British Columbia health officials on Tuesday announced 1,308 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death, as the province unveiled the latest round of new restrictions intended to curb the spread of the highly transmissible variant of Omicron.
This is the highest day-to-day total of new cases to date, and it comes after provincial health officer Dr.Bonnie Henry warned the public during a live press conference that ‘It is now “inevitable that most of us in the province will be exposed at some point.”
In a written statement, the provincial government said there are currently 6,348 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in British Columbia.
The recorded cases of Omicron in British Columbia now stand at 756, mostly in the Vancouver Coastal Health area, which has identified 413 cases.
A total of 192 people are hospitalized, including 76 in intensive care.
Overall, hospitalizations, which typically lag behind peaks and declines in new cases, rose by one unit compared to last Tuesday, when 191 people were hospitalized for the disease, but are down. about 43% compared to a month ago, when 337 people were hospitalized.
WATCH | Dr Bonnie Henry talks about the inevitability of exposure to Omicron:
The number of intensive care patients is down about 6% from 81 a week ago and 34% from a month ago, when 115 people were in intensive care.
The latest figures come after the province announced a series of new measures intended to contain the latest wave of infections. Bars, nightclubs, gyms and fitness centers are forced to close, all gatherings held inside must be canceled, and six-person table limits are reintroduced at restaurants as the Omicron variant spreads as wildfire.
The authorities also announced an extension of the rapid testing program and an acceleration of the vaccine recall plan.
Heavy workload at Vancouver Coastal Health
The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 2,403 lives lost out of 229,643 cases confirmed to date.
Health authorities with the highest population densities continue to lead the surge in new cases. The regional distribution of new cases is as follows:
- 525 new cases at Vancouver Coastal Health, which has a total of 2,326 active cases.
- 419 new cases at Fraser Health, with a total of 2,024 active cases.
- 202 new cases at Island Health, which has a total of 1,116 active cases.
- 138 new cases in Interior Health, with a total of 695 active cases.
- 23 new cases at Northern Health, which has 186 active cases in total.
- There is one new case among people residing outside of Canada, a group that has one active case in total.
There is an active outbreak in the health care system at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.
As of Tuesday, 91.7% of those 12 and over in British Columbia received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 88.9% a second dose and 16% a third dose.
Including those five years and older, 87.5 percent of people in British Columbia received a first dose and 82.7 percent a second dose.
From Dec. 13 to 19, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 30.7% of cases and from Dec.6 to 19, they accounted for 71.7% of hospitalizations, depending on the province.
After controlling for age, unvaccinated people are about 24 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are fully vaccinated, he said.
COVID-19 rapid test
The province’s announcements on Tuesday included plans to expand the use of rapid tests, making them available to symptomatic people in testing centers as well as long-term care facilities and for vulnerable communities and businesses. . Acute care health workers will also have access to it.
Sabrina Wong, a professor in the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia, says rapid tests can help break chains of transmission and protect medically vulnerable people.
“This is really a harm reduction approach,” Wong said. “So whatever the new restrictions, there will be some who don’t change their behavior and want to see family and friends. So wouldn’t it be better to test and find COVID before the person walks into the gathering? or the event? “
While the tests aren’t perfect, Wong said, they can help give people some peace of mind.
“We know that people’s mental health has deteriorated and that many people are emotionally exhausted,” she said. “So rapid antigenic tests can be used to allay people’s anxiety about whether or not they have COVID. This pandemic is not going to go away very quickly, so people should start to feel more confident in their daily lives.