COVID-19 Diary – Day 388

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 a significant increase in new cases compared to previous weeks, again. This is now the eighth week in a row we have seen increased cases, and is the current record. This last week also set a new record for the most new cases reported in a 7-day timespan here in BC, since the start of the pandemic.

Of the 6725 new cases reported this week, 1326 or 19.7% of them were determined to be variants of concern (VOC’s). Unfortunately, due to the rise in VOC’s, and our limited genetic sequencing capacity, we are not currently able to keep up with the number of positive tests that trigger a VOC flag and need to be confirmed as to which variant they are. This means that the above graph only represents the specifically identified VOC’s, but any flagged VOCs that have not yet been sequenced will still appear in the Conventional COVID-19 part of the bar. As such, we have renamed that colour so that it clearly represents more than just conventional COVID-19.

You can read more information about the problems BC is having with confirming VOC’s in a timely manner here.

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 9 straight weeks of new case number growth, week to week, which is also the record for most number of weeks of growth in a row. If new case numbers continue to increase at this rate, Fraser Health will see the highest 7-day new case total of the pandemic this coming week.

Vancouver Coastal Health is also continuing to experience significant new case number growth, as well. At this time the Vancouver Coastal Region is only about 3 weeks behind the Fraser Health region for new case numbers.

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). During the week of Mar 23-29, the Interior Health region’s numbers were bumped up an additional 36 cases due to an error where historical cases from 2020 were previously missed.

Both the Vancouver Island and Interior Health regions are seeing continued spikes in their new case numbers, similar to what we are seeing above from Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions. So far only the Northern Health region has been able to keep their number under control, albeit at a fairly high level.

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

There are currently 8,490 known active cases of COVID-19 in BC. This number represents an increase of about 1600 active cases from this time last week. The number of active cases had previously been slowly increasing over time, but is now spiking much higher. We haven’t seen this many active cases of COVID-19 since late last year.

With the massive spike in new cases, it’s not surprising to see that variant-of-concern (VOC) cases are also on the rise. There are now 588 known active VOC cases in BC. Most of these are known to be B.1.1.7, but a growing number are also the P.1 variety. Please keep in mind that (as mentioned previously above) BC is not able to sequence positive test swabs fast enough to give an accurate report on the current number of active VOC cases. We do not know how much higher the number is.

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.

Last week we saw the new case spike with a 34% increase in growth rate. At that time we mentioned that every other major spike in growth rate was followed by a decline, and this time we are happy to say is no exception. While the growth rate is still very high at 19.6%, it has dropped more than 14%.

Unfortunately, this is not nearly enough of a drop. We need to get this number down below zero, and keep it there for several weeks at least, if we want to curb this 3rd wave.

Hospitalizations & Deaths

Currently, there are 318 people in BC hospitalized with COVID-19, and 96 of those are confined to the ICU. Hospitalization numbers continue to increase, but it’s the ICU numbers that are setting new records now, having jumped 22% in the last 7 days.

In the last 7 days, another 31 people in BC have died from COVID-19. It looks like the trend of decreases in weekly deaths has ended, and we are now seeing a leveling off between 16 and 31 deaths a week. This number is still very high, and with more COVID-19 variants spreading throughout the province, this number may even begin to rise again.

Everyone please take every precaution that you can.

And as always, we are sending our support and sympathy to all those who have experienced loss during this pandemic. Our thoughts are with you.

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 893,590 COVID-19 vaccinations in our province, with 87,472 of these being a person’s second dose. As you can see from the above graph, second doses have completely flattened out now that the province is waiting 16 weeks between them.

As of today, 806,118 individuals have received at least 1 dose of vaccine, representing about 18.7% of BC’s population old enough to be eligible for the shots. This means roughly 4.5% of the eligible population of BC received their first shot in the last 7 days.

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 has once again increased quite significantly, by almost 5,000 vaccinations per day!

It’s hard to believe that 2 months ago we averaged ~2200 vaccinations a day, and now we’re almost doing 30,000 a day!

Vaccination Roll-out Update

Starting today anyone 55-64 or 71 years old or older may call to book their appointment for a vaccination. The aged based vaccination roll-out continues to outperform its timeline expectations.

Tomorrow BC’s online vaccination registration system will launch, and anyone who is within the current age bracket being served will be able to register and book their first vaccination appointment. More information can be found here.

If you believe you qualify as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, and would like to learn more about how to get vaccinated through that route, you can find all the current details here.

Our province remains on track for getting everyone their first dose by July 1st.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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