COVID-19 in B.C.: Active cases increase, mostly in Vancouver Coastal and Interior Health; no new deaths; and more

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      For one of the first times in weeks, the number of active cases grew instead of decreased, with the most increases occurring in Vancouver Coastal Health and Interior Health.

      However, it remains to be seen if this growth will be sustained over several days and whether or not it becomes a trend. 

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had warned at a previous briefing that case numbers would begin to increase once more sectors reopened—it is now a matter of ensuring that case numbers remain within public health’s capacity to manage them and protecting the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.

      Although many restrictions are being relaxed, Henry had also previously stated that every transmission offers an opportunity for the virus to mutate, which underscores the need to continue preventative measures even while vaccinated (which is not 100-percent protection).

      In fact, reports have arisen from Israel that the Pfizer vaccine has decreased in efficacy in preventing infections and illness—something that has coincided with the dropping of physical distancing measures in Israel along with the proliferation of the Delta variant.  

      Meanwhile in B.C., CBC News reported that a Denman Island family doctor, Dr. Stephen Malthouse, is asking the B.C. Supreme Court to stop the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. from disciplining him for statements he has made about COVID-19 on the basis of free speech.

      CBC News previously reported in May that Malthouse had raised controversy for his views about opposing pandemic health restrictions and circulated an open letter that the novel coronavirus is not more deadly than the flu.  

      B.C. update: July 7

      Today, the B.C. Health Ministry is reporting 59 new COVID-19 cases.

      Currently, there are 624 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, which is an increase of 20 cases since yesterday.

      The new and active cases include:

      • 20 new cases in Fraser Health (177 total active cases, which is a decrease of two cases since yesterday);
      • 17 new cases in Interior Health (163 total active cases, which is nine more cases than yesterday);
      • 13 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health (230 total active cases, which is an increase of 10 cases since yesterday);
      • four new cases among people from outside Canada (11 total active cases, or an increase of three cases);
      • three new cases in Island Health (15 total active cases, or an increase of three cases);
      • two new cases in Northern Health (28 total active cases, which is one fewer case than yesterday).

      As of today, there are 86 individuals currently in hospital (one fewer case than yesterday), and 20 of those patients are in intensive care units (two fewer than yesterday).

      With 35 recoveries since yesterday, there is now a cumulative total of 145,455 people who have recovered.

      For another consecutive day, no new deaths have been reported. The cumulative total number of COVID-19-related fatalities remains at 1,759 people who have died.

      B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 147,856 cases in the province during the pandemic.

      Vaccinations

      Since the provincial immunization program began in December, B.C. has administered 5,404,047 doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines.

      As of today, 78.2 percent (3,631,452) of eligible people 12 years and above have received their first dose, and 38.2 percent (1,772,595) have received their second dose.

      Island Health announced today that two new COVID-19 vaccinations clinics have been established in the Comox Valley:

      • the clinic at the Florence Filberg Centre, which opened on July 1, will continue to operate as a replacement for the Glacier Gardens clinic;
      • a clinic has opened at the regional B.C. Assessment Authority office (2488 Idiens Way) in Courtenay.

      The clinic at Glacier Gardens won’t reopen, due to high temperatures in the building.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Currently, there are four active healthcare outbreaks in:

      • longterm care: Rotary Manor Dawson Creek (Northern Health);
      • acute care: Laurel Place at Surrey Memorial Hospital, Eagle Ridge Hospital (Fraser Health), and Royal Inland Hospital (Interior Health);
      • assisted or independent living: none.

      None of the five regional health authorities have declared any new healthcare or community outbreaks, and none added any new public exposure events or business closures.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added the following six flights to its public exposures lists (for affected row information, visit the BCCDC website):

      • June 29: WestJet 174, Vancouver to Edmonton;
      • June 29: WestJet 3103, Calgary to Nanaimo;
      • July 1: Air North 510, Kelowna to Vancouver;
      • July 1: Philippine Airlines 116, Manila to Vancouver;
      • July 2: Aeromexico 696, Mexico City to Vancouver;
      • July 2: Flair 8448, Kelowna to Edmonton.

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