COVID-19 Update: On Tuesday afternoon, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed the new variant of concern, booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and her predictions on additional restrictions before Christmas.
Despite the discovery of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the province, BC’s top doctor says she doesn’t intend to add any new restrictions before the holidays.
Four new cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant were discovered over the weekend, bringing the total number of confirmed infections in BC to five. Despite this news, however, Henry is confident that the province is in a stable position.
“I don’t intend to put on more restrictions,” she said in a live update. “We’ve got the bases in place right now. We’ve got very high levels of immunization and it’s been so great to see in some of those communities where immunization rates were low.”
Henry reaffirmed that measures such as mask usage indoors and the BC Vaccine Card are also making a difference, mitigating some of the risks in settings like concerts, sporting events, and restaurants. She also noted that vaccine mandates in different workplaces, particularly in healthcare, are making a big difference.
“That reduces the risk dramatically,” she said. “And we know that it reduces the risk of people having severe enough illness that they’re going to end up in the hospital.”
“Looking at the way this virus has mutated and changed over time, what we need to do is focus on immunizing other parts of the world,” she explains. “It’s where this virus transmits rapidly amongst large numbers of people that these unusual mutations or mixing in assortments can come up.”
“And it’s because that we have low levels of protection, of immunity through vaccination in many parts of the world, that we all have to continue to be on our guard.”
One area of improvement that Henry addressed was vaccination levels in other parts of the world. She says addressing different areas with lower levels of vaccination could play a key part in reducing different variants of concern from arising (DailyHive).
BC health officials announced 326 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in BC to 220,856.
In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 2,814 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 242 individuals are currently in hospital, 82 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
Stay safe this holiday season, friends!