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Cases of COVID-19 in younger adults going up, Henry says; 45 new cases on Island – Times Colonist



More adults under the age of 40 are getting COVID-19, even as there have been decreases in older age groups that have received the vaccine, says B.C.’s top doctor.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday that there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in people ages 19 to 39 over the past month and a half.

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However, she said the hospitalization rate remains low and stable for people under 60. There have been more cases of the variant first identified in the U.K., which is more transmissible and can have increased severity of illness across age groups.

Of 1,592 hospitalizations of people younger than 60 in B.C., 19 per cent required admission to intensive care units. Of the small number that required hospitalization with a variant of concern, 30 per cent were admitted to the ICU, she said.

“That’s something that’s a signal, that we’re watching,” she said, though she added the numbers are small enough not to be too worrying.

Henry also revealed that a third to 40 per cent of B.C.’s cases are coming from work sites. She said COVID-19 is emerging in “work sites across the board,” though the province is currently targeting essential workplaces that have seen outbreaks for vaccines.

The province reported 800 new cases on Thursdsay — the highest single-day total since November. Of those, 45 were in the Island Health region. According to Island Health, there are 109 in the central Island, 105 in the south and 19 in the north.

Island Health also declared an outbreak at Longlake Chateau independent living facility in Nanaimo, operated by Atria Retirement Canada. Five residents have tested positive for COVID-19 at the site. Residents who tested positive and close contacts are isolating in their homes.

The health authority said it’s working with Longlake Chateau management to identify anyone who may have been exposed. Visits will be restricted to essential visitors and all staff and residents will be tested.

The B.C. government announced earlier it was more than doubling the fines for those promoting and attending events against COVID-19 health rules in an effort to crack down on “selfish behaviour.”

The fine has increased to $575 from $230, although the penalty for those caught hosting such an event remains at $2,300.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said most people are following provincial health rules, but it’s become clear in the last few months that the risk of a ticket isn’t enough of a deterrence for some.

“The reality is this, these health orders exist to keep people safe, to help deal with the spread of COVID-19 and everybody has a part to play,” he said. “I think [the fines] send a pretty strong message for people that they need to follow provincial health orders.”

The $230 fine will continue to apply to a range of other COVID-19 violations, such as not wearing a mask.

The increased fine is aimed at events where behaviour is more risky, said Farnworth.

The province is preparing to announce new measures in the coming weeks to ensure people who receive tickets pay their fines, he said, noting as of Wednesday, 1,525 people have received tickets.

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COVID cases in Ontario could spike to 30,000 per day by June



TORONTO (Reuters) – New cases of COVID-19 in Canada‘s most populous province could rise more than six fold, topping 30,000 per day by early June if public health measures are weak and vaccination rates remain flat, a panel of experts advising the province of Ontario said on Friday.

Even if measures to control the virus are “moderate,” the number of patients in Ontario ICUs could reach 2,000 in May, up from 695 on Friday.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told doctors last week they may soon have to decide who can and cannot receive intensive care.


(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Chris Reese)

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Moderna sees shortfall in Britain COVID vaccine shipments, EU deliveries on track



ZURICH (Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Moderna expects a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain hitting second-quarter delivery quantities for Britain and Canada, though European Union– and Swiss-bound shipments are on track, a spokesperson said.

The delays, first announced on Friday when Canada said Moderna would be delivering only about half the planned 1.2 million doses by the end of April, come as Switzerland’s Lonza ramps up three new production lines to make active ingredients for Moderna vaccine supplies outside of the United States.

“The trajectory of vaccine manufacturing ramp-up is not linear, and despite best efforts, there is a shortfall in previously estimated doses from the European supply chain,” Moderna said in a statement.

Lonza didn’t immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment on any issues in its production.


(Reporting by John Miller; editing by David Evans)

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Moderna says vaccines to Canada to be delayed due to Europe shortfall



(Reuters) -Moderna Inc said on Friday a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain will lead to a delay in deliveries to some countries including Canada.

The drugmaker would be delivering only 650,000 doses by April end as opposed to 1.2 million, Canada‘s Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in a statement.

She said one to two million doses of the 12.3 million doses scheduled for delivery by Moderna in the second quarter would be delayed until the third.

Moderna officials in Europe did not immediately comment on the reason for the delays or give the total number of countries that would be impacted.

“Vaccine manufacturing is a highly complex process and a number of elements, including human and material resources have factored into this volatility,” said Patricia Gauthier, an executive at Moderna Canada.

Canada has distributed a total of 2.82 million doses of the Moderna vaccine as of April 14 and 12.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in total.

Moderna has been aiming to deliver 700 million to 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 globally this year, including from plants in Europe and the United States.

Swiss contract drug manufacturer Lonza makes active ingredients for Moderna’s vaccine in Visp, but it was still ramping up three new production lines that once operational would be able to produce 300 million shots annually.

The current supply, demand and distribution landscape has led the drugmaker to make adjustments in the expected second-quarter deliveries, Gauthier said.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru, Allison Martell in Toronto and John Miller in Zurich; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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