British Columbia reported 28 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest single-day total since May 8.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry delivered the update in an unexpected live briefing Friday, that offered new insight into outbreaks at the Site C Dam and St. Paul’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
COVID-19 outbreak confirmed at St. Paul’s Hosptial NICU
Babies, parents, families and health care workers were exposed in the incident, and have now been isolated and are being monitored.
Henry said one infant has tested positive for the coronavirus, but is not showing symptoms.
“Contact tracing is ongoing to understand how the virus was introduced into people in the NICU, and Vancouver Coastal Health is investigating with St. Paul’s and the staff there to ensure we have identified everybody,” said Henry.
Pregnancy and COVID-19
Henry said the exposure was possible because B.C. had a policy allowing parents to visit their own newborn in the NICU without wearing a mask.
Most NICUs are smaller rooms, she said.
“This one is more of an open intensive care unit, although the bassinets were at least six feet apart, there were no barriers between them,” said Henry.
“So that meant there was potential for people who were in the NICU to be exposed.”
Vancouver Coastal Health has also issued an exposure alert for the Sandman Suites Hotel on Davie Street between July 7 and July 16.
The number of cases linked to the Krazy Cherry farm near Oliver has climbed to four: two temporary foreign workers, and two members of the family that own the farm.
The number of cases now linked to exposures at private parties in Kelowna several weeks ago has climbed to 35.
“We anticipate there will be more cases in the coming days, as people who were exposed are now starting to develop symptoms,” said Henry.
Anyone who may have been exposed is being told to monitor for symptoms and limit their contacts with others.
Henry used the Kelowna exposures to speak directly to young people, warning them that while they may face milder symptoms with COVID-19, they’re just as capable of passing it to others.
Dr. Bonnie Henry details Kelowna COVID-19 outbreak exposure now impacting 17 people
Henry also said the Site C case, which involves a worker from Alberta, showed that the province’s protocols are working.
“I think it’s important to recognize that this person had very limited contacts after their recent return to the camp, and immediately identified when they were notified that they had a positive test,” she said.
“They have had no contact with any of the communities in that area.”
A small number of the workers’ close contacts have been identified and are isolating, Henry said.
B.C. reported no new deaths on Friday, but active cases in the province rose to 207.
In total, B.C. has recorded 3,198 cases of the virus, 17 of them epi-linked. Of those, 2,802 have recovered.
Eighteen people are in hospital with COVID-19, just two of them in critical care.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Dozens infected after BC hockey team brings COVID-19 back from Alberta | Offside – Daily Hive
A recent trip to Alberta had unintended consequences for an adult hockey team from British Columbia.
BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry highlighted what she called “another cautionary tale” during her media briefing today, as the province reported another 834 new COVID-19 cases. Alberta, by contrast, reported more than double that number today.
“We know that there are sports teams in BC that have travelled to other provinces despite the restrictions that we’ve put in place,” said Henry.
“There’s a hockey team in the interior that travelled to Alberta and has come back and now there are dozens of people who are infected, and it has spread in the community,” said Dr. Henry. “We need to stop right now to protect our communities and our families, and our health care workers. This is avoidable and these are the measures that we need to take.”
While adult hockey was allowed to continue, this team was in clear defiance of the provincial health order, which bans “travel for teams outside of their community.” Dr. Henry said the players who contracted the virus in Alberta have since spread it to their family members, workplaces, and community upon return to BC.
“Making an exception for yourself, or for your team, or for your recreational needs puts a crack in our wall and we see that this virus can exploit that very easily,” she said.
While adult hockey was allowed in the most recent health order, it appears that will be changing very soon.
“We are putting additional restrictions on adult team sports indoors as we are recognizing that these are indeed higher risk activities as well. What we will be focusing on is structured programs or sport for children and youth, recognizing how important those are for our young people.”
Dr. Henry said there have been “several incidents that are similar to this,” and as such, she didn’t want to give away which specific region they came from or where they travelled to.
“I’m asking in the strongest of terms, to stay put,” she said. “To stay in our communities and to protect our communities.”
Origin of Revelstoke cluster unknown, but some visitors did test positive for COVID-19 – BC News – Castanet.net
Interior Health has not been able to identify how a large cluster of COVID-19 cases were introduced to the community of Revelstoke, however, the region’s chief medical health officer admits some non-residents have tested positive for the virus.
During a Zoom press conference Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Albert de Villiers said a “patient zero” has not been identified, despite Premier John Horgan stating earlier in the day that the cluster was caused by people travelling for recreation.
“What we can say with the numbers that we have seen that, yes, there are some people that are not residents in Revelstoke that sadly are infected as well,” said Dr. de Villiers.
