COVID-19 in B.C.: Makeshift nightclub details, Victoria pub and several McDonald's with exposures, and more

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      Today, B.C. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and B.C. School Trustees Association president Stephanie Higginson announced expanded health measures in schools.

      Among the updated measures are making masks mandatory in all indoor school spaces (with specific exceptions) for all students and staff except elementary students, and more guidelines for physical education and music classes.

      In addition, the federal government extended a prohibition on cruise ships in all Canadian waters and all pleasure craft entering Canada's Arctic waters, which was scheduled to expire at the end of this month, until February 2022.

      Meanwhile, Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said in today’s joint statement that “our curve is slowly moving downward” and encouraged everyone to contribute to keep this trend continuing on.

      Makeshift nightclub bust

      News reports have revealed further details about the makeshift nightclub at a three-level penthouse in Downtown Vancouver that police shut down on January 31.

      According to CBC News, a delivery driver arrived at the location with an order of 100 cheeseburgers from McDonald’s in the early morning hours of January 30.

      That unusual order enabled investigators to obtain a search warrant to be used on January 31.

      Inside the penthouse, officers found exotic dancers, a stripper pole, a DJ booth, bartenders serving drinks, mood lighting, and more.

      Attendees were asked to remove their shoes to avoid making noise.

      Police also found cash tills, point-of-sale terminals, menus, and liquor, even though the operators were reported to not have a liquor license.

      Several news reports have identified 42-year-old Mohammad Movassaghi as being arrested and jailed before being released on bail conditions on January 31. He has been charged with two counts of violating provincial health orders, with penalties of up to $25,000 in fines or six months in jail, or both.

      None of the allegations have yet been proven in court. Movassaghi’s next court appearance is on February 22.

      In addition, police issued $230 violation tickets to each of the 77 attendees present for a total of over $17,000 in fines.

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

      B.C. update: February 4

      In a joint statement, Henry and Dix announced 465 new cases, (including three epi-linked cases) in the province today. That includes:

      • 234 new cases in Fraser Health (50 percent);
      • 98 in Vancouver Coastal Health (21 percent);
      • 54 in Interior Health (12 percent);
      • 52 in Northern Health (11 percent);
      • 27 in Island Health (six percent);
      • no one from outside of Canada.

      Active cases have increased by 21 new cases to a total of 4,447 active cases today.

      In contrast, hospitalized cases dropped by 21 people to a current total of 257 patients in hospital, with 76 of them (four less than yesterday) in intensive care units.

      At the moment, public health is monitoring 6,943 people after exposures to confirmed cases.

      Sadly, there are six new COVID-19-related deaths. The total number of fatalities is now at 1,240 people who have died.

      A cumulative total of 62,078 people who tested positive have recovered.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 69,245 cases, which includes:

      • 41,061 cases in Fraser Health;
      • 15,836 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 6,459 in Interior Health;
      • 3,558 in Northern Health;
      • 1,728 in Island Health;
      • 138 people from outside Canada.

      As of today, 145,567 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., and 8,097 of those are second doses.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      There is one new healthcare facility outbreak at Mountain View Manor (5800 Mountain View Boulevard) in Delta.

      Meanwhile, the outbreak at Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo is now over.

      In addition, Vancouver Coastal Health lifted restrictions at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital (3080 Prince Edward Street) in Vancouver.

      Meanwhile, Island Health listed a potential exposure event at the Bard and Banker pub (1022 Government Street) in Victoria, which took place from 6 to 10 p.m. on January 23.

      CTV News reported that seven locations of McDonald’s have reported staff who have tested positive:

      • employees who last worked on January 24 and February 1 at 12390 96th Avenue in Surrey;
      • an employee who last worked on January 26 at 3250 Massey Drive in Prince George;
      • an employee who last worked on January 31 at 301 Victoria Street in Kamloops;
      • an employee who last worked on January 28 at 661 Fortune Drive in Kamloops;
      • an employee who last worked on January 29 at 1701 Robson Street in Vancouver;
      • an employee who last worked on January 29 at 160 Southwest Marine Drive in Vancouver;
      • an employee who last worked on February 1 at 3010 11th Avenue Northeast in Salmon Arm.

      Sobeys reported that an employee who tested positive last worked on January 3 at the Safeway at 6153 200th Street in Langley.

      Loblaw listed three of its stores that had staff members who tested positive.

      Two stores were Shoppers Drug Mart locations:

      • one employee who last worked on February 1 at the 1210 Summit Drive location in Kamloops;
      • one employee who last worked on February 2 at the 1–32390 South Fraser Way location in Abbotsford.

      The third location was the Real Canadian Superstore (1105 Eaton Centre at 4700 Kingsway) at Metrotown in Burnaby, where an employee who tested positive last worked on January 31.

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