1,533 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday in B.C.; 92 in Interior Health | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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1,533 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday in B.C.; 92 in Interior Health

Dr. Bonnie Henry Feb. 16, 2021.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Government
February 16, 2021 - 4:11 PM

B.C.’s health officials admit they are frustrated by how long it’s taking to get the vaccination program going, but there’s not much that they can do.

“We’re playing the hand we were dealt, and we are committed to getting immunizations into people's arms to protect them, as fast as we receive them and we've been doing that very effectively,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, Feb. 16, when asked to reflect on the fact that Washington State has already administered more than a million vaccine doses while this province is only at 171,755 doses of a vaccine administered, with 22,914 of those being to people who received a second dose.

In fact, public officials south of the border are promising a return to normal by spring while Canada is looking at next September.

“We now are very hopeful that once we've started to get supply on a regular basis and Pfizer has committed to giving us increased doses between now and the end of March. We're also hopefully going to also receive increased doses from Moderna and we know that there's more vaccine on the horizon. So come April, we understand that the shipments we're receiving from both of those vaccines will be increasing and moved up from where  they were initially thought to be received.”

While vaccine issues are ongoing, the current concern is B.C.’s rising COVID-19 case count in more densely populated areas, health officials said today.

The COVID-19 count increased by 1,533 between Friday and Tuesday, with 92 of the cases being in the Interior Health region. There were 392 people diagnosed with COVID-19 who reside in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 856 in the Fraser Health region, 58 in Island Health and 135 in the Northern Health region.

Since the weekend there were also another 26 people across British Columbia who died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of people to 1,314.

“The overall number of new cases has slowly been coming down, and is lower than it was a few weeks ago, but it is still much higher than we want it to be,” Dr. Henry said.

Case numbers have stabilized as the outbreaks have been settling down in the Interior Health region, but she said in some higher population areas, particularly the Fraser Health region, she’s starting to see an uptick in the rolling two-week average.

One of the areas of concern is the reproductive number for the disease. The aim is to see it consistently below one, which is how many people on average a single case is transmitting to.

“If it's above one, we know that that means growth can happen very quickly,” Dr. Henry said. “In the last week, we started to see this rise above one in some regions of the province, particularly in the Fraser health region.”

When transmission starts to go from multiple people to multiple people, it grows what health officials call “exponentially.”

“These are the things that we need to pay attention to,” she said. “Now, while the numbers seem like they're reasonable the fact that we're seeing an increase in the reproductive number means that we're not having those safe interactions as much as we need to be. We need to reduce the transmission events that are happening in our community.”

She pointed out that it's not just a Lower Mainland problem, and this attitude is what causes issues elsewhere.

There have also been more cases of the COVID-19 variant found in the province.

To date, there have been a total of 60 people who have been infected with variants of concern. That's 40 of the UK variant, 19 people who have been diagnosed with the South African variant and one person with the Nigerian variant.

B.C. now has 4,189 active cases of COVID-19 in all health authorities in British Columbia. There are 231 people in hospital, with 74 of whom in critical care or ICU.

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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