COVID-19 in B.C.: Over 600 new cases; active and hospitalized cases continue to increase; and more

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      For the first time in over a week, today’s new case count rose above the 600 mark.

      Meanwhile in vaccine news, Health Canada announced today that it has approved the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

      On Monday (March 8), people over 90 years of age and Indigenous people over 65 years of age will be able to book vaccine appointments. All other age groups are asked to wait to call until their registration period begins.

      B.C. update: March 5

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said, in a joint statement, that there are 634 new cases (including three epi-linked cases) in B.C. today.

      That includes, by region:

      • 365 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 149 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 60 in the Northern Health;
      • 33 in Interior Health;
      • 26 in Island Health;
      • one person from outside of Canada.

      At the moment, there are 4,901 active cases, which is an increase of 159 more cases since yesterday.

      With seven more people admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 since yesterday, there are now 255 individuals are hospitalized today, and 66 of them are in intensive care units (two more people since yesterday).

      Public health is monitoring 8,861 people who were exposed to identified cases—an increase of 202 people since yesterday.

      Sadly, there are four more COVID-19-related deaths, which brings the total fatalities during the pandemic to 1,380 people who have died in B.C.

      With 483 recoveries since yesterday, a cumulative total of 76,752 people (92 percent) have now recovered.

      B.C. has now recorded a total of 83,107 cases during the pandemic, which includes (by region):

      • 48,776 in Fraser Health;
      • 19,306 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 7,555 in Interior Health;
      • 4,799 in Northern Health;
      • 2,515 in Island Health;
      • 156 people from outside Canada.

      Variants and vaccines

      B.C. has four new variant cases, for a total of 250 cumulative cases. Currently, 12 of the cases remain active.

      So far, B.C. has had:

      • 222 cases of the B117 (U.K.) variant;
      • 28 cases of the B1351 (South Africa) variant.

      B.C.’s immunization program passed a milestone, with over 300,000 doses administered.

      As of today, 311,208 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, and 86,865 of those are second doses.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      One new healthcare facility outbreak has been declared at the Holmberg House Hospice in Abbotsford.

      Northern Health announced today that a potential COVID-19 exposure at North Coast Transition Society’s Crane’s Crossing shelter (1080 3rd Avenue West) in Prince Rupert occurred between February 22 and 24.

      Anyone who visited the shelter during that time period is asked to monitor themselves for 14 days after the date of visit. Anyone who develops symptoms should call the Northern Health Virtual Clinic and information line for Northern B.C. residents at 1-844-645-7811.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added the following two flights to its lists of COVID-19 exposures:

      • February 28: Air Canada/Jazz Flight 8239, Terrace to Vancouver, affected rows 3 to 9;
      • March 3: Air Canada Flight 45, Delhi to Vancouver, affected rows 21 to 27.

      Loblaw added five stores with staff members who have tested positive.

      One store was the Davie Street Your Independent Grocer (1255 Davie Street) in Vancouver, where an employee who tested positive last worked on March 1.

      Two other stores were Shoppers Drug Mart locations:

      • one employee who tested positive last worked on February 28 at 102–22441 Dewdney Trunk Road in Maple Ridge;
      • one employee who tested positive last worked on March 1 at 141–610 6th Street in New Westminster.

      The remaining two stores were Real Canadian Superstore locations:

      • two employees who tested positive last worked on February 23 and 27 at 8195 120th Street in Delta;
      • one employee who tested positive last worked on February 24 at 3000 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam. 
      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.