Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the COVID-19 response in British Columbia:
"Today, we are reporting 1,013 new cases, including six epi-linked cases, for a total of 100,048 cases in British Columbia.
"There are 7,405 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 11,468 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 91,066 people who tested positive have recovered.
"Of the active cases, 301 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 80 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"Since we last reported, we have had 385 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 458 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 47 in the Island Health region, 64 in the Interior Health region, 60 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
"There was a delay in the sequencing analysis for variants of concern. As a result, the new cases for the last 24 hours are unavailable.
"There have been three new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,458 deaths in British Columbia.
"There has been one new outbreak at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. The outbreak at Mission Memorial Hospital is now over.
"To date, 756,080 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,351 of which are second doses.
"We all have the same ability to spread the COVID-19 virus - no matter our age. We also know that regardless of where we work or what pre-existing health conditions we may have, the older we are, the higher our risk of severe illness.
"That is why our primary age-based immunization program has started with our oldest and most vulnerable people first. Today, people 73 and older can book their appointments and, in a matter of a couple of weeks, those 65 and older will be eligible.
"Indigenous peoples 18 and over, and individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable and have received a letter identifying them as such, can also book their appointments.
"Front-line workers who were to receive AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD remain a priority. Right now, we are waiting on Health Canada's recommendations to determine what adjustments we may need to make to this immunization stream as a result of the safety signal for those under 55. In the meantime, the current supply of AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine is being made available to people between the ages of 55 and 65 on the Lower Mainland - our highest transmission area.
"Tomorrow, as we go into the Easter weekend, expanded visitation in all long-term care facilities throughout the province will get underway. If you are planning to visit your family member or friend, please remember that COVID-19 safety plans must continue to be followed, including wearing masks and staying away if you feel unwell.
"Right now, no one should be travelling for leisure or vacation outside of your local communities or regions. The risk for all of us is too great, which means any of our usual travel and holiday weekend gatherings need to be put on hold this year.
"There are three important things to remember about the COVID-19 vaccines. First, everyone will have access to a safe and effective vaccine, and that remains on track to happen before Canada Day.
"Second, the more people who receive a vaccine, the safer we all are, which is why we are working around the clock to get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible.
"Third, we don't yet have enough people protected through the vaccines to be able to put aside any of our safety precautions, so we need to continue to follow all the public health orders and guidelines we have in place.
"The COVID-19 pandemic continues, and we will continue to face hurdles in our pandemic response. And when we do, we will continue to adjust and adapt our approach to safely move forward.
"Help us to push our curve back down again. Do this by staying small, staying outside and staying with your same group of close contacts. This is what will get us closer to putting COVID-19 behind us."