COVID-19 in B.C.: Dr. Bonnie Henry on vaccinations, longterm care cases decrease, and more

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      The new case count continues to remain above the 400 mark.

      Meanwhile, B.C. provincial public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke about the impact that the immunization program is already having—and pointed out how that can be seen in today’s update.

      Both Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix also stated that at the briefing on Monday (March 1), they will be joined by B.C. immunization executive lead Dr. Penny Ballem to provide further information about immunization program, particularly for those of 80 years of age and above.

      Henry also said that everyone over the age of 80 will be contacted in the coming weeks about vaccinations.

      B.C. update: February 23

      Henry announced there are 559 new cases (including 29 epi-linked cases) in B.C. today, including:

      • 278 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 132 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 66 in Northern Health;
      • 43 in Interior Health;
      • 39 in Island Health;
      • one person from outside of Canada.

      Currently, there are 4,677 active cases, which is 117 more cases since yesterday.

      Hospitalized cases have also increased. Since yesterday, an additional 15 individuals have been admitted to hospital, bringing the total to 238 people in hospital, with 69 of those patients (six more than yesterday) in intensive care units

      Public health is monitoring 7,881 people for exposures to identified cases.

      Sadly, there has been one death in an acute care unit in Vancouver Coastal Health. The total number of fatalities in B.C. during the pandemic is now at 1,336 people who have died.

      Meanwhile, 71,753 people have now recovered.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has reported a cumulative total of 77,822 cases.

      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, with Dr. Bonnie Henry
      Province of British Columbia

      Vaccinations

      Henry pointed out that there haven’t been any new cases in longterm care or assisted living facilities and there haven’t been any deaths in longterm care in last 24 hours. (As previously noted, the one person who died was in an acute care facility.)

      “This is really a reflection of the vaccines that we have had and their use and deployment to longterm care and assisted living across this province,” she said.

      She called it “remarkable” that even a single dose in longterm care residents and healthcare workers has shown effectiveness of upwards of 80 percent within two to three weeks, and she that this is a “success that we need to appreciate and celebrate”.

      Henry said that to date, 287,950 doses have been administered in B.C., and 58,896 of those have been second doses.

      Providing more specific details, Dix said that 92 percent (28,430 people) of longterm care residents have received their first dose and 39 percent (12,197 people) have received their second doses.

      He said that among longterm care facility staff, 94 percent (36,623 people) have received their first dose, and 52 percent (20,434 people) have received their second dose.

      In assisted-living facilities, 9,489 residents have received their first dose, and 2,254 of them have received their second dose while 4,969 staff received their first dose and 1,328 of them have received their second dose.

      Henry said that so far, there have been 292 adverse events, or reactions to vaccinations, and 19 of those were anaphylaxis or allergic reactions.

      Henry said that she has issued a provincial health order to allow health professions and occupations to work in immunization clinics, with appropriate training, to expand the workforce available for B.C.’s vaccination program.

      That will allow for dentists, midwives, pharmacy technicians, retired nurses, paramedics, and more to assist with vaccinations.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Henry said there aren’t any new healthcare outbreaks.

      That leaves a total of 17 active healthcare outbreaks, with 12 in longterm care facilities and five in acute care units. These outbreaks involve 633 cases (415 residents and 218 staff members).

      In addition, Interior Health announced today that the cluster in Williams Lake has been contained. Since the last update on February 19, there have been four new cases, bringing the total to 421 cases. With 388 people having recovered, there are 33 active cases remaining.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control added two domestic flights to its COVID-19 exposure lists:

      • February 17: Air Canada 123, Calgary to Vancouver, affected rows 29 to 35;
      • February 18: Air Canada 115, Toronto to Vancouver, affected rows 30 to 36.

      Sobeys added two Safeway locations to its list of stores with staff who tested positive:

      • one was the 200-2 Avenue West store in Prince Rupert, where an employee who tested positive last worked on February 17;
      • another was the 6401 120th Street store in Delta, where an employee who tested positive last worked on February 19.

      Loblaw stated that two employees who tested positive last worked on February 9 and 18 at Shoppers Drug Mart (1–4030 200th Street) in Langley.

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