2021-12-15 BC

Assholes

This article describes how somebody phoned the Lynn Valley Care Home early in the pandemic, pretended to be a health inspector, and told them that essentially everyone was infected and that nobody could go in or out. He pled guilty today to “conveying a false message with intent to alarm”.

Side Effects

This article says that the hospitality industry is having difficulty hiring.

Press Briefing

Minister Dix had a press availability today, where he gave a few remarks but it was mostly Q&A. I read someone that said that it sounded like someone told him that yesterday they didn’t sound concerned enough, and that he should go look concerned.

There were three main themes: boosters, rapid antigen tests (RATs), and travel.

Boosters

On boosters, Dix was repeatedly challenged as to why the province doesn’t “open up” boosters, giving them to anyone who is past six months or reducing the interval to three months (like Ontario just did).

For the former, Dix generally protested that they were giving boosters fast, 35% faster than scheduled, and that they are prioritizing LTCH, nursing homes, and clinically extremely vulnerable people. He did make a low-key, almost throwaway mention that six months ago, there were only ~650K people who had had second doses (I checked: 657,491), and that’s about how many we’ve given (I checked: 634,152). Me, I think he should have led hard with “X% of the people who are six months past their booster have gotten invites”.

For the “why not make it three months?”, he said that they were following the science which said that six months for older people (and actually eight months for younger people) gave better, more durable protection. Me, I think he should have said, “Look, on 15 September, there had been 3,646,806 people with second doses. Yesterday we did about 21K booster doses. If we shorten the interval to three months, then your grandmother will be competing with a twenty-five year old. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the people at highest risk get first crack at the boosters. Furthermore, we are investing a lot of our attention to bringing pharmacies online so that we can handle the mass of people who will be eligible soon.”

One might have asked, “Why didn’t you open mass clinics up again?” and a really good answer to that would be, “Many of the people we employed were hospitality workers, like from WestJet, and they have been re-hired by their employers, so ramping the mass vax clinics up again would have been harder to do, plus Omicron didn’t exist and two doses seemed to be working pretty well against Delta.”

Oh, also, we have just under 500K doses on hand right now if none expired or got dropped on the floor.

He also is very proud of putting the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable at the beginning of the line, he mentioned several times that 126K CEVs have already been boosted. He’s proud of the 60% of over-70s who have been boosted.

Rapid Tests

Dix got repeatedly challenged with variations on the question, “Why aren’t we using rapid tests like other provinces?”

Dix’ answer was a slightly petulant, “We are using rapid tests! We have used 550K already, and we’re using 37K per day!” (Note: I believe we have 1.3M on hand, at 37K/day, they will run out in 35 days.) When pressed on why specifically we didn’t have at-home tests, he said that the committee which evaluated tests made a recommendation based on what our needs were and what was available, and NONE of the tests at that time were licensed to for at-home use. (“There are 24 tests licensed for use in Canada, and none of them are designed on-label for home use.”) He said that some of them are “being expanded” for at-home use, but none of the ones we bought did. Dix also mentioned several times that they had been assured that they’d get at-home tests from the feds in November, then it was December, now it’s January. (Fingers crossed!)

(I should note that the US is having trouble with access to tests also. I was in the US last week and looked for RATs at three different drug stores. The first place had a four per person limit; the second was completely out and told me to try back in two days; the third had one left.)

He’s proud of the number of PCR tests. We have capacity to do 20.6K per day, and we do way more whole genome sequencing than any other province.

Mitigation Measures

There were some questions about whether people should cancel holiday travel plans and the possibility of future orders. Dix said that people should be “cautious”, and eventually said that there would be other trips but you only had one life. He said that if you didn’t have to travel, you shouldn’t, and that if you weren’t vaccinated, you shouldn’t be travelling at all.

There were some questions about further mitigation measures, e.g. reinstating occupancy limits at hockey games. Dix said some vague statements about pub health considering all options, and this amusing exchange happened:

Q: Can you put a sharper point on that last question from Richard, are you considering restrictions on capacity limits for big indoor events like Ontario has announced today? A: [talks for a minute] So I think the pointy answer to you is “yes”. Okay, that was good and pointy, thank you.

Other

Q: Second doses for kidlets is eight weeks, can parents shorten that if they want? A: That’s a Dr. Henry question, but our focus right now is on first doses. (My translation: “No”.) He’s proud of the 42% of kidlets who are registered and 22% who have gotten their first shot.

Statistics

+584 cases, +7 deaths, +5,605 first doses, +2,316 second doses, +23,633 other doses.

Currently 193 in hospital / 77 in ICU, 3,458 active cases, 218,295 recovered.

first dosessecond dosesthird doses
of adults92.0%89.1%15%
of over-12s91.6%88.6%14%
of over-5s86.7%82.4%*
of all BCers84.3%80.2%12.0%

Charts

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