Vancouver Island hit a record high of 55 new COVID-19 cases today. The previous high daily case number was 46, hit on two days in January and February.
New cases have bounced between mid-20s and 40s in March, but 55 is the first time Vancouver Island has had more than 50 cases in a day.
Vancouver Island Health Authority is reporting 117 active cases in the South, 128 in the Central which includes Nanaimo, and 21 in the North which in this case runs from the Comox Valley to Port Hardy.
The Island has had a 3,081 cases since last March, and 28 people have died from the disease.
Meanwhile immunization efforts continue across the province; a total of 637,856 doses have been given; almost 90,000 of those are second shots.
People 74 years or older and Indigenous people over 55 can book a vaccine this week. Next week, people who have been clinically declared to have extreme vulnerability will be able to book vaccine appointments.
In a separate news conference today, Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer for Island Health, said many younger people are making their own risk assessments in the pandemic, but he cautioned that younger people aren’t invulnerable to sickness, long-term consequences and in rare cases, death.
There has been an alarming increase in the severe symptoms among younger people requiring hospitalization.
“We need to continue that very strong messaging to this group that if at all possible, follow the social distancing … [so we’re] not giving the virus the opportunity to cause the significant mischief, and delay as much as possible the establishment of one of the variants as the common strain, because it’s going to be associated with poorer outcomes,” he said.
“So it is a race, it is a battle and we’re trying to enlist as many people as possible.”
— With files from Greg Sakaki.