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B.C. records 449 more cases of COVID-19 and another nine deaths – Yahoo News Canada

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Initiative de journalisme local

S’occuper de son porc du grain à l’assiette

Après la culture de grains et la production porcine, Stéphane Roy, copropriétaire de la Ferme S. Roy à Danville, lance sa boucherie et sa boutique, le Porc des Roy, ce qui lui permettra d’effectuer pratiquement toutes les étapes de son produit. Stéphane Roy, son frère Guy et leur équipe ont construit un nouveau bâtiment qui abrite une boucherie et un comptoir pour emporter, un investissement d’environ 500 000 $. Des sauces du Québec pour accompagner ses produits seront disponibles lorsque le commerce sera ouvert, jeudi. « On a toujours eu l’idée de compléter la roue. On veut toujours être le plus autosuffisant possible. On se disait que ce serait intéressant de vendre directement au consommateur, de voir le produit terminé », explique Stéphane Roy qui possède la ferme depuis 2002, lorsqu’il a pris la relève de son père. La boutique neuve se trouve donc sur les terres de l’entreprise, située sur la route 255, à Danville. En entrant, les clients peuvent voir les bouchers travailler via une fenêtre. « Il n’y a aucun doute, on voit que c’est propre. Les gens vont voir ce qu’on fait », explique M. Roy, bien fier de sa nouvelle bâtisse. Cette nouvelle corde à l’arc de l’entreprise concorde avec les valeurs de la famille Roy. « Autour de 85 % des grains nécessaires pour alimenter les porcs viennent d’ici. On limite les achats qui viennent de l’extérieur […] Oui, c’est moins cher de transport, mais il y a également moins de production de gaz à effet de serre, puisqu’il y a moins de transport », explique le copropriétaire, ajoutant que les porcelets proviennent de Kingsey Falls, à quelques kilomètres de la ferme de Stéphane Roy. La seule étape qui n’est pas effectuée par l’entreprise est l’abatage. Transformation En plus d’être producteur d’agneau, Christophe Lepage s’occupe de la transformation des produits du Porc des Roy. « On va transformer seulement la viande de nos élevages. On s’est préparé éventuellement pour y aller d’une usine de transformation alimentaire. On est très stricts », indique celui qui a fait installer une unité de réfrigération, ce qui veut dire que les bouchers travaillent constamment à une température d’entre huit et dix degrés Celsius. « C’est comme si on était toujours dans un frigidaire », image l’employé, mentionnant que les saucisses de l’entreprise sont populaires. M. Lepage transforme la viande depuis le début du projet. Au début de l’aventure, il le faisait chez lui dans une pièce certifiée par le ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec. Les premiers produits transformés vendus par l’équipe de Stéphane Roy l’ont été au bureau de la ferme, au mois d’avril dernier. « On augmente la production progressivement. On est prêts! Toute la gang est impliquée. Quand on fait quelque chose, on y va », dit le copropriétaire du Porc des Roy, qui pense que le décor bucolique dans lequel se trouve son entreprise pourrait attirer les clients le temps d’un barbecue ou d’un méchoui. « Ça devrait se concrétiser au printemps si la pandémie le permet », décrit M. Roy, qui cultive 3000 acres et qui possède environ 16 000 porcs. Tommy Brochu, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune

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Island Health to start taking calls Monday for first group in mass-vaccination drive – Times Colonist

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Island Health officials are hustling this weekend, getting ready to vaccinate remaining high-risk groups next week and preparing to open phone lines Monday for seniors 90 and older to register for their COVID-19 shots.

“Excited, nervous,” said Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer for Island Health, on the “unprecedented” scope of the immunization effort, which, he said, is bound to have a few hiccups. “I think we’re willing to perhaps make a few missteps to make sure that people get vaccinated earlier rather than later.”

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The health authority performed a major pivot this week, postponing ­second-dose clinics to give more ­people first doses, after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced booster shots will be given after 16 weeks instead of six. First doses have been shown to be about 90 per cent effective.

That newly freed-up vaccine ­supply is being used next week to ­vaccinate the last of the high-risk seniors in independent living, those receiving home support and seniors awaiting placement in long-term care, as well as long-term care ­residents, visitors and staff who were missed in the first round.

