COVID-19 update for Dec. 24-26: Here’s the latest on coronavirus in BC

Linda Rider

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Dec. 24-26, 2021.


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We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


As of the latest figures given on Dec. 24:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 235,658 (10,415 active)
• New cases since Dec. 24: 2,441
• Total deaths: 2,414 (four deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 192
• Intensive care: 71
• Total vaccinations: 4,377,551 received first dose; 4,126,279 second doses; 807,057 third doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 222,604
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: Two


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IN-DEPTH:   Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021 | in 2020


• COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

• COVID-19: B.C.’s vaccine passport is here and this is how it works

• COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

• COVID-19: Look up your neighbourhood in our interactive map of case and vaccination rates in B.C.

• COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

• COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

• COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


Saturday, Dec. 25

Vancouver Coastal Health closes St. Vincent testing site temporarily

St. Vincent’s COVID-19 testing site is temporarily closed due to winter weather conditions and people seeking tests are asked to visit the new site at UBC’s Life Sciences Centre.


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Starting today, Vancouver Coastal Health will be diverting anyone needing a test to the UBC location. The health authority will also be redeploying staff and resources from the St. Vincent’s site to UBC to help with testing.

“This is a precautionary measure to ensure the safe operations of testing services for both staff and people accessing care during the inclement weather,” according to a notice from Vancouver Coastal Health .

The UBC testing site, located at 2350 Health Sciences Mall in Vancouver, is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. It will also remain open when the St. Vincent’s site reopens.

For more information about COVID-19 testing, click here .

Because of a recent surge in testing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is asking people with symptoms and who are not at risk of serious illness are asked to assume they have COVID-19 and stay and isolate.


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— Cayley Dobie

Friday, Dec. 24

B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 2,441 new cases

Health officials reported 2,441 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, setting another pandemic record for highest number of new cases in one day.

Fraser Health led today’s case count with 1,001 new cases while Vancouver Coastal Health was a close second with 967 new cases. Island Health reported 219 new cases, Interior Health had 188 and there were 66 new cases in Northern Health, according to today’s COVID-19 update.

There are currently 10,415 active cases of the virus in the province — another pandemic record.

The majority of active cases are in Vancouver Coastal Health (4,517) followed by Fraser Health (3,554), Island Health (1,274), Interior Health (778) and Northern Health (236).


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Officials also updated the number of cases where the Omicron variant of concern has been detected. So far that number is 1,613.

There are now two health-care facility outbreaks with a new outbreak being reported at Ridgeview Lodge in Interior Health. The outbreak at Lions Gate Hospital is ongoing.

— Cayley Dobie

New testing site opens at UBC

Vancouver Coastal Health announced Friday that it opened a new COVID-19 testing site at the UBC Life Sciences Centre “in response to increasing demand for COVID-19 testing across the region.”

The site, located at 2350 Health Sciences Mall in Vancouver, will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

The location will also be providing rapid antigen tests to those with symptoms.


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In a press conference Friday morning, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province hit its testing capacity Thursday when it administered 20,000 COVID-19 PCR tests.

Henry is asking that only people with symptoms go get tested and encouraging those who are not at high risk of severe illness to assume they have COVID-19 and stay home and isolate.

— Cayley Dobie

B.C. health officer asks residents to change holiday plans if feeling unwell

British Columbia has hit its COVID-19 testing capacity as the provincial health officer asked residents to not get tested unless they have symptoms.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says the province administered 20,000 COVID-19 PCR tests on Thursday.

She says if someone develops symptoms then they need to adjust holiday plans and self-isolate.

As a result of hitting the testing capacity, Henry says health staff are prioritizing those most at risk and giving take-home antigen tests to younger people at less risk.

She says B.C. is in a “different pandemic” as a result of the Omicron variant.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the province expects to give out 147,371 vaccinations from Dec. 22 to Jan. 2.

Watch the press conference below:


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We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

— Canadian Press

Simon Fraser, UVic, UNBC plan virtual start to university term as pandemic surges

Simon Fraser University and the universities of Victoria and Northern B.C. have followed the University of British Columbia and announced plans to start the upcoming term with online instruction for most courses.

SFU and UVic says classes will begin Jan. 10 with two weeks of online classes, although labs, clinical and performance courses will continue in-person with safety protocols.

UNBC says the semester will begin as scheduled on Jan. 5, and all first classes of any course between Jan. 5 and Jan. 11 will be delivered online.

All three universities say campus resources, including libraries, student housing and dining services will remain open with current safety plans in place.


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The University of B.C. said earlier this week that most of its classes will be offered online between Jan. 10 and 24.

Numerous other post-secondary institutions across the country have either delayed the start of their terms or announced virtual classes to launch the new year.

— Canadian Press

B.C. reports more than 2,000 new cases in 24 hours

B.C. health officials reported 2,046 new cases of COVID-19 today, the highest one-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic.

The majority of new cases were reported in Vancouver Coastal Health, with 880 new cases, and Fraser Health, with 741 new cases. Island Health reported 248 new cases, Interior Health had 123 new cases and Northern Health had 53, according to a statement from health officials. There was one new case in someone who normally resides outside Canada.


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The number of active cases also jumped to 8,739, with Vancouver Coastal Health leading the way with 3,729 active cases followed by Fraser Health with 2,825, Island Health with 1,267, Interior Health with 699 and Northern Health with 217. There are two active cases in people who normally reside outside Canada.

One more COVID-related death was also reported today in Island Health for a total of 2,410 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

There have been 975 cases of the Omicron variant reported in B.C. so far.

— Cayley Dobie

B.C. businesses get a max $10,000 boost from province to battle Omicron restrictions

The B.C. government has announced a onetime support program offering up to $10,000 to businesses ordered closed as a result of the Omicron shutdown.


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Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon said Thursday the supports are aimed at complementing what was announced by the federal government yesterday, while acknowledging the closure orders come “at a very challenging time of year” for many businesses.

“It’s fair to say that we’re all exhausted by COVID-19, but COVID-19 is not done with us,” he said.

B.C.’s top doctor Bonnie Henry announced earlier in the week that gyms, fitness studios, dance studios, yoga centres, bars and nightclubs will be ordered closed until at least Jan. 18 because of the swift rise of cases sparked by the infectious Omicron variant.

The federal government followed up with a support program as B.C., Ontario and several other provinces announced lockdown orders or capacity limits at certain types of businesses.


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— Joe Ruttle


Find out how your neighbourhood is doing in the battle against COVID-19 with the latest number of new cases, positivity rates, and vaccination rates:


LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press



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