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

Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Richard Pearce is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Unsung Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Navy veteran helping others cope with post-traumatic stress disorder

Rich Pearce is the West Shore 2021 Unsung Hero

File
The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read