British Columbia overdose crisis and COVID-19 pandemic by the numbers


Vancouver Coastal Health’s chief medical officer spoke to city council about the two public health emergencies on Thursday.

Vancouver Coastal Health’s chief medical officer of health on Thursday used a series of charts and statistics to brief Vancouver City Council on the overdose death crisis and pandemic.

Dr. Patricia Daly’s presentation, along with questions from advisers to her, Fire Chief Karen Fry and Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Wilson, lasted two and a half hours.

Glacier Media compiled some of the statistics released Thursday to give an overview of the two public health emergencies. The list below is based on data and comments from Daly, Fry and Wilson, as well as statistics from the Department of Health.

A few quotes first …

Daly: “The vaccine is our ticket out of the pandemic. “

Fry: “Mental health continues to be a significant stressor for our general public and our first responders who have continued to work during the overdose crisis as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. “

Wilson: “The Vancouver Police Department certainly supports the notion of safe supply. We have been very open about this. In fact, I believe we were one of the first ministries in the country to advocate for secure supply. It’s the way it’s deployed that I think we need to have more discussion. “

Overdose crisis:

• British Columbia is on track to set a record number of overdose deaths this year, with 1,204 recorded in the first seven months of the year; Statistics from the BC Coroners Service show that there were a total of 1,734 deaths for all of 2020, the most on record.

• Overdose deaths were the fourth leading cause of death in British Columbia between March 2020 and July 2021, with deaths from COVID-19 ranking seventh; cancer, heart disease and stroke rank in the top three. The leading cause of death among people aged 19 to 39 during the same period was overdose.

• Vancouver police data shows 298 people have died of suspected drug overdoses in the city this year, many of whom have died in single-bedroom hotels and supportive housing. Data covers January 1 to September 5.

• Vancouver police officers have administered the anti-overdose drug Naloxone more than 100 times this year.

• Vancouver firefighters have responded to over 3,000 overdoses this year. The ministry’s community overdose response team referred 200 people who had previously overdosed to support services.

• No one died at an overdose prevention site in British Columbia


• The Vancouver Coastal Health Region, which includes Vancouver, Richmond, North Shore, Sunshine Coast and up to Bella Bella and Bella Coola, has the second lowest rate of active COVID-19 cases (686) of the five health regions from British Columbia; Island Health is low at 504 on Thursday.

• Two percent of people tested at Vancouver Coastal Health end up testing positive for COVID-19.

• The Vancouver Coastal Health Region has an immunization rate of 88.7 percent.

• Portugal has the highest immunization coverage rate in the world, with 98 percent of eligible people over the age of 12 fully immunized; over 83 percent of British Columbia residents aged 12 and over are fully immunized.

• An estimated 500,000 people in British Columbia over the age of 12 who are eligible for vaccination have not received a first dose. The same goes for 500,000 other children aged 12 and under.

• The Vancouver Coastal Health Region has approximately 90,000 post-secondary students and staff. Since the start of the school year, Dr Daly said, the authority has identified “around 120 cases [of COVID-19] among this cohort of people – and less than five transmissions occurred in the post-secondary setting. “

• Sixty-seven percent of Vancouver’s youth said their mental health had deteriorated during the pandemic, according to a survey conducted by the BC Center for Disease Control.

• Survey respondents who identified themselves as black or Chinese reported increased discrimination during the pandemic.

• A total of 533 people have died from COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region.

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