2,211 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. over New Year's long weekend | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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2,211 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. over New Year's long weekend

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks to reporters from Vancouver, Dec. 29, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
January 04, 2021 - 4:10 PM

Cases of COVID-19 continued to stack up over the New Year's long weekend, with 2,211 recorded since last Thursday, but the full effect of holiday mingling may not yet be known.

"Our hope is that that levelling off that we saw before the holidays will continue and that enough of us did follow the rules and made sure that we're not transmitting this virus that we will start to see the numbers coming down again," provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, Jan. 4, during a news conference.

"As our immunizations are ramping up the actions each of us takes today will make a difference for all of us tomorrow and the next week. I want you to know that by choosing to use your layers of protection and following restrictions in orders in place, you are saving lives. We're in this race right now. We need to make sure that we can win."

Dr. Henry said that using layers of protection — hand washing, mask-wearing, etc. — is key but self-monitoring may be the most helpful as life gets back to its regular pace, post holidays.

"If you are feeling unwell, at all. If you went out for that party or that group meeting or that gathering with family members, and you're not sure. Please stay home. Stay away from others," she said.

The new cases mean 54,201 people in British Columbia have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic appeared in B.C.

Of the newest cases, 288 were recorded in the Interior Health region, 389 were people who live in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,301 were people living in the Fraser Health region, 64 people were in Vancouver Island Health region. There are also 351, people are in hospital, with 76 of them in critical care ICU. 

There were also 45 more deaths during the holiday period, raising the pandemic death toll to 946, Dr. Henry said.

"Once again, the majority of them are our seniors and the elders in long term care... I know of at least two First Nations elders who passed away over the last few day and that, of course, affects us all," she said.

While the death toll and case count may continue to rise, so too will the number of people who are being vaccinated. There have been 24,139 British Columbians immunized as of the end of Sunday.

"If we look at where did this vaccine go, about 20 per cent of it made it to residents in long-term care," Dr. Henry said.

Just under 50 per cent has gone to staff in long-term care facilities, and another third has gone to healthcare workers in various other settings.

"So for our next two weeks, in particular to Jan. 18, we will deliver the remaining doses from December in January, and about 16,575 additional doses we have arriving," Dr. Henry said.

"This week, the focus, as I've mentioned, will continue to be on long-term care and assisted living making sure that we are protecting those who are most vulnerable in our communities. And then coverage of our frontlines of acute care and ongoing immunization in our First Nations communities."

Immunizing the province in a short period of time is what Dr. Henry described as a "monumental task."

"There are many months left to go in this. We are constrained by logistics and also by how much vaccine we're receiving," she said. "But we're optimistic and we are focused intensely on making sure we protect people in long term care and assisted living as quickly as we possibly can. And of course, protect those most at risk in our communities."

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