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B.C. has ‘potential for rapid growth’ in COVID-19 fight

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 2:11 PST, Thu February 25, 2021

B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the COVID-19 rates are increasing, with “potential for rapid growth.”

The seven-day moving average of new cases has come up over the last two weeks, Henry said. And so has the percentage of tests that come back positive, with a 6.7 per cent positivity rate on average across the province. 

“When we have confidence that (rates) are slowing in a sustained way, that is when we will be able to ease restrictions,” Henry said.

She also reported 395 new cases, 12 of which are epidemiologically linked. B.C. has now had 78,673 cases since the pandemic began.

Of the new cases, 86 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 207 in the Fraser Health region, 37 in the Island Health region, 24 in the Interior Health region and 41 in the Northern Health region.

There are now 4,489 active cases and 228 people in hospital with the virus, 62 of whom are in critical care. Ten people died in the last 24 hours, a higher number than in recent days.

One new healthcare outbreak was declared at a retirement community in Maple Ridge, and the outbreak at Burnaby Hospital was declared over. Active healthcare outbreaks are currently affecting 398 residents and 213 staff.

To date, 239,833 vaccinations have been administered, 68,157 of which are second doses.

There have now been 116 cases of variants of concern—95 of the so-called United Kingdom variant and 21 of the so-called South African variant. The two cases of the variant first found in Nigeria are considered to be under investigation and are not classified as a variant of concern at this time. 

Of the variant cases, 71 are in the Fraser Health region, 39 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, four in Island Health and two in Interior Health.

“Across the province we are paying special attention to people who are being infected with these variants so we can better understand the transmission patterns and the impact they are having,” said Henry.

In about a quarter of the variant cases, it’s unclear where the person was infected. Following variant cases that were confirmed to have been found in seven Fraser Health schools, six more people at two of those schools have tested positive—five students and one staff member. It is not yet known whether these new cases are variants of concern.

For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

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