Children at school in Strasbourg, France, Sept. 2, 2021. B.C. has extended its mask rules to include children from kindergarten to grade three until at least January. (AP Photo/Jean-François Badias)

Children at school in Strasbourg, France, Sept. 2, 2021. B.C. has extended its mask rules to include children from kindergarten to grade three until at least January. (AP Photo/Jean-François Badias)

Another 714 COVID-19 cases in B.C. Friday, 11 more deaths

328 people in hospital with active infections

B.C. public health teams reported 714 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, continuing a similar level of infections as the past two weeks from more than 16,000 test results.

There are 328 people in hospital with active coronavirus infections as of Oct. 1, 138 of them in intensive care, down from 145 over the past 24 hours, and 11 more deaths, for a total of 1,973 since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The latest totals come as B.C.’s education ministry has expanded its school mask mandate to include younger students. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the extension of mandatory masks to children in grade three and younger beginning next week and continuing to January at least. She said a “swish and gargle” test is being made available to schools and pharmacies, but it requires lab testing for results.

“We haven’t seen transmission in the staff in school settings as much as we were seeing last year,” Henry said Oct. 1. “So these tell us that the immunization program is working. Then the challenge, of course, is that everything we need to do now is to make sure that we’re keeping the younger kids from getting infected with COVID over this next period of time until vaccine is available for them.”

B.C. health authorities continue to operate scheduled appointment and walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the province. A full list of clinic locations and hours by region can be found here. Registration and booking appointments in B.C. can be done here, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week.

RELATED: School masks now mandatory for younger B.C. students

RELATED: B.C. legislature resumes next week, all MLAs in person


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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