British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Dec. 17

B.C. health officials announced 640 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 24 more deaths.

B.C. is ramping up enforcement of public health orders

Flooding at Trout Lake in Vancouver on Dec. 14. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)


  • The province is ramping up enforcement of public health orders to ensure more people are following its mask mandate and social gathering restrictions.
  • 24 new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported on Wednesday.
  • 640 new cases of the disease were also confirmed.
  • There are 9,950 active cases of COVID-19 across the province.
  • 362 patients are in hospital, with 91 in intensive care.
  • B.C. has administered its first COVID-19 vaccines.

B.C. is ramping up enforcement of public health orders to ensure more people are following its mask mandate and social gathering restrictions.

On Wednesday, the province announced it is asking more provincial officers to actively enforce public health orders and issue violation tickets.

B.C. health officials announced 640 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 24 more deaths.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said there were 9,950 active cases of people in the province infected with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

A record-high 362 people are in hospital, with 91 in intensive care. The province's death toll rose to 692.

Public health is actively monitoring 10,538 people across the province who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure. More than 32,000 people who tested positive have recovered.

The province started rolling out vaccines on Tuesday, administering 409 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to front-line health-care workers.

B.C. will use the first shipment of 3,900 doses at once — rather than reserving a second dose taken 21 days later — to immunize as many workers as possible.

Starting next week, the province will receive weekly vaccine deliveries for clinics in every health region, Henry and Dix said.

The province is aiming to immunize 400,000 people by the end of March.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said Wednesday that all Canadians who want a shot will be vaccinated by September 2021.

Happy news for one affected family

Gillian McIntosh, the Abbotsford, B.C., woman who gave birth via C-section in early November while in an induced coma and on a ventilator because of COVID-19, has been eased out of her coma and has met her newborn son for the first time.

According to a family representative, McIntosh was taken off the ventilator last week. After she tested negative for COVID-19, she finally met her baby over the weekend.

The baby's name, which was kept under wraps until McIntosh could see him, was revealed as Travis Len. McIntosh didn't know the baby was a boy.


  • A Kootenay composer has joined the chorus of self-employed Canadians who fear they may be forced to repay their Canada Emergency Response Benefit, following confusion over the COVID-19 support program's minimum income requirements.
  • The country's spy agency is warning companies in the vaccine supply chain that malicious foreign actors could threaten the largest inoculation program in Canadian history — by targeting their workers, among other tactics.
  • Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna, B.C., has fired some of its employees for breaking a social responsibility contract, after health officials announced that 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been linked to the resort. 
  • All your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in B.C. answered here.

What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 7:30 a.m ET on Thursday, Canada's COVID-19 case count stood at 481,630, with 75,885 of those cases considered active.

A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 13,799.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Loss of taste or smell.
  • Headache.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or o​​​​​​ther extreme symptoms should call 911.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep your distance from people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

With files from The Canadian Press