COVID-19 update for Nov. 5: 596 new case, eight deaths | Good news as B.C.’s reproductive rate falls below one | Europe could see 500,000 new deaths by February, WHO says | Pfizer says antiviral pill cuts risk of severe illness by 89 per cent

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Nov. 5, 2021.

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We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on Nov. 4:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 207,716 (4,451 active)
• New cases since Nov. 3: 596
• Total deaths: 2,200 (eight additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 438
• Intensive care: 130
• Total vaccinations: 4,176,649 received first dose; 3,968,494 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 200,749
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 37

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IN-DEPTH:   Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021 | in 2020


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: B.C.’s vaccine passport is here and this is how it works

COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19: Look up your neighbourhood in our interactive map of case and vaccination rates in B.C.

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

Good news as B.C.’s COVID-19 reproductive rate falls below one

The reproductive rate that determines how British Columbia is faring in the COVID-19 pandemic has fallen below one for the first time in months, the provincial health officer said on Thursday.

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This means that for every 100 cases of the disease, it is being passed on to fewer than 100 people, and so can slowly dwindle.

“For the first time in several months, across the board we’ve dipped down below one,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

“What we have been seeing is sort of bouncing around at one, which means for every person who’s infected, they infect one other person on average. Now we’re seeing that below one. That’s good news, but it’s just below one, which means that we have right now a fragile balance. We’re going down slowly.”

There were 596 new cases of COVID-19 reported over the past day and eight deaths. There are now 4,451 active cases of the disease in B.C., of which 438 are being treated in hospital including 130 in intensive care.

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—David Carrigg

Europe could see 500,000 new COVID deaths by February, WHO says

“Europe is back at the epicentre of the pandemic, where we were one year ago,” the World Health Organization’s head of Europe said Thursday.

The number of new COVID-19 cases per day has been rising for nearly six consecutive weeks, and the number of new deaths per day has been climbing for just over seven consecutive weeks, with about 250,000 cases and 3,600 deaths per day, according to official country data compiled by the AFP newswire.

The WHO’s European region spans 53 countries and territories and includes several nations in Central Asia, and has already seen 78 million cases. Over the past four weeks, new case numbers have grown by more than 55 per cent, prompting WHO Europe director Hans Kluge to allow that the “current pace of transmission … is of grave concern .”

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Kluge cited one “reliable projection” for the prediction that the current trajectory would mean “another half a million COVID-19 deaths” by Feb. 1, 2022.

Although one billion doses have been administered in Europe and central Asia, Kluge blamed insufficient vaccination coverage and the relaxation of public health and social measures for the latest increases.

“If we achieved 95 per cent universal mask use in Europe and central Asia,” he noted, “we could save up to 188,000 lives of the half million we may lose before February 2022.

“Preventive measures, when applied correctly and consistently,” he said, “allow us to go on with our lives, not the opposite. Preventive measures do not deprive people of their freedom, they ensure it.”

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—National Post, Reuters

Pfizer says antiviral pill cuts risk of severe COVID-19 by 89 per cent

A trial of Pfizer Inc’s experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 was stopped early after the drug was shown to cut by 89% the chances of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of developing severe disease, the company said on Friday.

The results appear to surpass those seen with Merck & Co Inc’s pill, molnupiravir, which was shown last month to halve the likelihood of dying or being hospitalized for COVID-19 patients also at high risk of serious illness.

Full trial data is not yet available from either company.

—Reuters

Spending spike during COVID-19 could hamper health-care rebuilding post-pandemic: group

A spike in health-care spending during the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to some serious financial challenges for provinces as they work to rebuild their health systems in the aftermath, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

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The spending surge is expected to reach a record $308 billion in 2021, say newly released projections from CIHI.

That is roughly $8,019 per Canadian.

“COVID-19 resulted in the single biggest increase in health spending we have ever seen in this country,” said CIHI president David O’Toole in a news release.

Health spending is projected to have increased 12.8 per cent between 2019 and 2020. That’s more than triple the average annual growth rate seen from 2015 to 2019, which was approximately four per cent per year.

Spending is estimated to have increased another 2.2 per cent between 2020 and 2021.

The agency said its estimates will be updated as final spending amounts are tabulated, and may be less accurate than normal given the nature of emergency funds spent during the pandemic.

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—The Canadian Press

Vast majority of federal public servants comply with mandatory vaccination policy

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier says 95.3 per cent of federal public servants have indicated they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

She says another 2.7 per cent of the roughly 268,000 employees of the core federal public service say they have been partially immunized.

Fortier says 1.2 per cent – or about 3,150 public servants – are requesting exemptions, which are being assessed on a case-by-case basis by each federal department.

She says 0.5 per cent have declared they are unvaccinated and 0.3 per cent have so far not attested to their vaccination status, which they were supposed to do by Oct. 29.

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—The Canadian Press


B.C. MAP OF WEEKLY COVID CASE COUNTS, VACCINATION RATES

Find out how your neighbourhood is doing in the battle against COVID-19 with the latest number of new cases, positivity rates, and vaccination rates:


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press

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