B.C. sets back-to-back records for cases of COVID-19, with 1,074 on Friday and 1,077 on Saturday
Saturday's update includes no data on deaths or variants of concern, limited information on hospitalization
UPDATE, April 6, 2021: In a statement published April 5, B.C. health officials revised the daily case numbers for April 2 and April 3. This story has been updated to reflect those revised numbers.
B.C. health officials have announced 2,151 new cases of COVID-19 in the past two days, but have provided no information about deaths, variants of concern or the number of active cases.
In a written statement on Saturday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix only provided data on the number of patients in critical care — 90 — but not the overall number of people in hospital with the disease.
The only explanation provided for the missing numbers was a note that "some data are not available over the long weekend."
The update is the first from the province since Thursday. The number of new cases in both of the last two days have broken previous records for one-day totals, with 1,074 on Friday and 1,077 on Saturday.
With numbers continuing to shoot up, health officials urged people to stay close to home.
"We have seen too many cases of people travelling outside their health authority region and not using their layers of protection, leading to outbreaks and clusters in their home community," Henry and Dix said.
"These outbreaks are avoidable, and right now we must stay within our local region — for the safety of your community and for others."
A total of 856,801 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. to date, including 87,455 second doses.
Vaccine appointments are currently open for seniors aged 72 and up, Indigenous people over the age of 18 and people that the province has deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable. People between the ages of 55 and 65 are also eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine in the Lower Mainland.
B.C. has not provided weekend updates on COVID-19 case counts for several months, but the number of cases in the province has surged in recent weeks.
On Monday, the province tightened restrictions for the first time since November, implementing a three-week "circuit breaker." The new restrictions affect indoor dining in restaurants, group fitness and worship services, and come as the number of variants of concern continues to increase across B.C.
Variance on variants
One researcher says the province needs to change how it collects data on the variants.
"It's hard to interpret the daily news release because we don't know how many variants there actually are," said Sally Otto, a UBC professor and COVID-19 modeller tracking variants.
Currently the province uses whole genome sequencing to detect specific variants, which can take days to confirm. Otto says the faster polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is available at Vancouver's St Paul's Hospital.
"They have a test that's very accurate that determines whether it's a variant with PCR within a day of testing and that's really accurate and no delays."
Dr. Marc Romney (📷) and his research team have proposed a new testing strategy that can rapidly detect COVID-19 variants. What's more, this new method is quicker and cheaper than the current standard.<br><br>Story from <a href="https://twitter.com/COVIDimmunityTF?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@COVIDimmunityTF</a>: <a href="https://t.co/T31dPwgGXK">https://t.co/T31dPwgGXK</a> <a href="https://t.co/5b6akBdvO5">pic.twitter.com/5b6akBdvO5</a>—@PHCResearch
B.C. gave its last variant update on Thursday, when it announced 90 new variant cases for a total of 2,643 cases, of which 192 are active.
Otto says having more accurate reporting on the number of variant cases in B.C. could help push people to more closely adhere to advice from the province on mask wearing, physical distancing and hand washing.
- A previous version of this story gave the case numbers for April 2 and April 3 as 1,018 and 1,072, respectively, as per an April 3 statement by the B.C. Ministry of Health. On April 5, the province released revised case numbers for those days of 1,074 and 1,077, respectively. The story has been updated to reflect the revised numbers.Apr 06, 2021 11:42 AM PT