31 COVID-19 deaths since Friday as B.C. marks one year of live-streamed updates | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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31 COVID-19 deaths since Friday as B.C. marks one year of live-streamed updates

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix provides a COVID-19 update as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry looks on, Dec. 17, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
January 18, 2021 - 4:06 PM

It’s been a year since B.C. started to get regular updates about COVID-19 and the health minister said the time that has passed has taught him a lot about the character of this province.

“We have seen through the course of the pandemic a lot of worry, a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainty,” Adrian Dix said. “And while COVID-19 gives each of us every reason to experience those feelings, each and every day. I also saw from that day something else, something reassuring — resolved spirit, strength, compassion, as well as fear and uncertainty that I think are part of every day in a pandemic.”

What he said has kept him and Dr. Bonnie Henry going is seeing "how British Columbians in every part of our province, each and every day, refused to let fear and uncertainty rule.”

He encouraged British Columbians to continue to draw upon the very best within themselves to continue doing what needs to be done to fight the pandemic, particularly in Northern B.C. and within the Southern Interior where numbers are starting to climb.

From Jan. 15 to 16 there were 584 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed, from Jan. 16 to 17 there were 445, and in the last 24 hours, an additional 301.

That brings the weekend tally to 1,330, and the provincial total to 61,447. Of these cases, 257 were from Interior Health.

In addition to new cases, there were 31 deaths,  four of which were in the Interior Health region. There are 343 in hospital and 68 in Intensive Care.

What this means for B.C.’s hospital bed capacity is that 86.5 per cent of base beds are used, and 1,263 beds available in the entire healthcare system.

While case numbers continue to grow, so too does the number of people vaccinated.

Dr. Henry said since the start of the immunization program in December, B.C. has provided 87,346 people with a COVID-19 vaccine.

Last week the vaccine supply ran dry but 46,675 more doses arrived. Of those,  28,275 were of the Pfizer vaccine and 18,400 were doses of Moderna.

Of the Moderna, a good proportion of it was distributed around the province. More is expected this week.

“So, as you can see, the program continues,”  Dr. Henry said.

“Our focus continues to be on immunizing all people who are at greatest risk.”

That includes residents and staff who work in long term care homes around the province, as well as the key roles that we have in our acute care facilities.”

Canada has received notice that there will be delays in the Pfizer vaccine supply and Dr. Henry said next week is where the program will be most affected.

“We know that this delay will temporarily slow our delivery into the next phase of at-risk people particularly into other parts of our hospital system,” she said.

These types of challenges aren’t unexpected, she said.

“We have to make sure that we are continuing with providing the first of two doses to those at highest risk, and that we are able to start second doses at day 35 in accordance to our plans that we announced a few weeks ago,” she said.

“So, that is our focus over the next couple of weeks. It is a bit of a setback, but it is only a delay.”

In the meantime, she said, the risks remain high all over, British Columbia and that can be seen from the numbers over the weekend.

Of new COVID-19  cases, 281 were people in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 548 were in the Fraser Health region, 65, people were in the Vancouver Island health region,166, people in the Northern Health region, and 13 cases were people who were who normally reside outside of Canada.

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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