Wednesday December 30, 2020 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., editor | Island Social Trends
Another 485 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) statistics today Wednesday December 30 (16 of those in Island Health). That brings the BC total to 51,300 cases (917 on Vancouver Island).
The daily BC CDC reports have become a standard part of life in BC this year. Joint press conferences about COVID-19 began in January, becoming daily by mid-March. The pandemic was declared in BC on March 17 and the province went into an official state of emergency the next day (renewed every two weeks since).
Everyone’s lives have changed in some or various ways including household, social interactions, family situation, work location, career, type of income, and overall health. Simple things like grocery shopping have undergone massive changes — wearing masks and physical distancing when in-store, and more frequently ordering online.
The way things are celebrated have changed — in almost every case the reduction of how many people can gather has impacted personal events (like graduations, weddings, anniversaries, funerals) as well as community events (including community markets, fundraisers) and crowd-based commercial events (likes concerts and sports).
Forging ahead in health care:
The next live COVID media teleconference by Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix will be held at 3 pm tomorrow, Thursday December 31. Some sort of year-end report might be reasonably expected.
An update on the BC surgical renewal program — which carries on during the pandemic — will be delivered by Minister Dix next week (as he stated on December 29).
Yesterday Dr Henry implied that most of the public health orders and social restrictions are about ultimately minimizing the impact on frontline workers in the health-care system.
The BC Nurses Union (BCNU) has indicated burnout among nurses and reduced staff retention as a result of continued COVID-19 cases and the additional surgeries as part of catching up from almost two months of no surgeries during the first wave of the pandemic (mid-March to early May).
COVID case profile December 30:
There are 7,551 active cases of COVID-19 in the province (79 in Island Health). Presently there are 379 people hospitalized with COVID-19 (eight in Island Health), of whom 77 are in intensive care (two in Island Health). The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
Currently 9,320 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. A further 41,681 people who had previously tested positive have recovered.
Continued COVID deaths:
There were 11 new COVID-19 related deaths in the December 30 stats, bringing the BC total to 893. “We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic,” say Dr Henry and Minister Dix.
Outbreaks & Exposures:
There are two new health-care facility outbreaks: Langley Memorial Hospital Cedar Hill and Surrey Memorial Hospital. There are now five cases at the Chartwell long-term care residence in Nanaimo.
Travel contributes to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Public exposures on air flights can be viewed on the BC CDC website. The most recent exposures to confirmed cases of COVID-19 on flights to a Vancouver Island destination include:
- WestJet flight 335 on December 28 from Edmonton to Victoria (rows 25 to 30).
- WestJet flight 3335 on December 27 from Calgary to Comox (rows 13 to 19).
Immunization tally & delivery:
Since the start of immunizations in BC (week of December 14 in Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health; week of December 21 in Island, Interior and Northern Health), 14,027 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia. Almost all the doses have been given to frontline health care workers and a few key administrative personnel (including Dr Henry and Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr Richard Stanwick).
Yesterday it was announced by Dr Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix that the Moderna vaccine will be arriving in British Columbia this week.
The Moderna product requires less restrictive storage temperatures than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (both are mRNA-type vaccines) and therefore allows for easier shipping to target destinations where immunization programs can be carried out.
The first doses are targeted for remote and isolated First Nations communities and residents of long term-care, and will be expanding to other communities soon.
Strategy heading into 2021:
“We want 2021 to be our year of success with COVID-19. This means taking a step back and keeping our focus on what is most important right now: the health and safety of everyone in our province,” it was stated in today’s release.
Especially in light of the more contagious U.K. variant (B.1.1.7) of the COVID-19 virus — which was first detected in BC right here on Vancouver Island — public health leadership hopes people will do all they can to limit the community spread of COVID-19.
For New Year’s Eve there is a prohibition on the sale or service of alcohol in restaurants, bars and pubs after 8 pm, as a further way to curtail social interactions that might lead to further COVID-19 spread.