COVID-19 in B.C.: Over 800 new cases; hospitalized cases continue to climb; eight food store exposures; and more

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      Today, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam received her first dose of the vaccine.

      Her first vaccination dose coincides with news that arose about blood-clotting cases linked to two vaccines.

      U.S. health officials announced that the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been suspended during a health investigation into six cases of “rare and severe” blood clots that occurred in women between 18 and 48 years of age.

      This vaccine has not yet been shipped to Canada.

      Meanwhile, the first case of blood-clotting from the AstraZeneca vaccine ( the COVIDSHIELD version from the Serum Institute of India) was reported in Canada today.

      Health Canada stated that it will continue to closely monitor the situation, adding that it “continues to consider that the benefits of the AstraZeneca and COVISHIELD vaccines to protect against COVID-19 outweigh the potential risks”.

      Health violations

      Meanwhile, B.C. announced that it is once again extending the provincial state of emergency. The new end date is April 27.

      In an update on health violation fines issued, the B.C. government stated that 1,709 violation tickets have been issued (from Aug. 21, 2020, to March 26), which includes:

      • 272 violation fines of $2,300 each to owners or organizers for gatherings and events;
      • 51 tickets of $2,300 fines each for violating health orders for food and liquor serving;
      • 1,368 violation tickets of $230 fines each to individuals for not following health orders;
      • 18 tickets of $575 fines each to individuals who promoted or attended a non-compliant event.

      The amount for the last fine was increased from $230 on March 25.

      In addition, police in B.C. have issued 134 violation tickets to individuals (for a total of $238,194 in fines) who broke quarantine.

      B.C. update: April 13

      Today, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix explained in a joint statement that as there has been a delay in the Public Health Reporting Data Warehouse lab system, today’s numbers are preliminary and may be adjusted once confirmed.

      Yet even if numbers are tweaked, case counts remain high in all categories.

      As of the statement, there are 873 new cases in B.C., which includes (by region):

      • 512 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 218 in Vancouver Coastal Health; 
      • 72 in Interior Health region;
      • 43 in Island Health region;
      • 28 in Northern Health region;
      • no new cases of people from outside of Canada.

      The number of active cases has dropped since yesterday. Currently, there are 9,756 active cases, which is a decrease of 181 cases.

      Unfortunately, the number of hospitalized cases continues to climb. Today, there are 377 patients are currently in hospitals (nine more than yesterday), and 116 of those individuals are in intensive care (a decrease of five patients since yesterday).

      Public health is now monitoring 16,290 people after exposures to identified cases, which is an increase of 390 people since yesterday.

      Sadly, there are two new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,515 deaths in British Columbia.

      Meanwhile, a cumulative total of 102,268 people have now recovered, which includes 1,052 recoveries since yesterday.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a total of 113,702 cases in British Columbia.

      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
      Province of British Columbia

      Variants and vaccinations

      There are 5,221 variant cases, and 258 of those are active.

      The total includes:

      • 3,627 cases of the B117 (U.K.) variant;
      • 1,529 cases of the P1 (Brazil) variant;
      • 65 cases of the B1351 (South Africa) variant.

      In the B.C. immunization program, 1,148,993 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca-SII COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, and 87,785 of those are second doses.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      At yesterday’s briefing, Henry said there was an outbreak at the Dufferin Care Centre in Coquitlam. Today, Fraser Health stated that so far, one resident has tested positive and is in isolation.

      Meanwhile, Fraser Health declared an outbreak over at Chilliwack General Hospital.

      The good news is that there weren’t any new community outbreaks declared and none of the five regional health authorities listed any new public exposure events.

      Sobeys listed five stores with staff who tested positive.

      Two locations were FreshCo stores:

      • an employee who tested positive last worked on April 4 at 300–20201 Lougheed Highway in Delta;
      • one employee who tested positive last worked on April 7 at 100-10151 No. 3 Road in Richmond.

      Two Thrifty Foods staff members who tested positive last worked at the 171 Brew Street location in Port Moody on April 4.

      The remaining two stores were Safeway locations:

      • an employee from the 12825 16th Avenue store in Surrey who tested positive last worked there on April 3;
      • one employee who tested positive last worked at the 1611 Davie Street location in Vancouver on April 10.

      Loblaw added three stores to it list of locations with staff members who tested positive.

      One was Dennis' No Frills at 100–1960 Como Lake Avenue in Coquitlam. Although it was listed yesterday with two employees testing positive who last worked there on April 1 and 3, a third employee (who last worked at the store on April 9) has since tested positive as well.

      In Whistler, an employee who tested positive last worked on April 9 at Sewak's Your Independent Grocer (8200 Bear Paw Trail).

      In West Vancouver, an employee who tested positive last worked on April 10 at Park Royal City Market (845 Park Royal North).

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added the following nine flights to its lists of public exposures:

      • March 29: WestJet 129, Calgary to Vancouver;
      • March 30: WestJet 3105, Vancouver to Terrace;
      • April 2: Pacific Coastal Airlines, Vancouver to Victoria;
      • April 2: WestJet 129, Calgary to Vancouver;
      • April 2: WestJet 3100, Fort St. John to Calgary;
      • April 5: Flair 8821, Calgary to Vancouver;
      • April 6: Air Canada 306, Vancouver to Montreal;
      • April 8: Air Canada 306, Vancouver to Montreal;
      • April 9: Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver.

      Affected row information is available at the BCCDC website.

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