"Let's choose less and choose small"

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Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the COVID-19 response in British Columbia:

"Today, we are reporting 414 new cases, including seven epi-linked cases, for a total of 68,780 cases in British Columbia.

"There are 4,426 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 278 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 80 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Currently, 7,049 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 61,643 people who tested positive have recovered.

"Since we last reported, we have had 108 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 182 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 26 in the Island Health region, 63 in the Interior Health region, 34 in the Northern Health region and one new case of a person who resides outside of Canada.

"To date, 142,146 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 6,417 of which are second doses. Immunization data is available on the COVID-19 dashboard at: www.bccdc.ca

"There have been 16 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,234 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have one new health-care facility outbreak at Burnaby Hospital.

"Public health teams have conducted a full investigation at Garibaldi High school. Testing has confirmed the original person did have the B.1.1.7 variant of concern. They have since recovered and there is no longer an exposure risk.

"Eighty-one students and eight educators were also tested and all are negative. Rapid testing of the school cohort indicated one positive case, which was later confirmed as a false positive through the subsequent, more reliable polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

"Our B.C. COVID-19 pandemic response is a careful balance - protecting our communities and also keeping open as much as we can that is safe to do so.

"It is about being able to do some things at a moderate level, instead of completely closing most places and activities, as we have seen elsewhere. A walk with a friend allows you to see each other, to have that important connection and still remain safe. This is the modified approach we want to continue.

"To make this work for everyone, we need businesses to have robust safety plans and closely follow all of the public health orders. We also need everyone to do the same: to follow the orders we have in place and use our layers of protection, whether we are out at a restaurant, work, school or home.

"To support your efforts, where we see locations with high transmissions, public health teams and WorkSafeBC will increase surveillance, focus their investigations and, if need be, take further action to close the gap.

"We know the COVID-19 variants make things more challenging as the virus is more likely to spread quickly, which is why we all need to continue to make safe choices.

"Until the COVID-19 vaccines are available for all of us, let's choose less and choose small. This is the path to get to the brighter days ahead."