COVID-19 in B.C.: Over 800 new cases; new Burnaby immunization centre; restaurant exposure event; and more

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      Although B.C. didn't set a new record high like yesterday, the new case count remained above 800.

      Active cases and monitored people also continued to increase in numbers but hospitalized cases decreased slightly.

      With a long weekend upon us, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said now is not the time for travel, which she said is high risk. In addition, she emphasized that it remains important for everyone to remain within their social bubbles and to practice health measures.

      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix emphasized that now is not about mistakes that people have made; what people didn't do, failed to do, or should have done; or "who lead the spread". Rather, he said it's about what we can do, must do, and will do, and that everyone has to "unite in the fight to stop the spread".

      Assault against antimasker

      While many examples have arisen of people resisting health measures in public with displays of anger, physical violence, and more, a male cyclist was reported to have attempted to assault an antimasker, who was in a vehicle.

      Parksville Qualicum Beach News reported that the incident took place on March 27 during an anti-mask rally on Main Street.

      A video captures a man picking up and swinging his bicycle several times at a vehicle with an antimasker passenger, who was using a megaphone to tell people that they are part of a "psychological experiment". After the cyclist smashes the vehicle window, he leaves. 

      Officers arrested the 52-year-old man with the bicycle and are recommending charges of mischief and assault with a weapon.

      B.C. update: April 1

      Henry announced that there are 832 new cases in B.C. today.

      That includes, by region:

      • 388 new cases in Fraser Health (47 percent);
      • 310 in Vancouver Coastal Health (37 percent);
      • 53 in Island Health (six percent);
      • 42 in Interior Health (five percent);
      • 39 in Northern Health (five percent);
      • no one from outside of Canada.

      Currently, there are 7,571 active cases, which is an increase of 166 more cases since yesterday.

      Hospitalized cases dropped by five cases, to a current total of 296 people in hospitals today. That includes 79 patients in intensive care units (one less person since yesterday).

      Public health is monitoring 11,608 people (due to exposures to confirmed cases)—an increase of 140 people. 

      Unfortunately, Henry announced there have been five new COVID-19-related deaths over the past day. Dix said that includes three people in Northern Health, one person in Fraser Health, and one person in Vancouver Coastal Health.

      That brings the cumulative total to 1,463 people who have died during the pandemic.

      A total of 91,732 people have now recovered, which includes 91,732 recoveries since yesterday.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 100,880 cases. By region, that includes: 

      • 58,158 cases in Fraser Health (58 percent);
      • 24,540 in Vancouver Coastal Health (24 percent);
      • 8,587 in Interior Health (nine percent);
      • 6,043 in Northern Health (six percent);
      • 3,377 in Island Health (three percent);
      • 175 people from outside of Canada (less than one percent).

      Variants and vaccinations

      Henry announced that there are 90 new confirmed variant cases over the past two days (there was a data delay yesterday), which raises the total to 2,643 cases.

      Out of these total cases, 192 are currently active and Henry said there are 35 people with variants in hospitals.

      The total includes:

      • 2,214 cases of the B117 (U.K.) variant (80 new cases);
      • 379 cases of the P1 (Brazil) variant (nine new cases);
      • 50 cases of the B1351 (South Africa) variant (one more case).

      Henry said that most of the P1 variant, which is one of the variants that Henry said they are concerned about, are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

      So far, 787,549 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca-SII vaccines have been administered in B.C., and 87,394 of those are second doses.

      Fraser Health announced today that it will open a new, larger drive-through testing and immunization centre at the British Columbia Institute of Technology campus in Burnaby. This new centre will replace the existing COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre located at 6110 Boundary Road.

      This new centre will opening on April 19, and can expand from six to 10 lanes to increase capacity for testing and immunization.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Once again, the good news is that there aren’t new healthcare or community outbreaks.

      In an update on the outbreak at Vernon Jubilee Hospital announced yesterday, Interior Health stated today that two staff members have now tested positive, in addition to the three patients that had previously tested positive.

      Vancouver Coastal Health has lifted restrictions at UBC Hospital’s Koerner Pavilion that were placed on March 11.

      Fraser Health listed a public exposure event at Browns Socialhouse Panorama (15260 56th Avenue) during the following times:

      • 5 to 11 p.m. on March 23 and 24;
      • 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 25 and 26;
      • 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on March 27.

      Loblaw added four stores to its list of locations with staff members who have tested positive.

      Two stores were Real Canadian Superstore locations:

      • two employees who last worked on March 19 and 27 at the 2155 Ferry Avenue store in Prince George;
      • two employees who last worked on March 27 at 32136 Lougheed Highway store in Mission.

      Three staff members who tested positive last worked on March 22, 26, and 28 at Sewak's Your Independent Grocer (8200 Bear Paw Trail) in Whistler.

      At Shoppers Drug Mart (590 Highway 33 West) in Kelowna, an employee who tested positive last worked there on March 29.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.