COVID-19 in B.C.: Youth cases increase, six more foreigners test positive, health violations, and more

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      Case numbers continue to remain steady or are decreasing in several categories, while the number of deaths remains concerning.

      In addition, there has been an increase in cases observed among young people, and there have been a number of incidents involving health order violations.

      Youth cases

      When B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked at yesterday’s briefing about cases among young people, she said that they have seen an increase in cases among youth over the last few weeks, “particularly when school ended in mid-December”.

      She said they have been watching these cases carefully to try and figure out what contributing factors are, and she said most of the cases appear to be related to transmission within households and in small groups.

      She said that all children who have been in intensive care units have recovered.

      She that so far, B.C. has had five multi-inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) cases and all of these young individuals have recovered. She addd that she will provide more MIS-C data later this week.

      For more information about MIS-C, visit the B.C. Children’s Hospital or B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) websites.

      Health violations

      Once again, the B.C. government has extended the provincial state of emergency, this time until February 2.

      Today, Emergency Management B.C. stated that 693 violation tickets were issued between August 21 and January 15, which includes:

      • 119 fines of $2,300 each to owners or organizers for gatherings and events;
      • 26 violation tickets for $2,300 each for violating food and liquor orders;
      • 548 tickets of $230 fines each to individuals who refused to comply with law enforcement.

      Since the pandemic began, police agencies in B.C. have issued a total of 85 violation tickets to individuals who violated the federal Quarantine Act, for total of $93,466 worth of fines.

      Today, the Vancouver Police Department stated that a couple—a 60-year-old man and his 25-year-old girlfriend—each received fines of $230 for walking through a gym near False Creek without masks and coughing in the direction of people and equipment.

      In addition, West Vancouver police, in response to a complaint about a loud late-night party, issued a $2,300 fine to a 40-year-old man hosting several individuals at a business for breaking provincial public health orders on gatherings and events.

      In Prince George, RCMP were informed on January 13 that guests staying at the Ramada Plaza Hotel (444 George Street) were violating public health orders. While conducting a compliance check, officers found:

      • large amounts of suspected fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine, and numerous prescription pills;
      • several firearms hidden throughout the room;
      • various stolen items, including laptops, industrial tools, and other electronic devices.

      Police arrested two individuals, who were charged with possession of prohibited device,  and the investigation remains ongoing.

      In Kelowna, Harvest Church violated public health orders by holding in-person faith services, according to CBC News. RCMP issued a $2,300 violation ticket after a gathering was held on January 17 at the church. This is the second such fine for the church, which was previously issued a violation ticket in December for the same reason.

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, with Health Minister Adrian Dix

      B.C. update: January 19

      In a joint statement, Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that there are 465 new cases (including 13 epi-linked cases) in the province today.

      By region, that includes:

      • 262 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 83 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 61 in Interior Health;
      • 32 in the Northern Health;
      • 21 in Island Health;
      • six people from outside Canada.

      Currently, there are 4,331 active cases, which is only five more people since yesterday.

      Once again, the number of hospitalized cases continues to decrease. With 14 less people in hospital since yesterday, there are now 329 people are in hospital, with 70 of those patients in intensive care (two more than yesterday).

      Public health is monitoring 6,864 people who have been exposed to confirmed cases.

      Sadly, Henry and Dix announced 12 new COVID-19-related deaths, which brings the cumulative total to 1,090 people who have died during the pandemic.

      A cumulative total of 55,099 people have now recovered.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded 61,912 total cases, which includes:

      • 38,068 cases in Fraser Health (62 percent);
      • 14,092 in Vancouver Coastal Health (23 percent);
      • 5,374 in Interior Health (nine percent);
      • 2,943 in Northern Health (five percent);
      • 1,306 in Island Health (two percent);
      • 129 people from outside Canada (less than one percent).

      When it comes to vaccinations, a cumulative total of 92,369 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is now providing daily immunization data on its COVID-19 dashboard available on its website. (On the dashboard, click on the “Vaccine Supply and Administered, B.C.” tab at the bottom of the page.)

      Outbreaks and exposures

      The good news is that there aren’t any new healthcare outbreaks.

      Today, Fraser Health declared outbreaks over at these three healthcare facilities:

      • Maple Ridge Seniors Village in Maple Ridge;
      • The Emerald at Elim Village in Surrey;
      • Guildford Seniors Village in Surrey.

      Interior Health stated today that an additional 28 new cases have brought the community cluster at Big White Mountain has now had a cumulative total of 203 cases since it began. At the moment, there are 43 active cases and 160 people have recovered.

      Loblaw reported that two of its stores has staff members who tested positive:

      • one employee who last worked on January 6 at Real Canadian Superstore (3000 Laugheed Highway) in Coquitlam;
      • one employee who last worked on January 15 at Shoppers Drug Mart (1006 Homer Street).

      Rumble Boxing announced on January 17 that it would be voluntarily closing its studio in Yaletown (968 Expo Boulevard) for 48 hours for sanitization after a staff member tested positive.