The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed two more lives in the Northern Health region.
In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced two new COVID-related deaths in the province. Both were in the Northern Health region, according to data released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, bringing the region's death toll to 132. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,515 COVID-related deaths in the province.
"Today, we are reporting 873 new cases, for a total of 113,702 cases in British Columbia. Due to a delay in the Public Health Reporting Data Warehouse (PHRDW) lab system, these numbers are preliminary and may be adjusted once confirmed with PHRDW data," Henry and Dix said. "Since we last reported, we have had 218 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 512 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 43 in the Island Health region, 72 in the Interior Health region, 28 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada."
As of Tuesday there were 9,756 active cases in the province, including 300 in the Northern Health region. The number of active cases in the north was down by 53, while the number of people hospitalized rose by one to 28 – including 12 in intensive care.
"There are currently 5,221 confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in our province," Henry and Dix said. "Of the total cases, 258 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 3,627 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 65 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 1,529 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant."
There have been a total of 19 cases of COVID-19 variants of concern in the Northern Health region, according to the B.C. CDC – 17 of the U.K. variant, and one each of the South African and Brazilian variants.
As of Tuesday, a total of 57.919 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the north, including 55,085 first doses and 2,834 second doses.
Northern Health reported COVID-19 exposures at two local schools on April 6, Prince George Secondary School and Sacred Heart Elementary School.
Prince George residents 55 years old and older can register to get a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, as of Monday.
Northern Health opened registration to those born in 1966 or earlier on Monday, and registration is available to all Indigenous adults. To register, go online to getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca anytime, or call 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.
In addition to the Northern Health vaccination campaign, using the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the AstraZeneca vaccine was available for those aged 55 to 65 at eight local pharmacies as of Monday. For pharmacy locations and information on how to book an appointment, go online to www.bcpharmacy.ca/resource-centre/covid-19/vaccination-locations.
"We are adapting our vaccine delivery in step with our supply and will continue to do that moving forward. If needed, we will pivot, pause or shift our delivery to maximize protection to as many people as possible," Henry and Dix said. "Right now, the parallel worker program is focused on transmission hot – high-risk workplaces in our highest-risk communities. We are systematically working through the immunization of our first responders, school staff and child care workers in these communities, and in the coming weeks will expand into more communities as vaccine supplies allow."