COVID-19 update for Jan. 8-9: 3,144 new cases, nine deaths | Hospitalizations rising | Safety plans to be reactivated for businesses | Federal health minister thinks mandatory vaccines are coming

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 Jan. 8-9, 2022.

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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 Jan. 7:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 276,875 (33,184 active)
• New cases: 3,144
• Total deaths: 2,439 (nine new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 349 (up by 25)
• Intensive care: 93 (up by 3)
• Total vaccinations: 4,269,410 received first dose (92.1% of eligible pop. 12+); 4,141,729 second doses (89.4%); 1,089,023 third doses (23.5%)
• Recovered from acute infection: 240,198
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 38

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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: B.C.’s vaccine passport is here and this is how it works

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

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.

3,144 new cases, nine more deaths and hospitalizations continue to rise

COVID-19-related hospitalizations were up Friday, according to the latest figures from B.C. health officials.

B.C. reported 3,144 new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours and an active case count of 33,184, which includes 349 people in hospital — 25 more than reported on Thursday. The number of people in intensive care also went up slightly to 93.

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Of the new cases, the majority were reported in the Fraser Health region (1,416) followed by Interior Health (526), Vancouver Coastal Health (483), Island Health (475) and Northern Health (244).

The province also reported nine more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the total of deaths up to 2,439 since the beginning of the pandemic. The deaths were reported in Fraser Health (five), Vancouver Coastal Health (two) and Island Health (two).

Two more outbreaks were declared, one at Surrey Memorial Hospital and one at Peace Arch Hospital Foundation Lodge, for a total of 38 ongoing health-care facility outbreaks.

COVID safety plans to be reactivated for all businesses under new health order, while schools pivot from contact tracing to monitoring school attendance

A new health order announced Friday now requires all B.C. businesses to reactivate or implement COVID-19 safety plans, as the response to the Omicron variant continues.

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“This is going to be a challenging month but it doesn’t mean that we need to stop everything,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer.

“We know that the basics and foundations and what we have in place, the things that we learned to do and the measures that we have in place currently are going to help, as we’ve done since beginning of the pandemic almost two years ago.”

Under the new health order, Henry said the goal was to ensure all businesses across the province had safety plans in place to minimize risk for employees and customers, and to “reduce the impact of Omicron circulation” while allowing for businesses to continue operating.

Safety plans include things such as safety barriers, social distancing and capacity limits, and using staff cohorts to avoid mixing of staff as much as possible.

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People suffering from long-COVID fight uphill battle for acknowledgment and support

Adriana Patino’s life has been “a living hell” since she first started showing symptoms of COVID-19 on Christmas Day 2020.

“I couldn’t say more than two words without gasping for air. I’ve had several mini heart attacks. Every night I felt like I was suffocating. I couldn’t read because my brain couldn’t grasp words. My heart rate would shoot up to 175 beats per minute out of the blue for no reason. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t do anything,” said the 36-year-old competitive swimmer from North Vancouver.

Those symptoms have not gone away. As a result, Patino has been unable to return to her job as a benefits consultant for an insurance firm.

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“I still can’t always read, to this day. I still have a super heavy chest, breathlessness and extreme fatigue every day.”

Researchers say Patino is not alone. Preliminary findings from a national study estimate one third of Canadians who catch COVID-19 will end up with what the World Health Organization calls “post-COVID condition.”

In B.C., that estimate, based on the number of reported cases, would translate to more than 81,000 people who may be experiencing a wide range of symptoms more than three months after first becoming sick. Although no longer contagious, long-haulers suffer from shortness of breath, brain fog, as well as kidney, heart, vascular and lung conditions that can be debilitating.

Read more HERE.

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—Lisa Cordasco

‘Rocky times’ ahead as B.C. gears up to go back to school

An extended Christmas break will come to an end for B.C. kids on Monday as schools reopen with new protocols for detecting COVID-19 outbreaks as the Omicron variant renders contact tracing less effective.

“This is going to be a challenging month,” Dr. Bonnie Henry predicted at a Friday morning media briefing, “but it doesn’t mean we have to stop everything.”

The provincial health officer has said numerous times that keeping schools open is one of her “highest priorities” along with preventing serious illness and death and supporting the health care system. But while kids will return to classrooms on Monday, she said B.C. will face “some rocky times in the next month.”

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With test results and contact tracing lagging far behind the ability of the virus to spread, school attendance rates will act as a “proxy” to signal when there might be an outbreak, explained Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside, who was also at the briefing.

Read more HERE.

—Glenda Luymes

Mandatory vaccinations coming to Canada, say health minister Jean-Yves Duclos

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said he believes mandatory vaccinations will happen in Canada.

Duclos signalled Friday that provincial governments should be discussing mandatory vaccinations, saying it is a conversation that has to happen as unvaccinated patients continue to put strain on hospitals.

Asked about mandatory vaccination, he said in French, “I personally think we will get there at some point.”

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According to a translation on CBC, he added, “I see it coming personally. Not now. I don’t think we are there yet. But I think discussions need to be had about mandatory vaccinations because we have to get rid of Covid 19.”

Duclos told a press conference that any decision would be in the hands of provincial governments, but he said the unvaccinated were creating a sizeable burden on others.

“What we see now is that our health care system in Canada is fragile. Our people are tired and the only way as we know through COVID–19, be it this variant or any future variant, is through vaccination,” he said.

—Ryan Tumilty, Michael Higgins


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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