Province reports highest daily case total since late November

B.C. health officials are reporting 800 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours.

The daily new case count is the highest since B.C. was at the height of its pandemic in late November.

The number of active cases in the province continues to increase, up to 5,856 on Thursday. There are now 306 in hospital with 79 of those in critical care.

B.C. has also reported five further deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 1,446.

The Interior Health region also saw a modest bump in cases, with 50 reported on Thursday.

Elsewhere in the province, there have been 264 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 381 in Fraser Health, 45 in Vancouver Island Health, 58 in Northern Health and two new cases in people who normally live outside Canada.

The province also added to its total of variant cases, with 191 more added on Thursday. Variant cases are detected through genomic sequencing of positive tests, and as a result are reported later than positive tests.

To date, B.C. has seen 1,772 variant cases of concern, with 1,549 cases of the U.K. variant, 47 of the South Africa variant and 176 of the Brazil variant.

COVID-19 variants of concern are strains of the coronavirus that are more transmissible or cause more severe illness.

A total of 610,671 doses of vaccine have now been given to British Columbians — about 28,000 over the past 24 hours.

Of the total doses, approximately 87,000 have been the second of the two required doses.

Health officials also announced changes to public health orders with regard to worship services and long-term care visits on Thursday.

Visits to long-term care homes will now be allowed as of April 1, under certain conditions, and worship services will be allowed to have indoor gatherings up to 50 people on four days between March 28 and May 13, allowing religious groups to mark events such as Easter, Passover, Ramadan or Vaisakhi.

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