More than 2,100 cases of COVID-19 since Friday in B.C.; 49 deaths | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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More than 2,100 cases of COVID-19 since Friday in B.C.; 49 deaths

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Province of B.C.
December 14, 2020 - 3:40 PM

B.C.'s first COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed tomorrow, marking the first big shift in what the province's top doctor described today as a "year like no other."

"This is such an important thing. Who would have known just 11 months ago that we would have come together globally, and quite frankly, put the money towards developing a vaccine that is game-changing?" provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, Dec. 14, of the vaccine's distribution.

Rollout of the vaccine program marks the final leg of the pandemic, but Dr. Henry warned there is still a way to go. The virus continues to circulate in B.C. communities and it can be fatal, which was made apparent with today's transmission numbers. The province had another 2,146 new diagnoses of COVID-19 and 49 deaths since Friday.

"My biggest fear right now is that we're not going to do enough ... people are unnecessarily going to be exposed and some of them will get very ill, will end up in our hospitals and end up dying at this point where we are so so close."

People have to remember every time they are together, there is a risk.

Dr. Henry said she knows most people are doing what they can to protect themselves and their families, but inadvertent transmission is still possible when people spend more time in close contact for holiday celebrations.

“We aren't using masks, we don't have those barriers and those safe distances that we have in place in workplaces and other public settings (in these settings)," she said.

“A few minutes at the grocery store or shopping in your local real retail stores is quite different than sitting with your extended family or with friends or loved ones that you have not seen for a while in your living room for the afternoon, or for the evening, or longer.”

Better days, however, are in sight, she said.

“We now have a safe and effective vaccine that has been approved for use here in Canada, and is available here in British Columbia,” Dr. Henry said.

“And this is momentous news, and the first step in our path to protecting people most at risk in our communities and taking the pressure off our health care system so that care is available for all of us, who need it across the province.”

This week, she said, the first vaccines will be given at two sites in the Lower Mainland and next week with the supply that health officials expect to receive, vaccine will be available in every health authority across the province.

“I can't tell you how exciting this is… to know that this start of this new phase of being able to protect people is beginning here in B.C., and in Canada,” she said.

From Friday to Saturday, there were 698 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in British Columbia, from Saturday to Sunday an additional 689 cases and from Sunday to today where were 759, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic 42,943.

Of the new cases, 300 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,474 people were in the Fraser Health region, 29 people were in Vancouver Island health region, 250 people were in the Interior Health region, and 91 people in the Northern Health region.

In addition, there were two new cases diagnosed and people who live 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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