Home Health COVID-19 COVID risk remains high in BC, stay home

COVID risk remains high in BC, stay home

Vaccine rollout by age (descending order).

Friday January 22, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., editor | Island Social Trends

“We need to remember our risk remains high right now, even as we protect more and more people with vaccine. We are not at the point where we can lift restrictions in our community or long-term care,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in their joint COVID-19 statement today January 22.

“We must continue to use our COVID-19 layers of protection and do all we can to stop transmission in our communities right now. This includes staying home when we are sick, getting tested, washing our hands, giving a safe distance to others and following our safety basics,” they said.

“It also means staying close to home and only travelling if it is essential. We have seen how travel even within our province can bring the virus from one place to another with ease.”

BC, COVID, January 20 2021
In BC there have been 63,484 cases of COVID-19, with presently 315 people in hospital (74 in ICU) at January 22, 2021. [BC CDC]

“If we must travel, then we must, more than ever, continue to use our COVID-19 safety rules,” it was included in the daily (weekday) statement issued by the Ministry of Health.

“We can break the chains of transmission and bend the curve through our individual actions. This weekend, choose to bend the curve, not the rules.”

Vaccination plan rollout:

Today Premier John Horgan along with Health Minister Adrian Dix, Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry, and immunization logistics coordinator Dr Penny Ballem announced the COVID-19 Immunization Plan.

The plan has defaulted to the COVID-19 case data showing that it’s mostly elders who suffer the most severe illness and the most deaths, by prescribing an age-by-descending-order approach to administering vaccines as they become available in BC.

Phases based on age will see the April-June 2021 period (Phase 3) making COVID-19 vaccines available to people ages 60 to 79, but with people in their 60s –who are mostly still active in the work force nowadays — not reaching the front of the line until at least May or June (D1 = dose 1, D2 = dose 2):

  • 79 to 75 (D1 April, D2 May)
  • 74 to 70 (D1 April/May, D2 May/June)
  • 69 to 65 (D1 May/June, D2 June/July)
  • 64 to 60 (D1 June, D2 July)
immunization phases, BC, January 2021
Phases of the BC immunization plan, as released by the BC Government on January 22, 2021.

People who are in the active workforce ages 18 to 59 — supporting the economy and paying taxes — will not be attended to until Phase 4 starting in July and running through September:

  • 59 to 55 (D1 July, D2 August)
  • 54 to 50 (D1 July, D2 August)
  • 49 to 45 (D1 July, D2 August)
  • 44 to 40 (D1 July, D2 August)
  • 39 to 35 (D1 July/August, D2 August/September)
  • 34 to 30 (D1 August, D2 September)
  • 29 to 25 (D1 August/September, D2 September)
  • 24 to 18 (D1 and D2 September)

Frontline workers and teachers given no priority:

Other than health-care and long-term care workers, there are no particular sectors of the working economy were earmarked for priority, notably not including frontline workers and teachers. That’s despite the oft-lauded brave workers in low-wage jobs in grocery, pharmacy, banking, and other service sector jobs that are keeping the rest of us going during the stresses of the pandemic.

Premier John Horgan
Premier John Horgan led the BC COVID immunization announcement on January 22, 2021.

Premier Horgan said today that he received and read many letters from many sectors as to why they should be prioritized for getting the COVID vaccine, and that all of them had “compelling arguments”.

masks, students, BC school
So far, masks are not mandatory in BC schools.

The BC Green Party today issued a statement with chagrin that teachers will not get priority access. “Making masks mandatory would at least create an added layer of safety while we wait for teachers to be vaccinated.
Students, teachers and staff should feel safe going into school or work. Teachers have been calling for improved protections for months and the government hasn’t responded with action,” wrote BC Green Leader Sonia Furstenau.

Given Premier Horgan’s absolute support of public education as a priority in BC, it is notable as to offering no favour to educators with regard to masks or vaccine priority.

A request from Island Social Trends for comment from the BC Liberals on the age-approach to the immunization program is still pending.

Nurses did not comment:

The BC Nurses Union did not issue a statement on today’s announcement, it was confirmed this evening by their communications coordinator.

