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Another record-breaking COVID-19 update: B.C. adds 887 cases, 13 deaths – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
British Columbia added 887 cases of COVID-19 to its total on Thursday, setting a new daily record for the province.

Health officials also announced 13 deaths in their written statement on B.C.’s response to the disease. That ties the record set on Wednesday.

“We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in their statement.

The province has now seen 29,973 cases and 384 deaths since the pandemic began.

As of Thursday, there are 7,899 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C., which is also a record. That total includes 294 people who are hospitalized, 64 of whom are in intensive care.

The update comes the day after health officials revised several previous reports on B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload because of technical errors in the Fraser Health region.

The province had previously announced 941 new cases on Tuesday, which was a record, but some of those cases actually should have been reported earlier in the month.

The changes meant B.C.’s record for new cases in a day was actually 835, which should have been the total reported for Saturday, Nov. 21. B.C. initially reported 713 for that day.

In Thursday’s update, Dix and Henry also announced two new outbreaks of COVID-19 at health-care facilities – at Royal Ascot Care Centre in Vancouver and Amica White Rock.

Three other outbreaks – at Hamlets at Westsyde in Kamloops, Peace Portal Seniors Village in Surrey and Village by the Station in Penticton – are over, the health officials said.

“Slow and steady is what we need with COVID-19 and it is how we will get through this second wave,” Henry and Dix said. “The efforts we make each day make a difference.”

The pair repeated their request that British Columbians do what they can to help public health teams do their jobs. Those teams are currently following up regularly with 10,307 people who have been exposed to confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“Exposures and transmission can happen anywhere,” Dix and Henry said. “By paying attention to the places we go and the people we see, we can help contact tracers contain the further spread if that does occur.”

Most of Thursday’s new cases are located in the Fraser Health region, where 612 infections have been confirmed in the last 24 hours. Vancouver Coastal Health has recorded 168 cases in that time.

Elsewhere in B.C., there have been 65 cases in Interior Health, 24 in Northern Health and 18 in Island Health.

Nearly 20,000 people – 19,998 as of Thursday – who have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. are now considered recovered.

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Province rolls out plan to vaccinate 4.3M people against COVID-19 before October – Times Colonist

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The province has unveiled its plan to vaccinate 4.3 million people against COVID-19 between April and the end of September.

Herd immunity to COVID-19 can be reached if the majority of people in B.C. choose to be vaccinated, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Until then, restrictions on gathering will remain in place, and the need to maintain a physical distance from one another, wear masks in public places and practise infection-prevention remains critical.

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“We have a plan,” Henry said. “We know it’s going to take a few months but we have an end in sight and now is our time to stay committed to doing what we need to do to stop the transmission of COVID-19 here in British Columbia.”

The mass vaccination program, the largest in the province’s history, will be rolled out based on age in four phases, starting with those age 80 and older living in the community and ending with young adults. There are no approved COVID-19 vaccines for minors with the exception of some older teens with high-risk conditions.

“Age is the most important risk factor for hospitalization and mortality — that is the underlying driving factor,” Henry said.

Seniors 80 years of age and older and Indigenous seniors 65 and older can expect more information — via advertisements, public health notifications and media reports — in mid to late February about online and phone registration and vaccination clinics starting in March.

The province expects it will likely start vaccinating the 75-79 age group in the second half of March.

“Everyone in British Columbia has been affected by the pandemic,” said Premier John Horgan. “We are not equally vulnerable to the virus, and the science is very clear, the single biggest factor of death of severe illness is age — someone over the age of 60 is five times more likely to be seriously ill or die than someone under 45.”

The vaccines require two doses and the province plans to give residents the same product for both doses unless Health Canada advises otherwise.

After receiving their first dose, people will received a physical card as well as automated reminder of the date and place for their second vaccine. Once completed, they will receive a digital proof of immunization that can be viewed or printed.

The vaccine passport is for a person’s own health record, Henry said: “People will not be denied services based on vaccination status in B.C.”

To see as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, later phases will include mass immunization clinics in local arenas, convention and community halls and school gymnasiums, mobile clinics, and residential visits for the housebound. Non-profit groups and the private sector will also offer vaccinations.

The province is on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise on behalf of the Canadian government that every Canadian who wants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 can be by the end of September 2021.

Canada has secured six million doses of vaccine for the first quarter of the year and expects to receive a further 20 million doses in the second quarter and 45 million in the third quarter.

Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are approved for use in Canada. It is expected that the AstraZeneca vaccine will likely be approved in coming months, and there are also other vaccines not as far along in the approval process.

B.C.’s plan, however, is based on only approved vaccines. If more are approved, it will allow for flexibility to target other populations, the government said.

Provincial health officials say they will adjust the plan if there are disruptions to the expected supply and delivery. Dr. Penny Ballem, chair of Vancouver Coastal Health and a former deputy health minister, is leading the province’s COVID-19 immunization plan and says the province is ready to adjust depending on the flow of vaccine.

