British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Jan. 22

Long-awaited details on B.C.'s plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines were released on Friday morning.

Health officials announced 508 new cases and 9 more deaths on Friday

Laboratory technologists work to sequence the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver this week. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • Health officials have unveiled an age-based plan for rolling out COVID-19 vaccines across B.C.
  • As of Friday, 110,566 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C.
  • 508 new cases and nine more deaths were reported on Friday.
  • A total of 315 people are in hospital, including 74 in intensive care.
  • There are now 4,479 active cases of COVID-19 across the province.
  • The premier has announced that B.C. will not restrict interprovincial travel at this time.

Long-awaited details on B.C.'s plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines were released on Friday morning.

The province plans to immunize more than four million people in the general population by September, reaching the most high-risk and elderly segments of the public by April.

Most people between the ages of 60 and 79 who aren't in priority groups can expect to get their shots from April to June of this year, while younger people will enter the queue from June to September.

Though health-care workers continue to be a priority for receiving the vaccine, other front-line workers like teachers, first-responders and grocery store staff will not be.

The province's immunization program has been complicated by a hiccup in vaccine supply from Pfizer-BioNTech. Shipments over the next four weeks have been been cut in half as a factory expansion at Pfizer's plant in Belgium slows production.

Later Friday, health officials provided an update on B.C.'s vaccination plans to date. A total of 110,566 doses have now been administered, including 2,202 second doses.

In a written statement Friday afternoon, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that another 508 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed and nine more people have died.

There are now 4,479 active cases of COVID-19 across B.C. Of those, 315 patients are being treated in hospital, including 74 in intensive care.

Friday's update also included new outbreaks at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster and North Fraser Pretrial Services Centre, a jail in Port Coquitlam.

To date, there have been 63,484 confirmed cases of the disease in B.C., including 1,128 people who have died.

The latest numbers follow news that B.C. will not ban non-essential travellers from other provinces in order to halt the spread of COVID-19. 

Thursday evening, Horgan said that the government has explored its legal options and it's not possible to restrict travel at this point, but that could change if B.C. sees an increase in transmission caused by interprovincial visitors.

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What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 8 p.m. PT on Thursday, Canada had reported 731,450 cases of COVID-19, and 18,622 total deaths.

A total of 67,099 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.

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