Friday January 7, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends
As a third calendar year gets rolling within the COVID-19 pandemic, Island Health today saw a record number of new cases this week at 566 on Wednesday Jan 6, 417 yesterday and 475 today.
Active cases are at a record-breaking level for Island Health at 3,906 today. The number of active cases has been increasing all week:
- Mon Jan 3 (unavailable / stat holiday)
- Tues Jan 4 – 3,113
- Wed Jan 5 – 3,631
- Thurs Jan 6 – 3,765
- Fri Jan 7 – 3,906
All of that is up from 2,336 at year end, December 31, 2021, as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly.
Total cases surpass 20,000:
Total cases pandemic-to-date are 20,763 today. That’s up by 2,929 (14.1% of total cases pandemic-to-date) in just seven days, from 17,834 at December 31, 2021.
And that’s with the accuracy of total case numbers falling by the wayside as the BC Health system gives up on testing all evident cases and also contact tracing. The three-day incubation period is just too brief for any effort to find contacts to be preventative.
Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry has said for two weeks now that most people can expect to be exposed to the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, and that if you have cold or flu-like symptoms to now assume it’s a COVID (SARS-CoV-2) infection.
The positivity rate is at its highest-ever point on the Island at 29.1% surpassing the record of 28.6% set yesterday and 27.2% the day before that. That’s above the current BC average of 23.9%.
Active hospitalizations inched up in number this week, hovering in the range of 59 (today Jan 7) to 63 (Jan 5); there were 13 people in ICU as of today’s numbers from the BC Centre for Disease Control. All of that up from 53 (12 in ICU) on December 31 at year-end 2021.
Back on December 1 there were 49 hospitalizations (15 ICU), a week later December 8 through 13 hospitalizations were holding in the 33 to 34 range, then started to increase in number.
Total Island Health hospitalizations pandemic-to-date stands at 825 (that’s an additional 156 or an increase of 19% in about five weeks, since 669 on December 1, 2021).
Different type of illness:
Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry says the Omicron variant is producing less severe illness than the Delta variant, but that could in part be due to most people being immunized.
Even people who have received COVID-19 vaccination are acquiring the Omicron variant, says Dr Henry. In the last two weeks or so, she has said that everyone should expect to be exposed to Omicron at some point, and if experiencing COVID (respiratory or cold/flu-like symptoms) to assume it’s a COVID infection at this point.
‘Everyone will know someone who has COVID’, said Dr Henry this week. Island Social Trends is taking a simple Yes/No poll as to whether you know anyone directly (family, friend or co-worker) who has become infected with COVID. In a simple yes/no poll done by Island Social Trends during Jan 4 to 7, ‘yes’ was the answer given by 65% of respondents, and 35% no.
Apparently the number of deaths from COVID will not be as high with the Omicron variant. Vaccination is thought to be helping with immune response to the infection, helping to prevent the infection from becoming too severe.
COVID deaths to date at January 7, 2022 in Island Health stand at 147. That’s up by two since yesterday, and up from 122 just over a month ago at December 1, 2021.
In Island Health at January 7, 2022 there have been 1,625,174 COVID vaccine doses (all types) administered, pandemic-to-date. Of those, 681,622 have been second doses, and 218,279 third (booster) doses.
The pediatric Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years has been administered as 25,233 doses so far in Island Health (34 of those have been second doses); just 15 doses were administered in the last 24 hours.
Of all COVID vaccine doses administered in Island Health, 59.4% of them have been the adult-dose (30 mcg) Pfizer-BioNTech, 36.8% have been Moderna, 2.2% AstraZeneca, and 1.6% pediatric-Pfizer (10 mcg).
Over the last month or two, the percentage of Pfizer-BioNTech has been decreasing as more Moderna doses are administered for adults and also as the pediatric-Pfizer doses are now part of the total.
Earlier this week, Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr Richard Stanwick said that vaccinations are available at 81 pharmacies on Vancouver Island, with more to come.
People who have appointments for boosters should ‘move them ahead’, said Dr Stanwick today, as part of his advice to people in managing their risk in the face of the Omicron variant. It could also be that immunization staff shortages could happen if Omicron spreads further among health-care workers. As well, more people are becoming eligible for their booster (after reaching their six-month interval point) in the next few weeks and into February; every available time-slot will be needed.
Dr Stanwick has demonstrated over the years that he is a straight-shooter when it comes to medical advice.
Omicron: 5th COVID variant is going strong (January 8, 2022)
Vancouver Island COVID at Jan 6 in Year-3 (January 6, 2022)
Vancouver Island COVID at Jan 5 in Year-3 (January 5, 2022)
PHO, Dix, Farnworth: health-care workers deserve everyone’s support (January 5, 2022)
COVID outbreaks at 5 long-term care homes in Island Health (January 5, 2022)
COVID rolls into 2022: tough couple of weeks ahead (January 4, 2022)