Vaccinations for high-priority populations such as residents of long-term care homes began in December. All residents and staff in care homes throughout the province should have received a first dose in the “next few days,” Henry said.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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All eligible British Columbians who want the COVID-19 vaccine to be immunized by September, say health officials – CHEK

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Anyone in B.C. who wants the COVID-19 vaccine and is eligible for it can expect to get the shot by the end of September at the latest, according to the largest immunization plan in the province’s history.

On Friday, Premier John Horgan, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Penny Ballem – who is in charge of B.C.’s vaccine rollout plan – provided a detailed timeline of when and how the vaccine will be distributed.

Dr. Henry says there are approximately 5.3 million British Columbians, 900,000 of whom are children, making them ineligible for the vaccine.

She says the remaining 4.3 million B.C. residents can all be vaccinated by September of this year.

There are four phases of the rollout plan. Phases 1 and 2 include the most vulnerable populations, with 3 and 4 including the broad public.

“The single biggest factor for death or severe illness is age,” said Horgan. “Someone over the age of 60 is five times more likely to become seriously ill or die than someone younger than 45.”

This is why the Province says the order of who will get the COVID-19 is dependant upon age, starting with the most elderly, all the way down to young adults.

In March, vaccine clinics will pop up in 172 communities around B.C., but for those more rural areas, mobile vaccine units will be deployed.

When those clinics are set up, Dr. Henry says anyone can pre-register and sign up for appointments based on age either online or over the phone.

“This is going to be and needs to be, an all of B.C. effort to make sure we can protect those most vulnerable, and everyone else,” said Dr. Henry.

From January to February, B.C. is expecting to receive a total of 800,000 doses. From April to June, 2.6 million doses are expected to land in the province and from June to September, an additional 6 million doses.

The current rollout plan is based on having the two approved vaccines in Canada, from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. B.C.’s top doctor says if another brand is approved, the rollout plan could move even faster.

Both of these vaccines require two doses per person, meaning 8.6 million injections are needed.

B.C. received early access to the vaccine in December and those doses are counted in phase 1.

By March, the province expects to have vaccinated 600,000 people, leaving approximately 4 million still needing to be immunized.

Between April and September, Dr. Henry expects 7.4 million doses to be administered.

She says there are nearly 250,000 people in B.C. who are over the age of 80 — these residents will be given the first priority.

A delay in the production of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has meant a delay in shots here in B.C. and the PHO says she hopes to start the immunization of all seniors by the end of February, despite wishing they could start earlier.

As of Friday, January 22, more than 100,000 British Columbians have been given the COVID-19 vaccine, with thousands already receiving their second dose.

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Here's when every age group in BC can expect a COVID-19 vaccination | News – Daily Hive

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The BC government has laid out its plan for COVID-19 vaccines across the province in every age group, calling it the “largest and most complex” immunization program in the province’s history.

During a press conference on Friday morning, BC Premier John Horgan, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading immunization efforts for the province, announced details of the next phases in BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan.

͞The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all in extremely difficult ways,” said Horgan. “Together, we have faced this pandemic with strength, courage and compassion, and we are starting to feel optimistic that one day COVID-19 will be in our rear-view.”

The plan will see approximately 7.4 million doses of vaccine administered to every British Columbian who is eligible to receive it between April and the end of September.

The province said its four-phased COVID-19 Immunization Plan – based on scientific evidence, expert advice, and guidance – got underway in December 2020 by first immunizing those who are most vulnerable to severe illness and death, including long-term care residents and the healthcare workers who care for them, remote and at-risk Indigenous communities, and seniors.

Already, Phase 1 – which is slated to continue until next month – has seen over 103,000 people in BC receive their first dose of vaccine.

Phase 2, starting in late February, expands immunizations to additional vulnerable populations, Indigenous communities and elders, healthcare staff, and all seniors over the age of 80.

Government of BC

Phase 3, starting in April, will expand to include people between the ages of 79 to 75, and will work backwards in five-year increments to include those age 60 and over. During this phase, people with certain underlying health conditions will also be included. As additional vaccines become available, people who are frontline essential workers or work in specific workplaces or industries may also be able to start receiving vaccines later in this phase.

Phase 4 is anticipated to begin in July 2021 for the rest of the eligible population, starting with people aged 59 to 55 and working backwards in five-year age increments until everyone over the age of 18 who wants a COVID-19 vaccine receives it.

Government of BC

The province said that starting in March, pre-registration for the vaccine will begin to open online and by phone for the general public, starting with those aged 79 to 75. People who are pre-registered will get a reminder to book their appointment as soon as they are eligible.

With the layout of the phases, the province also noted that no one will lose their place in line. For example, if an elderly relative is in Phase 2 and cannot be immunized at that time, they can be immunized at any point thereafter.

In total, approximately four million British Columbians are eligible to receive the COVID-19 immunization, and clinics will be set up in 172 communities across the province. There will also be mobile sites and home visits when necessary to support those who are unable to go to clinics.

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