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B.C.'s daily COVID-19 cases trend downward as deaths, hospitalizations remain high

Last Updated Dec 29, 2020 at 7:38 pm PST

Summary

2,206 people have contracted the coronavirus since the province's last update five days ago

Seventy-four people have died, including 25 in the period from Dec. 24 to Dec. 15

Dr. Bonnie Henry says new variant means following guidelines is more urgent than ever

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The number of new COVID-19 cases recorded daily in B.C. is trending downward, but hospitalizations have reached another record-high, and 74 more people have died, according to health officials.

Tuesday’s update was the first since Christmas Eve, and the first since a new variant of the virus was found in the province.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix announced that 2,206 more people have contracted the coronavirus.

The lowest number of new cases, 382, were recorded for the period from Dec. 27 to Dec. 28. The majority of new cases continue to be concentrated in the Fraser Valley.

Hospitalizations reached another high with 373 people, 80 of whom are in the ICU.

Henry said the devastating effects of the pandemic on seniors in care continues to be felt with 74 people passing away. Twenty-five people died between Dec. 24 and Dec. 25, something Henry acknowledged has been especially difficult for families and caregivers.

“Our condolences go to all of the families who are mourning, their loss to the care providers and to our communities who have lost loved ones. We know that this is the most challenging time to deal with these issues, not only because of COVID, but because of the time of year. We mourn with you and feel your loss intensely,” she said.

Eight new outbreaks have been declared in long-term and acute care facilities since the last provincial update.

However, Henry cautioned the lower daily case numbers may not last.

There’s a couple of reasons I believe the numbers are down. Partly it’s people have not been going for testing as much. We know across the province, that people going for testing has been down by as much as 50 per cent,” she said.

“And partly it’s people don’t want to be tested and have to isolate before this holiday, which is worrisome because we know that people are getting together — some people — and even if it’s just your household, that you may bring this into your household and spread it to them.”

New virus variant, second vaccine both arrive in B.C. 

The arrival of a new and apparently more contagious variant of COVID-19, first detected in the UK, prompted Henry to renew her calls to follow guidelines limiting social gatherings.

“It’s also an order that you need to stay with your household for any social gatherings, and that is important for us to prevent the transmission of all COVID but now particularly this variant,” she said.

“Now, I have another ask of you — to give the people in our health care system, and in our essential services the reprieve they need. We need to make our entire holiday season a quiet holiday season, including the upcoming New Year’s. This is what we need to do to get us through this hump in our pandemic and make sure that we enter 2021 in a position to immunize people who are most at risk, and to get us through this next hard few weeks.”

So far, 11,930 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered across all health regions. Henry noted this comes as B.C. begins to receive doses of the Moderna vaccine.

“Some has arrived today and some will be arriving tomorrow and in the next days,” Henry said.

“The timing is a little bit in flux, partly due to scheduling but also of course weather across the country at this time of year. As soon as it arrives, however, it will be going to a number of remote and isolated First Nations communities that have been identified.”