2021-11-30 BC

Press Briefing

There was a lot today.


The province has a robust whole-genome sequencing (WGS) program. For a while, they were doing WGS on every single case. When the case counts went up, they decreased, but they still do every single case for one week for month, and samples in the other weeks. They also have continued to do WGS on every single case that comes from someone who has travelled internationally recently. That let them catch one case of Omicron in BC, in someone from Fraser Health who just got back from Nigeria. (That person is isolating and they are doing contact tracing on them, just like they do for every case.)

They looked back at all the WGS they have done recently, and are confident that there is not widespread transmission of Omicron in BC.

The federal government has identified 204 people in BC who recently returned from the restricted countries. Those people have all been sent to get PCR tests, are in isolation, and are getting tracked/traced.

Currently, 96% of the cases are Delta variants AY.25, AY.27, and “a smattering of” AY 4.2.


I have seen grumbling on Twitter about appointments for kidlets being messed up, but the reporters did not ask a single question about vaccines for kids, so I guess it’s not that bad?

Dr. Henry and Minister Dix did mention that it’s logistically difficult to get the kidlet’s vax everywhere, especially now with roads out. DrH said it had been a Herculean effort — literally, as some got delivered by Hercules (the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, I assume). They did mention that the distribution challenges meant that they were delaying the start of kidlet vax until Wednesday in the Interior and North.

Dix said that 114K kidlets have registered and 41.6K have booked appointments.

Dr. H made a request of all the retired HCW who had helped with the vaccinations in the summer: Could y’all come back please? We need you. I had the impression that with Omicron, they might decide to start doing boosters faster (and so would need more people).

They are working to qualify pharmacists to give boosters. So far, they have 200 pharmacists who can give boosters, have 300 that they are working with right now, and expect to have 1000 by the end of January.

Mitigation Measures

Dr. H reminded people that there’s an Order to wear masks in indoor public spaces. She has made a few amendments and additions to her Orders:

  • 50% occupancy at religious ceremonies unless everyone is vaccinated.
  • Masks required at religious services except when eating and drinking as part of the service (i.e. communion), unless there is physical distancing.
  • The Interior-health specific restrictions will be lifted on Tuesday evening.
  • All of Northern Health now has the same additional restrictions. (Some areas had been exempted.) Also, the orders on Northern Health now have an expiry date of 30 January.
  • Fraser East’s restrictions stay the same.

Dix announced that 97% of provincial employees were fully vaxxed, with another 1% that have one dose. Wow.


Dix talked about capacity. I think (he talks fast, it’s hard for me to type it all in) he said that there are 9229 base beds plus 2253 surge beds, and today we have 9322 inpatients; 510 base critical care beds and 218 surge critical care beds, with 489 in critical care today.

144 patients have been airlifted from Northern Health to southern health authorities, 123 I think who had COVID-19.


Q: A report came out recently that said that some number I didn’t catch people had died of hospital-acquired infection. What are you going to do about that? A: Well, first, note that most of those were before we had vaccinations and even testing. More recent outbreaks have been much smaller. Now that we’ve got the vax mandate for health care workers, it is coming down fast. Note that we have four hospital outbreaks right now, compared to like twenty at the end of October.

Q: The World Health Organization said that people shouldn’t travel if they are elderly or immunocompromised. What do you think? A: The virus is everywhere, but you are more likely to be exposed if you go to a place with more cases. Also, things are moving very quickly with Omicron right now, so there’s a very real risk that if you travel, you might get stuck somewhere. Right now the Canadian field hockey team is stuck in South Africa, for example.

Q: Will you order Whistler-Blackcomb to require vax passports to ride the gondolas? A: That’s not my role, but I encourage people to let the ski resort operators know what your preferences are.

Q: Why are we giving an exception to the US and not requiring post-arrival tests? A: Because we still require pre-departure tests, even from the US, and we have a LOT of travel with the US. Also, this situation is quite fluid at the moment and might change soon.


+358 cases, +0 deaths.

Currently 300 in hospital / 104 in ICU, 2,889 active cases, 213,053 recovered.

Note that they are now giving data on the number of people over five years old who have been vaccinated!

first dosessecond doses
of adults91.5%88.3%
of over-12s91.1%87.8%
of over-5s84.8%81.7%
of all BCers?%?%