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

(Black Press Media files)
Snowfall expected for Lower Mainland on Saturday night, Sunday morning

2 to 5 cm of snow predicted Metro Vancouver, according to Environment Canada

Police were called to the scene of 198A Street and 81st Avenue on the evening of Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (Curtis Kreklau/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Possible shots fired on Langley/Surrey border Thursday evening

Police had one vehicle towed and gathered evidence at the scene

Snow is forecasted to appear in parts of Metro Vancouver this weekend. (Black Press Media files)
WEATHER: Flurries in the forecast for Sunday

Langley could see snow throughout the week starting Jan. 23

Agates like these are up for auction on Jan. 27 at Aldergrove’s Able Auctions site. (Able Auctions/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Gems and geodes up for auction in Aldergrove

The auction has everything from diamonds to amber

Flip City’s Elise Van Harmelen at the 2017 Langley Invitational at the Langley Events Centre. Flip City is one of 11 local sports groups getting COVID relief funding. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley sports clubs get COVID relief funding

The province is giving cash to groups hit hard by shutdowns

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

Fire on Yale Road north of the overpass Friday morning. (Progress file)
Early morning blaze guts Chilliwack restaurant

The fire erupted north of the overpass closing one lane of Yale Road

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Most Read