VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C.’s daily COVID-19 numbers remain relatively steady, with 556 new cases in the past day.

This brings the province’s total to 88,929 cases, 4,999 of which are still considered “active.”

No one has died of the illness in the past day, but there are 280 people who are hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 269 on Monday. Eighty-four people are in intensive care, up from 76 on Monday.

On Tuesday, the province also reported 116 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants of concern, for a total of 996.

The most common variant by a longshot is the B.1.1.7 strain, first identified in the United Kingdom, with 921 cases. There have also been 41 cases of the B.1.351 variant, first found in South Africa; and 34 of the P.1 variant, first discovered in Brazil.

“To date, 424,517 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C., 87,070 of which are second doses. Vaccine appointment bookings are open for people over 83, adding one year each day this week for people 80 and older by the end of the week, along with Indigenous peoples over 65,” reads a joint statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

There are no new health-care facility outbreaks.

Related article: COVID-19 vaccinations in B.C.: What you need to know

Ahead of St. Patrick’s Day on Wednesday, Henry and Dix are reminding everyone that liquor sales will end early.

“A reminder for those who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day to do so safely and in line with the provincial health officer’s orders. That means that last call at restaurants, pubs and liquor stores will be at 8 p.m. on March 17, 2021, to protect our businesses and the people who work in them.”

On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said some outdoor religious services will soon be allowed in B.C., adding they are also working on a “class variance” for Passover and Easter.

“We are working on advice through the process … on how we can have a workable approach to the gradual and safe phased re-opening of ongoing indoor services for faith groups across the province for all faith services, starting in April,” she added.

We’re expecting more details in the coming week.

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