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COVID-19 in B.C.: Over 2000 new cases and 46 deaths on weekend, five healthcare outbreaks, and more

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Tragically, this past weekend has proven to be the most fatal time period that B.C. has witnessed during the course of the pandemic so far, with the largest number of deaths over a three-day period.

Meanwhile, new case counts remain high and the number of active and hospitalized cases continue to climb.

There were also five new healthcare outbreaks, and 14 stores and 23 flights with confirmed cases.

Henry explained that the process is “arduous” and involves many epidemiologists across the province, and that as case numbers increase, the process becomes even more challenging.

The data error announced on November 25 was rectified over the weekend, with changes reflected in today’s case numbers.

Accordingly, Henry said that they will be further automating their process, which will allow epidemiologists to spend more time on understanding the outbreaks and clusters in the community.

She said the daily numbers are important but that they look more at trends rather than individual days, which she has explained in the past can reflect a number of factors.

She said they will be adding the seven-day rolling daily average and talking more about it in the coming weeks to help people understand it.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix
Province of British Columbia

At today’s in-person briefing, Henry provided updates for the past three time periods:

  • 750 new cases from November 27 to 28;
  • 731 new cases from November 28 to 29;
  • 596 new cases from November 29 to 30.

In addition, due to the correction to the data-reporting error from Fraser Health (based on a technical issue which has since been rectified), there were an additional 277 historical cases added.

Accordingly, there was a total of 2,354 new cases (including 10 epi-linked cases) over the weekend period.

The new case count includes, by region:

  • 1,365 new cases (including 277 historical cases) in Fraser Health;
  • 212 in Interior Health;
  • 73 in Northern Health;
  • 58 in Island Health;
  • one person from outside Canada.

Active cases have increased by 383 cases since November 20, rising to a total of 8,855 active cases as of today.

At the moment, there are 316 people in hospital (15 more than November 20), with 75 of those patients in intensive care units (six more than November 20).

One area that has decreased is the number of people being monitored by public health—the number dropped by 291 people since November 20 to 10,139 people today.

A total of 23,111 people have now recovered.

Sadly, B.C. had 46 deaths over the past three days, which Henry said is the highest-ever count. She also said that about 80 percent of the deaths were people in longterm care facilities. The eldest person who died this past weekend was 103 years old, Henry said.

Of the 46 deaths, Dix said there were:

  • 15 deaths from November 27 to 28;
  • 17 deaths from November 28 to 29—which establishes a new high;
  • 14 deaths from November 29 to 30.

The previous record was 13 deaths on November 26, which all three of the past days surpassed.

Dix also explained that 35 of those deaths in Fraser Health with the other 11 deaths in Vancouver Coastal Health.

The total number of deaths is now at 441 people who have died during the pandemic.

B.C. has recorded a cumulative total amount of 33,238 cases, which includes:

  • 21,070 cases in Fraser Health;
  • 8,850 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
  • 1,750 in Interior Health;
  • 845 in Northern Health;
  • 629 in Island Health;
  • 94 people from outside Canada.

Unfortunately, there are five new healthcare outbreaks:

  • Veterans Memorial Lodge at Broadmead (4579 Chatterton Way) in Victoria, where Island Health stated that one staff member has tested positive and is limited to one unit;
  • St. Judes Anglican Home (810 W 27th Avenue) in Vancouver, where Vancouver Coastal Health imposed restrictions on November 26;
  • Lakeview Care Centre (3490 Porter Street) in Vancouver, where Vancouver Coastal Health imposed restrictions on November 26;
  • Fleetwood Villa (16028 83rd Avenue) in Surrey, where Fraser Health stated the one resident has tested positive;
  • Mountainview Village (1540 KLO Road) in Kelowna, where Interior Health stated that one resident and one staff member tested positive, and that the outbreak applies to both east and west units on the second floor.

