Fifteen new cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island over the weekend — Dr. Henry optimistic about vaccine in the new year

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Of these, 13 are in central Vancouver Island, 18 in the south and eight in the north.

Vancouver Island reported fifteen new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend — there are now 39 active cases in the region, according to Island Health. 

Of these, 13 are in central Vancouver Island, 18 in the south and eight in the north.

Across the province there were 998 new cases reported in the past two days — 536 on Sunday and 462 today. The active cases are now at 4,891. Of these, 133 people are hospitalized, 43 in critical care, according to Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.

There were five new deaths from the virus reported today and 9,179 people are under active public health monitoring.

New public health orders were put in place on Saturday, specific to Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health.

“This latest action in our COVID-19 response is about putting the brakes on the virus —breaking those chains of transmission. It is a short-term pause on non-essential activities and travel to ensure that our essential activities, like school and work and healthcare can safely continue,” Henry said.

There are 37 active outbreaks in healthcare setting across the province. Health Minister Adrian Dix said hospital capacity is still strong and are performing record numbers of weekly surgeries. He said it is important for people to follow the new orders to slow down the number of new cases. 

“While these new orders are not what any of us wants, not Dr. Henry, not me, not anybody — over 500 new cases a day and increasing hospitalizations is not where we want to be. It’s of course concerning and after all we have been through, we need to move fast,” he said.

Henry said the province has been following new developments around a COVID-19 vaccine closely. New preliminary results from Pfizer showed a vaccine candidate to be more than 90 per cent effective against the virus.

“I am quite excited. I don’t think it is going to be easy, but early in 2021 we should have a vaccine to add to our tools to stop this pandemic,” Henry said.

Based on current projections, Pfizer said it expects to produce up to 50 million doses of the vaccine in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion next year.

“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen. With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and CEO. 

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