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Family seeking COVID is “playing with a loaded gun” in B.C. city, mayor speaks out – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
The mayor of Revelstoke is appalled at a family rumoured to be trying to contract COVID-19 to “build their natural immunity” at a time when his city is discouraging visitors and grappling with a slew of active coronavirus cases.

Revelstoke has 32 active COVID-19 infections and a population of only 13,500 people, which is more than double the active cases per capita than in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, said Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz.

“We’ve become a little complacent because we haven’t seen this through the community in a big way over the last eight months so what we’re saying now is ‘it’s here, it’s not just those who are travelling in who are bringing this in, it’s here in our community,’” he said. 

Sulz said residents need to be more vigilant.

“It’s our locals who are not being vigilant who are spreading it so we need to make sure that everyone does follow the rules.”

The mayor also raised serious concerns about a family rumoured to be seeking out people who’ve tested positive in the community so that they can become infected, reminiscent of ‘chicken pox parties’ among kids before a reliable vaccine was developed.

“We are a healthy family and we would like to safely expose ourselves to the virus to build our natural immunity,” reads the ad posted to a local Craigslist-style website.

The post was removed before CTV News could attempt to contact the family. 

The post ends with a plea for “no hate mail.”

“You’re playing with a loaded gun,” warned Sulz.

“We don’t know what this disease can do, whether it’s an older person, younger person, someone who’s in their 30s and 40s. Because people feel they may be in good health doesn’t mean you should go out seeking this because it can have different effects for everyone. That, for me, is very concerning.”

While there were several cases in the United States of people trying to get COVID-19, scientists have repeatedly stressed that they don’t know whether contracting the virus will guarantee immunity and prevent a second infection.

Interior Health cases rising sharply

While Vancouver Coastal Health has brought down its active caseload per capita in the past week and Fraser Health has seen a smaller increase than before, cases in Interior Health have nearly doubled in that time.

Last week a CTV News analysis found there were 37 active cases for every 100,000 people who live in the Interior Health region. However, current data as of Dec. 1, shows there are now 65 cases per 100,000. Fraser Health has grown from 301 to 337 cases per 100,000 people, while Vancouver Coastal Health has dropped from 116 to 111 per 100,000.

In Revelstoke, where the exact number of residents is up to debate as the city claims double the number of inhabitants than the federal census, CTV’s analysis was based on the city’s declared total of 13,500, which puts their active cases at about 237 per 100,000.

That has the mayor pleading with those who think it’s safe to visit over the holidays to simply stay away.

“Snowmobiling, skiing, that’s the ultimate physical distancing but it is when you gather afterwards (that the virus is spreading),” he said. “We’re finding that COVID is spreading because of social gathering so we’re basically saying to people ‘avoid that the best that you can, stay in your own family bubble’.

Revelstoke has only 13 beds in its hospital, with two additional rooms for ventilators. While there aren’t any coronavirus patients there now, the mayor fears the mountain city will soon see its first COVID-19 deaths.

“There isn’t any leeway,” said Sulz bluntly. “If it gets into our hospital or seniors centre or something like that, it’s going to be devastating for this community.”

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COVID-19 in B.C.: Youth cases increase, six more foreigners test positive, health violations, and more – Straight.com

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Case numbers continue to remain steady or are decreasing in several categories, while the number of deaths remains concerning.

In addition, there has been an increase in cases observed among young people, and there have been a number of incidents involving health order violations.

When B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked at yesterday’s briefing about cases among young people, she said that they have seen an increase in cases among youth over the last few weeks, “particularly when school ended in mid-December”.

She said they have been watching these cases carefully to try and figure out what contributing factors are, and she said most of the cases appear to be related to transmission within households and in small groups.

She said that all children who have been in intensive care units have recovered.

She that so far, B.C. has had five multi-inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) cases and all of these young individuals have recovered. She addd that she will provide more MIS-C data later this week.

For more information about MIS-C, visit the B.C. Children’s Hospital or B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) websites.

Once again, the B.C. government has extended the provincial state of emergency, this time until February 2.

Today, Emergency Management B.C. stated that 693 violation tickets were issued between August 21 and January 15, which includes:

  • 119 fines of $2,300 each to owners or organizers for gatherings and events;
  • 26 violation tickets for $2,300 each for violating food and liquor orders;
  • 548 tickets of $230 fines each to individuals who refused to comply with law enforcement.

Since the pandemic began, police agencies in B.C. have issued a total of 85 violation tickets to individuals who violated the federal Quarantine Act, for total of $93,466 worth of fines.

Today, the Vancouver Police Department stated that a couple—a 60-year-old man and his 25-year-old girlfriend—each received fines of $230 for walking through a gym near False Creek without masks and coughing in the direction of people and equipment.

In addition, West Vancouver police, in response to a complaint about a loud late-night party, issued a $2,300 fine to a 40-year-old man hosting several individuals at a business for breaking provincial public health orders on gatherings and events.

In Prince George, RCMP were informed on January 13 that guests staying at the Ramada Plaza Hotel (444 George Street) were violating public health orders. While conducting a compliance check, officers found:

  • large amounts of suspected fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine, and numerous prescription pills;
  • several firearms hidden throughout the room;
  • various stolen items, including laptops, industrial tools, and other electronic devices.

Police arrested two individuals, who were charged with possession of prohibited device,  and the investigation remains ongoing.

In Kelowna, Harvest Church violated public health orders by holding in-person faith services, according to CBC News. RCMP issued a $2,300 violation ticket after a gathering was held on January 17 at the church. This is the second such fine for the church, which was previously issued a violation ticket in December for the same reason.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, with Health Minister Adrian Dix

In a joint statement, Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that there are 465 new cases (including 13 epi-linked cases) in the province today.

