Island Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases — B.C. identifies first case of South African variant

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There are 189 active cases of COVID-19 in the Island Health region, including 16 reported over the last 24 hours. That number includes 124 in the central island region, a decrease of six since yesterday, along with 38 in the south and 27 in the north. One additional death was reported in the health region, bringing the total to 15.

There were 1,102 COVID-19 tests done in the Island Health region in the past 24 hours.

There are twelve people hospitalized with the virus and two in ICU in the Island Health region, according to the B.C. government’s COVID-19 dashboard.

B.C. recorded 536 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths over the past 24 hours. There are 4,624 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, down 186 since yesterday. That number includes 362 people in hospital and 74 in critical care. The province’s seven day rolling average for new cases is 513.

B.C. has vaccinated 69,746 people so far, according to Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. The province added Dr. Penny Ballem to its immunization team to help support scaling up the vaccine program.

“As our supply increases and immunization programs expand to more and more people in the province, this process will become more complex and more challenging for all of us,” said Henry.

The provincial health authority identified B.C.’s first case of the reportedly more contagious South African variant of COVID-19 this week. The person has not travelled recently or been in contact with people who have, according to Henry.

“It is of course concerning that we don’t know where this arose, however at the moment it does not appear to have spread in the community beyond the person we’ve identified,” she said.

There are 7,303 people under active public health monitoring as a result of exposure to the virus.

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