A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

There were 1,205 new cases and three new deaths in B.C. Thursday (April 15), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported.

Henry said that B.C.’s total case count had reached 116,075, while the death toll from COVID-19 had hit 1,524. Serious illness continues to increase with 409 people in hospital, 125 of whom are in ICU.

There are a total of 10,052 active cases in B.C. currently, with more than 16,000 people under active public health monitoring.

B.C., which had paused its frontline worker vaccination program due to issues with the AstraZeneca vaccine, will begin vaccinating all school staff, firefighters, police and child care staff. Surrey teachers have already received their first dose, while Surrey first responders are receiving it now. The next regions will be in North Delta and the Tri-Cities.

Provincial data shows that cases could top 3,000 in the coming weeks if the current level of interactions continues. If interactions level off slightly, cases could still hit 2,000 per day, while a sharper decrease could see COVID cases drop.

Currently, social interactions are at 55-60 per cent, Henry said.

“That is too high… we know what we need to do to bend that down,” she said. “We need to get down to 40 per cent or less.”

While 3,000 daily cases could become a reality, that doesn’t mean that has to be B.C.’s fate.

Henry said that despite the B.1.17 and P.1 variants spreading rapidly, British Columbians know what to do to slow the spread.

“Variants are more transmissible but the things that stop transmission are still the same,” she said.

Henry said that travel has led to transmission happening “very rapidly,” and that meeting up with anyone outside their own household was not advised.

“Even if we see people right now outside our household, we shouldn’t,” she said. Anyone meeting up with people outside of their own household, even if outdoors, should wear a mask and keep it to the same small group.

Henry said that she is not amending the current rules, which allow for 10 people to meet up outdoors, because there are no risk-free scenarios and that the focus has to be on the least dangerous options.

“The risk is not zero if you’re sitting on a patio with someone right now,” she said. Indoor dining continues to be closed in B.C. until past the May long weekend. Indoor group fitness and indoor church worship remains closed until April 19.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said 1.2 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in B.C., with 87,899 of those being second doses. That translates to about 25 per cent of the population vaccinated with the first dose.

READ MORE: COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

READ MORE: Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread, B.C. data show

READ MORE: B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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