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"If you are in doubt at all this weekend, just don't go." – AM 1150 (iHeartRadio)

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B.C. has recorded 832 more cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, as well as five additional deaths from the disease.

The new cases bring B.C.’s rolling seven-day average to a new record high of 873 per day.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provided the latest updates during a live briefing on Thursday.

There have now been 100,880 cases of COVID-19 and 1,463 related deaths in B.C. since the pandemic began.

Currently there are 296 people who are hospitalized with the coronavirus, 79 of them in intensive care.

Details on active cases, recoveries and newly identified coronavirus variants of concern were released in a written statement Thursday evening.

B.C.’s active caseload has grown to 7,571, the highest number it has reached in 2021. The last time there were more active cases in the province was on Dec. 31.

The written statement also announced 90 new cases of variants of concern, leaving the province with a total of 2,643 that have been identified so far.

The vast majority of those – 2,214 – have been the B.1.1.7 variant commonly associated with the U.K. There have also been 50 cases of the B.1.351 variant associated with South Africa and 379 cases of the P.1 variant associated with Brazil.

A total of 192 variant cases are active in B.C. The rest of the people who have been infected with a coronavirus variant of concern are now considered recovered.

B.C. has administered another 31,569 doses of COVID-19 vaccines over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 787,649. There have now been 700,255 first-doses of vaccine administered in the province, enough to vaccinate 13.6 per cent of residents.

Thursday’s update comes after a day on which B.C. set a record for new cases in a single day and surpassed the grim milestone of 100,000 total infections. 

Henry acknowledged the milestone during her briefing and took the time as an opportunity to answer some questions she says she’s been asked frequently in recent days.

Among them were questions about the interval between vaccine doses and the “safety signal” that prompted the province to put the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on pause for residents under age 55.

The provincial health officer reiterated that the four-month timeline between doses will allow B.C. to provide a first dose to as many people as possible as quickly as possible, and added that researchers are still studying the effects of delaying the second dose for various lengths of time.

Some vaccines become more effective if the booster shot is delayed, Henry said, though she stressed that second doses in B.C. are on track to be offered sooner than the four-month maximum currently recommended.

“The second dose will be offered as soon as all eligible people in British Columbia have received their first dose, or at least been offered their first dose,” Henry said. “In most cases, that will mean less than four months.”

On the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been linked to very rare instances of blood clotting in other parts of the world, Henry reiterated that the vaccine is effective and still recommended for people 55 and up.

It’s use in younger people remains on hold while B.C. officials await updated guidance from Health Canada, which has forced the province to pause its plans to offer AstraZeneca to frontline workers and first responders.

“We’re going to need to regroup and we will come back early next week as soon as we have more information on how we’re going to move forward with that program,” Henry said.  

With the Easter long weekend set to begin, Henry also addressed travel guidelines, saying travel remains risky and now is not the time to leave one’s local community.

“If you are in doubt at all this weekend, just don’t go,” she said. “A good guideline is to think about staying within the area where you would go for a day trip. If it requires an overnight stay, a vacation rental, then it is not a good idea right now.”

“We do have an end in sight,” the provincial health officer added. “All of this talk about vaccines and how well they are going to work in our communities is in sight, but it’s not here yet.” 

– with files from CTV –

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‘No longer safe’: Family flees Manitoba city over COVID-19 attitudes – Flipboard

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Ridin’ Dirty: Guinea Pigs Cruise Around in Style

Two summer-ready guinea pigs took a ride in a remote-controlled car in Montreal, Quebec.The footage was captured by Melissa Trihey, who regularly documents the adventures of her pet guinea pigs, pugs,…

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B.C. reports 66 new COVID-19 cases in Island Health, two deaths – CHEK

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British Columbia health officials have reported 661 new cases and seven deaths from COVID-19 since their last update on Tuesday.

In the Island Health region, 66 new cases were reported, increasing the number of active cases in the health authority to 615, along with two deaths.

The number of confirmed cases in B.C. climbs to 168,459 while the province’s death toll now stands at 1,873.

READ MORE: B.C. introducing COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all health-care workers

In addition to the new cases in Island Health, 99 were recorded in Vancouver Coastal Health, 237 were in Fraser Health, 196 in Interior Health, and 62 in Northern Health.

There are currently 5,791 active cases in the province and 288 people in hospital — 137 of whom are in intensive care.

