Wednesday February 23, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
A COVID-19 rapid antigen Test distribution strategy was unveiled today by Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry.
The current Inventory Summary is as follows (to Feb 22, 2022):
- BC has received: 22,242,902 tests
- BC has deployed: 14,843,222 tests
- Remaining in inventory: 7,399,683
- Expected over next 4 weeks: 12 million (3 million/week)
Test distribution since mid-December:
Distribution between December 13, 2021 and February 22, 2022 totals to 14,843,222, led by 2,704,255 to K-12 schools, followed by 2,042,702 to long-term care and assisted living facilities, and 1,874,650 to post-secondary institutions. Child care facilities have received 251,125 tests so far.
- Tests have also been provided to health-care workers in acute care (1,607,318) and other health-care settings (91,589). COVID testing sites have received 1,471,555 tests in the December 13 to February 22 time period.
- Businesses and organizations have received 869,301 tests. Pharmacy distributors have received 865,080 tests.
- Rural, remote and Indigenous communities have been prioritized with 1,060,445 tests distributed so far.
- How the tests get out to the regular community is in two phases: first to those over age 70, and then others.
Benefits of more tests in BC:
More test availability now means the ability to get more tests into the hands of more people for their use when symptomatic.
These tests are for people to have at home, as needed, said Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry today. You can screen people around you if they’re coming to visit. The tests are to manage your own risk around you.
Dr Henry hopes that now more members of the general population will be able to access tests and use understanding of their own symptoms and illness to take action to limit transmission to their friends, family and work, including those at higher risk.
Omicron still active, still deaths:
“COVID-19 is still actively circulating,” says Dr Bonnie Henry today. She says people are “still dying from COVID”, including four people in their 40s who have recently died from COVID, during the continuing Omicron wave.
Over the recent Family Day long weekend (a four-day period for BC Centre for Disease Control stats, Feb 18-21) there were 44 more deaths in BC due to test-positive cases of COVID-19. Of those, five were on Vancouver Island.
Distribution through pharmacies:
The distribution strategy includes through pharmacies.
- Distribution through pharmacies will start for people age 70+ who are considered to be amongst those at highest risk of more severe illness from COVID-19.
- As supply increases, a broadening to younger ages is expected to happen quickly, and will be communicated on the BC Government COVID-19 website.
- Individuals will present their BC Services Card at the pharmacy and be given their test kit free of charge.
- To ensure as many people as possible have access, there will be a limit of one kit per person within a 28-day period.
- You can pick up a kit for a family member or another person if you provide their name, date of birth, and you have their BC Services card with you.
Today Health Minister Dix was pleased to unveil the details of the test kit distribution program today.
COVID articles by Island Social Trends (archive January 2020 to present)
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., has been covering the pandemic consistently since the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) virus was first discovered in December 2019.
Articles in the Island Social Trends COVID archive covering many aspects of the pandemic.
Mary was the first journalist during live sessions with Dr Henry and Minister Dix to pursue questioning about the MiSC-C inflammatory syndrome in children and the long-hauler segment of particularly young adults impacted by COVID infection.