Pandemic claims two more lives in northern B.C.

The COVID-19 pandemic claimed two more lives in the Northern Health region over the weekend.

The deaths were two of eight COVID-related deaths reported in B.C. over the weekend. The province's death toll from the pandemic reached 1,335 – including 104 in the north –on Monday, according to data released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

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"As community transmission continues, we all need to continue to use all of the layers of protection, to continue to keep to our households only, and to avoid travel unless it is absolutely necessary," provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement on Monday. "We are all susceptible to contracting the virus and passing it onto others, so each day that we recommit to taking the necessary precautions helps to protect us and gets us closer to where we want to be."

Across the province there were 1,401 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday's update, including 99 in the north. The number of active cases in the Northern Health region grew by seven, to 299 on Monday.

"There are 28 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants of concern in our province, for a total of 101 cases and two cases of variants that are under investigation. Of the total number of cases, four are active and the remaining 97 have now recovered," Henry and Dix said. "Of these confirmed cases, 58 are in Fraser Health, 38 are in Vancouver Coastal Health, four are in Island Heath and three are in the Interior Health regions."

Of those 101 cases, 81 were of the U.K. variant, 31 of the South African variant and two of the Nigerian variant.

The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region increased by nine, to 39 – including 13 in critical care.

Provincially, the number of active cases rose to 4,560, from 4,486 on Friday. There were a total of 223 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in B.C. on Monday, including 66 in critical care.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 77,263 cases of COVID-19 in the province, including 4,351 in the Northern Health region.

A total of 25,784 does of COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the province since Friday's update, bringing the total number of doses distributed to 218,726 – including 55,057 second doses.

Of those doses, only 104 were administered in the Northern Health region, bringing the total number of doses distributed in the region to 8,043 – including 2,083 second doses.

"It is important to know that while these COVID-19 variants of concern have shown to transmit more easily, the measures we take to stop the spread are exactly the same as what we have been doing since the start of the pandemic. This is the case whether at work, at school or at home," Henry and Dix said. "No matter what the variant, COVID-19 can spread before someone has any symptoms of illness. This is what makes breaking the chain of transmission difficult and what makes our individual actions all the more important."

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