COVID-19 update: B.C. adds 2,174 cases, 15 related deaths over the weekend

British Columbia identified another 2,174 cases of COVID-19 and suffered 15 related deaths over the weekend.

During her pandemic briefing on Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said one of the latest fatalities involved someone between the ages of 50 and 59, but that the rest involved seniors who were over the age of 70. Most of the deaths took place in hospitals.

"As always, our condolences and our thoughts are with the families who have lost a loved one over this past weekend," Henry said. "We know how challenging it is to mourn during these continuing difficult times."

B.C. has now recorded a total of 131,656 cases of COVID-19 and 1,596 related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Some 835 of the latest infections were identified from Friday to Saturday, followed by 671 from Saturday to Sunday, and 668 from Sunday to Monday.

While the case counts remain high, the province's epidemiological curve has been steadily bending back downward in recent weeks. B.C.'s rolling seven-day average for new infections dropped to 772 per day on Monday and the active caseload fell to 7,327, the lowest either number has been since March.

Hospitalizations also decreased to 474, down from 511 on Friday, though the number of patients in intensive care increased slightly to 176.

B.C.'s immunization rollout continued over the weekend with the province administering another 90,608 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, bringing the provincial total to 1,877,330. That includes 1,785,599 first doses – enough to protect nearly 35 per cent of the population – and 91,731 second doses.

And this month, B.C. is scheduled to receive twice as many weekly doses of the Pfizer vaccine than it did in April. Some 275,000 doses are coming this week and more than a million are expected to arrive throughout May.

Henry acknowledged some of the "glitches" and missteps of the province's vaccine rollout – including one that saw people who received AstraZeneca at pharmacies invited to book another dose before they're due – but assured that the government will deal with them as they arise.

"In some ways we've been building a spaceship as we've been flying it," Henry said. "We're now entering into a new era – a new warp speed if you will – and there's bound to be bumps along the way. But we will adjust."

While there have been positive developments, officials said it remains crucial that British Columbians continue to follow all COVID-19 restrictions to keep the curve bending in the right direction.

When it comes to seeing friends and family, that means keeping numbers small and consistent, staying outside and wearing masks when distancing isn't possible.

"Once we get down that curve we can start to see dramatic decreases and more people in our communities protected and preventing transmission. But we need to keep doing the measures that we know work," Henry said.