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Bonnie Henry warns that British Columbia is on ‘brink’ of another spike

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Dr. Bonnie Henry tells British Columbians to ‘do more’' Coronavirus: Dr. Bonnie Henry tells British Columbians to ‘do more’
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had an important message at Monday's COVID-19 briefing. – Jan 25, 2021

Dr. Bonnie Henry is asking people in B.C. to do more to stop the spread of COVID-19, saying the province is on the brink of another spike.

Henry said Monday that B.C. has plateaued with an average of 500 cases a day. Henry is concerned about the new variants being detected in B.C. and the upcoming vaccine shortage.

“This is too many,” she said. “This leaves us at a precipice, at the brink where we can see rapid take-up, particularly if we start to see any of these new variants starting to transmit in our community.”

Click to play video: 'Using genome sequencing to track the new COVID-19 strain' Using genome sequencing to track the new COVID-19 strain
Using genome sequencing to track the new COVID-19 strain – Jan 26, 2021

Henry said it was learned over the weekend there will be a shortage of the Pfizer vaccine shipments they were expecting.

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“These next two weeks, we’re going to have very little vaccine,” Henry said. “As we knew, we are receiving no Pfizer vaccine this week and it is also a week where we do not receive any new vaccines from Moderna.”

Read more: B.C. officials warn new vaccine delay means second doses will be delayed too

“With what we have right now and what we know is coming into the province, we need to make some changes to the Phase 1 that we are in at the moment,” Henry said.

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This means second doses will be delayed up until day 42 so that the vaccine available right now will be used to fully vaccinate those in long-term care and hospital and community outbreaks.

“This is about putting out fires before they get out of control,” Henry added.

Read more: SFU researchers warn COVID-19 U.K. variant could lead to ‘massive virus spread’ in B.C.

Click to play video: 'Do new variants makes this a race between the coronavirus and the vaccine?' Do new variants makes this a race between the coronavirus and the vaccine?
Do new variants makes this a race between the coronavirus and the vaccine? – Jan 25, 2021

Henry is also concerned about the new strains of the virus, known as the U.K. variant and the South Africa variant.

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To date, there have been five cases of B.1.1.7., known as the U.K. variant, with all of them related to travel, Henry said Monday.

In addition, there have been three cases of B1351, known as the South African variant, with those all related to community spread, which is concerning and they are watching those cases closely, Henry added.

“These are, of course, concerning because we know that if we start to see rapid transmission, that we could be in a position where we’re having way more transmission in our communities than what we’re having now,” Henry said.

Henry urges everyone to follow the current restrictions that are set to expire on Feb. 5 and she is not ruling out further measures if cases start to go up again.

“If we find that people are trying to bend the rules to suit their own needs right now, that is going to mean that transmission will continue in our communities. And we’ll have to look at additional ways to prevent that.”

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