B.C. adds 22 more COVID-19 variant cases

·2 min read

Twenty-two more people in B.C. have been identified as having COVID-19 variants of concern, health officials said today. In total, B.C. has recorded 159 cases of the variant associated with the United Kingdom and 23 of the so-called South African variant.

Eight variant cases are now active. Most of the cases continue to be in the Lower Mainland, with 124 recorded in the Fraser Health region and 50 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond). Nine cases have been hospitalized but only one is currently in hospital.

Thirteen per cent of the variant cases are directly related to travel and 60 per cent are close contacts of those people. But in the remaining 25 per cent of cases, it’s unclear where they acquired the variant of concern.

“That reflects that we have transmission going on in communities, particularly as we know in the Lower Mainland,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Henry also reported 438 new cases of the virus in the province today, including nine cases that are epidemiologically linked. She said there have been 254 additional cases over the past seven days that were not counted due to a data system issue. B.C.’s total has now reached 81,367 cases of COVID-19.

Of the new cases, 137 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 249 in the Fraser Health region, 19 in the Island Health region, 16 in the Interior Health region and 17 in the Northern Health region.

There are currently 4,679 active cases and 243 people in hospital, 63 of whom are in critical care. A further 8,445 people are being monitored by public health.

Sadly, two people lost their lives due to the virus since yesterday. And there were two new healthcare outbreaks announced, one at a retirement residence and one at a hospital. One existing outbreak was declared over, leaving eight active outbreaks in long-term care or assisted living facilities and eight in acute care facilities.

To date, 283,182 vaccine doses have been administered, 86,537 of which are second doses.

For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel