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British Columbia’s Minister of Health hinted at possible changes to COVID-19 restrictions over the coming days.

On Wednesday afternoon, Health Minister Adrian Dix addressed the media, shortly after the federal government issued a warning against non-essential international travel. He noted that over the past several days, BC has recorded larger case counts. There hasn’t, however, been a major increase in hospitalizations and critical care.

Dix says that Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been meeting with various health authorities and hinted that changes to current health orders and restrictions could be underway.

“Medical Health Officers in the different health authorities have been meeting with Dr. Henry today, obviously others involved in those meetings including myself,” he explains. “And I would expect Henry will be reviewing and is reviewing actively any changes to public health orders in the coming days to address the increase in case counts.” (DailyHive).

Health officials are also recommending against large holiday parties in B-C with COVID-19 cases poised to rise because of the variant.  Doctor Bonnie Henry says British Columbia is in a different place than it was last Christmas, because of high vaccination rates, rolling booster shots and a vaccine card program.  Instead of announcing new public health orders, she encouraged people to keep holiday gatherings to close friends and family, rather than parties with strangers of unknown vaccination status.  She says other measures like mask mandates, ventilation and physical distancing remain important.
On a netter note, BC officials say FREE rapid tests will be available to residents in the new year.  Rapid tests are less reliable than PCR tests, and a positive result must be confirmed with a second test from a health authority.  But at-home testing kits are convenient, and they may provide some people with peace of mind ahead of planned social gatherings.  Dr. Bonnie Henry says BC will receive a shipment in January from the federal government with kits that can be performed at home, and officials will announce more details about their distribution plan then.
Today’s COVID-19 numbers are as follows:
British Columbia health officials announced on Wednesday that there have been 584 new test-positive COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 224,245. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 3,458 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 193 individuals are currently hospitalized and 77 are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

New cases and total active cases are broken down by health region as follows:

  • Fraser Health: 172 new cases, 945 total active cases
  • Vancouver Coastal Health: 180 new cases, 798 total active cases
  • Interior Health: 92 new cases, 641 total active cases
  • Northern Health: 31 new cases, 217 total active cases
  • Island Health: 109 new cases, 856 total active cases
  • Outside of Canada: No new cases, one total active case

BC health officials have not given an update on the number of Omicron variant cases in the province. The last update on Omicron suggested BC had 44 cases of the variant.

There have been seven new COVID-19-related deaths, leaving a total of 2,393 deaths in British Columbia.

To date, 86.7% (4,322,280) of eligible people five and older in BC have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 82.4% (4,107,920) have received a second dose.

From December 7 to 13, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 48.9% of cases, and from November 30 to December 13, they accounted for 72.0% of hospitalizations (DailyHive).