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Pandemic claims three more lives in northern B.C. – Prince George Citizen

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COVID-19 claimed three more lives in the Northern Health region on Tuesday, bringing the region’s death toll from the pandemic to 90.

Three of the four COVID-related deaths reported in the province on Tuesday were in the north, which continued to see a rising number of active cases, according to data released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

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“There have been four new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,263 deaths in British Columbia,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement issued on Tuesday. “We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost loved ones to COVID-19.”

The Northern Health region saw 37 new cases reported on Tuesday, bringing the number of active cases in the region to 444 – up from 411 on Monday. There were 14 people hospitalized with COVID in the Northern Health region on Tuesday, including 10 in critical care, the B.C. CDC reported.

A total of 5,446 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the north, including 417 second doses, the B.C. CDC reported.

Across B.C., 435 new COVID cases were reported, bringing the province’s total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 71,387 – including 3,849 in the north.

“There are 4,393 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 241 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 68 of whom are in intensive care,” Henry and Dix said. “To date, 155,585 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 12,802 of which are second doses. We are making progress in our efforts to push back on the COVID-19 virus and get to the days of fewer restrictions in our province. We can keep this positive, forward momentum going and help keep our province safe through the small efforts we make every day.”

On Monday, Northern Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak in the Medical Inpatient Unit at Dawson Creek & District Hospital, after nine patients tested positive.

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Northern Health is actively testing to determine if any other staff or patients were exposed, and putting additional safety measures in place.

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7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in BC – Trail Daily Times – Trail Times

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B.C. announced 542 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths as of Wednesday (March 3), said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

It breaks down to 131 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health authority region, 292 in Fraser Health, 31 in Island Health, 43 in Interior Health and 44 in Northern Health.

There are now a total of 4,654 active cases in the province, this includes three more people are being treated in hospital for the virus, for a total of 246. Of them, 64 are in intensive care.

In a joint statement, Henry and health minister Adrian Dix reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern for a total of 200 in the province:

“Our goal is to protect as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, through the available COVID-19 vaccines. With a single primer dose, these vaccines are helping to stop outbreaks and reduce serious illness and death.”

RELATED: Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

So far, 289,809 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., of which 86,616 were second doses.

A total of 1,372 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There have been a total of 81,909 cases, of which 75,819 have recovered.

There were no new reported health care facility outbreaks as a result of the virus.


@sarahgrowch
sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

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B.C. reports 438 new COVID cases, 2 deaths; Dr. Henry defends vaccine plan – Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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B.C. is reporting 438 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths as of Tuesday (March 2), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

By health authority, it breaks down to 137 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 249 in Fraser Health, 19 in Island Health, 16 in Interior Health and 17 in Northern Health. There are now a total of 4,679 active cases and 8,445 people in isolation.

There are 243 people in hospital, of whom 62 are in ICU with the virus. There have been a total of 81,367 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began, of which 72,255 have recovered. B.C.’s death toll from the virus has reached 1,365.

Henry on Tuesday defended delaying the second dose of COVID vaccines for up to four months. Health officials announced Monday that choosing to delay the booster shot would allow all B.C. adults to receive their first dose by mid-July.

“If you give it too soon, your body’s immune system doesn’t recognize it as something news,” she said. “If you extend it a period of time as long as six months… you can get a more durable and long-lasting protection.”

Henry said that last week’s approval of AstraZeneca allows B.C. to be “more agile” in targeting areas of outbreaks and transmission. However, she noted that people will by and large not have a choice in which vaccine they get, but that the AstraZeneca could be offered to some front line and essential workers earlier than they may get the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“The vaccine you are offered is the best vaccine,” she said. “I would not suggest people wait.”

However, upcoming mass vaccinations of seniors are expected to continue using the Pfizer and Moderna.

B.C. also extended its state of emergency for the COVID pandemic to March 16, marking nearly one full year.

READ MORE: Most B.C. adults could get their first COVID vaccine shot by July: health officials


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COVID-19 vaccine pilot project coming to some Ontario pharmacies – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Ontario pharmacists will soon be able to administer the COVID-19 vaccine after the Ford government signed an agreement to harness the reach of 4,600 pharmacies across the province.

The Ontario Pharmacists Association said a pilot project will be launched in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor-Essex next week to test run the distribution, storage, booking and administration systems, before the program is scaled up in the coming weeks.

At its peak the association says pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will be able to administer 46 vaccines per day, with a total of one million vaccines per week, using a yearly flu vaccination campaign as a blueprint.

“This is going to be an all hands on deck scenario,” the association’s president, Justin Bates, told CTV News Toronto

The association has been running table top exercises with the provincial vaccine distribution taskforce and is working to pinpoint which pharmacies will be involved in the pilot project with the aim of “putting shots in arms next week.”

“Over the next two weeks, you’re going to start to see that there’s a refined plan for three public health units,” Bates said. “We’re going to start there with a limited amount of vaccine that’s available and then scale up.”

The Ford government has indicated that community pharmacies will be an integral part of the vaccine distribution system, and suggested that the highly-portable AstraZeneca vaccine will be administered at local pharmacies.

Bates noted, however, that pharmacies will “utilize their own booking system” to take appointments for first and second doses, building on the existing appointment software pharmacy chains use every year.

“The pharmacies will use their own booking system, is what we’ve been told. And they [the province] are looking into those options to have that flexibility,” Bates said.

That raises questions about the multitude of vaccination portals available to the public and the potential overlap between them.

Critics of the Ford government have raised concerns about public heath units being forced to transfer over to a provincial booking portal when it’s launched on Mar. 15.

With appointments potentially being taken at pharmacies, hospitals, public health units and the province, some fear people will be left confused over how the province plans to vaccinate Ontarians.

“I think reasonable people would think there’s a lot of risk in that, or there’s some risk for it to be a bumpy ride, for people to be confused,” said Liberal MPP John Fraser.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner pleaded with the Ford government to present an updated vaccination plan in order to maintain public confidence.

“And as new developments evolve over time, then be clear and transparent about the adjustments you’re making,” Schreiner said.

“I think the public is going to understand that.”

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