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COVID-19 in B.C.: Most new cases in Fraser and Interior Health; one new healthcare outbreak; and more – The Georgia Straight



Today’s overall number of active cases remains on par with the case count on July 16.

Over the weekend, most of the new cases were confirmed in Fraser and Interior Health, with the latter and Vancouver Coastal Health seeing the most increases in active cases. There’s also one new healthcare outbreak.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the Vaccine Evaluation Centre (VCC) in Vancouver are conducting a study to examine the short- and long-term immune responses to different COVID-19 vaccines in adults.

The study is seeking participants who are 50 years of age and above, and who have received at least one dose of either Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines. More information is available at the VCC website.

The B.C. Health Ministry reported today that the province has had 156 new COVID-19 cases over the past three time periods.

The three-day total includes:

  • 56 new cases from July 16 to 17;
  • 60 new cases from July 17 to 18;
  • 40 new cases from July 18 to 19.

Currently, there are 653 active cases of COVID-19, which is one more case than July 16.

With a decrease of 11 hospitalized cases, there are 49 individuals in hospitals today, and 12 of those patients are in intensive care units (same number as July 16).

The new and active cases include:

  • 63 new cases in Fraser Health, with 166 total active cases (three more than July 16);
  • 58 new cases in Interior Health, with 179 total active cases (15 more than July 16);
  • 27 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, with 246 total active cases (13 fewer than July 16);
  • four new cases in Island Health, with 21 total active cases (nine fewer cases than July 16);
  • three new cases in Northern Health, with 33 total active cases (four fewer cases than July 16);
  • one new case of a person who resides outside of Canada, with eight total active cases (one more case than July 16).

Over the past three days, two new deaths occurred in Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health, which brings the overall total fatalities to 1,763 people who have died of COVID-19-related causes during the pandemic.

With 154 recoveries over the last three time periods, a cumulative total of 146,062 people have now recovered.

During the pandemic, B.C. has reported a cumulative total of 148,487 cases.

Since B.C.’s immunization program began in December 2020, the province has administered 6,173,328 doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines.

As of today, 79.9 percent (3,701,843) of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 53.2 percent (2,464,201) have received their second dose.

In addition, 80.9 percent (3,499,069) of all eligible adults have received their first dose and 56.6 percent (2,447,323) have now received their second dose.

Today, Fraser Health announced a healthcare outbreak has been declared at Holyrood Manor in Maple Ridge, where three patients have tested positive.

Currently, there are two active outbreaks:

  • acute care: Laurel Place at Surrey Memorial Hospital (Fraser Health);
  • long-term care: Holyrood Manor (Fraser Health);
  • assisted or independent living: none.

None of the five regional health authorities announced any new community outbreaks, public exposures, or business closures.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added the following eight flights to its public exposures lists (affected row information is listed at the BCCDC website when available):

  • July 6: WestJet 123, Calgary to Vancouver;
  • July 8: AeroMexico 696, Mexico City to Vancouver;
  • July 11: Air Canada 122, Vancouver to Toronto;
  • July 12: Air Canada 108, Vancouver to Toronto;
  • July 13: Air Canada 103, Toronto to Vancouver;
  • July 13: Air Canada 226, Vancouver to Calgary;
  • July 14: Air Canada 555, Los Angeles to Vancouver;
  • July 15: WestJet 173, Edmonton to Vancouver.

Sobeys listed Safeway at 1721 Columbia Avenue in Castlegar as having one employee, who last worked at the location on July 11, as testing positive.


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Nenshi says lifting Alberta’s remaining COVID-19 health orders is the ‘height of insanity’ – Global News



The mayor of Calgary says it’s the “height of insanity” that Alberta is moving ahead with removing almost all of its remaining COVID-19 public health orders, even as cases climb in the province.

Alberta has ended isolation requirements for close contacts of people who test positive and contact tracers will no longer notify them of their exposure. The province has also ended asymptomatic testing.

Read more:
Alberta to adjust COVID-19 masking, isolation, testing rules over next month

Further measures are to be eliminated Aug. 16. People who test positive will no longer be required to isolate. Isolation hotels will close as quarantine supports end.

“It is inconceivable to me. It is the height of insanity to say we don’t even know what’s happening,” Nenshi said Thursday.

