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Third wave of COVID-19: B.C. adds 3289 cases, 18 deaths over the weekend

Another 3,289 cases of COVID-19 and 18 related deaths were recorded over the weekend in British Columbia, which is grappling with its record-breaking third wave of the pandemic.

VANCOUVER -- Another 3,289 cases of COVID-19 and 18 related deaths were recorded over the weekend in British Columbia, which is grappling with its record-breaking third wave of the pandemic.

The province has now identified a total of 112,829 coronavirus infections and suffered 1,513 fatalities since the start of the global crisis.

Speaking at her COVID-19 briefing on Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry once again stressed the importance of following all restrictions and guidelines to keep everyone safe until they can be vaccinated.

"It is our collective efforts that have made the difference so far," Henry said.

"To get to the end as quickly as possible, there are things we need to do now and that includes staying home, staying in your immediate neighbourhood as much as possible."

The province's third wave of infections have sent daily case numbers and hospitalizations soaring, and the restrictions introduced two weeks ago do not appear to have made much of an impact yet.

Health officials said there are now 368 patients in hospital with COVID-19, up from 332 on Friday, with a record 121 who are in intensive care.

The latest infections also pushed the province's rolling weekly average to a new record of 1,129 per day. Meanwhile, B.C.'s active caseload has surged to 9,937, the highest it's been since Dec. 18.

Henry announced two new outbreaks as well, at the Dufferin Care Centre and Sunset Manor, bringing the number of active outbreaks in the province's health-care system to 13.

Officials could not provide new numbers on COVID-19 variants of concern Monday, citing an unspecified "data issue." The province has been unable to give variant numbers several times in recent weeks due to problems with data collection.

"We do not at the moment have updates on the percentage of cases that are variants of concern," Henry said. "However, we are at approximately 50 per cent of cases across the province who now have one of the variants of concern, primarily the B.1.1.7."

Over the weekend, B.C. also administered another 87,082 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, bringing the total to 1,112,101.

That includes 1,024,357 first doses – enough to protect about 20 per cent of the B.C. population – and 87,744 second doses.

While the government's program of providing AstraZeneca vaccine to frontline workers remains on pause pending updated guidance from federal officials, B.C. has been increasing targeted immunizations in COVID-19 hotspots.

That includes in Whistler, where all residents are now eligible to be vaccinated. Henry said the resort community has continued to see transmission, "despite our ongoing efforts at outbreak management."

First responders and teachers in the province's highest-risk areas – most of which are in the Fraser Health region – have also been getting shots. Henry urged people working in those jobs in those hotspots to be patient while awaiting their turn.

"We cannot go to everybody at once. Like our age-based program, not everybody will get it at once, but everybody will get it and have their turn," she said.

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