"No one will be left behind"

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Health officials say the number of active cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia is the highest it's been in more than a month.

In their first live update of the week, the provincial health officer said 559 cases were confirmed since Monday's update, of with 29 are epidemiologically linked.

The latest information brings B.C.'s total number of active cases to 4,677, the highest its been since Jan. 13.

With Tuesday's update, B.C.'s rolling seven-day average is now at 505 cases a day. It's the first time since Jan. 16 that number has topped 500.

B.C.'s average was about 100 cases lower – at 407 – just one week ago.

"This uptick we've seen in the last few days is one that we are managing as aggressively as we can, to understand better where we are," Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

The doctor said 238 people were in hospital as of Tuesday's update, of which 69 are being treated in intensive care units.

Since the start of the pandemic, officials have confirmed 77,822 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Of those, 71,753 (about 92 per cent)are considered by health officials to have fully recovered.

Another 7,881 people are currently being monitored by public health officials following possible exposure to the disease.

Also included in Henry's update was that there was a single death in the 24-hour reporting period. The death toll now stands at 1,336 in B.C.

Henry offered her condolences to the family of the individual, who lived in the Vancouver Coastal Health region in an acute care facility.

Tuesday's update included no new health care outbreaks, and the doctor said an outbreak at the Abbotsford Regional Hospital is now considered over.

The province is still dealing with 12 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living, and five in acute care units.

Henry said there were no new deaths or cases in long-term care or assisted living in B.C. in the last 24 hours.

"This really is a reflection of the vaccines that we have had, and their use and deployment in long-term care and assisted living across this province," she said, calling the effectiveness "remarkable."

So far, 287,950 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given in B.C. Of those, 58,896 were second doses.

She said 292 people have had adverse effects related to two COVID-19 vaccines. Henry said in 19 of those cases, the issue was an allergic reaction.

About 10 in 100,000 doses lead to these types of reactions, she said.

When it comes to variants of concern in B.C., Henry said about 70 per cent of positive tests are now being screened each day. She did not provide an update on the number of variant cases confirmed in the province since Friday.

Henry said the positive news about long-term care is in contrast with an upward crawl of case numbers, and urged the public not to lose sight of the end goal.

"We have to continue to pay attention to the very same things that have gotten us this far in the pandemic," Henry said, referring to public health guidelines such as handwashing.

"We are in a period of what I'm calling vaccine hope and pandemic reality, and our focus has to be to hold steady."