In addition, one facility that wasn’t on Henry’s list was PICS Assisted Living Centre (12075 75A Avenue) in Surrey, where Fraser Health stated today that one resident and one staff member have tested positive.

One healthcare outbreak has been declared over: Louis Brier Home in Vancouver.

Henry said there are active outbreaks in 57 longterm care facilities and five acute care units for a total of 62 healthcare facilities.

She also said there are 1,338 active cases (847 residents and 487 staff) involved in healthcare outbreaks.

Fraser Health declared one community outbreak at Newton Elementary (13359 81st Avenue) in Surrey, which has been temporarily closed for two weeks.

The list of schools with new exposures will be published in a separate forthcoming article.

Over the past three days, there have been 14 stores with employees who have tested positive.

Sobeys announced that four of its Safeway locations had staff members who tested positive:

  • one employee who last worked on November 18 at the 1766 Robson Street location in Vancouver;
  • one employee who last worked on November 19 at the 1780 East Broadway location in Vancouver.
  • one employee who last worked on November 24 at the 2101 Lahb Avenue location in Vancouver;
  • one employee who last worked on November 26 at the 6564 East Hastings Street location in Burnaby.

In addition, Sobeys announced an employee who last worked on November 18 at the FreshCo location at 7165 138th Street in Surrey tested positive.

Meanwhile, Loblaw announced seven of its stores had staff members who tested postive.

One employee who tested positive last worked on November 23 at Joti’s No Frills (310 West Broadway) in Vancouver.

Another employee who tested positive last worked on November 25 at Your Independent Grocer (1255 Davie Street) in Vancouver’s West End.

The remaining five stores were Real Canadian Superstore locations, including:

  • two employees who last worked on November 18 and 21 at the 2332 160th Street location in Surrey;
  • two employees who last worked on November 19 and 23 at the 3185 Grandview Highway location in Vancouver;
  • one employee who last worked on November 23 at the 8195 120th Street location in Delta;
  • one employee who last worked on November 23 at the 2280 Baron Road location in Kelowna;
  • one employee who last worked on November 24 at the 14650 104th Avenue location in Surrey.

Meanwhile, T&T Supermarket reported that a backroom employee who last worked on November 26 at the Metrotown location (147–4800 Kingsway Avenue) in Burnaby has tested positive.

Canadian Tire reported an employee who tested positive last worked on November 16 at its Prince George location (5008 Domano Boulevard).

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added 23 flights to its lists of flights confirmed with COVID-19:

  • November 15: Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver;
  • November 15: Air Canada 114, Vancouver to Toronto;
  • November 17: Air Canada 314, Vancouver to Montreal;
  • November 17: Air Canada 8421, Kelowna to Vancouver;
  • November 18: Air Canada 202, Vancouver to Calgary;
  • November 19: Air Canada 103, Vancouver to Toronto;
  • November 19: Air Canada 114, Vancouver to Toronto;
  • November 19: Air Canada 225, Calgary to Vancouver;
  • November 20: Flair 8102, Calgary to Vancouver;
  • November 22: Aeromexico AM696, Mexico City to Vancouver;
  • November 22: Air Canada 1126, Kelowna to Vancouver;
  • November 22: WestJet WS139, Calgary to Vancouver;
  • November 22: Air Canada AC311, Montreal to Vancouver;
  • November 22: WestJet Flight 3455, Calgary to Abbotsford;
  • November 23: Air Canada AC854, Vancouver to London;
  • November 24: Air Canada Flight 554, Vancouver to Los Angeles;
  • November 25: United Airlines Flight 5312, San Francisco to Vancouver;
  • November 25: Cathay Pacific 865, Vancouver to Hong Kong;
  • November 25: United Airlines 1641, Denver to Vancouver;
  • November 26: Air Canada AC121, Toronto to Vancouver;
  • November 26: Air Canada AC8081, Vancouver to Victoria;
  • November 27: Air Canada AC0044, Vancouver to Delhi;
  • November 27: Air Canada 8417, Kelowna to Vancouver.

