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
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
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
– 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
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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