COVID cases slow down in north after record Thursday

After setting a record for new cases on Thursday, the Northern Health saw its COVID-19 numbers drop on Friday.

According to data reported by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, the Northern Health region had 25 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Friday. 

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The number of active cases in the region dropped from 316 on Thursday to 292 on Friday. However, the number of people hospitalized in the region with COVID-19 increased by two to 30 – including 10 patients in critical care.

No new COVID-related deaths were reported in the north on Friday, leaving the region's death toll from the pandemic at 102.

B.C. deputy provincial health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson said the province had its best day yet in the COVID-19 vaccine campaign, distributing 12,250 vaccine doses. Gustafson said public health officials are looking at data from around the world showing strong COVID-19 protection from a single dose.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control said Friday that preliminary data shows a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine reduces the risk of the virus among long-term care residents and health-care workers by 80 per cent within two to three weeks of receiving the shot.

"What we're trying to do is maximize the protection from the available vaccine to the entire population. The data (is) being looked at very, very carefully," Gustafson said.

A total of 192,942 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province, including 156,019 first doses and 36,923 second doses. In the Northern Health region, 5,904 people have gotten their first dose and 2,035 have gotten their second shot.

"Obviously we'd like more vaccine," Health Minister Adrian Dix said. "The only thing holding back the immunization campaign is supply. (But) by the end of March, it will be about 10 per cent (of the population) – if the federal government is able to acquire the vaccine they said they are."

— with files from The Canadian Press

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