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Record-breaking COVID-19 numbers: Another 425 cases recorded in B.C. in 24 hours – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
British Columbia has added 425 cases of COVID-19 to its total over the last 24 hours, the first time the province has ever recorded more than 400 in a day.

There are now 3,389 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C., also a record. That total includes 97 people who are in hospital, of whom 24 are in intensive care.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Thursday’s numbers at a live briefing on B.C.’s response to the pandemic. There have been no additional deaths in the last 24 hours, Henry said.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 16,560 cases recorded in B.C. and 273 deaths.

B.C. has recorded upwards of 300 COVID-19 cases on five of the last six days, following a weekend that saw multiple case records shattered in the province.

The vast majority of B.C.’s new cases were recorded in the Lower Mainland, with 126 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 268 in Fraser Health. Between them, those two health authorities account for roughly 93 per cent of the 425 new cases announced Thursday.

Henry said an increase in cases was always expected in the fall as people began spending more time indoors, but with B.C.’s caseload continuing a rise that began over the summer, she pleaded with British Columbians to help “manage” that increase effectively.

While B.C. has not yet followed the lead of other jurisdictions in returning to the “lockdown” policies seen in March and April, Henry suggested such a change could be forthcoming if managing the increase proves too difficult.

“I am asking once again for your help to slow the spread of this virus in B.C. so that we can keep our schools, our businesses and our communities open and safe,” she said.

The provincial health officer also announced two more outbreaks at long-term care homes, one at Tabor Home in Abbotsford and one at Pinegrove Place in Richmond.

Another outbreak – at Queen’s Park Care Centre in New Westminster – has been declared over, leaving B.C. with 30 active outbreaks in health-care facilities, 28 of which are in long-term care. The other two are in acute-care facilities.

There have been no new community outbreaks declared over the last 24 hours, Henry said, adding that B.C. continues to see “ongoing clusters in workplaces and other venues.”

Health officials are monitoring a total of 7,519 people because of exposures to known cases of COVID-19, the provincial health officer said.

On a positive note, Henry said, the outbreak at Ecole de l’Anse-au-sable in Kelowna – B.C.’s first instance of widespread transmission of the coronavirus in a school setting – has been declared over.

Students and staff will return to class at the school on Friday, Henry said.

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B.C. sees new daily high of 911 COVID-19 cases, reports 11 deaths – News 1130

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As the province’s second wave pushes new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to new records on a nearly daily basis, health officials are urging British Columbians to keep each other safe.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 911 new infections Friday, pushing B.C. over the 30,000 mark of confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

It is also another day deaths were in the double digits, with 11 more people losing their lives to COVID-19.

Henry said she’s concerned about recent reports of aggression over mask wearing, where employees have been assaulted or confronted over the order.

“Please remember that this requirement to wear a mask in indoor public locations is a provincial order that everyone must follow,” she said, while comparing masks to seatbelts and helmets. “It’s a layer of protection for everybody and a courtesy to those around you. And if you are opposed to wearing a mask, then I asked you to shop online, order takeout, or stay home and not put other people at risk.”

RELATED: Burnaby couple confronted by maskless neighbour over COVID-19 rule

She again offered a reminder that we don’t always know each other’s story, and we need to show each other respect.

“We have people who are suffering in our hospitals, right now, and their families are suffering too. And that these small simple actions, make a big difference for all of us,” Henry added.

There are a record 301 patients currently hospitalized, with 69 of them in intensive care.

While Health Minister Adrian Dix assures there is enough capacity in acute care, there is still the challenge of having ample staffing and resources.

“We do for the moment, but it is important, I think, for everyone to understand how critical is for those waiting for other procedures and for everyone that we do everything we can to stop the spread over the last number of days as well.”

Given there are more than 10,000 people under public health monitoring because they’re been in close contact with an infected person, nearly 8,000 active cases, and rising daily infections, Henry reminded British Columbians that there can be a delay in receiving a negative test result.

“Public health teams may conduct, or may ask and offer widespread testing of people whether symptomatic or asymptomatic in settings like workplaces like schools and long-term care homes even if there’s not widespread community transmission in that area. The priority is to contact those who are positive first to make sure that people are isolating so there may be a delay in people getting results,” she explained.

Meanwhile, three more outbreaks in health-care facilities were reported at the German-Canadian Benevolent Society, Villa Cathay Care Home, and Morgan Place Care Home. The Peace Portal Senior Village outbreak has ended.

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N.B. could have COVID-19 vaccine by January. Now comes deciding who gets it first – CBC.ca

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All things considered, it’s a good problem to have: eight months into managing the COVID-19 pandemic, Public Health officials in New Brunswick now must start sorting out who to vaccinate first.

