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COVID-19 in B.C. and Canada... one year later

Province’s first case was confirmed on Jan. 28, 2020, and rest is history
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Coronavirus DNA. / File photo

This week marks a sombre and hair-raising realization as it’s now been exactly one year since COVID-19 landed in Canada.

On this date in 2020 (Jan. 25), Health Canada reported a Toronto man who had travelled back to the country from Wuhan, China tested positive for what was then referred to as novel coronavirus.

While he didn’t show any symptoms when he arrived, the next day, according to the Canadian Healthcare Network, he became very sick and was taken to hospital.

Thursday (Jan. 28), will mark B.C.’s first lab-confirmed case for COVID-19, becoming the second province to detect one after a man in his 40s had also traveled to Canada from Wuhan.

And the rest, as they say, became history as a global pandemic was officially declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) less than six weeks later.

“Over the past year, British Columbians – like people around the world – have faced challenges, hardships and loss,” said Premier John Horgan in a statement this morning recognizing the anniversary.

“COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down.”

B.C. was also the site of Canada’s first coronavirus community transmission on March 5, 2020.

As of this publication, the province has recorded 63,484 confirmed cases of the virus spread across its five regional health authorities, plus those who don’t reside in the province.

Sadly, 1,128 B.C. residents in the past year have passed away after contracting COVID-19, broken down as follows:

  • 636 = Fraser Health
  • 361 = Vancouver Coastal Health
  • 59 = Interior Health
  • 55 = Northern Health
  • 17 = Island Health

Canada, as a whole, has witnessed 19,094 virus-linked deaths.

A vaccine plan is now in place and a goal to have everyone in B.C. immunized by the end of September, but Horgan says residents should still be vigilant and consider those who are heavily impacted by the virus.

“While the end of the pandemic is in sight, thanks to the availability of vaccines, the threat is not over,” he said.

“Today is an appropriate time to commemorate the more than 1,000 British Columbians we have lost so far to COVID-19. It is also the time to acknowledge the countless efforts and sacrifices people have made to help protect and take care of others over the last year.

“Today, we recommit ourselves to protecting people’s health and livelihoods from the threat of COVID-19, knowing that better days are ahead.”

The vaccination timeline is described by the B.C. government in the graphic below:

BC COVID-19 vaccine phase timelineB.C.'s COVID-19 vaccination timeline. By Province of B.C.

B.C. remains in Phase One of vaccine deliveries, to which doses are earmarked for residents, staff and essential visitors to long-term care and assisted-living facilities along with hospital health-care workers and those living in remote Indigenous communities.

Thus far, 110,566 vaccine doses have been administered across the province, as per the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

Current public health orders are in place until Feb. 5, 2021, continuing mandatory masks in all indoor public and retail spaces, no public gatherings of any size, no gatherings with those outside your immediate household and a ban on sports for those 22 years of age and older.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is scheduled to update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation in-person at 3 p.m. this afternoon.