Tuesday January 26, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., editor | Island Social Trends
Yesterday Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry implored British Columbians to adhere to all the public health protocols that work in fighting COVID-19, the ones we all know so well after one year of the pandemic: keep your physical distance, wash your hands frequently, wear a mask in all public indoor spaces, stay home if not feeling well, and (since around mid-November 2020) socialize only with your own household bubble.
While many people are ‘COVID-fatigued’ from following these protocols, they are the strongest layers of protection that each individual can take. In business spaces there are the added measures of insisting upon physical distancing and mask-wearing by staff and customers, and the use of physical barriers like sheets of plexiglass. Where people can work from home they are presently asked to do so.
Somehow people have become accustomed to an average daily case count in the range of 500. Dr Henry says that’s too high. Anything above that could overwhelm the health care system; anything below that is better, but still a lot (compared to the zero that we’re all aiming for once vaccines are fully rolled out).
“There is no welcome mat for COVID-19,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix yesterday in the livestreamed Monday COVID briefing at 3 pm. He wants people to “heed and adapt to” the present reality, saying “this is the moment to uphold” the fight to bend the curve and reduce case numbers in BC.
More people will be protected in the short-term with one dose of available vaccines, by stretching Dose 2 to now 42 days. This is in response to a lesser-than-expected supply of the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech last week, this week and next week. In total, to January 25, a total of 119,850 vaccines had been administered in BC, from a supply of 144,550.
BC COVID case profile:
COVID-19 test-positive case count total in BC to January 25 is 64,828 (1,344 new in the three 24-hour periods to Monday afternoon, or 448 per day on average). Current active case count: 4,392. Presently 6,607 people self-isolating due to known exposure to COVID-19. Presently 328 people in hospital (68 in ICU).
There were 26 more deaths in BC over the past weekend due to COVID, bringing the total to 1,154 during the pandemic.
Six diagnosed cases of MIS-C:
There have now been six diagnosed cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in children in BC — as being directly associated with COVID-19 infection, as reported by Dr Henry yesterday. Three were girls and three were boys, in the age range of 1 to 15 years.
According to the Mayo Clinic, most children who become infected with the COVID-19 virus have only a mild illness. “But in children who go on to develop MIS-C, some organs and tissues — such as the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, skin or eyes — become severely inflamed. Signs and symptoms depend on which areas of the body are affected.”
“They have all recovered fully or are recovering,” said Dr Henry during her media briefing session.
The form used by doctors in BC to report MIS-C indicates the significant range of symptoms.
As well, Dr Henry reported that there have been 19 cases of inflammatory conditions described as Kowasaki’s, which are under investigation in BC. The affected children are up to age 17 years. None of those are associated with COVID-19, Dr Henry said.
The COVID-19 variant strains known as the UK variant (B117) and the South African variant (B1351) have been found in testing the BC CDC — five cases and three cases, respectively.
The B117 infections were found to be related to travel or close contact with someone who had travelled. The B1351 infections were apparently not related to travel, which means they have happened due to community spread.
That worries Dr Henry, adding once again that BC has “plateaued” at 500 daily cases (the peak was in mid-November, but also high again earlier this month).
Vancouver Island COVID case profile:
COVID-19 test-positive case count total in Island Health (for Vancouver Island) to January 25 is 1,471 (73 new in the three 24-hour periods to Monday afternoon, or 25 per day on average). Current active case count: 219. Presently 16 people in hospital (five in ICU).
One more death on Vancouver Island over the past weekend, bringing the total to 18 during the pandemic.
So far, the BC Centre for Disease Control does not present a tally for ‘long-haulers’ (people who are considered “recovered” but who continue to have health problems due to the COVID-19 infection).
There are very likely going to long-term health impacts and associated health-care costs in BC and across Canada for years to come, particularly affecting working-age adults.
According to the Mayo Clinic, continuing impacts from COVID-19 infection include damage to lungs, heart and brain. This is primarily due to damage of blood vessels within those organs.