COVID-19 in B.C.: Hospitalizations approach 500; antimasker lawsuit dismissed; variant from India in B.C.; and more

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      There have been some glimmers of hope.

      Active cases and monitored people have decreased in numbers for several consecutive days now. Also, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had stated during her presentation on April 19 that there are signs that B.C.’s curve has slowly begun to bend.

      The primary area of concern, however, remains hospitalized cases, which continues to rise and is approaching 500 cases.

      The number of deaths was also high today.

      There are also 11 flights with exposures and three businesses temporarily closed by health authorities due to COVID-19.


      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in today’s joint COVID-19 statement said that there isn’t an update available on the variant cases but did not explain why.

      However, the Vancouver Sun has reported that B.C. Health has confirmed that 39 cases of the double mutation from India, known as B1617, has been confirmed to have been found in B.C.

      This variant is classified as a “variant of interest” rather than a “variant of concern”.

      Antimasker lawsuit

      Today, the B.C. Supreme Court has been reported to have dismissed a lawsuit against the B.C. government filed by New Westminster resident Makhan Singh Parhar, who is a COVID-19 denier and antimasker.

      Parhar alleged that after he returned from a flat Earth conference in the U.S. in late October, authorities kidnapped him when he was allegedly found to be breaking quarantine.

      Police had initially issued him a violation ticket but he was later taken into custody for several days after repeatedly violating quarantine rules.

      He has been ordered to pay $750 in court costs.

      His hot yoga studio in Delta was shut down by the city in March 2020 after Parhar claimed that the heat would kill the virus.

      Makhan Singh Parhar

      B.C. update: April 21

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in today’s statement that there are 862 new cases in B.C.

      • 557 new cases in the Fraser Health (65 percent);
      • 200 in Vancouver Coastal Health (23 percent);
      • 54 in Interior Health (six percent);
      • 26 in Northern Health (three percent);
      • 25 in Island Health (three percent);
      • no one from outside of Canada.

      One hopeful sign is that active cases have been on the decline for the past few days. Currently, there are 8,906 active cases, which is a drop of 239 cases since yesterday.

      What is a troubling sign, however, is that hospitalized cases have been continuing to climb for several consecutive days, thereby continuing to set records during the pandemic. Today, there are 483 individuals in hospitals, which 27 more people than yesterday.

      In addition, 164 of those patients are in intensive care units, which is an increase of 16 people since yesterday.

      The number of people being monitored by public health has also been decreasing over several days. Today, public health is monitoring 13,135 people for exposures to identified cases, which is drop of 544 people since yesterday.

      Tragically, there are seven new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,546 deaths in British Columbia

      A cumulative total of 111,039 people have now recovered, which includes 1,066 recoveries since yesterday.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 121,751 cases.


      As of today, 1,456,946 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca-SII vaccines have been administered in B.C.’s immunization program, and 88,335 of those are second doses.

      In the age-based schedule, those who are 30 years and older are now eligible to register for vaccinations on the Get Vaccinated website.

      In addition, those who are 40 years old and above can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at their local pharmacy or through special clinics in 13 high-risk communities.

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

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Today, Interior Health declared the outbreak in unit 4E at Kelowna General Hospital, which involved two patients and one staff member testing positive, to be over.

      As reported yesterday, Island Health declared the outbreak at Longlake Chateau independent living facility in Nanaimo to be over. Island Health said a total of eight patients tested positive in this outbreak.

      Fraser Health has listed two new public exposure events.

      One was at Hyde Barber Lounge (102–15335 56th Avenue) in Surrey from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 8 and 9; from 1 to 7 p.m. on April 14; and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on April 15 and 16.

      The other was at Babylon Barbershop (27094 Fraser Highway) in Aldergrove from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on April 10 and 13 to 17.

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

      One store was Joti's No Frills at 310 West Broadway in Vancouver, where an employee who tested positive last worked on April 10.

      The two other stores were Real Canadian Superstore locations:

      • one employee who tested positive last worked on April 11 at 910 Columbia Street West in Kamloops;
      • two employees who tested positive last worked on April 15 and 17 at 14650 104th Avenue, Surrey.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has added the following 11 flights to its lists of public exposures (affected row information is available at the BCCDC website when available):

      • April 5: Air Canada 305, Montreal to Vancouver;
      • April 5: Flair 8822, Vancouver to Calgary;
      • April 11: Swoop 183, Toronto to Abbotsford;
      • April 12: WestJet 3116, Victoria to Calgary;
      • April 13: Air Canada 201, Calgary to Vancouver;
      • April 14: Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver;
      • April 14: Air Canada 103, Toronto to Vancouver;
      • April 14: Sunwing 2852, Mexico City to Vancouver;
      • April 15: Air Canada 115, Toronto to Vancouver;
      • April 17: Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver;
      • April 18: Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver.

      Workplace closures

      Interior, Island, and Northern Health did not list any new businesses that have been closed due to COVID-19 cases.

      Vancouver Coastal Health closed EastSide Boxing Club (238 Keefer Street) in Vancouver on April 16.

      Fraser Health has temporarily closed the following businesses:

      April 19: Solar Nails and Spa (2748 Lougheed Highway) in Port Coquitlam

      April 20: Kasa Supply (13237 King George Boulevard) in Surrey

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