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COVID-19 update for Feb. 10: Exposure alert for Surrey wrestling club | Four more deaths | B.C. seeks injunction against churches ignoring health laws – Vancouver Sun

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Feb. 10, 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.

B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on Feb. 9
• Total number of confirmed cases: 71,387 (4,393 active)
• New cases since Feb. 8: 435
• Total deaths: 1,263 (four new)
• Hospitalized cases: 241
• Intensive care: 68
• Total vaccinations: 155,585 of which 12,802 are second doses.
• Cases under public health monitoring: 6,879
• Recovered: 65,618
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 32

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B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS


LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

11 a.m. – Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreak over at Glenwood Seniors Community

Fraser Health is declaring the COVID-19 outbreak over at Glenwood Seniors Community, a long-term care facility in Agassiz.

Health officials say there are no longer any cases at Glenwood, which is owned and operated by Park Place Seniors Living.

11 a.m. – Interior Health declares outbreak at Carrington Place in Vernon

Interior Health has declared an outbreak at Carrington Place Retirement Residence in Vernon.

One resident has tested positive for COVID-19.

Everyone in close contact with this individual is in self-isolation and monitoring for symptoms, according to Interior Health.

Carrington Place is a combined assisted living and independent living residence privately operated by Chartwell.

Vancouver health officials say community spread of COVID-19 appears to be slowing in Whistler compared to previous weeks.

In a news release Wednesday, Vancouver Coastal Health says as of Feb. 8 it has identified 43 new cases of COVID-19 in Whistler, and an additional 24 older cases with earlier symptom onset dates for a total of 614 cases since Jan. 1.

9:30 a.m. – Exposure alert for Surrey wrestling club

Fraser Health has issued a COVID-19 exposure alert for a wrestling club in Surrey.

The health agency says the possible exposure occurred at the Rustom Wrestling Club, located at 104-13423 78 Ave., on Jan. 28 between 4:30 and 7 p.m.

On its Instagram page, Rustom Wrestling Club said the club has been closed since October because wrestling, like other contact sports and adult team sports, is prohibited under provincial health orders. However, the club recently made its downstair gym available to its athletes and members “with COVID-19 rules in place.”

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“The recent initiative was to help our members and help the club sustain. With the limitation of four people at a time, one person tested positive for COVID and the three others have been informed and are taking the necessary actions,” the Instagram post said.

“The individual who tested positive is recovering well.”

The exposure risk is believed to be low but Fraser Health asks anyone who may have visited the club on that day to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Rustom Wrestling Club says its gym facility will be closed until further notice.

federal requirements that international air travellers spend a mandatory three days in a government-designated hotel, it seems most arrivals in Canada will still not have to quarantine at all.

A long list of exemptions to the previous isolation order — from truck drivers to fishing crews and essential health workers — will remain in force, said Tammy Jarbeau, a Public Health Agency of Canada spokeswoman.

“The rules that were in place still stand, there are no changes,” she said Tuesday.

Border restrictions imposed in late March of last year have curbed travel into this country by about 90 per cent.

But there were still 8.6 million arrivals total (land and air) between then and the end of January 2021, and 74 per cent of them — about 6.2 million — were exempt from the previous requirement to isolate at home for 14 days, according to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) statistics.

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According to the CBSA, three quarters of the quarantine-exempt travellers entering by land have a “critical role” in the trade and transportation sector. Another 18 per cent of the exempt people at land crossings must cross the border to go to work. And the rest fall under one of the other exemptions.

– Tom Blackwell, National Post

12 a.m.  – Four more deaths in B.C. and 435 more cases

There were 435 cases of COVID-19 reported Tuesday and four deaths.

There are now 4,393 active cases of the disease in B.C., of which 241 are being treated in hospital with 68 of those are in critical. Over 6,800 people are in self isolation after being exposed to the virus.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there has been a health-care outbreak at a group home in Kamloops.

Six staff members have tested positive at Highridge Home and Singh House, two private 24-hour support facilities located on separate floors in the same building.

There are 32 active outbreaks in health-care facilities. There have been 155,585 vaccines administered in B.C., with 1,084 given over the past day.

