COVID-19: 799 new cases as B.C. targets limited AstraZeneca supply in ‘hot spots’

On Tuesday, B.C. reported 799 new coronavirus cases, with 534 in the Fraser Health region and 121 in the  Vancouver Coastal Health region.

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B.C. is using its limited stock of AstraZeneca vaccines to target “hot spot” communities, including in the Lower Mainland, which recorded more than 80 per cent of new COVID-19 cases in the province.

On Tuesday, B.C. reported 799 new coronavirus cases, with 534 in the Fraser Health region and 121 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

On the same day, the province dropped its age-eligibility of the AstraZeneca vaccine to 30 years old in some high-transmission communities. Pop-up clinics set up by Fraser Health in Surrey and Coquitlam drew long lines, with some people waiting a couple hours to get the jab.

“Our limited AstraZeneca supply is being used in some of these ‘hot spots,’ as well as for our provincewide pharmacy program,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint statement.

“As we receive enough AstraZeneca to add appointments at pharmacies, it will also be made available to anyone in the province aged 30-and-older.”

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Demand for AstraZeneca is high and supply at pharmacies is going to be limited in some regions until more doses arrive in B.C., they said.

Other new cases were reported in Interior Health (96), Island Health (28), and Northern Health (16). Four new cases were reported in people who normally reside outside Canada.

The new cases bring the total in B.C. to 127,048. Of the more than 8,000 active cases, 500 are people who have been hospitalized, including 164 in intensive care. There were no new COVID-19 related deaths, keeping the death toll at 1,571.

Close to 1.6 million doses of vaccines have been administered in B.C. The province’s age-based vaccination program is booking appointments for people age 59-and-older, while all adults are eligible to register.

Also on Tuesday, B.C. formally extended the provincial state of emergency to May 11, 2021, nearly 14 months after the original declaration on March 18, 2020.

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