What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Feb. 26

·3 min read
A customers leaves a Canadian Bank of Commerce (CIBC) bank in Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.  (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
A customers leaves a Canadian Bank of Commerce (CIBC) bank in Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

THE LATEST:

  • Health Canada has approved a third COVID-19 vaccine.

  • B.C. recorded 589 new cases and seven more deaths on Friday.

  • As of Friday, there are 4,665 active cases in the province.

  • A total of 232 people are in hospital, including 63 in intensive care.

  • To date, 1,355 people have died of COVID-19 in B.C. out of 79,262 confirmed cases.

  • 252,373 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 73,808 second doses.

  • There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks.

There's no end in sight for the current rules banning all social gatherings in B.C., as officials warn of "potential for rapid growth" in the province's caseload.

On Friday B.C. recorded 589 new cases of COVID-19 and seven more deaths.

The update, provided in a written statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, said there are 4,665 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of those, 232 people are in hospital, including 63 in intensive care.

To date, 1,355 people have died of COVID-19 in B.C. out of 79,262 confirmed cases. Meanwhile, 252,373 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 73,808 second doses.

No new health-care facility outbreaks were recorded as of Friday.

Potential for rapid growth

In her daily update on Thursday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the seven-day rolling average of new cases is still slowly climbing, more than three months into tight restrictions on daily life meant to bring the second wave of the pandemic under control.

"This means potential for rapid growth if we are not careful," she said.

Despite those concerns, Henry also said that she's confident B.C.'s measures will slow the spread of the disease, especially now that the vaccination program is up and running again.

On Friday morning, Health Canada approved use of the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca. The approval clears the way for millions of more inoculations in Canada.

Canada has so far secured access to 20 million doses of the vaccine.

"Unlike the vaccines that have been available to date, this new, two-dose viral vector vaccine has the benefit of being 'fridge stable,' making it much easier to transport and distribute around the province," said the statement from the province.

"This new vaccine will be integrated into our provincial immunization program as delivery and supply is confirmed in the coming weeks. The additional supply will allow us to look at accelerating immunization of priority populations and essential workers."

Henry said Thursday that there have been 116 cases of COVID-19 variants of concern found in B.C., of which nine cases are active. She said 95 cases were of the variant originally detected in the U.K. and 21 of the variant first detected in South Africa.

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What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 6:30 p.m. PT Thursday, Canada had reported 858,217 cases of COVID-19, with 30,335 cases considered active.

A total of 21,865 people have died.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.

  • Cough.

  • Tiredness.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Loss of taste or smell.

  • Headache.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.

  • Keep at least two metres away from people outside your bubble. Keep your distance from people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.