Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)

B.C. reports new high of 144 variant cases of COVID-19 over weekend

87 of the variant-linked infections are currently active – a large increase from 12 reported Friday

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel

COVID-19 infections that are variants of concern in B.C. spiked over the weekend, with 144 new reported.

There have been a total of 394 variant cases in the province. Eighty-seven of the infections are currently active, a large increase from the 12 reported Friday. Of the total variant cases, 363 are the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant and 31 are the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant.

Most of the variant cases are in the Fraser Health region, with 303 reported there. Seventy-four are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, and there are six each in the Island and Interior Health regions.

“About a quarter of these cases, we do not know exactly how they were transmitted, which tells us that these variants are some of the viruses that are being transmitted in our communities now, particularly in the Lower Mainland,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

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She also said that some activities will be able to resume in a “careful, thoughtful and phased approach over the next few weeks.” While pre-pandemic gatherings will not be possible, some outdoor activities, including small groups for kids’ camps, will be allowed. Henry said there will be a similar gradual, phased return to in-person religious services.

She also reported 1,462 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. over the last three days: 545 from Friday to Saturday, 532 from Saturday to Sunday and a further 385 in the last 24 hours. Nineteen of the weekend’s cases are epidemiologically linked, bringing the province’s total to 84,569.

READ MORE: B.C. looking at easing restrictions for sports, religious services in the ‘coming weeks’

Coronavirus