Latest data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows the COVID-19 variant first identified in India (B.1.617) is not spreading wildly in the province.
The variant, responsible for COVID-19 devastation in India since it first appeared at the start of the year, was found in B.C. in early April.
In late April, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 39 cases had been identified in the province. At that point, the mutation of the original coronavirus was considered to be a variant of interest — meaning the World Health Organization was investigating whether it spread more easily or led to more sickness.
On May 12, the WHO declared B.1.617 to be a variant of concern and the BCCDC began publishing cases. There are now four variants of concern in B.C. that account for 85 per cent of all new cases.
BCCDC data for the week May 9-15 (the most recent data available) showed 378 cases had been found, compared to 306 the week before. The B.1.617 now makes up two per cent of all variant cases in B.C., compared to one per cent in the week May 2-8.
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On average, of all positive test results that were sampled in the week of May 9-15 in B.C. 85 per cent were variants of concern across all health authorities. Broken down, 94 per cent of all samples in Vancouver Coastal Health were variants, compared to 89 per cent in Interior Health, 82 per cent in Fraser Health and 63 per cent in the Northern Health region.
On Monday, Henry reported 974 new cases over the past three days and 12 deaths. There are 3,953 active cases in B.C., of which 292 are being treated in hospital including 96 in intensive care. The seven-day average daily case count, active case count and hospitalizations continue to fall as vaccinations rise.
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