673 new COVID-19 cases and 21 more deaths in B.C.

DR. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, on Thursday announced 673 new cases of COVID-19, including six epi-linked case, for a total of 44,776 cases in British Columbia.

There were 21 new COVID-19-related deaths, and the total number of deaths in the province now stands at 713.

There are 10,009 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 358 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 93 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Currently, 10,388 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 32,963 people who tested positive have recovered.

There have been 145 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 403 new cases in the Fraser Health region, four in the Island Health region, 66 in the Interior Health region, 47 in the Northern Health region and eight new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks. There have been two new community outbreaks at Wingtat Game Bird Packers and at the LNG Canada site involving Diversified Transportation employees.

Henry and Dix said: “Yesterday, 806 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were given to B.C. front-line health-care workers, for a total of 1,215 doses to date. Starting next week, the province will receive weekly vaccine deliveries for clinics in every health region across the province.”

They added: “If there is one thing that we have learned about the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that to keep our wall strong, we have to work together.

“Here in B.C., our team is made up of front-line workers, health-care providers, contract tracers and the hundreds of thousands of other people across B.C. who are doing their part – at work, school and home.

“Together, we are making a difference by using our layers of protection and following all of the public health orders.

“Many people have already committed to celebrate safely, stay small and keep their families and communities safe. We can all make this commitment to make our holiday celebrations safe celebrations.

“Just as important, as COVID-19 continues to circulate in our communities, is to pay attention to how we are feeling and be aware of the symptoms of the virus.

“Here in B.C., the majority of new cases continue to be directly connected to known, confirmed cases of COVID-19. As a result, if you are a close contact of someone with the virus or of someone who is part of a cluster or outbreak and you develop any symptoms, you should arrange to get tested immediately.

“If you have not been around anyone that has COVID-19 that you are aware of, the guidance for when to get a test has been updated to make it clearer for everyone. This is because we know many COVID-19 symptoms are similar to influenza or colds.

“There are four symptoms that are highly predictive of the virus: fever or chills, cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, and difficulty breathing. If you have any of these symptoms, you should arrange to get tested right away.

“If you have one or two of any of the other symptoms, you can wait 24 hours. These symptoms include sore throat, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If you feel the same or worse after 24 hours, then you should also get tested. As always, if you are uncertain, contact your health provider or call 811.

“The days may be dark, the rain and snow may be upon us, but there is light ahead, and with each of us doing our part it gets brighter every day.”