COVID-19 in B.C.: 1,000 new cases again; eight workplace closures; vaccinations for 18 years and up; and more

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      For the first time in several days, the number of hospitalized cases finally dropped.

      Conversely, the number of active cases rose for the first time after several consecutive days of decreases.

      Unfortunately, the number of new cases remained at approximately the same high level as yesterday.

      Today, B.C. Solicitor General and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth declared a new order to prohibit non-essential travel between three regional zones in the province:

      • Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health);
      • Vancouver Island (Island Health);
      • the Interior and North (Interior and Northern Health).

      Violations of this health order can result in fines of $575. For further details, including concerns raised about police enforcement, see this article.

      B.C. update: March 23

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in a joint statement that there are 1,001 new cases in B.C. today. By region, the total includes:

      • 626 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 215 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 93 in Interior Health;
      • 39 in Northern Health;
      • 26 in Island Health;
      • two people from outside of Canada.

      After several days of drops in active cases, the number rose again, up 109 cases from yesterday, to 8,842 active cases today.

      After a record high of 502 hospitalized cases yesterday, the number decreased by 16 cases to 486 individuals currently in hospitals. Of those patients, 160 people are in intensive care, which is only one fewer person since yesterday.

      Public health is monitoring 12,608 people, which is a decrease of 238 people since yesterday.

      Unfortunately, there are four new COVID-19-related deaths. The cumulative total number of fatalities during the pandemic is now at 1,554 people who have died in B.C.

      A cumulative total of 113,139 people have recovered, which includes 904 recoveries since yesterday.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has reported a cumulative total of 123,758 cases, which includes:

      • 70,916 cases in Fraser Health;
      • 30,762 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 10,468 in Interior Health;
      • 6,976 in Northern Health;
      • 4,458 in Island Health;
      • 188 people from outside of Canada.


      As of today, anyone 18 years old and above can register for vaccinations.

      In B.C.’s immunization program, 1,542,066 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered, and 88,663 of those are second doses.

      Today, the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) announced that it is lowering the recommended age for the AstraZeneca vaccine to 30 years old and above.

      Also today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

      Meanwhile, Ontario reported its first case of a AstraZeneca-related blood clotting, which is considered an extremely rare condition. It is the fourth case in Canada out of 1.1 million doses administered.

      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix
      Province of British Columbia

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Today, Interior Health declared an outbreak at Sandalwood Retirement Resort in Kelowna, where 10 residents and one staff member have tested positive. One person has since died.

      Also today, Island Health declared an outbreak at Craigdarroch longterm care home in Victoria, where two staff members have tested positive.

      Northern Health provided updates on three outbreaks.

      At the patient care unit at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, three patients and one staff member tested positive in this outbreak (declared on March 28) and all cases have now recovered.

      At Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert, five residents tested positive in this outbreak that was declared on April 3. Unfortunately, one resident has since died while the other four residents are now recovered.

      In the outbreak at the medical inpatient unit at Dawson Creek and District Hospital, which was declared on April 19, there are now four patients and one staff member who have tested positive. 

      Fraser Health listed a public exposure event at Fresh Cuts Barber Shop (4743 Hastings Street) from 12 to 8 p.m. on April 15.

      None of the four other health authorities listed any new public exposure events.

      Sobeys stated that an employee who tested positive last worked on April 18 at Safeway (700–15355 24th Avenue) in Surrey.

      Loblaw listed Shoppers Drug Mart (7538 120th Street) at Surrey as having an employee who tested positive and who last worked at the location on April 18.

      T&T Supermarket stated that a staff member who tested positive last worked on April 21 at the Osaka Supermarket (2200 Park Royal South) at Park Royal in West Vancouver.

      McDonald’s listed two locations with staff members testing positive:

      • one employee who tested positive last worked on April 18 at the 5718 Vedder Road location in Chilliwack;
      • an employee who tested positive last worked on April 19 at 2760 Sweden Way in Richmond.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added the following 13 flights to its lists of public exposures (affected row information is listed at the BCCDC website when available):

      • April 12: Air Canada/Jazz 8622, Vancouver to Winnipeg;
      • April 13: Air Canada 306, Vancouver to Montreal;
      • April 14: WestJet 3109, Calgary to Nanaimo;
      • April 15: Air Canada/Jazz 8398, Vancouver to Kelowna;
      • April 16: Air Canada 215, Calgary to Vancouver;
      • April 16: Sunwing 2860, Mexico City to Vancouver;
      • April 16: WestJet 3287, Vancouver to Prince George;
      • April 18: Air Canada 123, Toronto to Vancouver;
      • April 19: Air Canada 127, Toronto to Vancouver;
      • April 19: Air India 185, Delhi to Vancouver;
      • April 20: Air Canada 241, Edmonton to Vancouver;
      • April 20: Air Canada/Jazz 8261, Vancouver to Nanaimo;
      • April 21: Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver.

      Workplace closures

      Norther, Interior, and Island Health didn’t list any new business closures due to COVID-19.

      Vancouver Coastal Health listed one new business closure: Brian Jessel BMW Pre-Owned (1515 Boundary Road) in Vancouver, which was closed on April 21.

      Fraser Health added seven businesses to its list of closures:

      April 21:

      Fitness 2000—Burnaby (9304 Salish Court) in Burnaby;

      Maple Ridge Chrysler (11911 West Street) in Maple Ridge;

      Starline Windows (19091 36th Avenue) in Surrey.

      April 22:

      Keller Williams Elite Real Estate—Port Coquitlam (2099 Lougheed Highway A123) in Port Coquitlam;

      Summit Sheet Metal Crew at Transit Village (12685 110 Avenue) in Surrey;

      Tim Hortons (10392 120 Street) in Surrey;

      BCG Kitchens Ltd. (21–12318 84 Avenue) in Surrey.