Rising case counts in Island Health ‘concerning’ says B.C.’s health minister

Rising case counts in Island Health 'concerning' says B.C.'s health minister
Province of BC

British Columbia health officials are reporting 405 new cases of COVID-19 for the entire province on Friday, with 96 linked to the Island Health region.

Within the Island Health region, there is currently a total of 646 active COVID-19 cases. That is the second-highest number of active cases in the province, behind only Fraser Health with 990 active.

The recent hot spots are Vancouver Island North, Cowichan Valley North, and the Comox Valley, where Island Health says a youth event two weeks ago has contributed to a cluster that is partly behind the higher case count.

“Vancouver Island has done extremely well relative to any other health authority throughout the pandemic but right now there are more cases on Vancouver Island that should always be cause for concern, it is for us,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix on Friday.

In a statement released to the media, Dr. Bonnie Henry says that 276 are in hospital with 95 people in critical care as a result of the virus. There are currently 3,061 active cases in British Columbia.

Since Thursday’s numbers, there have been 45 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 110 in the Fraser Health region, 96 in the Island Health region, 97 in the Interior Health region, 57 in the Northern Health region and no new cases for people who reside outside of Canada.

Island Health told CHEK News on Friday that there has been a COVID-19 cluster identified in connection to a Comox Valley youth event, however, emphasizes that the increase in daily cases can’t be solely attributed to this event.

“While Island Health does not comment on specific details of COVID-19 cases, we can confirm that Public Health case and contact follow-up has identified a cluster of cases associated with a youth event approximately two weeks ago in the Comox Valley,” reads a statement from Island Health. “It’s important to understand that the current daily case counts across the Island Health region cannot be solely attributed to this cluster.”

The health authority also indicates that these community cases are occurring in a highly vaccinated population and officials are not observing serious health outcomes related to this cluster.

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On Friday, there was six additional death related to the virus in the past 24 hours, with two of those being in the Island Health region. That brings the provincial death total over the course of the pandemic to 2,351.

Also as of Friday, the total number of cases in British Columbia over the course of the pandemic has reached 219,584.

As for the Province’s total vaccination program, B.C. has now administered a total of 8,761,618 doses of COVID-19 immunizations.

Health officials say that equates to first doses for 91.6 per cent of all eligible adult British Columbians and 91.2 per cent of all eligible people 12 and older.

In addition, 88.5 per cent of all eligible adults have received their second dose, totalling 4,079,277 residents and 11 per cent (468,509) have received a third dose.

From Nov. 25 to Dec. 1, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 58 per cent of cases and from Nov. 18 to Dec. 1, they accounted for 65.9 per cent of hospitalizations.

Graham CoxGraham Cox
April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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