PROVINCIAL Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on Thursday announced that the current provincial health officer’s orders on all gatherings and events have been extended through to February 5 at midnight. The same restriction, including on social gatherings in people’s homes and in public venues, and all events and sports activities continue to apply.
They said: “From the first COVID-19 case in our province, we shared the latest information about the pandemic here in British Columbia. This is important, because it allows all of us to understand how we are progressing and what trends are developing, so we can make informed decisions about our personal actions.
“In the last few weeks, we have looked at how we can automate some areas of the collection and reporting of cases. Today, we have started to use a new system for the daily reporting of new COVID-19 cases that will streamline one part of what is a complex and onerous process.
“The new system will automatically report all laboratory confirmed cases from the previous day, plus cases followed up by the health authorities, to provide more timely reporting of data. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) dashboard and data tables will now show the lab result date instead of the reported date.
“There will be an adjustment in the dashboard to reflect the lab results – they will look slightly different. There will be an increase in case counts today and for a few days as the new system kicks in and the previous lag from positive lab result to reported case is eliminated.
“There will continue to be fluctuations in our numbers as cases are verified. That is why the seven-day average is important to pay attention to. The daily case count is only a snapshot on a given day, at a given time.
“Importantly, what remains the same is every case is still counted, every person who is positive is still notified as soon as possible, and contact tracing and followup to identify new clusters and outbreaks continues.
“Like every part of Canada and many places around the world, the risk of spread of COVID-19 remains extremely high and new cases and clusters continue to emerge.
“Here in B.C., we are and will continue to do all we can to protect our province, and we ask everyone to do the same.”
Henry and Dix added: “We need to hold the line with the public health orders for the next two incubation periods – one month – to ensure we are doing all we can to keep everyone in the province as safe as possible. These orders enable our health-care system, schools and essential workplaces to continue to stay open, which is important for all of us.
“Going forward, every Thursday we will update ongoing outbreaks in long-term care, assisted living and independent living facilities in British Columbia. The first update can be found here:
“We have also developed new guidance to clarify essential and social visitation, which will further support families and operators to balance resident and staff safety against the provision of opportunity for essential and social connections between residents and family/friends. This is going out to health authorities and providers today, and will be posted to the BCCDC website here:
Henry and Dix said: “Brighter days are without a doubt ahead, when thousands more will be immunized from COVID-19 and the spread of the virus has slowed. Let’s work together now knowing what we do will make a difference for all of us tomorrow.”
To date, 41,064 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia. “Our focus is to ensure we safely deliver the vaccines as quickly as possible to communities throughout the province, using all available supply,” they added.