British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Jan. 5

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province is on track to hit its target of immunizing 550,000 people in high priority groups by March.

B.C. health officials provided an update to the province's immunization program on Monday

Students are pictured during a break at Earl Marriott Secondary School in Surrey, B.C., on Monday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • B.C. health officials provided further details of the province's immunization program on Monday, saying they expect to receive 792,000 doses of vaccine and provide at least one dose to 550,000 people by March.
  • Health officials reported 428 new COVID-19 cases and eight more deaths on Tuesday.
  • B.C. has 6,472 active cases as of Monday. So far, 954 people have died of the disease.
  • There are 367 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 77 in intensive care.
  • Province has extended its state of emergency due to COVID-19. 
  • To date, 28,209 British Columbians have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

B.C. reported 428 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and eight more deaths on Tuesday, as it extended the provincial state of emergency due to COVID-19.

The original state of emergency was declared on March 18, 2020.

The province has 6,472 active cases of COVID-19 and 954 people have died of the disease. There are 367 COVID-19 patients in hospital including 77 in intensive care, health officials reported.

On Monday, the province provided additional details of B.C.'s immunization program.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province is on track to hit its target of immunizing 550,000 people in high priority groups by March.

The province will reveal further details of how it plans to immunize the general public later in January.

To date, 28,209 people in B.C. have received their first shot of a COVID-19 vaccination as of Jan. 3. The province aims to provide vaccines to 3,300 people a day over the next two weeks.

She added all of B.C.'s vaccine supply received so far will go toward first doses for priority populations until late January. Second doses will be delivered 35 days after the first dose. 

The next update from the province is expected to come in a written statement on Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Vancouver Coastal Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Heart Centre, Unit 5A, at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. A statement said the unit is closed to new admissions, transfers and visitors. The rest of the hospital is said to be unaffected.

Outbreaks across several sectors

Students across B.C. returned to school on Monday after the winter break.

At Earl Marriott Secondary in Surrey, nearly 50 cases of COVID-19 were linked to five classes at the school just before the break began.

There is also a significant outbreak at a Tsawwassen seniors' home, and one at a shelter for people experiencing homelessness in Chilliwack. 

The province has seen a surge in cases at long-term care homes since November, but with less transparency over the extent of individual outbreaks. In response to questions from reporters on Monday, Henry said it has been too difficult for the province to say how many COVID-19 cases and deaths have happened in individual care homes.  

Outside long-term care, five major industrial projects in northern B.C. have been ordered by the province to reduce the size of their workforces in an attempt to ensure the northern health region does not become overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.

Another 25 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna, bringing the total number of cases in the community cluster to 136.

READ MORE:

  • On Monday, B.C.'s chief health officer said it was too difficult for the province to say how many COVID-19 cases and deaths there had been in individual care homes. Here's what we do and don't know about those outbreaks.
  • British Columbia's public health officer has ordered five major industrial projects in the north of the province to reduce the size of their workforces in an attempt to ensure the northern health region does not become overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.
  • After nine months of containment and mitigation, a new approach is required, says the group COVID Strategic Choice, which advocates for a "near zero" COVID-19 strategy in Canada.
  • A British Columbia judge says a polyamorous father is not breaching the province's COVID-19 health orders by sharing his Squamish apartment with a new partner who is also living with her husband in Vancouver.
  • Fraser Health has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at a shelter for people who are homeless in Chilliwack, B.C., after more than three dozen people tested positive for the illness.
  • More than 50 residents at a seniors' home in Tsawwassen, B.C., have tested positive for COVID-19 since the first case was confirmed there nine days ago.

What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of Monday, Canada's COVID-19 death toll was at 16,074, according to the Government of Canada COVID-19 dashboard.

As of Sunday, Canada's total case count was to 616,217.

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.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now