Daily COVID-19 cases ticked up Thursday, after more than a month of steady declines.
The virus has claimed seven lives since Wednesday, said provincial health officer Bonnie Henry. There were 378 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Wednesday, up from just 250 cases between Tuesday and Wednesday. It marks the first time in more than a month that daily case counts have gone back up.
That brings the total of British Columbians infected with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic more than a year ago to 143,264, with 137,929 recovered.
Of the 286 people who are hospitalized with COVID-19, 88 are in intensive care.
On a positive note, B.C. has hit a new milestone, with more than 3 million vaccines now administered, and Henry said additional supplies of vaccines means that the intervals between first and second doses can now be shortened. That brings the percentage of people 18 years or older who have been vaccinated with a first dose to 65.8%.
"These are exciting times and this is exciting news," Henry said. "And we know that these vaccines work."
There are currently 3,543 active cases of COVID-19 infections in B.C. There have been no new outbreaks to report.
There are still outbreaks in the following long-term care homes:
- Chartwell Carlton Care (Fraser Health)
- Cherington Place (Fraser Health)
- Heritage Manor (Northern Health)
- Spring Valley Care Centre (Interior Health)
There are two outbreaks in Lower Mainland hospitals: Lions Gate and Richmond Hospital.
The province has updated its guidelines for indoor gatherings for churches, mosques, temples and other faith gatherings. Up to 50 will be allowed for faith services, although weddings are still restricted to gatherings of no more than 10.
The province will also be updating guidelines for children's summer camps in the coming days, Henry said.
Last year, when the pandemic was declared, the B.C. Ministry of Health cancelled all elective and non-urgent surgeries, to lessen the load on hospitals, in anticipation of the hospital system being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.
Earlier this month, the ministry launched its surgery renewal plan. Of the 15,154 patients who had their surgeries postponed last, 97% have now had their procedures, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said.