What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Dec. 9

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Dec. 9

THE LATEST:

  • Premier John Horgan will join health officials in briefing on vaccine rollout.
  • About 4,000 people are expected to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of next week.
  • As of Tuesday, there are 9,315 active cases of COVID-19 across B.C.
  • 352 patients are in hospital, with 74 in intensive care.
  • 543 people in B.C. have died of the disease since the pandemic began.
  • Provincewide restrictions on social gatherings, events, travel and sports have been extended until midnight on Jan. 8. 

Wednesday is expected to mark a major milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, as B.C. officials reveal details of how vaccines will be distributed across the province.

Premier John Horgan has said he will join Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix as they lay out the plan in a live briefing at 3:30 p.m. PT.

On Tuesday, Horgan announced that “about 4,000 high-risk people” in B.C. will receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of next week.

Officials have said a small number of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will soon arrive in B.C., although Health Canada has yet to approve it for use.

Up to 249,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in Canada by the end of the year.

As of Tuesday afternoon, B.C. has 9,315 active cases of COVID-19. A total of 352 people are in hospital, with 74 people in intensive care. To date, 543 people have died of COVID-19 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.

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194 fines in 3½ months

The B.C. government says 194 tickets have been handed out in the past 3½ months to businesses or individuals who have broken the provincial health officer’s orders on COVID-19.

They include nearly 40 fines of $2,300 to organizers of gatherings or events.

Another 142 people received $230 fines for refusing to comply with the direction of law enforcement.

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What’s happening elsewhere in Canada

As of Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. PT, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 429,035, with 71,968 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 12,866.

On Tuesday, Alberta joined most other provinces in implementing a mandatory mask rule and banning social gatherings as infections continue to soar.

Meanwhile, people across Canada were watching closely as seniors in the U.K. became the first people in the world to receive a COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Loss of taste or smell.
  • Headache.

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 o​​​​​​ther 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.
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More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.

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