FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. reports 74 COVID deaths over Christmas holiday break; total number of cases tops 50,000

The total number of COVID deaths in B.C. has reached 882

B.C. has reported 2,206 new COVID-19 cases and 74 deaths over the past five days, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a press briefing Tuesday (Dec. 29).

This was the first update to B.C.’s coronavirus numbers since Thursday (Christmas Eve), when 582 new cases were reported.

By day, there were 512 cases reported Friday, 447 cases reported Saturday, 424 cases Sunday, 441 cases Monday and 382 Tuesday, with 25 epi-linked cases. The weekend’s deaths bring the total COVID-19 death toll in B.C. to 882.

READ MORE: B.C. COVID-19 vaccinations reach nearly 12,000 people

By region, the five days worth of cases break down to 1,375 in Fraser Health, 378 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 238 in Interior Health, 44 in Island Health and 171 in Northern Health.

There are 7,580 active cases of COVID-19 following the weekend. Currently, there are 373 people in hospital, of whom 80 are in critical care or ICU. There have been a total of 50,815 confirmed cases in B.C. since the pandemic began, of whom 41,175 have recovered. There are currently 9,414 people under active public health monitoring, excluding Northern Health due to data compilation issues.

Henry said that the case of the U.K. variant of the novel coronavirus is currently quarantining, and those they live with have been tested. They were identified via whole genome sequencing.

“We know that this variant does not seem to cause more severe illness,” Henry said, nor is it expected to affect test or vaccine efficacy.

“But it does seem in the U.K. that it causes the virus to be more infectious.”

She said that while it does not change current public health advice, additional measures could be required if the U.K. variant pushes B.C.’s daily cases back up to the highs seen earlier this fall.

READ MORE: B.C. has its first confirmed case of COVID-19 variant from the U.K.

Henry urged British Columbians to avoid non-essential travel, especially outside of the country but even within the province. She also looked ahead to New Year’s Eve, where in past years large crowds have gathered both on the streets and indoors.

“We must do this without the usual house parties or celebrations this year,” she said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said that while many would be happy to see 2020 leave, British Columbians needed to make sure not to bring more cases into the upcoming year.

“This week, as in past weeks, we’re asking people to dig in,” Dix said.


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