It won’t be easy, given that the number of New Brunswickers old enough to be considered high-risk far exceeds the number of doses coming in the first wave of vaccines early next year. 

The province could receive enough doses for 60,000 people early in January. 

But the number of people over the age of 60 — the point at which the risk of serious COVID-19 impacts increases dramatically — is more than 200,000.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell said choosing who will be at the front of the line will be a complicated calculation.

“That’s the point of prioritizing,” she said. “We know there’s not going to be enough, and this is going to be the most complex immunization program ever delivered in this country and around the world.” 

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell says choosing who will be at the front of the line will be a complicated calculation. (Submitted by the Government of New Brunswick)

Federal distribution plan based on population

The federal government has agreed to distribute the first batch of vaccines, due in the first three months of 2021, using a formula roughly based on population.

With enough doses for three million people, that would translate into about 60,000 New Brunswickers vaccinated by April.

Russell said she and her counterparts federally and in other provinces have agreed on a general plan that will be hammered into place in time for expected regulatory approval of the first vaccines next month. 

Distribution could begin as early as January. 

“I think long-term care nursing home facilities would be priority one, certainly, as a very vulnerable section of our population,” said Premier Blaine Higgs.

The New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes said there are 4,800 beds in its member homes.

“I think you would move quickly into the health-care workers and protecting them, and then the likely next step would be seniors,” Higgs said.

Premier Blaine Higgs thinks long-term care nursing homes would be ‘priority one’ for getting the vaccine in New Brunswick. (CBC News file)

Nursing home workers would account for 4,800 doses

First responders would also be near the top of the list, Higgs said.

“And then you just kind of work through the age demographics.”

Vaccinating unionized nursing home workers around the province would require more than 4,800 doses.

That’s how many members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees work in more than 50 nursing homes, according to union spokesperson Simon Ouellette. 

Vulnerable people should be prioritized, but so should the people who work with them.– Simon Ouellette, CUPE spokesperson

Five long-term care or nursing homes have been hit by outbreaks in New Brunswick.

Some nursing home workers, including maintenance and cleaning staff, must move from room to room, creating the risk of becoming a super-spreader, Ouellette said.

“Vulnerable people should be prioritized, but so should the people who work with them.”

There are also 1,875 doctors in the province, according to Dr. Jeff Steeves, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society. The New Brunswick Nurses Union estimates 6,400 nurses are in the workforce now.

Those doctors include emergency department and critical care physicians who are potentially exposed to COVID-19 frequently.

“Those most exposed to those being ill are going to need it first,” Steeves said.

New Brunswick Medical Society president Dr. Jeff Steeves says ER doctors and critical care physicians are potentially exposed to COVID-19 frequently and so should be among the first to get the vaccine. (New Brunswick Medical Society)

People with chronic conditions on high-priority list

And there are 950 ambulance paramedics who are “seeing folks that they don’t have a really good understanding of when they initially respond about what may or may not be wrong with them,” said Chris Hood, executive director of the Paramedic Association of New Brunswick.

“The association feels strongly that to protect the members, who are obviously in short supply, and to protect the public that they serve, they should be one of the first groups to be done,” he said.

Russell said New Brunswickers with chronic conditions are also “somewhere on that list” of high-priority patients.

According to the New Brunswick Health Council, 11.6 per cent of adults in the province have been diagnosed with asthma and 11.4 per cent have been diagnosed with diabetes, two conditions that COVID-19 can quickly make life-threatening.

Russell said Indigenous people will also be a high priority because COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on them.

But it’s possible the federal government, which has responsibility for Indigenous issues, will hang on to a small percentage of vaccine doses and do that itself, along with immunizing some military members and federal inmates.

She said the goal is to have 75 per cent of the province vaccinated, enough to create herd immunity in the population. She doesn’t see that happening until next fall or later.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy said he would support immunizing school children soon after the high-priority groups are done. (Submitted by the Government of New Brunswick)

Cardy wants schoolchildren to follow high-priority groups

Higgs said Thursday that the fact some people will want to wait to ensure the vaccines are safe could make the process easier.

“There’s a number of people that want to be vaccinated early, and there are probably others that want to kind of wait a bit,” he told CBC’s Power and Politics. “So it may not be a rush to the front of the line immediately.”

Last week Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy said he would support immunizing schoolchildren soon after the high-priority groups are done. 

“We’re seeing, unfortunately, in the last few months, a significant increase in the number of young people who are becoming not just infected with COVID-19 but are then passing it on,” he said.

“Younger people get less sick, but they can be just as efficient a disease vector as anyone of any age, so I’d certainly argue that. I think that would make sense.”

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News Releases | COVID-19 Bulletin #268 – news.gov.mb.ca

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Need More Info?

Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.

Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.

Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-794-0732.

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