1,063 new COVID-19 diagnoses in B.C., 207 variants concern | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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1,063 new COVID-19 diagnoses in B.C., 207 variants concern

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides a COVID-19 update from Vancouver, Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Province of B.C.
April 06, 2021 - 4:09 PM

A "discouraging" surge in COVID-19 cases, specifically with variants of concern, has prompted B.C. health officials to issue another plea to batten down, avoid travel and tighten social circles.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 1,068 cases of COVID-19 — 106 of which were within Interior Health — in the last day. Of all cases, 207 were variants of concern.

"All but one of these was in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region... while one was in the Fraser Health region," Dr. Henry said, adding that raises the total number of cases that are the variants of concern to 3,766.

It is important to note, she said, that of the total cases only 266 are active cases, which is about three per cent of active cases right now.

Offering insight into how the variants differ, Dr. Henry said of the 328 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 63 of them are people who have been identified as having one of the variants of concern — primarily the UK variant (B-117) which is 42 of the 63 people in hospital right now. Another 20 had the P.1 variant, and there's one person that with B 1351, which is the South African variant.

"So far, it is the UK variant that is dominating," Dr. Henry said.

But there has also been an increase in the last few weeks of the P-1 variant from Brazil.

B.C. now has 877 confirmed cases with this P-one variant, with 106 of them active.

The majority of the P-one cases in B.C. are within Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Ultimately, however, Dr. Henry said that the virus is adapting. In return, she's asking that residents also adapt and stop socializing.

"We're learning that, yes, some things transmit more easily, but the same measures that we take (before the variants) make a difference in preventing that transmission, and we have the measures in place that we know will work," she said.

"We have restrictions on the size of gatherings that you can have. We've talked about the importance of if you do want to get together with people... we need to do it outside, we need to keep our distance we need to keep safe."

She said those rules remain the same and that "bubble wrapping" isn't a solution and why she's not immediately turning to shut down measures.

"I think we had some complacency, we have some sense of, we can get through this and that it doesn't really affect young people," she said, noting that's simply not the case anymore.

"We've changed the epidemiology by protecting people who are most at risk of having severe illness, but when we have lots of cases in young people a percentage of them will end up in the hospital or will end up in ICU. That's what we can all prevent by taking the very simple measures that we all know by now."

Dr. Henry said she's been in touch with counterparts in the Ministry of Education, with the superintendent's with the school districts and principals and teachers, though there are no plans to shut down schools.

"You know what we have also learned is that we see cases go up when children are not in school, and that is often because they have other unstructured time," she said. "Children need school, we know that."

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