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Known active COVID-19 cases in B.C. near 30,000

Active infections in B.C. have hit record levels in each of the last six data updates.
COVID test GettyImages-1316289788
A rapid test for COVID-19 is positive

The surge in new COVID-19 infections across B.C. today pushed the province's number of known active infections to a record 29,967.

This is the sixth consecutive data update in which the official count for active infections has been in record territory. Known active cases are also at a level that is more than 10 times the count on December 6, less than one month ago.

The 29,967 known active infections in B.C. include:
• 13,920 in Fraser Health;
• 9,100 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 2,563 in Interior Health;
• 750 in Northern Health;
• 3,631 in Island Health; and
• three people who normally live outside B.C.

Fuelling the rise is an elevated level of new infections thanks in part to the easily transmissible Omicron variant. Health officials detected 3,798 new infections in the past 24 hours. 

Those infections detected in the past day include:
• 1,739 in Fraser Health;
• 840 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 473 in Interior Health;
• 179 in Northern Health; and
• 566 in Island Health.

For most of 2021, B.C. had a record of 1,283 COVID-19 infections in a 24-hour period, set April 10. That total was broken on December 21, when officials detected 1,308 new infections. Daily counts then more than tripled to the current record of 4,383 new cases detected on December 30.

Testing increased during the holiday season to more than 20,000 tests per day, and has since fallen to be around 15,000 tests per day. Today's positive test percentage, at more than 25%, was the highest so far in the pandemic. 

Demand for testing was so strong in late December that provincial health officer Bonnie Henry told vaccinated people who had mild symptoms to stay home and self-isolate if they thought that they had COVID-19, instead of trying to get tested. This was a way to try to preserve testing for people who were more vulnerable to come down with serious illnesses. The result of this policy is that many infections are likely going unreported.

The number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals rose by 19 overnight, to 317. Of those, 83 are in intensive care units (ICUs), which is three fewer than yesterday. No one is known to have died from COVID-19 in the past day in B.C., according to government statistics. 

Of the 270,508 people in B.C. known to have contracted COVID-19 since the first case was detected in January 2020, 237,195, or 88.7%, are considered by the government to have recovered. In most cases, that recovery status is determined when patients go 10 days after first exhibiting symptoms. Many people deemed recovered, however, continue to suffer long-term health problems. 

Cases in recent weeks have been infecting vaccinated people much more so than was the case a month ago, when the Delta variant was the dominant strain.  Between December 23 and December 29, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 16% of new cases. That is in line with the approximately 17% share of B.C.'s population that is not vaccinated. 

A disparity emerges, however, when it comes to hospitalizations. People who were not fully vaccinated between December 16 and December 29 accounted for 55% of hospitalizations in that time period. That is far in excess of their share of the population.

There are 4,402,649 B.C. residents who have had at least one dose of vaccine, while 4,138,255, or 94% of those, are considered fully vaccinated with two doses.

The B.C. government estimates that 88.3% of eligible British Columbians, older than five years, have had at least one vaccine shot, while 83% of that eligible population is fully vaccinated with two jabs.

The B.C. government last year estimated that the province's total population is 5,147,712, so Glacier Media's calculation is that almost 85.5% of B.C.'s total population has had at least one dose of vaccine, and 80.4% of the province's total population has had two doses. 

B.C. has been increasing access to third doses of vaccine, and health workers put a daily record of 38,074 booster doses into arms in the past day. In total, B.C. has provided 998,164 doses of third, or booster, doses of vaccine to British Columbians.

Some good news is that there were no new outbreaks at health-care facilities, while outbreaks at Lion's Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre in Vancouver, and UBC Hospital's Detwiller Pavilion in Vancouver have all been declared over. That leaves B.C. with 21 active outbreaks at health-care facilities. •

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