COVID-19 in B.C.: Highest number of deaths, Northern Health case surge, 39 schools with new exposures, and more

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      Although British Columbia had encouraging news yesterday about the forthcoming arrival of vaccines, the province is now facing its most fatal day during the pandemic thus far.

      There are some encouraging signs, although Northern Health did report a sudden surge in cases.

      Meanwhile, there were three stores, four flights, and 39 schools with exposures.

      In addition, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) warned that there is a text scam in which people receive a fake text message about their COVID-19 test results.

      The BCCDC said that official test results come from a five-digit number, not a phone number. Also, results can be checked online at B.C.’s Health Gateway.

      Meanwhile, Fraser Health released these graphics today, based upon real cases, that illustrate how easily the virus can be spread.

      B.C. update: December 10

      After some brief decreases in new case counts in recent days, today’s number is back up over 700.

      Henry announced there are 723 new cases (including one epi-linked case) in B.C. today. That includes:

      • 456 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 135 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 82 in Interior Health;
      • 40 in Northern Health;
      • 10 in Island Health;
      • no people from outside Canada.

      Currently, there are 9,524 active cases—which is an increase of 144 more people since yesterday.

      The number of hospitalized cases continues to decrease. With eight less people since yesterday, there are now 346 people are in hospital. However, the number of patients requiring critical care has risen by eight people from yesterday to 83 patients in intensive care units today.

      Public health is now monitoring 11,947 people (due to exposure to confirmed cases), which is an increase of 421 people since yesterday.

      Unfortunately, the province has hit a tragic new record. Henry announced 28 people have died over the past 24 hours. The previous record was 17 deaths on November 29, which was later matched on December 5.

      “The people who died this week are related to outbreaks that were happening for the last several weeks unfortunately,” Henry said.

      The total number of fatalities in B.C. during the pandemic is now at 587 people who have died.

      Henry said that all except two of the individuals were seniors in longterm care homes.

      Dix said that 15 of the deaths were in Vancouver Coastal Health, 12 in Fraser Health, and one in Island Health.

      A cumulative total of 28,948 people have now recovered.

      B.C. has confirmed 40,060 cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic, which include:

      • 25,398 cases in Fraser Health;
      • 10,117 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 2,502 in Interior Health;
      • 1,199 in Northern Health;
      • 750 in Island Health;
      • 94 people from outside Canada.
      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
      Province of British Columbia

      Outbreaks and exposures

      An encouraging sign is that no new healthcare or community outbreaks have been declared.

      Henry stated that the healthcare outbreak at Rotary Manor in Dawson Creek has been declared over.

      A total of 1,875 active cases are involved in healthcare outbreaks (1,194 residents and 671 staff).

      In addition, Fraser Health announced today that the outbreak at the assisted-living facility Hawthorne Seniors Care Community in Port Coquitlam has been declared over.

      Another positive sign is that yet again, none of the five regional health authorities have announced any new public exposure events.

      However, Northern Health did state in a news release today that there has been a recent surge of cases in the region. That includes about 40 active cases in both First Nations and non–First Nations communities in the Omineca region, which includes Fort St. James.

      B.C. Emergency Health Services is providing support for patient transport.

      Stores and flights

      Once again, Sobeys and T&T Supermarket didn’t have any new stores with staff who tested positive.

      Loblaw listed three stores which had staff members who tested positive:

      • two employees who last worked on November 29 and 30 at Real Canadian Superstore (3185 Grandview Highway) in Vancouver;
      • one employee who last worked on December 4 at Real Canadian Wholesale Club (200 Carmi Avenue) in Penticton;
      • one employee who last worked on December 5 at Shoppers Drug Mart (10351 100th Street) in Fort St. John.

      Other companies are not publicly listing their stores that have had employees who tested positive.

      The BCCDC had four flights confirmed with COVID-19:

      • November 29: WestJet 706, Vancouver to Toronto;
      • December 3: Swoop 407, Abbotsford to Toronto;
      • December 4: Flair 8102, Calgary to Vancouver;
      • December 6: United Airlines 4769, San Francisco to Vancouver.

      Affected row information is listed at the BCCDC website.

      Salt Spring Centre School

      School exposures

      All five health regions had schools with new exposure dates, for a total of 39 schools.

      Island Health had one school with an exposure: Salt Spring Centre School (355B Blackburn Road) on Salt Spring Island on December 3.

      Northern Health had seven schools with new exposure dates.

      In Burns Lake, William Konkin Elementary School (9750 Carroll Street)—which had previous exposures on November 16; and from November 23 to 24; and from November 23 to 27—had an overlapping new exposure on November 27;

      Two schools in Fort St. John had new exposures: 

      • École Central Elementary (10215 99th Avenue) had an exposure on December 4;
      • Margaret “Ma” Murray Community School (11504 105 Avenue), which previously had exposures from November 23 to 27, added November 30 and December 1 to 4.

      In Prince George, Peden Hill Elementary School (3500 Westwood Drive)—which previously had exposure events from November 12 to 17; from November 17 to 20; and from November 24 to 27—added November 30.

      In Terrace, three schools had exposure events:

      • Caledonia Secondary School (3605 Munroe Street) listed two overlapping exposures from December 1 to 2, as well as an exposure on November 30;
      • Skeena Middle School (3411 Munroe Street) had exposures on December 4 and 7;
      • Veritas Catholic School (4836 Straume Avenue) had an exposure on November 30.

      Interior Health had four schools with new exposure dates.