Also being ­vaccinated are ­Indigenous ­communities, hospital staff, ­community ­doctors, medical specialists, ­vulnerable populations living and ­working in group settings, and staff in ­community home support and nursing services for seniors.

Joseph Nestor, 95, a resident in independent living at The Peninsula in Sidney, got his first dose Friday.

“I couldn’t sleep all night thinking about it,” said Nestor, who woke up at 3:30 a.m. for his appointment at 6:45 a.m. “I just lay there.”

Noting about 3,700 people were vaccinated on Thursday, Stanwick said Island Health may get a four-week jump on its vaccination schedule because of the longer gap between shots. Vaccines will be administered at clinics as well as via mobile units that will go to the residences of house-bound seniors.

Stanwick is hoping the glee some are feeling about being protected ­earlier than anticipated offsets the disappointment of others who had second doses cancelled.

“The community will be safer because there’ll be less virus spread,” Stanwick said. “This is actually to the benefit of everyone.”

On Monday, Island Health will begin booking appointments for the first group of people in the general population eligible for vaccines: those 90 and older, and Indigenous people 65 and older.

Don and Joan Hepburn of James Bay, both 90, plan to call on Monday, which also happens to be their 69th wedding anniversary, to register for their shots. Vaccinations for the 90-plus group will begin March 15.

Those born in or before 1936 can start calling March 15 for shots beginning March 22, while those born in or before 1941 can start calling March 22 to make appointments for vaccinations that will start March 29.

Those whose age window comes up are asked to call Island Health at 1-833-348-4787 to make an appointment. The health authority says it has 50 agents ready to start Monday, a number that will increase in coming weeks. The call centre will operate 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

The province has staggered the call-in dates in hopes that people will call only when it’s their turn, rather than risk crashing the call lines, as has happened in other jurisdictions. The lines will only hold a certain number of calls in the queue before asking people to call back. “We know some people may experience long wait times when they call to book an appointment,” the health authority said. “We are confident in our levels of vaccine supply … we are asking people to be patient when possible.”

No one loses their priority to book an appointment, regardless of when they call, said Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead for B.C.s immunization plan.

The list of vaccination sites in Island Health is expected to be released next week.

On Friday, Health Canada announced it had approved use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The availability of a fourth vaccine —along with the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstaZeneca vaccines — will help accelerate protection of British Columbians, said a joint statement by Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Island Health reported 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, out of 634 new cases province-wide.

The number of new cases remains higher than “where we want it to be,” said Henry and Dix , who called for British Columbians to continue to follow public health orders and restrictions.

The reproduction rate of the virus — how many people an infected person will pass the virus on to — is now about 1.2 in the Island Health region. Henry has said the province wants to keep the number below one.

There are now 256 active cases in the Island Health region, 139 of which are in the central region, 62 in the north and 55 in the south.

Another four COVID-19 deaths were reported Friday, for a total of 1,380 to date in B.C.

The province has administered 311,208 doses of vaccine, of which 86,865 were second doses.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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B.C. records more than 600 new cases of COVID-19 – News 1130

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There are 634 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in this province, bringing the total to 83,107.

B.C. also recorded four more deaths linked to the virus, for a total of 1,380.

The numbers, released Friday, came on the heels of B.C.’s top doctor offering hope that people in this province might return to some sense of normalcy by summer.

“Maybe I’m too optimistic, but we’re going to be in our post-pandemic world by the summer, if things continue to go the way that we want them to,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday.

On Friday, the province announced four more confirmed cases of variants of concern.

Related article: COVID-19 vaccinations in B.C.: What you need to know

The province says 311,208 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, 86,865 of which are second doses.

Health-care workers, those living and working in long-term care homes, and people living in remote and isolated Indigenous communities have so far been the only ones eligible for the vaccine.

But as of Monday, Indigenous people age 65 and up, and other British Columbians age 90 and up can book an appointment to get a shot.

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New B.C. infections well above national average, with one-third likely COVID-19 'long-haulers' – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
As British Columbia records its highest single-day case count in two months, the province is second only to Saskatchewan in new infections per capita over the past two weeks. Experts are warning more must be done soon, especially with thousands of people facing long-term symptoms.

On Friday, B.C. health officials announced 634 confirmed cases of COVID-19. A federal infobase shows B.C. infections at a rate of 141 per 100,000 residents when averaged over the past two weeks. Saskatchewan posted 186 per 100,000 residents, while the national average was just 108. And, while the majority of provinces showed a continued decline or flattening of infections, only the westernmost province showed significant growth.

