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COVID-19 in B.C.: Update with latest case counts coming from health ministry – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
With B.C.’s daily average of COVID-19 case counts rising slightly, residents will get another local snapshot Thursday of how the disease is spreading in the province.

A statement will be released in the afternoon with information on the latest positive tests, deaths and outbreaks in the pandemic.

On Wednesday, officials said 78 more people tested positive for the disease, marking the second day in a row that more than 75 cases were added to B.C.’s total.

Wednesday’s update brought the rolling seven-day average for new cases in the province up to 58 per day. The average had fallen as low as 35 earlier this month, after reaching a peak of 1,130 daily new cases in April.

No more deaths were reported Wednesday, leaving B.C. at 1,763 coronavirus-related deaths overall.

As of Wednesday, there were 729 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. The last time there were more than 700 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C. was July 3.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Ian Holliday 

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No changes expected as COVID-19 cases surge in Central Okanagan: Kelowna airport – Vernon Morning Star – Vernon Morning Star

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With new restrictions announced specifically for the Central Okanagan today (July 28), the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) said they are not expecting any changes to their operations.

Senior manager of airport operations Phillip Elchitz said that with the COVID-19 safety plan already in place at YLW, they don’t expect much more to change.

Elchitz also said that they’re not expecting much impact on passenger numbers because of the new restrictions.

“YLW is not anticipating a reduction in commercial scheduled flights as a result of the new provincial health guidelines specific to the Central Okanagan,” he said.

“YLW currently has a mandatory mask policy in place for all areas of the Air Terminal Building and on aircrafts due to Transport Canada requirements.”

Individual passenger temperature is also checked just before they go through security as an added safety measure.

Earlier in the afternoon on July 28, the province announced that masks will be mandatory again in indoor public spaces throughout the Central Okanagan, which includes Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country.

The province is also discouraging non-essential travel to and from the Central Okanagan, especially for those who are not vaccinated or who don’t have both doses yet.

READ MORE: Mask mandate returns to Central Okanagan, COVID-19 outbreak declared


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Amid pushback, Alberta health minister defends plan to ease COVID-19 isolation, masking, testing rules – Globalnews.ca

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Health Minister Tyler Shandro is defending the province’s plan to do away with most of its public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, as case numbers climb in Alberta.

“This is a plan that is based on the science and based on the data,” Shandro said during an unrelated news conference in Edmonton Thursday morning.

“We know that people will continue to have that anxiety but this was work that was done by public health based on the science, based on the data.”

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

Effective Thursday, close contacts will no longer be notified of exposure by contact tracers nor will they be legally required to isolate – although it still recommended.

The province will also end asymptomatic testing.

Further measures will be eliminated Aug. 16. People who test positive for COVID-19 will not be mandated to isolate at that time but it is still strongly recommended. Isolation hotels will also close as quarantine supports end.

Also Aug. 16, provincial mandatory masking orders will be lifted. Some masking in acute care or continuing care facilities may still be required.

Effective Aug. 31, COVID-19 testing will no longer be available through assessment centres. It will be available in primary care settings including doctors’ offices or in acute care and hospital settings.


Click to play video: 'Alberta bringing COVID-19 measures in line with other respiratory viruses: Hinshaw'



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Alberta bringing COVID-19 measures in line with other respiratory viruses: Hinshaw


Alberta bringing COVID-19 measures in line with other respiratory viruses: Hinshaw

While the province could not point to another jurisdiction that is taking a similar approach, Shandro maintained this is the next step as the province moves from a pandemic to an endemic response, adding that Alberta is leading the way.

“The three stages of any pandemic begins with containment, then we move to mitigation and then it moves to the endemic response where we live with a virus in our community,” Shandro said.

“Other provinces know that this is going to be the inevitable next step in Canada for all provinces.

“We did know that this is — when we do move to an endemic response more clearly and (with) some of these measures, that some folks were going to have questions — but I think that’s why we’re trying to do it in a thoughtful way, in a staged approach based on really important metrics that were developed, that were based on the science and based on the data.”

