B.C. records lowest one-day total of new COVID-19 infections in more than five weeks

Four more COVID-19 deaths raises B.C.'s death toll to 1,581.

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry | B.C. government

B.C. health officials detected 740 new COVID-19 infections in the past day, which is the lowest total since March 24.

That comparatively low total was a good way to end April, which was a month that saw the province hit multiple all-time highs for the number of cases in a 24-hour period, including 1,293 cases detected on April 8. 

B.C. has now identified 129,482 cases of the disease that has spawned a global pandemic. Of those, the province considers more than 92.5%, or 119,785 individuals to have recovered.

Other good news includes that the number of those actively battling infections has been on the decline. There are now 7,886 people with infections that have not yet been declared over. That is the lowest total since April 1.

Challenges remain, as 511 people are now fighting for their lives in B.C. hospitals with COVID-19 – four shy of the record 515 people in hospital two days ago. There are 174 people whose illnesses are severe enough for them to be in intensive care units. 

Four more people have died from the disease in the past day, raising the province's death toll to 1,581.

B.C.'s vaccination campaign is expected to accelerate, despite hiccups.

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said yesterday that B.C. will get its first doses of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine next week.

However, Health Canada today said it is pausing distribution of that vaccine because the doses that it has received were partially processed at a Baltimore plant that ruined 15 million doses at the beginning of April, and was forced to close during a United States Food and Drug Administration investigation.

B.C. received 138,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this week. The size of next week's shipment is set to double, and be 276,000 doses each week through the end of May. As such, the province is expected to get more than one million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of May, Henry said. 

The province also expects to get another shipment of the Moderna vaccine in mid-May. Its supply of AstraZeneca vaccine is running low, and it is unclear when it will get more. 

Daily vaccinations in B.C. remain far off of the province's all-time high of 46,227 doses to 46,157 people, with 70 second doses, on April 16.

Health officials provided 37,347 doses of vaccine to 37,001 people in the past 24 hours, with 346 people getting needed second doses. 

In total, since officials provided B.C.'s first vaccine dose on December 16, there have been 1,786,722 doses provided to 1,696,080 people, with 90,642 others getting needed second doses. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that this total represents more than 40% of eligible British Columbians. 

No new data was provided about variants of concern. 

There are eight active COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term living, or seniors' homes in B.C. They are:
• Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert;
• Cottonwoods Care Centre in Kelowna.
• Craigdarroch Care Home in Victoria.
• Dufferin Care Centre in Coquitlam; 
• Mount St. Mary in Victoria; 
• Orchard Haven in Keremeos;
• Sandalwood Retirement Resort in Kelowna; and
• Spring Valley Care Centre in Kelowna.

One new outbreak was declared yesterday at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver. 

That means there are now five hospitals in B.C. that have active COVID-19 outbreaks. They are:
• Abbotsford Regional Hospital;
• Dawson Creek and District Hospital;
• Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver;
• Prince Rupert Regional Hospital; and
• Surrey Memorial Hospital.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom