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

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Serving alcohol has been altered in the Central Okanagan Public Schools policy regarding rental of school facilities for after-school hours events. (Contributed)
Alcohol option opened up at Central Okanagan school facilities rented for events

Central Okanagan Board of Education retains final approval for after-hours event approvals

Voting day for the upcoming Central Okanagan Board of Education by-election is June 26. (Contributed)
Central Okanagan school board election set for June 26

Kelowna voters will go the polls to fill vacant Kelowna trustee seat

Two bikes that were stolen after a West Kelowna parking garage was looted on April 3. Photo: Crime Stoppers Central Okanagan
Parking garage looted in West Kelowna

A car was broken into and six storage lockers were ransacked

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

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

Ford F-350s have been targeted in the North Okanagan by auto thieves since February 2021, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP data shows. (Gene J. Puskar - The Canadian Press/AP file)
Auto thieves target older Ford F-350s in Vernon: RCMP

Vernon Mounties remind all motorists no vehicle is immune to auto crime

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read