North sees 45 new COVID-19 cases

Henry, Dix welcome Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine approval

The Northern Health region reported 45 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday.

In a joint statement on Friday afternoon, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there were 589 new cases reported across B.C.

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"There are 4,665 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 8,040 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases," Henry and Dix said. "Of the active cases, 232 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 63 of whom are in intensive care. There have been seven new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,355 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost loved ones to COVID-19."

Information about active cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the Northern Health region wasn’t provided.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 79,262 cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, including 4,523 in the Northern Health region.

Henry and Dix welcomed the news that Health Canada has approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use in the country.

"This is very encouraging news for everyone in British Columbia," Henry and Dix said. "Unlike the vaccines that have been available to date, this new, two-dose viral vector vaccine has the benefit of being 'fridge stable,' making it much easier to transport and distribute around the province. This new vaccine will be integrated into our provincial immunization program as delivery and supply is confirmed in the coming weeks. The additional supply will allow us to look at accelerating immunization of priority populations and essential workers."

Provincial officials are scheduled to released additional information on Monday about the province's mass-vaccination campaign for the general public.

"This is another exciting and encouraging step forward for all of us," Henry and Dix said. "It means we have one more layer of protection available to us and are one step closer to getting through this pandemic."

As of Thursday, 252,373 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the province, including 8,536 in the Northern Health region. This story will be updated with the latest information from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control once it becomes available.

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