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COVID-19 update for Nov. 24: Teachers' union asks parents to encourage students to wear masks – Standard Freeholder

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The latest case numbers, exposure alerts and guidelines: Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C.

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Nov. 24, 2020.

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 Nov. 23:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 27,407 (10,200 active)
• New cases since Nov. 20: 1,933
• Hospitalized cases: 277
• Intensive care: 59
• COVID-19 related deaths: 348 (17 new)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 10,200
• Recovered: 19,069
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 66

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


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.

1:45 p.m. – Lack of Canadian vaccine production means others could get inoculations first: PM

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to reassure Canadians on Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccines will start to arrive in the coming months even as he acknowledged that other nations are likely to start inoculating their citizens first.

“One of the things to remember is Canada no longer has any domestic production capacity for vaccines,” Trudeau said during his regular COVID-19 news conference outside his home in Ottawa.

“We used to have it decades ago, but we no longer have it. Countries like the United States, Germany and the U.K. do have domestic pharmaceutical facilities, which is why they’re obviously going to prioritize helping their citizens first.”

At the same time, Trudeau underscored the importance of getting inoculations to Canadians.

“We know we’re not going to get through this pandemic without a vaccine,” he said.

1 p.m. – Teachers union asks parents to encourage students to wear masks

The president of the B.C. Teachers Federation has written an open letter to parents, asking them to encourage their children to wear masks in school.

Although masks are not mandatory in school, Terri Mooring says the BCTF wants parents to help “support a culture of mask wearing.”

“The school community has come together and made mask wearing normal and expected. It really helps everyone in our schools feel safer. We need to be doing all we can to ensure we keep each other safe. No one wants to bring COVID-19 home to their families,” said Mooring, who conceded that there are some staff and students who, for various reasons, can’t wear masks and some learning situations where masks are inappropriate.

“By talking to your children about wearing their masks in school, you can help us create that respectful culture of mask wearing.”

11:30 a.m. – Federal government buys drug developed in Vancouver to treat COVID-19 patients

The federal government has agreed to buy an antibody drug developed by a Vancouver company to treat COVID-19 patients.

The use of bamlanivimab, developed by Vancouver’s AbCellera Biologics in partnership with U.S. pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, was approved by Health Canada earlier this week.

The government will buy 26,000 doses of the drug over a three-month period from December to February for $32.5 million US, according to a news release from Eli Lilly Tuesday.

The company says additional doses will be supplied to Canada on a monthly basis according to the country’s medical need.

Bamlanivimab is designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells, neutralizing the virus and potentially treating COVID-19, according to the company.

AbCellera founder and chief executive Carl Hansen said Health Canada had granted authorization for the use of bamlanivimab to treat people over the age of 12 with mild and moderate COVID-19 symptoms who were at high risk of the disease progressing.

11 a.m. – McDonald’s in Coquitlam reopens

A McDonald’s restaurant in Coquitlam, which closed Monday after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, has reopened.

McDonald’s says it learned an employee from the 2725 Barnet Highway location had COVID-19 on Monday.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the decision was made to shut down the restaurants for a thorough cleaning and sanitization by a certified third party,” McDonald’s said, in a news release Tuesday.

McDonald’s says all staff who may have been in close contact with the employee have been asked to self-isolate.

A Vancouver McDonlad’s located at 3695 Lougheed Highway closed late last month after a staffer tested positive for the virus. That restaurant has also since reopened.

6 a.m. – With the pandemic keeping people home for the holidays, more residents turning to elaborate lighting displays: report

With the gloom of the COVID-19 pandemic hanging over the holidays this year, it seems more British Columbians are turning to elaborate lights and displays to lift their spirits.

A BC Hydro report Tuesday titled “Home for the holidays: British Columbians are brightening up the holidays with bigger, more elaborate lighting displays,” finds 90 per cent of British Columbians say they are planning more elaborate lighting displays at home.

The survey found about 20 per cent of respondents are planning to add more indoor and outdoor decorations.

