A music teacher gets the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic at the school in Townshend, Vermont on Friday, March 12, 2021. Community vaccine centres are going into operation across B.C. starting March 15. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

A music teacher gets the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic at the school in Townshend, Vermont on Friday, March 12, 2021. Community vaccine centres are going into operation across B.C. starting March 15. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

B.C.’s COVID-19 case count up to 648 Friday, no new deaths

Another 78 variant strain cases detected, 380,000 vaccinated

B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases rose to 648 on Friday, after running in the mid-500s earlier in the week.

Public health officials reported that 255 people are in hospital, 67 in intensive care, as preparations continue for mass vaccination clinics that are to start next week for people aged 85 and up.

Two new health-care facility outbreaks were reported, at Oceana Parc retirement home in White Rock and Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge. There were no new COVID-19-related deaths in the 24 hours up to Friday.

“Since we last reported, we have had 149 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 372 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 32 in the Island Health region, 39 in the Interior Health region, 56 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who resides outside of Canada,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a statement March 12.

“There have been 79 new confirmed COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern in our province, for a total of 717 cases. Of the total cases, 99 are active and the remaining people have recovered. This includes 667 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 36 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 14 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

“To date, 380,743 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 87,024 of which are second doses. Vaccine appointment bookings are now open for people over 85 and Indigenous people over 65.”

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