COVID-19: Health officials to update B.C. COVID-19 cases on January 11

Restrictions on gatherings and events in British Columbia are expected to be in place until at least January 18, and facilities like gyms, fitness centers and dance studios are to remain closed.

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VICTORIA – British Columbia’s provincial health worker said the current wave of COVID-19 infections is expected to continue for several more weeks based on the experience of other jurisdictions, although she is ‘expects more treatment options to be approved soon.

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Dr Bonnie Henry said on Tuesday that many people who have contracted the Omicron variant of COVID-19 are fully vaccinated, but their illness has been relatively mild compared to those who are unvaccinated and are at higher risk of be hospitalized.

Three people in their 20s and another in their 30s are currently in intensive care in British Columbia, and not all are vaccinated, Henry said.

“It creates a lot of distress for our healthcare workers to take care of young people and to see them in such distress when it can be avoided,” she said.

Henry called on everyone to maintain their social bonds, outwardly and virtually, if necessary, to protect their mental well-being, as many people feel helpless and exhausted by the continued need for vigilance to protect themselves from COVID -19.

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“We all feel like we are being beaten by wave after wave of the storm,” she said.

She predicted that a number of additional treatment options would be available later this month to prevent those at risk of serious illness from being hospitalized.

Health Canada signed an agreement with Pfizer last December to provide a first million doses of its COVID-19 antiviral pill, but the agency has yet to approve its use. The United States Food and Drug Administration last month granted emergency use of the five-day regimen, and the drug has since been scarce.

Restrictions on gatherings and events in British Columbia are expected to be in place until at least January 18, and facilities like gyms, fitness centers and dance studios are to remain closed.

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Henry said the province is considering what activities can safely resume now that all companies have started implementing COVID-19 security plans. She added that more details will be provided, along with modeling numbers, on Friday.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province was ready to reserve space for a field hospital in downtown Vancouver, but this is currently not necessary.

He said health officials have postponed 530 surgeries across British Columbia between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8 due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“No one who is trained, and whose life’s work is to get patients the surgery they need, wants to call a patient to tell them their surgery is being postponed. And this week, we know that is now happening in significant numbers across British Columbia. “

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However, almost all of the patients whose surgeries were canceled during the first wave of the pandemic, starting in March 2020, had their surgery, Dix said.

In September, the health minister announced incentives such as childcare to recruit health workers in the hard-hit northern health region, but said on Tuesday that “the challenge was enormous” in terms of concerns the recruitment and retention of staff.

Ninety percent of eligible adults in British Columbia received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and about 29 percent received a third dose.

The province recorded 2,239 new cases of COVID-19 and three more people have died, for a total of 2,449 deaths.

The health ministry said 469 people are hospitalized and 97 of them are in intensive care. Almost 81% of those infected with the virus in the past week have been fully vaccinated, he added.


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