And, in a nod to the classic film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase, BC Hydro says there are expected to be more ‘Clark Griswold-style’ mega displays than in other years. The poll found nearly 10 per cent they are going to put up more than 10 strands of lights.

BC Hydro data shows these elaborate displays account for about three per cent of provincial electricity use, but that number is expected to rise this year.

Some of the poll’s other findings include about 22 per cent plan to put up eight strands of lights on average, up nearly 10 per cent since 2018, according to BC Hydro.

Fifteen per cent of holiday decorators plan to put up three or more displays, while about five per cent plan to put up between six and 15.

BC Hydro says there are concerns for energy use during this time, especially since 25 per cent say they still use some incandescent lights to decorate. The older bulbs are up to 90 per cent less energy efficient than LEDs, according to BC Hydro.

5 a.m. – Poll finds many Canadians gaining weight during pandemic

A new poll suggests many Canadians are gaining weight because they’re eating more and exercising less during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly one-third of respondents in the survey conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they have put on weight since March, compared to 15 per cent who said they lost
weight over that time.

As well, about one-third of respondents said they’re exercising less, while 16 per cent said they’re working out more since the first wave of the pandemic landed in Canada in the spring.

Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, suggested that one reason may be a rush for comfort food to deal with pandemic-related anxieties.

Respondents in the survey who said they were “very afraid” of COVID-19 were more likely to report gaining weight, eating more and exercising less.

The online survey of 1,516 Canadians was conducted Oct. 29-31 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa, said there are plausible reasons to connect weight gain or loss with the pandemic, but he hadn’t seen any studies to convince him that’s the case.

Jedwab said the country needs to also be mindful of mental health issues that can affect the physical health of Canadians.

“With the winter coming, it’ll be even more challenging, in some parts of the country, to maintain a healthy lifestyle in terms of walking, in terms of doing basic things that will help us address our anxieties,” he said, pointing to lack of access for some to gyms subject to local lockdowns.

-The Canadian Press

12 a.m. – 1,933 new cases, 17 additional deaths

B.C. health officials reported Monday that 1,933 more people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the province over the weekend.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, also reported that 17 more people had died from the respiratory disease between Friday and Monday. A total of 348 people have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

12 a.m. – Potential exposures at The Morrissey in Vancouver

Vancouver Coastal Health has updated its public exposures page with potential COVID-19 exposures at The Morrissey pub (1127 Granville Street) in downtown Vancouver. The potential exposures occurred on November 12-13, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on both nights.

The exposures are being described as low risk, but patrons of the pub on both nights are being asked to self-monitor for symptoms.


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

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

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

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

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



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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Alberta confirms 643 new cases of COVID-19, 12 new deaths – 660 News

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EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – Alberta has confirmed 643 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths linked to the virus.

Of the 12 new deaths, five were from the Edmonton Zone, three were from the Calgary Zone, three were from the Central Zone, and one was from the North Zone.

All 12 of the deaths had additional health issues.

There have now been 1,512 deaths linked to the virus in Alberta.

Currently, there are 9,987 active cases in the province, 691 of which are in hospital and 115 in ICU.

A total of 97,785 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

The province’s positivity rate sits at 4.9 per cent.

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Provinces doing 'extraordinary' job to avoid wasting doses of COVID-19 vaccine – CollingwoodToday

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to calm anxieties over COVID-19 vaccines Friday by reporting that the CEO of Pfizer is promising Canada’s deliveries will be fully restored in three weeks.

Trudeau spoke to Albert Bourla by phone Thursday evening, a week after the company informed Canada its deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines were going to be drastically cut over the next month while the company expands its production facility in Belgium.

“The next few weeks will be challenging when it comes to deliveries,” Trudeau said Friday.

“That said, Dr. Bourla assured me that hundreds of thousands of Pfizer doses will be delivered the week of Feb. 15 and in the weeks to follow.”

Canada is getting only one-third of its promised doses between Jan. 18 and Feb. 7, including none next week. Deliveries the week of Feb. 8 aren’t yet confirmed.

Trudeau said Canada will be caught up to its delivery schedule by the end of March, with all four million promised doses delivered by then.

