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B.C. reports 21 deaths from COVID-19, 522 new cases

Click to play video: 'B.C. reports 522 new COVID-19 cases, 21 additional deaths'
B.C. reports 522 new COVID-19 cases, 21 additional deaths
B.C. health officials release a written statement with the daily COVID-19 numbers for Tuesday, Dec. 15. Legislative Bureau Chief Keith Baldrey has the details about case numbers, an outbreak at Big White Ski Resort and the arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccine – Dec 15, 2020

Another 21 people in B.C. have died from COVID-19, the provincial government said Tuesday.

Health officials also reported 522 new cases of the disease bringing B.C’s total number of cases to 43,463. A total of 6,521 tests were conducted during that period.

Of the new cases, 84 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 338 in the Fraser Health region, seven in Island Health, 56 in Interior Health, and 37 in the Northern Health.

The seven-day rolling average of B.C.’s positivity rates is 6.6 per cent.

The province’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 668. About a third of those deaths have occurred in December.

Click to play video: 'Dr. Bonnie Henry on the effectiveness of pre-Christmas quarantine'
Dr. Bonnie Henry on the effectiveness of pre-Christmas quarantine

There are 361 people in hospital with COVID-19, an increase of two from Monday. Of those, 93 patients are in intensive care, an increase of six.

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The number of active cases in the province dipped below 10,000 to 9,860.

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The province said there has been one new health-care facility outbreak at Burnaby Hospital. The outbreak at the Langley Memorial Hospital long-term care facility has been declared over.

Officials declared a new community outbreak at the Teck Resources Elkview and Fording River operations and a community cluster at Big White Ski Resort while outbreaks at Cambridge and Newton Elementary schools are over.

Read more: Long-term care worker is the first person in B.C. to receive COVID-19 vaccine

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The numbers come as a health worker became the first person in B.C. to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Early immunizations will take place at two sites, one in Vancouver and another in the Fraser Health region, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday.

The vaccine will be available in every health region across B.C. by next week.

Click to play video: 'First COVID-19 vaccine administered in British Columbia'
First COVID-19 vaccine administered in British Columbia

Workers in long-term care facilities are at the top of the list to get the vaccine.

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Henry expects about 400,000 people to be vaccinated by March.

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The province said it is developing a system so people can register to get the vaccine and receive a formal record of immunization.

“I can’t tell you how exciting this is,” Henry said Monday.

Henry said that now that help is on the way in the form of a vaccine, it’s more important than ever for British Columbians to limit social interactions over the holidays.

“We are this close right now,” Henry said, holding her right thumb and index finger close together.

“We have (a) vaccine here in the province. We’re going to be able to protect people. Now is our time to double down, to remember that this is the hardest period that we’re going to be going through. But we can get through this and we can support each other.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

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