Record high 47 new COVID-19 cases reported in Island Health

Forty-seven new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Island Health on Thursday, well above the previous high of 34 set last week.

A total of 564 new confirmed cases were reported in the province, along with 15 additional COVID-related deaths. There have been 62,976 cases in B.C. to date and 1,119 deaths linked to the coronavirus.

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According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, there were 212 active cases in the region Thursday, and 14 people were in hospital, including six in critical care. There have been 17 COVID-related deaths.

No new outbreaks were reported, and an outbreak at Hart House — a long-term care home in Victoria — is now considered over, according to officials.

“Despite our COVID-19 curve trending in the right direction, we continue to have new outbreaks, community clusters and high numbers of new cases. COVID-19 continues to spread widely in our communities,” says a joint statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“We need to do everything we can to break the chain of transmission. Right now is the time to do that.”

Today’s scheduled COVID-19 briefing was called off as officials prepare to update the province’s strategy for immunization against the virus.

Instead, Henry and Dix will join a news conference on Friday with Premier John Horgan and Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization rollout.

The four are expected to comment on the next steps in the immunization program that has been complicated by a hiccup in vaccine supply from Pfizer-BioNTech.

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues.

Two doses of the vaccine are needed to ensure immunity from the virus that causes COVID-19, and Dix said Tuesday that B.C. was set to begin delivery of second doses and remains committed to ensuring all those who have had the first shot get a second within 35 days.

Dix and Henry said in a joint statement on Thursday that 104,901 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered, of which 1,680 are second doses.

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