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‘This is a success’: No new COVID-19 cases or deaths reported in long-term care

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VANCOUVER —
Not a single one of the 559 new cases of COVID-19 announced Tuesday in British Columbia involved a resident of a long-term care home or assisted living facility, according to health officials.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry credited the widespread immunization of vulnerable seniors living in care for the promising development, which arrived amid an uptick in coronavirus cases among the general population.

“This is a success that we need to appreciate and celebrate,” Henry said.

“I think it is a moment to reflect as we are starting to receive increased supplies of immunizations over the coming weeks.”

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The one person who died from COVID-19 between Monday and Tuesday was not a resident of long-term care either, Henry said.

“The single person who died in the last 24 hours was in an acute care facility. This is a reflection of the vaccines that we have had and their use and deployment to long-term care and assisted living facilities in this province,” she added. “It really is remarkable.”

According to data released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control last week, a full 91 per cent of long-term care residents and 95 per cent of people in assisted-living facilities have received at least one dose of vaccine.

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Officials also shared preliminary data suggesting a single shot could reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection by 80 per cent or more.

There are still 12 active outbreaks in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities across B.C. impacting 415 residents and 218 staff. That’s a far cry from mid-January, when public health teams were battling more than 50 outbreaks in care homes.

A total of 287,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been distributed in the province so far, and 58,896 people have received their second dose. Henry said most of the people who have been fully vaccinated are seniors in care.

While the province’s immunization rollout was hampered for weeks by manufacturer delays, increased shipments of vaccine are expected going forward.

Meanwhile, British Columbia’s COVID-19 case numbers have been creeping back up. The province’s active caseload reached 4,677 on Tuesday, the highest it’s been since Jan. 13.

The seven-day average for new cases has also increased to 505, which is almost 100 per day higher than it was just one week ago. As of Feb. 17, the seven-day average was at 407.

“This uptick we’ve seen in the last few days is one that we are managing as aggressively as we can, to understand better where we are,” Henry said.

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