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B.C. reports 536 new COVID-19 cases and 7 deaths, as U.K., South African variants detected

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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 536 new cases of the coronavirus in B.C. on Thursday, Jan. 14, along with seven more deaths.

British Columbia health officials reported 536 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and seven additional deaths.

In a live briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it brought B.C.’s death toll to 1,038.

Of the new cases, 253 were in the Fraser Health region, 102 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 115 were in the Interior Health region, 21 were in the Vancouver Island health region and 45 were in the Northern Health region.

Read more: Releasing more data around First Nations COVID-19 cases won’t combat racism: B.C. officials

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Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses reports of racism towards B.C. Indigenous communities

Thursday’s announcement lowered the seven-day average for new cases in the province to 517.

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The number of active cases in the province also dropped again, to 4,624. It was the lowest it’s been since Nov. 6, and fewer than half of the 10,039 active cases at their peak on Dec. 14.

Another 7,303 people remained in isolation due to possible exposure.

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The province has identified its first case of the South African variant of the virus, Henry said, in a person not known to have travelled or to have connection with a traveller.

The province was working to determine how they were exposed.

“This is concerning that we don’t know where this arose,” she said.

“However, at the moment it does not appear to have spread in the community beyond the person we’ve identified.”

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B.C. detects 1st case of South African variant, 4th case of U.K. variant of COVID-19

Read more: B.C. seeking legal advice on ability to stop non-essential travellers

Henry said B.C has also identified an additional new case of the more contagious U.K. variant of COVID-19, bringing the total to four.

Three of the cases are linked to a single family, while the fourth was related to a different traveller.

“There are no other contacts, we don’t believe this has spread at all from these four cases,” Henry said.

Both new cases were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

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B.C. has now given 69,746 at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, representing 1.36 per cent of the province’s population.

There were 362 people in hospital, an increase of two overnight, and 74 people in critical or intensive care.

There were two new health-care outbreaks, one at the Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre and Maple Ridge Senior’s Village.

You can see a full breakdown of cases and deaths in long-term care here.

More than 88 per cent of B.C.’s 59,608 total cases have recovered.

Earlier Thursday, Premier John Horgan said the province was getting legal advice on whether it could stop non-essential travellers from coming to the province.

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