Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

B.C.’s downward trend in daily COVID-19 cases reversed Wednesday, with 1,168 new positive tests and 397 people in hospital.

There are 120 people in intensive care with coronavirus-related conditions, and six additional deaths in the past 24 hours, for a total of 1,521 since the pandemic began more than a year ago. B.C. recorded 1,283 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, 1,036 on Sunday, 970 on Monday and 873 on Tuesday, as infection slowed slightly from last week’s record rate of spread.

Health Minister Adrian Dix told reporters Wednesday the decision on whether to extend B.C.’s “circuit breaker” restrictions on indoor dining and fitness beyond next week will be announced Thursday. He noted that the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association expects them to be extended into May, and other restrictions are being considered as long as B.C.’s case count and hospitalization remain high.

RELATED: Restaurants warned indoor dining ban to extend into May

RELATED: Health Canada releases guidelines to avoid infection at home

Daily case counts have declined this week after a record late last week, and Dix said the test positivity rate is also declining. But hospitalization rates lag behind infection rates, and he expects that to continue rising in the days ahead.

Dix said the province’s program for immunizing people aged 55 to 65 with AstraZeneca vaccine at pharmacies is going “full steam ahead,” with more than 104,000 people having received a first dose so far and more than 100 pharmacies across the province offering it. He expects to have a decision this week from Health Canada authorities on its use for younger people after analysis of a small handful of blood clot cases world-wide, one of which has been reported in Canada.

Registration is now open for Pfizer and Moderna vaccination for people aged 50 and up, with booking invitations currently being sent out to registered people aged 64 and older.


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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