Health officials note 'encouraging trend' as B.C. records 429 new COVID-19 cases and 8 deaths

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B.C. health officials announced 429 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths on Tuesday.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 294 people, 82 of whom are in intensive care.

They said the latest figures show the number of new cases reported each day is starting to decline.

"We're seeing an encouraging trend in our COVID-19 curve. The efforts you are making, combined with the immunization of our long-term care residents and workers, are making a difference," Henry and Dix said.

"With everyone in B.C. following the restrictions we have in place and always using our layers of protection, we are not only starting to slow the spread in B.C., but are also better positioned to deal with the uncertainties of the new variants of concern."

They added that it is more important than ever to follow public health orders and advice, which means no social gatherings or events and sticking to your local community.

A total of 1,218 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began out of 68,366 confirmed cases.

There are currently 4,542 active cases of coronavirus in the province, with public health monitoring 7,080 people across B.C. who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure. More than 61,129 people who tested positive have recovered.

B.C. recorded one new outbreak in a health-care facility at CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey.

So far, 140,452 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 5,097 second doses.

Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan to produce millions of COVID-19 vaccines at a plant in Montreal beginning this summer, securing a domestic supply of shots as the global market fights with delivery delays from international manufacturers.

The facility will pump out tens of millions of doses of the Novavax vaccine, Trudeau said. The company submitted its vaccine to Health Canada for regulatory approval last Friday.

"This is a major step forward to get vaccines made in Canada, for Canadians ... we need as much domestic capacity for vaccine production as possible," said Trudeau.

Trudeau also said additional vaccines could be produced in Vancouver, but there are no deals with other vaccine makers to use those facilities yet.

Precision NanoSystems in Vancouver, which received a federal grant of $23 million, can produce 240 million doses.