A healthcare worker takes a swab from a driver at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility, in Vancouver, on Monday, December 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A healthcare worker takes a swab from a driver at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility, in Vancouver, on Monday, December 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. records 2,211 new COVID cases, 45 deaths over New Year’s Eve long weekend

More than half the new cases were in Fraser Health

B.C. has reported 2,211 new COVID-19 cases and 45 deaths over the past four days, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a press briefing Monday (Jan. 4).

This was B.C.’s first COVID-19 briefing in 2021.

By day, there were 565 cases reported Friday, 607 cases reported Saturday, 500 cases Sunday, and 539 cases Monday, with 22 epi-linked cases. The weekend’s deaths bring the total COVID-19 death toll in B.C. to 946.

By region, the four days worth of cases break down to 1,301 in Fraser Health, 389 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 288 in Interior Health, 64 in Island Health and 169 in Northern Health.

There are 6,803 active cases of COVID-19 following the weekend. Currently, there are 351 people in hospital, of whom 76 are in critical care or ICU. There have been a total of 54,201 confirmed cases in B.C. since the pandemic began, of whom 45,229 have recovered. There are currently more than 8,700 people under active public health monitoring, excluding Northern Health due to data compilation issues.

There have been six new health-care facility outbreaks in B.C., while eight have been declared over. In total, there are no 52 outbreaks in long-term care homes and eight in acute care settings. The Portal Shelter in Chilliwack has a new community outbreak, while the outbreak at the Cove shelter in Surrey has been declared over.

Henry said that the province will provide a full update on the COVID vaccination schedule near the end of January.

“There are many months left to go on this,” Henry said, speaking of both the vaccination schedule and the overall battle against the virus.

Henry thanked British Columbians who have abided by the rules over the past nine months but said that people continuing to flout the rules have led to community transmission across B.C.

“Right now, I’m asking everybody to be extra vigilant. If you are feeling unwell at all, if you went out for that party… for that gathering with family members, stay away from others.”

Henry took questions about a nearly 50-person outbreak at a Surrey high school, many of which are said to have spread through physical education classes. Henry said that masks were not the answer to gym or other physical classes, because when they get moist they are no longer as helpful at containing droplets. Masks are currently mandatory in middle and high schools in “high traffic” areas.

“I do think there are things that need to be put in place” to keep physical education classes safe, she noted.

READ MORE: B.C. plans for COVID-19 ‘mass vaccination’ by March


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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