B.C. recorded 1,428 new COVID-19 infections and eight more deaths over the weekend.
In a joint statement Monday (Feb. 22), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the following new cases over three days: 504 test-positives from Friday to Saturday, 475 from Saturday to Sunday and 449 more cases in the past 24 hours.
There are 4,560 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 7,768 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.
Of the active cases, 223 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 63 of whom are in intensive care.
A further 71,313 people who tested positive have recovered.
“As community transmission continues, we all need to continue to use all of the layers of protection, to continue to keep to our households only, and to avoid travel unless it is absolutely necessary,” the statement reads.
There are 28 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants of concern in our province, for a total of 101 cases. Two other cases are under investigation. Of the total number of cases, four are active and the remaining 97 have now recovered.
This includes 81 B.1.1.7 (UK), 20 B.1.31 (South Africa) and two B.1.525 (Nigeria) variants, the latter of which is under investigation.
Some of these cases are within seven B.C. schools – most of those in Surrey, sparking calls from the BC Teachers Federation to allow for districts to decide regional mask mandates instead of current province-wide protocols.
“When there is a high rate of COVID-19 within a community, a school district should be able to make regional or site-based enhancements to the safety protocols,” president Teri Mooring said in a statement.
On Monday, deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson and Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside fielded questions from reporters, saying there is no evidence of transmission of variants in schools.
Of the 35 teachers so far tested for the variants, all have come back negative, Whiteside said.
Meanwhile, the province is screening 70 per cent of test samples for variants – up from 15 per cent in January.
“Sometimes when we change our screening strategies, we can have an increase in detections,” Gustafson said.
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