COVID-19 update for March 24: Here’s the latest on coronavirus in B.C.

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for March 24, 2021.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


As of the latest figures given on March 24:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 93,969 (5,573 active)
• New cases since March 23: 716
• Total deaths: 1,441 (3 new)
• Hospitalized cases: 303
• Intensive care: 85
• Total vaccinations: 495,454 people have received one of the three approved vaccines – including 87,180 who have received a second dose.
• Cases under public health monitoring: 9,696
• Recovered: 86,857
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 9


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3 p.m. – Average daily case count continues to climb

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has reported 716 new cases of COVID-19, including 71 that are variants of concern.

Henry said there had been three new deaths over the past day, bringing that total to 1,441.

“There are 5,573 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 9,696 people under public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 86,857 people who tested positive have recovered,” she said.

Of the active cases 303 are being treated in hospital – including 85 in intensive care.

Of the 1,581 cases of either of the three variants of concern, 148 are active.

There were 25,114 doses of vaccines injected on Tuesday. So far, 495,454 people in B.C. have received a vaccine.

12:45 p.m. – New EU export restrictions unlikely to hit Canada’s COVID-19 supplies, feds say


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ncerns about possible disruptions to Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine supply emerged Wednesday as the prime minister played down any immediate threat to shipments expected in the coming weeks.

To protect its own supplies, the European Union, a major vaccine supplier to Canada, put in place export measures to mitigate domestic supply problems amid a surge in new cases.

“The global shortage of supply of COVID-19 vaccine persists and is even increasing in view of the delays of production,” the EU said.

Melita Gabric, ambassador-designate for the 27-nation bloc, said the aim was to ensure vaccine producers in Europe honoured their contracts with the EU.

European sources said Canadian shipments require an export authorization but those should be granted as long as they don’t pose a threat to domestic supply.

Further supply concerns were kindled after India halted exports of its Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine citing its own shortages, the Reuters news agency reported.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons that he, too, was concerned about potential supply disruptions but said he and his government would press the Europe Commission at the “highest levels” to ensure supplies would keep flowing, as it would India.

– The Canadian Press

12:30 p.m. – Laid off tourism and hospitality workers to fill non-clinical roles in vaccination clinic

More than 1,400 tourism and hospitality workers laid off due to the pandemic are being enlisted by the province to work in non-clinical roles in mass vaccination clinics across B.C.


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Premier John Horgan said during a press conference Wednesday the initiative will provide hundreds of jobs for people who lost their jobs in B.C.’s hard-hit tourism and sport sectors.

Businesses and community groups such as Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Giants, Tourism Whistler, the Pacific National Exhibition and Canada’s two major airlines, have already begun to call and train hundreds of staff who will work in non-clinical, logistical roles at immunization clinics to help move people through the clinics efficiently and safely.

Other community partners include: Air Canada, B.C. Pavilion Corporation, Ceres Terminals Marine, Pacific Destinations Services, the Canadian Red Cross, Fraser Valley Bandits, Vancouver International Airport, Air Canada and WestJet.

Immunization clinics in community centres, gyms and arenas have been operating across B.C. since mid-March which is when the province launched its mass immunization plan for the general public.

– Katie DeRosa, Postmedia

10:30 a.m. – Worrisome COVID-19 trends reported amid new vaccine supply concerns

New cases of COVID-19 infections across Canada are trending upward, public health authorities reported on Wednesday in a worrisome development that comes amid new concerns over vaccine supplies.

Thousands of new cases on average and 31 deaths were being reported daily, the Public Health Agency of Canada said in its latest update. The bottom line, the agency said, was that people still face a serious risk of contracting the disease.


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“Amid increasing case counts, shifting severity trends, and a rising proportion of cases involving variants of concern in heavily impacted areas of Canada, we need to remain vigilant,” Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s top public health officer, said in a statement.

“Maintaining public health measures and individual precautions is crucial to reducing infection rates and avoiding further spread of new variants.”

While vaccinations offer some hope for containing the pandemic, concerns about supplies were rekindled after India put a halt to exports of its Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine citing its own shortages, the Reuters news agency reported.

The federal government had no immediate comment on the report, but did say possible new European Union restrictions on vaccine shipments would not affect Canada.
The E.U. was expected to move Wednesday toward stricter export controls for COVID-19 vaccines amid a surge in new infections and concerns about domestic supply shortages.

A spokeswoman for International Trade Minister Mary Ng said Canada would work with the E.U. to ensure the country’s essential medical supply chains remained open.

– The Canadian Press

8:30 a.m.  – EU tightens curbs on vaccine exports as infection rates increase

The European Union unveiled plans to extend its powers to block COVID vaccine exports, prompting criticism from the rest of the world, as the discovery of millions of doses at a plant near Rome added to confusion over the bloc’s rollout.


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Amid escalating tension with allies and global manufacturers, the EU is demanding that countries that receive doses from the bloc also allow shots to be sent in the other direction. There are still no automatic bans however, and officials will take into account a nation’s vaccination rate and pandemic situation when deciding whether to approve shipments.

The move coincides with a darkening outlook in Europe as the infection rate climbs and governments face pressure over their failure to to vaccinate citizens as quickly as the U.S. and U.K. The tighter rules will end exemptions for somce countries with close ties to the EU because officials are worried that others will exploit those loopholes to gain access to shots.

Canada’s government described the EU’s proposals as “concerning,” with an official later adding that it had no reason to believe shipments there would be impacted. Australia Health Minister Greg Hunt said his nation had received less than a fifth of the 3.8 million doses it contracted from AstraZeneca Plc’s European operations. Singapore also said it was concerned about very tight vaccine supplies.

But the new rules — unveiled three months to the day after the EU concluded a trade deal with the U.K. — could hit Britain most severely. The U.K. has received 11 million of the 45 million doses shipped out of the EU so far, making it by far the biggest beneficiary of the bloc’s vaccines. The EU has received no shots from the U.K.


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– Bloomberg News

7 a.m. – B.C. residents 76+ can book vaccinations today 

B.C. is accelerating its age-based vaccine schedule, and British Columbians aged 76 (born in 1945) and older are able book a COVID-19 appointment starting 12 p.m. today.

Provincial health officials have been able to expedite B.C.’s vaccine rollout because of a decision to extend second doses to four months from three to four weeks and expected increased vaccine deliveries from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Tomorrow, Thursday, seniors aged 75 can book appointments, followed by those aged 74 on Friday. (Click here for more information on the government’s book schedule)

People born in 1944 or earlier can book at anytime.

Here is the contact list of regional health authority call centres:
• Fraser Health: 1-855-755-2455
(Fraser Health also has online booking:
• Interior Health: 1-877-740-7747 ‡
• Island Health: 1-833-348-4787
• Northern Health: 1-844-255-7555 ‡
• Vancouver Coastal Health: 1-877-587-5767

The call centres will ask for:
• Legal name;
• date of birth;
• postal code;‡
• personal health number (PHN) from the back of B.C. driver’s licences or B.C. services cards;
• current contact information, including an email address or phone number to receive texts.

7 a.m. – Canada Goose to offer employees paid leave to get COVID-19 shots

Canada Goose said Thursday it will offer all employees up to four hours paid leave to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.


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CEO Dani Reiss said the company wants to ensure all employees have “equitable and informed access to vaccines.”

The Canadian luxury apparel company pivoted its manufacturing capabilities in Canada to produce more than 2.5 million units of personal protective equipment between March and October 2020, sold to federal and provincial authorities at cost.

Canada Goose has 5,000 employees in Canada and around the world.

12 a.m. – U.S. to consider bill that would allow cruise ships to bypass B.C. ports

VICTORIA — B.C.’s tourism industry is concerned about a bill being considered by the U.S. Senate, which if passed would see cruise ships bypass Canadian ports and travel directly between Seattle and Alaska and have a long-term devastating impact on an already struggling sector.

Earlier this month, Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan introduced the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act, which would temporarily exempt cruise ships from current regulations that require vessels to stop in a foreign country. In B.C., cruise ships en route to Alaska typically stop in Vancouver, Victoria or Prince Rupert.

While the proposed measures are meant to be a temporary measure to salvage Alaska’s tourism economy, which heavily relies on cruise ship passengers, the B.C. Liberals said the provincial government must seek get assurances from Murkowski that the law won’t be made permanent.

— Katie DeRosa

12 a.m. – Had COVID? If you’re younger, one dose of vaccine might be enough


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Weeks after saying COVID-19 vaccine doses could be spaced out up to four months apart, a national expert advisory group is now deliberating whether one shot alone is sufficient for people who have had COVID.

Several recent small studies suggest that a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna shots can launch a rapid immune response in people previously infected with the pandemic virus.

— Sharon Kirkey, Postmedia News

12 a.m. – People deemed ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ can book vaccine Monday

People with cancer, transplant recipients, those with severe respiratory illness and others considered “clinically extremely vulnerable” will be able to register for a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, March 29.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said letters would be sent to anyone 16 and older in B.C. who is clinically extremely vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19.

This letter will instruct the recipient on how to call to book a vaccination appointment, starting March 29, and must be shown on the vaccination date.

— David Carrigg


LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

– With files from The Canadian Press


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