“But having said that, we have also seen there is no one specific incident that led to the bigger number of cases. There are some that have been household clusters, some people picked it up when they went to a worksite, some people may have gone to a private function. There are rumours out there we haven’t been able to substantiate that someone went to a hot spring somewhere.
“I think there are different pieces of this. It’s not just one person that travelled in and caused all of this, I don’t think it’s as simple as that.”
Dr. de Villiers says people travelling in from other communities has been a factor in cases in other communities, which is why, he says, part of the provincial recommendations are for people not to travel outside their community if they don’t absolutely have to.
“Sadly, skiing is not essential to most people,” he said. “For recreation purposes, try to stick to your own community and stick to your own ski hill.”
Dr. de Villiers also addressed an online post out of Revelstoke where an individual asked to be infected with the virus so he could become immune.
He says they’ve seen it before with chicken pox and the measles, but it’s a bad idea with COVID-19 because people don’t know how they’ll react.
“Most people will have a relatively mild form of the disease…but there are people, relatively healthy people, that can develop complications. We’ve had people throughout Canada of all ages that have passed away,” he said.
“I don’t think we want to put people at risk unnecessarily.”
The doctor also explained why it took two weeks for IH to publicly disclose the cluster in Revelstoke.
He says over a two-week period there were only 10 cases, one every day or second day, which isn’t abnormal within communities.
“But, all of a sudden in one day, there were 12 more cases,” he said. “That’s why when we did announce it, it was 22, because there was one day that had more than usual.”
He said they do expect cases to pop up in communities, but the large one-day jump was reason to believe there may have been an issue.
Family seeking COVID is “playing with a loaded gun” in B.C. city, mayor speaks out – CTV News Vancouver
The mayor of Revelstoke is appalled at a family rumoured to be trying to contract COVID-19 to “build their natural immunity” at a time when his city is discouraging visitors and grappling with a slew of active coronavirus cases.
Revelstoke has 32 active COVID-19 infections and a population of only 13,500 people, which is more than double the active cases per capita than in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, said Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz.
“We’ve become a little complacent because we haven’t seen this through the community in a big way over the last eight months so what we’re saying now is ‘it’s here, it’s not just those who are travelling in who are bringing this in, it’s here in our community,’” he said.
Sulz said residents need to be more vigilant.
“It’s our locals who are not being vigilant who are spreading it so we need to make sure that everyone does follow the rules.”
The mayor also raised serious concerns about a family rumoured to be seeking out people who’ve tested positive in the community so that they can become infected, reminiscent of ‘chicken pox parties’ among kids before a reliable vaccine was developed.
“We are a healthy family and we would like to safely expose ourselves to the virus to build our natural immunity,” reads the ad posted to a local Craigslist-style website.
The post was removed before CTV News could attempt to contact the family.
The post ends with a plea for “no hate mail.”
“You’re playing with a loaded gun,” warned Sulz.
“We don’t know what this disease can do, whether it’s an older person, younger person, someone who’s in their 30s and 40s. Because people feel they may be in good health doesn’t mean you should go out seeking this because it can have different effects for everyone. That, for me, is very concerning.”
While there were several cases in the United States of people trying to get COVID-19, scientists have repeatedly stressed that they don’t know whether contracting the virus will guarantee immunity and prevent a second infection.
Interior Health cases rising sharply
While Vancouver Coastal Health has brought down its active caseload per capita in the past week and Fraser Health has seen a smaller increase than before, cases in Interior Health have nearly doubled in that time.
Last week a CTV News analysis found there were 37 active cases for every 100,000 people who live in the Interior Health region. However, current data as of Dec. 1, shows there are now 65 cases per 100,000. Fraser Health has grown from 301 to 337 cases per 100,000 people, while Vancouver Coastal Health has dropped from 116 to 111 per 100,000.
In Revelstoke, where the exact number of residents is up to debate as the city claims double the number of inhabitants than the federal census, CTV’s analysis was based on the city’s declared total of 13,500, which puts their active cases at about 237 per 100,000.
That has the mayor pleading with those who think it’s safe to visit over the holidays to simply stay away.
“Snowmobiling, skiing, that’s the ultimate physical distancing but it is when you gather afterwards (that the virus is spreading),” he said. “We’re finding that COVID is spreading because of social gathering so we’re basically saying to people ‘avoid that the best that you can, stay in your own family bubble’.
Revelstoke has only 13 beds in its hospital, with two additional rooms for ventilators. While there aren’t any coronavirus patients there now, the mayor fears the mountain city will soon see its first COVID-19 deaths.
“There isn’t any leeway,” said Sulz bluntly. “If it gets into our hospital or seniors centre or something like that, it’s going to be devastating for this community.”
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