British Columbia’s COVID-19 vaccination program is in its darkest days, with less than 1,100 jabs given on Monday.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said there were 1,089 immunizations on Feb. 8, for a grand total of 155,585 (including 12,802 second doses) since the program began in December.

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B.C.’s provincial health officer and attorney general are asking for a injunction ordering three churches to follow public health rules banning in-person religious services.

The application in B.C. Supreme Court comes after the churches filed a petition challenging the province’s prohibition on services, arguing they violate people’s rights and freedoms.

The Riverside Calvary Chapel in Langley, the Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church in Abbotsford and Free Reformed Church of Chilliwack filed the petition last month.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says in her response to the petition that the ban on indoor gatherings, including in-person religious services, is necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19 in B.C.


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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Alberta records its largest daily case count since early February, adds 430 new infections – CTV Edmonton

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EDMONTON —
Alberta recorded its largest daily increase in new COVID-19 cases since near the start of the month with 430 new infections reported on Wednesday. 

The increase in the largest in one day since the 582 reported on Feb. 4.

Active cases continued to fall, down by 25 to 4,545, a level last seen in late October. 

The number of active cases continues to decline but the rate of decrease has tailed off in the last week, with no triple-digit decreases since Feb. 17 and small increases recorded twice in the past week.

The province also reported 13 deaths, bringing its total to 1,866. Due to delays in death reporting only two of the deaths reported Wednesday occured in February, with five of them going back to December of 2020.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients also continued its downwards trend with 307 reported in hospital, down 20 from Tuesday. The number of patients in intensive care units rose by five, up to 56. 

Alberta reported a 4.64 per cent test positivity on based on 9,467 tests. 

The province reported 22 new variant cases of COVID-19, all of them the B.1.1.7 “U.K.” variant. Eighteen of those cases were recorded in the Calgary health zone, which is significantly larger than the city itself.

More than 186,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far.

Dr. Hinshaw returns Monday, March 1, for an in-person update.

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Computer programmer shares workaround to Alberta COVID-19 vaccine booking issues – Global News

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UPDATE: As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, it appeared the website had been changed and the workaround was no longer effective.

Hundreds of people said they were able to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments for their loved ones Wednesday thanks to a workaround published online by a computer programmer.

It all started Wednesday morning when Kory Mathewson‘s family logged on to the Alberta Health Services website to book appointments for Grandma Mufty and Grandpa Bill.

The first appointment was booked after a few tries but getting the second was more difficult.

Like so many other Albertans, once logging onto the website and putting in the postal code, the website stopped working for Mathewson.

Read more:
Alberta COVID-19 vaccine booking site ‘experiencing very high volumes’ as appointments open to those 75 and older

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Being a computer programmer and developer, Mathewson checked out the coding of the website.

He discovered that he could alter the code and bypass the postal code section, going straight to the patient information form.

By doing so, Mathewson was quickly able to book an appointment.

Upon getting the confirmation, he describes feeling immediate relief.

“It’s exactly that. It’s like: ‘Finally! I don’t have to worry.’”

After double checking the process and simplifying it for a less tech-savvy audience, Mathewson posted the workaround to Twitter in hopes of helping others do the same.

“It was like, ‘OK, how do we make this as easy as possible for people?’ You know, people that don’t know code,” Mathewson told Global News.

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Within hours, hundreds of Albertans responded saying the hack had worked for them and they were also able to book appointments for their loved ones.

However, as of 7 p.m. it appeared the website had been changed and the workaround was no longer effective.

In a series of messages on Twitter Wednesday night, AHS said it had “put additional queuing software in place to help manage the volume of users on the AHS COVID-19 immunization booking tool.

“This software will indicate an estimated wait time, and where each individual is in the booking queue to give people the option to continue booking, or to try again later.”

As of 7 p.m., 43,000 eligible seniors 75 and over had booked appointments using the immunization tool and 811 since it went live at 8 a.m., AHS said.

A spokesperson for AHS told Global News that the queueing system has “nothing to do with the workaround” shared on Twitter.

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A Twitter user created a video walking through the steps to show others how to do it in a visual way.

“It was a real community effort and all the different people kind of pulled together to make this solution happen,” said Mathewson.