He said there will be enough delivered from Moderna and Pfizer by September to vaccinate all Canadians who want it.

“We’re working around the clock to get as many vaccines as we can, as fast as we can,” he said. “It’s what I’m thinking about when I wake up, when I go to bed, and every hour in between.”

Gary Kobinger, a vaccine expert and director of the Research Centre on Infectious Diseases at Université Laval in Quebec City, said this week if we can get half the population immunized against COVID-19, it will start to have a real impact on the pandemic, but the magic number to see the spread start to plummet is 70 per cent.

With the two vaccines it has approved, and the delivery schedules promised from Pfizer and Moderna, Canada won’t get enough doses to get to 50 per cent until after Canada Day. Children have also not yet been approved to get any vaccine, with trials on kids as young 12 underway now, and those as young as five expected to start in the spring.

Ashleigh Tuite, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, said the month-long delay in doses isn’t going to affect herd immunity because Canada wasn’t going to be anywhere near herd immunity by the middle of February even on the original vaccine delivery schedule.

But she said on an individual level, delaying the vaccination of highly vulnerable people can have an impact, particularly at a time when we have record numbers of cases and “raging epidemics” in long-term care homes. 

“If you delay the time that it takes for the vaccines to get into those people’s arms, you’re delaying the ability to protect those people from getting infected and from having bad outcomes,” she said. “So it does have an impact.”

While COVID-19 can cause severe illness in anybody, the risks to people over the age of 60 are far greater overall. Health Canada reports that as of mid-January, people over the age of 60 account for about one-fifth of the total cases of COVID-19, but almost three-quarters of all hospitalizations, two-thirds of admissions to intensive care, and 96 per cent of deaths.

In Ontario alone since Jan. 1, 550 long-term care residents and two workers have died of COVID-19. There are 252 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care homes in Ontario, and 164 outbreaks in retirement residences.

Fears about future delivery delays grew Friday, when AstraZeneca warned European nations initial deliveries of its vaccine would be smaller than expected because of production issues.

Johnson & Johnson warned officials in the United States that it was about two months behind schedule producing doses of its vaccine.

Both companies have applied for approval of their vaccines in Canada but are still in the midst of final clinical trials and the reviews are not complete. It’s expected both could be approved for use here by early spring.

Health Canada did say this week that provincial vaccine workers were doing an “extraordinary” job preventing many doses of precious COVID-19 vaccine from going to waste.

Canada has received more than 1.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna since mid-December, and has now given at least one dose to more than 767,000 people.

A spokeswoman says “wastage has been very minimal” and well below initial estimates.

Before the vaccination campaign began, there were concerns that as many as one-fifth of the doses delivered to Canada could end up being wasted due to intense cold-chain requirements and the complexity of distribution.

The federal department did not provide statistics but said provinces and territories are reporting their experiences and waste has not been a notable problem thus far. 

Both vaccines have to be kept frozen, but the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is particularly delicate and must be stored at temperatures below -60 C until just before it is used.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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COVID-19 outbreak over at Delta long-term care facility, says Fraser Health – Peace Arch News – Peace Arch News

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Fraser Health has declared the COVID-19 outbreak over at a long-term care facility in Delta.

In an information bulletin Friday (Jan. 22), the health authority said the outbreak was over at Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre. The outbreak was first declared Nov. 1, 2020.

According to the Ministry of Health’s weekly report on Jan. 20 for outbreaks in B.C. care homes, there were a total of 65 cases, with 26 among residents and patients and 39 among staff.

There were eight deaths, with all of them either residents or patients.

This was the second outbreak at the facility.

Meantime, Fraser Health has also declared outbreaks at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster and North Fraser Pretrial Services Centre in Port Coquitlam.

At Royal Columbian, two patients have tested positive for the virus after “evidence of transmission in a surgical unit.” The outbreak is “limited to one unit,” which is temporarily closed to admissions.

The emergency department remains open.

At North Fraser Pretrial Services Centre, 20 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.

Fraser Health said it is working with BC Corrections and Provincial Health Services Authority infection control.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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