A health care employee receives one of the first COVID-19 injections in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, Dec. 15, 2020. (B.C. government)

A health care employee receives one of the first COVID-19 injections in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, Dec. 15, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. records 640 new COVID-19 cases, 24 deaths Wednesday

Hospitalized patient total holds steady at 362, 91 in ICU

B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions are keeping new infections from climbing back up as winter and the holiday season approach, with 640 new cases Wednesday.

Another 24 deaths were recorded in the 24 hours up to Dec. 16, a continued high rate as work continues to vaccinate long-term care and acute-care workers on the front lines of dealing with coronavirus cases in hospital. There are 362 people in hospital with COVID-19-related conditions, up one from Tuesday, with 91 in intensive care, a reduction of two.

B.C.’s trend in diagnosed cases dipped down with 522 more on Tuesday, after 759 Monday, and about 700 per day during the past weekend.

The regional breakdown continues the recent trend, with 399 of the latest cases in Fraser Health, 98 in Vancouver Coastal, 91 in Interior Health, 47 in Northern Health and five on Vancouver Island.

On Tuesday, public health officials administered 409 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to front-line health care workers in Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health. Starting next week, B.C. will receive weekly vaccine deliveries for each health region, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a statement.

There has been one new health-care outbreak declared at Sunrise Vancouver care home. Outbreaks at Sun Pointe Village in Kelowna, Gateway Lodge in Prince George and University Hospital of Northern B.C. have been declared over.

“Many people have already made the commitment to make their holiday celebrations safe celebrations, by staying small and connecting virtually instead,” Henry and Dix said in a statement. “There are countless creative ways for us to have those important connections and also protect our communities and the people we care for most.”

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