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B.C. reports 832 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths – Global News



British Columbia reported 832 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, along with five additional deaths.

At a live briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 310 of the new cases were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 388 were in the Fraser Health region, 53 were in the Island Health region, 42 were in the Interior Health region and 39 were in the Northern Health region.

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Thursday’s case count pushed B.C.’s seven-day rolling average for new cases to 873. A month prior, on March 1, it stood at just 497.

There were 7,571 active cases, while 296 people were in hospital, 79 of whom were in critical or intensive care.

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s frequently asked COVID-19 questions

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s frequently asked COVID-19 questions

Henry used the briefing to urge British Columbians to stay home over the Easter long weekend, and to ensure that if they did gather with others, it was outside.

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“This is not the time for any of us to be travelling for leisure or vacation or getaways outside of our community, travel is still very high risk for all of us — we take the risk from where we are coming and we take it home from where we have been,” she said.

“If you do choose to spend time with anyone other than your immediate household this weekend, it must be outdoors. And all of the COVID-19 safety plans and precautions need to continue to be followed as more and more of our seniors and elders in particular are protected, we need to give that time for that best protection to take hold.”

Henry said B.C. had identified another 90 cases of variants of concern in the past 48 hours. The province had 192 active variant cases, and 35 people hospitalized with a variant.

Henry said a cluster of the P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil, had been contained in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

“There’s no focal superspreading event related to these, what we’re finding is there is small chains of transmission in multiple areas that aren’t linked, so it is community spread,” she said.

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The province has administered at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 700,255 people, or about 13.7 per cent of the province’s population. Of them, 87,394 people have also had second doses.

Henry also confirmed that the vaccination of first-responders and some other priority groups, outside of B.C.’s age-based immunization program, had been paused due to its near-suspension of AstraZeneca vaccine use.

“We are going to be following what’s happening around the world with the data around this vaccine, and I am confident we’ll be able to get back to that program soon, but we need to make sure we are all confident with the safety and with who is the best population to use it,” she said.

B.C. suspended the use of AstraZeneca on Monday amid concerns it could cause blood clots in a small percentage of people under the age of 55.

It has been using remaining supplies of the vaccine to immunize people aged 55-65 in recent days, to ensure none of the supply goes to waste.

Read more:
B.C. reports 1,013 new COVID-19 cases, highest-ever single day total

B.C. has recorded 100,880 total cases have recovered, while 1,463 people have died.

Earlier Thursday, the province opened COVID-19 vaccine bookings to people aged 72 (born in 1949) and older.

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On Wednesday, new COVID-19 infections in B.C. shattered records, clocking in at over 1,000 for the first time. The province also surpassed 100,000 total cases since the start of the pandemic.

Rising COVID-19 cases prompted a new round of “circuit breaker” restrictions on Monday, which include a ban on indoor restaurant service until April 19.

Click to play video: 'B.C.’s changing COVID-19 hotspot'

B.C.’s changing COVID-19 hotspot

B.C.’s changing COVID-19 hotspot

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Man assaulted nurse over vaccinating his wife: Quebec cops – Toronto Sun



The man accused the nurse of having “vaccinated his wife without his consent” before repeatedly punching the woman in the face, police said.

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Sherbrooke police have turned to the public to help track down a man who assaulted a nurse Monday at a local pharmacy.

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Police say a man showed up at the office of a nurse assigned to give vaccinations at a pharmacy on 12th Ave. N.

“He was angry and aggressive,” said police spokesperson Martin Carrier.

The man accused the nurse of having “vaccinated his wife without his consent” before repeatedly punching the woman in the face and leaving, police said, adding that the nurse was taken to hospital to treat “serious” injuries to her face.

The man being sought is 30 to 45 years old, of medium build and has a dark complexion. He has short dark hair, dark eyes and “big eyebrows.”

The man spoke French and was wearing a dark sweater and jeans. He wore earrings and had a hand tattooed with what resembled the image of a cross.

Police are urging anyone with any information on the case to call them at 1-800-771-1800.

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B.C. reports 759 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths, 1 death in Island Health – CHEK



British Columbia health officials on Wednesday reported 759 new COVID-19 cases — including 79 in Island Health — and 10 new deaths since their last update on Sept. 21.

One of the deaths was in Island Health, the province says.

The number of confirmed cases in B.C. is now at 180,937 while the death toll climbs to 1,910.

There are currently 5,458 active cases in the province, 324 people in hospital — 157 of whom are in intensive care. The provincial government says there are 636 active cases in the Island Health region.

