COVID-19 in B.C.: New case count surges past 700; active cases surpass 5,000; Boston Pizza exposure; and more

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      For some time now, B.C. hasn’t reported a new case count below the 400 mark.

      After a few days of rising numbers, today’s count rose above the 700 mark for the first time in weeks, following over 600 new cases yesterday.

      Active cases have also risen above 5,000. Earlier this week, the number of P1 (Brazil) variant cases surpassed the number of B1351 (South Africa) variant cases and continues to increase.

      B.C. update: March 19

      Today, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that B.C. has 737 new cases today.

      By region, that includes:

      • 426 new cases in Fraser Health (58 percent);
      • 163 in Vancouver Coastal Health (22 percent);
      • 82 in Northern Health (11 percent);
      • 33 in Interior Health (four percent);
      • 32 in Island Health (four percent);
      • one person from outside of Canada (less than one percent).

      The number of active cases grew by 266 more cases since yesterday, raising the current total to 5,207 active cases.

      Six more people have been admitted to hospitals since yesterday, which increases hospitalized cases to 292 individuals current in hospitals, and 85 of them (same number as yesterday) are in intensive care units.

      One area did decrease. Public health is monitoring 9,412 people due to exposures to identified cases, which is a drop of 208 people since yesterday.

      Sadly, there have been two people who have died of COVID-19-related reasons over the past day. The cumulative total number of fatalities during the pandemic is now at 1,421 deaths.

      A cumulative total of 84,078 people have recovered, which includes 465 recoveries since yesterday.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 90,786 cases, which includes:

      • 53,066 cases in Fraser Health (58 percent);
      • 21,278 in Vancouver Coastal Health (23 percent);
      • 7,967 in Interior Health (nine percent);
      • 5,443 in Northern Health (six percent);
      • 2,867 in Island Health (three percent);
      • 165 people from outside of Canada (less than one percent).
      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix
      Province of British Columbia

      Variants and vaccines

      Today, there are 68 new COVID-19 variant cases, which brings the cumulative total to 1,200 variant cases.

      Currently, 149 cases are active.

      The total includes:

      • 1,094 cases of the B117 (U.K.) variant;
      • 65 cases of the P1 (Brazil) variant;
      • 41 cases of the B1351 (South Africa) variant.

      Meanwhile, as of today, 490,022 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca-SII vaccines have been administered in B.C., and 87,139 of those have been second doses.

      The next age group (70 to 79 years old) for scheduling vaccination appointments begins tomorrow (March 20). For more information, see this article.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      The good news, once again, is that there aren’t any new healthcare or community outbreaks.

      Henry and Dix stated that the outbreak at Holmberg House Hospice in Abbotsford is now over.

      Interior Health also declared the outbreak over at the Florentine in Merritt, where a total of two residents tested positive.

      Meanwhile, Fraser Health listed a public exposure event at Boston Pizza (1956 152 Street) in Surrey during the following time periods:

      • 5 to 10 p.m. on March 9;
      • noon to 10:00 p.m. on March 10;
      • 4 to 10 p.m. on March 11;
      • noon to 11 p.m. on March 12 and 13.

      Sobeys listed five employees from the Safeway located at 200 2nd Avenue West in Prince Rupert as testing positive. The last dates that these employees were at the store include March 7, 10, and 12.

      Loblaw stated that several employees (number unspecified) at the Real Canadian Superstore located at 8195 120th Street in Delta have tested positive (no dates specified).

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.