Dr. Bonnie Henry reported on COVID-19 cases covering four periods today, from Dec. 31 to Jan. 4. Over these four reporting periods there have been 2,211 new cases in the province, bringing the total of active cases up to 6,823.

Of these 2,211 new cases, 288 were in the Interior Health Region. 351 people are currently in hospital with COVID-19 across the province, with 76 of those in critical care or ICU.

Dr. Henry also announced a further 45 deaths, the majority of which were residents in Long Term Care (LTC).

At today’s press conference, Dr. Henry also touched on vaccinations and the surrounding scheduling and dosages.

“For the first quarter… all of our Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be prioritized  for administrations to priority populations, particularly as their first dose for the doses we’ve received in December and into January,” explained Dr. Henry.

“We’ve made that decision based on trying to protect as many people as possible during this highest risk period and making sure that we are still able to give second doses within a reasonable amount of time. To do that, we have delayed the second dose to approximately 35 days for most people in this first phase, as we know that now additional vaccines will be coming later on in February and March.”

As of Jan. 4, BC has received 54,625 doses of vaccine. 34,125 of the Pfizer vaccine and 20,500 of the Moderna vaccine.

Although the scheduling of priority doses will change according to outbreaks and community needs, there is a plan to vaccinate approximately 150,000 British Columbians who are considered ‘high priority’, such as the staff and residents of LTC.

“Those are the people that we know need our protection most,” explained Dr. Henry.

From Dec. to Feb. the roughly 150,000 doses will be delivered as following:

  • 70,000 staff and residents of LTC
  • 13,000 staff and residents of assisted living residences
  • 2,000 individuals in hospital or community assessed and awaiting an LTYC placement
  • 8,000 essential visitors in LTC and assisted living
  • 30,000 hospital health care workers, paramedics and public health
  • 25,000 remote/isolated FN communities

There will also be a mass vaccination strategy for the over 80 population, who are considered extremely high risk. This priority age is lowered for First Nations elders who have shown more serious complications or an even higher risk in these elderly age groups.

Following vaccinations of the aged 80 plus population, there will be a mass vaccination strategy based on age stratification in descending five-year cohorts.

It is estimated that over the next two weeks, to Jan, 18, and additional 2,925 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed to the aforementioned priority groups in the Interior Health Authority.

“It is a monumental task and there are many months left to go in this,” said Dr. Henry. In regard to vaccinations.