Home Health COVID-19 COVID ahead of Easter weekend: high case count, stay close to home

COVID ahead of Easter weekend: high case count, stay close to home

16.28% of BC adults have been vaccinated | 45% in Island Health COVID cases in ages 19-39

Friday April 2, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends

Another super-high daily case count in the COVID-19 pandemic yesterday was the lead-in to this Easter long weekend in BC.

Another 832 new test-positive cases brings the total of BC cases to 100,880. There are also 11,608 people isolating due to COVID exposure and 7,591 cases are active. Five more deaths were reported on April 1.

The media thing:

Dr Bonnie Henry, April 1 2021
Dr Bonnie Henry took a different approach to her COVID briefing on April 1, 2021.

Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry announced the April 1 stats breifly before diving into a long session of answering what she called ‘questions from the public’, leaving media to the tail end with limited time for the functional practice of journalists asking questions of politicians.

While questions from the public are important, it seems unjustified to tie up the time of professional journalists who have stories to file and produce and whose core responsibility is to ask the questions that move issues of public discourse along (media is the counterpoint to government in a democratic society).

Supply challenges force changes:

Health Minister Adrian Dix talked about adapting to the ever-changing circumstances of managing the COVID pandemic in BC. “What we could do was changed, and we adapted,” he told media on Thursday regarding how the rollout of vaccine doses into people’s arms has changed based on supply changes and also the age restrictions (perhaps temporary) on the use of AstraZenca for people presently only age 55 to 65. “The issue is supply, it always is. We don’t have domestic capacity,” he stated matter-of-factly.

Adrian Dix
Health Minister Adrian Dix during his joint COVID media session with Dr Bonnie Henry, April 1, 2021 in Victoria.

Dix was pleased to report that 16.28% of 4.3 million eligible British Columbians (i.e. adults) have received a COVID vaccine injection so far. But he reinforced the reality that there’s a long way to go toward herd immunity (generally thought to be 60% to 70% of the full population. Children and teens have not received any COVID immunization yet (due to Health Canada approvals of vaccines for adults only, so far).

Key expectations from public health on April 1:

  • If you choose to spend time with anyone other than your immediate household, it must be outside.
  • Ensure you are giving enough space to others,
  • Stay away if you are feeling at all unwell,
  • Stay with the same group of people.
  • “Today, people 72 and older, Indigenous peoples 18 and over, and individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable and have received a letter identifying them as such, can book their appointments. The current supply of AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine has also been made available to people between the ages of 55-65 in the Lower Mainland – our highest transmission area.”
  • “Starting today, long-term care and assisted-living residents across the province can see their family and friends and can leave their home without needing to self-isolate on their return. We recognize and thank you for the sacrifices you and your families have made over the past year.”

“Travel between communities – beyond what you would do for a day trip – remains high risk for all of us. This is not the time for leisure or vacation travel, or a vacation rental in another community. Rather, this weekend, explore your local region instead.”

“We all have the same ability to spread the COVID-19 virus and we all have the same ability to slow the spread. Staying small, staying outside and local will help us to bend our curve down and stay safe.”

OakTree Naturals, banner ad, 2021
OakTree Naturals is centrally located on Goldstream Avenue in Langford.

COVID stats for BC (April 1):

New cases on April 1 totalled 832, bringing the BC total to 100,880 for the pandemic to date (856 of those were epi-linked). Of those, 7,571 are currently active while 91,732 people are said to have recovered (that means a negative test for COVID, and does not take into account any remaining or long-term health conditions or impacts from having suffered the COVID infection).

There were 9,880 COVID tests done in the last 24 hours, of which those 832 new cases were found. That’s a positivity rate of 9.9 % (highest yet for the province).

COVID, BC
COVID-19 dashboard for BC at April 1, 2021 with graph showing daily case counts pandemic-to-date. [BC CDC]

There are 29 people in hospital with COVID, of whom 79 are in intensive care. Total hospitalizations pandemic-to-date stands at 5,312.

The highest number yet of people who are isolating due to known exposure of COVID stands at 11,608. That’s a lot of people whose lives are curtailed until they learn whether not they’re infected.

