachers, staff, students and parents to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The school district says it has had more school-based exposures than any other district in British Columbia and has put in place new measures such as increased vigilance during outdoor playtime so students don't mingle across cohorts, ensuring that all students and parents vacate school grounds immediately after school, and adding three early dismissals so health and safety committees can review and adjust protocols as needed. 

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What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 3 p.m. PT  Monday, Canada had reported 911,546 cases of COVID-19, with 31,699 cases considered active.

A total of 22,485 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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