BCTF speaks up:

Teri Mooring, BCTF
President of the BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) Teri Mooring, Nov 2019 [Canadian Press / Chad Hipolito]

The BC Teachers Federation issued this comment from their president Teri Mooring, starting off by taking the middle road, but ending up asking for masks and workplace safety (posted as a long thread on Twitter this afternoon):

  • “BC teachers, like many others, will be disappointed to see there is no prioritization for the frontline workers who have kept our schools, public services, and economy open. There had been hope in prior announcements that such prioritization would be possible.
  • However, the vaccine supply limit is beyond our control and those among us who are most vulnerable of death and serious illness must be vaccinated first. Hopefully more vaccines are approved and this immunization strategy will be appropriately adjusted and accelerated.
  • There is no denying that teachers are stressed, anxious, and even afraid. We do not have the layers of protection in our #bced schools that exist in other environments.
  • If teachers are not prioritized for a vaccine, government must take immediate action to improve safety measures in our #bced schools. We must have a mandatory mask mandate, we must have better physical distancing measures, & we must have ventilation upgrades for our classrooms.
  • Schools need the same safety measures as every single other workplace. This government and school districts must do more.”

BC COVID stats at January 22:

There were 508 new COVID-19 test-positive cases reported today by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC). That’s brings the province-wide total to 63,484 during the pandemic to date. The first COVID-19 case in BC was reported on January 25, 2020 so it’s been almost a year.

BC CDC, BC, January 22 2021
COVID-19 case dashboard for BC at January 22, 2021 [BC CDC]

There are 6,719 people in people who are self-isolating under public health surveillance due to COVID-19 exposure. That’s a lot of people impacted on several levels including social, daily activity (including school and/or work), family dynamics, and probably financial.

There are presently 315 people in hospital due to COVID-19, with 74 of those in critical care.

Another nine COVID-related deaths were reported today, bringing the pandemic-long total to 1,128 in BC.

Vancouver Island COVID stats at January 22:

There were 13 new COVID-19 test-positive cases reported today by the BC CDC, bringing the total in Island Health to 1,398. There are 205 active cases (21 in south, 21 in north and 152 in central Vancouver Island), with presently 11 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Island Health (six in ICU); 82 hospitalizations to pandemic-to-date. Now 1,165 recoveries. No new deaths in Island Health today or all of this week.

Island Health, regions, January 22 2021
COVID cases in Island Health by region at January 22, 2021. [Island Health] | Click image for current case distribution.

In Island Health 27,900 vaccine doses have been received (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) with 20,520 of those already administered.

There are presently nine school exposures on Vancouver Island, including at Royal Bay Secondary in Colwood and St Michael’s University School -junior campus in Oak Bay.

Vancouver Island, COVID, January 22 2021
COVID-19 case dashboard for Vancouver Island at January 22, 2021 [BC CDC]

Within Island Health there is only one long-term care facility outbreak at January 22 — at Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo.

Alistair MacGregor, MP, Cowichan-Malahat-Langford
Alistair MacGregor, MP (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) is available by phone and email during COVID-19.

===== Links (provided by BC Government):

For vaccine information, visit the BCCDC dashboard: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data
Or: www.bccdc.ca

For data regarding ongoing outbreaks in long-term care, assisted-living and independent-living facilities in B.C., visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data#outbreak

Mental health support:

Mental health and anxiety support: www.bouncebackbc.ca
Or: www.anxietycanada.com
Or: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/about-covid-19/mental-well-being-during-covid-19
Or: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/mental-health-substance-use/virtual-supports-covid-19

Island Social Trends
Island Social Trends – insights into stuff that matters.

The latest updates, guidance and information on COVID-19, and where to get tested:

The latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/
Or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

Provincial health officer’s orders and guidance:

Orders: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

Guidance on new restrictions: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/restrictions

Non-health related information:

Financial, child care and education support, travel, transportation and essential service information: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.

COVID-19 exposure events, updates and information by health authority:

BCCDC (flights, work sites, etc.): http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/public-exposures
Fraser Health: fraserhealth.ca/covid19exposure
Interior Health: https://news.interiorhealth.ca/news/public-exposures/
Island Health: https://www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/covid-19/outbreaks-and-exposures
Northern Health: https://www.northernhealth.ca/health-topics/outbreaks-and-exposures
Vancouver Coastal Health: http://www.vch.ca/covid-19/public-exposures

For the latest videos and livestreaming of COVID-19 media availabilities, visit:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BCProvincialGovernment/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCGovNews
YouTube: www.youtube.com/ProvinceofBC