“Obviously what we’re doing in British Columbia is not having the desired effect. We cannot have 650 cases a day and we cannot tolerate it until the vaccine kicks in and produces community-based immunity, we’re weeks and months away from that,” said Dr. Brian Conway, president of the Vancouver Infectious Disease Centre.

“All of this is suggestive of less-controlled, if not uncontrolled, community-based (rather than institutional) spread and this is the part of the pandemic that is of most concern,” Conway said. “If that occurs, then we need to intervene in a way that is different from what we are doing now to control (it).”

Only a handful of long-term care and assisted-living facilities declared outbreaks in February, and there haven’t been any in March so far.

While vaccine availability is ramping up and the number of deaths continues to decline, one of the experts on the front line is warning those numbers tell only part of the story.

Many thousands of “long COVID” cases in B.C.

As the months wear on, more and more people are reporting COVID-19 symptoms that persist well beyond their infectious period. Medical professionals treating them at three specialty clinics in Metro Vancouver say B.C. statistics mirror what other countries are observing.

“We don’t know what the absolute prevalence of the ‘long COVID’ disease is now, but we know from the data 75 per cent of hospitalized patients are having ongoing symptoms at 3 months,” said Dr. Zachary Schwartz, who leads the Post-COVID-19 Recovery Clinic at Vancouver General Hospital.

“For outpatients, probably upwards of 30 per cent of people can be still symptomatic at 6 months or 9 months after their infection.”

There isn’t a definition yet of what would qualify someone as a “long-hauler.” Symptoms can be mild to severe and range from tightness or pain in the chest to coughing and trouble breathing. Concussion-like symptoms – such as brain fog and fatigue – and mental health problems have also been reported.

“We do have psychiatrists involved in our networks that are seeing individuals relatively rapidly because we’re seeing both a new onset of mental health disorders like PTSD, anxiety, depression and – in people who have previously been diagnosed – we’re definitely seeing decompensation in some of their mental health as well,” he said.

In Surrey, they’ve only seen 18 patients at the Post-COVID-19 Recovery Clinic at Jim Pattison Outpatient and Surgery Centre, which opened Jan. 8.

A total of 130 patients have been accepted at VGH, where applications are now open for referrals. 

St. Paul’s Hospital has provided the lion’s share of the treatment, with 328 seen by doctors. Providence Health says the hospital is “building capacity both virtually and actually.”

With limited space, patients need a referral for treatment and the facilities are currently only accepting the most severe long-haulers. For those with mild to moderate symptoms, they’re increasingly providing online resources for them to manage their symptoms. 

Warnings from doctors as complacency becomes more common

As the weather warms up and pandemic fatigue has people desperate for company, Conway believes more targeted restrictions may be needed to avoid disaster.

“I’m hoping it’ll be the Whistler approach,” he said, noting that targeted business closures, emphasizing household bubbles and some changes to living situations slashed transmissions by 75 per cent in a month.

“My sense is, what’s going on in Surrey and the surrounding areas in the Fraser Valley is community-based transmission is occurring, so either it’s living situations that need to be changed or people are making decisions in their day-to-day lives that ‘this one time, this one evening, it’s OK to not follow the rules.’”

Conway praised public health officials in other provinces who moderated restrictions based on infections and allowed communities with few cases to carry on, while hotspots in Toronto and Montreal saw crackdowns that brought transmission under control.

“Broad restrictions (in B.C.) are probably not appropriate and people wouldn’t necessarily follow them anyway, they would be resistant, so I think a targeted approach is where we need to pay attention,” he suggested.

With 76,752 people who tested positive for the disease have now classified as “recovered,” Schwartz said it may be more accurate to call them “recovered from acute disease” or “no longer contagious,” since a third of them could still be experiencing symptoms; that’s roughly 25,000 people who could be feeling a faint tightness in the chest, or struggling to get out of bed.

“You don’t want to end up with these symptoms long-term because they’re debilitating … people who cannot get back to school full time, people who cannot get back to work full time,” he said, noting that aside from the personal and family toll that’s taking, it’ll increasingly have an impact on our economy and health-care system.

“When you apply that to a population health level, when you apply that to 500 cases a day just to British Columbia, it starts becoming significant,” Schwartz said. 

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