British Columbia has seen a second day of record-high COVID-19 cases, with 274 new cases reported on Thursday.
B.C. reported more than 200 new infections for the first time on Wednesday, with 203 confirmed cases.
There were five new cases reported in the Island Health region Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases to 15. There has also been a new COVID-19 exposure at a Vancouver Island school, Island Health said.
Families at Wood Elementary School in Port Alberni received a letter Wednesday saying a member of the school community has tested positive for COVID-19.
The exposure happened on Oct. 19 and the health authority will use contact tracing to notify staff and students who need to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
People who have been asked to self-isolate received a phone call, while those told to self-monitor were notified by letter.
Those who have not been contacted should continue to attend school and monitor for symptoms, according to the letter, signed by Dr. Shannon Waters, medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley region, and Pacific Rim school district superintendent Greg Smyth.
The latest school exposure on the Island follows two previous school exposures in September: One at Carihi Secondary in Campbell River on Sept. 28 and one at Alberni Secondary in Port Alberni on Sept. 22.
B.C. has seen its first school outbreak, at Kelowna’s Ecole de l’Anse-au-Sable School, where five cases have been confirmed.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said despite the school outbreak, there’s no indication the return to in-person classes has caused COVID-19 to spread.
Since in-person classes resumed on Sept. 10, here have been 213 exposure warnings of COVID-19 cases linked to a school, Henry said. There have been six “clusters” where more than one person linked to a school was infected and the Kelowna case is the first outbreak, she said. An outbreak outside a health facility is declared when at least two people test positive.
“We are not seeing return to school cause the amplification [of infections] in our community,” Henry said.
“While it’s concerning that we have an outbreak, what I think is positive about this is that we are monitoring all of the exposure events and we have had very little transmission in the schools and public health has been working with schools across the province to keep it that way.”
Henry said the majority of new COVID-19 cases are concentrated around the Lower Mainland, with 203 new cases in the Fraser Health region on Thursday.
The Fraser Health authority confirmed outbreaks at several long-term care homes and assisted-living facilities. The province has 1,920 active cases, with 71 people in hospital, 24 of whom are in critical care.
Henry said people are also travelling across the province and coming to B.C. from other parts of Canada, which increases the risk of spreading the virus.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has warned of a COVID-19 exposure on a flight to Victoria on Oct. 15. There was a confirmed case on Air Canada flight 195 from Toronto that day, and passengers in rows 17-23 are advised to self-isolate and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
Gatherings such as weddings, funerals and Thanksgiving meals have caused significant spread of the coronavirus in the province, said Henry, adding as the cold weather sets in and events move indoors, there’s a higher risk for the virus to spread.
People getting married should consider having a civil ceremony and waiting until next year to hold a larger gathering with extended family and friends, she said.
The maximum gathering size remains 50 people, but as flu season begins, people need to be extra cautious and limit gatherings to their households plus their “safe six” bubbles, Henry said.
“You may think the risk doesn’t apply to you because you live far away from the Lower Mainland. But we have seen on many occasions … that COVID‑19 knows no boundaries and impacts us all.”
COVID-19 update: B.C.'s health ministry to give details on latest cases, deaths, outbreaks – CTV News Vancouver
British Columbians will get one more COVID-19 update before the weekend, as the province’s health ministry will release details from the past 24 hours.
Friday’s COVID-19 update will be revealed in a written statement and will explain the number of new cases, deaths and outbreaks recorded since the day before.
On Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix gave an in-person briefing and revealed another 694 people had tested positive for the disease. That pushed the number of active cases over 9,000 or the first time ever in the pandemic and the total number of cases over 35,000.
Another 12 people died from the disease, which marked the 10th day in a row that the province had seen deaths in the double digits.
