Monday April 12, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends
Today BC’s Provincial Health Officer opened her COVID livestreamed remarks with declaring that we’re in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that we will “chart our best path forward”.
Dr Bonnie Henry is of course on top of the task at hand, but must be dismayed at facing a new surge in hospitalizations after all the work done by public health and most people in BC to beat this virus that has been grinding away on British Columbia for over a year now.
She noted that most businesses have been able to stay open safely, in the context of undertaking only as much restriction in society as needed.
Transmission person to person:
“COVID is transmitted by people to people,” said Dr Henry, as in stating the obvious. “Transmitting the virus by those we are closest to” is how she put it today.
“You may feel your actions don’t make a difference but they do,” she reminded and guided.
Get outside, but safely:
“Go outside every day,” says BC’s top doctor. It’s good for physically and mental well-being. But she wants people to do that just with their household bubble. Until now, she said it could be safe to meet outdoors to socialize with people not in one’s own household. But she “discourages even that” now. Don’t be outside with people outside of your bubble is the doctor’s advice today.
Hospitalizations & deaths:
Today there are more people hospitalized (368) to almost a record level, and of those 121 are in critical care or ICU.
“Critical care is profoundly serious for everyone involved,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix, after listing off the numbers and regions of the 18 deaths that occurred over the last three days due to COVID: nine April 9 to 10, five April 10 to 11, and four April 11 to 12. The distribution of those 18 deaths was fully around the province: Fraser Health 9, Vancouver Coastal 4, Interior 2, Vancouver Island 2, and North 1.
There have been 5,689 COVID hospitalizations to date in BC and now 1,513 deaths. On Vancouver Island there have been 185 hospitalizations (presently 18 in hospital, with five in ICU), and now 33 deaths.
For now, some surgeries will be postponed as hospitals require staff to handle the critical care wards for COVID patients. But unlike in the first wave last year in BC, there will not be a full system-wide cessation of surgeries, Dix explained today.
All the public health protocols that are proven to work (if followed), still work, say public health officials. That includes physical distancing (2 metres / 6 feet), wearing a mask, no socializing outside your own household, washing your hands frequently, and staying home if not feeling well.
About 24% of the adult population in BC has been vaccinated so far (with at least one dose), said Dix today. All of the current vaccine products approved for use in Canada are thought to require two doses for full effect. BC is stretching the interval to 16 weeks between the primer and the booster, so that supply can be used among as many people as possible for a first dose.
Of the 1,403,510 doses of all vaccine products received in BC (i.e. Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca) there have been 1,112,101 doses administered (that’s about 79% of the incoming supply). Of the doses administered, 87,744 (7.9%) have been second doses.
Bookings for people age 66+ are happening in BC. But the number of people registered in the 60 to 64 year age group is something that “we want to see that number rise,” says Dix. Though he realizes now that people in that age group are now able to go to pharmacies around BC to get the AstraZeneca shots.
The Pfizer and Modern mRNA vaccines are being used at the government community immunization clinics, and only AstraZeneca is being administered at designated pharmacies in BC.
There are 31 pharmacies on Vancouver Island that are administering the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. Of those, five are in Langford and one is in Colwood; none in Sooke.
As of around 5 pm this evening April 12, there were 19 schools listed by Island Health as having had COVID exposures: 10 high schools, five middle schools (two escalated to clusters last week), and four elementary.
COVID stats at April 12:
In BC there have been 112,829 COVID cases to date, with 9,937 currently active. A record-breaking number of people are isolating due to COVID exposure: 15,900. The positivity rate is still high at 10.2% (though it’s down slightly since last week). In BC to date, 5,514 children in BC under the age of 10 have tested positive for COVID-19. They will be the last to be immunized (product trials still in the works).
On Vancouver Island there have been 4,039 COVID cases to date, with 566 currently active. The positivity rate is still high at 4.7% (though that’s down since last week). In Island Health to date, 262 children under the age of 10 have tested positive for COVID-19.