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COVID-19 update for June 29: Third wave would have killed more people without vaccines: Tam | B.C. set to announce third phase of restart plan | Death toll higher outside long term care, says study – 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 June 29, 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 June 29:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 147,578 (876 active cases)
• New cases since June 28: 29
• Total deaths: 1,754 (no new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 110
• Intensive care: 34
• Total vaccinations:4,941,795 doses administered; 1,368,464 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 144,931
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 7

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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19: Look up your neighbourhood in our interactive map of case and vaccination rates in B.C.

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

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COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

3:20 p.m. – B.C. reports 29 new cases, no additional deaths 

British Columbia reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

There are currently 876 active COVID-19 cases in the province, including 110 people in hospitalized with the disease, according to a joint statement from Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Thirty-four people are being treated in intensive care.

There were no deaths to report on Tuesday. The provincial death toll from the pandemic remains at 1,754.

As of Tuesday, more than 4.9 million British Columbians had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while nearly 1.37 million are fully vaccinated after receiving their second shot.

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“Today, we are reporting that 78.3 per cent of all adults in B.C. and 77 per cent of those 12 and older have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, 31.6 per cent of all adults in B.C. and 29.5 per cent of those 12 and older have received their second dose,” the statement said.

2:45 p.m. – Canada Day to mark step 3 of B.C.’s restart plan, says Premier John Horgan

B.C. Premier John Horgan says the province will move forward with step 3 of the provincial restart plan on July 1 as planned.

Horgan said there were just 29 new cases of COVID-19 reported on Monday.

“We can cheer for our kids, go to a friend’s place for dinner, plan that wedding, go to theatre, go to a concert,” said an upbeat Horgan.

Step 3 will see a return to normal indoor and outdoor personal gatherings, fairs and festivals can be held, casinos and nightclubs can reopen and all indoor fitness classes are allowed.

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There will still be restrictions on the numbers of people allowed in casinos and nightclubs and other public safety measures, however masks will no longer have to be worn in public indoor spaces.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said B.C. is making very encouraging progress in beating the pandemic, with high rates of immunization.

She said the provincial state of emergency will be lifted on Wednesday at midnight, however, B.C.’s public health emergency will remain in effect.

– David Carrigg

12 p.m. – Gallup poll: 57% of Republicans say the pandemic is over. Only 4% of Democrats agree

A majority of Americans (89 per cent) believe the pandemic situation is improving, but there’s a sharp partisan split on whether the U.S. is out of the woods.

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In a new Gallup Poll, a majority of Republicans (57 per cent) declared the pandemic finished, but only 4 per cent of Democrats agreed.

The web survey, conducted by Gallup between June 14 and 20, asked 4,843 adults from their panel about their perception of the COVID pandemic and its effect on their lives. The data is part of the organization’s continuing Americans’ Views of Pandemic in the U.S. report.

The results show that while a record number of Americans saw an improvement in pandemic recovery, only 4 per cent of Democrats thought the crisis had ended, as opposed to a majority of Republicans and 35 per cent of Independents.

– Postmedia

11:30 a.m. – Third wave would have killed more people in Canada without vaccines: Tam

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Canada’s chief public health officer says without vaccines the third wave of COVID-19 in Canada would have been much deadlier.

Dr. Theresa Tam says as vaccines began to roll out among the most vulnerable, older populations in Canada, she was “quite struck” by how quickly infections and deaths plummeted in that age group.

In January, when the second wave of COVID-19 peaked in Canada, more than 4,000 Canadians over the age of 80 died from it.

In April, when the third wave peaked and most Canadians over 80 had at least one dose of vaccine, the number of deaths in that age group fell to 498.

Tam is thrilled with the current pace of vaccinations in Canada but says with the Delta variant appearing in more places, immunization targets need to be higher.

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She says higher vaccination rates among adults are particularly important since children under 12 are not yet eligible for vaccines.

– The Canadian Press

10:45 a.m. – Tourism experts calling on Canadians to help recovery

A panel of tourism experts is predicting Canadians will be “travel hesitant” this summer, despite the easing of travel restrictions, and it will be years before the travel and accommodation sectors bounce back fully.

The CEO of Science World told a panel, hosted by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, that “the pandemic has resulted in behavioural changes.”

“As a result, we can’t just reopen and expect people to return,” said Tracy Redies on Monday. “We have seen in the U.S. where things have reopened, that attendance levels remain low.”

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Redies said that is why Science World plans to continue to require masks be worn inside its facility until September, despite the expectation that B.C’s public health order on masks will be lifted on July 1.

Last year, the tourism industry in B.C. generated $7 billion in revenues, down from $21.5 billion in 2019. Workers in the hospitality and accommodation sectors suffered the highest number of jobs lost, with a third of those workers, about 40,000, remaining unemployed.

The managing director of sales, planning and effectiveness for Air Canada, Timothy Liu, told the panel any recovery will be slow.

“Summer is concerning for us, with ongoing border restrictions and quarantine requirements,” said Liu. “We’d like government leaders to get the message out that it is safe to travel.”

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– Lisa Cordasco

8 a.m. – Moderna’s shot productes antibodies against Delta variant

Moderna Inc. said its vaccine produced protective antibodies against the Delta variant spreading in Canada and many other parts of the world.

Moderna researchers tested blood samples from eight people for antibodies against versions of the spike protein from different coronavirus variants, including delta, which emerged in India.

The vaccine “produced neutralizing titers against all variants tested,” the company said in a statement.

– Bloomberg

3 a.m. – Researchers estimate thousands more died of COVID-19 outside long-term care

Canada may have undercounted more than 5,700 COVID-19 deaths during the first 10 months of the pandemic — and even more since then, says a new report from the Royal Society of Canada.

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More than 26,000 people have died from COVID-19, so far, according to official data from the Public Health Agency of Canada. By Nov. 14, 2020, the country had recorded 11,009 deaths.

But the newly released study, which examined data between Feb. 1, 2020 and Nov. 28, 2020, found evidence that Canada has vastly undercounted COVID deaths. The report, completed by a team of five researchers, found that if Canada continued to miscount fatalities past last November “the pandemic mortality burden may be two times higher than reported.”

Based on previous estimates, Canada is believed to have experienced 80 per cent of its COVID-19 deaths among people in long-term care, the report says. This is roughly double the average of 40 per cent among equivalent countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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However the report, released Tuesday morning, suggests that these uncounted deaths occurred primarily in Canadians older than 45 who were not living in long-term care homes. The team found that up to two-thirds of deaths that occurred outside of long-term care homes are missing from Canada’s total.

— National Post

12 a.m. – Pandemic fizzles in B.C. as more restrictions set to be lifted July 1 

The COVID-19 pandemic is fizzling out in B.C. as the provincial health officer prepares to lift more restrictions on Canada Day — giving people a choice of whether to wear a mask in public indoor settings.

“Transmission has decreased. And we see particularly in the Lower Mainland where we have had high rates of cases for many, many months, they have now dropped dramatically,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry , as she reported 145 new cases over the past three days – including just 38 on Sunday.

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Henry highlighted that the crucial disease reproductive rate has continued to fall below one across the province.

“What we can see is we now have a sustained low reproductive rate. That means that for most people who are infected, they are not passing this virus on to anybody else. That’s how the pandemic will fizzle out over time.”

— David Carrigg


B.C. MAP OF WEEKLY COVID CASE COUNTS, VACCINATION RATES

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:


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.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press

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No changes expected as COVID-19 cases surge in Central Okanagan: Kelowna airport – Revelstoke Review – Revelstoke Review

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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


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

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

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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'



2:53
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 – Castanet.net

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[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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