What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for March 4
Health officials announced 564 new cases and 4 more deaths on Thursday
- Health officials announced 564 new cases and four more deaths on Thursday.
- There are now 248 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 63 in intensive care.
- To date, 1,376 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19.
- There are currently 4,743 active cases of coronavirus in the province.
- 246 cases of variants of concern have been identified.
- So far, 298,851 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., with 86,746 of those being second doses.
The seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases and the number of patients in hospital with the disease continue to climb in B.C., and officials are expressing concern about the potential for a third wave of the pandemic.
In Thursday's COVID-19 briefing, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 564 new cases and four more deaths. A total of 248 people are in hospital with the disease, including 63 in intensive care, out of 4,743 active cases.
The latest numbers mean active cases and the rolling average of new cases are at their highest points since Jan. 13 and the number of hospitalizations is the highest since Feb. 5.
"We are in a new place right now in the COVID-19 pandemic," Henry said.
"We can't let the successes of these great vaccines that we have now be diminished by a surge in cases."
Since the province's vaccination program began in late 2020, 298,851 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 86,746 second doses.
B.C. now expects every eligible adult who wants a vaccine will receive their first dose by July. The plan is to space out doses by four months, a much longer gap than what's recommended by the manufacturers.
But as the vaccination program ramps up, there is growing concern about transmission of faster spreading variants within the community.
B.C. has now confirmed a total of 246 cases of variants of concern, and public health has not been able to identify the source of transmission for about a quarter of those.
- Studies from Israel and the United Kingdom showed that a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine significantly reduced COVID-19 infections.
- A lawyer for B.C.'s attorney general says the provincial health officer understands the importance of balancing COVID-19 restrictions on in-person gatherings against the charter right to freedom of religion.
- Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside says six new rapid response teams will help schools in B.C. identify gaps in COVID-19 safety plans to help reduce exposure risk.
- Gloomy headlines about the collapse of the Canadian economy, which faced its worst retreat since records began, may have obscured some startling new evidence for a strong rebound.
- COVID-19 fatigue has most people a bit more irritable and emotional these days, but a Vancouver-based expert is already worried about the fragility of some British Columbians's mental health after the pandemic.
- As B.C. enters Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, thousands of Indigenous people in rural and remote communities are celebrating getting their first and second dose of the vaccine.
What's happening elsewhere in Canada
As of 6 p.m. PT Tuesday, Canada had reported 875,559 cases of COVID-19, with 29,930 cases considered active.
A total of 22,105 people have died.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Loss of taste or smell.
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 other 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.