      Two schools in Kelowna had new dates:

      • Rutland Senior Secondary (705 Rutland Road North)—which had previous exposure events from November 16 to 19from November 23 to 25 and 27—added December 1 to 3;
      • St. Joseph Elementary School (839 Sutherland Avenue)—which previously had exposures from October 21 to 22; and on November 2 and 23—added December 2 to 4 as additional dates.
      Southern Okanagan Secondary

      In Oliver, Southern Okanagan Secondary (6140 Gala Street) had an exposure event from November 30 to December 1.

      In Penticton, Princess Margaret Secondary (120 Green Avenue West), which previously had exposures from November 25 to 27 and on November 30, added December 1.

      Vancouver Coastal Health had four schools in Vancouver with new dates:

      • Eric Hamber Secondary School (5025 Willow Street)—which previously had exposure events from November 2 to 5; and on November 13 and 18 to 19—added December 1 to 2;
      • Champlain Heights Elementary (6955 Frontenac Street), which had previous exposure dates from September 22 to 24, added November 30 to December 4;
      • Sir James Douglas Annex (7668 Borden Street) had an exposure on December 7;
      • West Coast Christian School (15 North Renfrew Street) had an exposure on December 7.
      Mt. Lehman Elementary

      Once again, Fraser Health had the most schools—23 of them—with new exposure dates.

      Abbotsford had four schools with new dates:

      • King Traditional Elementary (28776 King Road)—which previously had exposures from November 24 to 26; on November 30; and from December 1 and 4—added December 3;
      • Mt. Lehman Elementary (6381 Mount Lehman Road) had an exposure on December 4;
      • Ten-Broeck Elementary (2580 Stanley Street), which had previous exposures on September 17 and on November 9, added November 30 to December 2 as new exposures;
      • Abbotsford Dasmesh Punjabi (5930 Riverside Street), which previously had an exposure event from October 20 to 21; and from November 17 to 19; and from November 19 to 20 and 23 to 27—added December 1 to 4.

      In Burnaby University Highlands Elementary (9388 Tower Road) had exposures from November 26 to 27.

      Four schools in Coquitlam had new dates:

      • École Nestor Elementary (1266 Nestor Street)—which previously had exposures on November 5, 6, 9, and 10—added December 1;
      • Gleneagle Secondary (1195 Lansdowne Drive)—which had previous exposures from October 21 to 22 and from October 26 to 28—added December 1 to 3 as exposure dates;
      • Mundy Road Elementary (2200 Austin Avenue)—which previously had exposure incidents on October 6, and from October 20 to 22—added December 1 to 2 and 4;
      • Roy Stibbs Elementary (600 Fairview Street)—which previously had exposures on October 16 and November 9; and November 27—added November 27.

      In Chilliwack, Chilliwack Secondary (46363 Yale Road)—which previously had exposure events from September 22 to 24; from October 26 to 29; from November 3 to 5; from November 12 to 13; on November 17; from November 23 to 26; and from November 30 to December 2—added December 3.

      In Delta, North Delta Secondary (11447 82nd Avenue)—which previously had an exposure event from November 12 to 13; from November 19 to 20; from November 23 to 27—added December 1.

      In Mission, Hatzic Middle School (34800 Dewdney Trunk Road)—which previously had exposures on October 5 and 16; from November 3 to 4 and on November 6; and from December 1 to 3—added December 4.

      University Highlands Elementary

      Surrey had 11 schools with new exposures:

      • Adams Road Elementary (18228 68th Avenue), which had previous exposures from November 19 to 20, added December 1;
      • Beaver Creek Elementary (6505 123a Street), which previously had exposures from September 21 to 23 and on October 13 and October 19, added December 4 as an exposure date;
      • Enver Creek Secondary (14505 84th Avenue)—which previously had exposures on October 9, 14, and 26from November 3 to 5, 9, and 16on November 24, 26, 27, and 30; and on December 1 and 3—added December 2;
      • Fleetwood Park Secondary (7940 156th Street)—which previously had exposure incidents on October 1; from November 18 to 20; and from November 30 to December 2—added December 3 to 4;
      • L.A. Matheson Secondary (9484 122nd Street)—which had previous exposures on September 16 and October 9; from November 2 to 3on November 9, 12, and 16 to 20; from November 25 to 27; and from December 1 to 4—added November 30;
      • Strawberry Hill Elementary (7633 124th Street)—which had previous exposures from September 29 to 30; from November 4 to 5; on November 12; and from November 25 to 26—added December 3 to 4;
      • Surrey Traditional School (13875 113rd Avenue), which had a previous exposure on November 18, added November 26 to 27 and November 30 to December 3;
      • T.E. Scott Elementary (7079 148th Street)—which previously had exposures from September 14 to 15, and from November 17 to 18; from November 19 to 20; on November 25 and 27; and on November 24—added November 27 and 30 to December 3;
      • Khalsa School Newton (6933 124th Street)—which previously had exposure events from September 22 to 25; from October 20 to 22; from October 28 to 30; from November 16 to 17; from November 18 to 20; from November 23 to 24; and on November 26, 27, and 30—added December 1 to 2;
      • Khalsa Secondary (10589 124th Street)—which had previous exposure events from September 9 and 10; September 30 to October 2; from October 13 to 15; from November 17 to 19; on November 20, 23, 24, 26, and 27; and from November 30 to December 2—added December 3 to 4;
      • Regent Christian Academy (15100 66A Avenue), which previously had an exposure event from November 30 to December 4, added December 7.
      Adams Road Elementary
      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.