Ontario breaks record for daily COVID-19 cases, experts say B.C. isn’t far behind

Ontario breaks record for daily COVID-19 cases, experts say B.C. isn't far behind
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Premier John Horgan is now one of the hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who’ve received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I want all British Columbians to take advantage,” said Horgan on Friday when he received his first shot.

Across Canada, it’s a race to vaccinate as many people as possible before COVID variants cause more infections.

In some parts of Canada, however, the variants are already winning.

Ontario set a new record for daily cases on Friday, announcing more than 4,800 cases in the past 24 hours. The province also announced tougher restrictions.

“We’ve made the difficult but necessary decision to give police and by-law officers special authority to enforce public health measures for the duration of the stay-at-home order,” Premier Doug Ford announced today in Toronto.

Ford also announced checkpoints at inter-provincial borders in order to restrict travel.

Ontario’s modelling suggests it will see more than 10,000 cases a day by the end of May.

Some experts worry B.C. is headed in the same direction, including Dr. Sarah Otto, UBC mathematical biologist and pandemic modeller.

“In terms of numbers, we’re just a couple weeks behind Ontario,” Otto warned. “We’re seeing these crunches already on the ICUs and hospitals in Vancouver and the Fraser.”

Otto says the numbers could skyrocket unless British Columbians start strictly adhering to the public health orders.

“At the rate that we were in February and March, the kind of activity levels we were just recently doing last month, we would skyrocket past 3,000 in mid-May.”

There are currently 23 COVID-19 patients in the hospital on Vancouver Island, with four in the ICU.

Dr. David Forrest is an infectious disease specialist with Island Health who cares for most COVID-19 patients on the mid-island.

“One of our patients in the intensive care unit has been here for over five weeks,” Dr. Forrest said. “And so, the critical care resource that is required for the care of a patient with COVID-19 is not just a matter of days, it’s weeks,” said Dr. Forrest.

Following his shot today, the premier drove home the message to British Columbians to get vaccinated as soon as it is available to them.

“The best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,” Horgan said.

Anyone over age 55 is eligible to get the AstraZeneca vaccine from a B.C. pharmacy, listed on the website of the BC Pharmacy Association.

READ MORE: ‘Stick with the same close contacts’; Health officials push outdoor gathering safety as B.C. announces 1,005 new COVID-19 cases

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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