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B.C. records 428 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest total in a week

Extent of the virus in the province is abating despite the recent holiday season
Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry

B.C. recorded 428 new COVID-19 in the past 24 hours on January 5 – the lowest daily total since December 31, when there were 374 cases. With 5,915 tests conducted, the positive-test rate was 7.2%, which is high but lower than yesterday's strikingly high 9.1% positive-test rate from 5,918 tests. 

The number of people actively fighting COVID-19 infections has fallen to 6,472, down 351 from yesterday and down 1,108 from a week ago. It is the smallest number of active infections recorded in the province since November 16.

Hospitalizations from the virus rose to 367, from 351 yesterday, with 77 of those people having severe enough infections to warrant being in an intensive care unit. 

More than 84.2%, or 45,999 of the 54,629 people who have been infected with the virus since it first appeared in the province in late January 2020 have recovered. 

Another 8,596 people, however, are under active public health monitoring because they are known to have been exposed to people with identified infections.

Here is a breakdown of where the 428 new cases were identified:
• 90 people in Vancouver Coastal Health (21%);
• 223 people in Fraser Health (52.1%);
• nine in Island Health (2.1%);
• 61 in Interior Health (14.2%);
• 45 in Northern Health (10.5%); and
• no new cases in people who reside outside the province.

"To date, 28,209 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia," provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement. "Our focus is to ensure we safely deliver the vaccines as quickly as possible to communities across the province, using all available supply."

The new total for the number of people vaccinated means that 4,070 people have been vaccinated since yesterday, and it indicates a ramping up in vaccinations. Yesterday, health officials said that there had been 6,629 vaccinations in the first four days of 2021. 

Henry and Dix said today that their focus is on "first-priority populations" until the start of April, as new vaccines are approved and additional supply becomes available. 

"We will incorporate the additional doses into our distribution to enable as many people as possible to be immunized as soon as they can," they said.

The B.C. government has also extended its state of emergency for another two weeks, which is the longest it can renew it at one time. The power enables health and emergency-management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the province's COVID-19 pandemic response. The date that the state of emergency is now set to expire is January 19, although it will almost certaintly be extended many more times after that date.

One ominous development is that the province has issued a public alert for the Revelstoke region, where community transmission and new cases of COVID-19 have increased substantially in recent days, according to Henry and Dix. 

One new COVID-19 outbreak at a B.C. hospital acute-care facility is at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. 

The other eight hospitals with active COVID-19 outbreaks are at:
• Burnaby Hospital;
• Langley Memorial Hospital;
• Lions Gate Hospital;
• Richmond Hospital;
• Ridge Meadows Hospital;
• Surrey Memorial Hospital;
• Vancouver General Hospital; and
• University Hospital of Northern B.C.

The 13 active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Vancouver Coastal Health are at:
• Arbutus Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Braddan Private Hospital in Vancouver;
• Capilano Care Centre in West Vancouver;
• Columbus Residence in Vancouver;
• Crofton Manor in Vancouver;
• Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge in Richmond;
• German Canadian Benevolent Society Home in Vancouver;
• Little Mountain Place in Vancouver;
• Minoru Residence in Richmond;
• Renfrew Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Arch Masonic Home in Vancouver;
• Sunrise of Vancouver in Vancouver; and
• Villa Cathay in Vancouver.

The 28 active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Fraser Health are at:
• Agecare Harmony Court Care Centre in Burnaby;
• Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Baillie House in Maple Ridge;
• Brookside Lodge in Surrey;
• Care Life Fleetwood in Surrey;
• Chartwell Langley Gardens in Langley;
• Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
• Fleetwood Villa in Surrey;
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
• Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre in Delta;
• Hilton Villa Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Kin Village in Tsawwassen;
• Lakeshore Care Centre in Coquitlam;
• Langley Memorial Hospital long term care - Cedar Hill in Langley;
• Laurel Place in Surrey;
• Madison Care Centre in Coquitlam;
• Menno Home in Abbotsford;
• Morgan Place Care Facility in Surrey
• Nicola Lodge in Port Coquitlam;
• Peace Arch Hospital Foundation Lodge in White Rock;
• Queen's Park Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Rideau Retirement Residence in Burnaby;
• Royal City Manor in New Westminster;
• St. Michael's Centre Extended Care in Burnaby;
• Tabor Home in Abbotsford;
• The Emerald at Elim Village in Surrey;
• The Harrison at Elim Village in Surrey; and
• The Mayfair Seniors Living & Care in Abbotsford.

The four active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Northern Health are at:
• Jubilee Lodge in Prince George;
• North Peace Seniors Housing Society in Fort St. John.
• Rotary Manor Dawson Creek in Dawson Creek; and
• Williams Lake Seniors Village in Williams Lake.

The seven active outbreaks at seniors' living facilities in Interior Health are at:
• Creekside Landing in Vernon;
• Heritage Retirement Residence in West Kelowna;
• Heritage Square in Vernon;
• McKinney Place in Oliver;
• Mountainview Village in Kelowna;
• Noric House in Vernon; and
• Village by the Station in Penticton.

In Island Health, there is only one seniors' facility with an active outbreak of COVID-19. It is the Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo.