B.C. COVID-19 numbers 'all too high'

·3 min read

B.C.’s Health Minister Adrian Dix had a strong message in the face of rising COVID-19 case counts: the numbers are “all too high right now.”

He said while the vaccine progress is reassuring—with 10.5 per cent of the 4.3 million eligible British Columbians having received a dose of a vaccine—the rise in other numbers, including hospitalizations, new daily infections, new variant cases, and active cases, is concerning.

“COVID doesn’t care about vaccine optimism,” said Dix. “It lives to spread, and it spreads to live, that’s it. There’s no point thinking everyone’s safe because there’s vaccine, because it’s almost our time for our shot, or even because we’ve had our shot. COVID-19 is all around us.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 1,785 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. over the weekend—556 from Friday to Saturday, 598 from Saturday to Sunday and a further 631 in the last 24 hours. Two of the weekend’s cases are epidemiologically linked. The total number of cases in B.C. has reached 92,571.

Of the new cases, 469 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 1,010 in the Fraser Health region, 89 in the Island Health region, 84 in the Interior Health region and 133 in the Northern Health region.

The latest local data indicates there were 115 new cases in Richmond between March 12 and 18.

There are 5,290 active cases and 303 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 80 of whom are in critical care. The hospitalization number is the highest since Jan. 27. A further 9,330 people are under active public health monitoring.

There were 16 new deaths announced today. Henry said there have been no new healthcare outbreaks and declared two existing outbreaks over, leaving active outbreaks in four long-term care, assisted living or independent living facilities and seven acute care facilities.

Henry reported 166 new COVID-19 cases that are variants of concern, for a total of 1,366 to date. Of the total, 237 are currently active cases. There have been 1,240 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 41 of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 85 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant. Most of these cases continue to be in the Fraser Health (1,047 cases) and Vancouver Coastal Health (276 cases) regions.

To date, 539,409 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

Henry said the data in B.C. has “levelled out for many weeks now,” but that the numbers are slowly and steadily increasing.

“Concerningly, we’re starting to see younger people who are being affected end(ing) up in hospital and needing hospital and ICU care,” she said.

She added that indoor gatherings of any size continue to be a risk, particularly with more transmissible variants active in the province. The areas where COVID-19 spreads more quickly and more dangerously remain the same, but with “even less margin for error.”

“The variants of concern are moving quickly. It makes it more difficult for us to have that leeway to do the things that are risky,” said Henry.

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