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 23, 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 22:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 92,571 (5,290 active)
• New cases since March 19: 1,785
• Total deaths: 1,437 (16 new)
• Hospitalized cases: 303
• Intensive care: 80
• Total vaccinations: 452,247 people have received one of the three approved vaccines – including 87,161 who have received a second dose.
• Cases under public health monitoring: 9,330
• Recovered: 85,746
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 11


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3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

8 a.m. – B.C. residents 77+ can book vaccinations today 

British Columbians aged 77 (born in 1944) and older can book a COVID-19 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

On Thursday, seniors aged 76 can book appointments, following by those aged 75 on Saturday. (Click here for more information on the government’s book schedule)

People born in 1943 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


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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.

6 a.m. – European Union criticizes AstraZeneca for shortfall; threatens to keep vaccines produced in Europe

A leading European Union official has lashed out at the AstraZeneca vaccine company for its massive shortfall in producing doses for the 27-nation bloc, and threatened that any shots produced by them in the EU could be forced to stay there.

Sandra Galina, the chief of the European Commission’s health division, told legislators on Tuesday that while vaccine producers like Pfizer and Moderna have largely met their commitments “the problem has been AstraZeneca. So it’s one contract which we have a serious problem.”

The European Union has been criticized at home and abroad for its slow rollout of its vaccine drive to the citizens, standing at about a third of jabs given to their citizens compared to nations like the United States and United Kingdom.

Galina says the overwhelming responsibility lies with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was supposed to be the workforce of the drive, because it is cheaper and easier to transport and was supposed to delivered in huge amounts in the first half of the year.

“We are not even receiving a quarter of such deliveries as regards this issue,” Galina said, adding AstraZeneca could expect measures from the EU. “We intend, of course, to take action because, you know, this is the issue that cannot be left unattended.”


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The EU already closed an advance purchasing agreement with the Anglo-Swedish company in August last year for up to 400 million doses.

 — Associated Press

6 a.m. – AstraZeneca’s US application hits snag

WASHINGTON – Results from a U.S. trial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine may have used “outdated information,” U.S. federal health officials say.

The Data and Safety Monitoring Board said in a statement early Tuesday that it was concerned that AstraZeneca may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data.

AstraZeneca reported Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine provided strong protection among adults of all ages in a long-anticipated U.S. study, a finding that could help rebuild public confidence in the shot around the world and move it a step closer to clearance in the U.S.

In the study of 30,000 people, the vaccine was 79% effective at preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 – including in older adults. There were no severe illnesses or hospitalizations among vaccinated volunteers, compared with five such cases in participants who received dummy shots – a small number, but consistent with findings from Britain and other countries that the vaccine protects against the worst of the disease.

AstraZeneca also said the study’s independent safety monitors found no serious side effects, including no increased risk of rare blood clots like those identified in Europe, a scare that led numerous countries to briefly suspend vaccinations last week.


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The company aims to file an application with the Food and Drug Administration in the coming weeks, and the government’s outside advisers will publicly debate the evidence before the agency makes a decision.

— Associated Press

6 a.m. – A good night’s sleep lowers risk of COVID

Sleeping an extra hour each night can decrease the chance of catching coronavirus by 12 per cent. However, taking a nap in the afternoon raises the risk by six per cent, scientists have found.

US researchers surveyed 2,884 healthcare workers between July and September in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States, 568 of whom had already had COVID.

They found that the risk of coronavirus was greater for those who had trouble sleeping and those who felt “burned out” by their job.

— The Telegraph

12 a.m. – More than 5,100 confirmed COVID-19 variant cases in Canada

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says there have been more than 5,100 confirmed COVID-19 cases involving more transmissible variants.

B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec have the highest numbers — mostly involving the variant first identified in Britain.

Tam says it is important for everyone to maintain public health measures to head off a possible third wave of COVID-19.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said variants of concern are moving quickly with 166 new cases over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, most of them connected to the U.K. strain.

— Canadian Press


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12 a.m. – B.C. is not keeping pace with vaccine doses being delivered, said contact tracing expert

A COVID-19 contact tracing expert says an insufficient vaccine booking system in B.C. is leading to tens-of-thousands of doses left over each day.

Steve Water, founder of Contrace Public Health Corps, said he had been tracking the daily gap between the number of doses delivered to the province and the number injected. He said that gap has been growing on average since the middle of February.

For example, as of Monday, B.C. had received 631,160 doses of either the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine from the federal government and had used 539,408 of those — so there were 91,752 doses left over at the end of the day.

“B.C. is not keeping pace with the increase in doses delivered to the province — meaning federal supply isn’t the only constraint slowing down vaccination,” Water said. “The limiting factor seems to be the booking system itself, and that the province is slow-walking appointments to protect the fragile phone system until the new online system launches on April 6.”


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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