Vancouver Island adds 58 COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths over 4 days
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will announce details on new cases, outbreaks and deaths recorded over the past four days. (Province of B.C. / Flickr)
VICTORIA -- B.C. health officials have confirmed 58 more cases of COVID-19 and two deaths related to the virus in the Vancouver Island region Tuesday.
The update was recorded over a four-day period, from Saturday to Tuesday. The Island Health region has now seen 2,009 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, while the death toll has reached 22.
Across B.C., 1,533 cases of COVID-19 were reported over the same period, while 26 people died of the disease, bringing the province's death toll to 1,314.
"As always, we know this is such a challenging and difficult time for families, for caregivers and for communities to lose loved ones to this virus," said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. "Our condolences are with you and our thoughts are with you today."
There are now 180 active cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region.
Island Health has identified the approximate locations of 151 of the active cases. Forty-seven are located in the South Island, 95 are in the Central Island, and nine are located in the North Island.
Henry noted that three health-care outbreaks were declared over the past four days, including two on Vancouver Island.
There are now 15 active outbreaks at long-term care and assisted living facilities across the province, and six active outbreaks at acute care units.
Health officials say they are excited that Pfizer vaccine deliveries are back on track in B.C., though some minor delays were seen this week due to weather.
Henry says that B.C. is focusing on distributing second doses to vulnerable populations, such as residents of long-term care homes.
B.C.'s top doctor says that the effectiveness of the second dose has not been affected by the shipment delays, and may even improve vaccine effectiveness, based on how other vaccines operate.
As of Tuesday, B.C. has administered 171,755 vaccine doses, including 22,914 second doses.
While B.C. is working on rebuilding its vaccine rollout schedule, Henry says everyone must remain on guard.
While COVID-19 cases have been trending downwards, the last four days have shown an uptick in transmission, particularly in the Fraser Health region.
Henry notes that the case numbers we see today reflect transmission that occurred weeks ago.
"While the numbers seem reasonable, the fact that we're seeing a rise in reproductive numbers means (we're having unsafe) contacts," she said.
As B.C. tries to keep its COVID-19 reproductive rate below one, meaning that people who contract the virus only pass it on to one person or fewer, the reproductive rate has risen above one in several regions, particularly in the Lower Mainland.
A reproductive rate above one can spiral into exponential transmission, she says.
"What we do affects what's going to happen this week and the week after," said Henry.
Health officials are encouraging everyone to continue following health guidelines, as "the tide can turn quickly."
As of Tuesday, B.C. has confirmed 60 COVID-19 variant cases. There have been 40 cases of the U.K. variant, 19 cases of the South African variant, and a single case of a variant that originated in Nigeria that was announced in B.C. last week