B.C. is reporting 345 people in hospital with COVID-19 Tuesday, March 15, 50 of whom are in intensive care.
Not all people in hospital with COVID are there because of their infection. These numbers continue a trend of declining hospitalizations in B.C.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry lifted the indoor mask mandate on March 11 and announced further changes would come on April 8. The effect of lifting the mask mandate hasn’t yet appeared in official COVID-19 data. Dr. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix also announced their regular COVID briefings had ended and would be replaced with periodic updates. They’re expected to make another appearance before April 8.
In the past 24 hours, the province recorded 237 new cases of COVID-19 with 70 in Fraser Health, 69 in Interior Health, 40 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 34 in Island Health and 24 in Northern Health. Case counts are no longer an accurate measure of the pandemic as testing remains limited in B.C.
As of March 15, people aged 40 and over can obtain free rapid antigen test kits from their local pharmacies. Individuals must show their personal health number and their date of birth. Only one kit can be accessed per individual within a 28-day period. Rapid test kits have been distributed through the K-12 school system, post-secondary schools, as well as rural and remote communities. Any positive rapid tests must be self-reported to the BCCDC to be reflected in official statistics.
No new deaths were reported. Since the pandemic began, 2,946 British Columbians have died from COVID-19.