Interior Health (IH) reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, Dec. 22, as the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were administered in the region.
A total of 691 cases remain active. Thirty-one people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care.
The death toll in the region remains at 17, after seven deaths were reported over the weekend.
The first vaccines were doled out Tuesday in IH’s two largest cities, Kelowna and Kamloops. The two recipients both worked in health care.
The Big White cluster grew by 20 cases to 96 total. Of the known cases, 69 reside on the mountain. Sixty-four individuals have recovered and nobody tied to the cluster has been hospitalized.
Sixty-nine of those people reside on the mountain. Sixty-four people have recovered; none in hospital.
— Michael Rodriguez (@MichaelRdrguez) December 22, 2020
IH declared an outbreak on Tuesday at West Kelowna’s Heritage Retirement Residence, where 10 people — four staff and six residents — tested positive for the virus.
One more resident tested positive for the virus in the outbreak at McKinney Place long-term care home in Oliver. A total of 74 cases — 54 residents and 20 staff — and seven deaths are tied to that outbreak.
Village by the Station long-term care in Penticton remains at four cases; two residents and two staff.
Mountainview Village long-term care in Kelowna has 14 cases: seven residents and seven staff. Interior Health has confirmed one death related to the outbreak, though the home’s operator, the Good Samaritan Society, updated its outbreak page Tuesday announcing a second death.
Sixteen IH cases are tied to a Teck mining operation near Elkford.
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2,000 homeless people in Montreal to get COVID-19 vaccination | News – Daily Hive
As early as next week, some homeless people in Montreal will receive the COVID-19 vaccine as Montreal eyes to vaccinate 2,000 less fortunate citizens on the island.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and the city’s public health director, Dr. Mylène Drouin, made the announcement during a Wednesday afternoon press conference, their first since Quebec’s nightly curfew came into effect.
Drouin says the vaccinations will attempt to curb the outbreaks within the homeless community.
Montreal’s public health director says officials plan to increase screenings for the virus among the less fortunate. She says homeless shelters are “filled to the brim” across the island and says the old Royal Victoria Hospital will increase its capacity for beds.
Drouin says there have been 114 positive cases of COVD-19 among the homeless population and 68 across the network of people who work at shelters.
The public health director said it’s still “too early to say if we’ve reached a plateau or downward trend,” but says Montreal has once again emerged as the epicentre for the virus, like it was during the first wave.
#COVID19 : Les ressources pour personnes en situation d’itinérance sont presque à pleine capacité malgré les 1366 places disponibles. 150 places s’ajouteront sous peu et nous espérons que l’argent annoncé par Québec et Ottawa hier soit rapidement distribué aux organismes. #polmtl
— Valérie Plante (@Val_Plante) January 13, 2021
The decision to vaccinate homeless people was put forth after local communities asked the Quebec government to consider the homeless population as a priority after announcing the nightly curfew.
Plante says she hopes police are showing “tolerance and humanity” towards less fortunate people who can’t find a place to go after 8 pm.
Drouin says more than 29,000 vaccinations have been administered since the vaccination campaign began in December, of which 8,000 long-term care home (CHSLD) residents and 12,000 healthcare workers have received the vaccine.
“The faster we finish CHSLD vaccinations, the faster we can go onto other more vulnerable groups,” she continued. “We do everything possible not to waste any of the precious vials of vaccine.”
As of Tuesday morning, 107,365 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered across the province.
COVID-19: Horgan looks at banning interprovincial travel as South African variant arrives in B.C. – Vancouver Sun
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“I’m fairly confident that if we were seeing a lot of spread from one of these new variants, we would have picked that up,” Henry said.
“But it does show us that we are connected. What happens in the U.K. comes here. It’s just a matter of time. The same with South Africa.”
She said she was concerned about another variant from Columbus, Ohio, that had adapted with similar changes in its spike protein as the U.K. and South African variants.
Henry said that while just under 70,000 people had been vaccinated in B.C., with most of the population to be immunized by the end of the year, the vaccines had not been yet been proven to prevent contracting COVID-19s.
