2022-03-01 BC

Press Conference

My interpretation of what Dr. Henry said (video) is:

  • Novavax is only approved for people 18 to 64. (They didn’t have enough old people in the trials.) It is safe to mix and match with Novavax, or to get it as a booster. If you want it, call 1-833-838-2323 and get yourself on the list.)
  • They don’t expect to get any Medicago for the next few months.
  • 8% of the population is unvaxxed but they make up 47% of the people in hospital right now. (Go get your vax! Go get your booster!)
  • When the weather gets warmer, we ought to be able to drop some measures, but remember that not everybody has the same risk! Be nice to people who still want to mask and keep a distance.
  • We expect that when fall/winter roll around again, that COVID-19 will get worse, and our vax will wane, so we might need to roll out Measures again. Be emotionally prepared for that.
  • The pandemic has really sucked, so we really want to lift measures, but we need to do so cautiously and slowly so we don’t lose the ground that we gained.
  • She would reeeeeally like to drop some measures before Spring Break.

My interpretation of what Dix said:

  • From 21 Feb to 27 Feb, ~13.6K HCW called in sick. That’s down from ~14.5K last week.
  • Hospitalizations are at less than half of the Omicron peak.
  • RATs:
    • As of 28 Feb, BC has received 24.6M RATs.
    • 3M/week are coming in the next four weeks.
    • 17.5M have already been deployed.
    • About 500K are not suitable for home use.
    • Current inventory is ~6M tests suitable for takeaway use.
    • 2.5M tests have been delivered to pharmacies for people over 70. As of yesterday, pharmacies had delivered ~366K tests. (Each box has five tests, so that’s ~70K boxes.)
    • 600K more will get sent to pharmacies this week.
    • Testing is something you should do when you have symptoms. My pharmacist also reminded me of this when I picked up a box for my elderly neighbour.
  • Surgeries:
    • 6428 surgeries were performed from 30 Jan to 5 Feb.
    • From 20 Feb to 26 Feb, they postponed 99 surgeries.
    • Cumulatively, between COVID-19 and severe weather, 8025 surgeries have been postponed.
    • All health authorities are working through the backlog.
    • 99.8% of the patients who had surgeries postponed in the first wave have had their surgeries. Yeah, but the first wave was like in March 2020.
    • 94.2% of the people who had surgery postponed in waves two and three have had their surgeries.
    • 49.2% of the fourth and fifth wave postponements have had their surgeries.


Remember, I paraphrase crudely and snarkily. No, they didn’t actually say THAT.

Q: What kind of surveillance are we going to have in place as we enter this next phase? A: We are working on that. We are going to move to a weekly report soon, and integrating COVID-19 into our regular influenza-like-illness surveillance that we do with sentinel physicians, and expanding our wastewater surveillance, and we’re expanding wastewater surveillance not just for SARS-CoV-2, but for other pathogens as well. We are looking at how we could use blood which is routinely collected for other reasons to help us understand if we’re seeing an increase of seroprevalence. The other really really important things we’re going is continuing our whole genome sequencing. The sampling rate will vary as we see the transmission rate vary.

Q: All the other provinces are dropping their measures, why is BC such an outlier??? A: I don’t think we are an outlier. We did different things than they did. We’ve been looking for natural breaks, one obvious break is Spring Break which is March 14. Across the country we are quite aligned. Dix: We have had the most consistency. For example, we’ve had the most days of kids in school of any of the provinces. We’ve had the best adherence because we’ve had the best measures. (Okay, he didn’t say that exactly, but I think we’ve had good compliance because the measures weren’t stupid.) BC was one of the first jurisdictions to have a vax card, we have benefitted extraordinarily, we’ve benefitted by our HCW being vaccinated.

Q: Did I hear you say there might be additional measures in the spring? A: No. There might be additional measures in the fall.

Q: Other jurisdictions are lifting mask mandates, how come we are an outlier? Is it the science or politics? A: [some of what they said to the previous reporter who asked basically the same thing] Dix: Maybe we should ask why the other provinces aren’t doing what we are doing? What’s remarkable about BC is that we’ve had some of the best outcomes of any jurisdiction in North America by sticking to OUR process. We have had fewer, consistent measures. But while we have less than half the number of people in hospital as our Omicron max, we still have a lot of people in hospital, so it’s not time to drop all the measures yet.

Q: When the provincial mask mandate goes away, will businesses still be able to require them? A: We need to transition to personal responsibility, but there are still vulnerable among us, so we need to stay mask-positive. I absolutely will support businesses choosing to require masks and/or vaccination to keep their employees and customers safe. These are tools which work, and before vax, they were our only tools. We need to keep those tools in our back pockets in case we need them again.

Q: How will we know when it is time for a fourth dose? A: Nobody knows when we’ll need a fourth dose, this virus is too unpredictable. We will watch breakouts and hospitalizations. The good news is that we were one of the first to go to a long dose1->dose2 interval, and we’ve been hardasses about sticking to six months until a booster, and that has been very effective. But it really depends on what happens, like if there is a more evasive strain which pops up. One possibility is that there will be a strain that hits the elderly harder, so only the elderly would need a fourth dose.

Q: You lifted the ban on dancing, and now we’ve all seen videos of people gyrating maskless. Are you going to bring the hammer down on unmasked dancers? A: Blah blah personal responsibility and a challenge for owners. Dix: It is the law. It might not be enforced, but it is still the law and people should do it.

Q: Last week, you said people who have Long COVID but who never had a PCR test could prove that they’d had COVID by taking a serology test. Serology tests cost $75 at Life Labs, why isn’t that covered by MSP? A: All medically necessary care is covered by MSP. If you get a prescription from a clinician for a serology test, it will be covered. You can’t just walk in and get one though.

Q: The healthcare system is slammed. HCWs are tired. How prepared are we for when the next shit hits the fan? A: We are very aware of that and are working on strengthening our healthcare system. For example, we added 602 nurse training positions last week. We added 6000 workers to the senior care sector in September. So the health care resources question is one we are actively working on. Oh and don’t forget we have a second health emergency in BC namely the overdose crisis.

Q: How many BA.2 cases do we have in the province? Are you worried? A: I don’t have the exact number on me. It’s growing, but slowly, we’re not seeing it rapidly take over. We haven’t seen any BA.3 and we haven’t seen any Deltacron, either.

Q: When will people under 70 get their RATs? A: Crikey, we only JUST started giving them to the over 70s. Everyone else will get them soon. We will tumble down the age groups just like we did with vaccines.


Today: +466 cases, +0 deaths+230 first doses, +957 second doses, +3,568 other doses.
Currently 523 in hospital / 83 in ICU.

first dosessecond dosesthird doses
of adults93.6%91.2%57.7%
of over-12s93.3%90.7%55.7%
of over-5s90.6%86.3%*
of all BCians89.7%85.5%51.7%


From this Twitter thread:


From the BC CDC dashboard: