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B.C. marks one year of COVID-19 but rule breakers, vaccine struggles remain

FILE -- Signage on a B.C. highway urges people to avoid all non-essential travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ryan Lidemark, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

It's been one year since B.C. reported its first case of COVID-19

Much has changed in B.C. since the first case of the coronavirus was reported in the province

B.C. continues to struggle with the pandemic, as well as rule breakers and the vaccine rollout

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – On Jan. 28, 2020, B.C. reported its first presumptive positive case of COVID-19.

Although confirmation that the case was indeed the novel coronavirus didn’t come until the next day, the report that Monday set off what would be the beginning of 12 trying months for British Columbians.

In the months that followed, restrictions were brought in across B.C. Businesses shuttered, people lost their jobs, thousands would eventually test positive for the virus, and hundreds would die.

As of Thursday morning, more than 65,700 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in this province and over 1,100 deaths have been confirmed.

Hotspots continue to pop up, the latest being in Whistler, with BCCDC data showing the Howe Sound area reported 224 cases of COVID-19 last week, which is more than triple the number of cases the week before when the area reported 63 cases.

Rule-breakers

In the year since the first case in B.C., much has changed, but the province continues to struggle with some people who just don’t seem to want to follow the rules.

Public health orders have been put in place, restricting gatherings and making masks mandatory in indoor public spaces.

However, there are stories each and every day of people flouting the rules. Frustration and anger continue to grow and while the premier has claimed the province will come down on rule-breakers “like a ton of bricks,” it’s still unclear just what that means.

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In recent weeks, B.C. announced it wouldn’t try to bring in an inter-provincial travel ban, saying such an order doesn’t have the legal merits needed.

This is despite calls from many across the province who say they want Canadians from other provinces to stay out — at least until the COVID-19 situation ameliorates.

Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines offered a glimmer of hope — with many seeing the inoculations as the beginning of the end of the pandemic.

However, rollout has been sluggish. Canada has been criticized for administering vaccines at a slower pace than some of its allies around the world.

Vaccine distribution plans are being managed by the provinces. In B.C., the process has not come without its own criticisms, with some calling for it to be sped up while others have questioned the priority order for who gets the shots and when.

The delay in shipments by Pfizer has not helped the situation. B.C. recently changed its priority grouping, putting age first when it comes to deciding who comes next in the lineup.

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However, it’s unknown how the Pfizer delay will truly impact the province’s rollout. B.C.’s provincial health officer has said the province will be working with an “extremely limited” supply of COVID-19 vaccines for a short period of time.

Currently, each individual needs two shots of either the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be fully inoculated against the coronavirus.

B.C. has warned that the Pfizer delay could also delay when the second dose of the company’s drug is administered too. Currently, plans indicate B.C. could stretch the time between the first and second doses, administering the latter on day 42.

To date, more than 124,000 British Columbians have received either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.