British Columbia

Additional COVID-19 health measures coming as B.C. records 2,550 new cases over 3 days

On Monday, B.C. health officials announced 2,550 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths over the last three days, signalling that new restrictions could be on the way.

There are 185 people in hospital with the disease, 77 of whom are in intensive care

A lineup of cars is pictured at a COVID-19 testing clinic in downtown North Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

On Monday, B.C. health officials announced 2,550 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths over the last three days, signalling that new restrictions could be on the way.

In a written statement, the provincial government said there are currently 5,435 active cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.

The statement said new measures to address the latest surge in B.C.'s caseload will be announced on Tuesday.

The new case numbers show a continuing spike in B.C.'s COVID numbers. The breakdown for the last three days is as follows:

  • Dec. 17-18: 911 new cases.
  • Dec. 18-19: 832 new cases.
  • Dec. 19-20: 807 new cases.

 

It's unclear how much of a role the highly transmissible Omicron variant played in the numbers released Monday because the province did not provide updated figures on the variant. Updated numbers are expected during the live briefing on Tuesday.

In Monday's update, officials said a total of 185 people are in hospital, with 77 in intensive care.

Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind spikes and dips in new cases, are unchanged from last Monday and down by about 48 per cent from a month ago when 358 people were in hospital. 

The number of patients in intensive care is up by about seven per cent from 72 a week ago, but down by 29 per cent from a month ago when 109 people were in the ICU.

The provincial death toll from COVID-19 is now 2,402 lives lost out of 228,335 confirmed cases to date.

 

The regional breakdown of new cases is as follows: 

  • 909 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, which has 1,823 total active cases. 
  • 877 new cases in Fraser Health, which has 1,707 total active cases.
  • 415 new cases in Island Health, which has 1,021 total active cases.
  • 268 new cases in Interior Health, which has 648 total active cases.
  • 81 new cases in Northern Health, which has 236 total active cases.
  • There are no new cases among people who reside outside of Canada, a group which has zero active cases.

There is one active outbreak in the health-care system at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.

As of Monday, 91.7 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 88.8 per cent a second dose, and 16 per cent a third dose.

When taking into account those five and older, 87.3 per cent of people in B.C. had received a first shot and 82.6 per cent a second dose.

 

From Dec. 10 to 16, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 39.4 per cent of cases and from Dec. 3 to 16, they accounted for 71.4 per cent of hospitalizations, according to the province.

After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 23.8 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are fully vaccinated, it said.

New restrictions in effect

Effective Monday, new public restrictions are in effect, amid a spike in COVID-19 cases across Canada driven by the Omicron variant.

Those measures, announced Friday by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, include 50 per cent audience capacities in large venues and limited numbers of guests allowed to attend indoor personal gatherings.

"We need to take these measures until we understand the full impact Omicron will have in the B.C. context," Henry said.

"It is imperative people follow the new orders in how they celebrate this season."

She said the restrictions also includes the cancellation of all New Year's Eve events and sports tournaments.

Henry also announced the province will be stepping up scanning of vaccine QR codes to make sure proof of vaccination is confirmed in all settings. 

With files from Justin McElroy

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