COVID-19 in B.C.: Whistler update, 12 flights with exposures, and more

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      One day after B.C. announced expanded health measures for schools, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry appeared at a news conference to speak about why she is extending provincial health orders throughout February.

      She explained that while there are encouraging signs of progress in B.C., there are still some areas of particular concern as well as unpredictable factors such as the presence of variants and vaccine supplies.

      However, she said she will continue to monitor the situation throughout the month to see if restrictions can be lifted or if more restrictions need to be added.

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

      B.C. update: February 5

      In a joint statement, Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that there are 471 new cases (including four epi-linked cases) in B.C. today.

      By region, that includes:

      • 208 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 108 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 71 in Northern Health;
      • 56 in Interior Health;
      • 28 in Island Health;
      • no one from outside of Canada.

      A decrease of 24 less active cases since yesterday brings today’s number to 4,423 active cases.

      Also decreasing are hospitalized cases—with four less patients in hospital, there are 253 individuals currently in hospitals, and 70 of them (six less since yesterday) are in intensive care units.

      Public health is currently monitoring 6,886 people for exposures to confirmed cases.

      Sadly, there are six new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,246 deaths in British Columbia.

      A cumulative total of 62,567 people who tested positive have now recovered.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has confirmed total of 69,716 cases, which includes:

      • 41,295 cases in Fraser Health;
      • 15,934 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 6,513 in Interior Health;
      • 3,610 in Northern Health;
      • 1,755 in Island Health;
      • 138 people from outside Canada.

      As of today, 149,564 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., with 10,366 of those being second doses.

      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix
      Province of British Columbia

      Outbreaks, clusters, and exposure

      An area of concern in Southwestern B.C. remains Whistler.

      Today, Vancouver Coastal Health provided an update about cases in Whistler, where a “higher than average number of individuals” have tested positive.

      From January 26 to February 2, VCH recorded 259 cases in Whistler. for a cumulative total of 547 cases in Whistler from January 1 to February 2. There have been two brief hospitalizations but no deaths.

      VCH stated that most of the cases continue to among those in their 20s and 30s who live, work, and socialize together, with transmission occurring within households and social settings.

      A minimal number of transmissions have connections to outdoor recreation areas, such as at Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

      Today, Island Health provided updates on two healthcare outbreaks that have been declared over.

      Island Health stated that the outbreak at Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo, which was declared on December 27, involved seven residents and two staff members who tested positive, and two residents died.

      The outbreak at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital was declared in the east wing of the fourth floor on January 23. In this outbreak, two staff members and one patient tested positive. Other areas of the hospital remained unaffected and there weren’t any deaths in this outbreak.

      Sobeys added one store with a staff member who tested positive: the employee last worked on January 29 at the 220–800 Carnarvon Street location of Safeway in New Westminster.

      Loblaw stated a staff member who tested positive last worked on February 3 at the Shoppers Drug Mart at 1222 Douglas Street in Victoria.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added the following flights to its lists of flights confirmed with COVID-19:

      • January 24: Air Canada 128, Vancouver to Toronto;
      • January 27: WestJet 115, Calgary to Vancouver;
      • January 27: WestJet 136, Vancouver to Calgary;
      • January 28: American Airlines 218, Phoenix to Vancouver;
      • January 29: Air Canada 854, Vancouver to London;
      • January 29: WestJet 164, Vancouver to Edmonton;
      • January 29: WestJet 325, Calgary to Kelowna;
      • January 30: Air Canada 128, Vancouver to Toronto;
      • January 31: Air Canada 124, Vancouver to Toronto;
      • January 31: Air Canada 306, Vancouver to Montreal;
      • January 31: WestJet 720, Vancouver to Toronto;
      • January 31: WestJet 3323, Kelowna to Vancouver.

      Affected row information is available at the BCCDC website.

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