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

COVID-19: Uptick in calls to Haven Society crisis line as restrictions ease

Organization reminds people of their range of services

ICET provides Qualicum Beach with $250K for East Village project

Town expects revitalization plan to attract more developments

COVID-19: Garage sales should follow mass gathering guidelines

City has received variety of queries on the issue

Parksville’s ‘Support Local’ parade celebrates businesses

Approximately 30 vehicles turn out for event

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach man stages concerts for charity out of his garage

Larry MacDougall says reception from neighbours has been heartening

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Missing man thought to be in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP ask for public’s help in locating Kevin Golze, 45

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Stepdad able to walk bride down the aisle days before he passes away

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

Most Read