 

Source: – The Georgia Straight

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Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 161.42 million, death toll at 3,488,751

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More than 161.42 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 3,488,751​ have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open https://tmsnrt.rs/2FThSv7 in an external browser.

Eikon users can click  for a case tracker.

The following table lists the top 50 countries by the number of reported cases. A complete list is available with the above links.

COUNTRIES AND TOTAL DEATHS CONFIRMED DEATHS PER

TERRITORIES CASES 10,000

INHABITANTS

United States 584,768 32,926,288 17.9

India 262,317 24,046,809 1.94

Brazil 430,417 15,433,989 20.55

France 107,423 5,848,154 16.04

Turkey 44,301 5,095,390 5.38

Russia 254,590 4,922,901 17.62

United Kingdom 127,668 4,446,824 19.21

Italy 123,927 4,146,722 20.51

Spain 79,339 3,604,799 16.95

Germany 85,903 3,579,871 10.36

Argentina 69,254 3,242,103 15.56

Colombia 79,760 3,067,879 16.06

Poland 71,311 2,849,014 18.78

Iran 76,433 2,732,152 9.34

Mexico 219,901 2,375,115 17.43

Ukraine 47,620 2,143,448 10.67

Peru 65,316 1,873,316 20.02

Indonesia 47,823 1,734,285 1.79

Czech Republic 29,857 1,651,178 28.09

South Africa 55,012 1,605,252 9.52

Netherlands 17,423 1,589,282 10.11

Canada 24,825 1,312,408 6.7

Chile 27,520 1,266,601 14.69

Iraq 15,910 1,134,859 4.14

Philippines 18,958 1,131,467 1.78

Romania 29,413 1,070,605 15.11

Sweden 14,275 1,037,126 14.03

Belgium 24,645 1,026,473 21.56

Pakistan 19,384 873,220 0.91

Portugal 16,999 841,379 16.53

Israel 6,379 839,076 7.18

Hungary 29,041 796,390 29.71

Bangladesh 12,102 779,535 0.75

Jordan 9,203 722,754 9.24

Serbia 6,646 705,185 9.52

Switzerland 10,179 679,510 11.96

Japan 11,396 673,821 0.9

Austria 10,455 635,780 11.83

United Arab Emirates 1,626 543,610 1.69

Lebanon 7,569 534,968 11.05

Morocco 9,091 514,670 2.52

Malaysia 1,822 462,190 0.58

Nepal 4,669 439,658 1.66

Saudi Arabia 7,134 431,432 2.12

Bulgaria 17,194 413,320 24.48

Ecuador 19,442 405,783 11.38

Slovakia 12,168 387,162 22.34

Greece 11,322 373,881 10.55

Belarus 2,681 373,351 2.83

Panama 6,288 369,455 15.05

Source: Reuters tally based on statements from health ministries and government officials

Generated at 10:00 GMT.

 

(Editing by David Clarke)

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Canada plots course to fully vaccinated return to gatherings in fall

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Canada on Friday said there would be a gradual return to a world with indoor sports and family gatherings as more people get vaccinated, but it did not go as far as the United States in telling people they could eventually ditch their masks.

Canada has administered one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to just over half its adult population, and the country may be over the worst of its current third wave of infections, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said.

On Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors and can avoid wearing them indoors in most places, guidance the agency said will allow life to begin to return to normal.

On Friday, Canada‘s public health agency offered guidelines to the 10 provinces, which are responsible for public health restrictions.

The agency says once 75% of Canadians have had a single dose and 20% are fully vaccinated, some restrictions can be relaxed to allow small, outdoor gatherings with family and friends, camping, and picnics.

Once 75% of those eligible are fully vaccinated in the fall, indoor sports and family gatherings can be allowed again.

