Home Health COVID-19 High case numbers Dec 29 as Omicron spreads

High case numbers Dec 29 as Omicron spreads

'If you have symptoms, assume you have COVID' ~ Dr Bonnie Henry

covid, island health, dec 29 2021
New and active case counts in Island Health at Dec 29, 2021. [BC CDC]

Wednesday December 29, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) virus has been spreading rapidly in BC.

The COVID new-case numbers today were 2,944, with 1,785 yesterday, and a 2,096 daily average over the three-day Christmas long weekend (total 6,288 over three days).

On Vancouver Island there were 309 new cases today, 283 new cases yesterday, and 737 over the three-day weekend (average of 245 per day).

dr henry, deb 29 2021
“If you have symptoms, assume you have the virus,” said Dr Bonnie Henry about the Omicron variant circulating, Dec 29, 2021.

Active cases & hospitalizations:

In BC there are 16,014 active COVID cases in the December 29 stats (those are the test-positive ones, not including all the people told to ‘assume’ they have COVID if they have symptoms). In Island Health there are 1,353 active cases.

There are currently 206 people in hospital with COVID-19 (66 of those in ICU). In island Health, 38 people are in hospital (12 in ICU).

Five more deaths over Christmas weekend:

There were five more deaths due to COVID, over the Christmas long weekend and into this week (reporting period Dec 24 to 29).

These deaths are sad at any time, but over the Christmas holiday season will leave a stronger impact on families.

Total COVID deaths, pandemic to date, stands at 2,419 (with 142 of those in Island Health of which three were added today).

Omicron spreads easily:

The Omicron variant spreads more easily than Delta or the original Alpha. It appears to cause less severe illness than the earlier viral variants, but that could also be because most people are vaccinated.

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People who are unvaccinated (and also if they had COVID infection before) are 10 times more likely to become infected with the Omicron variant, Dr Henry said today.

People who are vaccinated are still getting infected and experiencing illness, but the rate of hospitalization does not seem to be going up so far.

Last week — and again today — Dr Henry said that everyone can expect to be exposed to the Omicron variant (it’s just a matter of time).

If you are exposed to a “close contact” Dr Henry said today that you do *not* need to isolate, but to pay attention for 14 days.

The advice is to follow all public health protocols at this time, including wearing a good mask, keeping distance from people, meet only in small gatherings (if at all), work from home where possible, staying home if you can (even if not sick), frequent hand-washing, and getting your COVID-19 vaccine booster dose (third shot) as soon as your 6-month interval period has passed.

If you do get sick:

If you do get stick with COVID, the Omicron variant will likely produce a milder illness. Dr Henry said today to “stay away, rest at home, drink plenty of fluids and eat well, and seek help if required”.

Check the BC CDC website for a list of symptoms and other guidance.

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Testing is robust:

Today Minister Dix said that 19,681 COVID lab tests were done during December 24 to 25. Over the Christmas weekend about 75,000 lab tests were done; nurses were working at collection stations.

People with symptoms are more likely to test positive. The positivity rate in BC is at 14.49 percent today (rolling average over seven days). Seven days ago the average was 10 percent and yesterday it was 20 percent, said Dix today.

In Island Health today the positive rate is 15.7 percent (the highest yet).

Today 15,562 COVID tests were reported in BC for December 29 (1,600 of those in Island Health).

Vaccination is robust:

Today Minister Dix said the booster campaign is strong, and Dr Henry said it’s a bit farther ahead than was planned for year-end 2021.

adrian dix, health minister
“Omicron seeks to live and takes every opportunity to spread,” says Health Minister Adrian Dix [Dec 29, 2021]

To date, 9,337,772 people have received COVID vaccination shots in BC; a second dose has been received by 4,111,560 people.

Children ages 5 to 11 years have received over 125,000 first doses.

Next update:

A written statement of case counts will be issued tomorrow, December 30.

The next live update by Dr Henry and Minister Dix will be on Friday morning December 31, at 10 am.

covid, dec 29 2021, island health
COVID profile for Island Health at Dec 29, 2021 [BC CDC]

===== RELATED:

Return to K-12 classrooms will be phased-in in January 2022 (December 29, 2021)

Dec 28: another 1,785 COVID cases in BC (December 28, 2021)

Three days of Xmas tallies 6,288 BC COVID cases (December 27, 2021)

Mitzi Dean
xmas, IST