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COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. rise to 22-week high – Powell River Peak

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There are 76 people now recovering from COVID-19 infections in hospitals in four health regions in B.C. – the highest number since May 5, more than 22 weeks ago, when there were 78 people hospitalized.

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said October 8 that four health regions have COVID-19 patients in hospital care. Her data only added up to 74 cases, but she said that 35 people are in Vancouver Coastal Health hospitals, while 37 are in Fraser Health hospitals, one is in an Island Health hospital and one is in a Northern Health hospital.

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There were 110 people newly identified as infected in the past 24 hours, after the province conducted 12,052 tests. That makes for a 0.9% positive-test rate, which is lower than that rate has been since October 1, when there were 82 cases and a 0.75% positivity rate. 

Having a positivity rate that is less than 1%, Henry said, “gives us a good measure that we’re holding our own in the community in B.C.”

Henry commented on how the 10,000-case barrier was breached for the first time since the virus first appeared in the province in late January, and now sits at 10,066.

“We know that that’s an underrepresentation of the impact of this virus and that there have been more people, particularly early on, when our access to testing was limited, who have been infected with this virus,” she said. 

Of those infected, 8,398 people, or 83.4% have recovered, while 245, or about 2.4% have died and 1,394 people, or about 13.8% are battling infections. The remainding cases are unaccounted for, and likely left the province without alerting health officials.

The breakdown of all known infections in B.C. by health region is now:
• 3,693 in Vancouver Coastal Health (up 49);
• 5,174 in Fraser Health (up 55);
• 223 in Island Health (up one);
• 557 in Interior Health (no change);
• 330 in Northern Health (up five); and
• 89 people who reside outside Canada (down one). It is not known why this number went down. 

There remain three active outbreaks at B.C. hospitals. all of which are in the Lower Mainland:
• Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey;
• St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver; and
• Delta Hospital in Delta.

The outbreak at the Milieu Children and Family Services Society community-living facility in Courtenay is declared over.
That leaves 14 outbreaks at seniors’ long-term care or assisted-living facilities:
• Haro Park Centre long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Banfield Pavilion long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Point Grey Private Hospital long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Harrison West at Elim Village in Surrey;
• Peace Portal Seniors Village in Surrey;
• Cherington Place long-term care facility in Surrey;
• Evergreen Hamlets long-term care facility in Surrey;
• Chartwell Crescent Gardens in Surrey;
• Langley Lodge in Langley;
• White Rock Seniors’ Village in White Rock;
• Thornebridge Gardens in New Westminster;
• KinVillage assisted living facility in Tsawwassen;
• New Vista Care Home long-term care facility in Burnaby; and
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby.

 

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

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News Releases | COVID-19 Bulletin #235 – news.gov.mb.ca

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Need More Info?

Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.

Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.

Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-794-0732.

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Winnipeg students devastated after COVID restrictions silence school choirs – CBC.ca

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Hundreds of students in Winnipeg have been ordered by the provincial government to stop singing — something a choir teacher says was an ill-informed decision impacting the mental health of students.

“I was just so extremely disappointed because I do not believe the decision was based upon solid ground,” said Maples Collegiate choral teacher Dorothy Dyck.

Since Oct. 26, schools in the Winnipeg metropolitan area and northern Manitoba have been under a code orange in the province’s pandemic response system.

One of the new rules is that indoor choir and the use of wind instruments are not permitted.

That decision is affecting 250 students at Maples Collegiate who participate in six choirs, Dyck said.

Dyck said she doesn’t think Manitoba’s health officials knew all the precautions her school has taken.

“We didn’t get any directive from the province at all,” she said. “We had to figure it out, and so we did. We spent all summer reading, and researching, and waiting for these studies to come out,” she said.

In August, two studies, one from the University of Colorado and one from the University of Cincinnati, looked at how aerosols were spread while singing and playing instruments.

“Out of these studies, things were brought forward for keeping singing as safe as possible, and that’s what we were doing,” Dyck said.

Singing with masks on for 30 minutes in the gym

Along with singing in masks, the rehearsal time was also limited to 30 minutes, something the study out of Colorado found dropped the rate of infection from 87 per cent down to just 12.

The Maples choirs also moved to the gymnasium so everyone could spread out in an open space.

Dyck said the school division’s head of maintenance climbed up into the vents of the gym to get information about the ductwork. A math teacher calculated the air ventilation to determine air was being exchanged every five minutes.

We are as safe as any other activity.​​​​​– Dorothy Dyck, Maples Collegiate choral teacher

“No one is saying that we can guarantee that things are completely safe,” Dyck said. “We now can point to those numbers and know that we are as safe as any other activity.”

A spokesperson for the provincial government says its guidelines on music are based on multiple reports globally where participation in a choir was associated with “super-spreader” events, where COVID-19 was spread to many people.

“Infected people may transmit the virus over greater distances through their saliva or respiratory droplets while singing,” the spokesperson wrote.

To date, there have been three confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Maples Collegiate, principal Scott Shier said.

Dyck said the province should take a second look at how schools were running their choirs, rather than just banning them outright.

“They’re kids that are just trying to find their voices,” she said.

She says she worries the pandemic is affecting the mental health of students.

“We see their dead eyes. Their body language: they’re slumped forward, their arms are limp, they don’t really raise their hands when they’re asking questions,” she said.

