British Columbia

B.C. records 2nd case of rare blood-clotting disorder, as COVID-19 case rates continue to fall

B.C. health officials announced 587 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday as the province's pandemic curve continued its steady decline since peaking in mid-April.

Man in his 40s in stable condition after being treated

A sign for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at Davie Pharmacy in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

B.C. health officials announced 587 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday as the province's pandemic curve continued its steady decline since peaking in mid-April.

There have been five more deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the provincial death toll to 1,632.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced there are 413 people in hospital with the disease, including 141 in intensive care.

She said there has been a second case of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) — the rare blood clots associated with receiving the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.

The person affected is a man in his 40s who is in stable condition after receiving treatment in the Fraser Health region.

"This is a rare but very serious condition and we are following it carefully," said Henry. "For people who received AstraZeneca, you did make the right choice."

She said that remaining and future doses of AstraZeneca will be used as second-dose booster shots.

Infections rare in vaccinated people

A total of 2,335,513 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered since the immunization campaign began, meaning just over 45 per cent of B.C.'s total population has received a first shot.

Wednesday, officials announced that over 50 per cent of those eligible had received a first shot.

Health officials have consistently said that 60 to 70 per cent of the total population must be fully immunized to achieve herd immunity.

So far, 119,691 second doses have been given.

Henry presented data that shows that infections are extremely rare in those who have been immunized with fully vaccinated individuals representing only 0.2 per cent of new cases since Dec. 27, 2020.

Since then, people who received one shot at least 21 days prior to infection represent approximately 1.7 per cent of new cases.

Henry said there is a considerable drop-off in the risk of infection 14 days after receiving a first dose, and an additional drop off after three weeks as the body is developing an immune response.

Pharmacist Eugene Woo delivers an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to a person at Davie Pharmacy in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that as of Saturday, those born in 2001 or earlier — 20 years and older — will be invited to book vaccine appointments starting Saturday.

He again invited all adults to register on the province's Get Vaccinated website to ensure that they receive their invitations as quickly as possible.

Watch | Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says restrictions won't begin gradually lifting until after the May long weekend.

Dr. Bonnie Henry discusses B.C.'s gradual summer reopening

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Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is on the right track to slowly reopen this summer, but restrictions won't shift ahead of the May long weekend. 2:02

Wednesday, 58,195 people in B.C. were given a vaccine shot, marking the second-highest daily total of vaccinations as the campaign accelerates. 

The progress was praised in a Wednesday news release by Premier John Horgan. He encouraged those who had yet to register for a first dose to secure themselves a shot and encourage others to do so as well.

"COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down, but this milestone gives us hope of better days ahead. We have to keep going. We need all British Columbians to help make sure as many people as possible get their shots," Premier John Horgan said in a news release.

Health officials are currently awaiting the results of studies looking at the effectiveness of interchanging different types of vaccines for first and second doses. 

Currently, anyone 18 and older in British Columbia can register for vaccination. This can be done online through the "Get Vaccinated" portal, by calling 1-833-838-2323, or in person at any Service B.C. location.

Stay in your own community

Also on Wednesday, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control released the first of its promised new weekly reports on community level data from across the province. The report shows a wide variation in rates of vaccination, daily cases and test positivity.

Earlier this week, the provincial government announced yet another extension of the state of emergency related to the pandemic, which will remain in place until at least May 25.

 

Thursday, Henry confirmed that current restrictions on gatherings, indoor dining and travel will remain in place until May 25. She said that small gatherings should be possible by the Canada Day long weekend similarl to last summer.

Travelling outside of three regional zones without an essential reason remains prohibited until then. Violators can be fined up to $575.

The three zones, based roughly on health region boundaries, are:

  • The Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health areas)
  • Vancouver Island (Island Health)
  • Northern and Interior regions (Northern health and Interior Health)

B.C. residents cannot book accommodations or camping sites outside their zone and BC Ferries staff are contacting travellers to confirm the reasons for their travel. RCMP have also set up checkpoints to enforce the non-essential travel ban.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said that people who received one shot at least 14 days prior to infection represent approximately 1.7 per cent of new cases. In fact, it's 21 days.
    May 13, 2021 7:04 PM PT

With files from Bridgette Watson

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