B.C. detects 1,533 COVID-19 infections in past four days

26 more British Columbians died from the virus since Friday, raising the province's death toll from COVID-19 to 1,314

B.C.'s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry regularly provides updates on COVID-19 | Photo: B.C. government

In the four days since Friday afternoon, before the Family Day long weekend, B.C. health officials detected 1,533 COVID-19 cases – a total that shows that the pace of new infections remains high.

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry told media February 16 that while the pace of new infections "is lower than it was a few weeks ago, it is still very high, much higher than we want it to be."

In January, it was common to have more than 500 newly identified cases in a 24-hour period, and the record total of daily cases in the month was 761. B.C.'s highest total of newly detected COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period was 911 on November 27.

Another 26 British Columbians died from the virus in the past four days, Henry said. That raises the province's death toll from COVID-19 to 1,314.

Serious infections have also been on the rise, with five more hospitalizations today than before the long weekend, for a total of 231. The number of those in intensive care units (ICU) at hospitals rose by 13, to 74, after this metric had seen declines in the previous eight consecutive data updates. 

Health Minister Adrian Dix said hospital occupancy is far below where it was a year ago. When new beds are included in the total, hospitals are at 70.4% capacity, with 3,531 available beds, he said. When only accounting for ICU, hospitals are at 51.7% occupancy, Dix said, adding that this translates into 367 available beds. 

Counting the new infections, 74,283 people have contracted the virus that spawned a global pandemic in B.C. since late January 2020. Of those 68,705 are considered recovered because they have received two negative tests for the virus. 

There are 4,189 people in B.C. who health officials have identified as being infected, and another 7,136 people who health officials are closely monitoring because they have had known exposure to identified cases. Of the active infections, 60 are of the new variants: 40 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first discovered in the U.K., 19 cases of the B.1.351 variant first found in South Africa, and one case of the B.1.125 variant first found in Nigeria.

Vaccinations have stalled due to supply constraints, but there were 8,773 new vaccinations conducted in the past four days. That includes 5,352 doses, which were the recipients' second doses. In total, B.C. health officials have provided 171,755 total jabs in the arms of 148,841 people, with 22,914 of those people having received two doses. 

Here is the breakdown of where the 1,533 new cases are located:
• 392 people in Vancouver Coastal Health (25.6%);
• 856 people in Fraser Health (55.8%);
• 58 in Island Health (3.8%);
• 92 in Interior Health (6%); and
• 135 in Northern Health (8.8%).

New community outbreaks include ones at Timothy Christian School in Chilliwack, and at the SFU Childcare Society. 

New outbreaks at seniors' homes include two Nanaimo facilities: Eden Gardens, and Wexford Creek. A third new outbreak at a seniors' facility is at Shaughnessy Care Centre in Port Coquitlam. 

The good news is that three similar outbreaks have newly been declared to be over. They are at Heritage Square in Vernon, Concord By the Sea in White Rock, and at Holy Family hospital in Vancouver.

This means that there are no current outbreaks at any seniors' home in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. 

There are active COVID-19 outbreaks at 15 seniors' care homes, assisted-living facilities and retirement residences across the province. This is down from as many as 52 such facilities in January.

The two outbreaks in Nanaimo are the only ones at seniors' facilities in the Island Health region.

The six active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Fraser Health are:
• CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey;
• Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Moody;
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
• Mountain View Manor in Ladner;
• Royal City Manor in New Westminster; and
• Shaughnessy Care Centre in Port Coquitlam.

The outbreak at the Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert is the only active outbreak in Northern Health. 

The six active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Interior Health are at:
• Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre in Kamloops;
• Carrington Place Retirement Residence in Vernon;
• Creekside Landing in Vernon;
• Noric House in Vernon;
• Sunnybank Retirement Home in Oliver; and
• Westsyde Care Residences in Kamloops.

In addition to those outbreaks, there remain six outbreaks at B.C. hospitals. They include:
• Abbotsford Regional Hospital in Abbotsford;
• Burnaby General Hospital in Burnaby;
• Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake;
• Dawson Creek and District Hospital in Dawson Creek;
• Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops; and
• St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom