As BC continues to experience record-high COVID-19 case numbers, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says that while British Columbians can still count on Christmas, it “will look different” this year.
“Yes, we will have Christmas,” said Henry during a press conference on Thursday. “And yes, it will look different.”
She noted “there’s not going to be a vaccine here that’s going to save the day by Christmas, [and there’s] no one thing that we can do that’s going to make this all go away.”
However, she continued, “there are many small things that we can do that will get us through this and help us celebrate.”
When it comes to usual festivities and the gathering of family and friends over the holidays, Henry said that this year, “we can’t be together in the same way, and it will depend a lot on what’s happening in our community, how much spread we’re seeing, but we can find ways to celebrate to have family, to come together in a way that’s safe for everybody.”
As for the Jolly Ol’ Elf himself this Christmas?
“I think Santa probably has immunity,” said Henry.
Still, “I think he’ll be washing his hands a lot, and he probably won’t be eating cookies and milk in every house this year, but we’ll find ways of making it work.”
Henry’s comments come the same week that health officials unveiled new COVID-19 modelling data that shows cases in BC are doubling once about every 13 days.
“The latest data shows some highly concerning trends that we all need to pay attention to,” said Henry.
The data was revealed on the same day health officials announced 1,130 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the provincially recorded total to 20,369. The new case count reflects numbers over a two-day reporting period.
From Tuesday to Wednesday, 536 new cases were reported. From Wednesday to Thursday, there were 594 cases, setting a new one-day record high.
By specific health region, these case numbers equate to 249 new cases of coronavirus in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 808 in the Fraser Health Region, 16 in the Island Health Region, 34 in the Interior Health region, 23 in the Northern Health Region, and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
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There are 5,793 active cases, and 11,091 are under public health monitoring. Currently, there are 155 people in hospital and 44 in critical care. The remaining individuals are recovering at home in self-isolation.
There have been four new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 288 in British Columbia to date.