COVID-19 in B.C.: New cases jump up over 600 mark, West End restaurant with exposure, and more

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      Earlier this week, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had stated that the province was heading in the right overall direction in lowering case numbers, and data released later in the week from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control illustrated that observation.

      At the same, however, she had also cautioned that public health had begun to observe an uptick in specific regions.

      Today, B.C. reported a sudden jump in new case numbers, higher than the 300- to 400-case range of the past week.

      Meanwhile, the Vancouver Police Department released its report about crime in 2020, which revealed that anti-Asian hate crimes soared during the pandemic by 717 percent, compared to 2019.

      In health violation news, antimaskers are planning to hold a rally in Vancouver on Saturday (February 20) and only five percent of COVID-19 fines have been paid so far, according to ICBC data.  

      B.C. update: February 18

      Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix stated in a news release that there are 617 new cases (including four epi-linked cases) in B.C. today.

      • 342 new cases in Fraser Health (55 percent);
      • 146 in Vancouver Coastal Health (24 percent);
      • 92 in Northern Health (15 percent);
      • 19 in Island Health (three percent);
      • 17 in Interior Health (three percent);
      • one person from outside of Canada (less than one percent).

      Northern Health had an unusually high number of cases, while Interior Health had a much lower number than usual.

      Currently, there are 4,348 active cases, which is an increase of 198 cases since yesterday.

      With a decrease of eight hospitalized cases, there are currently 224 individuals in hospitals, with 60 of them in intensive care units (three less since yesterday).

      Sadly there are four new COVID-19-related deaths, which brings the cumulative total fatalities to 1,321 people in B.C. who have died during the pandemic.

      Public health is monitoring 7,440 people for exposures to identified cases.

      A cumulative total of 69,602 people have now recovered.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 75,327 cases, which includes:

      • 44,462 cases in Fraser Health (59 percent);
      • 17,371 in Vancouver Coastal Health (23 percent);
      • 7,072 in Interior Health (nine percent);
      • 4,227 in Northern Health (six percent);
      • 2,046 in Island Health (three percent);
      • 149 people from outside of Canada (under one percent).

      In B.C.’s immunization program, a total of 180,691 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered as of today, and 29,952 of those are second doses.

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

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Unfortunately, two new healthcare outbreaks have been declared.

      Fraser Health declared a new healthcare outbreak at Surrey’s Fleetwood Villa, where three residents have tested positive.

      Interior Health has declared an outbreak at the Florentine in Merritt, where one resident has tested positive.

      Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) provided an update on cases in Whistler, where it is continuing to observe “a sustained reduction in COVID-19 transmission” in comparison to previous weeks.

      From February 8 to 15, there were 56 new cases, plus an additional six older cases that were geographically identified as residents of Whistler.

      The total number confirmed since January 1 is now at 676 cases.

      VCH stated that the majority of the cases continue to be among young adults, with transmission primarily occurring within household settings.

      Hook Seabar

      Food and flights

      VCH also added a potential exposure event at Hook Sea Bar (1210 Denman Street) in Vancouver's West End, which took place during operating hours from February 9 to 14.

      The restaurant announced on February 16 that it is voluntarily closing for sanitization after one of its staff members tested positive. The reopening date remains to be determined.

      "Our team is committed to protecting the health and safety of our community and for that reason we have proactively decided be closed for an open ended amount of time," the establishment stated.

      T&T Supermarket reported that a part-time employee who tested positive last worked on February 11 at the Metrotown store (147–4800 Kingsway) in Burnaby.

      Loblaw reported that two of its Real Canadian Superstore locations had staff members who tested positive, which includes:

      • two employees who last worked on February 7 and 13 at the  910 Columbia Street West store in Kamloops;
      • one employee who last worked on February 12 at the 2155 Ferry Avenue store in Prince George.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added the following four flights to its lists of potential exposures:

      • February 9: WestJet Flight 3110, Kelowna to Calgary;
      • February 12: Aeromexico Flight 9644, Mexico City to Vancouver;
      • February 12, Air Canada Flight 114, Vancouver to Toronto;
      • February 12, Air Canada/Jazz Flight 8050, Victoria to Vancouver.

      Affected row information is available at the BCCDC website.

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