COVID-19 in B.C.: Monthly update reveals progress; more cases in Interior Health than Vancouver Coastal; and more

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      At today’s B.C. COVID-19 briefing, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provided a monthly epidemiological update, which provided an encouraging look at the progress the province has made—showing what British Columbians are capable of achieving during this pandemic, as well as some areas of concern.

      Looking at geographic distribution of cases, Henry said that Lower Mainland and the northeastern area of the province have had among the highest case numbers from January to May.

      In examining total case counts by health authority regions from June 1 to 7, Fraser Health has had the most cases (over 220 cases), with Surrey, Abbotsford, and the Tri-Cities among the top hot spots.

      Interior Health had the second most cases (almost 120 cases), with the Central Okanagan and Vernon being areas of concern. 

      Vancouver Coastal Health, which has commonly had more cases than Interior Health, has been continually declining in new case counts over the past month—and now has less than the B.C. Interior—with almost 50 cases for the first week of June.

      A look at the daily rate of new cases per 100,000 population reveals that the Interior has the highest daily rate (almost 16 cases), with hot spots in places with smaller populations like Grand Forks and Cranbrook. Meanwhile, Fraser Health and Northern Health are around the same level (average of almost 10 cases).

      Henry noted that there was a “dramatic drop in cases” after peaking in April. What has remained consistent but low are the number of deaths. 

      She said that for the first time in several months, the reproductive rate of the virus (which indicates how many people the virus is spreading to) remains well below one in all health regions, and all case counts for hospitalizations, community transmissions, and deaths have been declining as immunizations increase. 

      This was all revealed as British Columbia potentially prepares for the next phase of the provincial restart plan. The earliest date at which that might begin is on Tuesday (June 15).

      Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix are scheduled to be joined by Premier John Horgan at the briefing on Monday (June 14).

      In other news, UBC launched a two-day forum today to address anti-Asian racism that has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum is intending to discuss the results of a national survey that explored the experiences of discrimination that Asian Canadians have had, as well as the attitudes about Asian Canadians held by non-Asian Canadians. For more details, see this article

      B.C. update: June 10

      B.C. has 153 new COVID-19 cases today, Henry announced. By region, that includes:

      • 73 in Fraser Health (48 percent);
      • 39 in Interior Health (25 percent);
      • 21 in Vancouver Coastal Health (14 percent);
      • 11 in Island Health (seven percent);
      • none among those from outside of Canada.

      A drop of 65 cases leaves B.C. with 1,910 active cases today.

      With a decrease of 20 patients in hospitals since yesterday, there are 176 people in hospitals today, with 49 of those patients in intensive care units (two fewer individuals than yesterday).

      Sadly, there are four new COVID-19-related deaths, which Henry said includes one person in their 50s, one person in their 60s, and two over 80 years of age. B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said that two deaths were in Vancouver Coastal Health and the other two were in Fraser Health.

      The total number of fatalities during the pandemic is now at 1,729 people who have died. 

      Also, Henry said that, over the course of the pandemic, there have been two deaths of those under the age of 10 (one was an infant, and the other was a toddler—no specific ages given). 

      With 208 recoveries since yesterday, a total of 142,314 people have now recovered in B.C. 

      B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 145,996 cases during the pandemic. 

      Henry said that almost 75 percent of adults aged 18 years and older have received their first dose, as well as almost 73 percent of those 12 years and above.

      A total of 3,233,103 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, and 443,562 of those are second doses.

      Henry said that 325,000 doses per week are being administered.

      In the B.C. immunization program, Henry said that invitations to book a second dose will be issued eight weeks after the first dose.

      She said that the lenght of this dose interval is safe for everyone. Yet she also pointed out that evidence is emerging that protection is stronger and longer if the interval is longer than eight weeks, particularly for older adults. 

      Although Henry said vaccine supplies are limited at the moment, she added that additional doses of Moderna will arrive in the coming weeks, which will allow them to expand vaccinations. 

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

      Outbreaks and exposures

      As of today, Henry said there are seven active outbreaks: five outbreaks in longterm care facilities and two in acute care facilities.

      Once again, none of the five regional health authorities listed any new healthcare or community outbreaks, public exposure events, or businesses closed due to COVID-19.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added two flights to its lists of public exposure events:

      • June 6: Swoop 164, Abbotsford to Winnipeg (affected rows 18 to 24);
      • June 7: American Airlines 1415, Dallas to Vancouver (affected rows not reported). 

      Loblaw listed Joe's No Frills at 471 Arrow Road in Invermere as having one employee, who last worked on June 3, who tested positive. 

      McDonald’s listed one employee who tested positive as last having worked on June 7 at the location at 8586 120th Street in Surrey,