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

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

Tammy Wood earns top prize on Food Network’s ‘Wall of Chefs’

Former MasterChef contestant takes home $10,000 prize, beats out three other contenders

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

Chilliwack Agriculture Tour goes virtual during pandemic

Rather than bus tourists to local farms, tour stops will be posted on Facebook and Instagram

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

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

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read