Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Aug. 28, 2021.
Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Aug. 28, 2021.
We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.
Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.
As of the latest figures given on Aug. 27
• Total number of confirmed cases: 163,560 (5,657 active cases)
• New cases since Aug. 25: 867
• Total deaths: 1,807 (three additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 159 (up 10 since Thursday)
• Intensive care: 84 (up one since Thursday)
• Total vaccinations: 3,886,952 received first dose; 3,514,485 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 155,928
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 14
People who get the Delta variant of the coronavirus are twice as likely to be hospitalized as those who were infected by the Alpha variant which was first detected in England last year, a study showed on Friday.
The study, based on more than 43,000 COVID-19 cases of mostly unvaccinated people in England, compared the risk of hospitalization for people infected with Delta, which was first detected in India, with people who caught Alpha.
“Our analysis highlights that in the absence of vaccination, any Delta outbreaks will impose a greater burden on health care than an Alpha epidemic,” Anne Presanis, one of the study’s lead authors and a University of Cambridge statistician, said.
The study was based on cases between March and May during the early stages of Britain’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, so it was not able to assess the extra risk of hospital admission for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people.
The study, published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, was the largest so far to analyze COVID-19 cases confirmed by virus genome sequencing.
Premier John Horgan has told B.C. businesses to call the police if they face abuse from unvaccinated people trying to enter their establishments without B.C.’s vaccine card.
Horgan made the remarks at a news conference at Logan Lake on Friday afternoon.
“With respect to enforcement, it’s not unlike with respect to nightclubs or in the hospitality sector. Iif they have trouble with patrons, they call law enforcement and that’s what I would expect to happen,” said the premier.
Starting Sept. 13, proof of one vaccination will be required to enter restaurants, bars, nightclubs, casinos, sporting events, gyms and theatres. As of Oct. 24, proof of two vaccinations will be needed.
Horgan made his comments as the Health Ministry announced a significant jump in the number of new COVID-19 cases, 867 news cases, up from the 724 reported on Thursday.
The premier brushed off an unconfirmed report that someone in Nanaimo is already selling fake vaccination cards.
The trend for COVID-19 infections in British Columbia continues upward with 867 new cases, the highest daily total in about four months.
Three more people have died, while 159 people are in hospital and 84 of those are in intensive care.
There are 5,657 active cases in the province and nearly 39 per cent of those are in the Interior Health region, where tougher restrictions were put in place this month.
Interior Health reported the most new cases with 350, followed by Fraser Health with 228 new cases, Vancouver Coastal Health with 165 new cases and Island Health and Northern Health with 63 and 61 new cases, respectively.
-The Canadian Press
B.C. colleges will not be joining universities in requiring students, staff and visitors to disclose their vaccine status or undergo rapid testing for the COVID-19 virus because they say they are legally not allowed to do so.
A statement from B.C. colleges on Friday afternoon said provincial law prevents them from implementing the additional safety measures similar to those taken by universities.
“Colleges operate differently from universities,” the statement said, “as they are considered agents of government under the College and Institute Act, and have determined they must follow the direction of the provincial health officer.” It said it would enforce orders issued by Dr. Bonnie Henry.
On Tuesday, Henry ordered that students who live on campus must be vaccinated and all students will need to comply with province-wide health orders to wear masks at all public indoor spaces immediately, and show proof of vaccination to enter non-essential services starting Sept 13.
The president of the faculty association at Vancouver Community College, Taryn Thomson, said college instructors are disappointed by the decision to forgo additional measures.
“The government is unnecessarily causing chaos by making different rules for different people in the same sector,” said Thomson. “The students in college nursing programs are required to be vaccinated, but other students at the college are not. The vaccine card means students will have to show proof of vaccination at some services on campus, but not in classrooms. It’s incredibly confusing.”
— Lisa Cordasco and Tiffany Crawford
Find out how your neighbourhood is doing in the battle against COVID-19 with the latest number of new cases, positivity rates, and vaccination rates:
Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.
–with files from The Canadian Press
Chris Rock has tested positive for coronavirus and urged his followers to get vaccinated.
The American stand-up comedian and actor, 56, announced on Twitter that he had caught the virus in a short post to his 5.2 million followers.
He wrote: “Hey guys I just found out I have COVID, trust me you don’t want this. Get vaccinated.”
In May, Rock said he had received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
He has previously encouraged his followers to accept the vaccine when offered.
During an interview with Gayle King on CBS Sunday Morning in January, he said: “Let me put it this way. Do I take Tylenol when I get a headache? Yes. Do I know what’s in Tylenol? I don’t know what’s in Tylenol. I just know my headache is gone.
“Do I know what’s in a Big Mac, Gayle? No. I just know it’s delicious.”
Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden announced new vaccine requirements and criticised the roughly 80 million Americans who had at that time not had the jab.
All employers with more than 100 workers must require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly.
The move aims to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging Delta variant.
Australian Associated Press
The idea of waning immunity has picked up steam in recent weeks, with some countries using it to justify rolling out third-dose COVID-19 vaccine boosters to their populations. But immunologists say the concept has been largely misunderstood.
While antibodies — proteins created after infection or vaccination that help prevent future invasions from the pathogen — do level off over time, experts say that’s supposed to happen.
And it doesn’t mean we’re not protected against COVID-19.
