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COVID-19 in B.C.: Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is at a turning point, "explosive growth" is possible –



Today (July 20), B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presented an update on epidemiology data as well as the results of the online B.C. survey, about the impact that the pandemic is having on British Columbians, that was launched in May.

However, when talking the data and talking about recent daily case increases over the past few days, she said that there is an upward bending of the curve and that “we are at a turning point” that could affect what happens in the months to come.

“We’re on the edge that might go up but is in our hands to control,” she said.

Dr. Henry provided case updates for the time periods since the last update on July 17.

Due to numerous flare-ups across the province over recent weeks, Dr. Henry had predicted that we would see more cases. The numbers she announced today confirmed what she anticipated.

From July 17 to 18, the number of new cases hit a high of 51—the last time daily new cases exceeded 50 cases was on April 27 when there were 58 new cases.

From July 18 to 19, the number of new cases declined to 19 but the number rose again from July 19 to 20 with 32 new cases.

There were a total of 102 new cases over those three time periods (which include four epi-linked cases).

All health authorities were affected this past weekend.

Over the course of the pandemic, there have been 3,300 cases in B.C., with 1,042 in Vancouver Coastal Health; 1,713 in Fraser Health; 142 in Island Health; 280 in Interior Health; 69 in Northern Health; and 54 among those who reside outside Canada.

There are currently 253 active cases, with 16 of those people in hospital (four patients are in intensive care unit).

There are three healthcare outbreaks, including one in a longterm care facility and two in acute care units. A total of 657 people (401 residents and 256 staff) have tested positive in healthcare.

Thankfully, there aren’t any new deaths, leaving the total at 189 people who have died.

A total of 2,858 people have now recovered.

She also noted that air travellers should note that there have been several recent flights in and out of B.C. confirmed with COVID-19 cases.

There remains one case linked to the Site C outbreak in Fort St. John.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix (with Dr. Bonnie Henry)
Province of British Columbia

Dr. Henry said that over 60 cases are now linked to the Kelowna outbreak that took place from June 25 to July 9, which involved individuals from Interior Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, and Alberta. She had previously stated that this outbreak may be connected to the Krazy Cherry Co. farm outbreak in Oliver.

She said there are several hundreds of people who have been exposed in this incident and have since returned to their homes in all health authority regions in the province. Accordingly, she said that we will see more cases develop in the coming weeks.

“What we can do is stop those people from exposing anybody else,” she said.

Prior to implementing health measures, the average number of contacts in the province was around 11 or 12 people. However, she said that they are finding that the number of contacts are returning to those levels (Dr. Henry previously advised keeping contact numbers to about six people), which is a concern to her.

In addition, she said that many of the contacts are unsafe connections, in settings such as parties, groups going to restaurants or bars, resorts, and private residences, and that people are sometimes meeting with one set of contacts on one night and a different contacts on another night, which she has previously advised against.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (with Health Minister Adrian Dix)
Province of British Columbia

Approximately 394,400 people completed the survey.

Four out of five respondents approved of B.C.’s public health response to the pandemic.

On the upside, 96 percent of respondents said they were practising preventative personal hygiene and 89 percent were avoiding gatherings.

However, while 79 percent said they were capable of remaining at home when sick,  67 percent actually stayed at home while sick, which is something Dr. Henry said is something that needs to be addressed.

Among challenges that British Columbians are facing, 69 percent had their work impaired by the pandemic, 62 percent were concerned about vulnerable family members, 47 percent felt their mental health was worsening, 33 percent had difficulties accessing healthcare, and 31 percent faced difficulties meeting their financial needs.

Those aged 18 to 29 years old, reported higher levels of decreased mental health (55 percent), worsening financial situation (52 percent), increased difficulty meeting financial needs (41 percent), and more.

Dr. Henry also provided an update on epidemiological data as of July 9.

While more men have been reported as contracting the virus in some areas, the number of cases between men and women were almost even (52 percent female, 48 percent male).

The average age of cases was 50, and 17 percent of cases were hospitalized (with an average age of 69).