Read more:
Albertans 75 and older can book COVID-19 vaccine appointments starting 8 a.m. Wednesday

The former Edmontonian believes Alberta Health Services could use the tool to fix the delays for all Albertans.

“In my opinion, this seems like a relatively straightforward fix.”

“I’m more than happy to be connected with the people at AHS to make this happen,” Mathewson said. “Part of the reason that I’m here is to sort of communicate that there are great developers like myself that are ready to help make this possible and make this as frictionless and as easy as possible for all Albertans.”


Click to play video 'Alberta Health Minister says AHS is ‘fixing the the problems’ with COVID-19 vaccine booking system'



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Alberta Health Minister says AHS is ‘fixing the the problems’ with COVID-19 vaccine booking system


Alberta Health Minister says AHS is ‘fixing the the problems’ with COVID-19 vaccine booking system

In a statement, Alberta Health Services confirmed the appointments booked using the workaround were official but that “this is not a permanent solution.”

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“The AHS online immunization booking tool continues to experience extremely high volumes and our IT teams are working to find a way to make the process as fast and efficient as possible for everyone.”

Read more:
Should all seniors get the COVID-19 vaccine before essential workers?

In the meantime, Mathewson and his brother Kyle say they’ll continue to help others looking to book appointments.

“I did this for my grandparents but really, this is for all the grandparents of Alberta,” said Mathewson.

“There’s a lot of people that want this and want to be safe. And hopefully this gets them one step closer and takes away that, ‘when is it going to happen?’”


Mufty and Bill Mathewson.


Courtesy/Kory Mathewson

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

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Moderna begins studying potential COVID-19 vaccine booster targetting variant first detected in South Africa – CBC.ca

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Drug manufacturer Moderna says it will begin testing a variant-specific version of its COVID-19 vaccine that would target the B1351 variant first detected in South Africa.  

The company has previously reported that its original two-dose vaccine — already approved for use in Canada — appears to provide protection against the B117 variant first detected in the U.K., as well as the B1351 variant, though its own research suggests it may be less effective against the latter

The company says it will study the B1351 variant-specific vaccine both as a potential booster to the original COVID-19 vaccine and as a standalone for people who have not yet received a vaccine at all. 

It will study the outcomes of three different scenarios:

  • A single shot of the B1351 variant-specific vaccine. 
  • A shot combining both the original vaccine and the B1351 variant-specific booster. 
  • A booster of the original vaccine, added to the original two-dose version. 

The B1351-specific vaccine will undergo clinical trials at the National Institutes for Health in the U.S.

“As we seek to defeat COVID-19, we must be vigilant and proactive as new variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge,” said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna in a statement. 

“Leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform, we are moving quickly to test updates to the vaccines that address emerging variants of the virus in the clinic.”

Moderna reported last month that its vaccine was essentially as effective against the B117 variant as it was to prior variants.

But it found there was a reduction in its neutralizing ability against the B1351 variant. 

Neutralizing antibodies are one of the body’s immune responses to control viral infections.

South Africa paused its rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine after data from a small trial suggested the vaccine did not protect against mild to moderate illness from the B1351 variant now dominant in the country.

Johnson & Johnson, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Novavax have all looked at how their vaccines perform against the B1351 variant.

WATCH | Doctor calls for aggressive action to target COVID-19 variants:

In an interview on Rosemary Barton Live, Dr. Brooks Fallis speaks out against reopening plans in several provinces as officials study potential implications of the spread of new COVID-19 variants. 8:46

Variants confirmed around the world

The B1351 variant has been detected in at least 40 countries while the B117, first detected in the U.K., has now been identified in 80. Both have been found in Canada. 

Health Canada would need to approve any booster or new vaccine against the B1351 variant before it could be administered here.

The prime minister confirmed Wednesday that Moderna will deliver the two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine it is contracted to provide Canada by the end of March. 

Justin Trudeau said Canada expects to receive 460,000 doses the week of March 8 and 840,000 doses beginning  March 22.

That’s in addition to the 518,000 Moderna shots that have been administered in this country already and the 168,000 doses that are set to arrive this week.

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