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BC reports 536 new COVID-19 cases, confirms first case of South African variant

British Columbia health officials reported 536 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and seven additional deaths.

Of the new cases, 253 were in the Fraser Health region, 102 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 115 in Interior Health, 21 in Vancouver Island Health and 45 in Northern Health.

The number of active cases in the province also dropped again, to 4,624, the lowest it’s been since Nov. 8.

At their peak on Dec. 14, there were 10,039 active cases in BC.

The province has now given 69,746 at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Bonnie Henry reported that there are now four confirmed cases of the UK variant, three of which are linked to the same traveler on Vancouver Island.

Officials have also confirmed the first case of the South African variant in BC.

"We do not know how this person got the South African variant," said Henry.

"This is concerning for public health. But we don't believe there is risk to the community at this time."

The person did not travel or has a known contact with a traveler, details that Henry called "concerning."

Earlier Thursday, Premier John Horgan said the province was getting legal advice on whether it could stop non-essential travellers from coming to the province.

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