Thursday September 16, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, numbers are one measure of the impact of the infection on individuals and families.
On Vancouver Island, there have been 7,560 test-positive cases of COVID-19 pandemic-to-date (since January 2020), of which 1,605 have been among children and youth:
- 602 in children ages newborn to 9 years (that’s up 52 in just the last four days)
- 1,003 in kids and teens ages 10 to 19 years (that’s up 67 in just the last four days)
There are presently 638 active cases in Island Health (81 of those new today). That’s 10.9% of the 5,844 active cases across BC as of September 16, 2021.
Schools in COVID year-two:
Compared to last year (during the second and third waves of the pandemic) when students in schools were contained in cohorts (learning groups), this year class sizes are back to normal (during the fourth wave).
The BC Ministry of Education has mandated the wearing of masks by all students in Grades 4 to 12, as well as all teachers and staff in the schools; for kids in Kindergarten to Grade 3 the masks are optional.
COVID vaccine products are not yet approved for children under the age of 12. That means children are unprotected, and that adults and older students in the school environment are exposed to children (and anyone) who is carrying the virus.
It’s almost as if wishful thinking and intention are being attempted by the Ministry of Education over the power of the highly transmissible Delta variant. The entire lack of success of that approach to pandemic management has been seen in Alberta where they opened things up completely, only to find themselves admitting defeat today as the province becomes crushed under peak COVID case numbers and hospitalizations.
Delta & Mu variants:
The highly transmissible (contagious) Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 (aka COVID-19) coronavirus is causing virtually 100% of COVID infections across BC at this time. That variant impact was confirmed in late July 2021, as seen in BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) data. It comprises almost 100% of COVID test-positive cases in BC.
Apparently the current COVID vaccines as approved by Health Canada still have ameliorating effects on COVID infection by the Delta variant (allowing for less severe illness, and less likely to be hospitalized or die). But the new variant-of-interest call Mu (B.1.621, declared by the World Health Organization on August 30, 2021) may pose a greater threat in that the current vaccines may not protected people as well against that mutated virus.
As of today’s BC CDC stats, in BC 78.8% of eligible British Columbians age 12 years and old have been fully vaccinated (two doses) with the current vaccines (any of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca).
Dozens of cases of the Mu COVID-19 variant (B.1.621) have been identified in BC. According to the BC Centre for Disease Control’s latest weekly update on variants of concern and variants of interest, there have been 46 Mu cases detected since June, including two in the most recent week.
Mu “better evades the ‘first’ step in our immune reaction (neutralizing antibodies),” says Dr Sarah Otto, in the department of zoology at the University of British Columbia.
Other variants of concern — Gamma, Beta, Alpha and others (which were prevalent in the first, second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic) — are now mostly non-existent in this province.
Hospitalizations and deaths:
Presently 24 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Island Health, with 13 of those people in ICU.
There have been 58 deaths directly associated with COVID-19 in Island Health during the pandemic to date, with two of those reported this week.
PHAC: Same COVID vaccines in Canada, new names (September 16, 2021)
BCTF Fall 2021: wants better protections & return-to-school caution (September 6, 2021)
COVID info-pages for K-12 & post-secondary (September 4, 2021 & updated)
COVID – Links and Resources (compiled by Island Social Trends & updated)