Vancouver Island reports 18 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death over weekend

B.C. health officials have identified 18 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region Monday.

The cases were among 708 new cases found across the province over a three-day period. Of those cases, 258 were reported Saturday, 238 were identified Sunday and 212 were confirmed Monday.

B.C. has now reported 144,289 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, including 5,059 cases found in the Vancouver Island region.

There are currently 102 active cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region, including seven people in hospital and one more in critical care.

Island Health identified the locations of 64 active cases Monday, including 28 in the South Island, 29 in the Central Island and seven in the North Island.

Health officials say 11 people died of COVID-19 in B.C. over the weekend, bringing the province's pandemic death toll to 1,703.

One victim lived in the Vancouver Island region, where the death toll has reached 41 since the pandemic began.

According to B.C.'s top doctor, one person who died was in their 40s, two people were in their 60s, six people were in their 70s and two people were over 80.

B.C. has now administered 3,250,116 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including 179,954 second doses.

That total is the equivalent of approximately 69.7 per cent of B.C.'s adult population, or 66.1 per cent of residents aged 12 and older.

"Our vaccines, as we've come to know, are safe and highly effective – but they still are not 100 per cent, at least not yet," said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, noting that British Columbians still needed to be cautious, even if they have received a vaccine dose.

Henry says that one more person has developed a rare blood clot linked to AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine.

A man in his 30s who lives in the Island Health region developed the blood clot, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT).

He is the third person in B.C. to develop the disorder. Henry says he is currently recovering in hospital.

The province says there is an approximately 1 in 100,000 chance of developing the disorder after receiving an AstraZeneca vaccine dose.

Health ministry responds to residential school deaths

B.C.'s top doctor and Health Minister Adrian Dix expressed their condolences to the families and all Indigenous people impacted by the discovery of more than 200 human remains on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops.

"I struggle to find the words to describe my horror and grief at the discovery of the remains of the 215 children," said Henry.

She added that the province "will hold ourselves accountable to an ongoing process of reconciliation" and asked non-Indigenous British Columbians to "have the courage to accept this is our history of colonization."

Henry stressed that the residential school system was not just "something that happened to First Nations children and families" but something that Canada's government brought about.