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At least 66 of Vancouver Island's fall COVID-19 cases were people who travelled – Smithers Interior News

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Travel to and from Vancouver Island has caused dozens of cases of COVID-19, according to Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer for Island Health.

Stanwick’s staff analyzed confirmed Island cases between September and November and found that more than half (86) of the 133 cases were linked to travel and 66 were cases of Islanders leaving and coming back. It’s unclear if the travel was essential, but at least 20 of those 66 were people who travelled to the Lower Mainland specifically. Those 20 passed COVID-19 to 11 people on the Island, who in turn gave the virus to another four people.

“We don’t know whether it was essential or not, but certainly some probably were not,” Stanwick said. “And they came back with COVID.”

It’s one of the ways the numbers creep up, Stanwick added. On Nov. 18, 556 people on Vancouver Island were self-isolating after being in contact with a person with COVID-19.

“We’re not being as careful as we were earlier on when we were enjoying periods where we had no cases or just a handful of cases,” he said. “When we had a case, we usually had about two individuals who were immediate high-risk contacts. That number has doubled to four.”

READ ALSO: City of Victoria employee tests positive for COVID-19

Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer for Island Health, urges people to avoid travel and stick to health protocols like hand washing, mask-wearing and social distancing. (Black Press Media file photo)

Canada’s Atlantic provinces have created a “travel bubble,” allowing for residents who have self-isolated for 14 days to travel between the Maritime provinces without restrictions. Those who leave and return from outside the region have to self-isolate again.

Stanwick doesn’t have the authority to initiate a travel ban or “bubble” for Vancouver Island – that would have to come down from the province and through provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“Dr. Henry is evidence-driven,” Stanwick said. “If we want her to do something different, we have to come up with why we believe this is the case, and it’s not just a gut feeling.”

In her Nov. 17 public address, Henry encouraged staying local and travelling less, particularly for people in the Island, Interior and northern regions.

“When we spend time inside with people from outside of our household, our work group or school cohort, the risks increase for everyone,” she said. “Instead, let’s stay connected virtually and make it a safer winter for all of us.”

Stanwick notes there is a lot that can be done within the community, with or without an Island travel bubble. He said everyone must continue to implement the early – and consistent – orders for handwashing, distancing, mask-wearing and limiting social contact.

“Those basics seem to have slipped a little bit,” he said. “What’s happening in the community will very much determine what’s happening in our school system and what’s happening in our hospitals.”

As of Nov. 18, there are 114 active cases of COVID-19 in the Island Health region and 6,589 across B.C. More than 300 British Columbians have died and 16,469 have recovered.

READ ALSO: Police issue more than a dozen pandemic-related fines across Greater Victoria this year


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
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COVID-19 outbreak continues at senior apartment complex in Fort St John – Energeticcity.ca

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – An outbreak of COVID-19 continues at a senior apartment complex, in Fort St. John, that is operated by the North Peace Seniors Housing Society.

According to Eryn Collins of Northern Health, as of Thursday, December 3, a total of 15 residents of been confirmed to have contracted the virus.

Collins says eight of those cases remain active and six have since recovered, with one resident having passed away due to the virus.

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Ontario reports more than 1800 new coronavirus cases, 14 more deaths – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ontario is reporting more than 1,800 new COVID-19 cases and 14 more deaths but Thursday’s case count reflects an overestimate due to a processing error.

Provincial health officials logged 1,824 new infections in the last 24 hours, up from the 1,723 new cases recorded on Wednesday.

According to the Ministry of Health, today’s total case count includes an overestimate of new cases from the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

“Due to a data processing error, the number of new cases for Middlesex-London Health Unit in today’s report (127 cases) represents cases reported over the previous three days,” a spokesperson said in an email to CP24.

Middlesex-London recorded zero new cases on Wednesday, a reduction of 10 on Tuesday and 14 on Monday. Many of the more recent cases from that region may involve a major COVID-19 outbreak at the London Health Sciences Centre.

Most of the province’s new cases continue to be from the GTA, particularly in the hot spots of Toronto and Peel and Region.

“Locally, there are 592 new cases in Peel, 396 in Toronto and 187 in York Region,” Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted on Thursday.

Elsewhere in the GTA, Durham Region logged 57 new infections, down from 124 a day ago and Halton recorded 68 new cases, up from 45 on Wednesday.

Five of Ontario’s 34 public health units are recording zero new cases of the virus.

The seven-day rolling average now stands at 1,768 up from 1,427 a week ago.

