30 new COVID-19 cases confirmed on Vancouver Island
VICTORIA -- B.C. health officials identified 30 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region Thursday.
The cases were among 853 cases found across the province over the past 24 hours, according to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
The Island Health region has now reported 4,633 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
One more person has died of COVID-19 in B.C., according to health officials, bringing the province's pandemic death toll to 1,577.
The victim lived in the Interior Health region, according to Henry. On Vancouver Island, 36 people have died of the virus since the pandemic began.
There are now 325 active COVID-19 cases in the Vancouver Island region, including 24 people in hospital and seven more in critical care.
Island Health officials confirmed the locations of 264 active cases Thursday, including 166 in the South Island, 80 in the Central Island and 18 in the North Island.
The province has now administered 1,749,375 doses of COVID-19, including 90,296 second doses.
COVID-19 vaccine update
B.C.'s top doctor says there's promising news on the horizon for the province's vaccine rollout plan, with more vaccines arriving next month.
"Starting next week, as well, we expect to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is a single-dose vector vaccine," said Henry.
She said the new vaccine will be included in the province's main age-based and risk-based rollout program. Further details on how the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will fit into the program will be announced early next week, according to Henry.
Meanwhile, B.C. is expected to receive one million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine throughout the month of May.
"That means our age-based program will be accelerated," said Henry.
Health officials estimate that all adult British Columbians will receive their first vaccine dose by the middle of June, rather than the original prediction of the end of June, if there are no delays to the province's scheduled vaccine shipments.
Henry also promised that priority workers will see vaccine doses soon, as more vaccines arrive.
Priority workers, including first responders and teachers, were scheduled to receive their first immunization shot before vaccine shipments were disrupted in B.C. and "waylaid" earlier this month, according to Henry.
However, she says roughly 15 per cent of all vaccines that have been administered have gone towards priority workers, largely in COVID-19 hotspots. She says the program will ramp up when more vaccine is available.
Henry added that most British Columbians who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable – roughly 70 per cent – have received their first vaccine dose.
The province's health minister says that as of Thursday, 38.6 per cent of all eligible British Columbians have received their first vaccine shot.
During a live address Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 874 new cases in B.C. and 29 on Vancouver Island. Henry later revised those numbers in a statement saying there were 853 new cases in B.C. and 30 on Vancouver Island.