Preventing healthcare overload a provincial priority

·3 min read

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is confident COVID-19 restrictions were not lifted too soon, although new cases continue to rise.

She said preventing morbidity and mortality continues to be the priority, as well as avoiding overwhelming the healthcare system and reducing societal disruption as much as possible.

“There’s no dichotomy between the economy and our health, they both go together,” she said. “We need people working, we need people in school, we need to have societal cohesion come back and immunization gives us that ability to do that.”

She added that while higher case numbers were expected, the province is not seeing widespread transmission to people who are at risk, like in past months. She attributed that change to high immunization rates, and said even a small increase in immunization across age groups makes a big difference in terms of the size of future waves.

As Quebec prepares to implement a vaccine passport system, Henry said B.C. is still considering its options—but will not be denying people essential services based on vaccination status.

Health authorities reported 402 new cases of COVID-19 today. Since the pandemic began, B.C. has recorded 151,375 cases.

Of the new cases, 41 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 82 in the Fraser Health region, 25 in the Island Health region, 234 in the Interior Health region, 20 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

The latest local data shows that there were 21 cases in Richmond between July 25 and 31, up from 13 in each of the previous two weeks.

There are 2,066 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 58 of those people are hospitalized, 21 of whom are in intensive care.

While hospitalizations are rising slightly, Henry said those in hospital are primarily unvaccinated people in their 40s and 50s. She said younger people with the Delta variant are not ending up in hospital, for the most part. While B.C. is “seeing a decoupling of the cases and hospitalizations,” this can be a lagging statistic so is still being watched by health officials.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said today that Richmond City Centre, which at one time lagged in vaccination rates, now has an 86.6 per cent first dose rate for those aged 12-plus—nearly five per cent above the provincial average.

“That effort was led by doctors in Richmond who talked to their patients, who talked to the community in Richmond, and made that happen,” Dix added.

During yesterday’s Walk-in Wednesday vaccination effort, 33,277 doses of vaccine were administered including 16,505 walk-ins. There were also a large number of first doses, particularly walk-ins.

To date, 6,965,062 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C.; 3,172,287 of those are second doses.

This means that 82.6 per cent of adults and 81.7 per cent of people aged 12 and older have received their first dose of a vaccine. In addition, 70.6 per cent of adults and 68.4 per cent of those aged 12 and older have received two doses.

There were no new virus-related deaths reported today.

Active outbreaks continue at five long-term care facilities.

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.

Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel

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