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B.C. announces 1,158 new COVID-19 cases, 21 deaths over 3 days as infection rate drops

Click to play video: 'B.C. officials report 1,158 new COVID-19 cases, 21 deaths over 3 days' B.C. officials report 1,158 new COVID-19 cases, 21 deaths over 3 days
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reports 1,158 new COVID-19 cases and 21 additional related deaths over the previous three days on Monday, Feb. 1. – Feb 1, 2021

B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate continued to drop over the weekend, a welcome sign amid a pandemic that has now killed over 1,200 people in the province.

Health officials on Monday announced a total of 1,158 new cases from the past three days: 408 on Saturday, 473 on Sunday, and 277 on Monday — the lowest single-day case count since late October.

Twenty-one more people have also died since Friday, bringing the province’s death toll to 1,210.

Read more: More than 1,500 COVID-19 violations found at B.C. workplaces so far

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Dr. Bonnie Henry says ‘hold off’ on Super Bowl gatherings in B.C.' Coronavirus: Dr. Bonnie Henry says ‘hold off’ on Super Bowl gatherings in B.C.
Coronavirus: Dr. Bonnie Henry says ‘hold off’ on Super Bowl gatherings in B.C – Feb 1, 2021

Hospitalizations continued to fall by another three people to 289, the fewest since Nov. 24. Of those, 79 were in intensive care, an increase of five over the weekend.

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Nearly 90 per cent of B.C.’s 67,937 cases to date are now considered recovered. More than 4,100 active cases remain, while 7,240 people were self-isolating after possible exposures.

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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 18 cases of the two virus variants currently circulating around the world — four of the variant that originated from South Africa, 14 of the United Kingdom variant — have been identified in B.C.

Seven U.K. variant cases were confirmed over the weekend, including the first in Interior Health.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: How worried are officials about the COVID-19 variants in B.C. school settings?' Coronavirus: How worried are officials about the COVID-19 variants in B.C. school settings?
Coronavirus: How worried are officials about the COVID-19 variants in B.C. school settings? – Feb 1, 2021

While community spread of the highly infectious variants has not been detected in the province, Henry said aggressive sampling is underway to identify them, including testing all international travellers who have tested positive for COVID-19.

She added the threat the variants pose mean people should think twice about gathering in restaurants and bars or inside homes, and should cancel upcoming events including Super Bowl viewing parties.

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“If we are not able to control this and start seeing spread again, we can undo all the good work that we have done,” she said.

“Yes, it’s safe to watch the Super Bowl, but do it with your household, do it in a way that doesn’t increase the risk to everybody,” she added later.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: B.C. teachers sound the alarm about school safety,  weekend COVID-19 numbers' Coronavirus: B.C. teachers sound the alarm about school safety, weekend COVID-19 numbers
Coronavirus: B.C. teachers sound the alarm about school safety, weekend COVID-19 numbers – Feb 1, 2021

Henry also pointed to the delay in vaccine shipments as another reason for vigilance.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said 138,892 vaccine doses have been administered to date.

Henry and Dix are set to announce on Friday whether public health measures, including limits on gatherings, will be extended past the current deadline of Feb. 5.

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More to come…

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