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

·4 min read

THE LATEST:

  • As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 465 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths.

  • There are currently 4,331 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C.

  • 329 people are in hospital, with 70 in the ICU.

  • 92,369 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C.

  • There are no new health-care facility outbreaks.

B.C. health officials confirmed 465 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and said 12 more people had died of the disease.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 329 people, 70 of whom are in intensive care.

A total of 1,090 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

B.C. recorded no new outbreaks in health-care facilities. The outbreak at The Emerald at Elim Village, a long-term care facility in Surrey, has been declared over.

For the first time since a second round of restrictions was implemented in November, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry offered a glimmer of hope that B.C.'s COVID-19 case count could be tipping in the right direction.

Henry said in a Monday afternoon news conference that outbreaks are slowing in B.C. and the province is at a "tipping point" she feels positive about.

"Clearly the things we are doing in our community are working," Henry said Monday, while acknowledging that outbreaks continue in essential workplaces and long-term care homes.

She said that if B.C.'s case count continues to trend downwards, there is a possibility some restrictions could be lifted by the Family Day weekend in mid-February.

B.C.'s current health restrictions are in effect until at least Feb. 5 at midnight. The current orders include a ban on gatherings with people outside of one's immediate household.

But Henry said that while B.C.'s numbers continue to decrease, the risk of transmission remains high in all areas of the province, and that outbreaks in Interior Health and Northern Health are of concern.

B.C. 'prepared' for vaccine delays

Henry said the province will soon finish vaccinating all residents of long-term care homes in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions, and is on track to complete vaccinations in all long-term care homes by end of next week depending on when doses arrive.

She said visits to long-term care homes could possibly resume by late March, or once two incubation periods have passed since a long-term care home outbreak has ended.

The federal government on Friday announced Pfizer is temporarily reducing shipments of its vaccine in order to expand manufacturing capacity at a facility in Belgium. The move means there will be fewer shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech coming to Canada until at least March.

Henry said on Monday that the delay is a "setback" and will temporarily slow the province's delivery of the vaccine to at-risk people. But she said the province is working to ensure the highest number of people are immunized.

Henry added that the province will be providing more first doses of the vaccine in March than originally planned, with second doses being pushed to later in March when supply increases.

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What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 9 p.m. PT on Monday, Canada had reported 712,816 cases of COVID-19, and 18,120 total deaths.

A total of 73,919 cases are considered active.

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 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.