COVID-19 Diary – Day 360

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.

As you can see from the above chart, in the last Tues-Mon 7 day period there has been another increase in new cases compared to the previous 7-day period. This is the fourth week in a row we have seen this happen, despite ongoing enhanced restrictions.

Due to an issue in BC’s case reporting system, the 7-day period of Feb 26-Mar 1 contains 68 additional cases that shouldn’t be included. Unfortunately, we do not know how many were allocated to which health authorities, so we can not remove them manually. This problem only affects the breakdown graphs (here and the one below).

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

The Fraser Health region has now seen 5 straight weeks of new case number growth, week to week. The record for consecutive weeks of new case number growth currently sits at 7, from back last year in October and November. By comparison, the Vancouver Coastal Health region is currently at 4 straight weeks of week-to-week new case number growth, which also ties its current record.

These trends are especially concerning with the current number of variant cases now active in the province.

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. Due to an issue in BC’s case reporting system, the 7-day period of Feb 26-Mar 1 contains 68 additional cases that shouldn’t be included. Unfortunately, we do not know how many were allocated to which health authorities, so we can not remove them manually. This problem only affects the breakdown graphs (here and the one above).

It’s hard to tell due to lines overlapping in some areas, but the Vancouver Island, Interior, and Northern Health regions all showed decreases in their week-to-week new case numbers. Northern Health seems to have reached a degree of equilibrium with their new case numbers not increasing or decreasing significantly week-to-week almost since late November of last year!

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

There are currently 4854 known active cases of COVID-19 in BC. This number represents an increase of about 400 active cases from this time last week. The number of active cases seems to be steadily climbing right now, in line with the steady increase of new cases being reported on a week-to-week basis.

Unfortunately, today we also learned of a significant jump in active cases of COVID-19 Variants of Concern (VOC’s). On Friday, March 5th there were only 12 known active VOC cases in the province. Today the number of known active VOCs jumped more than 700% to 87. This includes cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant as well as the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant.

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.

As of this week, our growth rate is once again slowly climbing upwards away from our goal of less than 0%. In the last 7 days, we have seen our new case numbers grow by 6.8%, due to high numbers coming in from the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health regions.

More than ever, and especially for those in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health regions, we need to push to reduce contacts as much as possible to get these numbers lower. Greater numbers of vaccine doses are coming, but we need to hold the line until we can get them here, and into everyone’s arms.

Hospitalizations & Deaths

Currently, there are 240 people in BC hospitalized with COVID-19, and 66 of those are confined to the ICU. These numbers are a little higher than they were last week at this time, and they continue to fluctuate up and down, trending slightly upward overall.

In the last 7 days, another 28 people in BC have died from COVID-19, which is the same number we saw last week and the week before. It’s very unusual to see this number plateau in this way for 3 weeks! We continue to hope that with more and more vaccinations going in order of those who are most at risk, that this number will start falling again soon! As always our hearts are with everyone who has lost a friend or loved one to this virus.

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 333,327 COVID-19 vaccinations in our province, with 86,925 of these being a person’s second dose. As you can see from the above graph, 2nd doses have now almost completely stalled in favour of vaccinating as many individuals as possible in the short term.

Today BC launched our mass vaccination appointment “hot-line”. Anyone who was born in 1941 or earlier, as well as any indigenous person born in 1956 or earlier, can currently call in to book and appointment for their first shot. In following weeks the minimum birth year will jump by 5 year increments.

Unfortunately, despite the rules for who would qualify to book their appointments, approximately 1.7 million phone calls were made to the phone number in a relatively short period of time, mostly by people who did not qualify to be vaccinated at this time. Call times did improve later in the day however.

BC Public Health is expecting to be able to get all BC residents at least their first vaccine dose by July 2021. To help accomplish this, the second dose of vaccine has been pushed back from 6 weeks later, to 16 weeks later. More information about the vaccine roll-out plan can be found here. This week Canada is expecting to receive about 900k doses of different approved vaccines. By the end of March Canada expects to receive 8 million doses of vaccine.

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 daily average number of vaccinations given has once again jumped upwards and set a new record for the province! The number of vaccine doses received in Canada, as well as in BC specifically, continues to increase week-to-week. We are also expecting to begin receiving doses of the Janssen vaccine starting in April, which only requires a single dose per person!

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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