2022-02-09 BC

Press Briefing

Things that I thought were of interest and novel:

  • They are going to stop reporting the number of active cases and recovered, because they aren’t accurate any more. But why, then, are they still going to report the number of cases? Those are just as inaccurate.
  • NACI gave some guidance on boosters which said you should wait eight weeks before getting a booster. DrH tried to give some nuance (and noted that there was some fine print in the guidance which kind of said, “f it, we don’t really know”). She pointed out that the protection you get from an infection varies wildly from person to person, while the protection from a booster is more consistent.
    • Given that two waned doses don’t give you much protection, if you are a high-risk person, or in a high-risk situation, or have high-risk people around you, you might want to get a booster as soon as you have recovered. If you wait eight weeks to get your booster, well, that’s eight weeks that you and yours are at more risk.
    • Waiting eight weeks probably will give you more durable long-term protection. So if you and yours are low-risk, it’s probably okay to wait eight weeks.
    • HOWEVER, there is enough transmission right now that almost everybody is at high risk! Right now it is probably better for almost everybody to go get your booster, even if you’ve had a mild case recently. This advice applies to right now: if cases go down, the tradeoff will change.
  • They are revising the Orders for bars and nightclubs.
  • There’s been a vax mandate for certain classes of healthcare workers: staff in LTCH, assisted living, hospital, etc. On 5 October 2021, they told everyone else in healthcare that they were going to have to get a vax… sometime, but they didn’t have a date yet. Well, now they have a date: 24 March 2022. All of the regulated health professionals under Health Professionals Act which I think is people like dentists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, physios, etc. have to be vaxxed by 24 March 2022.
    • DrH said that it was more complicated than they thought, due to legalese and logistical complications. I think I heard something about this made them decide to change something about the regulating Colleges, but it was an aside and not explained.
  • HCW illness: Dix said that from Jan 31-Feb 6, there were 17,158 healthcare workers who called in sick, which is down very slightly from the previous week. I am kind of amazed that it has been so stable.
  • Rapid tests: Dix said that they expect 25.6M rapid antigen tests in the next two weeks. Currently, they have about 5.8M RATs on hand, and they will be distributed to the normal places. Once the big shipment comes in, they will work on a larger distribution, and they’ll give details on that next week.
  • Surgical renewal: He gave an update on how many surgeries had been performed and postponed, and honestly, I’m bored with that. Call me when it’s over.


Reminder: I paraphrase heavily and snarkily. They didn’t actually swear.

Q: Are you mad about doctors who spread misinformation? A: Yes. What did you expect she was going to say??

Q: Why aren’t we dropping our mandates when all the other jurisdictions are? A: Not all the other provinces are, only a few! There are a lot of provinces and territories. Also, different people mean different things by “mandate”: you have to be vaxxed to keep your job, like the healthcare worker mandate. Those have been very successful. But some people are calling the vax card a “mandate”, and we always expected that to be temporary. Your vax protects you not just for today’s variant, but for the next one. COVID appears to be seasonal in North America, and — talk to anyone who knows about evolution of viruses — there is almost guaranteed to be another variant next fall, probably more transmissible and maybe more virulent. But I think there’s going to be a period where we can regroup and catch our breath before going into the next respiratory season.

Q: What do you say to businesses, especially in the hospitality industry who want to know now what you decide to do with the Orders next week? A: I think I’ve given clues to my intentions, we’ve certainly talked a lot to industry groups, maybe you aren’t plugged in to your industry group, but we talk all the time. It’s an iterative process. Yeah, she didn’t really answer the question, but “tell us what you are going to decide in the future” is a bullshit question and I’m tired of it. She’ll announce it when she announces it, and she probably doesn’t know yet. If she knew, she’d announce earlier.

Q: Do you think we should scrap the vax card now? A: No. There is still a lot of spread, and the vax card makes it less likely that someone will catch it who will get seriously ill. I hadn’t thought of the vax card as protecting the UNvaccinated, but of course it would.

Q: All the other jurisdictions are dropping their vax cards, like, now or at least soon, ours has an expiry date of June, why such an outlier? A: Not everybody is dropping, we’re not such an outlier, AND I always said that we’d drop it earlier if circumstances warranted it. Dix: not gonna diss other provinces by name, but you’ll notice that they had severe measures that they put in, then dropped, then put in again. By contrast, we’ve been hella consistent here because DrH is f awesome.

Q: What do you think of these specific scofflaws in Prince George who opened their nightclub for maskless dancing? A: I have empathy, it’s hard. Dix: My freedom to swing my arms depends on if someone is standing in front of me. If people want to assert their rights by dramatically infringing on other peoples’ rights, well, that’s not a Canadian value. Remember, 16 times as many people have gotten vaxxed than haven’t.

Q: Given that disabled people are disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, do you ever consult with disabled advocacy groups? A: All the f time, especially with Community Living BC.

Q: Why don’t you let people at hospitals wear N95 masks? A: For people coming in, we don’t know where that mask has been. Is it counterfeit? How old is it? How well was it treated? For staff, you have to remember a mask is just ONE LAYER of protection, there are a bunch of other layers you don’t see like ventilation. It’s the other layers which mean it’s okay in those circumstances to only have a blue procedure mask.

Q: How much contingency planning do you do? A: Lots. I think we probably won’t have to do a broad immunization program in the future. One thing that is clear is that we have to beef up our healthcare system when the pandemic has died down enough for us to catch our breath.

Q: Why are there so many empty booster slots? A: It varies. Some people think two shots is enough. Some got sick recently, and the NACI guidance is confusing. Dix: Part of why we have all the empty slots is Public Health did a lot of work to make a lot of slots available, like with the pharmacists.


Today: +1,187 cases, +18 deaths, +1,033 first doses, +3,838 second doses, +20,556 other doses.

Currently 893 in hospital / 143 in ICU, 21,974 active cases, 310,533 recovered.

first dosessecond dosesthird doses
of adults93.4%90.8%53.7%
of over-12s93.0%90.4%50.6%
of over-5s90.3%84.8%*
of all BCers87.7%82.3%46.0%


From this tweet: