COVID-19 update for March 26: 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 26, 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 26:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 95,677 (6,245 active)
• New cases since March 24: 908
• Total deaths: 1,449 (3 new)
• Hospitalized cases: 294
• Intensive care: 81
• Total vaccinations: 637,856 people have received one of the three approved vaccines, including 87,233 who have received a second dose.
• Cases under public health monitoring: 9,996
• Recovered: 87,866
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 11


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3 p.m. – B.C. records highest number of new daily COVID cases this year

More than 900 new cases of COVID-19 were reported today in British Columbia, according to provincial health officials.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, officials reported 908 new cases of the coronavirus, the most cases reported in a 24-hour period this year. The previous high this year was 761, which was reported Jan. 7.

Today’s new cases brings the total number of cases of COVID-19 in B.C. up to 95,677.

Health officials are also reporting three more deaths for a total of 1,449 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Also, 140 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants were reported. So far there have been 1,912 cases of variants of concern, including 1,666 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 47 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 199 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.


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Currently there are 258 active variant cases in the province. The remaining people have recovered.

10:30 a.m. – COVID-19 outbreak at Chilliwack General Hospital

Fraser Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Chilliwack General Hospital on Friday. Four patients in the medicine unit tested positive for the virus.

It has notified patients on the affected unit about the outbreak, and has stepped up cleaning protocols and started contact tracing.

The outbreak is limited to one unit which is now closed to new admissions, said the health authority. Other areas of the hospital are not affected.

The emergency department remains open.

9:30 a.m. – People aged 74 can book vaccine appointments today

B.C. is accelerating its age-based vaccine schedule, and British Columbians aged 74 (born in 1947) and older are able book a COVID-19 appointment starting 12 p.m. today (Click here for more information on the government’s booking schedule).

People born in 1945 or earlier can book at any time.

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.

The province has not yet announced the booking schedule for seniors younger than 74.

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


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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.

9:30 a.m. – Ottawa to fund new research addressing COVID-19 variants

The federal government is providing $14.3 million towards new research on COVID-19 variants, which is on the rise in B.C. and already accounts for the majority of new infections in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced the new funding Friday. The funding includes $5.3 million in supplementary funding for 90 ongoing COVID-19 projects and $9 million for a new national network led by Dr. Marc-Andre Langlois from the University of Ottawa that will coordinate the research on variants across the country.

4 a.m. – COVID-shaming is highest in the Maritimes, professor says

Fear of contracting COVID-19 is common everywhere in Canada, but for many in the Maritimes, there’s something they fear even more: the public shaming they’ll receive if they test positive.

An article in the New York Times last month detailed the phenomenon, saying it was particularly prevalent in Canada’s Maritime provinces, where people have reportedly been shunned by neighbours, family and friends if they’re perceived to be skirting COVID-19 regulations.

Dr. Robert Huish, an associate professor in the International Development Studies department at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S., is conducting a study on the public shaming and stigma faced by people in Nova Scotia who have tested positive for coronavirus or are perceived to be breaking the rules.


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“Cars were keyed, hostilities took place in parking lots,” said Huish. “Students who lined up for mass testing were scolded by cars driving by.”

— Shari Kulha, National Post

12 a.m. – Canada’s Moderna shipment of nearly 600,000 doses delayed into next week

OTTAWA — The planned shipment of 846,000 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to Canada this week will come up short.

The government was expecting the shipment this week as part of the company’s commitment to deliver two million doses of the vaccine in the first quarter. Earlier this week, the company delivered part of that shipment, 255,600 doses, and was expected to complete the shipment on Saturday, but that will now be delayed into next week.

In a statement, Procurement Minister Anita Anand confirmed Moderna had broke the bad news on Thursday afternoon.

“I spoke with executives from Moderna who informed us that, due to a backlog in its quality assurance process, the 590,400 doses that were due to arrive in Canada this weekend have been delayed by a few days,” she said.

 — Postmedia News

12 a.m. – Friends and family can visit loved ones in long-term care in B.C. as of April 1

It will be a fine day in spring when 97-year-old Anna Hendrickson gets to sit and chat and picnic with three generations of her family in the Lynn Valley Care Centre.

On Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry lifted a ban on general visits to residents in long-term care homes — effective April 1 — even as the number of COVID-19 cases continued to soar outside those homes.


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The visiting ban was put in place a year ago as COVID-19 was tearing through care homes in B.C., ultimately killing hundreds of residents.

And while one designated person has been allowed to visit in-care family members once a week since the summer, it’s been a struggle, said Hendrickson’s daughter Diane Barnhill.

Barnhill said her mom had received her second dose of vaccine last month – a key reason Henry has reopened care homes as the majority of staff and residents in care facilities across B.C. are now vaccinated.

Henry said visits of over one hour would be permitted and could occur without staff monitoring.

Physical touch would also be allowed, subject to appropriate infection prevention and control measures like mask-wearing.

However, a visit must be limited to two adults and one child at a time and must be booked in advance. These visits will also be permitted within a resident’s room.

— David Carrigg

12 a.m. – Long-term care residents show weaker immune response to first dose of vaccine

As B.C. prepares to relax visitation restrictions at long-term care facilities on April 1, new research shows that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine produces a much weaker antibody response in long-term care residents than it does in younger, healthy adults.

That could have serious consequences for elderly people who live in the general community and may have to wait up to four months for their second dose.

“There are many people who are frail and elderly living in the community, and there is no reason to believe their immune systems are any different than people in long-term care,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Marc Romney, who is a professor at the University of B.C. and a medical leader in virology at St. Paul’s Hospital.


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The results suggest that not only did the long-term care residents produce lower levels of antibodies than staff members, those they did produce were less adept at blocking the SARS-CoV-2 virus from binding to its target cells.

— Glenda Luymes


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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