Vancouver Island adds 292 COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths over Thanksgiving weekend
B.C. health officials are reporting 292 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region Tuesday.
The cases were among 2,090 new cases recorded across the province over the past four days.
Of those cases, 603 were recorded Saturday, 634 were identified Sunday, 468 were reported Monday and 385 were added Tuesday.
There are currently 5,183 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including 622 active cases in the Island Health region, according to the B.C. health ministry.
Island Health data identified the locations of 550 active cases Tuesday, including 257 in the South Island, 235 in the Central Island and 58 in the North Island.
Island Health also declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Tofino General Hospital on Tuesday. The outbreak has affected four patients, according to the health authority.
According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, 42 people are in hospital for treatment of COVID-19 in the Island Health region Tuesday. Of that total, 28 patients require critical care.
Twenty-eight deaths related to COVID-19 were reported across the province over the long weekend. Eight deaths occurred in the Interior Health region, seven were reported in Northern Health, five occurred in Island Health, five more were reported in Fraser Health and three were recorded in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Since the pandemic began, 2,029 people have died of COVID-19 in B.C., including 77 deaths reported in the Island Health region.
Earlier Tuesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke at a live news conference.
The health officials announced that children between the ages of five and 11 are now required to wear masks in indoor public spaces effective immediately.
B.C.'s top doctor also said that the province was preparing its plans to vaccinate children in this age group, if COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in kids by Health Canada.
Meanwhile, both Henry and Dix urged all British Columbians, particularly people living in the Northern Health region, to get vaccinated.
B.C.'s health minister described the situation in Northern Health as "very serious," noting that dozens of people have been transferred out of hospitals in the region for critical care in recent weeks.
Dix says that out of the past 55 recent transfers, 43 of the patients were being treated for COVID-19, and 42 of those people were not fully vaccinated.
"For those people walking around unvaccinated who might be in those critical care beds in two or three weeks, now is the time to get vaccinated," he said.
Health officials added that vaccinations help reduce the severity of the illness if you contract COVID-19, and help protect vulnerable people who may not be able to receive a vaccine themselves, such as young children.
Dix noted that patients in the Northern Health region had to be flown "hundreds and hundreds of kilometres," to reach hospitals in other health regions, including Island Health, which can add stress to families, patients and health-care systems across the province.
As of Tuesday, 88.8 per cent of people aged 12 and older had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in B.C., while 82.6 per cent of eligible people have received two doses.
In total, the province has administered 7,978,015 doses of vaccine since it began its immunization campaign in December 2020.