Key COVID-19 information in B.C. to be held back until Wednesday

The decision not to release key information comes as COVID-19 case counts soar and as the province’s testing capacity has reached its daily limit

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The B.C. Health Ministry will not be releasing key COVID-19 data until Wednesday, a lag of five days as cases soar.

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On Monday, a preliminary case count of 6,288 was reported for the past Friday, Saturday and Sunday (this included a daily case record of 2,552 on Dec. 24).

However, other information typically provided — including deaths, vaccinations, hospitalizations and test numbers — was held back until Dec. 29.

In its prepared statement, the ministry said it “will return to regular reporting of COVID-19 cases, vaccinations, hospitalizations and deaths, and cases and hospitalizations by vaccination status on Wednesday, Dec. 29.”

This will be the longest time lag for COVID information since the pandemic began in B.C. in March 2020. The government usually releases COVID data on weekdays, with Monday’s report covering the three days prior. On long weekends there has been time lags of four days, but five days is the longest so far.

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The decision not to release key information comes as COVID case counts soar and as the province’s testing capacity has reached its 20,000-per-day limit (though a record 21,133 lab tests were performed last Friday leading to a record daily test positive mark of 11.6 per cent.)

B.C.’s hospitalization numbers — including those in intensive care — are crucial to understanding the impact that the emerging Omicron variant is having on the health-care system.

Case data released Monday showed COVID numbers fell from Friday to Sunday (1,713). However, these numbers don’t include rapid tests the government is now relying on as the PCR lab testing system is strained.

Also, three large drive-in PCR testing sites in Vancouver, Richmond and Langley were closed due to the extreme cold weather now enveloping southwest B.C.

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Meanwhile, calls have begun to postpone the resumption of school for 2022, slated for Jan. 4.

The social-media-driven B.C. School COVID Tracker — that reports on all school exposures in the province — made a call Monday for Health Minister Adrian Dix to suspend reopening school due to the emergence of Omicron.

“As far as Omicron is concerned, 30 children in a school classroom are socially strangers right now (they have been everywhere with potentially many contacts, could have visited different counties, malls, movie theatres, restaurants, etc.),” the group posted on their Twitter page.

“Why are we limiting the number of people at a restaurant table when these are contacts you know? Why are we reducing capacity in movie theatres and arenas? Why are universities going online? Why is it acceptable to send our young children into full-capacity classrooms?

“None of this is acceptable and should not be tolerated. We need the start of school delayed in order for everyone to be properly vaccinated (including boosters, Hepa filters placed in every classroom, RATs made available to all). We do not accept a ‘wait and see approach’.”


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