Overall, the case fatality rate is about six percent (183 deaths out of 2,978 cases). The average age of those who have died (six percent of all cases) is 85.

However in healthcare facilities, the rate is much higher as 20 percent of longterm care facilities (109 out of 539 residents) and 22 percent in acute care units (22 out of 98 patients) died.

When presenting the latest epidemic curve, she pointed out that although we are continuing to see small numbers cases per day as sporadic transmission events continue to occur, the curve continues to grow.

“We do have a possibility of having explosive growth in our outbreak here in B.C. if we’re not careful in how we progress over the summer,” she said. “We still have it in our hands to make a difference in bending this curve.”

She said that they are starting to see an uptick.

“This is concerning but it is not foregone that we will have a rapid rebound,” she said. “It is something that we can make a difference in if we pay attention now.”

She said that if we increase our social contacts too much, it will impact everyone.

“Most concerning in the last week and a half, we have seen a growth in our number of cases, particularly in young people,” she said.

Social groups, she said, should not be larger than six people and she advised to avoid table-hopping at restaurants or bars. She reminded everyone to be considerate of people working at venues as well.

For those who are having social gatherings, she is asking people to assign “a designated contact keeper” so that contact tracers can find and reach everyone who may have been exposed.

“This is a warning to us,” she said, reminding everyone to be social in safe ways and to spread the message of maintaining health precautions. “The more people you see, the more likely it is that someone will have COVID-19 and spread it to you and the people you are close to.”


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Vaping injuries cause lingering problems for some youth, Canadian data suggests –



Canadian pediatricians are reporting numerous vaping-related injuries, with one third of cases involving ongoing health problems.

Interim data from the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program highlight the risks of vaping as well as non-medical cannabis use, particularly accidental ingestion of edibles.

A one-time survey of about 1,100 doctors found 88 cases of vaping illness or injury over a 12-month period, with one quarter of kids hospitalized.

Dr. Nicholas Chadi, a specialist in adolescent and addiction medicine at the University of Montreal, suspects this is just the “tip of the iceberg” since the numbers don’t include kids who turn to their family doctor or a nurse with vaping problems.

Chadi found it “very concerning” that about a third had ongoing issues and says vaping dangers should be raised with kids and teens as they prepare to return to school and reunite with friends.

“If we look at what might be happening in smaller cities where we have emergency room doctors who are not pediatricians receiving these kids, there are probably many, many more cases of these injuries happening in Canada,” says Chadi, also affiliated with Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre.

Children and youth most often suffered respiratory problems or nicotine toxicity, which can cause a very rapid heart rate, dizziness, headaches, or vomiting.

The data did not reveal what ongoing issues they suffered, but Chadi suspects they included cough or shortness of breath and possibly external wounds or burns that needed time to heal.

WATCH | Smoking or vaping may increase risk of a severe coronavirus infection:

There’s a growing body of research linking vaping, smoking cigarettes and cannabis to an increased risk of COVID-19 infection, serious illness, and death rates. 2:07

The survey also did not capture how many kids may be addicted to vaping products, something Chadi says he expects to examine in a two-year follow-up study.

Thirteen cases involved kids who drank e-liquids or other vaping substances. Half the time this was by accident, and was more common among toddlers and preschoolers.

But the other half of incidents were on purpose, and typically involved those age 15 and older, says Chadi.

Teens tend towards riskier behaviour because their brains are still developing, but Chadi notes their lungs are still maturing, too, making the impact of dicey decisions more serious.

Fragile lungs

“They might be using more of it, they might be trying to trick the device or play with it to make it stronger, to make it blow more aerosol or things like that, which will increase the risk of injury,” he says of other teen vaping habits.

“But we also know that the lungs of a teenager can be more fragile to certain chemicals because they’re still growing, they’re still developing.”

The survey data comes on the heels of a study led by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine that found youth aged 13 to 24 who vape were five to seven times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Chadi says those findings only point to an association between vaping and a COVID-19 diagnosis, noting the study also suggested young vapers were more likely to be tested for the virus.

