Record-setting number of one-day COVID-19 cases as B.C. officials warn against travel

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VICTORIA — Health officials are urging British Columbia residents not to travel outside their community as the province set back-to-back records for the number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in a single day.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say in a joint statement Saturday that B.C. had 1,072 infections in the last 24 hours, surpassing the previous highest daily total of 1,018 cases a day earlier.

Henry and Dix say an easy-to-use provincial booking system for vaccinations is expected to be available starting next week as B.C. runs two parallel streams to ramp up inoculation.

Appointments are currently being booked for people aged 72 and older, Indigenous people 18 and over as well as those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is available to people between the ages of 55 and 65 if they live on the Lower Mainland, the area of the province with the highest transmission, and more communities are expected to be added by the end of next week.

Henry and Dix say people should stay in their own community or health authority while vacationing, and limit their travel to day trips or overnight stays in a local campground or hotel.

"We have seen too many cases of people travelling outside their health authority region and not using their layers of protection, leading to outbreaks and clusters in their home community," they said.

"These outbreaks are avoidable, and right now we must stay within our local region for the safety of your community and for others."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2021.

The Canadian Press