Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C.’s top doctor says Nigerian variant identified in the province

Of 47 cases of COVID-19 variants identified in the province, one is believed to be linked to Nigeria

British Columbia’s top doctor says 47 cases of COVID-19 variants have been identified in the province, including one believed to be linked to Nigeria.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says 29 cases are related to a variant first identified in the United Kingdom, 17 are associated with South Africa and the latest one involves a person who travelled to Nigeria and returned to the Interior Health region.

Henry says lab teams in B.C. are working with their counterparts across Canada and internationally to get a better understanding of whether the Nigerian variant that has been identified elsewhere is also easily transmissible or causes more severe illness.

She says variants of concern do transit more quickly and cause more severe illness though it’s reassuring that only three cases were recently identified among 3,099 cases that were tested for the variants.

Henry reported 445 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 72,750 cases in the province so far, along with 10 more deaths, totalling 1,288 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.

She urged residents to maintain restrictions on gatherings during the Family Day long weekend, which coincides with Lunar New Year celebrations, but says colder weather may reduce travel, meaning “Mother Nature is going to be on our side.”

“We are trending in the right direction, pushing our curve down, but slowly. And we need to ensure our success sticks, which means staying the course with our layers of protection and continuing to follow all of the public health restrictions and guidance.”

Henry says first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in long-term care and assisted-living facilities have meant a dramatic drop in outbreaks at facilities across the province.

She says second doses still must be administered to most residents and staff but there’s clear evidence that first doses have slowed down transmission of the virus.

Henry says an increasing number of vaccine doses are expected to arrive in B.C. next week and onward after a slowdown in deliveries.

British ColumbiaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty chairs an opioid crisis working group pushing for policies to stop the flow of illicit drugs in Canada. (Victoria Police Department photo)
‘The opioid crisis impacts all of us’: Cariboo Prince Geroge MP Todd Doherty

Todd Doherty is co-chair of Conservative Party caucus opioid crisis working group

SIMPSON: The role of local government is changing

Mayor Bob Simpson outlines what mandate creep means for Quesnel

Researchers in B.C. say earlier than usual return of bats or dead bats can indicate trouble, such as signs of white-nose syndrome. (Cathy Koot photo)
Public help is essential for monitoring for bat disease

Anyone finding a dead bat is asked to report it to the BC Community Bat Program

In this Nov. 21, 2019 file photo, Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. The much-hyped unveil of Tesla’s electric pickup truck went off script Thursday night when supposedly unbreakable window glass shattered twice when hit with a large metal ball. The failed stunt, which ranks high on the list of embarrassing auto industry rollouts, came just after Musk bragged about the strength of “Tesla Armor Glass” on the wedge-shaped “Cybertruck.” (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File)
FOREST INK: Electric vehicles the future, not present of industry

Jim Hilton looks at where electric vehicles need to go

Cassidy Dankochik joined the Observer’s staff in Aug. of 2020 by way of Gimli, Altona, and Flin Flon, Manitoba. (Photo by Tracey Roberts)
EDITOR’S COLUMN: Optimism at council

Cassidy Dankochik enjoyed the news from the City of Quesnel’s most recent meeting

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

The humanoid sensing robot has a 3D printed finger cap that measures oxygen levels. (Dr. Woo Soo Kim)
Medical care robots being made with 3D origami in B.C. lab

Would you let a robot take your temperature?

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell gets acquainted with Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird’s 10-month-old daughter Sophia, husband Steve and four-year-old Amy at the B.C. legislature before a ceremony to endorse the Tsawwassen Treaty, Oct. 15, 2007. (Sharon Tiffin/Black Press)
Indigenous consent must come first and last for B.C. industrial projects

UN declaration seen as end to a history of horror stories

FILE  - In this Friday, Jan 1, 2021 file photo, a lorry driver's documents are scanned on a phone as he passes a checkpoint for the train through the Eurotunnel link with Europe in Folkestone, England. One month after Britain made a New Year split from the European Union's economic embrace, businesses that once traded freely are getting used to frustrating checks, delays and red tape. Meat exporters say shipments have rotted in trucks awaiting European health checks. Scottish fishermen have protested at Parliament over the catch they can no longer sell to the continent because of byzantine new paperwork. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
FINLAYSON: Government should focus on strengthening B.C.’s leading export industries

To revive the economy, this piece in the strategy is integral, writes Jock Finlayson

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia

Most Read