The number of new COVID-19 infections in B.C. jumped over Christmas weekend but appear to be levelling off slightly, with confirmed new cases dropping below 400 in the last 24 hours.
Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry reported a total of 2,206 new cases over a five-day period dating back to Dec. 24, but cases have been falling during that time – from 512 cases on Dec. 24 to 382 cases in the last day.
The new numbers put the figure of active COVID cases in B.C. at 7,580, with 373 people in hospital and 80 in intensive care. Another 9,414 (excluding figures from Northern Health) are currently under active monitoring, Henry said.
The province also reported another 74 deaths during the five days, putting the total death count at 882.
Part of the reason for the continued heightened death toll, Henry said, is that COVID-19 outbreaks continue to ravage long-term care facilities and acute-care locations at hospitals. The five-day Christmas weekend saw another eight new outbreaks in long-term care homes, as well as two acute-care outbreaks (including one at Vancouver General Hospital).
In the meantime, 11,930 people in the province have been vaccinated – although two people did show allergic reactions to the vaccine, Henry said. Both are health-care workers who have since been treated and have recovered, and Henry noted it is not unexpected that some people will have similar allergic reactions upon receiving vaccines.
Henry also noted that the new mutated variant of the COVID virus recently discovered in Great Britain – which has triggered new travel bans and raised fears of a more contagious version of the virus – does not appear to be widely circulated in B.C. or Canada. The single case in B.C., as well as others around the country, have all been linked to travel to the U.K., she said.
That is why, Henry added, people must avoid non-essential travel right now while also adhering to the 14-day quarantine process if one does return from abroad. It is imperative that anyone in that situation get tested if symptoms emerge, she added.
“It isn’t a nice-to-do,” Henry said. “It’s a must-do.”
More to come.