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Another 449 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. for Thursday – Comox Valley Record

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B.C. public health officials reported another 449 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Thursday, consistent with daily testing results during the past week, and nine more deaths reported.

There are 224 people in hospital, down six from Wednesday and 63 in intensive care, three fewer over the past 24 hours.

The situation in long-term care has improved, with no new facility outbreaks and three care homes declared free of infections. Outbreaks have been declared over at Glenwood Seniors Community in Agassiz, Hilton Villa Seniors Community in Surrey and Bradley Centre in Chilliwack.

The new cases continue to be largely in the Lower Mainland, with 58 in Interior Health and 37 in Northern Health continuing a slow decline There were 242 new cases in the Fraser Health region to Feb. 11, 93 in Vancouver Coastal and 19 on Vancouver Island.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix urged B.C. residents to stay close to home for the Family Day long weekend, with Monday Feb. 15 the holiday this year.

RELATED: Pharmacies can help with mass vaccination, B.C. Liberals say

RELATED: Deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines to Canada set to increase


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COVID-19 vaccine pilot project coming to some Ontario pharmacies – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Ontario pharmacists will soon be able to administer the COVID-19 vaccine after the Ford government signed an agreement to harness the reach of 4,600 pharmacies across the province.

The Ontario Pharmacists Association said a pilot project will be launched in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor-Essex next week to test run the distribution, storage, booking and administration systems, before the program is scaled up in the coming weeks.

At its peak the association says pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will be able to administer 46 vaccines per day, with a total of one million vaccines per week, using a yearly flu vaccination campaign as a blueprint.

“This is going to be an all hands on deck scenario,” the association’s president, Justin Bates, told CTV News Toronto

The association has been running table top exercises with the provincial vaccine distribution taskforce and is working to pinpoint which pharmacies will be involved in the pilot project with the aim of “putting shots in arms next week.”

“Over the next two weeks, you’re going to start to see that there’s a refined plan for three public health units,” Bates said. “We’re going to start there with a limited amount of vaccine that’s available and then scale up.”

The Ford government has indicated that community pharmacies will be an integral part of the vaccine distribution system, and suggested that the highly-portable AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered at local pharmacies.

Bates noted, however, that pharmacies will “utilize their own booking system” to take appointments for first and second doses, building on the existing appointment software pharmacy chains use every year.

“The pharmacies will use their own booking system, is what we’ve been told. And they [the province] are looking into those options to have that flexibility,” Bates said.

That raises questions about the multitude of vaccination portals available to the public and the potential overlap between them.

Critics of the Ford government have raised concerns about public heath units being forced to transfer over to a provincial booking portal when it’s launched on Mar. 15.

With appointments potentially being taken at pharmacies, hospitals, public health units and the province, some fear people will be left confused over how the province plans to vaccinate Ontarians.

“I think reasonable people would think there’s a lot of risk in that, or there’s some risk for it to be a bumpy ride, for people to be confused,” said Liberal MPP John Fraser.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner pleaded with the Ford government to present an updated vaccination plan in order to maintain public confidence.

“And as new developments evolve over time, then be clear and transparent about the adjustments you’re making,” Schreiner said.

“I think the public is going to understand that.”

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B.C. records 542 new cases of COVID-19 and 7 more deaths – CBC.ca

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B.C. health officials announced 542 new cases of COVID-19 and seven more deaths on Wednesday.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 246 people, 64 of whom are in intensive care.

A total of 1,372 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

There are currently 4,654 active cases of coronavirus in the province, with public health monitoring 8,617 people across B.C. who are in self-isolation because of COVID-19 exposure. A total of 75,819 people who tested positive have recovered.  

There have been no new outbreaks in health-care facilities.

So far, 289,809 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 86,616 second doses. 

Accelerated vaccination timeline

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says any eligible adult who wants a COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia should be able to receive their first dose by the end of July, in light of the approval of the new AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine and the decision to delay second doses.

Health officials announced the accelerated timeline Monday as the province moved into the second phase of its vaccine rollout plan.

Seniors 80 and older, Indigenous seniors 65 and older, hospital staff and medical specialists, vulnerable populations living and working in shared settings, and staff providing in-home support to seniors will begin getting their shots this month.

More than 19,200 First Nations people have received their first dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines and 5,258 have received their second dose. In total, 24,515 Indigenous people in 113 communities have received a vaccine. 

But some Indigenous leaders say it’s not without mishaps, including a lack communication, racism and outstanding questions about vaccinating urban community members. 

The province’s vaccination plan is focused on inoculating high-risk people and most elderly populations by April. Younger age groups will follow in the spring and summer.


CBC British Columbia is hosting a town hall on March 10 to put your COVID-19 vaccine questions to expert guests, including Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. You can find the details at cbc.ca/ourshot. Have a question about the vaccine, or the rollout plan in B.C.? Email us: bcasks@cbc.ca

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Here's who will get the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Ontario will use the AstraZeneca vaccine for people between the ages of 60 and 64 and will rely on “different pathways” such as pharmacists and health care practitioners to deliver the doses before they expire in early April.

The province is slated to receive an estimated 190,000 doses of the newly-approved AstraZeneca vaccine this month, roughly 114,000 of which have an expiration date of Apr. 2.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said the province is ready to distribute the vials to 34 public health units as they arrive and that Ontario has “done all the background work” needed to administer the vaccine.

“We have enough pathways to vaccination to use all vaccines that we get,” Jones told reporters at Queen’s Park

While Jones indicated the highly-portable AstraZeneca vaccine will be treated differently from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines – which have strict cold storage requirements – she could not specify the exact delivery system and suggested that a variety of methods could be used to get the doses out the door.

“We have mass vaccination sites, we have public health partners, we have hospitals, we have pharmacies coming online, we have family [doctors],” Jones said.

While Jones confirmed the province has signed an agreement with the Ontario Pharmacy Association allowing community pharmacists to administer the new vaccine, she declined to provide specific information citing the need to double check that public health units are “aware and able” to fulfil the task. 

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