Jennifer Gommerman, an immunologist with the University of Toronto, said the term “waning immunity” has given people a false understanding of how the immune system works.
“Waning has this connotation that something’s wrong, and there isn’t,” she said. “It’s very normal for the immune system to mount a response where a ton of antibodies are made and lots of immune cells expand. And for the moment, that kind of takes over.
“But it has to contract, otherwise you wouldn’t have room for subsequent immune responses.”
Antibody levels ramp up in the “primary response” phase after vaccination or infection, “when your immune system is charged up and ready to attack,” said Steven Kerfoot, an associate professor of immunology at Western University in London, Ont.
They then decrease from that “emergency phase,” he said. But the memory of the pathogen and the body’s ability to respond to it remain.
Kerfoot said B-cells, which make the antibodies, and T-cells, which limit the virus’s ability to cause serious damage, continue to work together to stave off severe disease long after a vaccine is administered. While T-cells can’t recognize the virus directly, they determine which cells are infected and kill them off quickly.
Recent studies have suggested the T-cell response is still robust several months following a COVID-19 vaccination.
“You might get a minor infection … [but] all of those cells are still there, which is why we’re still seeing very stable effectiveness when it comes to preventing severe disease,” Kerfoot said.
A pre-print study released this week by Public Health England suggested that protection against hospitalization and death remains much higher than protection against infection, even among older adults.
So the concept of waning immunity depends on whether you’re measuring protection against infection or against severe disease, Kerfoot said.
Ontario reported 43 hospitalized breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated on Friday, compared with 256 unvaccinated hospitalized infections. There were 795 total new cases in the province that day, 582 among those who weren’t fully vaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status.
British Columbia, meanwhile, saw 53 fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients hospitalized over the last two weeks, compared with 318 unvaccinated patients.
“You’ll hear people say that vaccines aren’t designed to protect infection, they’re designed to prevent severe disease,” Kerfoot said. “I wouldn’t say necessarily it’s the vaccine that’s designed to do one or another … that’s just how the immune system works.”
Moderna released real-world data this week suggesting its vaccine was 96 per cent effective at preventing hospitalization, even amid the more transmissible delta variant, and 87 per cent effective at preventing infection — down from 94 per cent efficacy seen in clinical trials last year.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said that dip “illustrates the impact of waning immunity and supports the need for a booster to maintain high levels of protection.”
Pfizer-BioNTech has argued the same with its own data, and an advisory panel to the U.S.-based Food and Drug Administration voted Friday to endorse third doses for those aged 65 and older or at high risk for severe disease.
However, the panel rejected boosters for the general population, saying the pharmaceutical company had provided little safety data on extra jabs.
The University of Toronto’s Gommerman said the efficacy data presented by Moderna doesn’t signal the need for a third dose.
“The fact it protects 87 per cent against infection, that’s incredible,” she said. “Most vaccines can’t achieve that.”
Bancel said Moderna’s research, which has yet to be peer reviewed, suggested a booster dose could also extend the duration of the immune response by re-upping neutralizing antibody levels.
But Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious physician in Mississauga, Ont., said looking solely at the antibody response is misleading and could be falsely used as justification for an infinite number of boosters.
Israel, which has opened third doses for its citizens, recently talked about administering fourth doses in the near future.
“This idea of waning immunity is being exploited, and it’s really concerning to see,” Chakrabarti said. “There’s this idea that antibodies mean immunity, and that’s true … but the background level of immunity, the durable T-cell stuff, hasn’t been stressed enough.”
While some experts maintain that boosters for the general population are premature, they agree some individuals would benefit from a third jab.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended boosters for the immunocompromised, who don’t mount a robust immune response from a two-dose series.
Other experts have argued that residents of long-term care homes, who were prioritized when the rollout began last December, may also soon need a third dose. The English study suggests immunity could be waning in older groups but not much — if at all — among those under age 65.
Chakrabarti said a decrease in protection among older populations could be due more to “overlapping factors,” including their generally weaker immune systems and congregate-living situations for those in long-term care.
“These are people at the highest risk of hospitalization,” he said. “Could [the length of time that’s passed following their doses] be playing a role? Yeah, maybe.”
While we still don’t know the duration of the immune response to COVID-19 vaccination, Gommerman said immune cells typically continue to live within bone marrow and make small amounts of antibodies for “decades.”
“And they can be quickly mobilized if they encounter a pathogen,” she said.
Quebec reported Saturday that 821 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the province, bringing the overall number of infections to 402,283.
Of the new infections, 609 people were unvaccinated when they received their positive result, 49 received one dose of vaccine more than two weeks prior, and 163 were double-vaxxed more than a week before the test.
Hospitalizations rose by two bringing the total number of people receiving care in the province’s hospitals to 264. The ministry reports that 36 people checked in for care, and 34 were discharged. Of the 36, 28 were unvaccinated, two received one vaccine dose more than 14 days prior and six got both jabs more than a week before entering the hospital.
There are 89 people in intensive care wards, which is six fewer than on Friday.
Three more people have died due to COVID-19, bringing that total to 11,321 since March 2020.
There are 508 active outbreaks in the province.
Quebec’s vaccination rate remains at 88 per cent for one dose of the eligible population and 82 per cent for both doses.
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