COVID-19 in B.C.: Active and hospitalized counts in decline as immunization of longterm care residents begins

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      On Christmas Eve, there’s some encouraging news on the COVID-19 front in B.C. when it comes to case counts.

      Case counts are in decline or lower than previous days in some categories.

      However, the B.C. government announced today that COVID-19 was detected at a second mink farm in the Fraser Valley, which is now under quarantine.

      Meanwhile, the Canadian government has extended the suspension of flights to the U.K., due to the COVID-19 variant detected there. In addition, a second variant has been identified in South Africa, and it has already been found in two cases in the U.K. as well.

      A third variant may have emerged in Nigeria today but has yet to be confirmed conclusively.

      B.C. update: December 24

      Today, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in a joint statement that there are 582 new cases in B.C., which includes:

      • 326 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 107 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 71 in Interior Health
      • 68 in Northern Health;
      • 10 in Island Health;
      • no one from outside Canada.

      An encouraging sign is that active cases have been declining for a few days. Today, there are 8,865 active cases, which is 272 less cases than yesterday.

      Also decreasing are hospitalized cases—with seven less patients, there are now 341 individuals currently in hospital, with 78 of those patients in intensive care units (two less than yesterday).

      Public health is monitoring 9,732 people due to exposure to confirmed cases.

      Tragically, there are 12 new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 808 people who have died.

      A cumulative total of 37,784 people who tested positive have now recovered.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a total of 48,609 cases, which includes:

      • 30,559 cases in Fraser Health;
      • 11,428 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 3,440 cases in Interior Health;
      • 1,651 in Northern Health;
      • 847 in Island Health;
      • 102 people from outside Canada.


      As of today, 8,178 people in B.C. have now been vaccinated.

      In addition, the immunization of longterm care residents has now begun.

      Fraser Health stated today that 77-year-old Andy Yoon of Abbotsford was the first longterm care resident in the health region to receive the vaccine.

      At yesterday's in-person briefing, Henry had revealed who will receive the vaccine over the first four months of the new year. 

      Outbreaks and exposures

      The good news is that there aren’t any new healthcare or community outbreaks.

      In addition, Fraser Health has declared the outbreak at Belvedere Care Centre in Coquitlam as over.

      Once again, none of the five regional health authorities added any new public exposure events.

      Loblaw had three stores where staff members tested positive.

      Two stores were Real Canadian Superstore locations:

      • two employees who last worked on December 12 and 20 at 350 Southeast Marine Drive in Vancouver;
      • three employees who last worked on December 19 and 20 at 14650 104th Avenue in Surrey.

      The third location was Shoppers Drug Mart (10351 100th Street) in Fort St. John, where an employee who tested positive last worked on December 20.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has not yet released the list of new flights with COVID-19.

      For a review of developments that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic in B.C., see this timeline of key dates and events. 

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