British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Jan. 21

B.C. health officials announced 564 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths on Thursday.

There are now 4,450 active cases of COVID-19 in the province

As B.C. continues to flatten its curve, hospitalizations are at their lowest level since Nov. 30,  though 14 deaths is the second highest number of deaths this month. (Ben Nelms/CBC)


  • Health officials have called off their regular Thursday briefing to hold a Friday-morning news conference instead.
  • 564 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths were reported Thursday afternoon.
  • There are currently 4,450 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C.
  • 309 people are in hospital, with 68 in the ICU.
  • 104,901 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 1,680 second doses. 
  • There is new community cluster in and around Williams Lake.
  • There are no new outbreaks in the health-care system, but six have been declared over.

On Thursday, B.C. health officials announced 564 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 309 people, 68 of whom are in intensive care. Hospitalizations are now at their lowest level since Nov. 28

A total of 1,119 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Henry and Dix said a new community cluster has been detected in and around Williams Lake. There are no new outbreaks in the health-care system, and six outbreaks have been declared over.

So far, 104,901 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 1,680 second doses. 

A nurse prepares doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 22, 2020. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Health officials cancelled their regular COVID-19 briefing Thursday as they prepared to update the province's strategy for immunization against the virus, and the daily update was provided in a written statement instead.

Henry and Dix will join a news conference Friday with Premier John Horgan and Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization rollout.

The four are expected to comment on the next steps in the immunization program that has been complicated by a hiccup in vaccine supply from Pfizer-BioNTech.

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues.


  • Central Mountain Air announced Tuesday it is suspending flights between Fort Nelson, B.C. and the northern hub of Prince George, leaving the small northeastern community with no flight services for at least three months. The company says the slump is, in part, due to reduced travel because of COVID-19.
  • A B.C. respirologist involved in a COVID rapid testing pilot project ending next month says the tests, so far, are proving to be a useful, inexpensive and simple tool to aid in the defence against COVID-19 transmission.
  • Vancouver businesses say they expect to struggle in 2021 due to COVID-19.
  • The seemingly more transmissible variants of the coronavirus first discovered in Britain, South Africa and Brazil are called "variants of concern" by the World Health Organization. Here's a look at what's driving the concern and calls for more precautions in Canada.

What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 7 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Canada had reported 724,670 cases of COVID-19, and 18,462 total deaths.

A total of 68,413 cases are considered active.

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.

With files from The Canadian Press


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?