Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Penny Ballem update B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination timelines at the B.C. legislature, March 18, 2021. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Penny Ballem update B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination timelines at the B.C. legislature, March 18, 2021. (B.C. government)

B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate remains high, 15 deaths on weekend

556 cases to Saturday, 598 to Sunday, 631 on Monday

B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate continues at a rate provincial health officials consider a high risk for community infection, with nearly 1,800 new cases from Friday to Monday.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 556 new cases in the 24 hours up to Saturday, 598 up to Sunday and 631 as of Monday, March 22, with 15 deaths related to the coronavirus over the three days. One earlier death was reclassified as a COVID-19 death, bringing B.C.’s total deaths from the pandemic to 1,437.

The health care system has gone nearly a week without a new outbreak, and those at Chilliwack General Hospital and Florentine care home in Merritt have been declared over.

Active outbreaks, which can be declared with one or more positive tests in residents or staff, remain in effect at four long-term care or assisted living facilities and seven acute care wards in the province.

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix warned against relaxing restrictions as B.C. rolls out its vaccination program to younger age groups and front-line workers in grocery stores, schools and large workplaces and camps.

Henry said B.C. has recorded 1,240 cases of the U.K. virus variant so far, mostly in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions. That variant is “much easier to spread with even minimal contact in indoor spaces,” increasing risk for indoor gatherings.

Weddings, birthday parties and other gatherings outside household “bubbles” should be held outside or not at all while the infection rate continues high, Henry said.

Public health teams are testing for the Brazil variant, with an additional 20 cases identified in two clusters in the Lower Mainland. B.C. has seen 41 cases of the South Africa variant of concern, but none in recent days.

RELATED: B.C. prepares for steep increase in COVID-19 vaccinations

RELATED: Cases of COVID-19 variants increasing across Canada


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hotel Zed Tofino has won a Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Award. (Westerly file photo)
Hotel Zed Tofino wins commercial building award

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board holds virtual gala.

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Most Read