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COVID-19 variants still of concern as B.C. reports 1236 new cases over weekend – Kamloops This Week



B.C. saw 1,236 new cases of COVID-19 over the three-day weekend reporting period, an average of 412 new cases per day.

The province is down to 3,976 active cases, down below the 4,000-case mark for the first time since early November, when daily case counts began shooting upwards.

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The number of British Columbians in hospital has fallen some, as well, down to 234 in hospital with 69 of those patients in critical care.

The province also reported 13 additional deaths, bringing the province’s death toll to 1,259 since the pandemic began.

Of the new cases, 152 are in those who live in the Interior Health region. That figure is on par with recent weeks, with the region averaging around 50 new cases per day.

Outbreaks in the city continue to produce cases.

The outbreak at Royal Inland Hospital now stands at 102 total cases, affecting 66 staff and 36 patients, with 46 cases still active. Interior Health says the outbreak has been contained to the hospital’s COVID-19 ward.

The most recent outbreak, at group home Westsyde Care Residences, has produced 26 cases, with 24 of those still active. Affected there are 14 residents and 12 staff.

Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Home, meanwhile, stands at 25 total cases with two active cases remaining.

Elsewhere in the province there were 266 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 601 in Fraser Health, 86 in Vancouver Island Health and 131 in Northern Health.

The province has now had 70,952 total cases. Of those, 65,605 have recovered.

Another 6,900 people are under active public health monitoring due to exposure to confirmed cases.

Variants of concern

During Monday’s update from Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the concern over variant strains of the virus continued.

Henry said the province now has 40 variant cases, but only three remain active.

Of those cases, 25 are the U.K. variant, with 15 in the Fraser Health region, five in Vancouver Coastal Health and one in Interior Health.

Most of the U.K. variant cases are related to Travel, Henry said, but one remains of unknown origin.

The South Africa variant has produced 15 cases in B.C., with 13 in Vancouver Coastal Health and two in Fraser Health. Henry said it is “concerning for us” that four of those cases remain of unknown origin.

She said public health has done extensive contact tracing on these cases and she is confident there has been no onward spread.

Henry said further spread of the variants would be a game changer.

“What we have seen in places around the world … is that it does change the game in some ways if it starts spreading in the community,” she said.

“I think some of us are dreading that.”

On the vaccine front, supply-related delays continue, but Henry said she expects vaccine shipments to the province will increase every week this month.

To date, the province has administered 154,496 doses of either the Pfizer of Moderna vaccines, with 12,111 of those being second doses.

Henry said she anticipates B.C. will be able to fully start its mass vaccination campaign in March for those age 80 and older.

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Quebec reports 749 new COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths as province expands vaccine access – CityNews Montreal



MONTREAL – Quebec is reporting 749 new cases of COVID-19 today along with 10 new deaths linked to the virus.

The province also says it administered 19,865 doses of vaccine on Friday as its vaccination campaign ramps up.

The latest vaccination figures, the highest the province has reported in a single day so far, come as Quebec opens vaccine eligibility to more people.

To date, provincial figures show 532,012 doses of vaccine have been administered out of a total of 638,445 that the province received.

Quebec reported 601 hospitalizations related to COVID-19 today, a decrease of 16 from the day before.

The number of people hospitalized includes 109 people in intensive care, down by two.

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New Brunswick reports 6 new COVID-19 cases, possible exposure at Miramichi school – Global News



New Brunswick health officials reported six new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday.

Two of the new cases were in the Saint John region and one was in the Fredericton region. All three of these are travel-related, the province says.

One case in the Edmundston region is under investigation. Two other cases in the Miramichi region are close contacts of previously reported cases.

Read more:
N.B. to give first COVID vaccine shots by July, set to move back to yellow

A mass testing clinic was set up to determine the spread of the virus in the Miramichi zone. It is being held on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School in Miramichi.

“This is available for individuals who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 but want to be tested,” the province said in a release.

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“Screening tests will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. Asymptomatic people do not need to self-isolate while awaiting results, unless advised to do so by Public Health.”

Read more:
Bringing back the bubble: N.B. premier floats early summer as possible re-do date

New Brunswickers with symptoms are required to book an appointment to get tested.

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The province says a total of 1,601 tests of asymptomatic individuals were completed at the site in the last two days.

“Test results being completed at the microbiology laboratory at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton will take 24 to 48 hours to process.”

Possible exposure at Gretna Green Elementary

Health officials say a possible exposure to a case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Gretna Green Elementary School in Miramichi.

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The province says the school community has been notified and public health is conducting contact tracing.

“If you or a family member have been in close contact with a case, you will be notified by Public Health for contact tracing.

“If you do not hear directly from Public Health, you have not been identified as a close contact.”

The province says Gretna Green has been closed all week for March break.

Click to play video 'Students, families to take full advantage of march break'

Students, families to take full advantage of march break

Students, families to take full advantage of march break

To date, New Brunswick has confirmed 1,453 cases of COVID-19 and has seen 1,389 recoveries.

There have been 28 deaths linked to the virus. As of Saturday, three patients are hospitalized and two are in intensive care.

Friday, 1,642 tests for COVID-19 were conducted for a total of 233,878 since the pandemic began.

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In addition, all of the provinces health zones are gearing up to transition back to the yellow phase of COVID-19 recovery at midnight on Sunday.

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

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COVID-19 vaccines could be available to the general public in Kingston in May, top doctor predicts – CTV Edmonton



As new COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Kingston, the city’s top doctor is hopeful everyone in the region will have access to the vaccine by May.

Medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore confirmed to CTV News Ottawa on Saturday, that with Canada now being the first country to approve a fourth vaccine, he believes inoculation of the general public could begin in two months.

With vaccinations in the city’s long-term care homes beginning only in mid-January, it was a slow start to Kingston’s vaccination campaign, but Moore says the effort will ramp-up now.

“We’ve reached 10,000 individuals with doses given of vaccine,” he says. “We‘ve had a very aggressive week this week of trying to get doses into arms.”

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington’s Public Health remains in phase one of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, with immunization still under way for long-term care home residents and frontline healthcare workers. 

Starting next week, hundreds more a day will be vaccinated in a pilot project that will see pharmacists administering doses.

“I do think anyone who wants access will be offered the vaccine will be offered it very, very quickly and I think we’ll have robust heard immunity over the next several months,” said Moore of the roll out during a press conference on Thursday.

Demand for the vaccine in the region is high, and public health has been flooded with calls asking to book an appointment for the shot. Health officials warn they can’t book appointments for those who aren’t yet eligible, and there is no waiting list.

They advise waiting to be contacted when it’s your turn.

Andrew Vanoverbeke says getting the vaccine will mean his two-year-old daughter will be able to see her grandparents.

“We’re doing the Zoom and stuff but it’s not the same as being able to give hugs and just play. It’s really hard,” Vanoverbeke says. “I’m excited about it. And the sooner the better for us.”

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