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800 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., five more deaths

Last Updated Mar 25, 2021 at 4:14 pm PDT

FILE - Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (Courtesy Government of B.C.)
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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The daily COVID-19 case count in B.C. continues to creep higher, with 800 new infections confirmed in the past day.

Five more people have died of the illness.

A joint statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix says there has been a “notable spike” in the daily new case count, especially among those between 19 and 39 years of age.

“This tells us some people are taking on more risk for themselves and their loved ones than what is safe right now. We remind everyone that although some outside activities are allowed, we must keep going with our protective layers. Until everyone has been protected with immunization, our protective layers must be the first and last thing we think about – whether at home, work, school or elsewhere.”

There are currently 306 people hospitalized with the virus, 79 of whom are in intensive care.

Of the new COVID-19 cases, 264 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 381 in Fraser Health, 45 in Island Health, 50 in Interior Health, and 58 in Northern Health. Two new cases are people who live outside of Canada.

The province is reporting 191 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern, for a total of 1,772. They include 1,549 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K. There have also been 47 cases of the B.1.351 variant, first identified in South Africa, and 176 of the P.1 variant, which was first found in Brazil.

These figures come as the province announced that restrictions around visitation at long-term care homes will be eased in one week’s time.

As of April 1, residents will be allowed to have up to two adults plus a child visit at the same time. Physical contact between residents and their loved ones will also be allowed again.

There will still be precautions and appropriate PPE, but people will be allowed to spend time together in resident rooms without a staff member there.

The province says “visits must allow for a minimum of 60 minutes.”

For months, only one designated person has been allowed — and only for certain residents.

Related article: COVID-19 vaccinations in B.C.: What you need to know

A new outbreak has been declared at Chilliwack General Hospital.

The province says 610,671 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far, including 87,212 that are second doses.