B.C. health officials announced 841 new cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths on Wednesday, as the number of patients in hospital with the disease set another record.
In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are 8,009 active cases of the novel coronavirus in B.C.
A total of 515 people are in hospital, with 171 in intensive care — both the highest totals B.C. has seen so far in the pandemic. The overall hospitalization numbers are up 6.6 per cent in the last week, while the number of patients in intensive care has risen by 4.3 per cent.
In the face of those discouraging numbers, Henry and Dix urged British Columbians to stick with public health advice to prevent transmission of the disease.
"We know what we need to do, and it is the small, simple steps that make the biggest difference. Washing our hands, staying home when we are feeling unwell, wearing our masks and giving others space — whether at the grocery store, at the park or playground," they said.
The provincial death toll from the disease is 1,576 out of 127,889 confirmed cases to date.
Public health is actively monitoring 11,657 people across the province who are in self-isolation because of COVID-19 exposure.
Outbreaks at Sunset Manor in Chilliwack and Nanaimo Regional General Hospital are now over. Meanwhile, Interior Health has declared an outbreak at Spring Valley Seniors Community in Kelowna.
So far, 1,705,409 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 89,725 second doses.
Shot at a shot
In B.C., everyone 18 and older can now register for their vaccination, while residents aged 59 and older who have registered to be vaccinated have begun receiving invitations from the province to book their shots.
Henry and Dix said Wednesday that 58-year-olds will be able to book appointments as of midnight.
Fraser Health hosted three drop-in vaccination clinics Tuesday afternoon targeting hot spot communities, including one in Surrey for residents 40 years of age and up, and two AstraZeneca clinics for people over 30, one at the Cloverdale Recreation Centre and the other at the Poirier Forum in Coquitlam.
B.C. is expecting its first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week and the province is also continuing 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.