A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

B.C. has recorded 536 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths over the past 24 hours, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday (Jan. 14).

By health authority, that breaks down to 102 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 253 in Fraser Health, 115 in Interior Health, 21 in Island Health, 45 in Northern Health. Six of the new cases are epi-linked. B.C.’s death toll from the virus is now at 1,038.

There have been a total of 59,608 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since the pandemic began, of which 4,624 are currently active. There are 362 people in hospital with the virus, 74 of whom are in ICU. A total of 52,605 people have recovered while just over 7,300 are under public health monitoring.

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

She said that there have now been four confirmed cases of the U.K. variant, which has been considered more transmissible, in B.C. Three of those cases were linked to one specific traveller, while the last was linked to another traveller.

The province has also found one case of the South African variant of the virus. That case is not linked to any known travel, something that Henry said is concerning. The province is conducting whole genome sequencing, both randomly and with a targeted approach, to find and isolate people who have brought that variant into B.C. So far, all cases of both variants were found in Vancouver Coastal Health.

“We don’t know how that person got [the South African variant] yet, but I’m confident there’s not spread from that person to others,” Henry said.

“We don’t believe that either of those variants are causing a lot of spread of illness in our communities yet but we are not by any means out of the woods.”

Henry said she was “saddened and disturbed” after hearing reports of racism and discrimination against the Cowichan Tribes as the Indigenous community battles a COVID outbreak.

“This type of racism cannot be tolerated,” she said. “This must stop. Racism has no place in our society, in our communities here in British Columbia and we must all take the time to speak up and speak out.”

READ MORE: Racism towards Cowichan Tribes in COVID-19 fight denounced by federal minister

On the topic of interprovincial travel as brought in by B.C.’s premier on Thursday morning, Henry said she was not considering issuing an order banning interprovincial travel. She said that the Maritimes, which require a 14-day quarantine when people enter from other parts of Canada, have a different situation and that it’s not “feasible” in B.C.

She said cases now are being driven by people who chose to “stretch the rules” over the holidays and got together in small, local groups. Currently, British Columbians have been told to not socialize with anyone outside their household for non-essential reasons, unless they live alone and choose to bubble with others.

“Now in the interior we are seeing the implications of what could happen in this province if we all took those liberties,” Henry said.

READ MORE: COVID clarity: Feds say 42-day gap for 2-dose vaccines OK as provinces race to immunity

READ MORE: More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A barrel racer is seen at the Cloverdale Rodeo. (Photo courtesy Cloverdale Rodeo)
Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair postponed until later in 2021

Rodeo president say both public safety related to the pandemic and the removal of border restrictions will determine new date

A proposed multi-family, multi-building development in east White Rock was the subject of a public hearing Monday evening. (City of White Rock image)
Pros and cons of White Rock housing development debated at virtual public hearing

Affordable housing need, traffic concerns among reasons cited for and against Beachway project

The new Phoenix Flame BBQ truck serves as a “Mobile Community Kitchen” in the Surrey area. (Photo: phoenixsociety.com)
New ‘Phoenix Flame BBQ’ truck now mobile with food for Surrey’s ‘hard-to-reach populations’

Also launched: Another Surrey Honda Raffle to help the Surrey-based agency and others

Teachers at Maple Green Elementary in Surrey stage a walk-in before school on Wednesday (March 3, 2021), as Fraser Health continues to announce variant exposure cases at Surrey schools throughout the district. (Submitted photo: Julia MacRae)
Surrey Teachers’ Association calls for district-specific COVID-19 safety measures

STA holds third and fourth walk-ins after multiple COVID-19 variant exposures

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Emergency crews are on scene at Walnut Grove Secondary School after a report of a bomb threat at Walnut Grove Secondary School on March 3, 2021. The school was safely evacuated. (Shane MacKichan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: Bomb threat forces evacuation of Langley high school

Police asked the public to avoid 88th Avenue and Walnut Grove Drive

Most Read