Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Jan. 29, 2021.
We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.
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B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS
As of the latest figures given on Jan. 29:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 66,779 (4,557 active)
• New cases since Jan. 28: 514
• Total deaths: 1,189 (5 new)
• Hospitalized cases: 292
• Intensive care: 74
• Total vaccinations: 129,241 of which 4,262 are second doses.
• Cases under public health monitoring: 7,242
• Recovered: 59,551
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 34
B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS
• COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus
LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.
3 p.m. – Health officials announce 514 new cases, five additional deaths.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, says 514 people in B.C. have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 66,779 since the start of the pandemic. In total, 1,189 British Columbians have died as a result of the virus.
Of the new cases, 134 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 223 in the Fraser Health region, 29 in the Island Health region, 71 in the Interior Health region, and 57 in the Northern Health region.
Henry expressed disappointment with the delays impacting the delivery of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to B.C., but was confident the province would meet its Phase 1 and Phase 2 objectives as soon as possible.
“January has proven to be a difficult month for all of us. As our new cases of COVID-19 remain high, vaccine supply has been impacted and we all feel the fatigue of this pandemic,”Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement.
“But we have to remember that this month has also brought more light. Each day, more of the people who are most vulnerable to severe illness are now protected. With that, we have seen a notable decline in the outbreaks in long-term care.”
B.C. now has reported seven cases of the U.K. variant and four cases of the South African variant.
11:30 a.m. – Premier John Horgan welcomes the federal government’s international travel measures.
B.C. Premier John Horgan is welcoming the federal government’s new international travel measures, saying these steps will strengthen the health and safety screenings at borders and help keep British Columbians and all Canadians safer.
“Our government had been calling for mandatory quarantine measures to restrict international travel further. We trust the federal government’s efforts to monitor and follow up with these travellers will be vigilant,” Horgan said, in a statement.
“These new measures build on British Columbia’s leadership when we brought in requirements for all international travellers to have self-isolation plans in April 2020.”
The premier said he continues to have discussions with Ottawa and other premiers about ways to limit non-essential interprovincial travel.
“With vaccines on the way, we look forward to the day when we can once again welcome visitors to B.C. safely. Until then, we ask everyone to please stay home,” he said.
9 a.m. – Airlines begin suspending flights to sun destinations following Trudeau’s travel restrictions
At the request of the Government of Canada, effective Sunday, January 31 at 12:01 a.m. ET, we’ll be suspending flying to Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30. We will continue to bring our guests who are already in these destinations back to Canada. https://t.co/QCAsSPh0Mf
— WestJet (@WestJet) January 29, 2021
Travellers coming into Canada will be forced into a mandatory hotel quarantine as the government is increasingly concerned about the risk of new COVID variants that appear to be more transmissible and more deadly.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement at a press conference Friday morning.
Trudeau said all Canadian travellers returning from overseas will have to take a COVID-19 test at the airport. They will have to quarantine in a designated hotel for three days at their own expense while they wait for the test results.
Beginning next week, all international flights will only be allowed to land at four airports — Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.
Shipments and delays of Health Canada-approved vaccines for COVID-19 are causing Canadians to lose confidence in the federal government’s inoculation plan, suggests a new poll.
The Angus Reid Institute poll says the number of Canadians who say the federal Liberals are doing a “poor job” procuring the vaccine has nearly doubled since December.
A similar Angus Reid poll six weeks ago found more than half of Canadians (58 per cent) said they were confident in the federal government’s ability to circulate the vaccine throughout the country.
However, the poll suggests only 45 per cent now hold this view.
Only 36 per cent of Canadians now say they feel the federal government has done a “good job” in securing sufficient doses for the population, down 11 points from December, while the number saying “poor job” has nearly doubled to 44 per cent from 23 per cent.
Angus Reid notes that of the responsibility for vaccination also falls on provincial governments, who are delegated to prioritize access and organize delivery.
12 a.m. – Twelve more deaths in B.C. from the virus
Health officials reported 546 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 12 more deaths. There are 4,455 active cases of the disease in B.C., including 291 being treated in hospital, with 75 in intensive care. These numbers have been fairly steady over the last week.
However, the number of people in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure jumped by almost 700 between Tuesday and Wednesday to 7,176.
Health officials reported outbreaks at Bradley Centre long-term care in Chilliwack, and the Concord by the Sea retirement home in White Rock.
Medical staff in B.C. injected 2,890 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, as the province got more bad news on the vaccine front.
On Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there had been 127,255 doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines used since the program began Dec. 16 (when there were 416 shots delivered), including 2,890 injected on Wednesday. At the peak of vaccinations in B.C., there were more than 6,000 doses injected per day.
B.C. slowed down its vaccination program last week when officials learned Pfizer wouldn’t delivery any vaccines for a week while it expands its plant in Belgium.
On Monday, Henry reported Pfizer had made deeper cuts and wouldn’t deliver for two weeks — and there would be no Moderna shipments during that time.
On Thursday, the pharmaceutical giant reported to the federal government that its short-term cuts would be even deeper.
In a prepared statement, the B.C. Ministry of Health reported it was working with the federal government to find out how much vaccine will be distributed in February in light of the latest setback.
Pfizer has promised it will still meet its first-quarter delivery promise by ramping up deliveries in March.
Whistler has experienced a surge of 288 COVID-19 infections since Jan. 1, according to Vancouver Coastal Health, with at least with six locations in the resort municipality listed as potential exposure locations, though it is not calling the situation an outbreak.
“The majority of these cases involve young people in their 20s and 30s who live, work and socialize together,” according to an information bulletin from Vancouver Coastal, but none of the cases has resulted in hospitalization or death.
And it has health officials and the resort municipality’s mayor urging everyone including “potential visitors to maintain their efforts to prevent community transmission of COVID-19, due to the increase in cases.
B.C. VACCINE TRACKER
LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information
Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.
–with files from The Canadian Press