Health officials on Tuesday announced 519 new cases of COVID-19, the same day they announced 44 cases of the omicron variant had been identified in British Columbia
No additional deaths were reported.
In a written statement, the provincial government said there are currently 3,171 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in British Columbia.
A total of 191 people are hospitalized, including 81 in intensive care.
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind peaks and declines in new cases, are down 21% from last Tuesday, when 242 people were hospitalized for the disease and around 49% from there a month ago, when 376 people were hospitalized.
The number of intensive care patients is down by one case from 82 a week ago and 30% from last month, when 116 people were in intensive care.
The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 2,386 lives lost out of 223,661 cases confirmed to date.
The regional distribution of new cases is as follows:
- 145 new cases in Interior Health, which has 612 active cases in total.
- 123 new cases at Island Health, which has a total of 804 active cases.
- 110 new cases at Fraser Health, which has a total of 872 active cases.
- 106 new cases at Vancouver Coastal Health, which has 669 total active cases.
- 34 new cases at Northern Health, which has 213 active cases in total.
- There is one new case among people residing outside of Canada, a group that has one active case in total.
There are a total of two active outbreaks in assisted living and long-term and short-term care.
The outbreak at Ridge Meadows Hospital was declared over by Fraser Health on Tuesday afternoon.
As of Tuesday, 91.5% of those 12 and over in British Columbia received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 88.6% a second dose and 13% a third dose.
Including ages five and over, 86.6% of people in British Columbia had received a first injection of a COVID-19 vaccine and 82.4% a second dose.
The BC Center for Disease Control says unvaccinated British Columbians are 56 times more likely to end up in intensive care due to COVID-19 than people who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
So far, nine million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 4.1 million second doses.
There are at least 44 cases of the omicron variant of concern in British Columbia, according to health officials, and cases have been found in all five health authorities, including:
- 24 cases at Fraser Health.
- 11 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health.
- Five cases at Island Health.
- Three cases in Internal Health.
- A case at Northern Health.
The majority of omicron cases at Island Health are linked to an outbreak among University of Victoria students. As of Monday, four cases of omicron had been linked to this cluster.
Twenty of the cases involve people who had recently traveled to other countries such as Egypt, Germany, Iran, Portugal, Nigeria, South Africa and the United States.
Seven of the cases identified involved unvaccinated people.
No one who tested positive for the omicron variant has been hospitalized.
Canadian leaders meet
The prime minister and prime ministers of Canada were scheduled to meet on Tuesday evening to discuss omicron.
Sources told CBC News that high-profile conversations took place in Ottawa on Tuesday regarding possible travel restrictions to reduce the spread of the new variant.
A summary of a call between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC Premier Horgan said the two had spoken about the importance of speeding up booster doses and immunizing children.
1 year of vaccines in British Columbia
British Columbia marks one year of vaccination in the province this week. On December 14, 2020, the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the province and the next day the first dose was administered to long-term care aide Nisha Yunus.
Since then, more than 4.3 million people have been vaccinated against the virus in British Columbia, most of whom have received two doses.
âI want to express my deepest gratitude to all of the healthcare workers who have helped people get vaccinated over the past year,â Premier John Horgan said in a statement.
âWe all want to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families. The COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective and takes us one step further to put the pandemic behind us.