There have been 6,179 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in B.C. as of April 20, with 217 of those cases in Interior Health. Provincewide, 163 of those cases are active.
A week earlier, as of April 13, there had been 5,221 variant cases in B.C. and 160 in Interior Health. There is no age range attached to the cases.
Updated from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) shows the B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom) variant remains most prevalent, with 4.041 cases provincewide, followed by the P.1 (Brazil) variant, at 2,062 cases and the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant, with 76 cases.
In Interior Health, there have been more P.1 (Brazil) variant cases (121) than B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom) variant cases (95) or B.1.351 (South Africa) variant cases (1).
While three COVID-19 variants of concern have been detected in B.C., there are other variants confirmed elsewhere, including at least two distinct variants fist detected in California and another variant pegged to Arizona. According to health experts, the California and Arizona variants spread more easily and some current treatments and vaccines may not work as well on them. The BCCDC also notes there are other variants that have been identified and are being monitored for their impacts. They are referred to as variants under investigation and include two variants first detected in New York state in late 2020.
In addition, there have been reports of a so-called double mutation of the virus in India.
The BCCDC said new variants spread the same way as the original COVID-19 virus that originated in Wuhan, China. As with the original virus, wearing masks, physical distancing, washing hands, and staying home when not feeling well will help stop the spread of the new variants.
Of the three variants of concern in B.C.:
• The B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom) variant spreads more easily and can cause more severe illness.
• The B.1.351 (South African) variant spreads more easily. Some current treatments and vaccines may not work as well on cases of this variant.
• The P.1 (Brazil) variant may be able to re-infect people who have had COVID-19. Some current treatments and vaccines may not work as well on cases of this variant.
A variant that is different enough to have a major impact on the effectiveness of vaccination, treatment or public health measure is called a variant of high consequence.
According to the BCCDC, thus far, no COVID-19 variants have this designation.
The COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. According to WHO, as of April 21, there have been 144-million cases worldwide, with three-million deaths. In Canada, there have been 1.1-million cases, with 23,756 deaths.
In B.C., as of April 20, there have been 120,889,870 cases, of which about 10,000 remain active, with 1,539 deaths. Provincewide, there are 456 people hospitalized, 148 of whom are in intensive care.
Interior Health has recorded a total of 10,228 cases, of which 884 remain active. There have been 122 deaths in the health region, while 30 people are in hospital, 11 of whom are in intensive care.
As of April 20, there have been 1.4-million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in B.C., with 2.4-million tests completed.