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B.C. sees 'impressive plummet' in COVID-19 case average: infectious disease expert

Last Updated Jan 15, 2021 at 11:59 am PST

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. Saskatchewan is reporting 60 new cases of COVID-19 mostly from Hutterites colonies in the south. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Summary

B.C. has seen an 'impressive plummet' in COVID cases, says an infectious disease expert

Dr. Isaac Bogoch notes B.C.'s COVID-19 cases peaked in November, but things seem to be turning around

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s stay-at-home orders and additional safety measures seem to be working with the seven-day COVID-19 average “plummeting,” says a leading infectious disease expert.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch notes B.C.’s COVID-19 cases peaked in November, with 880 cases in one day, and the high number of infections continued through the end of the year.

But it seems things are turning around, given the drop in the current seven-day COVID-19 case trend since cases surged in late 2020.

“There’s been a pretty impressive plummet in cases from that time,” he tells NEWS 1130. 

“Quite frankly, that takes broad community buy-in as well. So kudos to citizens as well for buying into those measures, because there’s a very significant drop from mid-November.”

Around the new year, there was a spike, which he believes could be due to people ignoring the restrictions around the holidays or fewer people getting tested around that time.

While the province might not have a full picture yet, since testing is still creeping back up to pre-holiday levels, Bogoch says the drop is still measurable.

Variants require caution

As vaccines are being rolled out, Bogoch says new mutations of the coronavirus are cause to remain vigilant.

However, only genomic sequencing can detect the new variants of the virus, which Bogoch warns is a serious threat to hospital capacity.

Bogoch says the vaccines are effective against the mutations, but he is warning that it seems to be spreading in Ontario.

On Thursday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed B.C.’s first case of the South African variant and there are now four people who’ve been infected with the U.K. variant. While the latter are connected to travel or known cases, the person who was infected with the South African variant didn’t travel recently or had contact with someone who did.

“We are still investigating where this person might have contracted this virus and that will continue. It is of course concerning that we don’t know where this arose, however, at the moment, it does not appear to have spread in the community beyond the person that we’ve identified,” Henry said.