BC COVID19 March 18 update: Aged care homes allow visitors

British Columbia today eased restrictions on visitors to the province’s aged care homes as measures of COVID-19 data continued to show the disease was on the decline.

British Columbia provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said last week that care homes by today should be able to have readjusted their staff to allow residents to have more visitors.

“Some facilities will be ready tomorrow,” she said on March 10. “Others, it may take a bit longer to build their capacity to cope with more visitors.”

Care home residents could previously only have one social or designated visitor, and in some cases a separate essential visitor, who would help with tasks such as feeding. Retirement communities for the elderly, where residents have their own apartments, have always allowed residents to have more visitors.

This change is prompted by the rapid decline in the number of active outbreaks in healthcare facilities and residences for the elderly. A month ago, on February 18, British Columbia had 33 such outbreaks. Today there are seven, down one from yesterday, as the outbreak at Sidney Care Home on Vancouver Island was declared over. No new outbreaks have been discovered.

The number of COVID-19 patients in British Columbia hospitals has also declined rapidly and is now at 290, eight fewer than yesterday. Today was the 28th consecutive data update with lower numbers of such patients in hospitals. A month ago, British Columbia had 733 known COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

Of those currently in hospitals, 46 are in intensive care units (ICUs), down three from yesterday. There have been no fewer COVID-19 patients in BC ICUs since last August.

Six more people are known to have died while infected with the disease, bringing the pandemic death toll in British Columbia to 2,966.

Health officials have detected 199 new infections in the past 24 hours. Henry, however, told vaccinated people with mild symptoms not to get tested in order to free up testing for those who are more vulnerable. As a result, she called the daily case count “not accurate.”

On February 10, the BC government stopped providing data on active infections and the number of people considered to have recovered from COVID-19 for that very reason.

However, it still provides data on known new infections and the cumulative total of infections, which is now 353,578.

The vast majority of British Columbians are already vaccinated. While 415 people received their first dose of vaccine in the province over the past day, another 1,803 received a second dose of vaccine and 2,594 got their booster doses.

A total of 4,524,510 eligible B.C. residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 4,332,040 are considered fully vaccinated with two doses and 2,636,246 have received three doses.

Recent Statistics Canada census data from 2021 counted 5,000,879 residents in British Columbia

Glacier Media’s calculation is therefore that almost 90.5% of the total population of British Columbia received at least one dose of the vaccine, and more than 86.6% of the total population of the province received two doses. . More than 52.7% received their booster doses. •

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