He says that might be because respiratory symptoms common to vaping are similar to those of COVID-19, such as coughing.

When it came to cannabis-related injuries, the surveillance program found almost all of the 36 cases reported required hospitalization, with an average patient aged 9 to 10 years old.

Not all cases involved edibles, but a third of them involved kids younger than 12 who accidentally ate cannabis products.

Because edibles have only been legal since December 2019, researchers say it’s worth dedicating more time to examining the impact of legalization on kids.

Eight cases were teens who experienced hyperemesis syndrome — a condition that causes repeated and severe bouts of vomiting.

The Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program is a joint initiative of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society.

The two-year longitudinal study on cannabis is set to wrap in October. The two-year vaping study will begin this fall.

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‘A call out to Deadpool’: B.C. premier wants stars to help fight surge in younger coronavirus cases – Global News



Calling Ryan Reynolds and Seth Rogen: B.C. Premier John Horgan wants you.

At a Wednesday press conference announcing the hiring of 500 new contact tracers in the province, Horgan also called on some of B.C.’s best-known celebrities to use their influence to help get younger people on board with coronavirus precautions.

“This is a callout to Deadpool right now. Ryan, we need your help up here. Get in touch with us, my number’s on the internet,” Horgan said. “Seth Rogen, another outstanding British Columbian. We need to communicate with people who aren’t hearing us. The two of you alone could help us in that regard.”

Read more:
Coronavirus — 20-29 age group now leading B.C. in confirmed cases

The ask comes as B.C. grapples with a growing number of new cases of the virus, many of them in the younger demographic.

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About a third of new cases in July involved people aged between 20 and 29. A recent party in the Vancouver Coastal Health region led to about 400 people being quarantined and up to 46 cases of COVID-19.

Provincial government enlists ‘influencers’ in fight against coronavirus

Provincial government enlists ‘influencers’ in fight against coronavirus

As of Tuesday, about 42 per cent of B.C.’s cases involved people under the age of 39.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Data shows that younger adults have been less severely affected by the symptoms of the virus, but are just as capable of passing it on to others.

Read more:
Young people are causing COVID-19 spikes. But are they solely to blame?

“We’re working as hard as we can to enlist a number of prominent British Columbians and prominent Canadians to help get that message through to the demographic that clearly isn’t hearing our message,” said Horgan, adding that “other options” were also on the table.

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The province has already recruited social media influencers such as Jillian Harris to help spread the message following July’s outbreak in Kelowna linked largely to younger people.

Last month, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry did an “account takeover” on actor Olivia Munn’s Instagram.

And the province has launched a website dubbed Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Good Times Guide with information for young people about how to socialize safely during the pandemic.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Travel led to 18% of Waterloo region's COVID-19 cases in July –



Travel-related infections made up 18 per cent of the region’s new confirmed COVID-19 cases in July, public health says.

Dr. Ryan Van Meer, one of the region’s associate medical officers of health, said Tuesday 15 of 81 cases were related to out-of-country travel: seven of those were people who had travelled to the United States, five were people who travelled to India and one case each involved trips to the United Kingdom, Nicaragua and Pakistan.

So far in August there have been 25 new cases. Six of those are travel related, the region’s COVID-19 dashboard shows.

“This serves as an important reminder that travel outside of Canada continues to pose a risk,” Van Meer told regional councillors during a committee meeting Tuesday. He noted the federal government continues to advise against unessential travel outside of the country.

Public health officials said they do not record the reason why a person has visited another country, so it’s unknown if those who travelled did so for work, family commitments or a vacation.

Van Meer says the overall status of the novel coronavirus in the region “remains stable.”

The region reported 1,410 cases as of Wednesday morning, a rise of four cases since Tuesday. More than 58,200 tests have been done and 90 per cent of positive cases have been marked as resolved.

There are 28 active cases in the region with two people in hospital. The number of people who have died from COVID-19 since March remains at 119.

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