COVID-19 Diary – Day 311

Weekly New Infections Charts

Every Monday we take a look at our week to week totals and chart how BC’s fight against COVID-19 is progressing. Because of the reporting schedule used in BC, we use 7-day totals running from Tuesday to Monday. The above chart shows each week of the pandemic as a unique bar.

This week starts with some good news! It seems that our “Holidays Bump” only lasted a couple weeks, and we are now seeing roughly the same 7-day new case totals as we did before Christmas. Between the last 2 7-day periods, there is a difference of 566 cases, which is a significant improvement.

To better understand how the provincial numbers break down, we also look at the individual health authority regions.

Above we saw that there were 566 fewer new cases reported in all of BC over the last 7-day period compared to the one before it. Looking at the above chart we can see that the Fraser Health region alone saw a drop of 549 cases in their week-to-week totals, more than a 25% reduction!

The new case numbers have continued to increase in the Interior Health region to the point that I have added their data to the Vancouver Coastal/Fraser Health region chart above. If bother regions continue on their current case trajectories, they will soon intersect. Hopefully, the Interior Health region will be able to get their numbers back under control again soon.

Cases from outside of Canada began being reported during the week of Jul 7-13, and the initial spike of 51 cases reflects the data catching up

The Vancouver Island, and Northern Health regions are now holding relatively steady in terms of 7-day new case totals, compared to the previous week. It is worth mentioning that there were a surprising 17 new infections from people who typically reside outside of Canada, which is the most we’ve ever seen in a single week (outside of the catch-up period Jul 7-13). Dr. Bonnie Henry mentioned in her briefing today that this was primarily related to foreign labourers coming to work in BC.

Some data points have had to been estimated by averaging values, specifically Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays without specific reporting figures.

There are now only 4326 known active cases currently. This is an incredible improvement compared to 5 weeks ago when the number was over 10,000. This is also the lowest number of active cases we’ve seen in our province since November 7th last year. With our new case numbers back on the decline, this number will likely continue to drop in the coming weeks.

Week-to-Week Growth Rate

This graph tracks the growth rate between 7-day totals and is a good indicator of the overall momentum of new case numbers.

We can see more good news in the above chart. Not only is our growth rate officially in decline and not just a blip, but we are also seeing significant negative growth (-14.5%!). If we can keep this up, and bring the numbers from Interior Health back down, we could see a quick return to much safer conditions within the province soon.

Hospitalizations & Deaths

At the risk of perhaps being overly hopeful, it looks like our hospitalization numbers are now declining across the board. Hopefully, this will continue as our new case numbers across the province improve.

In the last 7 days, another 68 people in BC have died from COVID-19, 4 more than died in the previous 7-day total. Before this increase, there had been 4 straight weeks of declines in 7-day death totals. But as our new case numbers drop, and the number of hospitalizations also drop, we should see this number begin to decline again soon. As always, our hearts go out to all those who have lost their lives to COVID-19, and those left grieving for them.

Vaccination Roll-Out

Numbers over holidays and weekends have been estimated based on averages between known reported totals.
Individual days may be +/- but the totals per week are accurate.

Since the beginning of our vaccination program on December 15th, there have been a combined 87,346 COVID-19 vaccinations in our province. The focus is currently on health care workers and those deemed to be at the highest risk, primarily in care homes.

The above chart shows the average number of vaccinations for each 7-day period since the beginning of the vaccination program. As you can see in the last 7 days the province vaccinated about 1200 people per day on average than the previous week. This is due primarily to our supplies of the Pfizer vaccine running out quite early last week, and new shipments not arriving until days later. While it is frustrating to see our daily vaccinations average go down, it is important to remember that it is also representative of our province’s efforts to use the vaccine as quickly as it arrives.

Going forward we can expect to see the numbers drop again, as BC (and all of Canada) will be seeing reduced shipments from Pfizer, primarily in the next 2-4 weeks, as production lines are being upgraded to increase capacity. While this will result in reduced vaccination numbers in the short term, in the long term we will see increased supply much quicker than previously expected.

Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed that this short term reduction in supply will cause changes to our current vaccination schedule, as many first doses will need to be delayed until additional supply arrives. It will not be affecting the 2nd doses for those who will be ready to receive them soon. 2nd doses may be given out as early as tomorrow (January 19th) for those who received their first doses in mid-December.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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