To the time of the 3 pm COVID report by Dr Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on April 1, there had been 787,649 vaccine doses administered in BC (of which 87,394 were second doses). The first dose is a primer and the second dose is a booster. Of the administered doses, most are the mRNA type: Moderna 140,236 (17,122 second doses) and Pfizer 611,747 (70,272 second doses). The AstraZeneca vaccine (viral-vector type) has been administered to 36,264 people so far (no second doses).

Vaccine supply received in BC through federal procurement to date is 989,250 doses (195,460 distributed to immunization locations last week). Of that total, 170,500 have been Moderna, with 750,750 Pfizer and 68,000 AstraZeneca.

COVID stats for Vancouver Island (April 1):

New cases totalled quite high at 53 for the island on April 1. That brings the Vancouver Island (Island Health Authority) total to 3,377 for the pandemic to date (33 of those were epi-linked). The Island Health tally of cases is 3.3% of the BC total.

Of the total Island Health cases 425 are currently active while 2,919 people are said to have recovered (i.e. a negative test for COVID, and does not take into account any remaining or long-term health conditions or impacts from having suffered the COVID infection).

COVID, Island Health
COVID-19 dashboard for Island Health at April 1, 2021 with graph showing daily case counts pandemic-to-date. [BC CDC]

There were 1,267 COVID tests done in Island Health in the last 24 hours, of which those 53 new cases were found. That’s a positivity rate of 5.2 % (second highest yet for Island Health — the highest was on the day before at 5.3%).

In Island Health there are 13 people in hospital with COVID, of whom two are in intensive care. Total hospitalizations pandemic-to-date stands at 168 in Island Health.

Island Health
Island Health sent half its AstraZeneca supply to the BC Lower Mainland around March 30, to help out with higher COVID case loads there.

To the time of the 3 pm COVID report by Dr Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on April 1, there had been 121,365 vaccine doses administered in Island Health (of which 810,148 were second doses). The first dose is a primer and the second dose is a booster.

Of the administered doses, most are the mRNA type: Moderna 28,369 (1,843 second doses) and Pfizer 92,557 (8,305 second doses). The AstraZeneca vaccine (viral-vector type) has been administered to 439 people so far (no second doses); the remaining supply of the original 1,000 was shipped to the Lower Mainland as reported in the stats on March 30).

Vaccine supply received in Island Health through BC/federal procurement to date is 171,770 doses (35,600 distributed to immunization locations last week). Of that total, 37,500 have been Moderna, with 133,770 Pfizer and 1,000 AstraZeneca (then reduced to 500).

Variants of Concern:

The number of variants of concern (VOC) is steadily increasing in the total count of COVID test-positive cases. There were 90 new variant test-positive cases reported on April 1, bringing the provincial total to 2,643 (2.6% of total cases to date) of which 192 are active.

coronavirus, green
Mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been on public health radar throughout the pandemic. There are now at least three variants of concern: B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1.

The profile of VOC’s to date in BC:

  • B.1.1.7/UK – 2,214
  • B.1.351/South Africa – 50
  • P.1/Brazil – 379

VOC’s are more transmissible and cause more serious illness, say both public health officials and actively practicing physicians.

Age distribution:

COVID-19 transmits in any human body, regardless of the person’s age. The mistaken impression that it affected mostly or only older people was driven by the public health desire to protect seniors in long-term care. By the time the full story came out about how the virus attacks, embeds and causes illness, many young adults and now children are becoming infected (now that a significant percentage of seniors and elderly folks are immunized).

COVID, age distribution, BC
COVID-19 cases in BC, as categorized by age. [March 31, 2021 | BC CDC]

For the record, as of March 31, 2021, there have been 4,759 COVID infections in children under age 10 (226 in Island Health). In older kids and teens ages 10 to 19 there have been 9,871 infections (398 in Island Health).

Over time there have been more cases of MIS-C (Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children and Adolescents) seen in children and teens in BC as a result of COVID-19 infection. No children have died in BC due to COVID.

