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B.C. reports 582 new cases of COVID-19, 10 new in Island Health – CHEK

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British Columbia has reported 582 new cases of COVID-19 across the province in the last 24 hours with 12 additional deaths in that span.

Of the 582 new cases, 10 are linked to the Island Health region.

There are currently 8,865 active cases in British Columbia, while 9,732 residents remain under active public health monitoring.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says that 341 are in hospital currently – a decrease of seven from Wednesday – with 78 people in critical care as a result of the virus (decreasing by two from Wednesday).

Health officials note that 8,178 people have received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in B.C.

On Thursday, there were 12 additional deaths related to the virus. This brings the provincial death total over the course of the pandemic to 808.

B.C. has now reported 95 deaths from the virus over the last week.

Since Wednesday’s numbers, there have been 107 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 326 in the Fraser Health region, 10 in the Island Health region, 71 in the Interior Health region, 68 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

As of Thursday, the total number of cases in British Columbia over the course of the pandemic has been 48,609.

Dr. Henry notes that there have been no new health-care facility outbreaks to report on Thursday.

The outbreak at Belvedere Care Centre in Coquitlam is declared over.

There are now 54 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living and six in acute care facilities.

“In addition to our health-care workers, immunization of residents in long-term care is now also underway. Given seniors and Elders have been most severely impacted by this virus, this is welcome news for all of us,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint statement on Thursday.

More vaccines will be available soon as British Columbia is slated to begin receiving doses of the Moderna vaccine next week.

“This Christmas and over the holiday weekend is the time to try the many new virtual activities that have been arranged this year – whether a church service, holiday choral concert or theatre performance,” said health officials.

“Take a walk with those in your household and spread some cheer with neighbourhood carolling, or drop off a warm meal or holiday treats to someone who may be away from their family this year.

Island Health

As of Thursday, the health authority had 65 active cases – 30 (+2) on southern Vancouver Island, 22 (-2) on central Vancouver Island and 13 (-1) on northern Vancouver Island.

Southern Vancouver Island includes the Greater Victoria region, Southern Gulf Islands and the Port Renfrew area.

Central Vancouver Island includes the Cowichan Valley, Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville, Port Alberni and Tofino areas.

Northern Vancouver Island goes from the Comox Valley to Port Hardy but also includes surrounding areas like Alert Bay and Sointula.

Over the course of the pandemic, the Island Health region has reported 857 cases.

Island Health - Dec. 24

Island Health – Dec. 24

More COVID-19 information

If there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in a school, public health contacts affected school community members directly. Regional health authorities also post-school notifications on their websites, providing the date and type of notification (outbreak, cluster or exposure) for impacted schools.

The Island Health school site can be found here.

Island Health’s COVID-19 data breaks down North, Central and South Island case counts and lists the number of days since any new lab-diagnosed cases. You can find the data here along with any public exposures.

According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide is more than 79.2 million. More than 1.74 million deaths have been recorded.

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Survey offers glimpse of what could reopen in Manitoba – Winnipeg Free Press

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The Manitoba government’s online survey on the easing of COVID-19 restrictions is mostly a public relations exercise. But it does provide insight into what the province may reopen this week — and what is off the table.

The Pallister government is expected to announce as early as Tuesday what changes are in store for public health orders when regulations expire Friday. The easing of restrictions are expected to be minor. Provincial officials have made it clear they don’t want a “yo-yo” approach, where measures are loosened and reinstated every few weeks.

The online survey, which went live Friday, is mostly about optics; an attempt to convince the public they have a real say over public health orders. It may have some impact on government decision-making. Not all low-risk businesses, services or activities can reopen at once. Decisions to open some and not others will be arbitrary. Knowing the priorities of the public could act as a tie-breaker in some cases.

Much to the chagrin of some protesters, the doffing of masks in indoor public places is also not on the table.

JOHN WOODS CANADIAN PRESS FILES

Much to the chagrin of some protesters, the doffing of masks in indoor public places is also not on the table.

For the most part, though, public health officials will make those decisions on their own.

In the meantime, the survey acts as a short list for what could reopen. It shows what is under consideration and asks respondents to rank options in order of importance. If it’s not listed, it’s probably not on the table.

“Not all activities and services are immediately listed as not all are being considered in the current round of services and activities due to the higher risk of activity,” the survey says.

Bars, city libraries, movie theatres and tattoo parlours are not listed. Presumably, those are not up for consideration. Much to the chagrin of some protesters, the doffing of masks in indoor public places is also not on the table.

Bars are not one of the activities listed in the survey.

JESSE BOILY / FREE PRESS FILES

Bars are not one of the activities listed in the survey.

Reducing restrictions for places of worship is being considered. In-person services are banned under code-red restrictions. Given the high level of transmission reported in those settings, it seems doubtful those would reopen, even with capacity limits. Respondents were also asked about increasing the five-person limit for funerals and weddings. Those seem more likely.

Expanding retail has a good shot. It will probably be the most significant part of this week’s announcement. Respondents were asked whether they should be allowed to shop without limiting the products they can buy. Right now, stores can only sell essential items, as prescribed by regulation. Considering the low-risk nature of retail and what’s at stake economically for small business owners, eliminating the essential-items list (or at least broadening it) seems likely. With the help of face coverings and capacity restrictions, retail can operate relatively safely.

Barber shops and hairstylists are up for consideration, as are gyms and fitness studios. Those are possibilities.

Greater access to recreation opportunities, including resuming organized sports (such as amateur hockey and indoor soccer) are also on the list. I wouldn’t hold my breath on those. Most organized sports are volunteer-driven and don’t have the resources of public schools to enforce public health measures. Sports for adults, such as beer league hockey and indoor soccer, will probably have to wait.

