B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada: here are a few reasons why

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada: here are a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Health officials in British Columbia have reported that 45 per cent of those who tested positive for COVID-19 have now recovered from the virus – a stat far greater than any other province in Canada to date.

But that is in part because B.C. has chosen to determine who no longer has the virus differently than other provinces seeing the lion’s share of cases, such as Ontario, Alberta and Quebec.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during her daily COVID-19 media briefing on Saturday, March 28, that if a person with the novel coronavirus only exhibits mild symptoms and doesn’t have to be hospitalized then they are determined to be recovered once they’ve reached 10 days without showing any symptoms.

READ MORE: B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

“That has been validated around the world from data we have seen, particularly from Germany, which shows that after a period of time when your symptoms resolve you no longer shed live virus,” Henry explained.

COVID-19 testing is done through a nasopharyngeal swab or throat swab, and looks for the RNA (ribonucleic acid) of the virus, which carries the genetic information of the virus.

But even when someone is no longer infectious, a test will often still detect that RNA, Henry said.

“That RNA may be a symptom of a virus that is no longer alive and you shed it for a period of time in your saliva and sometimes in your stool.”

READ MORE: Mission man with COVID-19 symptoms forced to call 811 more than 100 times

Those who are hospitalized or are immunocompromised are considered recovered once they produce two negative lab tests 24 hours apart – the method that B.C. was using when the first few hundred cases were confirmed.

As of March 28, nearly half – or 396 people – of the 885 confirmed cases in B.C. have recovered. There have been 17 deaths – mainly linked to care home outbreaks, bringing the total number of active cases to 471.

Meanwhile, Ontario has only reported eight cases as resolved, with 1,126 active confirmed cases and 18 fatalities. Thirty-three people have recovered in Alberta, where there are currently 507 active confirmed cases and two deaths.

COVID-19 in Canada
Infogram

Ontario is currently relying solely on negative tests to confirm which patients have recovered, but Henry said officials there are considering implementing B.C.’s new testing model.

In Quebec, which has seen the most total confirmed cases of 2,498, only one person has recovered. There, 22 people have died.

The other reason B.C.’s recovery rate is higher is because the province saw more cluster cases sooner, Henry said, pointing to the outbreaks in the Lower Mainland long-term care homes.

“Many of the people affected were young, healthy health-care workers so they had milder disease that didn’t last as long,” she said.

The incubation period for COVID-19 is up to 14 days, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, but because there is no cure, recovery is reliant on a person’s immune system to fight the virus.

READ MORE: Think you have COVID-19? Here is what to do next

B.C.’s testing strategy still focusing on the elderly, high-risk

B.C.’s testing strategy continues to focus on identifying the chains of transmissions while swabbing the elderly, and those with underlying health complications which make them high-risk to seeing adverse symptoms and healthcare workers.

“There is some testing of people if there are clusters being identified in communities – and this is happening all over the province right now,” she said, using the example of an elderly person living with someone who has COVID-19.

B.C. is not yet in the phase where swabbing asymptomatic people is necessary.

“A broad testing of well people in our community right is not what we are going to be doing,” Henry said, but added that this could be a strategy health officials consider as they start to see a decline in the number of cases linked to specific clusters or outbreaks as a way to find new community transmissions and import cases from other provinces.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

Police say missing man Daniel Fortin, 55, is high-risk. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Daniel Fortin, 55, last seen in Victoria March 1

Anyone who sees Fortin asked to call 911

Walkers ascend Mount Douglas Park on Sunday, Feb. 7. Visits to Saanich Parks are up 46 per cent compared to pre-pandemic statistics this time last year. (Darrell Wick Photo)
Oak Bay, Saanich parks peak in popularity during pandemic

Oak Bay spent an extra $5,000 on park toilet paper in 2020

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Cleanup happens after an overnight flood Monday damaged areas of the Oaklands Community Centre. (Facebook/Oaklands Community Association)
Greater Victorians offer flood of support to Oaklands Community Centre

Blown hot water tank Monday night leaves staff cleaning up soggy mess

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chelsea Harry was last seen Feb. 21. Photo via Comox Valley RCMP
Vancouver Island RCMP seeking help locating a missing woman

Missing person last seen in Courtenay on Feb. 21

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Most Read