Friday November 20, 2002 | VICTORIA, BC [Data correction as of November 25, 2020 — see below]
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., editor | Island Social Trends
Today there were 516 more test-positive cases of COVID-19 in BC. This is a week where BC has seen it’s highest one-day tally so far in the pandemic (762 new cases on Wednesday November 18).
Today’s new cases bring the province-wide total to 25,474. Of those, there are 7,122 active cases. Today there are 17 new cases on Vancouver Island including a possible exposure in downtown Victoria, bringing the total to 446 cases of which 128 are active (see more details below regarding Island Health stats).
Now 227 people are in hospital (a peak in this second wave fall season). Of those, 587 are in intensive care (down from 63 on Wednesday). Total COVID hospitalizations this year in BC stand at 1,451.
[Update November 25, 2020: Dr Henry announced a data correction in Fraser Health Region numbers — due to an error in data transfer from lab to health authority — which changes the daily count for November 17 to 24. For November 20 the correct new case-count total is 639, for November 21 the correct total new-case count is now 835, for November 22 it is 791, and for November 23 it’s 772.]
“We have seen a rising number of new cases of COVID-19 across the province and we need to slow this down. We need to put the brakes on the virus and doing this requires a sustained effort by all of us,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in their joint statement a few days ago, November 18.
Self-isolating due to exposure:
Now 10,022 people are under active public health monitoring and self-isolating at home due to exposure to a known COVID-19 case. That’s only slightly down from a high tally on Tuesday November 17 at 10,960.
The impact of withdrawing from normal routines for 14 days (the full COVID-19 incubation period) can be far-reaching. There is social isolation from friends and family, perhaps missing work or school, and many interruptions large and small to activities, relationships, social network and finances.
Death count has risen dramatically:
Today there are 10 more deaths due to COVID-19 in BC, bringing the total to 331 — that’s up from 290 just one week ago. That is lower than in other jurisdictions of a similar population size, but for public health it’s worrisome evidence of increasing transmission and less attention to flattening the curve as we all fatigue within the continued pressures of following necessary and important COVID public health protocols.
Vancouver Island COVID profile:
On Vancouver Island there was a record new-case count of 20 today (higher than yesterday’s 17 and Wednesday’s 16).
New cases are seen in all age groups from age 10 to 79 years. Earlier this week there were also new cases in the age groups of 70+.
Today’s new cases on Vancouver Island include two youth in the 10 to 19 age category.
Total COVID cases in Vancouver Island to date this year now tally to 446. Presently 128 of the Island Health cases are active (up from 118 yesterday). Regional distribution of those 128 active cases: 31 in the south, 81 central and 12 north.
On Wednesday Premier John Horgan said the increasing cases on Vancouver Island are a result of people travelling to the mainland (where cases are rampant) and returning with the virus.
Yesterday, Dr Bonnie Henry released new orders restricting travel to local-only and essential-only (as well as a mandatory requirement for wearing masks in all indoor public spaces).
While Dr Henry has oftentimes said that she hoped people would do the right thing without orders or enforcement, the new changes come as a relief for many people who considered the measures to be somewhat overdue.
Possible COVID-19 exposure at pub in Victoria:
Today November 20, there was a possible COVID-19 exposure made public by Island Health, as having occurred at the Irish Times Pub at 1200 Government Street in downtown Victoria. That is said to have occurred on November 13 between 5 pm and 8:30 pm.
If you were at that location during the stated hours on November 13, it does not mean you will develop COVID-19, it was stated in an Island Health news release.
The possible exposure is being called ‘low risk’. But if anyone was at that pub that day at that time, they should monitor themselves for symptoms. If symptoms develop, self-isolate immediately and seek testing. Info at https://www.islandhealth.ca/covid19 or phone 1-844-901-8442 (8:30 am to 8:30 pm daily).
Earlier this week ther was a possible exposure at the Browns Socialhouse restaurant in Courtenay (November 3 and 5). They have COVID safety protocols posted on their website.
Hospitalizations and deaths:
Three people are in hospital in Island Health (one in ICU). When a patient is in intensive care for COVID-19 it usually involves being sedated for a few or many days while being supported by a mechanical ventilator.
Total hospitalizations this year due to COVID stand at 29 in Island Health.
There are no new deaths reported today on Vancouver Island. The total remains at six where it’s been since September 28.
Outbreaks & exposures on Vancouver Island:
There are still seven school exposures and clusters in schools on Vancouver Island — four in Nanaimo, one in Ladysmith, one in Port Alberni and one in
In addition to an outbreak at Tsawaayuss-Rainbow Gardens long-term care home in the Port Alberni area earlier this week, today this is a new long-term care outbreak on Vancouver Island at Discovery Harbour Care in Campbell River.
There are 51 outbreaks in the BC Health list of 57 outbreaks in assisted-living, long-term care homes, and seniors’ rental buildings and acute care.
There is also an outbreak at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital that started November 11.
See current further detail about Island Health exposures, clusters and outbreaks.
Second wave strategy:
“This second surge is putting a strain on our health-care system, our workplaces and us all. We need to ease this pressure so we can continue to manage the virus in our province and also continue to do the many activities that are important to us,” said Minister Dix in a statement today.
“While your personal efforts may seem small or having little impact, the collective benefit to every community in every region is significant. Our safety layers are there to help protect us and they work best when we are all using them, all of the time,” he said.
“Now is the time to stay small, stay local and do your part — at home, work, school and in your community,” said Dr Henry. Her orders released yesterday require no non-essential travel and socializing only with one’s own household social bubble, as well as mandatory use of face masks in all indoor public settings.
Christmas during COVID:
On Monday Dr Henry said she still isn’t sure about how we can spend Christmas in our homes — with just immediate household members or also others (still in our safe six) who don’t live with us. The main point, is to spend Christmas (now just 35 days away) at home, without travelling.
BC’s PHO said last week that she’s pretty sure Santa Claus is immune to the COVID-19 virus.
Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that socializing in any usual way at Christmas is out of the question this year, due to the rampant spread of the COVID-19 virus at this time. Today he shifted back to giving his COVID address to Canadians from in front of his home at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa (harkening back to the visual imagery of the first wave in March and April of this year).