Provincial health officials processed nearly 52,900 tests in the past 24 hours, up from more than 44,200 tests a day ago. More than 58,300 tests are currently under investigation.

The rise in testing helped drop the province’s positivity rate to at least 4.4 per cent, compared to 4.7 per cent a day ago, according to provincial health officials.

The province logged 1,707 new cases on Tuesday and 1,746 on Monday.

There are 1,541 more recoveries from the virus across the province bringing the total number of active cases to 14,795. A total of 3,712 Ontarians have now died from the virus.

Of today’s fatalities, 11 were long-term care home residents.

There are currently 116 long-term care homes with an active outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Ontario.

To date, there have been more than 121,700 cases of the virus in Ontario since January and 103,239 recoveries.

Ontario hits 200-bed threshold for COVID-19 patients in ICU

The number of patients hospitalized with the virus continue to climb across the province amid a second wave of the disease.

There are currently 666 patients hospitalized with the virus in the province, up from 656 on Wednesday.

Of those hospitalized patients, 195 are in an intensive care unit (ICU) and 107 are breathing with the help of a ventilator, according to provincial health officials.

However, Dr. Michael Warner, the medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, told CP24 that the province reached the 200-bed threshold for COVID-19 patients in ICUs on Thursday, roughly five days earlier than provincial modelling data predicted.

The Ford government released its latest modelling on Nov. 12 and said that in all of their scenarios within roughly six weeks the 200-bed threshold would be reached, and that the 450-bed threshold would be reached under the worst case scenario.

The grim milestone comes after Elliott said Ontario hospitals are not “in a crisis” situation during a press conference on Wednesday.

“There is no question that many Ontario hospitals are under stress right now, particularly in the lockdown areas,” she said. “To say they are in crisis is not the case. Alberta is in crisis when you have to have double cohorts in a single intensive care room. That’s a crisis. We are not at that stage in Ontario.”

Meanwhile, GTA residents are anxiously waiting to learn if more regions will enter a lockdown, particularly the regions of York and Halton where cases continue to rise.

Toronto and Peel Region entered a 28-day lockdown on Nov. 23 to curb the spread of the virus in the hot spots.

Under the province’s grey “lockdown” level of it’s colour-coded COVID-19 response framework, restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery service and non-essential businesses can only provide curbside pickup. Gyms, movie theatres and casinos must also close their doors.

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Orange here we come? London region adds 43 COVID-19 cases, two deaths – CTV News London

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MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. —
The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) is reporting 43 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and two new deaths.

The new cases mark the second-highest daily case count the region has since the pandemic began in March, just shy of the record 46 cases set on Wednesday. The previous record was set just the day before that, with 38 cases.

Two new deaths, both men in their 80s, were also reported, at least one is believed to be associated with the outbreak at the London Health Sciences Centre’s (LHSC) University Hospital, bringing the total number of deaths there to 10.

The new totals in the region stand at 1,737 cases, 1,414 resolved and 74 deaths, leaving 249 active cases.

Earlier in the week, MLHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie said if daily numbers continued as they are, it was likely the region could be moved from yellow-protect to orange-restrict as soon as next week.

A decision on the region’s level under Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework is likely to be made known by the province on Friday afternoon.

The health unit has already advised area residents to skip festive gatherings and find alternative ways to see family this holiday season.

The biggest contributor to the daily totals in recent weeks have been cases associated with ongoing outbreaks at University Hospital.

As of Thursday, hospital officials report 62 patients and 46 staff, for a total of 108, have tested positive for COVID-19 associated with the outbreaks. That total does not include cases among close contacts.

That’s 11 more cases than the health unit reported on Wednesday.

Meanwhile the hospital says that as of Thursday there remain 46 patients and 45 staff still currently positive for COVID-19.

There are also ongoing outbreaks in a unit at the Parkwood Institute, a kindergarten class at St. Marguerite d’Youville Catholic School and two Western University residences.

Here is where the cases stand in the region based on the most recent publicly available data:

  • Elgin-Oxford – seven new, 63 active, 582 total, 512 resolved, seven deaths
  • Haldimand-Norfolk – one new, 40 active, 666 total, 588 resolved, 32 deaths
  • Sarnia-Lambton – four new, 16 active, 417 total, 376 resolved, 25 deaths
  • Grey-Bruce – six new, 35 active, 344 total, 309 resolved, no deaths
  • Huron-Perth – 18 new, 52 active, 362 total, 292 resolved, 18 deaths

Ontario reported 1,824 new cases Thursday, an increase over the past few days, but provincial health officials say the number may be slightly skewed due to a data processing error.

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