Latest modelling shows COVID-19 cases in B.C. doubling every 13 days

COVID-19 cases in B.C. are doubling every 13 days, according to the latest epidemiological modelling presented by the province.

Modelling showed that over the past two weeks cases have been intensely focused in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions. The latest data shows that the reproductive number for those two health authorities is currently above one — meaning each case is leading to more than one new case.

“We’re accelerating the number of cases in our community,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“We are in a challenging time, perhaps the most challenging time of this pandemic.”

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix presented the latest modelling on Thursday, while also announcing an additional 1,130 cases in B.C. over a 48-hour period. Four more people have died of COVID-19. There are currently 155 people in hospital, with 44 of those cases in critical care.

Henry said the recent surge in cases has put a strain on contact tracing efforts, resulting in more severe restrictions brought in over the weekend. She said the “expectation” now is that people wear masks in indoor public settings, but said the province would not implement a mandatory mask mandate.

“The vast majority of cases we can still link to a local cluster. With our rapid increase in numbers of COVID-19, this has been put in jeopardy. The ability to find everybody … has been stretched to the max, and we have fallen a little bit behind,” she said.

“My concern has really come in the last two weeks, the impact of the Thanksgiving weekend.” 

Henry said the majority of B.C. cases are currently being transmitted through social interactions in private settings.

“The primary source is households and community interactions; having people over to our house, having family meetings, […] congregating before gym; at hockey games — the sport itself is fine, but the gathering together afterwards [is the problem],” she said.

Back in the spring, cases were concentrated in long-term care settings, but that shifted in the summer, Henry said, with cases spreading primarily among younger people. With the current level of community spread, however, cases are now beginning to spill over into long-term care homes again, said Henry.

Scenarios show how virus spreads

For the first time, Henry provided examples of cases that have spread through gatherings.

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