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BC reporting 531 new COVID-19 cases, 51 new variant cases

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The health authority was the only one that did not have a backup call centre to the system provided by Telus.

During question period Wednesday, the B.C. Liberals pressed the government to release the contract and provide details on who "signed off on the botched plan".

Henry and Dix said there have been 11 new cases of variants of concern in the province, bringing the total to 638 known cases.

"We are now starting to receive supplies of the AstraZeneca - SII Covishield vaccine".

There were 42 new cases in Interior Health, with another 291 cases in Fraser Health, 147 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 32 in Northern Health, and 19 on Vancouver Island.

A total of 366,791 doses have been given in the province, 87,009 of which are second doses. People over 85 will be able to book an appointment this coming Monday, while those over 80 can do so on March 22.

She announced 569 new cases today and three more deaths, pushing the death toll in the province to 1,397.

The vast majority of the variant cases are the B.1.1.7 strain, first identified in the U.K. Thirty-three cases are the B.1.351 variant, first discovered in South Africa; and another 14 cases are the P.1 variant, first found in Brazil.

Sharing some good news, Henry said an outbreak at the Westsyde Care Residence in Kamloops has been declared over. "They won't have to wait until Monday", he said.

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said there's no reason to stop using the vaccine, which the World Health Organization (WHO) approved for emergency use last month.

"Among the current cases, all of the individuals are doing well".

Pollock said the vaccine is being offered again to all staff and residents who may not have had it the first time and some who were hesitant before will accept it now.

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