COVID-19 update for Dec. 20: Long lines at drop-in test centres | More Canucks games cancelled | UBC students will do exams in person

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 Dec. 20, 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.


As of the latest figures given on Friday, Dec. 17:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 225,785 (4,313 active)
• New cases since Dec. 16: 789
• Total deaths: 2,399 (3 deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 191
• Intensive care: 74
• Total vaccinations: 4,332,204 received first dose; 4,113,484 second doses; 688,167 third doses,
• Recovered from acute infection: 218,960
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 1


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


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


3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.


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Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

12 a.m. – Long lines at drop-in test centres as new restrictions loom for B.C.

The lineup of cars at Vancouver Coast Health’s St Vincent drive-through COVID-19 testing centre on 33rd Avenue near Heather Street on Sunday was the longest seen in some time, stretching two blocks to wrap around Cambie Street and another six or seven blocks beyond the edge of Queen Elizabeth Park.

For most of the day, the posted estimated waiting time was over two and a half hours. People were also arriving by foot to get tests and forming a separate lineup. Some were given the option of taking a free rapid antigen testing kit to administer at home.


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At a drop-in test centre downtown on Hornby Street near Drake, the waiting time was over three hours. At other drop-in centres that were open over the weekend in North Vancouver and Richmond, the lineups were also long, but waiting times were slightly shorter, from an hour and a half to two and a half.

The number of confirmed cases of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of concern tripled to 302 in B.C. on Friday, with the most in Island Health at 145 and 93 in Vancouver Coastal Health.

— Joanne Lee-Young

12 a.m. Canucks games against San Jose, Anaheim postponed as NHL halts cross-border travel

If the Vancouver Canucks are to get back on the ice this week, it won’t be against their originally scheduled opponents.

With COVID-19 cases popping up all around the NHL, the league announced Sunday that no teams will be crossing the U.S.-Canada border until at least after the Christmas break.


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A dozen games are affected, including the Canucks’ scheduled trip to San Jose for a game Tuesday and the Anaheim Ducks’ scheduled flight north to face the Canucks on Thursday, which is the last day of play before the league takes it traditional break through Dec. 27.

The Canucks have already had two games postponed — Saturday vs. Toronto, Sunday vs. Arizona — because of a COVID-19 outbreak amongst the players, putting six players out of action as well as assistant coach Jason King.

— Patrick Johnston

12 a.m. – Students concerns heard, exams will continue in-person: UBC

The University of B.C. says assurances from public health officials have influenced its decision to continue with in-person exams, despite concerns from students about the spread of COVID-19.


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Kurt Heinrich, the university’s senior director of media relations, says deans will allow students who are worried about their health — such as those who live with family members or others who are part of a high-risk group — to ask for their exams to be deferred.

He says in a statement that public health officials told staff that COVID-19 transmission is very uncommon in structured educational settings because of high vaccination rates and the safety measures in place, and that in-person exams can proceed.

It comes after students and their representatives called for the cancellation of in-person exams over concerns about the lack of distancing in exam areas that hold hundreds of students, as well as symptomatic students attending these exams.


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— The Canadian Press

12 a.m. – COVID-19 cases surge as provinces scramble to re-impose restrictions

Large parts of Canada are starting to hunker down again as a fifth wave of COVID-19 appears to be building, with thousands of new cases being reported across the country.

Ontario this morning announced more than 4,100 new cases, the largest daily tally since mid-April, as new restrictions came into effect.

Quebec and Nova Scotia, meanwhile, reported new daily records today as they and others also scramble to contain skyrocketing case counts with lockdowns and other restrictions only a week before Christmas.

The surge in new cases is being fuelled by the highly infectious Omicron variant, which was identified as a potential concern only last month but is already on track to become the dominant strain in Canada.


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— The Canadian Press


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:


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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