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

A new park is under development for the Lower Kootenay Band. Ken White, facility and operations manager, holds up the draft plans with Nasukin Jason Louie on the construction site. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Lower Kootenay Band develops plan for new memorial park

The new Kulilu Garden will serve as a memorial for children who died from polio and tuberculosis in the 1930s and 40s

A new Kootenay Farms Food Hub facility will be opening in Creston this fall to support food processing, packaging, and distribution to increase access to additional healthy, local foods in the region. The project is being led by the Fields Forward Society and will use equipment such as the Kootenay Mobile Press (pictured). (Submitted)
Creston’s upcoming food processing facility will allow for new value-added products

With affordable equipment, farmers and growers can create new items like jerky, jam, and juice

COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in the Kootenays. Illustration: BC Centre for Disease Control
Highest weekly number of new COVID-19 cases in 2021 for Nelson

The Nelson local health area had 13 new cases in early April

ANKORS held a small demonstration outside Nelson City Hall and the courthouse Wednesday to mark the five-year anniversary of the province declaring the toxic drug supply crisis. Photo: Tyler Harper
‘We’re all supposed to take care of each other’: 5 years of toxic drug supply crisis marked in Nelson

Over 7,000 people have died in B.C. since the crisis was announced in 2016

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
VIDEO: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Most Read