The province reported 1,785 new COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths over the weekend.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, said she is concerned about the number of variant of concern (VOC) cases in the Lower Mainland, which is where the majority of the province’s cases are.
“This is a concern because as we know, that is where the highest population density is and this type of increase can quickly get out of control,” she said. “And that is something we don’t want when we’re at this phase of the pandemic.”
Henry said another 166 VOC cases were identified since Friday, bringing the total number to 1,366, though only 237 are considered active. Most of B.C.’s variant cases are the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, according to Henry.
“We know that the B.1.1.7 variant is more transmissible. It’s much easier to spread it with even minimal contact in indoor settings,” she said, adding workplaces and homes were the two places most responsible for people catching the virus.
So far VOC cases have not been tied to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths, Henry added. There are currently 303 people hospitalized with the virus in B.C., including 80 in critical care. Thirteen people are hospitalized in Island Health, including three in ICU.
The province has administered one of the three COVID-19 vaccines to 539,408 people — about 10.5 per cent of the population, according to Adrian Dix, minister of health.
Island Health reported 78 new COVID-19 cases and zero deaths over the weekend, bringing the total to 235 active cases. There are 110 in the central island region, 102 in the south and 23 in the north. Island Health completed 744 COVID-19 tests in the past 24 hours.
Across B.C., 1,668 more people have recovered from the virus, bringing the total to 85,746. There are 9,330 people under active public health monitoring.