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BC extends health orders through Feb. 5

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 4:09 PST, Thu January 7, 2021

BC health officials extended the province’s public health orders prohibiting gatherings and other events through Feb. 5.

“We don’t want these orders to be in place one minute longer than necessary,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “But they are necessary now.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the risk of spread of the virus remains very high right now.

“If further action is required, we will take that,” she said.

Henry also announced 761 new cases of the virus today, bringing BC’s cumulative total to 56,015.

Of the new cases, 94 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 484 in the Fraser Health region, 23 in the Island Health region, 96 in the Interior Health region and 64 in the Northern Health region.

There are 6,349 active cases and 372 people in hospital, 74 of whom are in critical care. A further 8,849 people are being monitored—excluding the number in the Northern Health region, which continues to undergo a data change.

Sadly, eight more people lost their lives to COVID-19, all residents of longterm care. In total 970 people have died due to the virus.

There was one new healthcare outbreak announced in the Island Health region. Outbreaks in the healthcare sector are currently affecting 1,501 residents and 752 staff. 

To date, 41,064 people have been vaccinated—about 7,400 of them in the last 24 hours. 

Henry said there have been two additional cases of the United Kingdom variant of COVID-19 detected in BC. Both of those people are household contacts of the first person diagnosed with that variant.

BC’s data systems are undergoing some changes, thanks to the automation of some areas of daily reporting and case numbers. The daily numbers will now be reported by lab result date of new cases, rather than reported date. This will slightly change the province’s epidemiological curve, as cases have been retroactively changed back to the beginning of the pandemic.

Henry said this data shift will lead to an increase in case counts today, and for the next few days, as new system kicks in. Going forward however, there will be no lag time from positive test to reported results.

There will also be more data reported on outbreaks in care homes, including the size of the outbreak, the number of residents and staff who have tested positive, and the number of deaths.

For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

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