What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Feb. 23

·4 min read
A family waits to cross a street in Vancouver on Monday.
A family waits to cross a street in Vancouver on Monday.

(Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

THE LATEST:

  • Health officials announced 559 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death on Tuesday.

  • There are now 4,677 active cases of novel coronavirus in B.C.

  • 238 people are in hospital, including 68 in intensive care.

  • To date, 1,336 people have died of COVID-19 in B.C. out of 77,822 confirmed cases.

  • 224,354 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 58,896 second doses.

  • As of Monday, officials have confirmed 101 cases of variants of concern.

The rolling seven-day average of daily COVID-19 case counts is starting to rise again and test positivity rates are climbing as B.C. struggles to get the second wave of the pandemic under control.

As of Tuesday, seven per cent of tests for the novel coronavirus are now coming back positive across the province, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 dashboard. In the Northern Health region, more than 13 per cent of tests are now positive.

In a live briefing on Tuesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that public health has confirmed 559 more cases of the novel coronavirus and one more death, describing the current uptick in the caseload as "concerning."

She also announced plans to grow the workforce responsible for administering COVID-19 vaccines with a public health order that allows health-care professionals including dentists, midwives, pharmacy technicians and retired nurses to participate.

"We're in a period of vaccine hope and pandemic reality," Henry said.

As of Tuesday, 224,354 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 58,896 second doses.

There are now 4,677 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Of those, 238 people are in hospital, including 68 in intensive care.

To date, 1,336 people have died of the disease out of 77,822 confirmed cases.

Variants of concern

Meanwhile, fast-spreading variants of concern are showing up in increasing numbers in most parts of the province. As of Monday, a total of 101 cases have been confirmed, in every region but Northern Health. That includes seven cases of the variant first identified in the U.K. that were recently detected in schools in Surrey and Delta.

Health officials say that so far, they haven't seen transmission of the variants in schools, but they're once again asking everyone to step up their measures to prevent disease spread.

"It is important to know that while these COVID-19 variants of concern have shown to transmit more easily, the measures we take to stop the spread are exactly the same as what we have been doing since the start of the pandemic. This is the case whether at work, at school or at home," Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a written statement on Monday.

"As community transmission continues, we all need to continue to use all of the layers of protection, to continue to keep to our households only, and to avoid travel unless it is absolutely necessary."

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What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 7 p.m. PT Monday, Canada had reported 849,517 cases of COVID-19, with 31,164 cases considered active.

A total of 21,723 people have died.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.

  • Cough.

  • Tiredness.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Loss of taste or smell.

  • Headache.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.

  • Keep at least two metres away from people outside your bubble. Keep your distance from people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.