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B.C. records 1,393 COVID-19-related deaths in year after first such fatality

A man in his 80s at North Vancouver's Lynn Valley Care Centre was the first to die from COVID-19 in Canada.
Dix with Henry - March 2021
Health Minister Adrian Dix stands with provincial health officer Bonnie Henry

With two new COVID-19-related deaths overnight, B.C. has recorded 1,393 such deaths in the first full year after a man in his 80s, who lived at North Vancouver's Lynn Valley Care Centre, became the first COVID-19-related fatality in Canada

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix marked the anniversary with a statement to say that they are pausing to remember everyone who has died from the virus, and offering condolences to those who have lost loved ones.

The pandemic still chugs along with each day bringing what health officials say is too many new cases. Another 550 British Columbians were told in the past day that they have contracted the virus that health officials have warned about since January 2020.

This brings the total number of those infected by the virus in B.C. to 85,119 people – more than 92.5% of whom, or 78,770 individuals, are considered to have recovered because they have tested negative for the virus twice. 

The. number of those actively battling infections rose by 15 overnight to 4,869 people. Health officials are closely monitoring another 8,971 individuals for symptoms because they have had known contact with people who have been identified as carrying the virus. 

The vast majority of infected individuals have been told to self-isolate, although 249 are in hospital, with 68 of those being sick enough to be in intensive care units.

Despite more vaccine supplies having arrived and being on the way, the number of vaccine doses in the past day remains far below where an average daily total needs to be in order to have every eligible British Columbian vaccinated by July, which is what health officials have recently forecasted. 

Health officials in the past day provided 10,054 doses of vaccine to 10,041 new people, with 13 doses going to individuals as a needed second dose. 

In the 53 days since the first dose was administered in the province on December 16, B.C. has provided vaccine to 256,443 people, for an average of almost 4,839 people per day. With four vaccines now approved by Health Canada, health officials have been decreasing the amount of time that they expect it will take to vaccinate more than four million British Columbians. Children, pregnant women and some others are still not eligible to get vaccinated. 

The province yesterday for the first time started allowing members of the general public to book vaccination appointments, as long as they met an age threshold: 90 years old, or 65 years old for those who are Inuit, Metis or otherwise Indigenous. Phone systems crashed, and only Fraser Health offered the option of booking online. 

B.C. has fully vaccinated 86,938 people with two doses of vaccine – most of whom are either staff or residents at seniors' living facilities.

Here is the breakdown of where the 550 newly infected people reside, by health region:
• 133 in Vancouver Coastal Health (24.2%);
• 319 in Fraser Health (58%);
• seven in Island Health (1.3%);
• 36 in Interior Health (6.5%);
• 52 in Northern Health (9.5%); and
• three people who reside outside Canada.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control staff have confirmed 182 new cases of what Henry and Dix call "variants of concern," for a total of 576 such cases. Of those, 113 people are actively battling their infection, while 463 are considered recovered because they have tested negative for the virus twice. 

The total number of COVID-19-variant cases includes 530 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 33 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 13 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant, Henry and Dix said in their statement.

One new outbreak at a seniors' home is at the Fleetwood Place long-term care centre in Surrey. 

Some good news is that two outbreaks at seniors' homes are over: at CareLife Fleetwood Villa in Surrey, and at Glacier View Lodge in Courtenay.

None of the nine active outbreaks at seniors' homes is in the Vancouver Coastal Health region or Island Health regions. 

The five active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Fraser Health are:
• Chartwell Carrington House in Mission;
• Fleetwood Place in Surrey;
• Holmberg House Hospice in Abbotsford;
• Revera Sunwood in Maple Ridge; and
• Shaughnessy Care Centre in Port Coquitlam.

The only outbreak at such a facility in the Northern Health region is at the Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert.

The three active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Interior Health are:
• Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre in Kamloops,
• The Florentine in Merritt; and
• Cottonwoods Care Centre in Kelowna.

There are also eight active COVID-19 outbreaks at B.C. hospitals. They include:
• Chilliwack General Hospital in Chilliwack;
• Dawson Creek and District Hospital in Dawson Creek;
• Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody;
• Kelowna General Hospital in Kelowna;
• Mission Memorial Hospital in Mission;
• Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster;
• Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey; and
• Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver.

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