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B.C. Reports Another 1,785 Cases of COVID-19 As Cold Weather Shutters Testing Sites Early

British Columbia health officials are reporting another 1,785 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The majority of the new cases — 791 — are in the Fraser Health region. Four hundred are in the Vancouver Coastal Health area, 269 are in Interior Health, 42 are in the Northern Health region and 283 are in Island Health.

The province said the numbers are preliminary.

British Columbia broke its single-day case records five times in the past week, with a surge in the highly infectious Omicron variant. The seven-day rolling average is also at its highest point since the pandemic began, with the average number of cases per day now at 2,005.

Dr. Birinder Narang, a medical contributor for Global News, said the province’s numbers may not be an accurate reflection of how many infections there really are.

“What we know from around the world is that cases are doubling every two to three days,” he explained in a Monday interview. “So what our numbers are showing us right now — this is more a reflection on what our testing capacity is.”

Freezing temperatures have impacted services at a handful of COVID-19 testing and immunization sites in Metro Vancouver.

On Monday, Fraser Health reduced the hours at sites at the Burnaby and Coquitlam COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centres, and suspended services at the Langley COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre.

Immunizations were temporarily have also been suspended at the Langley, Coquitlam, Surrey 66, and Burnaby COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centres on Tuesday and Wednesday, it told Global News in an emailed statement.

“Extremely cold temperatures can affect staff members’ hand dexterity and can impact their ability to administer vaccine,” explained Joshua Klassen of Fraser Health communications.

Testing will remain available until 4 p.m. at the Langley, Coquitlam, Surrey 66 and Burnaby COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centres on Wednesday, he said.

“Individuals with appointments booked after 4 p.m., can show up at the sites and will be accommodated earlier in the day or may rebook their appointment at another site.”

In the statement, Fraser Health said it apologized for any inconvenience it caused to those with appointments who were not informed directly of the first change in services on Dec. 27.

Several thousand testing appointments and immunizations were affected by the service reductions.

Vancouver Coastal Health has also announced temporary closures of its airport testing site in Richmond and its St. Vincent Collection Centre site.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are set to hold a pandemic briefing on Wednesday.

The Department of Health will return to reporting on vaccinations, hospitalizations and deaths at that time.


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