COVID-19 update for March 28: 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 27, 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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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19 FAQ: What you need to know about the vaccine rollout in B.C.

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

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


2 p.m. – Cases of vaccine-resistant variant more than doubles in B.C.

A team of researchers at St. Paul’s Hospital using a new method for rapidly identifying COVID-19 variants of concern has unexpectedly detected a cluster of over 215 cases of the P1 variant — more than doubling the number of P1 cases in the province.

“Using this technology, we rapidly identified a cluster of P1 cases which otherwise would have likely gone undetected,” said Dr. Marc Romney, clinical associate professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at UBC and head of medical microbiology and virology at St. Paul’s.

“Since then, we have identified more P1 cases in B.C. than have been identified in the entire United States and more than any other country, except Brazil and Italy.”

The P1 variant was first identified in Brazil.

Romney said the lab at St. Paul’s does testing for about 70 per cent of the Vancouver area, including some of the suburbs. As of Friday, about 30 per cent of positive COVID-19 results his lab tested were variants of concern. Of those, he said, “the majority were P1.”

The P1 variant is especially concerning because it contains a mutation that makes it both highly contagious and more resistant to the antibodies produced from vaccines and previous coronavirus infections. It has teh potential to infect people who have been vaccinated and even reinfect people who have had COVID-19.

— Nathan Griffiths

11:45 a.m. – Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health residents 73+ can book vaccinations today 

People aged 73 (born in 1948) and older living in either the Fraser Health or Vancouver Coastal Health regions can book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment today starting at noon.

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.

People in Fraser Health can book by phone at 1-855-755-2455 or online, while those in Vancouver Coastal Health can call 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.


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11:30 a.m. – Mexico’s excess deaths far exceed official coronavirus toll

Excess deaths in Mexico for 2020 and early 2021 exceeded 417,000, more than double the official number of fatalities from the pandemic, the federal government said in a report.

On Thursday, Mexico became the third country with more than 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, trailing only U.S. and Brazil, countries with much larger populations.

But in a report released on Saturday, what were termed COVID-associated deaths were far higher, at 294,287 through mid-February. In all, some 71 per cent of excess deaths were said to be “associated” with COVID based on a review of death certificates.

For months, Mexican pandemic fatalities have been assumed to be much higher than its official figures because of a low level of testing. Many suspected illnesses and deaths went undiagnosed, and Mexico’s 2.2 million confirmed COVID cases rank only 14th globally.

Overwhelmed health systems also pushed deaths beyond levels expected in a normal year as treatment for other conditions was curtailed.

In February, the government reported excess deaths of 326,069 for 2020, 45 per cent higher than Mexico would expect in a regular year. In the latest report, which adds data from the first six weeks of 2021, that figure reached 417,002.

Mexico is ramping up its vaccination pace, now running at about 186,000 doses per day. At that rate it would take 2.8 years to cover 75 per cent of the country’s population with a two-dose vaccine.


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The U.S. is expected to send 2.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico, with 1.5 million due to arrive on Sunday.

9:45 a.m. – Exposure warning for Langley restaurant

Fraser Health is warning the public about a potential COVID-19 exposure at a Langley restaurant.

The health agency says anyone who visited Shiraz Grill at 20526 Fraser Highway on March 12-14 or March 17-20, between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on all days, may have been exposed to the virus.

Those with symptoms are asked to seek testing and then self-isolate.

8 a.m. – Path out of pandemic isn’t straightforward, but hope lies ahead: experts

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, COVID-19 experts say, even if it’s hard to see it while more contagious virus variants plunge parts of Canada into the third wave of the pandemic.

And while the route to a post-pandemic world may not be as linear as some may like, there’s still reason for optimism, said Dr. Zain Chagla, medical director of infection control at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

“There’s an end goal, there’s a solution, there’s a way we get back to normal without necessarily walloping our health-care system,” he said.

That solution is vaccination, he said, and it’s worth getting excited about despite the the slow pace of the immunization campaign, which has been blamed on supply shortages.

The vaccines likely won’t get rid of COVID-19 entirely, Chagla said, but the death rate is falling, as is the number of people who have become seriously ill, though case counts are rising.


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“I think we’re probably going to see this start drying out in the community,” he said. “I don’t think the vaccines are ever gonna eradicate it off the face of the Earth. They’re just gonna make this much more manageable with our day to day lives.”

Many epidemiologists believe COVID-19 will become a manageable respiratory infection like the flu, posing a small threat but largely manageable through vaccination.

– The Canadian Press

8 a.m. – More lockdown pressure in Germany

Germany may come under pressure to impose a harder lockdown as the infection rate in the nation returns to January levels. The topic will be front and center when Chancellor Angela Merkel is interviewed on the Anne Will show on German state television Sunday night.

Bild newspaper reported an emergency meeting between Merkel and state leaders could decide what course of action in coming days.

German cases topped 28,000 on Saturday, more than three times the rate at the start of the month, underscoring the challenge facing authorities as they attempt to curb the pandemic’s spread.

– Reuters

12 a.m. – Surrey schools announce new mask requirements as COVID-19 cases increase

The Surrey school district announced Saturday it will now require all staff, and students from Grades 4 to 12, to wear masks because of increasing transmission of the coronavirus in the community.

The measure was taken on an order from Fraser Health’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Victoria Lee, in consultation with the province’s health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, as well as the B.C. Ministry of Education and the Surrey school board.


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“With the increasing trend in community incidence of COVID-19 in the Surrey region, and the corresponding likelihood of increasing exposures in Surrey schools, our district will begin implementation of an additional measure, mandated by public health for our schools,” said the Surrey school district in a written statement.

The new measures will go into place just as students return from two weeks of spring break and as cases of COVID-19 have been spiking in the Lower Mainland.

– Gordon Hoekstra

12 a.m. – ‘Stronger’ measures needed across Canada to suppress COVID-19 resurgence: Tam

Canada’s chief public health officer warned Saturday that current health orders are not enough to stop rapid growth of COVID-19, as provinces push ahead with plans to reopen their economies.

Longer-range forecast models predict a resurgence of COVID-19 infections unless public health measures are enhanced and strictly followed, Dr. Theresa Tam said in a written statement.

“With increasing circulation of highly contagious variants, the threat of uncontrolled epidemic growth is significantly elevated,” she said.

Tam said public health orders across Canada need to be stronger, stricter and sustained long enough to control the rise of variants of concern.

High infection rates in the most populous provinces are driving up the country’s average daily case counts, she said.

– The Canadian Press


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


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More than 900 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Friday 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.

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


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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