COVID-19 in B.C.: Hospitalizations hit new record high; paid leave for vaccinations; and more

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      Today is the National Day of Mourning dedicated to all the lives lost or changed by workplace illness or injury.

      According to a joint statement from B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains and Premier John Horgan, 151 workers died over the past year due to work-related injuries or illnesses.

      "COVID-19 has pushed everyone in B.C. to improve occupational health and safety practices and reduce risks, but there are hazards in the workplace beyond the virus,” Bains and Horgan stated. “This spring, we lost several workers in the span of a few short weeks because of traumatic injuries at their work. It was a sad reminder that we must always remain vigilant about health and safety in the workplace—every day, without exception.”

      Bains and Horgan added that WorkSafeBC is ensuring that COVID-19 safety plans are implemented at every workplace.

      Bains also announced today that the Employment Standards Act has been amended to ensure employers provide up to three hours of paid leave for employees to obtain their vaccinations. This legislation is retroactive to April 19.

      Meanwhile, today’s case counts remain roughly in the same range as yesterday—yet all remain at high levels.

      Of particular concern is that hospitalizations as well as intensive care unit patient numbers have both established new records.

      B.C. update: April 28

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that there are 841 new cases (including six epi-linked cases) in B.C. today.

      By region, today’s total includes:

      • 541 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 171 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 74 in Interior Health;
      • 35 in Island Health;
      • 20 in Northern Health;
      • no one from outside of Canada.

      Active cases declined by 80 cases to a current 8,009 active cases today.

      But, in contrast, hospitalized cases increased by 15 people since yesterday to 515 individuals now in hospitals, and 171 of those patients in intensive care units (seven more since yesterday). Both of these totals have set troubling new record highs for the span of the pandemic in B.C. (The previous hospitalization record was 502 patients on April 22.)

      Although the number of monitored people continues to shrink, the total remains high. Public health is monitoring 11,657 people (due to exposures to identified cases), which is a decrease of 135 people since yesterday.

      Although there weren’t any deaths yesterday, there are, sadly, five new COVID-19-related deaths today. That brings the cumulative total number of fatalities to 1,576 people who have died in B.C. due to COVID-19-related reasons.

      With 907 recoveries since yesterday, a cumulative total of 118,057 people have now recovered.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has reported a cumulative total of 127,889 cases.

      In B.C.’s immunization program, 1,705,409 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines have now been administered, and 89,725 of those are second doses.

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

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Fraser Health declared the outbreak Sunset Manor in Chilliwack to be over.

      Island Health declared the outbreak over at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, where a total of six patients and one staff member tested positive.

      Interior Health declared a new outbreak at Spring Valley Seniors Community longterm care facility in Kelowna, where one resident and one staff member have tested positive.

      McDonald’s listed the 45225 Luckakuck Way location in Chilliwack as having an employee who tested positive and who last worked on April 25.

      Loblaw listed four Real Canadian Superstore locations which had staff members who tested positive:

      • four employees who tested positive last worked on April 14, 19, 23, and 25 at 7550 King George Boulevard in Surrey;
      • three employees at 45779 Luckakuck Way in Chilliwack tested positive and last worked on on April 19, 25, and 26;
      • an employee at 32136 Lougheed Highway in Mission who tested positive last worked on April 23;
      • several employees (no specific number or dates listed) at 14650 104th Avenue in Surrey have tested positive.

      Workplace closures

      Vancouver Coastal, Interior, Island, and Northern Health didn’t list any new business closures.

      Fraser Health listed three more businesses that have been closed due to COVID-19:

      April 26:

      • A&T Insurance Broker (8697 120th Street) in Delta

      April 27:

      • Fraser Valley Equipment (13399 72 Avenue) in Surrey
      • Samuel, Son & Co. Ltd. (300–9087C 198th Street) in Langley