Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health shared their COVID19 update for Thursday.
4 new deaths and 1,006 new cases of COVID 19. There have been 122,757 cases in BC. There have been 1,550 deaths in BC linked to the virus. There are 502 people in hospital with COVID-19. This is a new record. There are 161 people in ICU.
The province has administered around 1,530,000 vaccines. Province still asking everyone to register for vaccine even if they received AstraZeneca.
Starting tomorrow the province is encouraging everyone in the province to register for vaccine. Bookings for 60 plus starts tonight.
Dr. Henry is encouraging people to get vaccine. Says there are a lot of rumours out there. "The pressure on our health care system is immense right now, our health care workers need our help right now."
Dr. Henry says BC has a rate over 80% in a number of age groups already. "Take the first vaccine available to you."
Dr. Henry says immunization of children is important. Says expects studies coming out in the next few months around efficacy of vaccine on children. Says hope is next fall teenagers will get immunized.
Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth will announce travel measures TOMORROW. Dr. Bonnie Henry says travel 'will spread the virus further.'
Health Minister Adrian Dix: British Columbia is cancelling around 1750 surgeries in Metro Vancouver due to capacity issues in hospitals linked to COVID-19 pressure. There are 9 hospitals moving to urgent surgeries online. This will be in place for two weeks.
The hospitals that are moving to urgent surgeries only for two weeks: Surrey Memorial Hospital, Royal Columbian Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, Lions Gate Hospital, Abbotsford General Hospital, Burnaby & Richmond Hospital, St. Paul's UBC Hospital.
750 surgeries are being cancelled in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 1,000 in the Fraser Health region
On variants arriving from India Dr Henry says "A number of are directly related to travel from India, and others were in people who did not make the travel from India," she said. It is one of the ones we've been following".
She said she is supportive of the federal government's decision to suspend incoming passenger flights from India and Pakistan for the next month as cases of COVID-19 surge in both countries.
"We've seen this when we had increased rates in the U.K. where we needed to take a break and ensure that we had an understanding of what was going on."
40 cases of the B.1.617 variant that appears to be wreaking havoc in India were detected in the province about two months ago, she said. It is one of several variants seen from that country, Henry noted.
“It is the small, simple things we do every day that make a difference – washing our hands, wearing a mask, staying away from others and not travelling if we do not need to. And, the time to do that is now.
“We can slow COVID-19, and we can bend our curve back down. Let’s all do our part today to make that happen.”