A total of 168,459 people in B.C. have recovered from COVID-19 while 7,643,973 doses of vaccine have been administered province-wide. Out of all eligible adults in the province, 79.5 per cent have received two doses of vaccine and 86.7 per cent have received one dose.

The Ministry of Health said that 76.5 per cent of cases recorded Sept. 7-13 were in people who have not been vaccinated. Unvaccinated people have also accounted for 87.3 per cent of hospitalizations, the ministry said.

Island Health

Island Health has identified 531 active cases — 61 in North Island, 255 in Central Island and 215 in South Island — on Vancouver Island.

Twenty-four people are currently in hospital after becoming infected with the novel coronavirus, 15 of whom are in critical care.

Over the past 24 hours, there were 2,193 doses of vaccine administered on Vancouver Island. Of those doses, 35 were AstraZeneca, 1,370 were Moderna and 788 doses were Pfizer.

A total of 1,274,685 vaccine doses — 611,677 of those are second doses — have been administered on Vancouver Island. This includes 33,156 doses of AstraZeneca, 336,516 doses of Moderna and 905,013 doses of Pfizer.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 7,479 cases reported, 58 deaths, 318 total hospitalizations, and 6,752 recoveries recorded on Vancouver Island.

Editor’s note: The BCCDC lists the active case count for Vancouver Island at 615, which is 84 more active cases than what Island Health has reported. There are often discrepancies between the figures due to “differences in reporting” timeframes between the two agencies.

Island Health has identified 531 active cases — 61 in North Island, 255 in Central Island and 215 in South Island — on Vancouver Island.

Twenty-four people are currently in hospital after becoming infected with the novel coronavirus, 15 of whom are in critical care.

Over the past 24 hours, there were 2,193 doses of vaccine administered on Vancouver Island. Of those doses, 35 were AstraZeneca, 1,370 were Moderna and 788 doses were Pfizer.

A total of 1,274,685 vaccine doses — 611,677 of those are second doses — have been administered on Vancouver Island. This includes 33,156 doses of AstraZeneca, 336,516 doses of Moderna and 905,013 doses of Pfizer.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 7,479 cases reported, 58 deaths, 318 total hospitalizations, and 6,752 recoveries recorded on Vancouver Island.

Editor’s note: The BCCDC lists the active case count for Vancouver Island at 615, which is 84 more active cases than what Island Health has reported. There are often discrepancies between the figures due to “differences in reporting” timeframes between the two agencies.

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Calgary firm advances new trial, manufacturing of mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 – pentictonherald.ca

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OTTAWA – Calgary-based Providence Therapeutics says it has signed two contracts to have its developmental mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 manufactured in Canada.

The company says it has signed a $90-million, five-year contract with Emergent Biosolutions to make part of the drug substance, and also to fill and finish the vaccine, at its Winnipeg manufacturing plant.

Another $15-million contract was signed with Calgary’s Northern RNA firm to make some of the raw materials needed to produce the messenger RNA in the vaccine.

Providence this week reported that a Phase 1 trial, involving 60 adults between 18 and 64, showed its mRNA vaccine is producing immunity levels comparable to those produced by authorized mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

A Phase 2 clinical trial in 525 people is now about to begin to further test the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

Canada has yet to authorize a made-in-Canada vaccine for COVID-19 and has relied mostly on importing mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

As of Tuesday, 26 million Canadians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and another 2.4 million people have received their first dose.

Canada’s lacklustre manufacturing capacity for vaccines was a major issue heading into the COVID-19 vaccination procurement process and the federal government is working to expand the industry.

The vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are the first mRNA products authorized for widespread use and have been critical to helping slow the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and elsewhere.

The technology is being researched for use on a number of other conditions including cancers and influenza.

Moderna recently signed an agreement to build a manufacturing plant for its mRNA vaccine somewhere in Canada, but the location has yet to be chosen. Earlier this week Moderna announced it has also signed a contract with National Resilience for the latter to start producing the mRNA used in Moderna’s vaccine.

The federal government last spring invested almost $200 million to help Resilience expand its manufacturing facility in Mississauga, Ont., so it can make more vaccines, including mRNA vaccines.

Emergent BioSolutions is based in Maryland and has multiple facilities in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The company was heavily criticized earlier this year when a mistake in manufacturing at one site in Baltimore, Md., led to the destruction of at least 60 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2021.

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