B.C. continues to see spread of COVID-19 centred mostly on the Lower Mainland, with seriously ill people in hospital declining from the highs of recent weeks.
Public health officials reported 694 new coronavirus cases Thursday, 445 of them in the Fraser Health region and 153 in Vancouver Coastal. There are 457 people in hospital as of May 6, down from more than 500 in recent days, and 154 in intensive care.
The infection rate slowed since daily cases fell below 700 last weekend, with 668 up to Monday, 697 on Tuesday, and 572 on Wednesday, the lowest 24-hour total since March.
Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry held their latest briefing at Fraser Health headquarters in Surrey, praising the health staff and contact tracers at the epicentre of B.C.’s for their efforts to treat the highest number of COVID-19 patients for more than a year. Dix said the current level of hospitalization is still twice as high as it was in the early days of the pandemic a year ago, and urged people to register and obtain vaccine as supplies increase in B.C.
Henry announced that B.C. has recorded its first case of a rare blood clot condition in someone who received a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. A woman in her 40s in the Interior Health region was diagnosed with the condition by her family doctor, and is in stable condition in hospital, Henry said.
Henry emphasized that world-wide results show the risk of the blood clot condition is about one per 100,000 doses of the vaccine, which has been in short supply in B.C. as a main producer in India has retained its production to deal with widespread infection in that country. She said there is a medical test and treatment available, and people who have had the AstraZeneca vaccine should watch for persistent, severe headache, shortness of breath, chest pain or severe abdominal pain and swelling or redness in a limb.
“While rare, the potential for this blood clot to develop is generally between day four and day 28, around that period of time after you’ve received your vaccine,” Henry said.
Henry said B.C. is due to reach two million vaccine doses delivered some time Thursday, as increased supplies of Pfizer vaccine have started to arrive. The eligible age for booking appointments is down to 49, and is expected to accelerate in the weeks ahead, with all adults eligible for the age-based program before the end of June.