COVID-19 in B.C.: Surrey school closed after outbreak, over 700 new cases, and more

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      After B.C. experienced its most fatal day during the pandemic yesterday, the number of deaths significantly lowered.

      However, the number of new cases remains above 700, there are three new healthcare outbreaks, one school closed due to an outbreak, one public exposure event at a pub, and five stores and 32 schools with exposure events.

      In travel news, Via Rail began resuming its Western Canadian train service, which had been suspended since March, for trips between Winnipeg and Vancouver today.

      Meanwhile, CTV News reported that about seven baggage handlers at Vancouver International Airport have tested positive and a health investigation is underway.

      On the health resistance front, a leader of a group called the Republic of Kanata announced that they will meet in Vancouver to discuss how they can prevent the COVID-19 vaccinations.

      During the provincial announcement on December 9 that provided initial details of the vaccination rollout, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had declined to specify the location of the vaccines when she was asked about it. She explained they are aware of efforts in areas around the world where attempts are being made to disrupt or stop vaccinations. 

      B.C. update: December 11

      In a joint statement, Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that there are 737 new cases of COVID-19 (including six epi-linked cases) in B.C. today.

      That includes:

      • 469 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 119 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 99 in Interior Health;
      • 41 in Northern Health;
      • eight in Island Health;
      • one person from outside Canada.

      An increase of 65 more cases has raised the current total of active cases to 9,589 today.

      The number of hospitalizations has decreased by four people to 342 individuals currently in hospital, with 87 of those patients in intensive care (four more than yesterday).

      An additional 61 people increased the total number of people whom public health is monitoring (due to exposure to confirmed cases) to 12,008 people.

      After yesterday’s tragic new record of 28 deaths, today’s number is much lower: 11 new COVID-19-related deaths, which brings the total fatalities to 598 people in B.C. who have died during the pandemic.

      A cumulative total of 29,598 people have now recovered.

      B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 40,797 cases during the pandemic, which includes:

      • 25,867 cases in Fraser Health;
      • 10,236 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 2,601 in Interior Health;
      • 1,240 in Northern Health;
      • 758 in Island Health;
      • 95 people from outside Canada.
      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
      Province of British Columbia

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Unfortunately, there are three new health-care facility outbreaks, all in the Fraser Health region:

      • Agassiz Seniors Community (525 MacKay Crescent) in Agassiz, where Fraser Health stated that one resident and three staff members have tested positive;
      • Hilton Villa Seniors Community (13525 Hilton Road) in Surrey, where Fraser Health stated one resident and one staff member tested positive; 
      • St. Michael's Centre (7451 Sussex Avenue) in Burnaby, where Fraser Health stated two residents and two staff members tested positive.

      Meanwhile, three healthcare outbreaks have been declared over:

      • Veterans Memorial Lodge in Victoria, where Island Health stated that only one staff member became positive during the outbreak;
      • Amica White Rock in South Surrey;
      • the outbreak at Burnaby Hospital that had been declared on November 9.

      Unfortunately, there is one new community outbreak at Regent Christian Academy (15100 66A Avenue) in Surrey (see school section below).

      Pioneer's Pub

      Food and flights

      Vancouver Coastal Health announced one new public exposure event during operating hours from November 28 to December 5 at Pioneers Pub (10111 No. 3 Road) in Richmond. Anyone present at this location during that time period should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after their date of visit. Anyone who develops symptoms should immediately self-isolate and contact 811 for testing information. 

      T&T Supermarket reported that a backroom staff member who tested positive last worked at the Lansdowne store (MAJ1–8311 Lansdowne Road) in Richmond on December 8.

      Loblaw announced that staff members at five of its stores have tested positive.

      Two of the stores were Real Canadian Superstore locations:

      • two employees who last worked on December 1 and 3 at the 4700 Kingsway location in Burnaby;
      • one employee who last worked on December 4 at the 333 Seymour Boulevard location in North Vancouver.

      The other three stores were Shoppers Drug Mart locations:

      • one employee who last worked on November 30 at the 610 6th Street location in New Westminster;
      • an employee who last worked on December 5 at the 4326 Dunbar Street location in Vancouver;
      • one employee who last worked on December 8 at the 5500 Sunshine Coast Highway location in Sechelt.

      New flights confirmed with COVID-19 will be added when the B.C. Centre for Disease Control issues its list of additions.

      Hudson Road Elementary

      School exposures and outbreaks

      Fraser Health announced today that it has declared an outbreak at Regent Christian Academy in Surrey after 30 cases were confirmed.

      As a precaution, the school will close and switch to remote learning until December 18 (the date that the school was scheduled to close for holidays). The school previously had exposure events from November 30 to December 4, and on December 7.

      This is the fourth school to be closed due to an outbreak—two schools in Surrey and one in Kelowna had been previously closed due to outbreaks. Three other schools—all in the Fraser Health region—had previously been closed due to clusters.  

      Meanwhile, four regional health authorities added 32 schools with new exposure dates.

      Island Health didn’t have any schools with new exposure dates.

      Northern Health

      One day after Northern Health stated that it had seen a sudden surge in cases after 40 new cases were confirmed, there have been six schools in the region with new exposure dates.

      In Burns Lake, Lakes District Secondary School (685 Yellowhead Highway) had an exposure on November 23.

      In Fort St. John, Bert Bowes Middle School (9816 106th Street)—which had previous exposures on November 16, 18, and 20; and on November 30—had an overlapping exposure from November 30 to December 4. 

