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While other provinces are getting rid of vaccine mandates, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the BC Vaccine Card will remain in place for the time being.

It was previously extended through June 30, although Henry said re-evaluation is ongoing with the possibility of an earlier end date.

“The difference in spread between somebody who’s vaccinated and (somebody who’s) unvaccinated is like saying (Canadian soccer star) Christine Sinclair and I both play soccer,” Henry said.

She added that higher-risk indoor settings still have potential for transmission of Omicron between vaccinated people, but those people are unlikely to end up with severe illness or in hospital.

“It has switched from not solely focusing on reducing risk of transmission—although it does that, particularly if people have their booster dose on board—but making sure that if we have large groups of people together in those indoor settings, that we’re not going to have a surge of people hospitalized because of transmission,” said Henry.

She added that the province’s PCR testing curve still shows transmission is at its highest level in the pandemic. More details about the province’s plan for how to move forward will be provided next week.

“You will hear less about the pandemic as we get through this wave, and more about how we continue to manage our personal risks as restrictions are adjusted in step with what we are seeing in terms of transmission and hospitalizations,” said Henry.

She added that COVID-19 continues to be a serious respiratory illness, and there is still a risk of other variants arising in the future.

The province today announced that all regulated health professionals must be vaccinated by March 24, including dentists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and psychologists, among others. In addition, liquor-serving premises will be able to reopen by serving meals from external sources thanks to updated B.C. rules.

Health officials also reported 1,187 new cases of COVID-19 today. Since the pandemic began, B.C. has recorded 336,229 cases.

Of the new cases, 147 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 316 in the Fraser Health region, 163 in the Island Health region, 370 in the Interior Health region, 191 in the Northern Health region, and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There are 21,974 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 893 COVID-positive individuals are in hospital, 143 of whom are in intensive care.

Active cases will be removed from the daily surveillance reports as they are “no longer an accurate reflection of what’s happening in the community,” Henry said.

To date, 11,018,619 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer Pediatric COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C.; 4,225,555 of those are second doses and 2,347,591 are third doses.

This means that 93.4 per cent of adults, 93.0 per cent of people aged 12 and older, and 90.3 per cent of people aged five and older have received their first dose of a vaccine. In addition, 90.8 per cent of adults, 90.4 per cent of those aged 12 and older, and 84.8 per cent of those aged five and older have received two doses; 53.7 per cent of adults and 50.6 per cent of those aged 12-plus have received three doses.

Sadly, there were 18 new COVID-related deaths reported today, bringing that total to 2,725. Of those who died, five lived in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, four in the Fraser Health region, five in the Island Health region, two in the Interior Health region, and two in the Northern Health region.

Health authorities reported one new health-care facility outbreak and declared two over. Active outbreaks continue at 49 long-term care facilities, two assisted or independent living facilities, and three acute care facilities.

From Feb. 1 to 7, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 24.3 per cent of cases. From Jan. 25 to Feb. 7, they accounted for 31.0 per cent of hospitalizations.

Past week cases (Feb. 1 to 7)—Total 9,059

– Not vaccinated: 1,777 (19.6 per cent)

– Partially vaccinated: 422 (4.7 per cent)

– Fully vaccinated: 6,860 (75.7 per cent)

Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Jan. 25 to Feb. 7)—Total 1,257

– Not vaccinated: 333 (26.5 per cent)

– Partially vaccinated: 56 (4.5 per cent)

– Fully vaccinated: 868 (69.1 per cent)

Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Feb. 1 to 7)

– Not vaccinated: 385.7

– Partially vaccinated: 143.3

– Fully vaccinated: 160.6

Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Jan. 25 to Feb. 7)

– Not vaccinated: 89.8

– Partially vaccinated: 47.5

– Fully vaccinated: 18.5

For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

By: Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Source: Richmond Sentinel

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