- 28 people died of COVID-19 in B.C. on Thursday, the deadliest day of the pandemic so far.
- 723 new cases of the virus were announced on Thursday.
- There are 9,524 active cases of COVID-19 across B.C.
- 346 patients are in hospital, with 83 in intensive care.
- 587 people in B.C. have died of the disease since the pandemic began.
B.C. health officials announced 723 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 28 more deaths — the highest number of deaths in a 24-hour period since the start of the pandemic.
All but two of the people who died were residents of long-term care homes.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 346 people in hospital, with 83 in intensive care. B.C. has 9,524 active cases of the virus, with 11,947 under public health monitoring.
The province has sent a rapid-response team of paramedics to Fort St. James, B.C., where at least 40 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the community of around 1,500.
The district municipality, which is located in north central British Columbia, has only one small acute care facility. Medical staff have received 33 calls in just six days, when the monthly average is between 50 and 60.
Vaccine distribution plans
B.C. residents now have a new understanding of how vaccines will be distributed across the province.
The news came on Wednesday afternoon, hours after it was announced that Health Canada had approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Premier John Horgan, joined by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix and pandemic response leader Dr. Ross Brown, said the province plans to immunize 400,000 people against the coronavirus by March 2021, with priority given to residents and staff of long-term care homes and health-care workers.
The first batch of vaccines, around 4,000 in all, arrive this week and will be distributed from two clinics: one in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and the other from the Fraser Health region.
As more doses of the vaccine become available, priority will be given to seniors over 80, people with underlying health conditions, people who are under-housed, and people living in remote and isolated Indigenous communities.
By April, front-line workers including teachers, grocery store workers, firefighters, and people working in food processing plants will be prioritized.
Click here for more information about the COVID-19 vaccine in B.C.
Provincewide, COVID-19 restrictions have been extended to Jan. 8 at midnight.
That means residents can only socialize with people in their household, and all events and gatherings must be cancelled. British Columbians are being told not to travel outside their local communities for non-essential reasons, whether it’s to visit family or take a vacation.
- All your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in B.C. answered here.
- B.C.’s provincial health officer said Thursday there has been a “concerted effort” to sabotage international immunization programs against COVID-19, and that the province is coordinating with RCMP to ensure safe transport of the vaccine.
- The aunt of a B.C. infant born while his mother was in a coma due to COVID-19 complications says the family is trying to stay hopeful but keep their expectations reasonable as the baby’s mother remains unconscious a month later.
- The province has sent a rapid-response team of paramedics to Fort St. James, B.C., where at least 40 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the community of around 1,500.
What’s happening elsewhere in Canada
As of 6:45 p.m. ET on Thursday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 442,069, with 73,225 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 13,109.
Ontario’s control over the pandemic remains “precarious” at the moment, health officials said Thursday as they released updated COVID-19 projections and the province reported a record-high 1,983 new cases.
Quebec on Thursday reported 1,842 new cases of COVID-19 and 33 additional deaths, bringing the death toll in the province to 7,382.
Manitoba health officials reported 293 new COVID-19 cases and 13 more deaths on Thursday. The most recent deaths include nine linked to outbreaks at care homes.
Nova Scotia reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, while New Brunswick reported four new cases and Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case.
There were no new cases reported in Prince Edward Island.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Loss of taste or smell.
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they’re mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911.
What can I do to protect myself?
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
- Keep your distance from people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
- Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.