B.C.’s new COVID-19 cases continued to run near their average of recent days over the weekend, with 2,146 new cases and 49 more deaths since Friday.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gave the latest coronavirus report Monday, after B.C.’s first vaccine doses arrived in B.C. Sunday night. The first doses will be administered starting Tuesday at two health care sites in the Fraser Health region, with health care workers dealing with infected patients the first priority.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control diagnosed 698 cases from Friday to Saturday, 689 from Saturday to Sunday and 759 from Sunday to Monday. Both the cases and deaths continued to be concentrated in the Fraser Health, which saw 1,474 of the new cases up to Dec. 14. There were 300 new cases in Vancouver Coastal, 250 in Interior Health, 91 in Northern Health and 29 on Vancouver Island.
Henry emphasized the need to avoid traditional holiday season gatherings in person as community transmission remains high, warning that people gathering for long periods in homes without masks or physical distance measures is much riskier than visiting a store with barriers and precautions in place.
“I know some who are having Zoom holiday meetings on big-screen TVs,” Henry said. “Some are still cooking big meals, but doing meal deliveries instead of inviting people over.”
Henry noted that virus transmission is happening more easily in winter conditions, and having sufficient vaccine administered to slow and stop community transmission is still several months away.
“My biggest fear right now is that we’re not going to do enough, we’re going to let off right now, and people are unnecessarily going to be exposed and some of them will get very ill, will end up in our hospitals or end up dying at this point where we are so, so close,” Henry said.
The latest results bring the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 to 359, 87 of them in critical care. Another 11,177 are in isolation and being monitored remotely after exposure or testing positive in all health authorities, and 31,207 people have recovered.
Six outbreaks have been declared over, including Fleetwood Villa in Surrey, Tsawaayus Rainbow Gardens in Port Alberni and West Coast General Hospital, also in Port Alberni. An outbreak at Fellburn Care Centre in Burnaby pathology unit has been eliminated but outbreak protocols are still in place in the long-term care area, and at Windermere Care Centre in Vancouver a second outbreak has been eliminated. That leaves 55 active outbreaks in health care units.