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B.C. records 550 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths

Last Updated Mar 9, 2021 at 6:16 pm PDT

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (Courtesy B.C. Government, Flickr)

Most of the new cases in the past day were in the Fraser Health region

Province reports 182 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants of concern

Vaccination appointments can now be booked for Indigenous people 65 and up, other seniors 90 and up

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There have been 550 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia. Two additional deaths in the last day brings the province’s total to 1,393.

There are now 249 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including 68 who are in the ICU.

Most of the new cases in the past day (319) were in the Fraser Health region. Vancouver Coastal Health recorded 133 cases and Interior Health reported 36, while there were 52 in Northern Health and seven in the Island Health region.

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The province is also reporting 182 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants of concern, for a total of 576.

The vast majority of the total variant cases (530) are the B.1.1.7 strain, first identified in the U.K. There have also been 33 cases of the B.1.351 strain, first discovered in South Africa, and 14 of the P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil.

“There has been one new health-care facility outbreak at Fleetwood Place (Fraser Health). The outbreaks at Fleetwood Villa and Glacier View Lodge are now over,” reads a joint statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“Today marks a sombre milestone: one year since the first person in British Columbia died as a result of COVID-19. Today, we pause and remember everyone who has died from this virus and offer our condolences to those who have lost their loved ones,” it adds.

The province says 343,381 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 86,938 second doses.

Related article: B.C. health minister points finger at Telus for COVID-19 vaccine booking failures

Vaccine appointment bookings are now open for people over 90 and Indigenous people over 65. Monday was the first day of vaccine appointment bookings, with many people — mainly in Vancouver Coast Health — left frustrated, hearing busy signals or having their calls drop off.

Another 12, 346 vaccine bookings were made across B.C. Tuesday — more than 3,100 of those in Vancouver Coastal Health.

For two days in a row Fraser Health is leading the pack when it comes to making appointments. The health authority signed up more than 3,500 people there, which’s on top of the 8,722 appointments set up Monday.

On Tuesday, Dix said the buck stops with him, but pointed the finger at Telus for the failures.

Dix says the company promised it was ready to go, even as late as 9 p.m. on Sunday, the evening before the first day of phone bookings.

“They said they would deliver the services necessary [Monday] and through this week and through the coming weeks. They did not meet their contractual obligation,” he said.

Telus issued a statement, apologizing and vowing to “do better.”

-With files from Liza Yuzda