COVID, ages, Island Health
COVID-19 cases in Island Health, as categorized by age. [March 31, 2021 | BC CDC]

Young adults in their 20s and 30s have been racking up the highest number of cases in recent weeks. As of March 31 the tally stood at:

  • Age 20 to 29: 22,779 (765 in Island Health)
  • Age 30 to 39: 18,183 (569 in Island Health)

There’s an oddity in the Vancouver Island stats for people in their 40s, for many months now. That age group has consistently shown fewer infections than in the BC total. To date, Island Social Trends has been following that trend and inquired a few times with Island Health for their view on that (still awaiting a response).

Our thoughts on that lower tracking of cases among people age 40 to 49 on Vancouver Island are that possibly more people in that age group work outdoors and/or at home, hence in safer situations where infection might occur. There may also be fewer people in their 40s who work in frontline jobs compared to the lower mainland where the highest case tallies are seen across the board. As well, the Vancouver Island get-outdoors lifestyle is embedded in our behaviours as islanders, which overall probably lowers our exposure to transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

COVID trends on Vancouver Island:

Island Health does offer these observations, mostly notably that almost half the cases are in people ages 19 to 39, and that the average age of people hospitalized with COVID has dropped into the mid-50s (from the high-60s age group). About one in five test-positive people can’t identify where they caught the virus.

Here’s the list provided by Island Health:

Whistler, masks
A party held at Whistler where almost no one wore masks hit the news March 30, 2021. Some of the exposure from that event spread to other parts of BC.
  • A significant increase in the number of close contacts to COVID-19 cases. This includes people reporting non-essential travel, large social gatherings, and multiple social groups;
  • An increase in individuals attending work and social events while symptomatic;
  • All three variants of concern have now been identified on Vancouver Island and the number of presumptive variant cases within Island Health being sent to the BCCDC for confirmatory testing has more than tripled in recent days. These variants have shown to be more easily transmissible and can lead to more severe illness;
  • Contact tracing has shown the variants were brought to the Island Health region through non-essential travel to other areas of B.C. and beyond;
  • The average age of COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital within Island Health has dropped to 55.7 years so far in 2021. This is down from 68.6 years throughout 2020;
  • Throughout March 2021, cases in individuals aged 19-39 represent 45 per cent of all COVID-19 cases within Island Health;
  • Indoor gatherings with people outside your immediate household present an unacceptable risk at this time. Throughout March 2021, more than 60 per cent of COVID-19 cases within Island Health have been linked to a known cluster. In the majority of situations, these clusters can be linked to an indoor gathering;
  • Throughout March 2021, approximately 20 per cent of COVID-19 cases can’t identify where they acquired the virus.

===== LINKS (provided by government):

For provincial health officer’s orders and guidance, visit:

Orders: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

Guidance on restrictions: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/restrictions

Latest vaccine information:

For vaccine information, visit the BCCDC dashboard: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data
Or: www.bccdc.ca

Joint statement on first deployment of AstraZeneca vaccine in B.C.: https://news.gov.bc.ca/24001

Island Social Trends
Island Social Trends – insights into stuff that matters.

The latest updates, guidance and information on COVID-19, and where to get tested:

The latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

For data regarding ongoing outbreaks in long-term care, assisted-living and independent-living facilities in B.C., visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data#outbreak

Mental health support:

Mental health and anxiety support: www.bouncebackbc.ca
Or: www.anxietycanada.com
Or: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/about-covid-19/mental-well-being-during-covid-19
Or: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/virtual-supports-covid-19

To share your feedback in the Personal Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, visit: https://www.bcchr.ca/POP/our-research/pics

Non-health related information:

Financial, child care and education support, travel, transportation and essential service information: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.

COVID-19 exposure events, updates and information by health authority:

BCCDC (flights, work sites, etc): http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/public-exposures
Fraser Health: fraserhealth.ca/covid19exposure
Interior Health: https://news.interiorhealth.ca/news/public-exposures/
Island Health: https://www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/covid-19/outbreaks-and-exposures
Northern Health: https://www.northernhealth.ca/health-topics/outbreaks-and-exposures
Vancouver Coastal Health: http://www.vch.ca/covid-19/public-exposures

For the latest videos and livestreaming of COVID-19 media availabilities, visit:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BCProvincialGovernment/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCGovNews
YouTube: www.youtube.com/ProvinceofBC