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380,000 British Columbians expected to be immunized for COVID-19 by March: Top doctor – Chilliwack Progress

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B.C.’s top doctor is advising people with chronic health conditions to contact their family doctor to determine if they should get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was tested primarily on healthy people of varying ages and it’s not known if it will work or is safe for those with chronic liver or kidney diseases, for example.

Clinical trials of the Moderna vaccine, which is expected to be the next one to be approved in Canada, also excluded people who are immunocompromised.

Henry says 1,215 health-care workers have been vaccinated so far with the limited number of vaccine doses available and about 380,000 people are expected to be immunized in the province by March.

The province has recorded 673 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 more deaths, for a total of 713 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.

Henry says the vaccine will be a “game-changer” for residents of long-term care homes, who have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, but for now it’s important for everyone to keep their gatherings small heading into Christmas.

“If we get through this period, we can protect residents in long-term care and we can start allowing people to safely come back into those communities again and be with their loved ones.”

Henry urged people to look ahead to better days when more vaccine doses will be available for widespread immunization.

“We may be days away from the solstice and the darkness and the longest night of the year, but without a doubt we have light ahead and we can’t let all that sacrifice that we have done together in this past year be all for naught.”

The Canadian Press

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'That’s about as un-Canadian as you can get': B.C. premier 'disappointed' at people travelling to jump the line for COVID-19 vaccine – Yahoo News Canada

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Local Journalism Initiative

Three more weeks of COVID-19 public health restrictions in Saskatchewan

Regina– Three more weeks. That’s the length of the most recent extension of public health orders in Saskatchewan meant to limit the spread of COVID-19. Premier Scott Moe made the announcement from the Legislature in Regina on Jan. 26 with chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab. The announcement came on a day when Saskatchewan posted yet another record for COVID-19 related deaths, 14, but has seen a slow drop in new case counts. There are now 2,665 cases are considered active, and on that day, 607 recoveries were reported. Moe said. “The number of new cases in Saskatchewan continues to gradually decline. Today we are reporting 232 new cases, and our seven-day average for new cases is now 254. This is down about 20 per cent from its peak of 321 on Jan. 12. Our active cases are now down to 2,665, the lowest level since Nov. 21, and down over 40 per cent from a peak of 4,763 on Dec. 7. “This gradual decline means that our current public health orders and restrictions are working, but we need to leave them in place a little longer. Therefore, all the current public health orders are being extended for three weeks until Feb. 19.” “These measures are working, when we follow them, as the vast majority of Saskatchewan people and businesses are doing. There have been a small number of mainly bars and restaurants who may not have been following those putting their staff putting their customers and essentially putting their communities at risk. So, I have asked that we increase enforcement on those who choose to break the rules, and in recent days there has been three significant tickets.” Moe also said that two bars in Saskatoon and one in Regina had been issued $14,000 fines. He held out the hope that three weeks from now, Saskatchewan may be able to look at reducing the number of restrictions in place. He pointed out that the province has made a lot of progress in vaccinations. To date, 34,080 doses have been delivered, and those administering it are quite literally getting the most out of every bottle, getting 104 per cent of expected dosages. Moe said, “But we continue to be limited by the slow pace of vaccine deliveries, from to and from the federal government. Saskatchewan now has the highest percentage of vaccines administered, and we have the second-highest per capita rate of vaccinations completed among any of the provinces. “Unfortunately, today we are virtually out of vaccines. And with no new shipments coming this week, our vaccination program will be stalled for the next number of days.” Next week, the province is expecting 12,000 additional doses, of which 5,850 will be Pfizer doses heading to Saskatoon, Regina, North Battleford, Yorkton and Swift Current to allow continued vaccination of long-term care residents and staff, as well as those over 70. A further 6,500 Moderna doses will be going to the far northeast, far northwest, and northeast regions of the province for a second doses. In the central-west region, first shots will be administered, Moe said. The province will continue to push the federal government for more vaccines, and to also look at approving additional types of vaccines for use. He referenced the vaccines that AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have been working on. Shahab said, “I think it’s really important that we are seeing a steady decline in our case numbers; all the indicators are moving in the right direction is slow and steady.” Daily case numbers have come down from 24 per 100,000 population to 20 per 100,000. Test positivity is down under 10 per cent, and is doing so throughout the province. When vaccination starts picking up in March and April, “then we hope to see significant impact on hospitalization and deaths,” he said. Until then, we really have to stay the course. “The other thing is that, with our public health measures, some people say it’s too little, some people say it’s too much. But, you know, they try to strike a fine balance between minimizing cases, as long as the guidelines are followed, and letting people work, (and) enjoy other amenities as much as possible.” He added, “But the downward trend does show, that if all of us abide by public health principles, it has a significant impact on our case numbers.” On the same day, Manitoba implemented 14-day quarantines for nearly all travellers to that province. Asked about doing something similar for Saskatchewan, Shahab said it have been looked at, but found to be impractical, given our long borders, and people in border communities who work and shop across the border. But he did recommend minimizing travel. Regarding variants of the COVID-19 virus, Shahab said sampling is done with relation to travel, and some sampling with age groups and geography as well. “I would not be surprised if we saw a variant in Saskatchewan, but again, what we’re doing, is exactly the same. We really have to follow all these public health measures.” Asked about adverse reactions to the vaccines in Saskatchewan, Shahab said there have been around 10 to 15 allergic reactions, some tingling on the face, and one anaphylaxis that was managed safely. They were well-described in the product monograph and have been managed, he said. “Most of them have presented in individuals who may have had a history of allergies, and they have managed well, so at this point the signal is not of any concern, compared to what is known about these vaccines what we were expecting, with what’s know about other vaccines.” He noted the importance of watching those vaccinated for 15 minutes after the shot, and if you have any allergies, make it known and you will be monitored some more. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury

