Vancouver – About 60 percent of the COVID-19 cases identified across British Columbia are of concern, and even more so in the health region that includes Vancouver.
About 70 percent of infections found in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region from April 4 to 10 include types of anxiety, usually the B1 variant associated with Brazil, provincial health official Dr Bonnie Henry said at her monthly modeling presentation on Thursday.
Henry noted that although officials had previously spoken about the outbreak of B1 cases in the Whistler area, there were clusters in various parts of the region.
“We have had various introductions of P1 and transmission chains in different parts of the Vancouver coast,” he said.
More than 60 per cent of the cases identified in the neighboring Fraser Health region last week were variants, most of them the UK-related B.1.1.7 variant.
Both types are believed to be very easy to catch, especially indoors, and epidemiologists have pointed to research suggesting that mutations in P.1 may cause greater resistance to COVID-19 antibodies.
There is also concern that some types may cause more serious illness in younger people.
Data released on Thursday shows that people between the ages of 40 and 59 have been hospitalized in recent weeks. There has been a gradual but significant increase in hospitalization for 60-79 people.
“That’s why it’s so important that we continue to focus on our age-based immunization program, especially for those under 40,” Henry said.
In the province, cases involving anxiety variants are approximately 50-50 divided between P.1 and B.1.1.7.
There are different cases in every corner of the BC, but in some health jurisdictions their impact is currently very limited. From April 4 to 10, less than 10 percent of the cases identified in the Northern Health Region.
In the worst case scenario in BC, the spread of variations has been blamed. The province’s third wave has broken many records, including those admitted to the hospital and patients in intensive care.
Henry noted that abusive behavior, such as meeting friends at home, is very dangerous – and the chances of bringing the virus home and passing it on to entire families have grown significantly.
“If there were 10 people in a house, we could see a maximum spread of two or three people,” he said. “Now with the new variants, we see that the spread could be widespread in homes. The whole house could become contagious.”
British Columbia has been subject to a number of strict COVID-19 restrictions since November, and was introduced in late March excluding indoor food and indoor group exercise activities in restaurants. It is unclear how long they will be in place, but at least some are expected to continue beyond the April 19 deadline initially suggested.
When people were allowed outside in groups of 10, Henry asked the public to consider spending more time with their own home, stressing the need to be safe even when looking outside at others.
“There is no zero risk now,” he said. “Keep your distance. If you’re going to be in close contact, wear masks even if it’s outside.”