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

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
Kootenay-Columbia MP pans federal budget

Conservative Rob Morrison says budget doesn’t have a plan for long-term spending priorities

A view of the Jordan River from the trail in the area, during the summer. There are two new gravel pits up for consideration by the province. The area is deemed to be ecologically sensitive. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
LETTER: When did Revelstoke become gravel pit central?

Two new gravel pits are being proposed near the Jordan River

Photo: pixabay.com
Morning Start: Why do dogs like squeaky toys?

Your morning start for Tuesday, April 20, 2021

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

BC Wildfire Service file.
So far, fire season in Kamloops region about average

Unseasonably warm temperatures as of late are drying out ground fuel

A woman was struck by a vehicle in the Costco Parking lot just before 12 p.m. on April 28, 2020. (File)
Kelowna council expedites road improvements in anticipation of new Costco

Highway 97 and Leckie Road improvements to cost $1.14 million, costs split between the city, Costco and the province

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
Alleged drug-impaired driver cruises down Kelowna sidewalk

Kelowna RCMP take an impaired driver off of city streets after a tip from a concerned citizen

Cash seized in a 2018 RCMP drug bust in the Lower Mainland. (Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP-led drug investigation nets charges for 4 in Lower Mainland

Cops seized 12 kilograms of MDMA and $380K executing several search warrants in the Lower Mainland in 2018

Interior Health issued warning April 18, 2021 of crack cocaine in Penticton that looks similar to the substance above containing fentanyl. (Interior Health photo)
Interior Health warns of fentanyl contaminated crack-cocaine in Penticton

There have been recent reports of overdose associated with the use of this substance

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

Most Read