COVID-19 update for Dec. 22: S. Africa study shows lower Omicron hospitalizations | More restrictions to battle Omicron | Daily record 1,308 cases reported Tuesday

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. 22, 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 Dec. 21:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 229,643 (6,348 active)
• New cases since Dec. 20: 1,308
• Total deaths: 2,403 (one death)
• Hospitalized cases: 192
• Intensive care: 76
• Total vaccinations: 4,359,335 received first dose; 4,120,332 second doses; 743,778 third doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 220,741
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: One

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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.

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

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

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South African study finds lower risk of hospitalization with Omicron, but there’s a catch

A South African study suggests reduced risks of hospitalization and severe disease in people infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant versus the Delta one, though the authors say some of that is likely due to high population immunity.

Questions about Omicron’s virulence are at the heart of scientific and political debate in many countries, as governments grapple with how to respond to the spread of the variant while researchers race to understand it.

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, found that people diagnosed with Omicron in South Africa between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30 were 80% less likely to be admitted to hospital than those diagnosed with another variant in the same period.

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Among patients admitted in that period, those with Omicron had a similar chance of developing severe disease as those with other variants.

— Reuters

More restrictions, more boosters, more rapid tests for B.C.

Provincial health officials know they can’t stop the spread of the COVID Omicron variant, but they are hoping new restrictions, a ramped-up booster program and more rapid testing will slow it down.

Starting midnight tonight, all bars, nightclubs, gyms, fitness centres, yoga and dance studios in B.C. will be shut down. All organized indoor gatherings, including wedding receptions and banquets, will be prohibited. Other seated events in cinemas, performance halls, concerts and sporting events will be reduced to 50-per-cent capacity. Restaurants, pubs and cafes will remain open, but tables will be limited to six people, who must not mingle with others in the establishment.

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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it became apparent on Sunday that earlier measures introduced last Friday would not be enough to avoid serious impacts on the health-care system.

— Lisa Cordasco

Daily record 1,308 cases reported Tuesday, active cases leap

B.C.’s COVID numbers continued an upward surge Tuesday as health officials reported a new one-day record of 1,308 cases and another death, for a total of 2,403 since the start of the pandemic.

Active cases soared by nearly 900 in a day to 6,348, though hospitalizations (192) and patients in intensive care (76) remained stable.

A total of 756 cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in B.C., mostly in Vancouver Coastal Health (413), Island Health (204) and Fraser Health (129).

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Small businesses reeling over holiday shutdown

Cabana Lounge owner Dave Kershaw spent all of Tuesday refunding patrons for tickets they bought to his Vancouver club’s sold-out New Year’s Eve party.

“It was going to be a great event,” said Kershaw, whose Granville Street nightspot had adapted to all pandemic requirements, including capacity restrictions and a ban on dancing, before Tuesday’s announcement of further restrictions that includes the closure of bars and nightclubs.

“It would have looked a little different, but it still would have been a high-energy vibe. It’s pretty frustrating that out of nowhere we get taken out at the knees once again, yet restaurants and pubs can continue to generate revenue through the holiday season.”

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For Kershaw and other small business owners, the newly announced closures of bars, gyms, dance studios, and the ban on organized indoor gatherings, including wedding receptions, until Jan. 18, did not include the information they really wanted to hear: how they are expected to survive yet another round of restrictions.

— Denise Ryan


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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