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B.C. recording 840 COVID-19 cases

Last Updated Mar 30, 2021 at 4:58 pm PDT

FILE -- Dr. Bonnie Henry is joined by Dr. Penny Ballem as they arrive to talk about phase two in B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Summary

Another 840 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours in B.C.

There have been no new COVID related deaths

More than 724,000 shots of vaccine have now been administered in the province

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — On the first full day of sweeping new restrictions aimed at bringing COVID-19 case numbers down, the province is recording another 840 new cases.

In a joint statement from health officials, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix, they’re continuing to warn British Columbians of the start of “exponential growth of COVID-19 cases.”

While there have been no new COVID-19 related deaths, 312 people are currently being treated in hospital — with 78 patients in intensive care. Of the new cases, 320 are variants of concern.

“There are 7,062 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 11,164 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases,” the statement reads. ”

There have been 320 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern for a total of 2,553 cases.

“Of the total cases, 313 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 2,134 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 49 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 370 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.”

In total, 90,401 people who tested positive have recovered and 99,035 cases have been recorded in B.C. 1,455 people in the province have died due to the virus.

“We are asking people for your help – particularly over the next three weeks – to push our curve back down again. This means staying small, staying outside and staying with our same group of close contacts,” Henry and Dix say.

“This also means not travelling for leisure or vacation outside of our local communities or regions because the risk for all of us is too great right now.”

On Monday, new restrictions were brought starting Tuesday limiting eateries, religious gatherings, and even the closure of Whistler Blackcomb because of the surge in cases.

Indoor dining will not be allowed at B.C. restaurants, bars, and pubs, with only patios and take-out options permitted. Restrictions will last for at least three weeks.

RELATED: B.C. pauses indoor dining, religious gatherings, closes Whistler as COVID-19 cases rise

Dix and Henry are adding Tuesday that they understand the upcoming religious holidays are important and usually a time people get together with others to celebrate.

However they say, this year “we need to ensure we are celebrating safely.”

“Which means not travelling to other communities and postponing those family dinners until it is safe to be together indoors again. As this pandemic continues, we join faith congregations around the globe in celebrating these important holidays in a different way this year so we will all still be here when we can finally safely come together again,” the statement reads.

So far, 724,193 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,319 of which are second doses.

Vaccine appointment bookings are now open for people 73 or older in all B.C. health authorities, and Indigenous peoples over 18.

And as of Monday, the use of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine has paused for people under 55 because of possible links to rare but serious blood clots.

Starting Wednesday, people aged 55 to 65 in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions will be able to book an appointment at one of more than 150 pharmacies to receive the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine.

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The province has formally extended the provincial state of emergency through the end of the day on April 13.