VICTORIA — Four of the five recent deaths linked to COVID-19 in B.C. have occurred in the Northern Health region while one of the deceased lived in the Interior.

Those two regions have the lowest vaccination rates, and provincial officials have urged more residents there to get immunized.

A B.C. government statement says 406 more cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed, for a total of 4,694 active cases in the province, where 2,186 people have now died.

A new outbreak has been recorded at Royal Inland Hospital in the Interior as well as another at a hospital in Nanaimo, for a total of 41 outbreaks in B.C., most of them in long-term care facilities.

The province says 90 per cent of eligible residents aged 12 and up have received their first dose of vaccine and 85.4 per cent of people are now fully vaccinated.

Health Minister Adrian Dix has said more than 3,000 health-care workers are on unpaid leave for defying a vaccine mandate and surgeries have been cancelled in some parts of the province due to staffing shortages.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press