Thursday January 28, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., editor | Island Social Trends
The numbers are still high — 546 news cases across BC. The number of active cases is 4,455 (up from 4,299 yesterday) and the number of people self-isolating is up to 7,176 (a jump by over 600). There have been another 12 deaths reported today (on the heels of four yesterday).
And even though the current number of hospitalizations is down today to 291 (dropping from 303 yesterday and 328 at the start of the week), the ICU tally is up to 75 (from 68 yesterday).
As Provincial Health Officer Henry said the other day — stating the obvious, the numbers are not heading in the right direction. Case counts have been high since October 2020 (following an incubation period after people obviously gathered over Thanksgiving weekend), and showing a spike in mid-November (following an incubation period after people obviously gathered for Halloween).
The fact that case counts are increasing now with an incubation period that would have started mid-January (after the holiday season) means that either people are letting their guard down and socializing more, and/or that transmission of the virus itself is increasing. It’s known that the B117 (UK) variant and the B1351 (South African) variant are both more contagious; they may also cause more severe disease (yet to be confirmed).
There was a bit of a dip (though at high case count levels) at year-end. But after the Christmas/New Year incubation period, case counts were up in early January, and persist in being strong.
Next live update January 29:
Tomorrow’s live COVID-19 update by Dr Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix might just include a ‘lowering of the boom’ to put further restrictions on movement and interaction in the community. Dr Henry hinted at that in her most recent live update on Monday this week.
Current public health orders restricting all gatherings (other than within households) are in effect to February 5, 2021.
The curve-flattening that British Columbians did so well last year at the beginning of the pandemic is just not happening now to the same degree. And/or the virus (in its various strains) is becoming more contagious and more severe in its impact.
The advice is not to gather with friends or extended family this year for Lunar New Year (on February 12 this year, or the extended lantern festival period of February 11 to February 26) or BC Family Day (Statutory holiday in BC on Monday February 15).
And any travel beyond your local community is seriously discouraged “unless it is absolutely essential for work or medical care”, as stated in the BC Health COVID release today.
“We know that COVID-19 can travel with us, and we can just as easily bring it back on our return,” said Dr Henry and Minister Dix in their joint release. “If it is a day trip or a weekend getaway, the risk is the same.”
Vancouver Island COVID profile (January 28):
Today there were 30 new cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island, bringing the number of active cases to 236 and the total cases pandemic-to-date to 1,568.
For a few months now, the COVID case count regionally has seen the highest number of active cases in the central Vancouver Island area, with lower (and generally on-par) numbers for south and north regions. The most recent regionally numbers for active cases are 167 central, 41 south and 14 north.
The pace this week: Today’s 30 new cases in Island Health is not as many as yesterday’s 45, but is still higher than Tuesday’s 26 cases and Monday’s tally of 20.
There are presently 15 people in hospital in Island Health with COVID-19, with five of those in ICU.
There have been 19 deaths related to COVID-19 on Vancouver Island pandemic-to-date, with two new this week.
The total number of administered vaccinations in BC so far is 127,255. In Island Health, 21,526 doses have been administered (with 326 done in the last 24 hours).
The new shipments of Pfizer vaccine have been zero this week. Now the manufacturer (based in Belgium) is saying they are considering shipping fewer doses, as they understand that Canadian health-care workers getting six doses from every vial (instead of the five intended by the manufacturer). This was discussed at the national level today in a media session with Major-General Dany Fortin, who is serving as Vice President Logistics and Operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
Next live update:
The next live update about COVID-19 in BC by Dr Henry and Minister Dix is tomorrow, Friday January 29 at 3 pm. See links on Island Social Trends bulletins page.