“We’ve really worked hard at trying to use choir and trying to use singing as breathing life into their bodies and changing their eyes, and we had just started to see some real progress.”

‘Devastated’ at province’s decision

Jashdane Santiago, a Grade 11 student and member of three choirs, said she’s struggling to accept that she can’t sing in choir anymore.

“I was very much devastated,” Santiago said.

Jashdane Santiago, singing in the gymnasium this fall, says choir made her feel like she was flying. Now she says it feels like her wings have been clipped. (Submitted by Jashdane Santiago)

“Being in choir feels like you’re flying. But then with the news saying that you can’t sing anymore, it just felt like the wings that I’ve been flying with were just clipped,” she said.

The choirs already can’t perform, so it was an extra blow to have their rehearsals taken away, she said.

“Everyone had really high hopes that we could still do what we would normally do, but just a bit different than before.”

Javen Cabrera, a Grade 12 student, said he didn’t take the news well either.

“It was heartbreaking,” Cabrera said. “I was confused, hurt, and really angry.”

The pair said they would be happy to take any extra precautions if it meant they could keep singing.

“Singing with other people reminds me that I’m not alone,” Cabrera said.

The superintendent for Seven Oaks School Division said the they are in discussions with the province about the new rules.

“We’re trying to make the province aware of some of the measures the teachers have taken. We’re doing everything we can to keep a strong program going,” Brian O’Leary said.

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3 deaths, 170 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba as hospitalizations continue to rise – CBC.ca

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A man in his 40s from the Interlake-Eastern Health region is one of three more people with COVID-19 who have died in Manitoba, while 170 more people have tested positive for the virus, Manitoba public health officials announced Wednesday.

A man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Victoria General Hospital in Winnipeg and a woman in her 80s from the Interlake-Eastern Health region linked to an outbreak at the Misericordia Place care home are the two other people who died. 

That brings the death toll from the coronavirus in the province to 61 since the start of the pandemic.

Health officials continue to see cases linked to people not following public health advice by attending large gatherings and leaving their homes even though they have symptoms, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference Wednesday.

Many cases have been linked to Thanksgiving and other gatherings where people are often sharing items such as vape pens, Roussin said.

In one example, seven cases were linked to the same Thanksgiving dinner. 

Other cases have been linked to people travelling to different parts of the province to visit family, “only to bring the virus with them,” he said.

“And so we can see how our close contacts can quickly become cases and more contacts.”

Hospitalizations climb to new heights

The number of hospitalizations and intensive care patients set new records on Wednesday, with 89 people in hospital, 19 of them in intensive care. That’s up from the previous record of 83 set on Tuesday, when 15 people were in the ICU.

“The capacity is continuing to be further stretched,” Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said at the news conference, with ICU capacity at 92 per cent, which is higher than it was on Monday.

There are still beds for patients and supplies, she said.

“Our most precious resource right now is our staff,” she said.

A total of 43 surgeries have been cancelled, some because staff are isolating due to exposure to the virus, others because of changes meant to protect staff, Siragusa said. 

Manitoba’s five-day test-positivity rate — the rolling average of the number of COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is 7.3, down slightly from the record high of 7.5 on Tuesday.

The announcement of 170 cases is the third highest number the province has recorded.

Most of the new cases are in the Winnipeg health region, where 117 people have tested positive. There are 26 new cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 18 in the Southern Health region, six in the Northern Health region, and three in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

A total of 4,701 people in Manitoba have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. Provincial health data shows 2,334 active cases and 2,306 people recovered, although health officials have said that active case numbers are likely inflated because of a backlog.

Cross Lake First Nation has moved to the critical red level on the province’s pandemic response system after multiple people tested positive in the community.  The cases are linked to a funeral attended by someone who didn’t have symptoms but later tested positive for COVID-19, which the province announced on Tuesday.

An outbreak at the St. Norbert Personal Care Home has been declared over, health officials said.

Record-setting day

The latest numbers come one day after Manitoba set new records for daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The province recorded its highest number of new cases in a single day on Tuesday, reporting 184 people tested positive for the virus. 

The number of people in hospital has tripled in 10 days, growing from 29 on Oct. 19 to 89 on Wednesday.

There were 83 people in hospitals, including 15 in intensive care units, as of Tuesday. Three more deaths were reported, bringing the total to 58 since the pandemic emerged in Manitoba. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Health Minister Cameron Friesen tried to quell fears that hospitals were on the brink of being overwhelmed at a news conference on Tuesday.

Case numbers are trending in the wrong direction, but the health system still has capacity, he said.

“We are planning accordingly. We are not at a breaking point,” Friesen said.

Three people linked to an outbreak at St. Boniface Hospital have died as of Tuesday, and a patient linked to an outbreak at Victoria General Hospital died after being transferred to St. Boniface.

As of Tuesday, the St. Boniface outbreak had led to infections in 23 patients and 10 staff, while the Victoria outbreak infected 19 patients and 19 staff. 

The province announced a 19th death in an outbreak at the Parkview Place personal care home, where 104 residents have tested positive in the facility that housed 221 people as of last Friday.

Revera, the for-profit company that runs Parkview Place, also operates the Maples Long Term Care Home, where 69 of the facility’s 200 residents had tested positive by Tuesday, up from 35 on Monday.

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