VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The trend continues upwards for B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases. The province is reporting 908 new infections on Friday.
That’s a significant increase compared to 800 new cases recorded on Thursday. On Wednesday, 682 cases were reported.
Friday’s numbers came the day after the province announced an easing of restrictions on visitation at long-term care homes, and a temporary easing of restrictions for religious gatherings.
The province says there are 6,245 active COVID-19 cases in the province, including 294 people who are hospitalized. Eighty-one people are in intensive care.
BC #covid19 Mar 26
908 new- total 95677
Variant 140 new,258 active,1912 total
+27185 doses#bcpoli @news1130
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) March 26, 2021
There are also 140 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern, for a total of 1,912. The most common variant continues to be B.1.1.7, first identified in the United Kingdom, with 1,666 cases. There have been 47 confirmed cases of B.1.351 variant, first discovered in South Africa, and 199 cases of the P.1 variant, first discovered in Brazil.
“While we are in a different stage of our COVID-19 pandemic than where we have been before – safe and effective vaccines that are increasing the protection for all of us – we are facing a sustained increase in clusters of new cases and outbreaks, including increasing cases caused by variants of concern. This is particularly concerning in the Lower Mainland areas,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint statement.
Three more people have died of COVID-19, for a total of 1,449.
The Big White ski resort near Kelowna has stopped recording new cases of COVID-19 and Interior Health is reporting a “cluster” declared in mid-December has been contained.
All 237 people who tested positive since November have recovered — including 150 who live or work on the mountain.
B.C. is temporarily easing restrictions for religious gatherings. Between March 28 and May 13, indoor services will be allowed on four days, with a maximum capacity of 50 people, or 10 per cent of the worship space capacity (whatever is less).
As of April 1, residents of long-term care homes will be allowed to have up to two adults plus a child visit at the same time. Hugs between residents and their loved ones will also happen again, as physical contact will be allowed.
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.”
The provincial health order allows British Columbians to gather in a group of up to 10 people — the same people — outdoors.
There have now been 637,856 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in B.C., including 87,233 that are second doses.
Related article: COVID-19 vaccinations in B.C.: What you need to know
Indigenous people 55 and older and other British Columbians 74 and older can now register for vaccination. Starting Monday, people deemed “clinically extremely vulnerable” who have a letter identifying them as such can also book their vaccination.
How do I book?
Currently, each health authority has a different phone number for booking appointments. Phone lines will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
You are strongly advised not to call ahead of your age group, as you will not be allowed to book yet.
Right now, only people who live in the Fraser Health Authority have the option to book online.
The province says a B.C.-wide online booking system will be up and running on April 6. On that same day, the below phone numbers will shut down, and British Columbians who wish to call in to book will instead be directed to a central line reserve their spot.
Vancouver Coastal Health: 1-877-587-5767
Fraser Health: 1-855-755-2455 or book online
Interior Health: 1-877-740-7747
Island Health: 1-833-348-4787
Northern Health: 1-844-255-7555
If you have health-related questions, you should call 8-1-1.
If you have any questions about non-health related information and services related to COVID-19, you should call 1-888-COVID19 (line open 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
What information do I need when booking my appointment?
When you call, you will be asked for:
- First and last name
- Date of birth
- Postal code
- Personal Health Number (Note: If you do not have one, you can still receive the vaccine)
- A contact email address or phone number
You will NOT be asked for your SIN, driver’s licence number, or banking/credit card details.
An agent will arrange and confirm an appointment time and clinic location (see a full list), and a confirmation message will be sent by email or text.
-With files from Liza Yuzda and Marcella Bernardo