By region, that includes:

  • 262 new cases in Fraser Health;
  • 83 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
  • 61 in Interior Health;
  • 32 in the Northern Health;
  • 21 in Island Health;
  • six people from outside Canada.

Currently, there are 4,331 active cases, which is only five more people since yesterday.

Once again, the number of hospitalized cases continues to decrease. With 14 less people in hospital since yesterday, there are now 329 people are in hospital, with 70 of those patients in intensive care (two more than yesterday).

Public health is monitoring 6,864 people who have been exposed to confirmed cases.

Sadly, Henry and Dix announced 12 new COVID-19-related deaths, which brings the cumulative total to 1,090 people who have died during the pandemic.

A cumulative total of 55,099 people have now recovered.

During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded 61,912 total cases, which includes:

  • 38,068 cases in Fraser Health (62 percent);
  • 14,092 in Vancouver Coastal Health (23 percent);
  • 5,374 in Interior Health (nine percent);
  • 2,943 in Northern Health (five percent);
  • 1,306 in Island Health (two percent);
  • 129 people from outside Canada (less than one percent).

When it comes to vaccinations, a cumulative total of 92,369 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is now providing daily immunization data on its COVID-19 dashboard available on its website. (On the dashboard, click on the “Vaccine Supply and Administered, B.C.” tab at the bottom of the page.)

The good news is that there aren’t any new healthcare outbreaks.

Today, Fraser Health declared outbreaks over at these three healthcare facilities:

  • Maple Ridge Seniors Village in Maple Ridge;
  • The Emerald at Elim Village in Surrey;
  • Guildford Seniors Village in Surrey.

Interior Health stated today that an additional 28 new cases have brought the community cluster at Big White Mountain has now had a cumulative total of 203 cases since it began. At the moment, there are 43 active cases and 160 people have recovered.

Loblaw reported that two of its stores has staff members who tested positive:

  • one employee who last worked on January 6 at Real Canadian Superstore (3000 Laugheed Highway) in Coquitlam;
  • one employee who last worked on January 15 at Shoppers Drug Mart (1006 Homer Street).

Rumble Boxing announced on January 17 that it would be voluntarily closing its studio in Yaletown (968 Expo Boulevard) for 48 hours for sanitization after a staff member tested positive.

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Making Manitoba's latest COVID cut – Winnipeg Free Press

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While public health officials may give the green light to small household gatherings and a slightly enlarged social circle for people in southern Manitoba, they have suggested restaurants and nail salons must remain closed for the time being.

It’s not that getting together at home with two friends and having a meal is less risky than doing the same at a restaurant — household spread of COVID-19 is common and often asymptomatic, according to Winnipeg-based epidemiologist Cynthia Carr.

It’s permitting people to do both that could spell trouble.

“The one advantage with restaurants is they were controlling how much time you could spend in the restaurant at that table, but you’re still in a risky situation being that you’re sitting together at a table. Obviously, you’re not wearing masks because you’re eating and drinking,” said Carr.

“There’s nothing to say that then you wouldn’t go back to one of your homes and visit.”

Carr said allowing small gatherings of two people within a household — as Manitoba health officials have proposed — takes into account social and mental health benefits, while keeping overall contact numbers and exposure potential in mind.

“It goes back to, ‘Where are the opportunities for reasonable openings?’ Because there are no zero-risk options,” Carr said.

Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Tuesday businesses such as nail salons did not make the first round of reopening considerations based on risk and how “essential” Manitobans consider a service to be.

When it comes to shopping, Roussin said, while people may be gathered in the same vicinity, they are not in close, prolonged contact.

“So we feel that with those tight restrictions, it’s a very prudent response,” he said.

Meanwhile, gyms and organized recreation will be looked at in the future, because prolonged, indoor contact is likely in such activities and there is evidence of transmission connected to both youth and adult recreation events, Roussin said.

“We can’t open everything at once. If we open everything at once, we risk seeing those numbers climb and we’re stuck going backwards again,” Roussin said.

danielle.dasilva@freepress.mb.ca

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COVID deaths rise to 53 in Northern Health – Prince George Citizen

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One more person in the Northern Health region has died from COVID-19, according to B.C. Centre for Disease Control numbers issued Tuesday.

The fatality increased the total to 53 in the region since the pandemic broke out and was among 12 deaths reported province-wide, increasing that total to 1,090 deaths. Seven of those new deaths were in Fraser Health, raising the total there to 611.

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Active cases in Northern Health stood at 525, down by six from the day before, with 40 in hospital, no change from Monday, and 17 of them in intensive care, up by one.

For B.C. as a whole, active cases rose by six to 4,331, with Fraser Health accounting for 1,737, up 34, and Vancouver Coastal 818, down 35. Interior Health stood at 1,055, Vancouver Island at 184 and out of Canada at 12 with marginal changes in those totals from Monday.

Meanwhile, Northern Health reported a new exposure D.P. Todd Secondary School. It is for Jan. 11-12 and is the second time the school has been put on the list.

“If your child’s school has been notified of an exposure, no action is required unless you are contacted by Public Health or are otherwise directed by school officials,” Northern Health says in the posting. “Public Health will contact you directly in case of any school exposure involving your child.”

In a joint statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix stressed good practices while people wait for the vaccine rollout.

“The vaccines are our path forward to the brighter days ahead. However, until that path is wide enough for everyone, we must continue to focus on our individual efforts,” they said.

“To get to the finish line faster and to make our communities safer, we must stop the spread in our communities today. We do that by following the measures we have in place: washing our hands, staying home when we are ill, getting tested and always using our layers of protection.

“Let’s choose safety by continuing to do our part to protect everyone in our province.”

Also on Tuesday, Dix said B.C. is still on track to begin administering second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine despite the news that no vials will be delivered to Canada next week.

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