1,462 new COVID-19 in B.C. since Friday; 72 in Interior Health | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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1,462 new COVID-19 in B.C. since Friday; 72 in Interior Health

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks to reporters from Vancouver as Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on Dec. 29, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
March 08, 2021 - 3:51 PM

The outbreak at the Cottonwood long-term care facility is a reminder that vaccinations aren’t ironclad protection against COVID-19, B.C.’s top doctor said today.

“This is a home where all of the residents and staff had been offered immunization and (there was) a very high uptake of immunization and some of the cases are in people who had received two doses of vaccine,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, March 8, after announcing that there were 1,462 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since Friday, 72 of which were in the Interior Health region.

“This serves to remind us that while we are very confident that the vaccine is very effective and prevents particularly severe illness and death, it doesn't necessarily mean that all transmission will be stopped and we need to be mindful right now and we still have high levels of transmission our communities.”

She said it shows that in addition to the vaccine, it’s particularly important to continue COVID-19 precautions, especially with older people.

Another step toward widespread vaccination got underway today, with open booking for seniors 90-and-older British Columbians and Aboriginal residents over the age of 65. There were an estimated 1.7 million calls made by 10 a.m. today, and people have complained that they couldn’t get through despite calling multiple times. Health Minister Adrian Dix said resources would be added to make the process smoother in the coming weeks, but Dr. Henry said that some help from the public would be appreciated.

“We know there have been extremely high call volumes today and teams are working to respond as quickly as possible,” Dr. Henry said. There are roughly 80,000 British Columbians in this age group, many of whom already have had a vaccine in from a care home. It's estimated around 10,000 were able to book an appointment for a vaccine next week, when the clinics open.

“While I'm grateful to see the enthusiasm that we have, we ask everyone who is outside of the age groups for this week to please be patient. Wait your turn. We know that there will be time for everybody and everybody will get their vaccine as soon as we can arrange the appointments.”

She said calling this week if you're outside of these first age groups, will not speed up your turn.

“It may cause more delays for people trying to get appointments for their loved ones, or for themselves, who are in this first phase,” she said. “We can all do our part, by waiting our turn and not calling multiple times.”

While vaccines are now going into arms and cases are plateauing the pandemic is still something B.C. and the world will be dealing with for a while. 

Dr. Henry said her aim throughout the pandemic has always been to have as much as is safe, open, while also protecting those who are at the highest risk.

“Now with our vaccine programs taking off that protection is so important and it allows us to think ahead to where we will be during the next few weeks and months until we get to that point where we can start moving into our post-pandemic world,” she said.

“It is likely we are still going to have to deal with the virus that causes COVID 19, but we will be in a much different place by the time we head to the summer.”

In the weeks ahead, Dr. Henry said health officials are looking at a modified return of some of the activities that have been on pause for the last months of winter.

“We're not going to rush to get things open, but we will take a thoughtful careful and phased approach over the next few weeks,” she said.

“I like to think of it as slowly turning up the dial, again, rather than flicking a switch, because we know that we're not yet in a place where we can go back to our pre-pandemic gatherings.”

From Friday to Saturday there were 545 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in B.C., from Saturday to Sunday there were an additional 532 new cases and in the last 24 hours there were 385 new cases, for a total of 1,462, new cases. That brings the total to 84,569 people in British Columbia who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last year.

There were 407 cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 802 are people in the Fraser Health region, 72 people in Vancouver Island Health, 79 people live in the Interior Health region, and 102 are in the Northern Health region.

There are now have 4,854 active cases, 240 people are in hospital, 66 of whom are in critical care or ICU. Over 1,723 people under active public health monitoring across the province and 78,237 people who have passed their infectious period and recovered.

Over the weekend 11 people died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of people who have died in B.C. in the last year to 1,391.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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