Vancouver Island adds 29 COVID-19 cases as B.C. warns hospitals 'pushed to the limits'

Health officials have identified 29 more cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region Tuesday.

Across B.C., 849 new cases of the virus were identified over the past 24 hours.

Since the pandemic began, the Island Health region has reported a total of 4,370 cases of COVID-19. Of that total, 403 cases are currently considered active.

One more person has died of COVID-19 in B.C., said health officials, bringing the province's death toll to 1,539. The death was not reported in the Island Health region, where 33 people have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

On Vancouver Island, 29 people are currently in hospital for treatment of the virus with five more receiving critical care.

"Our condolences are with the family, friends, caregivers and communities of all the people who have passed away due to COVID-19," said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint statement Tuesday.

Two more COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared in B.C., one at Dawson Creek and District Hospital and another at Surrey Memorial Hospital. Meanwhile, an outbreak at Long Lake Chateau, a care home in Nanaimo, is now considered over.

There are currently 11 active outbreaks in B.C.'s health-care system. Four of the outbreaks are at long-term or assisted living facilities, and seven of the outbreaks are at acute-care facilities in hospitals.

Health officials have now confirmed 6,179 variant cases of COVID-19 since variants of concern first began emerging in the province. Of that total, 163 cases are currently considered active.

B.C. has now administered 1,414,644 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including 88,263 second doses.

Health officials are cautioning British Columbians that COVID-19 transmission levels are still concerningly high as the province grapples with a third wave of the pandemic.

"At the current rates of transmission, our health-care workers and hospitals are getting pushed to the limits to support the many people with COVID-19 who require care," said Dix and Henry.

Health officials are asking that people stay within their own health authority and are reminding residents that restrictions on travel within the province will be introduced on Friday.

B.C. will begin tightening restrictions on travel within the province and BC Ferries will be contacting customers to make sure that they are not travelling for non-essential reasons.

Meanwhile, the province's temporary restrictions on indoor dining and indoor group fitness classes, which were announced in March, have been extended until May.

Currently, all of the new health orders are set to expire on May 25, the last day of the Victoria Day long weekend.

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