COVID-19 update for Dec. 31: B.C. health officials to provide pandemic update (WATCH LIVE) | 4,383 new cases, one death | Parents, teachers have little confidence in B.C.’s return-to-school plan

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. 31, 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. 30:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 251,054 (17,357 active)
• New cases: 4,383
• Total deaths: 2,420 (one death over past 24 hours)
• Hospitalized cases: 211
• Intensive care: 66
• Total vaccinations: 4,388,068 received first dose; 4,131,506 second doses; 883,558 third doses
• Recovered from acute infection as of Dec. 23: 230,784
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: Thirteen

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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.

10 a.m. — B.C. health officials to provide pandemic update

Watch the live stream here:

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More to come …

Parents, teachers have little confidence in B.C.’s return-to-school plan

A coalition of parents and teachers in B.C. has given the province’s return to school plan a failing grade.

On Wednesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced teachers would return to school on the scheduled date of Jan. 4, but most students would not be allowed back until the following week to give schools time to prepare enhanced safety measures.

“I am glad they have been given some time to prepare but I don’t think it is long enough and I don’t think the enhanced measures are enough,” said Jennifer Heighton, co-founder of Safe Schools Coalition B.C.

The coalition of parents and teachers wants the province to switch to remote learning until health authorities can demonstrate a COVID-19 test positivity rate below five per cent. Currently, B.C.’s test positivity rate is 15 per cent.

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Henry said there is no plan to close classrooms and switch to remote learning.

“This is not going to online learning because we know that was not something that supported children across this province. It’s much more important that we get them back into the classroom and we are committed to doing that.”

Heighton said the return-to-class plan ignores the most effective ways of reducing COVID-19 infections.

—Lisa Cordasco

B.C. shatters daily case count record, hospitalizations slightly up

British Columbia is reporting a daily record of 4,383 COVID-19 cases, shattering the previous record of 2,944 set a day earlier.

The Health Ministry says in a news release there were 17,357 active case across the province on Thursday and one more person has died.

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Hospitalizations rose to 211, with 66 people in intensive care.

There have been 2,825 cases of the Omicron variant confirmed in B.C.

The ministry also confirmed six new health-care facility outbreaks, including one at Mission Memorial Hospital, bringing the total facilities dealing with ongoing outbreaks to 13.

The release says 82.9 per cent of eligible people five and older have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 19.1 per cent of those 12 and older have received a third dose.

British Columbia has recorded 251,054 cases of COVID-19 and 2,420 deaths to date.

Return to class delayed for B.C.’s K-12 students

Return to class for students in B.C. public schools has been postponed until Jan. 10, as the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus accelerates aggressively across the province.

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On Wednesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that teachers would return to school on the scheduled date of Jan. 4, but most students would not be allowed back until the following week.

Henry said the time was needed for teachers to ensure classrooms were safe for students and that extra COVID precautions were in place. She said the Jan. 10 return date would not be extended.

Enhanced safety measures include pausing extracurricular sports tournaments and plans to control crowding at schools, such as through staggered recess and break times. School gatherings such as assemblies and staff meetings will be held virtually. Visitors to schools will be limited to those supporting activities that directly benefit learning and well-being, including meal program volunteers.

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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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