COVID-19 Diary – Day 458

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.

For the eighth week in a row our new case number 7-day totals have dropped. Last week we saw 319 fewer new cases reported compared to the previous week. Our 7-day totals are continuing to drop below the numbers seen at the end of our second wave, and represent an 88% reduction from our third wave peak in April.

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.

We are continuing to see massive improvements from the Fraser Health region! Back in April we were seeing more than 600 new cases a day from this area, and it is now down to fewer than 70 cases a day, and still dropping.

The Vancouver Coastal Health region is also seeing decreases in new cases numbers, and is now averaging fewer than 20 new cases a day, and dropping.

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.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any good news in the above chart for Vancouver Island, Interior, and Northern BC Health regions. In the last week the Interior Health region saw their new case number plateau, with nearly the same amount as the week preceding. It is a little surprising to say this but, Vancouver Coastal Health had almost 100 fewer new cases in the last 7 days than the Interior Health region reported.

Even more discouraging, both the Vancouver Island and Northern Health regions actually saw increases in their new case numbers over the last 7 days. It is important to remember that these numbers are both VERY small in relation to the population size of each health region, though, and represent fewer than 10 new cases a day in either location.

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

There are currently 1,537 known active cases of COVID-19 in BC. This number represents a decrease of just over 560 active cases from this time last week. BC’s number of active cases had been dropping significantly for the last 8 weeks straight.

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.

In the last 7 days, and for the first time in 6 weeks, BC has seen a positive shift in the new case growth rate. It is important to note that we are still seeing fewer cases each week than the week before, but the rate at which they are dropping is now slowing down. At some point this is inevitable, just due to there being fewer cases each week, but it is unclear if that is the reason for the change here.

We do know however that this is the 3rd week after restrictions were relaxed recently, and also marks the start of a new set of restrictions being relaxed. We can not rule out the likelihood that increased contacts with people outside out households may have slowed down the reduction in new cases, at least in part.

As always, the next few weeks will be extremely important, as we move closer and closer to complete relaxation of restrictions (more or less) in September.

Hospitalizations & Deaths

Currently, there are 136 people in BC hospitalized with COVID-19, and 42 of those are confined to the ICU. Non-critical hospitalizations are falling quite quickly now, and the ICU numbers are dropping almost as quickly! The last time our COVID-19 hospitalization numbers were this low was early November 2020!

In the last 7 days, another 12 people in BC have died from COVID-19. The numbers have been sitting in the 16-30 (ish) range since earlier this year in February, and it brings us much joy to say that this trend is officially broken! To be clear, the deaths of 12 people is still far too many, and we hope to see this number come down to 0 as quickly as possible. But today’s chart brings hope that this day is coming sooner rather than later.

As always, our hearts go out to everyone who has lost someone during this pandemic.

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 4,048,346 COVID-19 vaccinations in our province, with 613,453 of these being a person’s second dose. The second dose (green) line is now quickly ramping up in the above graph! In the last 7 days, we averaged about 42,744 second doses a day, which is more than 2x higher than the previous 7-day average record!

As of today, 3,434,893 individuals have received at least 1 dose of vaccine, representing about 66.7% of BC’s total population. This also represents 74.1% of all BC residents 12 and over, and 75.9% of all adults in BC. 11.9% of BC’s total population has now received 2 doses of vaccine.

In the last 7 days, roughly 2.2% of the people in BC received their first dose of vaccine, and 5.8% received their second dose.

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 in BC was 58,936. This is again a new record for BC, and shows that we haven’t quite peaked for daily vaccination averages just yet!

We are still on course for every 18+ person in BC to receive at least one dose of vaccine by July 1st. In fact, with the recent drop in age restriction, and the increase in supply we’re expecting in June, it’s very likely every person in BC aged 12 and over will be able to get their first dose by July 1st even.

Vaccination Roll-out Update

According to the federal vaccine distribution page, BC will see more than 1.6 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna in the next 2 weeks (655,200 Pfizer, 963,060 Moderna). This roughly averages to more than 115k doses a day! This also represents an almost 40% increase over the total amount of doses we’ve received in the province so far.

We finally received word on what would happen with the Johnson & Johnson doses Canada has been sitting on for a few months now. Unfortunately, due to likely contamination at the US production facility where they were made, they will be destroyed. It is currently unknown if Canada will be getting any future shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with the majority of Canadian Citizens having already received at least 1 dose of a different vaccine.

For anyone who received an AstraZeneca vaccine dose already, you may be interested in the results of this recent study on mixing vaccine types. Apparently the strongest immuno-response may be caused by having an initial AstraZeneca dose, and following it up with a Pfizer dose afterwards. More information can be found here.

If you would like to check to see when you can expect to be invited to book your second vaccination shot, you will want to check BC’s Health Gateway portal. The Health Gateway contains such information as your prescription medication history, the results of any COVID-19 tests you’ve taken, your immunization records, and eventually it will also be able to show you your lab results from any lab work you may have needed previously. Visit the Health Gateway here for more information.

If you are looking for a way to promote vaccination, you may be interested in being part of the Canadian vaccination campaign: This is Our Shot. Information can be found here.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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