COVID-19 in B.C.: 60 percent of new cases in Interior Health; nightclub and 21 flight exposures; mink farms; and more

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      While Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health have had the most COVID-19 cases during the pandemic, the trend over recent weeks has been shifting towards the B.C. Interior having the bulk of the new and active cases in the province, and this weekend’s numbers reflect that.

      Overall, the daily new case counts from this past weekend are higher than what has generally been reported in recent weeks, and neared 100 cases twice.

      Of particular note, the vast majority of the new cases—almost 60 percent—are within Interior Health, which also now has the most active cases.

      Mink farms

      The B.C. Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries Ministry announced today that two more mink tested positive for COVID-19 at a farm that has been under quarantine since May after one mink tested positive and two others were suspected positive. 

      Five other mink have also received initial positive test results, with final results to be confirmed by the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg.

      Consequently, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has issued an order that places a moratorium on any new mink farms in B.C. Thus, the number of mink farms in B.C. remains capped at nine B.C., which are all located in the Fraser Valley and employ approximately 150 workers. 

      Each farm must now report the total number of mink (both breeding stock and non-breeding mink) to the provincial health officer and the medical health officer in their region's health authority.

      Since December 2020, three mink farms in B.C. have had mink that have tested positive, and all three remain under quarantine.

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

      B.C. update: July 23 to 26

      The B.C. Health Ministry is reporting 267 new COVID-19 cases (including one epi-linked case) in B.C. over the past three time periods, which includes:

      • July 23 to 24: 94 new cases;
      • July 24 to 25: 79 new cases;
      • July 25 to 26: 94 new cases.

      Currently, there are 695 active cases, which is an increase of 92 cases since July 23.

      As of today, there are 43 individuals in hospitals (three fewer than July 23), and 17 of those patients are in intensive care units (same number as July 23).

      The new and active cases include:

      • 155 new cases in Interior Health (58 percent of the new cases), with 342 total active cases (an increase of 86 cases since July 23);
      • 48 new cases in Fraser Health (18 percent), with 185 total active cases (a decrease of 14 cases);
      • 41 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health (15 percent), with 118 total active cases (an increase of eight cases);
      • 18 new cases in Island Health (seven percent), with 32 total active cases (an increase of 10 cases);
      • five new cases in Northern Health (two percent), with 14 total active cases (an increase of four cases);
      • no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada, with four total active cases (a decrease of two cases).

      Unfortunately, there was one new death over the weekend (reported in Northern Health). The total number of fatalities is now at 1,768 people who have died of COVID-19-related reasons during the pandemic.

      With 173 recoveries since July 23, a cumulative total of 146,636 people have now recovered.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 149,109 COVID-19 cases, which includes:

      • 86,266 cases in Fraser Health (58 percent);
      • 35,707 in Vancouver Coastal Health (24 percent);
      • 13,626 in Interior Health (nine percent);
      • 7,816 in Northern Health (five percent);
      • 5,208 in Island Health (three percent);
      • 219 among people from outside of Canada (less than one percent).
      There's no official word yet if Nova, a St. John Ambulance therapy dog, is the province's chief canine health officer.
      Interior Health


      In the B.C. immunization program, B.C. has administered 6,584,264 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines.

      As of today, 80.6 percent (3,736,651) of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose and 61.3 percent (2,840,194) have received their second dose.

      In addition, 81.6 percent (3,529,236) of all eligible adults have received their first dose and 64.4 percent (2,783,587) have received their second dose.

      For those who feel anxious about getting vaccinations, Interior Health announced that a St. John Ambulance therapy dog named Nova will be attending the Trail immunization clinic at Waneta Plaza from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Thursday (July 29) to provide a calming presence for anyone experiencing stress or anxiety.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Currently, there are three active healthcare outbreaks:

      • acute care: Laurel Place at Surrey Memorial Hospital (Fraser Health);
      • longterm care: Holyrood Manor (Fraser Health) and Nelson Jubilee Manor (Interior Health);
      • assisted or independent living: none.

      None of the five regional health authorities announced any new healthcare or community outbreaks, or business closures.

      Interior Health has listed Gotham Nightclub (275 Leon Avenue) in Kelowna as having a potential exposure incident on July 18 (no specific exposure times listed), as a cluster of cases have been linked to this location.

      Sobeys listed Safeway at 4440 Hastings Street in Burnaby as having one employee, who last worked on July 21, who tested positive.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added the following 21 flights to its lists of public exposures (affected row information is listed at the BCCDC website when available):

      • July 14: Air Canada 301, Montreal to Vancouver;
      • July 14: Air Canada 305, Montreal to Vancouver;
      • July 15: Aeromexico 696, Mexico City to Vancouver;
      • July 15: Philippine Airlines 116, Manila to Vancouver;
      • July 15: WestJet 128, Vancouver to Calgary;
      • July 16: Air Canada 204, Vancouver to Calgary;
      • July 18: Turkish Airlines 75, Istanbul to Vancouver;
      • July 18: WestJet 491, Calgary to Comox;
      • July 18: Air Canada 213, Calgary to Vancouver;
      • July 19: Air Canada 244, Vancouver to Edmonton;
      • July 19: Air Canada 247, Edmonton to Vancouver;
      • July 19: Delta 4476, Seattle to Vancouver;
      • July 20: Air Canada 213, Calgary to Vancouver;
      • July 20: KLM 681, Amsterdam to Vancouver;
      • July 20: Turkish Airlines 75, Istanbul to Vancouver;
      • July 21: Air Canada 123, Toronto to Vancouver;
      • July 21: Air Canada 312, Vancouver to Montreal;
      • July 21: WestJet 3162, Kelowna to Calgary;
      • July 21: WestJet 3185, Vancouver to Victoria;
      • July 21: WestJet 3344, Kelowna to Calgary;
      • July 22: Air Canada 3, Vancouver to Tokyo.