Public health alert issued for Revelstoke region, as B.C. announces 428 new cases of COVID-19, 8 more deaths

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Eight more people have died of COVID-19 in B.C., as health officials confirmed 428 new cases on Tuesday.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Minister Dr. Bonnie Henry provided the numbers in a statement, which saw the total number of active cases in the province jump to 6,472.

The statement said a public health alert has been issued for the Revelstoke region, where community transmission and new cases of COVID-19 have increased substantially in recent days.

"The alert is a caution for all of us to continue to follow public health guidelines and restrictions," the statement read in part.

Interior Health said in a news release Tuesday that 29 new cases had been identified in the last two weeks, and that the cumulative total in the area is now "above 85 cases'' since the start of the pandemic, up from 50 in early December. The weekly case numbers in Revelstoke are higher than many other areas of B.C. on a per capita basis, and because there is no specific source for the new cases, the authority says it's important that everyone follow public health rules and get tested at the first sign of symptoms.

Hospitalizations steady

Across B.C., there are currently 367 people in hospital, 77 of whom are in intensive care.

A total of 954 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.More than 45,999 people who tested positive have recovered.

The statement from the province confirmed one new health-care facility outbreak at St. Paul's Hospital.

A unknown number of patients in the hospital's heart care centre have tested positive for COVID-19, and officials have closed it to any new admissions or transfers for the time being, according to a Vancouver Coastal Health statement earlier on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, 28,209 people in B.C. have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

On Monday, the province provided additional details of B.C.'s immunization program. As of Jan. 4, B.C. had received 54,625 doses of vaccine.

Henry and Dix said the province is on track to hit its target of immunizing 550,000 people in high priority groups by March.

The province will reveal further details of how it plans to immunize the general public later in January.

The statement said that while cases have levelled off since increased social restrictions were implemented, the virus continues to spread in every health region of B.C.

"We were able to slow the increase of new cases in mid-December and we want to continue that trend, but the number of new cases and deaths across the province remains high," it said.

"The more people we see, the higher our risks are, which is why keeping our groups small and using our layers of protection is so important right now."

On Tuesday, B.C. also extended a provincial state of emergency that has been in place since March 18, 2020 but needs to be regularly renewed.