Read more:
COVID-19 is surging in Alberta, but experts say other provinces shouldn’t worry yet

Shandro said the metrics were chosen by Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and the 16 people who work in her office. The health minister did not reveal what the metrics were, but pointed to 65 per cent of the eligible Alberta population being fully vaccinated as an example of one the measures that led to the further easing of restrictions.

“This isn’t the first pandemic that the world has responded to. This isn’t the first pandemic that we’ve seen in Alberta,” Shandro said.

“The folks — the 16 folks in Dr. Hinshaw’s office, as well as the MOHs (medical officers of health) throughout AHS — have an extraordinary amount of experience in public health and in response to other pandemics and when it comes to infectious disease.”

As of July 27, 75.6 per cent of eligible Albertans had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 64.3 per cent are fully immunized.

Read more:
Nenshi says lifting Alberta’s remaining COVID-19 health orders is the ‘height of insanity’

Since July 1, people who were not immunized made up 95 per cent of confirmed COVID-19 cases, 92 per cent of those requiring hospital care and 95 per cent of COVID-19 deaths, according to the province.

“This shows that the pressures on the health system and our concerns about protecting lives are changing and moving to an endemic response,” Shandro said.

“We know that there will continue to be some transmission but the data shows that what the vaccines are doing is making it less infectious and less deadly and that’s the good thing that allows us to move to that endemic response.”

Shandro stressed that anyone who is eligible and has not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine should book an appointment.

Dr. Joe Vipond, an emergency room physician based in Calgary, said with new cases doubling every five days, now is not the time to be letting up.

“Right now, when everything that I know about COVID tells me we should be ringing the alarm bells and putting in much more powerful public health restrictions, the answer from the medical officer of health is that we are going to be the first jurisdiction in the world to pretend COVID has gone away,” he said.

Vipond said there is too much unknown with COVID-19 variants. With no data about what lifting these measures will do, he added it’s hard to say what will happen. He worries with testing changes, patients will end up in his emergency room and also worries that those under 12 who are not eligible to be vaccinated are being put at risk.

“I just want to do my job. I just want to love my kids. I don’t want to take this on, I don’t want to take on this government.

“I just want to be safe, right? That’s the only reason why I’ve ever fought is so that my kids are safe,” he said, getting emotional.


Click to play video: 'COVID-19 resurges in BC, Alberta, prompting fears of 4th wave'



2:09
COVID-19 resurges in BC, Alberta, prompting fears of 4th wave


COVID-19 resurges in BC, Alberta, prompting fears of 4th wave

The changes were announced by Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Wednesday afternoon as the province recorded 194 new cases of COVID-19 — the highest daily case count since early June.

There are now 1,334 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.

The latest reported R-value, or rate of infection, for Alberta was 1.48 for the week of July 19 to July 25. The rate was slightly higher in Calgary at 1.5 — one of the highest R-values seen in Alberta throughout the pandemic.

“COVID is not over… COVID will not be eliminated. We need to learn to live with it,” Hinshaw said Wednesday. “With the vaccine readily available, the need for the types of extraordinary restrictions we used in the past has diminished.

“We need to make sure that Alberta’s health system is able to support all patients. That is why we are making changes to bring COVID-19 measures in line with how we handle other respiratory viruses.”

There are currently 84 people in hospital with COVID-19, with 18 of those people being treated in intensive care.

With files from The Canadian Press and Emily Mertz, Global News.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Do you support the local COVID-19 restrictions in the Central Okanagan? – Castanet.net

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Due to a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the Central Okanagan in the past week, masks will once again be mandatory in all indoor public spaces in the region.

During a press conference Wednesday, Interior Health medical health officer Dr. Sue Pollock declared a new COVID-19 outbreak across the entire Central Okanagan region.

In the past week, about 240 new cases have been identified in the Central Okanagan, making up about half of the province’s total new cases in that time period. A number of Kelowna restaurants have closed in recent days due to staff contracting the virus.

The new indoor mask mandate will go into effect in the Central Okanagan at midnight Wednesday. Masks will be required indoors in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, Peachland and Lake Country.

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