Thousands of new COVID-19 cases in B.C. in the past month but Dr. Bonnie Henry isn’t panicking | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Thousands of new COVID-19 cases in B.C. in the past month but Dr. Bonnie Henry isn’t panicking

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
Image Credit: Province of British Columbia
October 10, 2020 - 6:00 PM

B.C. hit a milestone yesterday, Oct. 8, as the total number of COVID-19 cases in the province passed the 10,000 mark, with the highest monthly case count coming in the last 30 days.

B.C. recorded its first case on Jan. 27. By Sept. 8, there had been 6,591 cases, an average of less than 1,000 per month.

In the month since then, there have been 3,475 new cases with most daily case counts exceeding 100.

Yet, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has not re-imposed the strict lockdown rules put in place in March and April. Hospitals are performing routine surgeries and most businesses have re-opened.

While Dr. Henry continually urges safe distancing, hand washing and for people to be calm, be kind and be safe, she’s taking the surge of cases in stride.

“One hundred (cases) a day does seem like an awful lot,” she said, Oct. 8, in response to a question from iNFOnews.ca. “Our increases went up slowly. There wasn’t that rapidly accelerating increase that we’ve seen in some other places in the world. We’ve also seen a levelling off of people in hospitals and ICU.”

Elective surgeries were cancelled and hundreds of hospital beds were freed up in the spring out of fears they would be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, as was the case in places like Italy, Spain and New York.

At its peak, there were more than 140 people in hospitals with COVID-19 in early April in B.C. Despite the recent surge in cases, there were only 75 people in hospital yesterday.

“Early on in this pandemic we didn’t know a lot about how this virus spread,” Dr. Henry said. “We were concerned that it was spreading in health care settings in particular and that could overwhelm them.

‘What the active cases tell us, is that we are in that balance where we are opening up important things in our communities. People are going to work. People are going to school. Yes, there’s some transmission of this virus. But we’re able to do that safely because we can manage those cases and make sure it’s not spreading widely.”

And, while 100 or more cases a day may seem shocking, B.C. continues to lead the way in keeping the virus' spread to a minimum. Our cases per 100,000 population pales in comparison to Canada’s largest provinces.

According to Health Canada statistics, B.C. recorded 198 cases per 100,000 population as of yesterday.

While that’s a higher ratio than less populated Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which each had 171, it’s far below Ontario’s 390, Alberta’s 451 and Quebec’s 978.

On the world stage, Government of Canada statistics show that even Quebec lags behind some of the worst hit countries, such as the United States with 2,312 cases per 100,000 population and more than 212,000 deaths.

Italy, which was the focus of so much attention in the early days of the pandemic when its hospitals were overwhelmed, has recorded 560 cases per 100,000. France is at 1,002, Spain at 1,807 and the United Kingdom at 843.

South America’s largest countries of Brazil, Chile and Peru have all recorded more than 2,300 cases per 100,000.

Mexico is at 631.

Some of the world’s smaller countries have been hardest hit with Qatar at 4,498 cases per 100,000 and Bahrain at 4,535.

All countries in the world have been hit by COVID-19 but some countries have recorded few cases with Laos’s 23 cases translating into 0.32 per 100,000.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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