“I think masks might be the last layer of that multi-layer protection that we’ll advise people to remove,” Tam told reporters, noting that in Canada colder temperatures meant people would start spending more time indoors in the fall.

“We are taking a bit of a different approach to the United States,” she added. While in most of Canada masks are not required outdoors, they are mandatory indoors.

Less than 4% of Canada‘s adult population has been fully vaccinated compared to more than 36% of Americans.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has promised that everyone who wants to can be fully vaccinated by September, this week spoke of a “one-dose summer” and a “two-dose fall” without explaining what that might look like.

 

(Reporting by Steve Scherer and David Ljunggren; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Delayed 2nd Pfizer/BioNTech shot boosts antibodies in elderly; COVID-19 obesity risk higher for men

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The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Delaying second Pfizer/BioNTech dose boosts antibodies in elderly

Delaying the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine beyond the originally recommended three-week gap used by the companies in clinical trials appears to induce a stronger antibody response in the elderly, UK researchers found. Shortly after the vaccine became available, UK health officials advised that the second dose should be given 12 weeks after the first to allow more people to get protected by a first dose early on. In a new paper seen by Reuters and expected to appear on medRxiv on Friday ahead of peer review, researchers found that among 175 people ages 80 to 99, those who got their second dose at 12 weeks had antibody responses that were 3.5 times higher than those who got it after three weeks. Antibodies are only one part of the immune system, and vaccines also generate T cells that fight infections. The peak T cell responses were higher in the group with a three-week interval between doses, and the authors cautioned against drawing conclusions on how protected individuals were based on which dosing schedule they received. (https://reut.rs/3wjPK9B)

Impact of obesity on COVID-19 risks may be greater in men

The known increased risk of severe COVID-19 and death linked to obesity may be even more pronounced for men than women, new data suggest. Researchers studied 3,530 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with an average age of 65, including 1,469 who were obese. In men, moderate obesity was associated with a significantly higher risk of developing severe disease, needing mechanical breathing assistance and dying from COVID-19. (The threshold for moderate obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 35. In an 5-foot, five-inch tall (1.65 m) adult, that would correspond to a weight of 210 pounds (95 kg). In women, however, only a BMI of 40 or higher, indicating severe obesity, was linked with the increased risks. In a report published in European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, the researchers note that while obesity is known to be linked with body-wide inflammation, patients’ levels of inflammatory proteins did not appear to explain the association between obesity and severe illness. For now, they conclude, “particular attention should be paid” to protecting patients with obesity from the coronavirus, “with priority to vaccination access, remote work, telemedicine, and other measures given the higher risk of adverse outcomes once they are diagnosed with COVID-19.” (https://bit.ly/3eO6GiA)

COVID-19 testing rates low among symptomatic Americans

Sick Americans appear to be passing up opportunities to get tested for coronavirus and thus are likely unknowingly spreading the infection throughout their communities, new research shows. Among 37,000 adults across the United States who participated in a smartphone app survey between March and October 2020, nearly 2,700 reported at least one episode of fever and chills. But according to a report published in JAMA Network Open, only a small fraction reported receiving a COVID-19 test result within seven days of the onset of illness. At first, as tests became more accessible, the numbers improved. In early April 2020, less than 10% of survey participants reporting illness with fever received test results within a week. By late July, that proportion had increased to 24.1%. Throughout the summer and fall, as tests became easier to find, the number of sick participants who reported getting tested remained flat. By late October, only 26% reported receiving a test result within a week of febrile illness. “It’s shocking to me that when people have a fever they’re still not getting tested,” said coauthor Dr. Mark Pletcher of the University of California, San Francisco. “Tests are easy to come by. People might have coronavirus, might be spreading it to their friends and neighbors, and they’re not getting tested.” (https://bit.ly/2QUyMzf)

Open  in an external browser for a Reuters graphic on vaccines in development.

 

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid, Alistair Smout and Ronnie Cohen; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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