Restrictions increase in BC despite data
By Timothy Easling, Senior Columnist
Countrywide from October 25-November 9, the 0-39 age bracket suffered 1 additional death, the 40-49 age bracket, 9, and the 50-59 age bracket, 16.
The narrative in many news stories, as well as the government’s own messaging, continues to highlight case numbers despite the total deaths remaining relatively low. While there have been 578 deaths since October 25, almost 96 percent of those (552) are from those 60-and-up—often in long term care homes (LTCs), acute care, or assisted living, and with multiple comorbidities. There is still a risk for those of advanced age and weakened states, but the general population can continue forward knowing there is little reason for the average Canadian to be afraid of dying from COVID-19.
Countrywide from October 25 to November 9, the 0-39 age bracket suffered 1 additional death, the 40-49 age bracket, 9, and the 50-59 age bracket, 16. These numbers are further put into perspective when considering how massive the case numbers are in relation to the few deaths. The 0-39 age bracket saw 29,377 more cases, the 40-49 age bracket had 7,463 more, the 50-59 age bracket observed 6,708 more, and the 60+ age bracket recorded 9,521 more. Just from the last two weeks of cases, the fatality rate for each bracket was 0.003 percent (0-39), 0.12 percent (40-49), 0.23 percent (50-59), and 6 percent (60+).
As evident from the relatively low death toll, hospitalization figures remained steady—and with almost none of them (again, for those not of advanced age and weakened states) resulting in death. Almost 77 percent of hospitalizations were from the 60+ age bracket (2,669 more) with the lower age brackets registering small totals: 0-39—272 more, 40-49—195 more, 50-59—335 more. ICU admittances remained much the same with there only being 251 total. Of those 251, 73 percent (184) were from the 60+ age bracket. The remaining 67 cases were split among the lower age brackets: 0-39—17, 40-49—21, and 50-59—29.
British Columbia suffered 25 deaths from 6,160 cases since October 25. The population of the province is 5,147,712. In spite of the figures from across the country and in BC, Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry issued a two-week health order (until November 23) to the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions. The order banned all social gatherings with people who are not a part of one’s household as well as indoor group physical activities where physical distancing cannot be maintained; travel outside of the regions is also strongly discouraged.
All 24 outbreaks in Fraser Health are in LTCs, acute care, or assisted living; the same goes for all nine outbreaks in Vancouver Coastal Health. There are 11 current public exposure notices for Fraser Health and zero for Vancouver Coastal Health.
The order brought much confusion to BC residents—as well as both authorities. Vancouver Coastal Health said “The Provincial Health Order in effect (dated Nov. 7) applies to social gatherings inside private residences, & receptions following weddings & funerals. All other outdoor gatherings can continue according to pre-existing Public Health guidelines & previous Orders,” while Fraser Health offered a contradictory statement, “Provincial health orders now in effect until November 23 require that residents of Fraser Health avoid gatherings of any kind with anyone outside of your immediate household.”
Many associations, including the West Vancouver Minor Hockey Association—which has seen zero cases—have been critical of the order (but still compliant). There are more than 20,000 kids playing hockey in the Lower Mainland and zero cases. “The decision to include Minor Hockey in the closure of indoor sports is not based on the facts: of how the sport is organized, how we’ve been putting into place protocols to safeguard our players, our children from the pandemic and most importantly that there has been no transmission of the virus within the environment of minor hockey in the Lower Mainland. It seems to be a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to include a sport that has a track record of really not being a situation where the virus has been transmitted,” said the president of the league, Tom Oberti.