VICTORIA – An increasing number of younger people in British Columbia are becoming infected with COVID-19 and some are dying, just as vaccines are protecting older populations, the provincial health officer said Monday.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said younger patients who are ending up in intensive care units need more time there, in part because of clusters of cases in some communities.
“We saw that with some of the outbreaks that were happening in First Nations communities where people at a younger age were much more likely to need hospitalization or critical care. And sadly, where we’ve seen younger people die from the virus.”
COVID-19 is spreading through crowded households and workplaces as cases rise among people between the ages of 20 and 39, and up to age 59, Henry said.
“With a higher number of people in that age group being affected, the probability that somebody is going to end up in hospital at a younger age goes up,” she said, adding some people who have been hospitalized have underlying health conditions.
Indoor gatherings, even with people having minimal contact, should be avoided as the variant first identified in the United Kingdom becomes more prevalent, transmitting COVID-19 easily as it spreads, Henry said.
“The only safe place for us to gather now in our small groups, with our friends and families, is outside,” she said of her public health order limiting gathering numbers to 10 and among people who must stick to the same group.
“I’m calling on all of us again to go back to our basics. This is not the time to be getting together even with a small group of friends. This is not the time to have that wedding. Put it off. Put it off to the summer and we will be a different place, a post-pandemic place.
“We are seeing things increasing, whether it’s the end of our second wave or the beginning of the third, it is worrisome.”
The province has recorded 1,785 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, including 166 more cases of variants of concern, predominantly the one first identified in the United Kingdom.
Another 16 people have died, for a total of 1,437 deaths since the pandemic began.
Henry said establishments hosting weddings and similar events will be held accountable for putting their employees and others at risk.
She also called on businesses to continue having safety plans in place regardless of whether owners or employees have been vaccinated.
“It takes time for that to come into effect. And it takes time when we have this much transmission in our community,” she said, adding businesses with ongoing transmission could be closed for at least 10 days.
“For all of us, don’t let up now. And if you are blatantly disregarding those public health orders, there are ramifications for that.”
Health officials have been meeting with religious leaders to finalize plans for the resumption of outdoor services with an announcement expected in the coming days, Henry said.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said about 540,000 doses of vaccine have been administered as the province uses the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to prioritize workers most at risk of contracting COVID-19 while its parallel age-based plan is ahead of schedule.
People in their 70s are currently eligible to book appointments.
— By Camille Bains in Vancouver
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2021.
COVID cases in Ontario could spike to 30,000 per day by June
TORONTO (Reuters) – New cases of COVID-19 in Canada‘s most populous province could rise more than six fold, topping 30,000 per day by early June if public health measures are weak and vaccination rates remain flat, a panel of experts advising the province of Ontario said on Friday.
Even if measures to control the virus are “moderate,” the number of patients in Ontario ICUs could reach 2,000 in May, up from 695 on Friday.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told doctors last week they may soon have to decide who can and cannot receive intensive care.
(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Chris Reese)
Moderna sees shortfall in Britain COVID vaccine shipments, EU deliveries on track
ZURICH (Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Moderna expects a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain hitting second-quarter delivery quantities for Britain and Canada, though European Union– and Swiss-bound shipments are on track, a spokesperson said.
The delays, first announced on Friday when Canada said Moderna would be delivering only about half the planned 1.2 million doses by the end of April, come as Switzerland’s Lonza ramps up three new production lines to make active ingredients for Moderna vaccine supplies outside of the United States.
“The trajectory of vaccine manufacturing ramp-up is not linear, and despite best efforts, there is a shortfall in previously estimated doses from the European supply chain,” Moderna said in a statement.
Lonza didn’t immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment on any issues in its production.
(Reporting by John Miller; editing by David Evans)
Moderna says vaccines to Canada to be delayed due to Europe shortfall
(Reuters) -Moderna Inc said on Friday a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain will lead to a delay in deliveries to some countries including Canada.
She said one to two million doses of the 12.3 million doses scheduled for delivery by Moderna in the second quarter would be delayed until the third.
Moderna officials in Europe did not immediately comment on the reason for the delays or give the total number of countries that would be impacted.
“Vaccine manufacturing is a highly complex process and a number of elements, including human and material resources have factored into this volatility,” said Patricia Gauthier, an executive at Moderna Canada.
Canada has distributed a total of 2.82 million doses of the Moderna vaccine as of April 14 and 12.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in total.
Moderna has been aiming to deliver 700 million to 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 globally this year, including from plants in Europe and the United States.
Swiss contract drug manufacturer Lonza makes active ingredients for Moderna’s vaccine in Visp, but it was still ramping up three new production lines that once operational would be able to produce 300 million shots annually.
The current supply, demand and distribution landscape has led the drugmaker to make adjustments in the expected second-quarter deliveries, Gauthier said.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru, Allison Martell in Toronto and John Miller in Zurich; Editing by Arun Koyyur)