B.C. records 740 new cases of COVID-19 and 4 more deaths, as 3rd wave shows signs of slowing

·3 min read
People are pictured in line at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Cloverdale Rec Centre in Cloverdale on Thursday, British Columbia on Thursday, April 29, 2021.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
People are pictured in line at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Cloverdale Rec Centre in Cloverdale on Thursday, British Columbia on Thursday, April 29, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

B.C. health officials announced 740 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths on Friday.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are 7,886 active cases of the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A total of 511 people are in hospital, 174 of whom are in intensive care.

The latest numbers bring the seven-day rolling average of new cases to its lowest level since March 29, the day provincial health officials announced the latest round of restrictions meant to bring the third wave of the pandemic under control.

Those restrictions include a ban on indoor dining in restaurants and pubs and an end to all indoor group fitness activities.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by five per cent from last Friday, when 486 people were in hospital with the disease.

The number of patients in intensive care is up by about nine per cent from 160 a week ago.

"This weekend, remember to follow the non-essential travel restrictions as we all continue to do our part to keep our loved ones and communities safe," Henry and Dix said.

So far, 1,786,722 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 90,642 second doses, meaning nearly 40 per cent of eligible British Columbians have now received a first dose.

The provincial death toll from the disease is 1,581 out of 129,482 confirmed cases to date.

Public health is actively monitoring 11,727 people across the province who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure.

Late Thursday, Vancouver Coastal Health announced that an outbreak has been declared in acute and sub-acute units on the fourth floor of Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.

Sixteen patients and one staff member tested positive for the virus. The units have been closed to new admissions and transfers.

Checkpoints for non-essential travel

B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has announced further details on how police road checks will be used to enforce a travel ban aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 across the province.

Police can now set up periodic road checks at key travel points on highway corridors connecting regional zones, but they would not be used within zones.

Violators could be issued $575 fines.

Farnworth said police can ask the driver of a vehicle the reason for their travel, along with their name, address, licence and secondary identification, if the driver has recently moved.

Documentation proving the reason for travel will not be required, and vehicle passengers will not be asked for documentation.

Vaccination appointments

In B.C., everyone 18 and older can now register for their vaccination. As of midnight Thursday, anyone born in 1965 or earlier is able to book an appointment and on Sunday, anyone born in 1967 or earlier will be eligible to make their appointment.

The age limits will drop to 1969 on May 4 and then to 1971 on May 6.

Also on Friday, Fraser Health announced that it will be providing transportation to vaccine appointments for seniors, people with disabilities and other who need assistance getting around.

Information about eligibility and how to book is available on the health authority's website.

B.C. is expecting its first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week and the province continues to vaccinate people between the ages of 40 and 65 with the AstraZeneca vaccine in local pharmacies throughout the province and at some special clinics.

There are three ways to register for vaccinations:

  • By phone through the provincial phone line at 1-833-838-2323.

  • In person at any Service B.C. location.

Registering for a vaccine is not the same as booking the appointment to get your shot.

Once registered, users receive a confirmation code and wait for an email, text or call telling them they are eligible and can then book their vaccine appointment using that code.