Victoria, BC (WNews) -New cases of COVID–19 continue to climb in British Columbia, where the province announced 800 new cases on Thursday along with five more deaths.
It’s the highest single-day total since Dec. 2, and pushed the seven-day rolling average for new cases to 674.
In a written statement, health officials said 264 of the new cases were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 381 were in the Fraser Health region, 45 were in the Island Health region, 50 were in the Interior Health region and 58 were in the Northern Health region.
B.C. identified another 191 new cases of COVID-19 variants of concern, for a total of 1,772. Two-hundred and fifteen of those cases remained active.
Since last Thursday, the total number of cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K., have grown by 50 per cent, while the number of cases of the P.1 variant first identified in Brazil have more than tripled.
“The bottom line with the variance is they are replacing and taking over the other virus strains that we have seen over the last little while,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said at a briefing earlier in the day.
The U.K. variant still accounts for the vast majority of B.C.’s variant cases, and Henry said it is both more contagious, and that some research now suggested it could cause increased severity of illness in younger people.
B.C. has recorded a total of 94,769 cases since the pandemic began, while 1,446 people have died.
Earlier Thursday, the province announced it was easing restrictions on visitation to long-term care and assisted-living facilities, now that most residents, staff and essential visitors have been vaccinated against the virus.
Officials has also increased the fines for these who violates the social gatherings rules including attending parties from $230 to $575.
“Effective immediately,” the ministry of public safety said, the fine for promoting or attending a non-compliant gathering is now $575.
Previously, those ticketed for breaking the rule around social gatherings in B.C. were fined just $230.
“Over the last several months, it’s become clear that for some, the risk of a $230 violation ticket isn’t enough to deter attendance at events that violate the (provincial health officer’s) order,” Minister Mike Farnworth said in a statement.
The province also announced that it would permit limited indoor, in-person religious gatherings on select days between March 28 and April 13 to accommodate upcoming major religious holidays.
On new indoor religious provisions, Dr. Henry says the variance will allow indoor services on four days between the end of March and end of May. This includes Easter, Passover, Ramadan and Vaisakhi. Max will be 10% of allowing space or 50 people, whatever is less.
No mention of limits on services times.
22470 (+264) cases to date in the Vancouver Coastal Health region
55173 (+381) in the Fraser Health region
8215 (+50) in the Interior Health region
3041 (+45) in the Island Health region
5699 (+58) in the Northern Health region
171 (+2) of people who reside outside of Canada
9,964 (+268) people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases
5,856 (+283) active cases
87,351 (+494) recovered
610,671 (+28,037) vaccine doses administered; 87,212 (+32) of which are second doses