Thursday December 3, 2020 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary Brooke, B.Sc., editor | Island Social Trends
You know the pandemic has reached a critical point of concern for public health officials when one of the most popular activities — adult team sports — has been put on the COVID sidelines.
Apparently it’s the socializing before, around and after the actual sporting activity as to where COVID-19 transmission is happening.
Specifically, the order prohibits indoor group high intensity fitness activity, and adult team sport in any place (indoors or outdoors).
Children’s and youth sports that are supervised and part of an educational program are not impacted by this order.
No parties, except with your household bubble:
As well, today Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry in her latest public health order (Gatherings and Events – December 2, 2020), says there are to be no parties in private homes this Christmas season.
People who live alone “may attend for social purposes at one private residence or vacation accommodation with more than one occupant”, if the person regularly interacts those folks (i.e. you already share a bubble).
No non-essential travel:
There is to be no travel other than for essential reasons such as for employment or medical care. This was put in place first for the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions and then extended to the entire province, lasting at this point until December 7, 2020.
Holiday season COVID-management:
Meanwhile, the holiday season is an important time for everybody, for all communities, said Health Minister Adrian Dix in his joint COVID media session with Dr Henry today December 3 from the press theatre in Victoria.
“This year it’s simply going to have to be different,” said Dix. It’s about “protecting the health-care workers who have been protecting us.” Dix says a key goal is to not have to cancel surgeries and to provide continued protection in long-term care.
This will be “another COVID weekend”, said Minister Dix. “Especially one where we have to follow those orders.”
Find out more on Monday December 7:
Then when Monday comes, December 7, after review of the data and upon reflection, Dr Henry will announce to British Columbians as to what will happen to those orders. We have the fate of Christmas 2020 in our own hands, through our own choices around maintaining COVID public health protocols for our own safety and the safety of those around us.
A new year brings COVID vaccines:
Dr Henry outlined today how initial shipments of COVID-19 vaccines will be made available first to health-care workers, people in long-term care, and people with health conditions which challenge their immune response. She insists that will be happening starting the first week of January 2021.
There are only 6 million doses for all of Canada of the Pfizer and Moderna messenger-RNA vaccines (which require specific sub-zero temperatures); BC will receive a proportionate share of those vaccines. Those will roll out between January and March, in phases, Dr Henry explained.
In the second quarter of 2021 (April to June), BC’s top doctor says that vaccine products from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson will be ready. And that in April she “expects increased numbers of all vaccines to be available”.
“It will take some time, and we need to sequence it,” she said. As long as safety and effectiveness are good, the distribution of vaccines could follow the desired schedule of “having everybody done by September 2021”.
“Everybody has it available (to them) and should be immunized,” said Dr Henry, even though in BC at this time immunization is not mandatory.
The Canadian military is playing a key role in organizing the refrigerated shipping and distribution of temperature-sensitive vaccines. Major General Dany Fortin will operationalize the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and low-temperature freezers across Canada, as announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week.
BC COVID stats at December 3:
There are 694 new COVID-19 test-positive cases in BC today, bringing the provincial total to 35,422. Currently there are 9,103 active cases, with 325 people in hospital (80 in ICU). Now 10,849 people are self-isolating due to exposure to known cases. There were 12 more deaths in the BC CDC statistics today, bringing the total to 481 as this year is nearly complete.
Case distribution of today’s 694 new cases by regional health authority: 465 Fraser, 114 Vancouver Coastal, 82 Interior, 23 North, 10 Vancouver Island.
There have been three new health-care outbreaks. There are now 56 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living, with eight in acute care.
In long-term care across BC there are 958 residents affected by COVID and 559 staff.
Vancouver Island COVID stats at December 3:
On Vancouver Island at December 3, the 10 new cases bring the Island Health total to 669. Currently 277 people have active COVID-19 infections, with 12 of those in hospital (four in ICU). No new deaths, tally remains at six this year on the island.
For some reason, on Vancouver Island the number of COVID cases in the 40 to 49 year old age group is proportionately lower than seen in the BC-wide profile.
The Island Health data profile shows 659 cases (one day behind), but in that report shows distribution of 209 in the south, 303 central, and 147 in the north so far this year. The highest active tally of COVID on the island is in the central region (156), with 67 in the south and 41 in the north.
There are currently seven school exposures on Vancouver Island, five of which are in Port Alberni, one on Salt Spring Island, and one in Victoria (SD61).