COVID-19 in B.C.: New case numbers increase, underground party organizer arrested, and more flights with cases

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      For the third consecutive day, the new case count continues to remain above 45 cases. However, over the past week, there haven’t been any new deaths.

      Unfortunately, there is another healthcare outbreak and three more flights to and from British Columbia have been identified with COVID-19 connections.

      Meanwhile, RCMP have arrested an individual, linked to the Surrey lounge COVID-19 incident, who is allegedly connected to underground parties.

      "Like a wildfire, COVID-19 has the potential to rapidly burn out of control and we need to put out these flare-ups," B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in their joint statement for today's update. They will return to in-person briefings on Monday (August 10) from Victoria. 

      Daily update: August 7

      B.C. confirmed 53 new cases today (including three epi-linked cases). That brings the cumulative provincial total to 3,934 cases.

      Over the course of the pandemic, there have been:

      • 1,167 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 2,069 in Fraser Health;
      • 147 in Island Health;
      • 389 in Interior Health;
      • 93 in Northern Health;
      • 69 cases of people who live outside Canada.

      At the moment, there are 386 active cases. That includes 11 people in hospital, with four of those patients in intensive care units.

      A total of 3,353 people have now fully recovered.

      For the seventh consecutive day, there haven’t been any deaths. A total of 195 COVID-19-related deaths have taken place in B.C. during the pandemic.

      B.C. Centre for Disease Control

      According to the weekly report from B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), there were 290 new cases reported from July 31 to August 6, which is a 46 percent increase from the previous week.
      The majority of the new cases—62 percent—were in the Fraser Health region and the largest increase in cases occurred in those under 30 years of age.

      There were 180 new cases in Fraser Health, 67 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 25 in Interior Health, seven in Northern Health, and three in Island Health.

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
      Province of British Columbia

      Outbreaks and exposure events

      Unfortunately, another healthcare outbreak has occurred. This one is at the Derby Manor independent-living facility in Burnaby (in the Fraser Health region).

      Consequently, a total of five longterm care facilities and one acute care facility now have active outbreaks.

      There aren’t any new community outbreaks.

      As mentioned yesterday, Henry and Dix reiterated that over 1,500 people are in self-isolation at home due to “high-risk exposure to the virus”.

      "This is a concern and something we can change," they said.

      Today, Loblaw announced that a staff member at a Real Canadian Superstore in Coquitlam (3000 Lougheed Highway) tested positive for the virus. The last day that the employee worked at the location was on August 3.

      Underground parties

      During recent briefings, both Henry and Dix expressed concerns about parties, including one in Metro Vancouver that led to over 400 people being exposed to COVID-19 and around 45 confirmed cases, contributing to the spread of the coronavirus.

      CBC News reported today that Vancouver Police Department officers have tested positive for COVID-19 after breaking up a party with over 100 people in attendance.

      Vancouver Police Union and B.C. Police Association president Ralph Kaisers tweeted that three VPD officers tested positive and two patrol teams are in isolation due to this incident.

      Also today, RCMP announced the arrest of an individual linked to illegal parties and a Surrey lounge where a COVID-19 incident occurred.

      Surrey RCMP stated today that a 40-year-old male suspect was arrested for uttering threats and breaking-and-entering during an investigation into illegal after-hours clubs in Surrey.

      The investigation began earlier this month when Surrey RCMP received information about several after-hours clubs and parties held at commercial properties in Whalley.

      Investigators identified an individual allegedly using a leased commercial space to host unlicensed events and that he may have also hosted gatherings in commercial properties accessed by breaking-and-entering them.

      In addition, investigators believe that this individual, whose name has not been released, was operating the Hookah Lounge  (10609 King George Highway) in Surrey that Fraser Health announced there was a COVID-19 exposure event at from July 31 to August 2. 

      As the investigation remains ongoing, the man was released from custody on conditions.  

      “We want to strongly caution the public, particularly young people, to avoid these types of illegal parties, especially during a pandemic,” Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bob Keay, of the COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team, stated in a news release. “These types of events are often not compliant with local bylaws, fire codes, and public health orders that have been put in place for your safety. In this investigation we have already had a link to possible exposures to COVID-19."

      Surrey RCMP released this image of a poster advertising an event connected to the arrested male suspect. The event has been cancelled.
      Surrey RCMP

      Air travel

      Yet again more flights to and from B.C. have been confirmed with COVID-19 connections.

      Two are domestic flights.

      One is WestJet flight 538 from Victoria to Calgary on July 29. Affected rows are 5 to 11.

      The second is Swoop flight 200 from Abbotsford to Edmonton on July 31, with rows 1 to 4 as being affected.

      A third flight was from the U.S.

      United Airlines flight 375 from San Francisco to Vancouver on August 1 lists rows 25 to 29 as affected.

      Anyone in the specified rows should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after the flight date while reducing interactions with others. Those who do develop symptoms should immediately self-isolate and contact 811 (if in B.C.) or healthcare for testing. 

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