COVID-19 in B.C.: Over 1,000 new cases and over 3,000 active cases; vaccine dose acceleration announced; and more

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      New and active cases counts continued to climb, there were a number of deaths over the weekend, and there's one new healthcare outbreak.

      Meanwhile, the provincial immunization program has passed another milestone with over seven million doses administered, and 70 percent of those 12 years and above have received their second dose.

      Today (August 9), B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix held a teleconference to discuss changes to the provincial immunization program.

      Immunization changes

      Henry announced that the dose interval is being reduced from 49 to 28 days. Notices will be issued to approximately 170,000 individuals for booking their second dose, Henry said.

      This reduction follows the same vaccine acceleration being conducted in the Central Okanagan, which was announced on July 28 and was one of several measures introduced to address the outbreak in that region.

      “We made this change to help protect those people, particularly living in regions with outbreaks and high case counts, where getting fully vaccinated as quickly as possible helps bring up that community level of protection,” she said.

      Henry encouraged anyone in such areas to book their second dose as soon as possible.

      For those who lives outside an area where there is a surge in cases, however, she pointed out that there is increasing evidence that extending the dose interval is providing “stronger and longer lasting protection”. Henry recommended about six to eight weeks may offer “better protection”.

      “Right now, we need to balance the epidemiology that we’re seeing and the need to get people as highly protected as possible, knowing that we have a lot of transmission from the highly transmissible strains here in the province, both Gamma and Delta, and that balancing of future protection,” she said.

      Regarding the Central Okanagan outbreak, Henry stated that they are seeing a leveling of cases but have not yet seen a decrease in case numbers in the region.

      Interior Health announced that Henry, Dix, and Interior Health will participate in a telephone town hall at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (August 9) that the public is invited to participate in (call 1-877-229-8493 and enter ID code 117216), with live audio streaming available online

      Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) announced that after “recording a significant reduction in the number of people attending immunization clinics”, it is reallocating resources from mass immunization clinics into outreach efforts to target specific communities where vaccinations have been slower or require more capacity.

      As of September 1, these mass immunization clinics will remain in operation:

      • ICBC Test Collection Site at 255 Lloyd Avenue in North Vancouver;
      • Italian Cultural Centre at 3075 Slocan Street in Vancouver;
      • River Rock Theatre at 8811 River Road in Richmond.

      More information about vaccination clinics in the region can be found at the VCH website.

      Vaccinations

      Henry said that those who have received a dose outside of B.C. can now register their immunization record by visiting a new B.C. government website, along with a personal health number, an image of the vaccination record, and personal contact information.

      Meanwhile, Dix said that there are 833,298 people in B.C. who haven't yet received any vaccinations.

      He added that the province now has a 90 percent vaccination rate for those over 65 years of age.

      Since December, B.C. has administered 7,067,738 doses of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

      As of today, 82 percent (3,801,960) of eligible people 12 and older have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 70.3 percent (3,257,931) have received their second dose.

      In addition, 82.9 percent (3,585,467) of all eligible adults have received their first dose and 72.2 percent (3,121,816) have received their second dose.

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
      Province of British Columbia

      B.C. update: August 6 to 9

      The B.C. Health Ministry is reporting a total of 1,079 new COVID-19 cases from the past three days, which includes:

      • August 6 to 7: 422 new cases;
      • August 7 to 8: 364 new cases;
      • August 8 to 9: 293 new cases.

      Currently, there are 3,036 active cases, which is an increase of 625 cases since August 6.

      The new and active cases include:

      • 587 new cases in Interior Health, with 1,755 total active cases (399 more cases than August 6);
      • 258 new cases in Fraser Health, with 586 total active cases (100 more cases than August 6);
      • 142 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, with 387 total active cases (63 more cases);
      • 62 new cases in Island Health, with 188 total active cases (43 more cases);
      • 30 new cases in Northern Health, with 108 total active cases (20 more cases);
      • no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada, with 12 total active cases.

      Over the weekend, hospitalized cases increased by 16 cases to 68 individuals now in hospitals, and 20 of those patients are in intensive care units (four fewer than August 6).

      Tragically, five new COVID-19-related deaths were reported over the past three time periods. The new deaths include four people in Interior Health and one person in Northern Health. The cumulative total number of fatalities is now at 1,777 people who have died.

      With 439 recoveries, 148,066 people who tested positive have now recovered.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded an overall total of 152,918 COVID-19 cases.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Today, Fraser Health declared an outbreak at KinVillage in South Delta, where one resident and one staff member have tested positive in the longterm care building.

      Accordingly, there are now seven active healthcare outbreaks in longterm care:

      • Holyrood Manor and Kin Village West Court in Fraser Health;
      • Nelson Jubilee Manor, Kootenay Street Village, Cottonwoods Care Centre, and Brookhaven Care Centre in Interior Health;
      • Discovery Harbour in Island Health.

      None of the five regional health authorities declared any new community outbreaks, and didn’t list any new business closures or public exposures.

      Sobeys listed two Safeway locations as having staff who tested positive:

      • at the 211 Anderson Street store in Nelson, where an employee who tested positive last worked on August 1;
      • at the 1721 Columbia Avenue store in Castlegar, where an employee who tested positive last worked on August 4.

      McDonald’s listed the 1858 McCallum Road location in Abbotsford as having one employee, who last worked there on August 5, as testing positive.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.

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