British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Dec. 8

On Tuesday, B.C. reported its lowest number of new cases of COVID-19 in weeks, but tied its highest ever one-day total of deaths from the disease.

Restrictions on events and social gatherings have been extended into the New Year

A person in a face mask strolls near Main and Hastings streets in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver on Dec. 4. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • Health officials announced 566 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 more deaths on Tuesday.
  • There are now 9,315 active cases of COVID-19 across B.C.
  • 352 patients are in hospital, with 74 in intensive care.
  • 543 people in B.C. have died of the disease since the pandemic began.
  • About 4,000 people are expected to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of next week.
  • Provincewide restrictions on social gatherings, events, travel and sports have been extended until midnight on Jan. 8. 

On Tuesday, B.C. reported its lowest number of new cases of COVID-19 in weeks, but tied its highest ever one-day total of deaths from the disease.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in a written statement that 566 new cases have been confirmed — the lowest total since Nov. 17. However, 16 more people have died.

The province now has 9,315 active cases. A total of 352 people are in hospital, with 74 people in intensive care. To date, 543 people have died of COVID-19 in B.C.

There appears to be good new just over the horizon, however. Just before the latest numbers were released, Premier John Horgan announced over Twitter that "about 4,000 high-risk people" in B.C. will receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of next week.

The news comes a day after Henry extended a ban on social gatherings and community events for another month, which means that Christmas dinners and New Year's Eve parties are out of the question this year

The provincewide COVID-19 restrictions have been extended to Jan. 8 at midnight.

That means residents can only socialize with people in their household, and all events and gatherings must be cancelled. British Columbians are being told not to travel outside their local communities for non-essential reasons, whether it's to visit family or take a vacation.

On Tuesday, she and Dix urged British Columbians to find new ways to celebrate the holiday season.

"Take in the holiday lights in your neighbourhood, have a virtual visit with friends or support a 'drive in and drop off' charitable toy drive," they said in a written statement.

"Let's work together to protect our communities and those who are most vulnerable and make it a safe and enjoyable holiday season for everyone."

READ MORE:

What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of Tuesday at 4:15 p.m. PT, Canada's COVID-19 case count stood at 429,035, with 71,968 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 12,867.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that up to 249,000 doses of the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will arrive by the end of the year, and the provinces are beginning to roll out their delivery plans. The vaccine could receive approval from Health Canada as soon as this coming week. 

Quebec's health minister says the province will start vaccinating residents of long-term care homes next week.

Canada's National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told CBC's The Early Edition Monday that simulation exercises are  being conducted across the country as the military prepares for when a vaccine is ready.

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.

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