Central Vancouver Island has 156 active cases of COVID-19 — 12 more deaths in B.C.

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Island Health reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 today — there are now 267 active cases in the health region. Of these, 156 are in central Vancouver Island, 41 are in the north and 67 are in the south, according to Island Health.

Across the province there were 12 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, along with 834 new cases of the virus. There are now 8,941 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., according to Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. Of these cases, 337 are hospitalized — 79 in critical care.

There were three new outbreaks in healthcare facilities confirmed today — two of these are on Vancouver Island. There is an outbreak at West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni and Saanich Peninsula Hospital, according to Island Health.

The United Kingdom approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine today and Henry said Canada should not be far behind She said the province will be ready to immunize high priority populations as soon as it is approved on the federal level and available. She expressed her confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

“We hope and expect that vaccines will be ready in the next few weeks, but this virus continues to move and move quickly between us and it takes lives,” she said. “Another 12 families have been affected today and we are continuing to see unchecked transmission in many places, despite our efforts of public health teams.”

It is uncertain whether current regulations, which are set to end on Monday, will be extended. Henry said she and her team will wait to make a final decision.

The province added another 161 contact tracers this week, according to Adrian Dix, minister of health. There are currently 10,201 people under public health monitoring due to a known exposure to the virus.

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