Health officials reflect on two-year anniversary of B.C.’s first COVID-19 case

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B.C. health officials reflected on the two-year anniversary of the first case of COVID-19 being detected in the province and the measures that were taken to help control the spread of the virus.

On January 28, 2020 a case of the strain of coronavirus was detected, which started two years of trying to control the spread of the virus in the province and around the world.

The province has seen five waves of in the COVID-19 pandemic, where different variants have been the primary strain within the province.

As shown in the above graph, the fifth wave with the Omicron variant has had the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

This wave has also has a restriction on testing where only some groups can get tested for the virus in the province, and a shift away from contact tracing.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 318,906 total cases and 2,588 deaths due to COVID.

The waves have seen a variety of measures implemented to try and control the spread of the virus.

In the first wave, measures included cancelling non-urgent surgeries, moving schools online, and implementing restrictions on restaurants and events.

A provincial state of emergency was declared during the first wave on March 18, 2020, which was not lifted until June 30, 2021.

The second wave measures like restricting private gatherings, mandating masks indoors, and regional orders for Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health were implemented.

This wave is also when the first vaccines were first administered starting with healthcare workers, seniors, immunocompromised people, and Indigenous communities.

In wave three, travel within the province was restricted, then the province started lifting many of the restrictions which had been in place for an extended period of time.

That included lifting the limits on gatherings, and allowing non-essential visits to long-term care.

The fourth wave Northern Health and Interior Health were hit particularly hard, so regional restrictions were implemented in these health regions.

B.C. also implemented the vaccine pass during this wave, and required masks for children in school.

Now, in the fifth wave, B.C. closed gyms, bars, and nightclubs for a period, extended the vaccine pass, and accelerated the booster shot program.

Since the start of the vaccination campaign, 90 per cent of people over the age of 12 in the province have received two doses of a COVID vaccine, and only 51 per cent of children 5-11 have received a first dose of a vaccine.

There are currently 977 people in hospital with COVID in the province and there have been 15,225 people hospitalized throughout the entire pandemic.

During the news conference, both Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, minister of health, said the pandemic is not over, and it is important to continue with the COVID measures.

However, Henry said she hopes that by Family Day on Feb. 21 the pandemic will be under control and some measures will be able to be lifted.

 

This story has been updated with information from the news conference. The original story is below.

B.C.’s top doctor and health minister will provide an update on COVID-19 on the two-year anniversary of the first case of the novel coronavirus being detected in the province.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix will speak to media at noon Friday. Their comments will be streamed live on this article and on CHEK+.

On Thursday, the province reported 2,033 new cases of COVID-19 with 266 of those cases detected in Island Health.

There are currently 977 people in hospital with 141 people in critical care as a result of the virus, and 29,556 active cases in British Columbia.

Friday marks two years since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the province after a man in his 40s, who worked in China and lived in the Vancouver area, tested positive.

“This first case is not unexpected to us. We’ve been on high alert for a number of weeks now and established our emergency response structure so we can respond to it,” Henry said at the time.

Since then, there has been rapid spread of COVID-19 and its variants, leading to sweeping public health orders as officials grapple with how to contain the virus while trying to balance British Columbians’ mental health.

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