COVID-19 update for Dec. 23: Another peak in cases Wednesday | UBC team unlocks secrets to Omicron’s infectiousness | What to do if you’re vaxxed and think you have the variant

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. 23, 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. 22:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 231,117 (7,253 active)
• New cases since Dec. 21: 1,528
• Total deaths: 2,409 (six deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 187
• Intensive care: 71
• Total vaccinations: 4,366,010 received first dose; 4,122,434 second doses; 764,498 third doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 221,280
• 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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Another peak in COVID-19 case counts in B.C., six more deaths

British Columbia has recorded its highest-ever daily COVID-19 case count with 1,528 new infections reported Wednesday as the Omicron variant takes over.

The fast-spreading variant led provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to impose new rules, closing bars, dance studios and fitness facilities until at least Jan. 18.

The Health Ministry notes the number of new cases reported Wednesday was provisional due to a “delayed data refresh” and would be confirmed once verified .

B.C. seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie released a statement in response to rising case numbers, calling on the province to make rapid antigen tests widely available for people to use before visiting older loved ones at highest risk of severe illness.

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— The Canadian Press

UBC team drills down to what makes Omicron so transmissible

It took a team of University of British Columbia researchers just 10 days to turn a genetic sample from COVID-19’s highly transmissible Omicron variant into the world’s first molecular-level imaging that reveals the secrets of its infectiousness.

“No, we didn’t get much sleep,” said Dr. Sriram Subramaniam, the team’s leader and Canada Research Chair at UBC about the push to turn the sample received late Dec. 9 into the detailed manuscript he posted online in the wee hours of Dec. 19.

“The good news is you can always catch up on sleep, but Omicron is not waiting for us to get our sleep,” Subramaniam said. “We felt tremendous urgency in getting to this.”

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Urgency because Omicron, first identified by the World Health Organization as a COVID variant of concern Nov. 26, was rapidly emerging as a frighteningly transmissible version of COVID-19.

Now Subramaniam hopes his team’s discovery, which is still under peer review, will lead to advances in treatments for the virus.

— Derrick Penner

Here’s what to do if you are vaccinated against COVID and think you have Omicron

With Omicron cases climbing, testing sites stretched and pre-dawn lineups for scarce rapid antigen tests, some public health officials are directing anyone showing a symptom of COVID to assume they’re infected with Omicron and self-isolate, along with everyone in their household, regardless of vaccination status.

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To some scientists, the advice is prudent, to others, impractical and unrealistic, reflecting the divide among experts over how to respond to the Omicron surge.

The isolation advice varies across the country, though generally the recommendation follows that if a fully vaccinated person with symptoms can’t get tested, they should consider themselves COVID-positive and isolate until a PCR test becomes available, or the isolation period (typically 10 days) has ended.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said Wednesday that trends of severe illness are increasing in harder hit areas, “which is shifting the national trend.” While it may be the delayed impact of increased Delta activity, “rapid acceleration of Omicron activity is expected to further impact these trends, even if Omicron turns out to be less severe,” Tam said.

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Under Ontario’s advice, anyone who is experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and isolate. In B.C. people who are fully vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19 need to self-monitor for 14 days. People who are not fully vaccinated need to self-monitor for 14 days and self-isolate for 10 days. People who test positive and are fully vaccinated need to self-isolate for seven days, versus 10 days for those not fully vaccinated.

“If you can test negative, you can return to your regular activities as soon as you feel well enough to do so,” unless self-isolating because of travel or a close contact, a B.C. health ministry spokesperson said in an email.

— Sharon Kirkey, National Post


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:

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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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