The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t letting up on B.C.

In today’s briefing, provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and health minister Adrian Dix reported 617 new cases of COVID-19.

This includes 27 on Vancouver Island and 139 in Vancouver Coastal Health, which includes Powell River.

Fraser Health continues to have the bulk of the new cases, with 320.

There are 358 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 75 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Eighteen more people died from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 988 deaths since the pandemic began.

The province says hope is on the horizon in the form of a vaccine.

To date, 46,259 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in  B.C. 

Dr. Henry said their focus is to ensure we safely deliver the vaccines as quickly as possible to communities across the province, using all available supply.

She added that as new COVID-19 cases continue to emerge in communities throughout the province, “we must all recommit to our efforts to slow down transmission.”

“We can only do this through our collective commitment to stay local, only spend time with our immediate household outside of work or school, to respect one another by giving others the space to stay safe and ensuring we are wearing our masks in all indoor, public spaces.”

Yesterday, she extended the public health orders on all gatherings and for another month, to Feb. 5th at midnight. 

“We all want our efforts to count and have an impact that will last. We will get through this and things will get better,” Dr. Henry said.

“Show your friends and neighbours they can count on you to make the right choices, every day, and together we will see brighter days once again.”