Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)

B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infection rate continues a slow decline from record highs with 849 confirmed cases reported Tuesday.

B.C. health authorities reported 1,027 new cases on Saturday, 933 on Sunday and 1,000 on Monday, a slight decrease in the seven-day average after reaching record highs last week. There are 456 people in hospital, up from 441 on Monday, and 148 in intensive care, up from 138 on Monday. One additional coronavirus-related death was recorded Tuesday, for a total of 1,539 since the pandemic began.

“At the current rates of transmission, our health-care workers and hospitals are getting pushed to the limits to support the many people with COVID-19 who require care,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a statement. “We are taking steps to reduce this pressure and we need everyone in B.C. to do the same. Later this week, new orders will be in place to restrict vacation and recreational travel outside of your home health authority.”

There are new COVID-19 outbreak protocols in place at Surrey Memorial Hospital and Dawson Creek and District Hospital. Dawson Creek, Invermere and Enderby have been designated for whole-community immunization to control local clusters of infection, as was done previously in Prince Rupert and Whistler.

The province has extended is latest public health order to May 25, banning indoor dining and group fitness for five more weeks as COVID-19 transmission rates remain high in some parts of the province. Premier John Horgan said starting Friday, there will be travel restrictions to keep people from travelling outside their health region, and campgrounds and other accommodations have been asked to refuse bookings for people from another region.

RELATED: B.C. tourism group supports restrictions to save this summer

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