2022-01-25 BC

Press Conference

Here’s what I thought was new and interesting from today’s press conference:

  • The case growth rate is dropping, but there are still lots of people sick.
  • The vax card program is being extended to 30 June 2022 for people over 12. If we are in “a better place” before then, they might drop it before then. (I bet they got tired of doing extension after extension.)
  • Three recent studies say that the booster decreases your risk of getting Omicron by 50 or 60% — not 100%.
  • NACI now recommends (instead of just allows) kids get vaccinated, with eight weeks between dose1 and dose2.
  • Youth sports tournaments (but not adult ones) can resume on 1 Feb 2022 (with extra measures).
  • Updated guidelines for daycare operators has been posted.
  • LTCH has been hammered with cases, but because of boosters, it hasn’t been as bad as they were worried about, and they are working hard to keep visitation possible. They are balancing restrictions on a case-by-case basis
  • Dr.H talked about isolation after COVID-19: five days for vaccinated people, ten days for unvaccinated people, but she gave a little more stress to “be careful for another five days”. To be fair, she had said before, “but wear a mask for five days”, today she said more fully, that you might still have some virus, so you need to be careful: wear a mask, avoid scary situations, etc. It was not “okay, after five days, you’re free to PAR-TAAAAAAY!!!!”
  • Dose2 invitations have started to go out to kidlets.
  • There are 644K people — 48K over the age of 70 –who have gotten invitations for boosters but who have not yet booked.
  • The province is allocating an unspecified number of RATs to post-secondary institutions for employees and students with COVID-19 symptoms, and 250K to the childcare sector.
  • The expected deliveries of RATs from the feds have changed: they now expect 10.8M tests between now and mid-February. This is down from the 15.7M that they expected last Friday.
  • From 17 Jan to 23 Jan, 17,954 HCW called in sick, almost identical to last week’s number. My math says that’s about 9.6% of all HCWs.
  • Lots of surgeries are still getting postponed.


Reminder: I paraphrase and snarkify heavily.

Q: How come we can go to Canucks games but not weddings, wtf? A: Again, weddings and funerals are not prohibited, it’s the parties afterwards: that is where we see lots of transmission. At receptions, people might start off seated, but as they get drunker and happier, they start milling about and talking unmasked at short range. At Canucks games, the vax card keeps unvaccinated people out, there are capacity limits, there is good ventilation and people mostly do stay seated and not talking at close range to a lot of other people. The places we see a lot of transmission are indoor spaces where people are close together and not good about keeping masks on.

Q: How come places are price-gouging rapid tests, like I heard one place was selling five for $5 and then a week later it was five for $150, wtf? A: Uh, that’s the market, we don’t have any control of that, but there’s a worldwide shortage of RATs. If we get unlimited supply, I want to make sure everybody has the tests they need, but right now we have to prioritize them to where they will do the most good.

Q: What is the science of extending the vax card until 30 June? A: The vax program is a good program. We’re hoping we can cancel it before June.

Q: Are you going to make a booster required for the vax card program? A: No. C’mon, dude, not everybody is even eligible yet.

Q: Why can kids play in tournaments but not adults, wtf? A: Because you’re only young once. When you’re 32, you can lose a year and it’s not as big a deal as when you lose a year of high school hockey. Scholarships and things like that get lost. Me, I would have added, “Because kids are better behaved: they don’t get [as] drunk and rowdy as a fundamental part of the tournament.”

Q: Why didn’t you make little kids wear masks in schools at first? A: blah blah blah and the virus has changed plus there is more of it. We looked closely at info from around the world and found that there is very little downside to wee kidlets wearing masks.

Q: When are you going to ask kidlets to wear masks? A: An N95 that isn’t fit-tested isn’t obviously better than a well-fitting cloth mask; an uncomfortable mask that you won’t keep on isn’t as good as a comfortable one you keep on.

Q: Are our hospitals collapsing? A: We have 9,229 base beds plus 2,353 surge beds (non-ICU). Our current hospital census is ~9,050, so lower than the number of base beds, and note that in more normal times we’d run at slightly over 100% capacity. (NB: because of stays of less than one day.) Our big challenge right now is that we have a shitton of HCWs who are out sick. We could open up a field hospital if we need it, but we don’t need space or beds, we need people.

Q: Why aren’t our COVID-19 vax rates for 5-11 y/os as high as in some other provinces? A: Those other provinces have traditionally had higher childhood vax rates. Kids should get vaccinated.

Q: Are you sure that you are capturing all the COVID-19 deaths? A: Yeah, I’m pretty confident we aren’t missing a lot of deaths. We have a policy now that all unexpected deaths in the community get checked for COVID-19. We might even be over-counting: we count anybody in LTCH who dies within 30 days of a positive COVID-19 test, for example.

Q: Can church choirs sing? A: There’s no special restrictions on church choirs vs. other types of choirs. All have to have COVID Safety Plans. We have guidelines for all of them.

Q: Is the subvariant of Omicron in BC? A: We’ve had a few cases of SA4.2, but only a small number. We’re certainly not seeing it “take over” like Omicron took over.


Today: +1,446 cases, +1 death, +1,361 first doses, +936 second doses, +37,181 other doses.

Currently 985 in hospital / 144 in ICU, 32,468 active cases, 277,285 recovered.

Positivity rate of 18.0%.

first dosessecond dosesthird doses
of adults92.9%90.4%44.2%
of over-12s92.6%89.9%41.3%
of over-5s89.6%83.6%*
of all BCers87.2%81.3%37.5%