COVID-19 in B.C.: Vancouver vaccine line jumpers, second corrections outbreak, longterm recovery clinics, and more

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      Today's new case count remains around the same level as previous days, with ups and downs in other categories.

      Today, B.C. unveiled details about its four-phase plan to roll out vaccines in the province that will continue until September, and will be administered by descending age groups from senior to young adults.

      However, not everyone was pleased with the order of priority based on age, including the B.C. Teachers Federation who want teachers and other frontline workers given higher priority for immunization.

      Health violations

      In other vaccination news, CBC News reported that two individuals from Vancouver travelled to Beaver Creek, Yukon, to receive doses of the Moderna vaccine. Although travellers entering Yukon are required to self-isolate for 14 days, these two people did not do so, despite filling out a declaration form.

      The duo was intercepted at the Whitehorse airport. They have each been charged with failure to self-isolate and failure to follow a declaration, each of which is a fine of $500 and up to six months in jail.

      Meanwhile, Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton issued a statement on January 21 to ask residents to comply with provincial health measures in light of a “concerning increase in the number of COVID-19 cases“, which are spreading through gatherings at homes and workplaces.

      He pointed out that the number of new cases in the Howe Sound health area rose from 14 to 63 last week.

      Today, the Vancouver Police Department released images and video of a male suspect who assaulted a staff member at 7-Eleven store at Alma Street and 10th Avenue after the employee asked the suspect to wear a mask. Investigators are asking for the public's assistance in identifying the suspect.   

      Longterm recovery clinics

      Vancouver Coastal Health announced today that it is launching three clinics devoted to post-COVID-19 recovery at:

      • St. Paul’s Hospital (1081 Burrard Street) in Vancouver;
      • the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre at Vancouver General Hospital (2775 Laurel Street) in Vancouver;
      • Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre (9750 140th Street) in Surrey.

      The clinics offer specialized care; allow specialists to further understand the longterm effects of COVID-19; and provide standardized assessments, education, and opportunities for individuals to participate in research studies.

      At the clinics, patients can connect with a network of specialists, allied health professionals, and subspecialists through onsite and telehealth appointments.

      Some patients have had abnormal breathing tests up to three months after becoming ill with COVID-19 and scans have revealed that some patients had permanent lung damage from lung scarring.

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

      B.C. update: January 22

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in a joint statement that there are 508 new cases today, which includes six epi-linked cases.

      By region, that includes:

      • 228 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 132 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 79 in Interior Health;
      • 55 in Northern Health;
      • 13 in Island Health;
      • one person from outside of Canada.

      Active cases increased by 29 more cases since yesterday to 4,479 active cases today.

      Hospitalized cases slightly increased by six people to 315 individuals now in hospital, with 74 of those individuals in intensive care units (six more people since yesterday).

      Public health is monitoring 6,719 people due to exposure to confirmed cases.

      Sadly, there are nine new COVID-19 related deaths. The total number of people in B.C. who have died during the pandemic is now at 1,128 deaths.

      A cumulative total of 56,455 people have recovered.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 63,484 cases.

      As of today, 110,566 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., and 2,202 of those are second doses.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Unfortunately, there two new healthcare facility outbreaks:

      • one surgical unit at Royal Inland Hospital (311 Columbia Street) in Kamloops, where Interior Health stated that six patients and two staff members have tested positive;
      • one surgical unit at Royal Columbian Hospital (330 East Columbia Street) in New Westminster, where two patients have tested positive.

      Fraser Health has declared healthcare outbreaks over at:

      • a rehabilitation unit at Queen's Park Care Centre in New Westminster;
      • Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre in Delta.

      One new community outbreak has been declared at the North Fraser Pretrial Services Centre (1451 Kingsway Avenue) in Port Coquitlam, where Fraser Health said that 20 individual in custody have tested positive.

      This is the second corrections facility with an outbreak declared this week. Surrey Pretrial Service Centre in Surrey had an outbreak announced on January 20. CTV News reported today that 24 inmates have tested positive.

      Interior Health declared the outbreak related to Teck Mining operations near Elkford as over. The health authority stated that there were 48 cases at three sites linked to this outbreak, which was originally announced on December 15.

      Due to increased activity at Teck sites and in Elk Valley, Interior Health is continuing to monitor for any further cases. 

      In an update on the Big White Mountain community cluster, Interior Health stated that an additional 11 cases have brought the cumulative total to 214 cases, with 45 of those cases currently active.

      Northern Health also stated that the outbreak at two workforce accommodation sites for the Coastal Gas Link project, which was declared on December 19, is now over. A total of 56 cases were confirmed at 7 Mile Lodge and Little Rock Lake Lodge in this outbreak. 

      Vancouver Coastal Health announced a public exposure event took place at Rumble Boxing (968 Expo Boulevard) in Yaletown during operational hours from January 11 to 18. As previously reported, Rumble Boxing voluntarily closed on January 17 for sanitization after a staff member tested positive.

      Loblaw reported that one employee who last worked on January 16 at the Real Canadian Superstore (291 Cowichan Way P.R. No. 6) in Duncan has tested positive.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added these six flights confirmed with COVID-19 to its flight lists:

      • January 9: WestJet 711, Toronto to Vancouver;
      • January 14: United Airlines/SkyWest Flight 5689, San Francisco to Vancouver;
      • January 16: WestJet 711, Toronto to Vancouver;
      • January 17: WestJet 720, Vancouver to Toronto;
      • January 17: Aeromexico Flight 696, Mexico City to Vancouver;
      • January 18, American Airlines 1539, Dallas to Vancouver.

      Affected row information is available at the BCCDC website.

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