COVID deaths rise to 54 in Northern Health

COVID-19 claimed another life in Northern Health, numbers posted Wednesday by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control are showing.

The count now stands at 54 for the region since the pandemic broke out. In all, 14 more deaths were reported province-wide, with Fraser Health accounting for nine, Interior Health three and Vancouver Coastal Health one.

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For the first time in six days, active cases in Northern Health declined, dropping to 501 from 525 on Tuesday. Hospitalizations stood at 39, down by one, and patients in intensive care held steady at 17.

B.C.'s active case count stood at 4,345, up by 14 from Tuesday. Fraser Health's total was 1,740, up by three, Interior Health's was 1,067, up 12, Vancouver Coastal's was 841, up 23, and Vancouver Island's was 183, down one and active out of Canada patients stood at 13, up one. Nak'albun Elementary School, an independent school on the Nak'azdli Whut'en reserve near Fort St. James was added to Northern Health's exposure list for Jan. 11-14.

In a joint statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix said that 98,125 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

Dix told a news conference on Tuesday that the province was still on track to begin administering second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Wednesday.

After peaking at nearly 780 cases in late November, B.C.'s seven-day moving average for new cases remained on a downward trend as of Wednesday when it stood at 465 cases. Northern Health's rate stood at 46 as of Tuesday, down from a peak of 56 on Friday.

"Our COVID-19 curve is trending in the right direction, and we want to keep that going - to push our curve down, which in turn, will allow us to safely ease restrictions," Dix and Henry said.

"We thank everyone for continuing to do their part to stop the spread in our communities and helping all of us to get to the finish line faster. With each day that we follow the public health measures, our communities and our loved ones are safer. Let's keep going."

- with files from The Canadian Press

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