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16 more COVID-19 related deaths, 656 new cases in B.C. – News 1130

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VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — More B.C. families are going to be mourning their loved ones, after another deadly COVID-19 update from the province Tuesday.

The virus has claimed 16 lives over the past 24 hours, and there have been 656 new cases recorded, including three epi-linked cases.

408 of the new cases are in the Fraser Health region, which has been a COVID hot spot for weeks.

Province-wide, 457 people have died and there are a total of 33,894 cases in B.C. recorded since this pandemic began.

Since Monday’s COVID-19 update, 20 more people have been hospitalized for a total of 336 people, and 76 people are in intensive care.

“Currently, 10,123 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 23,774 people who tested positive have recovered,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement.

In the meantime, a new outbreak has been declared at the Harrison at Elim Village, a senior care center in Surrey.

One of the hardest-hit hospitals remains Burnaby General where 60 patients and 35 workers have tested positive for the virus after an outbreak was declared there Nov. 9.

Fraser Health CEO Dr. Victoria Lee confirms ten people have died since a fire earlier this month forced staff to quickly move infected people into areas where others could have been exposed.

“We are continuing to monitor the outbreak closely. Unfortunately, we did see some spread after the fire. But we’re seeing promising signs that things are slowing down in terms of transmission.”

The cause of the Nov. 15 fire is still under investigation.

Lee also addressed defiant religious leaders in Langley and Chilliwack who claim there’s no evidence of any transmissions at church services.

“It’s false that COVID transmission has not occurred in places of worship. In fact, we have seen COVID-19 clusters or cases in temples churches and prayer gatherings.”

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Outbreaks at Holy Family Hospital in Vancouver and Jackman Manor in Langley have been declared over.

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix continue to ask British Columbians to double-down on efforts to help curb the spread of the virus.

“Let’s be resilient in face of this surge. United and together, let’s make an impact today through our own personal actions,” Henry and Dix said.

“Without exception, follow the provincial health officer’s orders in place. Remember that events, which refer to anything that gathers people together – whether on a one-time, regular or irregular basis – are not allowed for now. This includes religious, cultural or community events. Do not gather at home with anyone other than your household or core bubble.”

The province also took a moment to acknowledge World Aids Day.

“It is a time for all of us to pause, to think about the many people throughout our province, our nation and the world who have been impacted by COVID-19 and other global epidemics. It is also a time to think about what we can do to make a difference.”

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Coronavirus: Dr. Bonnie outlines B.C.'s mass immunization plan | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca

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Speaking at a press briefing on Friday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines the COVID-19 vaccine rollout schedule and when British Columbians can expect to start receiving their doses. The province says the goal is to provide 7.4 million doses and will prioritize vaccines based on age.

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COVID-19: Fraser Health declares outbreak at B.C. jail after 20 test positive – Vancouver Sun

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Fraser Health has declared four new COVID-19 outbreaks, including at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre, where 20 people in custody have tested positive.

The health authority says it is working to identify others who may have had contact with those who tested positive at the jail in Port Coquitlam.

There have been several outbreaks in prisons and jails across Canada, including at Mission Institution in the Fraser Valley, where an inmate died in April.

Fraser Health says there are also new outbreaks at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, the rehabilitation unit at Queen’s Park Care Centre in the same city, and the Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre.

It says two patients tested positive for COVID-19 in a surgical unit at the hospital and the outbreak is limited to that unit.

The emergency department remains open and the health authority says other areas of the hospital are not affected by the outbreak.

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B.C. unveils plan to vaccinate millions by September – Toronto Star

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Nearly one year after the first case of COVID-19 was identified in B.C., the province announced its plan to have everyone who wants a vaccine immunized by September.

B.C. has distributed 100,000 immunizations in the past six weeks, and the province announced its timeline for the general population on Jan. 22.

Beginning in late-February, the province will move on to Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout. From December to March 800,000 doses of vaccine are expected to arrive in B.C., from April to June 2.6 million doses, and June to September six million doses are expected in the province.

“The plan forward is one that will put 4.3 million British Columbians in a vaccinated situation by the end of September,” Premier John Horgan said.

“By the end of September everyone who wants a vaccination will have one and the community immunity that we’re all striving for will be a reality,” Horgan said.

The plan depends on a consistent supply of vaccine, which has been disrupted recently with Pfizer upscaling its production plant in Europe, Horgan said. New vaccines, not yet approved by Health Canada, will also allow amendments to the plan going forward.

The province announced plans Friday to establish vaccine distribution in clinics in 172 communities in March through local health authorities in partnership with businesses, volunteers and municipalities.

It will be the largest immunization program in the history of the province, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said, with 8.6 million immunizations (two doses per person, 35 days apart) planned in the coming months.

People born in 1941 and earlier who were not immunized in Phase 1 are eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 2, starting in late February and early March, as the age group eligible for vaccine moves down from there in five-year increments. Starting in mid-to-late February, health authorities will be reaching out to seniors 80 years and older and Indigenous seniors 65 and older, and Indigenous Elders, to provide information on how to pre-register for immunization appointments.

Hospital staff, community general practitioners, and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1 will be eligible in Phase 2 as well as vulnerable populations living in congregate settings and shelters and staff in community home support and home care programs.

People aged 16 to 69 who are considered extremely vulnerable will also be eligible during this time including those with specific cancers, people receiving immunotherapy, sever respiratory conditions, rare diseases, immunosuppression therapies, adults on dialysis, people who have had their spleen removed, women who are pregnant with significant heart disease (congenital or acquired) and those with significant neuromuscular conditions requiring respiratory support.

Vaccinations to begin on general population in April

Phase 3 (April to June) will broaden the vaccine distribution into the general population. Starting with B.C. residents aged 60 to 79, who will likely get their first shot in April.

As more vaccines are approved, particularly those with less stringent transportation and temperature restrictions, other age groups may be considered during Phase 3 — specifically those between the ages of 18 and 64 who are front-line essential workers or work in specific industries.

When Phase 4 begins (July to September) vaccinations will be available for those aged 59 and under, moving down in five-year cohorts to age 18.

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When vaccine distribution starts coming to the general population in Phases 3 and Phase 4 clinics will be held at large centres including school gymnasiums, arenas, convention and community halls and mobile clinics in self-contained vehicles will be available for some rural communities and for those who are homebound due to mobility issues, with more details coming on those operations in late February and early March.

The province’s communication plan launching in late-February will let residents know when they can expect to be vaccinated, how and where to pre-register and how to access vaccination clinics. Residents can register two to four weeks before being eligible for a vaccine.

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