Vancouver Island adds 108 new COVID-19 cases as health authority warns of 'significant' number of hospitalizations
VICTORIA -- British Columbia health officials identified another 108 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region Monday as the province revealed new measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The new cases were among 2,960 cases found across B.C. over the weekend, including 1,027 on Saturday, 933 on Sunday and 1,000 on Monday.
The Island Health region has now recorded 4,341 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Eight more people in B.C., including a young child in the Fraser Health region, died of COVID-19 over the weekend bringing the province’s pandemic death toll to 1,538.
“In recent days, we had a child with COVID who was under the age of two who has died as a result of complications from COVID-19,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Monday. “Although this child had pre-existing health conditions that complicated their illness, it was the virus that caused their death.”
It’s the youngest COVID-19 death recorded in B.C. to date, Henry added.
None of the deaths recorded over the weekend were in the Vancouver Island region, where the pandemic has killed 33 people.
There are now 430 active cases of COVID-19 in the island region, including 29 people in hospital and five more in critical care.
Island Health revealed the locations of 346 active cases Monday, including 207 cases in the South Island, 102 in the Central Island and 37 in the North Island.
Premier John Horgan announced Monday that BC Ferries will tighten its restrictions on travel to and from the island, while existing restrictions on indoor dining and fitness classes will be extended past the May long weekend.
After the May long weekend, health officials expect that 60 per cent of the province’s adult population will have been vaccinated, and the rates of new infections and hospitalizations will have declined, Henry said.
“This final stretch of the pandemic will be the most challenging,” Horgan added. “The overwhelming majority of British Columbians get this – they get that we all have a part to play.”
The province also revealed that all British Columbians aged 40 and older are now eligible to get an AstraZeneca vaccine at a local pharmacy.
As the third wave of the pandemic continues to drive infections to record numbers on Vancouver Island and across B.C., Island Health is warning that new cases are putting increased strain on hospitals in Victoria and Nanaimo.
“We are currently experiencing a significant number of patients at our hospitals, in particular, Royal Jubilee, Victoria General and Nanaimo Regional General hospitals,” an Island Health spokesperson told CTV News on Monday.
“The impact of increasing numbers of acutely ill patients and an increasing number of COVID positive patients needing in-hospital care, are contributing to the number of patients being admitted to our hospitals,” the health authority said. “While it is an extremely busy time at our hospitals, we want to reassure the public that we are open and ready to take care of anyone who shows up in need of care.”
Health officials have now administered 1,380,160 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in B.C.