Updates to the temporary, sweeping orders put in place last month are expected Monday. It’s not yet known if they’ll be extended or withdrawn.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Kendra Mangione
B.C. records 12 more COVID-19 deaths as top doctor warns against non-essential travel – ThePeterboroughExaminer.com
VICTORIA – British Columbia’s top doctor says COVID-19 cases have levelled off in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions, but they’ve been rising in the North, Interior and to a lesser extent on Vancouver Island.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday there is some variability in how the illness is spreading in different areas, but social interactions are driving transmission across the province.
Another 12 people have died in B.C. after contracting the novel coronavirus, while the province reported 834 new cases.
Of the latest cases, 529 are in the Fraser Health region, 174 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 66 are in the Interior, 45 are in the North and 20 are on Vancouver Island.
The illness is still spreading quickly, said Henry, and while health restrictions on social gatherings and other activities are set to end Monday, it’s possible the rules could be extended.
Henry is urging people to avoid travelling for non-essential purposes, noting an adult hockey team from the Interior went to Alberta and its members spread COVID-19 in their community when they returned.
“I know that people feel like, ‘Oh it will be OK, we’ve not had any virus here, we’ll be fine.’ But this is just another cautionary tale that right now, you cannot take these types of licence from the restrictions that we’ve put in place for all of our safety,” she said.
“Making an exception for yourself or for your team or for your recreational needs puts a crack in our wall, and we see that this virus can exploit that very easily at this time of year.”
It’s crucial that anyone coming to B.C. over the holidays follows public health rules, Henry added.
“I cannot stop you by an order (from) getting into your car or going on to a plane, but I am asking in the strongest of terms for us to stay put.”
Henry also addressed what she called a small, vocal minority of people who are pushing back against public health rules.
“This is very real. Ask any of the families who have lost a loved one how real this is.”
There are 8,941 active COVID-19 infections in B.C., including 337 people who are in hospital, and more than 10,200 people are being monitored after exposure to a known case.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.
What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Dec. 4 – CBC.ca
- Daily update on numbers expected in a written statement around 3 p.m. PT.
- Health officials announced 694 new cases Thursday, as well as 12 more deaths.
- There are now 9,103 active cases of COVID-19 across B.C.
- 325 patients are in hospital, with 80 in intensive care.
- 481 people have died of the disease since the pandemic began
- New restrictions mean indoor and outdoor adult team sports are banned, kids’ sports limited.
Though B.C.’s active caseload continues to grow and the death toll keeps rising sharply, there is light at the end of the tunnel with news that COVID-19 vaccine rollout is expected to begin in the first week of January.
On Thursday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the first shipments of vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna should begin arriving within weeks, and priority patients including residents of long-term care are expected to get the first shots early in 2021.
By spring, there should be enough doses in the province for the vaccine to become more widely available, and Henry said the goal is to reach everyone who wants a vaccine by September.
But that is still months away, and in the meantime, Henry said it’s more important than ever that people buckle down and get serious about following public health orders and advice.
On Thursday, she announced 694 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths. There are 325 patients in hospital with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, a slight dip from Wednesday. Eighty are in intensive care.
Meanwhile, health officials have announced a ban on all indoor and outdoor adult sports as well as new limitations on children’s sports. They’ve also updated the restrictions for group fitness activities.
All the details can be found here.
Henry said Thursday that between 10 and 15 per cent of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks have been linked to sports and recreational activities.
Public health orders remain in place banning all public and community events and limiting social interactions to people within your immediate household. Those orders will be reviewed on Monday.
What’s happening elsewhere in Canada
As of Thursday night, there have been 396,270 cases of COVID-19 in Canada. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 12,407.
In Quebec, the premier has officially told the public that all Christmas gatherings need to be cancelled this year.
Federal officials released their own details Thursday about the plans for a vaccine, cautioning that the initial supply will be limited — just three million Canadians are expected to get a shot in the first three months of 2021.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Loss of taste or smell.
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they’re mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911.
What can I do to protect myself?
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
- Keep your distance from people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
- Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.
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