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Vaughn Palmer: Henry reduced to pleading for people to 'do more' in face of COVID-19 – Vancouver Sun

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Article content continued

There were. But not a lot more answers.

Was he in contact with anyone else on his return? “There’s a small number of family contacts … they’re being monitored for symptoms.”

Where had he travelled? “We don’t have a map of where he went.”

Was he Chinese Canadian? “The person is resident here in Vancouver.”

After a few more questions along those lines, Henry put a stop to it: “So I’m not going to talk anymore about that person. I’ve told you what we know. Anything else is rumour.”

Rumours being one of her main concerns of the day.

“I think we need to be very careful about listening to rumours and third- and fourth-hand information,” she cautioned reporters. “What’s concerning to me, having been in the city of Toronto during the SARS outbreak, is how easily those rumours can lead to discrimination, inappropriate discrimination, against people.”

She expressed the hope that “the fact that we’re being open about this, that you know the details that you need to know, that we are on top of this, that people can be reassured the risk still is extremely low here.”

But as would prove to be the case throughout the year, the provincial health officer would be the judge of “the details that you need to know.”

Far from B.C. being unprepared, B.C. was ready for the arrival of the first case from China, according to Henry.

“This first case is not unexpected to us. We know that we have quite a lot of travel between areas in China and particularly Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, but other parts of B.C. as well. We have been on high alert for a number of weeks now.”

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B.C. not planning on implementing 14-day quarantine period for out of province travellers – CHEK

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B.C. will not be requiring non-essential travellers from out of province to quarantine.

During a press conference Wednesday, Premier John Horgan said, unlike Manitoba, which recently introduced measures that require all non-essential out-of-province travellers to quarantine for 14 days, British Columbia will not be doing the same.

“It would be a logistical challenge,” he said.

Horgan said the decision was made after examining the “legal and other ramifications” of bringing forward restrictions on domestic non-essential travel and the fact that there are too many ways to get into B.C. compared to Manitoba. However, he said things could change if COVID-19 cases are linked to more people from out of province.

“If we see, through public health, an increase in the number of people from outside of British Columbia is contributing significantly to the increase in community outbreaks, we will take action. We did the legal work, we know what we would be required to do to put in place restrictions on internal travel, but we don’t believe its necessary at this time,” he said.

“Per capita their case counts are frightening, I can understand why [Manitoba] would want to do that,” Horgan said, adding that there were enough challenges implementing the federal government’s quarantine requirement.

RELATED: Manitoba requiring travellers from all other provinces to self isolate

Implementing such a measure would need to be effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19, said Horgan.

“We don’t want to make symbolic statements, we want to make sure we are suppressing community spread and that means following the orders that are in place,” he said.

While British Columbia might not be restricting domestic travel for the time being, the premier had a strong warning for those coming here.

“If you are coming to British Columbia on non-essential travel … you better behave appropriately, you better follow our public health guidelines or we will come down you like a ton of bricks,” said Horgan.

“We want to welcome you to British Columbia . . . but not today.”

Horgan’s remarks came on the one year anniversary since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province.

“These have been challenging times in terms of personal behaviour, we have seen extraordinary acts of kindness and we have seen brutal acts of racism and violence against people for no particular beyond the colour of their skin,” said Horgan.

The premier’s remarks also come just a few days after Dr. Bonnie Henry reminded British Columbians to reduce their non-essential contacts while urging residents to “do more” to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Horgan said the majority of British Columbians have stepped up and done their part and that Henry’s comments were directed at a “small group” of people who continue to flaunt the orders.

“The notion that someone with a penthouse condo in Vancouver declaring it a nightclub and not allowing the law enforcement to ensure that they are living up to public health regulations, that is the type behaviour that Dr. Henry was talking about on Monday,” said Horgan, referring to a Vancouver man who was fined after he turned his condo into a makeshift nightclub.

“We need people who are not paying attention to give themselves a bit of a shake and get with the rest of us.”

RELATED: Many feel they are following COVID restrictions as B.C.’s top doctor asks people to do more

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