Another 43 COVID-19 cases in Island Health, 873 in B.C.

The province reported 873 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday — the lowest daily tally in almost two weeks, down from a record 1,293 cases last Thursday.

Forty-three of the new cases were in the Island Health region. The Fraser Health region had the most, with 512, while Northern Health had the fewest, with 28.

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There are 9,756 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with another 16,290 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to confirmed cases.

Of the active cases, 377 individuals are in hospital, including 116 in intensive care. The overall number of people in intensive or critical care is down slightly from a record high of 121 on Monday.

The latest count on variants of concern to date is 5,221, of which 258 are active.

Of the total cases of variants to date, 3,627 cases are B.1.1.7 or U.K. variant, 65 cases are B.1.351 or South Africa variant, and 1,529 cases are identified as P.1 or the Brazil variant.

There are two new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,515 in the province since the pandemic began.

The province has administered 1,148,993 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines, 87,785 of which are second doses. More shipments of all three vaccines are expected this week.

Non-Indigenous people 65 and older, Indigenous people 18 and over, and individuals who have received a letter confirming they are clinically extremely vulnerable are eligible to receive their vaccine. Those 55 and older can register. The age-based vaccine stream administers Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

People 55 to 65 can opt to be vaccinated quicker by booking appointments for the AstraZeneca vaccine at pharmacies throughout the province.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said vaccine delivery is being adapted in step with the supply received from the federal government.

“If needed, we will pivot, pause or shift our delivery to maximize protection to as many people as possible,” they said in a joint statement.

In addition to the age-based program, the province is vaccinating workers in high-risk workplaces and communities.

“We are systematically working through the immunization of our first responders, school staff and child care workers in these communities, and in the coming weeks will expand into more communities as vaccine supplies allow,” the statement said.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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