“We do know that the vaccines that we have, the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines, are very effective at preventing symptoms, especially severe symptoms, and preventing people from hospitalization and dying from COVID,” she said.
“What we don’t yet know is if it prevents you from getting infected at all.”
There are 52 active outbreaks in long-term care facilities in B.C. The weekly COVID-19 Long-Term Care, Assisted Living and Independent Living Outbreak report shows the worst active case is at Little Mountain Place in Vancouver with 41 resident deaths, followed by the Agecare Harmony Court care centre in Burnaby with 30 deaths.
So far, 70 care workers at Little Mountain have tested COVID-19 positive, but none have died.
The active outbreak with the second-most infected workers is at the Capilano Care Centre in West Vancouver, where 66 staff have contracted the disease and 24 residents have died.
In most cases, the disease has been brought into care facilities by staff, according to Health Minister Adrian Dix.
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Montrealers should be consulted before bike paths installed, says city hall opposition – CBC.ca
Montreal’s opposition party is calling on the Plante administration to stop installing bike paths without checking in with residents and merchants first.
“We are demanding that, each time they come up with a new bike path on an arterial road, they need to go ahead with a public consultation,” said Coun. Francesco Miele, deputy leader of Ensemble Montréal.
He said merchants and residents need to be informed and a complete traffic study must be completed before a project moves forward.
This would be contrary to how Projet Montréal conducted business in 2020, installing transportation corridors and bike paths across the city without consultation.
Many projects were adjusted and others removed completely as citizens decried the loss of parking and the narrowing of already busy roads that often serve as bus, truck and commuter routes.
The planned Réseau express vélo (REV) is a 184-kilometre bike path project that has so far had sections completed on streets like Souligny, Bellechasse and St-Denis.
On St-Denis, merchants have panned the construction project. On Bellechasse, 800 parking spots were lost.
“These are just a few examples of the amateurism of Projet Montréal,” said Miele.
Miele said it’s clear the Plante administration has proceeded deliberately “just pushing a political agenda and doing it on the back of Montrealers.”
Build first, adjust on the fly
Mayor Valérie Plante led her party to victory in 2017, promising a more transparent leadership that would work closely with the public.
Instead, the party has been initiating projects with little warning and adjusting them on the go, when people voice concerns, Miele said.
While Ensemble is presenting a motion Thursday specifically focused on arterial roadways, there are several other examples of projects that sparked public outcry.
For example, the controversial bike path that eliminated parking along Terrebonne Street in Montreal’s west end was voted into an early grave after people complained.
And closing Camillien-Houde Way to through traffic over Mount Royal was hotly contested.
One of the most high-profile projects is on St-Denis Street. The new bike path required adding cement infrastructure that narrows sections of the busy north-south artery.
Ombudsman report criticizes bike path projects
Last month, the city’s ombudsman published a report that found there was a lack of information given to the public about bike path projects and there were even safety concerns at some intersections.
In that report, the ombudsman concluded the city had sometimes ignored the principles of “security, universal accessibility, citizen participation and information.”
Between May and October, the ombudsman’s office received more than 300 complaints regarding the active transit corridors as well as the construction of various bike paths.
“This amalgamation of work created a great deal of confusion among Montrealers,” said Nadine Mailloux, who took over as the city’s ombudsman in August.
Mailloux highlighted that complaints came from a wide variety of people, including seniors, people with mobility issues, and cyclists.
Plante defends bike path bonanza
In its Thursday motion, Ensemble wants both residents and business owners to not only be consulted, but also informed of the project and the impact it will have on traffic.
Geneviève Jutra, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, said the motion will be discussed at council.
She said there has been public consultations on the REV. The administration is also working on its urban and mobility plans. These plans will include consultation and consensus building, she said.
In the past, Plante has argued there’s a disconnect between the way city initiatives such as bike paths and pedestrian-only streets are depicted in the news media and how residents actually feel about them.
She said there are plenty of people who are happy with the new infrastructure.
As for the controversial bike path on St-Denis, Plante has said there are no plans to stop the work as the project was born out of a need for safety.
“We will continue to adjust and find accommodations, but this project was developed according to the rules,” she said.
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