Of the new cases identified, 79 were in Island Health, 233 were in Interior Health, 214 were in Fraser Health, 129 were in Northern Health, 101 were in Vancouver Coastal Health and three were people who normally reside outside of the country.

A total of 173,215 people in B.C. have recovered from COVID-19 while 7,739,828 doses of vaccine have been administered province-wide.

Today’s data was released as a statement to the media.

Island Health

According to the latest update on Island Health’s dashboard shows that there are 563 active cases — 44 in North Island, 180 in Central Island, and 339 in South Island — on Vancouver Island.

Thirty-five people in the region are currently in hospital with COVID-19, 20 of whom are in critical care.

Over the past 24 hours, there were 188 recoveries, 1,358 new tests for COVID-19 performed, and 2,370 doses of vaccine administered in the region. Of those doses, 37 were AstraZeneca, 1,409 were Moderna and 924 doses were Pfizer.

A total of 1,289,871 vaccine doses — 619,306 of those are second doses — have now been administered on Vancouver Island. This includes 33,465 doses of AstraZeneca, 345,767 doses of Moderna and 910,639 doses of Pfizer.

Since the onset of the pandemic, there have been 8,020 cases reported, 59 deaths, 355 total hospitalizations, and 7,254 recoveries recorded on Vancouver Island.

Cases and deaths continue to climb this month

With Wednesday’s announcement of 79 new cases and yet another death in Island Health, the region has now recorded 11 deaths and seen a 22 per cent increase in new cases since the beginning of September.

Since Sept. 1, total hospitalizations on the Island have risen 23 per cent while the total number of recoveries has increased by 22 per cent.

When it comes to active cases, the data isn’t as clear due to major discrepancies between the two main reporting agencies, Island Health and the BCCDC.

Island Health’s data shows that active cases in the region have increased by 31 per cent since the beginning of the month, while the BCCDC’s data shows that active cases have only increased by 18 per cent during the same period.

However, Island Health is the only agency to provide daily updates on active cases with a breakdown by region and based on their latest data update, active cases in the South Island are the highest they have ever been.

More concerning, perhaps, is that active cases on the South Island have increased 113 per cent since Sept. 8. Active cases in Central Island have only managed to climb by 10 per cent since Sept. 8 and on the brighter side, active cases in the North Island have decreased by 37 per cent during the same period.

The vaccine card effect on Vancouver Island

Time — and likely one’s perspective — will only tell whether the B.C. vaccine card system proves to be effective here on the Island. But if the provincial government’s goal was strictly to get more shots in people’s arms for the first time, then it appears to be working to a degree.

On Aug. 23, which was the day Premier John Horgan announced the vaccine card system, a total of 640,426 first doses had been administered on Vancouver Island.

That number had climbed to 649,293 — slightly more than 1 per cent — by Sept. 1, less than two weeks before the B.C. vaccine card system was to come into effect.

But by Sept. 22, more than a week after the B.C. vaccine card system was implemented, that figure had increased to 670,565 first doses, a five per cent increase since Aug. 23.

That may not seem like a lot, but that does mean 30,139 people in the region opted to get the first dose of vaccine in less than a month.

However, it is worth pointing out that the total number of vaccine doses — first and second doses combined — administered on Vancouver Island has risen by 3.3 per cent since Sept. 1 and just 1.5 per cent since Sept. 13, the day the B.C. vaccine card coming into force.

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New Zealand’s Ardern says lockdowns can end with high vaccine uptake



New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday the country should aim for a 90%-plus rate of inoculation, and could drop strict coronavirus lockdown measures once enough people were vaccinated.

New Zealand eliminated COVID-19 last year and remained largely virus-free until an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant in August led to a nationwide lockdown.

With its biggest city Auckland still in lockdown and new cases being reported every day, Ardern said vaccinations will replace lockdowns as the main tool against the virus, allowing authorities to isolate only those who are infected.

“If that rate (of vaccinations) is high enough then we will be able to move away from lockdowns as a tool,” she said.

The highest possible vaccine rates will give the most freedoms, Ardern said, adding that the country should be aiming for a 90% plus rate of vaccination.

After a sluggish start to its vaccination campaign, some 40% of adult New Zealanders are fully vaccinated and about 75% have had at least one dose.

Authorities reported 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, all in Auckland, taking the total number of cases in the current outbreak to 1,123.

The Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield warned earlier this week that New Zealand may not get to zero COVID cases again.


(Reporting by Praveen Menon; editing by Richard Pullin)

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