A post-Christmas tally of COVID-19 cases shows cases are trending up across British Columbia, prompting health officials to renew a ban on social gatherings until Feb. 5 at midnight.
“We are in this period of greatest risk and greatest potential benefit. We need to have the room to provide this vaccine,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry Thursday.
Henry reported 761 new cases and eight new deaths across the province. There are now 6,349 people battling COVID-19 across B.C., including 372 people in hospital.
A significant number of British Columbians are still gathering at work and in small parties over the holidays, leading to continued transmission of the coronavirus, said Henry Thursday.
“The number we are seeing in every health authority shows us that some people made the decision to make an exception for themselves,” she said. “It may seem inconsequential. It may not have been done with the understanding of the impact it has.”
“This is our riskiest time right now.”
As health care workers push to vaccinate each other and seniors — 41,064 British Columbians have been vaccinated as of Jan. 7 — Henry said it was necessary to extend public health orders for two more incubation periods.
128 NEW CASES FOR THE TRI-CITIES
Tri-Cities has registered another 128 cases from Dec. 27 and Jan. 2, marking a slight dip since the last reporting period when 136 cases were isolated.
However, that period saw a significant dip in overall testing across the province, on some days falling well short of half the daily tests conducted over the first 19 days of December.
"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,” said Henry on Dec. 29, adding she expected testing, and therefore cases, to go up over the first week of January.
Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody registered a total of 2,204 cases in 2020, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
It's important to note that Thursday's rise in cases across B.C. may be slightly inflated after the BCCDC moved to report new coronavirus cases from midnight to midnight of the previous day, instead of from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Three long-term care homes remain under outbreak protocol across the Tri-Cities: Nicola Lodge in Port Coquitlam where at least one person has died of COVID-19, and in Coquitlam, Lakeshore Care Centre where at least 20 have died, as well as The Madison Care Centre, which just declared an outbreak on Jan. 3.
The BCCDC will now be providing weekly updates on case numbers and deaths broken down by long-term care home, said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
Meanwhile, School District 43 schools started 2021 with a clean slate of COVID-19 exposures after the holiday break. Fraser Health has yet to report any cases in Tri-Cities schools since the return to school this week.