Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)

2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

B.C.’s new COVID-19 cases continued to decline over the weekend, but a further reduction in expected shipments of Pfizer vaccine in February has led to a delay for second doses for some high-risk people.

The time between doses will be extended to 42 days for some people to allow public health officials to focus the remaining vaccines on hand to complete long-term care immunizations, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday. Available vaccine is also being reserved to deal with coronavirus outbreaks in acute-care wards.

“This is about putting out fires before they get out of control,” Henry said Jan. 25.

Henry reported a decline in daily cases for the weekend, with 527 new diagnosed cases up to Saturday, 471 up to Sunday and 346 up to Monday. About half of the new cases continue to emerge in the Fraser Health region, which has seen a significant decline after leading the province in new cases in recent weeks. But with continued new cases across the B.C. Interior and an increase on Vancouver Island, Henry said an average of around 500 a day is still too high.

“This shows us that while we’re getting a handle on long-term care, the virus is still circulating in our communities,” Henry said.

There were 26 new deaths since Friday, and one new health care outbreak at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The outbreak reported last week at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops is one of the most severe so far with 47 cases, 29 among staff, Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

There were 26 new deaths since Friday, and one new health care outbreak at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The outbreak reported last week at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops is one of the most severe so far with 47 cases, 29 among staff, Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

The situation in long-term care is improving, with the number of outbreaks there reduced from 49 to 29 in the past 10 days. Another 11 were declared over since Friday, including at the Menno Home in Abbotsford, which has been one of the most extensive with 67 cases and 13 deaths since mid-November.

RELATED: COVID-19 outbreak over at Abbotsford care home

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