B.C.'s top doctor says 'start 2021 in the right space' by not gathering to celebrate

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VICTORIA — British Columbia's provincial health officer is urging people to start 2021 by following COVID-19 precautions to prevent a surge in cases similar to those in other jurisdictions.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says persistence under adversity during 2020 has helped save lives but some sacrifices must continue before more people can be vaccinated.

She says 17,510 people in every region of the province have been immunized, mostly with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Ten rural and isolated First Nations communities were the first in B.C. to receive the recently approved Moderna vaccine.

British Columbia has recorded 683 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more people have died, for a total of 901 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.

The number of cases had dipped to below 500 several days in a row, and Henry says that's an indication of how infections can quickly climb as people start to ease off on restrictions.

Fifty-two long-term care homes and nine hospitals currently have outbreaks of COVID-19, and over 1,400 residents and 700 staff have been infected.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2020.

The Canadian Press