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B.C. confirms 673 new cases of COVID-19, for total of 44,776

Officials announced 21 new COVID-19 related deaths Thursday
dr. bonnie henry coronavirus update dec. 17
Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update to the media regarding the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic in British Columbia on Thursday, Dec 17. Screenshot

There have now been a total of 44,776 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C. after health officials announced 673 new cases Thursday, Dec. 17.

Six of the new cases are epi-linked.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry during a live briefing reported 145 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 403 in the Fraser Health region, 4 in the Island Health region, 66 in the Interior Health region, 47 in the Northern Health region and eight new cases among people who normally reside outside of Canada.

There were 21 new COVID-19 related deaths announced Thursday, for a total of 713 deaths in British Columbia.

There were no new health-care facility outbreaks reported, leaving B.C. with 55 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living facilities and six in acute-care units. Those outbreaks encompass 1,374 residents and 735 staff members who are currently suffering from the virus. 

There have been two new community outbreaks in the province; one at Wingtat Game Bird Packers, a poultry processing plant in the Fraser Health region, and another among the diversified transportation employees connected to LNG Canada.

Of the total COVID-19 cases, 358 individuals are currently hospitalized, 93 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people who presently have COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation. There are 10,388 people under active public health monitoring for the virus at this time, due to exposure to the virus.

As of Dec. 17, there are 10,009 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., while 32,963 people have recovered from the virus. 

Public alerts and notifications continue to be posted to the BC Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) website and on all four health authorities’ websites.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to front-line health-care workers

Within the 24-hour period ending Wednesday, 1,215 B.C. health care workers received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Henry said. "That is a great testament to the work of the public health clinics and to health care workers who have stepped up," she said. 

Starting next week, the province will receive weekly vaccine deliveries for clinics in every health region throughout the province. Specific timing will be provided once confirmed, according to health officials.

- With files from Elana Shepert