B.C. health officials announced 444 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths on Tuesday.
The update represents the lowest number of cases since Nov. 5 — two days before restrictions were implemented in two B.C. health authorities.
In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 357 people, 84 of whom are in intensive care.
A total of 777 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
There are currently 9,481 active cases of coronavirus in the province. More than 36,094 people who tested positive have recovered.
On Tuesday, Interior Health said in a written statement that 20 more cases of COVID-19 had been recorded in connection to the Big White Mountain community cluster. The total number of cases connected to that cluster is now 96.
Of those 96 cases, 69 people who have tested positive reside on Big White Mountain. No one linked to the cluster is currently hospitalized and 64 have recovered.
“These new cases were expected. Many of these new cases were in isolation already as they had shared their household with confirmed cases. What we hope to see in the days ahead is a reduction in the new cases,” wrote Dr. Silvina Mema, a medical health officer with the health authority.
Provincial health officer gets vaccinated
Henry also announced Tuesday she’d received the COVID-19 vaccine, writing, “I’m getting immunized to demonstrate my full confidence in the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine and to show my support for health-care workers across B.C. who have worked so hard during this pandemic. This is a safe and effective vaccine that is helping make our communities safer.”
As of Tuesday 4,108 people have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in B.C., with vaccine clinics getting underway in the Island Health, Interior Health and Northern Health regions for the first time.
The statement said that vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna have, for the first time, provided further guidance on how to safely transport the vaccines, which will increase its availability in all areas of B.C. in the coming weeks.
Watch | Dr. Bonnie Henry receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
There are two new health-care facility outbreaks at the rehabilitation unit at Laurel Place and at a further acute-care unit at Surrey Memorial Hospital. One new community outbreak has been recorded at Highline Farms in the Fraser Health region.
The statement said that high levels of community transmission are still being observed in every health region of the province.
On Monday, health officials said restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus appeared to be working, but significant spread is still happening in areas of the province like Interior Health and Northern Health.
A total of 1,667 new cases were reported in B.C. over the weekend, a 23 per cent decrease compared to the previous weekend.
Current provincial health orders in B.C., which include voluntary restrictions on non-essential travel and a mandatory ban on social gatherings, are set to expire on Jan. 8.
In a separate statement, the province said it has formally extended B.C.’s state of emergency, which has been in place since March 18.