      In Kitwanga, Kitwanga Elementary School (3650 School Road) had exposures from December 1 to 3.

      In Prince George, two schools had new dates:

      • Prince George Secondary School (2901 Griffiths Avenue), which previously had exposure dates on October 2 and November 18, added December 1 to 2.
      • St. Mary’s Catholic School (1088 Gillett Street) had exposures from December 1 to 2.

      In Terrace, Suwilaawks Community School (3430 Sparks Street), which previously had exposures on November 27 and 30, had new exposures from December 3 to 4. 

      Interior Health

      Interior Health had five schools in Kelowna with new dates:

      • Rutland Senior Secondary (705 Rutland Road North) in Rutland—which had previous exposure events from November 16 to 19from November 23 to 25 and 27; and from December 1 to 3—added December 4;
      • Glenrosa Elementary School (3430 Webber Road) had exposures from December 1 to 3;
      • George Pringle Elementary (3770 Elliott Road) in West Kelowna, which previously had an exposure on November 13, added December 1 to 3;
      • Hudson Road Elementary (1221 Hudson Road) in West Kelowna had exposures on November 30 and December 2;
      • Kelowna Secondary School (1079 Raymer Avenue)—which previously had an exposure event from October 19 to 21; a second case on October 21; a third event from October 28 to 30; four new cases from October 2 to 4; another event from October 5 to 6; added November 9, 10, 12, and 18; and added November 19 to 20—had new exposures from November 30 and December 2 to 3.

      Vancouver Coastal Health

      Vancouver Coastal Health had three schools in Vancouver with new exposure dates:

      • École Jules-Verne (5445 Baillie Street), which previously had exposures on November 30 and from December 1 to 2, added December 3 to 4 and 7 to 8;
      • Total Education (425 East 29th Avenue) had exposures on December 4 and 7 to 8;
      • John Oliver Secondary School (530 East 41st Avenue)—which had previous exposures on October 9 and 26from November 9 to 10; on November 13; and on December 1 and 3—added December 4 and 7.
      Dormick Park Elementary

      Fraser Health

      Fraser Health had 18 schools with new exposure dates.

      In Abbotsford, five schools had new exposures:

      • Abbotsford Senior Secondary (33355 Bevan Avenue)—which previously had exposure incidents on October 14; on November 6 and 9; from November 17 to 20; and on November 27—added December 3 to 4;
      • Dormick Park Elementary (32161 Dormick Avenue) had exposures from December 2 to 4;
      • Harry Sayers Elementary (31321 Blueridge Drive) had an exposure on December 4;
      • Rick Hansen Secondary (31150 Blueridge Drive)—which previously had exposures on October 6, 7, and 13; from October 14 to 16; on November 2; from November 3 and 4; from November 9 to 10; on November 17 and 23; and on November 26—added December 3 to 4;
      • Terry Fox Elementary (3071 Babich Street) had an exposure on December 4.

      Two schools in Burnaby had new exposures:

      • Deer Lake School (5550 Gilpin Street), which previously had an exposure event from November 30 to December 4, added December 7 to 9;
      • Nelson Elementary (4850 Irmin Street) had exposures from December 2 to 3.

      In Coquitlam, Dr. Charles Best Secondary (2525 Como Lake Avenue)—which previously had exposure events from November 2 to 4; from November 23 to 24; and November 25 to 27—added December 3, 4, and 7.

      In Chilliwack, three schools had new exposures:

      • G.W. Graham Secondary (45955 Thomas Road)—which previously had exposures on October 23 and from October 26 to 29; from November 16 to 18; on November 13 and 23; and from November 30 to December 2—added December 3 to 4;
      • Promontory Heights Community Elementary (46200 Stoneview Drive)—which previously had exposures on November 26 and from 28 to 30; and on November 27 and December 1 to 3—added November 28 and 30 to December 3 and 7;
      • Sardis Secondary (45460 Stevenson Road)—which previously had exposures from October 26 to 30from November 23 to 25; and from December 1 to 2—added November 30 as an exposure date.

      Surrey had seven schools with new exposures.

      • Colebrook Elementary (5404 125a Street)—which previously had exposures from November 17 to 19; and on November 30—added December 2 to 3;
      • Douglas Elementary (17325 2nd Avenue) added December 2 to 4 and 7;
      • Princess Margaret Secondary (12870 72nd Avenue)—which previously had exposures on September 11; on October 12, 15, and 16; on October 26 and 29; from November 2 to 5; on November 24, 26, 27, and 30; and from December 1 to 3—added December 7;
      • Sullivan Heights Secondary (6248 144th Street)—which had previous incidents on September 8, from September 30 to October 1; from October 13 to 15, and on October 19; from October 20 to 22; on October 30; from November 3 to 5; from November 4 to 5 and 12; on November 10 and 13; from November 17 to 20; from November 23 to 25; and from November 30 to December 3—added December 4;
      • 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; on November 26, 27, and 30; and from December 1 to 2—added December 4;
      • Mennonite Educational Institute (4081 Clearbrook Road)—which had previous exposures on October 13, 14, 16, and 30from November 4 to 6 and 9 to 10; and from November 18 to 20—added December 4;
      • Sikh Academy Newton Elementary (12895 85th Avenue), which previously had an exposure on October 14; from November 16 to 17 and from 24 to 27; and on November 30—added December 2 to 4.
      Harry Sayers Elementary
      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.