In a written statement, the provincial health ministry said there are 20,811 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.
A total of 220 people are in hospital, including 73 in intensive care.
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are up by 15 per cent from last Friday when 192 people were in hospital with the disease and down by about 27 per cent from a month ago when 300 people were in hospital.
The number of patients in intensive care is up by about three per cent from 71 a week ago and down by 30 per cent from a month ago when 104 people were in the ICU.
The provincial death toll from the disease is now 2,423 out of 254,849 confirmed cases to date.
The regional breakdown of new cases is as follows:
- 1,944 new cases in Fraser Health, which has 9,050 total active cases.
- 965 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, which has 7,135 total active cases.
- 434 new cases in Island Health, which has 2,336 total active cases.
- 320 new cases in Interior Health, which has 1,792 total active cases.
- 129 new cases in Northern Health, which has 494 total active cases.
- Three new cases among people who reside outside Canada, a group with four active cases.
There are at least 15 active outbreaks at long-term care, acute care, and assisted living facilities.
As of Friday, 92 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 89.2 per cent a second dose, and 19.6 per cent a third dose.
When taking into account those five and older, 88.1 per cent of people in B.C. had received a first shot and 82.9 per cent a second dose.
From Dec. 23 to 29, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 16 per cent of cases and from Dec. 16 to 29, they accounted for 55 per cent of hospitalizations, according to the province.
- B.C. delays return to classroom for most K-12 students until Jan. 10
New isolation rules
Also on Friday at a provincial news conference Henry announced that the requirement to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 is being reduced to five days for those without symptoms.
Dr. Bonnie Henry says people must wear a mask around others for an additional five days after leaving self-isolation, which is dependent on being free of symptoms.
People who haven’t been vaccinated must self-isolate for 10 days. Previously, vaccinated people were required to isolate for seven days.
- B.C. reduces COVID-19 self isolation to 5 days with no symptoms, fast tracks booster program
The change was one of several announced on Friday morning at the final update on the pandemic in the province for 2021. Henry was joined by Dix and executive lead of B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Program, Dr. Penny Ballem, in Vancouver.
Starting Saturday, visits to long-term care facilities will also be limited to essential visitors in response to recent outbreaks.
Starting in the new year the province will also be moving to an interval-based booster campaign in order to get everyone a booster shot about six months after their second COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of age.