Heavy snow falls as a man wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks on the Simon Fraser University campus, in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, December 21, 2020. Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning on the first day of winter with up to 5cm of snow expected for Metro Vancouver and up to 20cm for other areas of the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Heavy snow falls as a man wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks on the Simon Fraser University campus, in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, December 21, 2020. Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning on the first day of winter with up to 5cm of snow expected for Metro Vancouver and up to 20cm for other areas of the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. records 41 COVID deaths and 1,667 new cases over the weekend

More than 3,600 people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

There have been 1,667 new cases and 41 COVID-19 deaths over the weekend, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a briefing on Monday (Dec. 21).

By day, there were 652 cases reported Saturday, 486 cases Sunday and 529 cases Monday, with 14 epi-linked cases. The weekend’s deaths bring the total COVID-19 death toll in B.C. to 765.

By region, the weekend’s cases break down to 1,084 in Fraser Health, 283 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 189 in Interior Health, 21 in Island Health and 90 in Northern Health.

There are 9,718 active cases of COVID-19 following the weekend. Currently, there are 341 people in hospital, of whom 80 are in critical care or ICU. There have been a total of 47,057 confirmed cases in B.C. since the pandemic began. There are more than 9,600 people under active public health monitoring. There have been five new outbreaks in health-care facilities, while five others have ended, and two community outbreaks at Coastal GasLink sites. There are a total of 55 health care outbreaks in B.C.

Last week, at least 3,644 people – largely long-term care workers in the Lower Mainland – have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Henry said that vaccine doses have now arrived in all other health regions in B.C.

“Last week was a great kick off for immunizations programs across the province,” she said, noting that more details on who can get the vaccine will come over the next weeks and months.

“The target area is to protect those most at risk, at the start.”

There are currently nine sites across B.C. where the Pfizer vaccine has been delivered, mostly in the Lower Mainland but with several in Island Health, Northern Health and Interior Health. Pfizer has required the vaccine, which must be transported in ultra-cold freezers at negative 80 C, to be given at the same location it is delivered to, making vaccinating long-term care residents difficult.

Henry said she hopes to have all long-term care workers and residents in B.C. vaccinated “well before March.”

READ MORE: ‘Respond with empathy’: B.C. expert breaks down COVID vaccine myths, reasons for hesitancy

Henry said that the coronavirus variant that has been found in the U.K. has not been found in Canada, and noted that the travel ban put in place Sunday night will give health officials here a chance to get to grips with the mutation. She said that so far, it’s believed that the current vaccines will continue to work on the new mutation.

“We are starting to see a levelling of our COVID-19 curve in B.C…. but at a very high level,” she warned. “We continue to see hundreds of people each day with confirmed cases.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

Oliver Town Hall (Town of Oliver Facebook).
Call for local artists to design centennial logo for Oliver

The Town of Oliver will be celebrating 100 years in 2021

Vaseux Lake in winter. (Facebook)
Dogs rescued after falling through ice on Vaseux Lake

Good Samaritans saved the trapped dogs

“My grandma always just said…making people smile is the most important thing,” says Nicholas Kruger. (Chehala Leonard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Entrepreneur Nicholas Kruger nominated as Okanagan community changemaker

With humour and knowledge, Nicholas Kruger says it’s important to give back

Geoff Orr began building his dream home in the hills above Penticton over 14 years ago. The architect used recycled lumber from the old Super-Vale grocery store. (Floating Orb Productions / YouTube)
WATCH: Penticton man shows off dream home made from recycled lumber

A lot of the lumber used was taken from the demolished Super-Valu grocery store

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Crown prosecutors have stayed attempted murder charges against Kelowna’s Jesse Pez. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Man accused in Kelowna Halloween stabbing has attempted murder charge stayed

The Crown only proceeds with charges when evidence provides ‘a substantial likelihood of conviction’

RCMP released this photo on Jan. 27, 2021 of Terrance Jones, 40, a Caucasian man with a closely shaved head, brown eyes, dirty blonde or brown hair, and a thin mustache and beard. The inside of his right arm is covered in tattoos, including one of a face. (Kamloops RCMP photo)
RCMP want public’s help to locate Shuswap man wanted on charge of attempted murder

Sicamous man was arrested previously on Jan. 11 for allegedly breaching conditions of release

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID-19: Two more deaths at Vernon’s Noric House

Total deaths climb to 17 at local long-term care outbreaks

Most Read