Considering the low-risk nature of retail and what’s at stake economically for small business owners, eliminating the essential-items list seems likely.

MALAK ABAS / FREE PRESS FILES

Considering the low-risk nature of retail and what’s at stake economically for small business owners, eliminating the essential-items list seems likely.

The most concerning set of questions in the survey is around household gatherings. Once government finally agreed in late November to prohibit people from having visitors in their homes (with some exceptions), COVID-19 cases began to fall. It wasn’t the only reason for the decline, but it was a significant factor. People gathering indoors for prolonged periods without masks is a major source of transmission.

The survey asks respondents for their views on expanding the list of exemptions for household gatherings, returning to a limit of five visitors per home, or maintaining the status quo.

Loosening those measures when Manitoba still has over 100 cases of COVID-19 a day would be a big mistake.

If infection rates and hospital numbers continue to fall, Manitoba could ease restrictions further in late February. For now, baby steps are the name of the game.

tom.brodbeck@freepress.mb.ca

Tom Brodbeck

Tom Brodbeck
Columnist

Tom has been covering Manitoba politics since the early 1990s and joined the Winnipeg Free Press news team in 2019.

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Some provinces see positive signs in COVID fight, but hospitalizations a concern – Red Deer Advocate

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Some provincial authorities saw encouraging signs in the fight against COVID-19 on Monday, even as experts warned that it’s too soon to draw conclusions from the data and provinces scrambled to deal with a looming shortage of Pfizer vaccines.

Officials in both Quebec and Manitoba noted that case numbers have dropped slightly in recent days and suggested that their populations’ efforts to control the virus could be paying off.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said case numbers in his province appeared to be dipping.

“We’re definitely not out of the woods,” he told a news conference as the province reported 118 cases. “We certainly still have a long way to go before we can return to normal.”

Roussin said the province is looking at easing some restrictions in the coming days, but that any changes would be gradual.

Quebec reported 1,634 new COVID-19 cases, which included about 200 from the previous day that weren’t noted because of a delay. The province had broken the 3,000-case mark in early January and has a seven-day rolling average of more than 1,900 cases a day.

Health Minister Christian Dube noted on Twitter that the Quebec City region in particular had seen a decline in the number of new infections recently, which he saw as a sign that “the sacrifices that we’re asking of Quebecers are bearing fruit.” However, he asked Quebecers to continue their efforts in order to reduce the number of hospitalizations, which rose Monday after three straight days of decline.

Universite de Montreal public health professor Benoit Masse said it will take another week or two to know whether the downward trend will be sustained and to gauge the impact of the recently imposed curfew. He said the province should know more by Feb. 8, when curfew restrictions are set to lift.

Ontario also reported its lowest number of COVID-19 cases since early January, with 2,578 new infections, but the province completed a little more than 40,000 tests Sunday, compared with more than 60,000 the day before.

Nova Scotia also reported no new cases for the second time this month.

The news was less positive in New Brunswick, where the Edmundston region entered the province’s highest pandemic-alert level, ushering in new restrictions on businesses in the region after a record-breaking number of new cases on Sunday. The province reported 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday after recording 36 the day before.

Provinces were also reviewing their vaccine programs to contend with a reduced supply of Pfizer-BioNTech doses after the company said last week it was cutting back on promised deliveries over the next month as it works to expand production.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Monday that his province was pausing appointments for people to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine due to the supply shortage.

“Even with a new shipment of Pfizer expected later this week, we won’t have enough supply to continue with new first-dose appointments,” he said, adding that the province had set aside vaccines for people who were due for their second doses, and those appointments would continue.

Manitoba stopped booking new appointments over the weekend, but health officials announced Monday that those bookings would resume, with room for about 4,000 new appointments this week and next.

Ontario also acknowledged it was working with a supply crunch that would see its next two shipments of Pfizer vaccine reduced by 20 per cent and 80 per cent respectively.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the situation would last until late February or early March when larger shipments begin to arrive.

Ontario announced that a new hospital set to open in Vaughan, Ont. would be used to relieve a capacity crunch because of rising COVID-19 admissions. Elliott and Premier Doug Ford said the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital would add 35 new critical care beds and 150 medical beds to the province’s bed capacity.

Hospital capacity has been a concern in many provinces, with doctors in Ontario and Quebec being told to prepare for the possibility of implementing protocols to decide which patients get access to life-saving care in the case of extreme intensive care unit overcrowding.

Nationally, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are still increasing, according to Canada’s chief public health officer. Dr. Theresa Tam noted that hospitalizations tend to lag one or more weeks behind a surge in cases.

“These impacts affect everyone, as the health-care workforce and health system bear a heavy strain, important elective medical procedures are delayed or postponed, adding to pre-existing backlogs,” she wrote in a statement.

She said an average of 4,705 COVID-19 patients a day were being treated in Canadian hospitals during the last seven days, including an average of 875 in ICUs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021

— With files from Steve Lambert, Shawn Jeffords and Sidhartha Banerjee

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

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BC health officials announce 1,330 new COVID-19 cases since Friday | News – Daily Hive

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British Columbia health officials have announced 1,330 new test-positive COVID-19 cases since Friday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 61,447.

During a press conference on Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there were 584 cases reported from Friday to Saturday, 445 from Saturday to Sunday, and 301 from Sunday to Monday.

Broken down by health region, this equates to 281 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 548 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 65 new cases in the Island Health region, 257 new cases in the Interior Health region, 166 new cases in the Northern Health region, and 13 new cases from people who reside outside of Canada, which Henry said is largely attributed to “temporary farm workers arriving in the province for the upcoming season.”

There were also 31 more deaths over the weekend, bringing the death toll to 1,078.

There are currently 4,326 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 6,865 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.

Currently, 343 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 68 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Henry said that 54,656 individuals who tested positive have now recovered.

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