B.C.'s recent success in wrestling down the number of new COVID-19 infections may be in jeopardy given that the province detected 617 new cases in a 24-hour period that ended February 18.
The province did not break down the new cases to say how many are actually new variants of the virus, which are said to be more infectious than the main COVID-19 virus, and potentially more deadly.
The last time B.C. recorded as many COVID-19 infections in a day was on January 8, when there also 617 new infections. The last time that there were more new infections detected than there were today, was on January 7, when there were 761 new cases.
In total, B.C. has now detected 75,327 cases of COVID-19 since the first case was identified on January 28, 2020. Of those, 69,602, or about 92.4%, are deemed to be recovered because they have tested negative for the virus twice.
Some good news is that the number of serious cases and deaths continues to trend lower.
There are now 224 people in B.C. hospitalized with COVID-19. That number has not been lower since November 19 – 13 weeks ago.
Of those hospitalized with COVID-19, 60 are in intensive care wards. That is the lowest number of such patients in ICU since November 23.
Another four COVID-19 patients died overnight, raising the province's death toll from the virus to 1,321.
The number of people actively battling COVID-19 infections in B.C. rose by 202 overnight, to 4,338 – the highest number in nearly two weeks.
Immunizations continue to be scarce, with 4,676 arms being jabbed in the past 24 hours. Of those, 3,922 people were receiving their required second dose. In total, 180,691 doses have been administered to 150,739 people since the first shot was dispensed on December 16. Of those, 29,952 individuals have had two doses.
Here is the breakdown of where the 617 new cases are located:
• 146 in Vancouver Coastal Health (23.7%);
• 342 in Fraser Health (55.4%);
• 19 in Island Health (4.2%);
• 17 in Interior Health (2.8%);
• 92 in Northern Health (14.9%); and
• one in a person resides outside Canada.
A new community outbreak of COVID-19 is at Simon Fraser University Childcare Centre, according to provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
The trend during the past month of fewer seniors' homes with COVID-19 may be taking a breather, as there was one new seniors' home outbreak detected: at Surrey's Fleetwood Villa.
None of the 13 active outbreaks at B.C. seniors' care homes, assisted-living facilities and retirement residences is in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
The six active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Fraser Health are:
• CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey;
• Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Moody;
• Fleetwood Villa;
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
• Royal City Manor in New Westminster; and
• Shaughnessy Care Centre in Port Coquitlam.
Two outbreaks at seniors' homes in Nanaimo – Eden Gardens and Wexford Creek – are the only ones in the Island Health region.
The outbreak at the Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert is the only active outbreak in Northern Health.
The four active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Interior Health are at:
• Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre in Kamloops;
• Carrington Place Retirement Residence in Vernon;
• Creekside Landing in Vernon;
• Noric House in Vernon.
In addition to those outbreaks, there remain six outbreaks at B.C. hospitals. The outbreak at Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake has been declared over, but it has been replaced by a new outbreak at Mission Memorial Hospital in Mission.
The list of B.C. hospitals with active COVID-19 outbreaks now includes:
• Abbotsford Regional Hospital in Abbotsford;
• Burnaby General Hospital in Burnaby;
• Dawson Creek and District Hospital in Dawson Creek;
• Mission Memorial Hospital in MIssion;
• Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops; and
• St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver.
Henry and Dix released a joint statement saying: "We all know what we need to do," referring to social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands regularly and following public health orders.
"Until we have widespread vaccine availability, these small steps make a big difference in helping to keep all of us safe."