“It is putting the health of Albertans at risk. To stop contact tracing, to stop testing people for the coronavirus and to become one of the first _ if not the first — jurisdictions in the world to say that people who have tested positive, who are infectious, can just go about their lives.”

Click to play video: 'Majority of Canadians worried about lingering COVID-19 threat, according to poll'

Majority of Canadians worried about lingering COVID-19 threat, according to poll

Majority of Canadians worried about lingering COVID-19 threat, according to poll

Naheed Nenshi, who was making an announcement at the Calgary airport, said if he were in another jurisdiction he would be thinking hard whether to put travel restrictions on Albertans starting Aug. 16.

“I’m aware of no science that backs this up. It is clear for the last month or so on this file (that) our government has been grasping and struggling, just trying to get some good news out of something,” he said.

Read more:
Amid pushback, Alberta health minister defends plan to ease COVID-19 isolation, masking, testing rules

“To say we don’t want to know who has the coronavirus, we don’t want to track outbreaks. Even the most fervent of the anti-maskers wouldn’t say (to) unleash people who are actually infectious into the population.”

Nenshi said he worries that the decision to lift the health orders is politically motivated and has nothing to do with science at all.

“The only possible explanation here is a political one. It might be that they’ve run out of money, but you know what? Don’t spend $1.5 billion on a pipeline you know isn’t going to get built if you’re running out of money.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Businesses, tourism sector worried about impact of local virus restrictions in Central Okanagan – Kelowna News –



[embedded content]

Madison Erhardt

Come to the Central Okanagan, but only if you’re fully vaccinated.

That is the message from the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and Tourism Kelowna after the provincial government announced new local steps Wednesday to try and lower COVID-19 cases.

A new regional mask policy was announced by Interior Health after 240 new cases of the virus were identified among Central Okanagan residents in the last week.

Along with the indoor mask mandate, the province is now discouraging non-essential travel into and out of the Central Okanagan for people who are not immunized.

TOTA says after an extremely tough 15 months they are concerned about how it might affect the industry, but she says it is a necessary step.

‘’I think the bigger concern is that if we don’t address it now and get things under control we will continue to lose ground. We have done so well up until now. I think that doing this to make sure that we nip it in the bud and we get a good rest of the summer and fall is very important,” said senior vice president Ellen Walker-Matthews.

Tourism Kelowna president and CEO Lisanne Ballantyne says the change will likely impact frontline staff the most.

“We know especially with having dealt with the haze and smoke recently that this is going to have an impact on our tourism businesses. Primarily it is going to be our frontline staff I’m afraid. These are the folks who are dealing with the public every day, and because this health order is only for the Central Okanagan, many travellers don’t realize that it is in effect and it is the frontline staff that have to do the education.”

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce says the regional mandate has also caused some confusion amongst businesses.

“Earlier this year we were loud and clear along with chambers across the Interior when our numbers were extremely low we petitioned the province to do regional decision making because the rates were so high in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley they introduced the circuit breaker,” said Kelowna Chamber of Commerce president Dan Rogers.

“When they did that it had a massive impact on our businesses even though our rates were low. The line we heard from the province at that time was all of our decisions would be made province-wide and there won’t be any regionally based decision making. Now they have flip-flopped,” Rogers added.

The Interior’s vaccination rate is slightly lower than the provincial average, with 60 per cent of eligible people having received both doses, compared to B.C.’s 63.2 per cent.

Interior Health did not announce an end date for the new measure but says it will be in place for “at least 14 days.

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Calgary mayor says lifting remaining COVID-19 health orders ‘height of insanity’ – Eckville Echo



Calgary’s mayor says it’s the “height of insanity” that Alberta is moving ahead with removing almost all of its remaining COVID-19 public health orders.

As of today, close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be notified of exposure by contact tracers nor will they be legally required to isolate.

The province is also ending asymptomatic testing.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says it inconceivable that the announcement would be made at the same time as cases have nearly tripled from recent weeks.

He says the decision puts Albertans’ health at risk.

Nenshi suggests that even the most fervent of anti-maskers wouldn’t agree with allowing people who have COVID-19 to be allowed in public.

The Canadian Press

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