The latest case numbers, exposure alerts and guidelines: Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C.
Health experts are urging people to get their flu shots this year as the healthcare system braces to battle a “twindemic” of COVID and influenza infections.
Hospitalist Dr. Khushdeep Chahal, chair of Walker Baptist Medical Center’s Infection Prevention Committee, said the hospital had its first confirmed patient to be infected with both COVID-19 and the flu on Wednesday.
He is urging the public to do their part and get vaccinated for flu, in order to prevent infection from one of two deadly conditions.
“This is probably the most important time ever to take the flu vaccine, because, remember, we’re dealing with an infection which kills,” Chahal said of COVID. “It’s very hard to figure out who it’s going to kill and who might not even know they’ve had this infection. We should just assume the worst, think that we all have a very high risk of getting terribly sick from this, and take measures to protect against what we can, which is the flu virus.”
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone 6 months and older receive a flu shot annually.
Chahal said medical teams are having to use their best assessment skills to distinguish between COVID and flu symptoms, which he admits can be incredibly difficult.
People with both infections can have common symptoms of viral illness such as head and body aches, fever, gastric symptoms, cough, runny nose, etc.
“When we talk about flu and COVID, the similarities also extend into the fact that the primary organ that is involved is the lungs, the respiratory system,” Chahal said. “What’s also common is that if you were to obtain X-rays of patients with flu and of patients with COVID, you’ll see pretty much the same images on the chest X-rays — similar-looking pneumonia, what we typically call viral pneumonia, where you might not necessarily see one dense patch but you might see some diffuse inflammation in both the lungs.”
One key symptom of COVID-19 that differs from flu is a patient’s loss of taste and smell, Chahal said. In addition, he said people with COVID seem to have an increased risk of forming blood clots in the lungs which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Chahal said there’s another important consideration when discussing COVID and flu.
“Having one doesn’t really provide you any protection against the other. You could easily have one without the other or have both infections at the same time,” he said.
Most patients who seek medical care and have symptoms of both COVID and flu will be tested for both illnesses, according to Chahal. Patients diagnosed with both would be typically be treated with Tamiflu for influenza, while also receiving Remdesivir, steroids, and other supplements to treat COVID.
Chahal again stressed the importance of the flu vaccine so that more hospital resources can be preserved as COVID cases continue to climb.
“Take the flu vaccine because, yes, we don’t have a COVID vaccine yet, but we do have a flu vaccine. You’re not only helping us; you’re helping the whole nation, the whole healthcare system, and the world because when you don’t get flu, you don’t come into our E.R.’s,” he said. “You’re not coming into our hospitals, which means we have to do less testing, and those tests can be used judiciously for the patients who would actually need those tests.”
As of Friday afternoon, just over 20,200 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed statewide in the last 14 days, 358 of those in Walker County.
Over 3,100 people in Walker County have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, resulting in 90 confirmed deaths.
He said people experiencing symptoms of COVID and/or flu should pay special attention to how their activities of daily living are being impacted when considering whether to seek medical care.
“If you have shortness of breath and especially if it’s bad enough that you can’t even walk to your bathroom or your kitchen, you need help,” he said, adding that many people are relying on store-bought pulse oximeters to determine their oxygen level and gauge if they need to see a doctor.
“These devices may not be standardized, so they might not give you very accurate estimations,” Chahal said. “We don’t want you to have a false sense of relief that your numbers are absolutely fine when they actually may not be.”
Even if symptoms are mild, Chahal said being tested for COVID is a smart decision to protect the health of others.
“Confirming the diagnosis definitely means that you’ll take more precautions to protect your near and dear ones,” he said.
Chahal encourages people to continue wearing face masks, to social distance, and to practice good hygiene to protect against COVID and other illnesses common in the fall and winter months.
“It’s the safest thing to do, to assume that anyone around you has COVID. Wear a mask, keep your distance,” he said. “What we’re seeing is once someone gets an infection in the household, it spreads pretty quickly to the other people in the household. The ability of this virus to disseminate and spread, how contagious it is, it’s just extraordinary.”
What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Nov. 26 – CBC.ca
- 738 new cases of COVID-19 were announced on Wednesday, along with 13 more deaths.
- There are now 29,086 confirmed cases in the province to date.
- 294 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, including 61 in intensive care.
- 371 people have now died of the disease.
- Masks are mandatory for everyone in indoor public spaces and retail environments.
- Anyone who does not comply could face a $230 fine.
British Columbia added another 738 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as the province continued to urge everyone to pause social interactions and said there could be fines for those who don’t wear masks.
The Fraser Health region continued to drive the spike in new infections, with 443 or 60 per cent of Wednesday’s new cases.
On Wednesday, Provincial Health Minister Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced a data correction for results from Fraser Health over the past week due to an data glitch.
Daily numbers from Fraser Health changed from Nov. 16 to Nov. 24. On Tuesday, 678 cases were originally announced for the region. The accurate number is 432. That meant the overall number of new cases in B.C. on that day was revised down to 695 from what was reported as a record high of 941.
The B.C. government has published a full list of corrected data online.
Overall, the corrected data still showed the province’s COVID-19 curve trending up, but at a slower rate than originally reported.
Fraser Health spike ‘didn’t happen’: health officer
Fraser Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin said the correction shows that the case numbers in that health authority have stabilized rather than spiking.
“That spike […] didn’t happen. Our case counts are fluctuating at around 500 cases a day. That number has been stable for a couple of weeks,” she said on CBC’s The Early Edition.
Brodkin said the majority of transmission in Fraser Health continues to be in private homes, with individuals becoming infected in the community and passing the virus on to their household contacts. She said transmission is also occurring in essential workplaces and gyms, and that in 20 per cent of cases the source of transmission cannot be identified.
But she said there has been no transmission as a result of community events like Diwali, and that contact tracers are still able to find 95 per cent of contacts within 24 hours.
“The current restrictions are working. The exponential climb has stopped,” she said.
Brodkin said the glitch in reported numbers happened as a result of an error with a lab information system, and was a one-time incident that was “identified quickly and has been corrected.”
What’s happening elsewhere in Canada
There have now been more than 348,944 cases of COVID-19 in Canada.
A vaccine is expected to become available in the coming year, but Canada has not yet specified how it will be distributed, aside from a promise to work with provinces and territories to buy cold storage.
The federal government has procured 358 million doses of vaccine from seven companies, an insurance policy of sorts in case some of the vaccines in development prove to be ineffective in clinical trials.
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.
COVID-19 update for Nov. 26: B.C. records deadliest day so far in pandemic with 13 deaths – Standard Freeholder
Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Nov. 26, 2020.
We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.
Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.
B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS
As of the latest figures given on Nov. 25:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 29,086 (7,616 active)
• New cases since Nov. 24: 738
• Hospitalized cases: 294
• Intensive care: 61
• COVID-19 related deaths: 371 (13 new)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 10,270
• Recovered: 19,814
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 63
LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.
3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.
Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday that a further 738 people tested positive for COVID-19 and an additional 13 people have died from the respiratory disease. It was the pandemic’s deadliest day so far in British Columbia.
Of the new cases, 443 were recorded in the Fraser Health District, while 169 tested positive in Vancouver Coastal Health.
There are 294 people being treated in hospital with 61 in critical care.
There has been total of 29,066 positive tests and 371 COVID-19 related deaths in B.C. since the start of the pandemic. There have been more than 100 deaths in November alone.
There are 7,615 active cases in B.C.
B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS
LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information
Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.
–with files from The Canadian Press
Vancouver doctor, patient raising awarness about dangerous condition linked to COVID-19 – CTV News Vancouver
There’s a dangerous complication from COVID-19 you might not know about.
But 29-year-old Jordan Hoey and doctors at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver are trying to raise awareness about what it is and how serious it can be.
“Honestly, I was terrified. It was nothing I was expecting when I first got that positive diagnosis,” Hoey said in an interview with CTV News.
Last May, Hoey ended up testing positive for COVID-19 .
“My partner works in health care. There was an outbreak in her workplace,” he explained. “I was pretty scared. It was quite shocking, for sure.”
He battled the virus, but just as he thought he was turning a corner in the right direction, his health took a turn for the worse.
“A couple days after the fevers ended, I started getting a bit of chest pain and then noticing a little bit of red when I was coughing.”
And it didn’t improve.
“I coughed, filled the whole inside of the mask with blood. We knew it was time to go to the emergency room right away,” he said.
At St. Paul’s Hospital, he says, a CT scan revealed multiple pulmonary embolisms.
Dr. Anna Rahmani of the hospital’s thrombosis clinic said they’ve been seeing an increase in blood clots associated with COVID-19 infections.
The doctor told CTV News that while incidents of blood clots are higher in COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized, they are also seeing the condition in patients like Hoey who are young and otherwise healthy.
“Blood clots don’t really discriminate. They can affect any age, race,” Rahmani explained.
She said it’s crucial that people know the warning signs.
“Signs and symptoms of blood clot in the leg include tenderness, redness, increased swelling and pain,” Rahmani said.
But she said there are other signs people might be less familiar with.
“Symptoms and signs of blood clot in the lung (like Hoey experienced) include increasing shortness of breath, cough, bloody cough. Some people even experience dizziness and light headedness,” she said, urging anyone with symptoms to seek medical help right away.
Meanwhile, Hoey has only recently returned to working from home on a part-time basis as he continues to recover.
“I’m getting better but I’m not what I used to be yet,” he said.
“People need to be more aware of the serious side effects and serious complications of COVID itself. It’s not just a flu. It will take you out.”
On Thursday, Nov. 26 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., the thrombosis clinic at St. Paul’s will be presenting a free public Zoom session. You can find out more information here.
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