COVID-19 in B.C.: Second family-linked infection cluster identified, Vancouver proposal for NHL hub city

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      While B.C. reported no new COVID-19 deaths for yet another consecutive day, a new healthcare outbreak did develop.

      Although the province is maintaining its low number of new cases, a second infection cluster has been linked to family connections.

      Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan provided some details about an NHL proposal for Vancouver and also credited British Columbians for working together to stop the spread of the virus.

      Daily update

      Instead of a news briefing, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a news release today (June 10) for the daily B.C. COVID-19 update.

      With 12 new cases confirmed, the province has now had a cumulative total of 2,680 cases during the pandemic so far. Of those cases, 185 are currently active, with 12 of those individuals in hospital and four of those patients in intensive care units.

      There have been cumulative totals of 911 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,378 in Fraser Health, 130 in Island Health, 195 in Interior Health, and 66 in Northern Health.

      Thus far, 2,328 people (87 percent of all cases) have recovered from the virus.

      Thankfully for the fifth day in a row, there haven’t been any new deaths to announce, leaving the total number of fatalities at 167 deaths.

      Unfortunately, there is one new healthcare outbreak at a longterm care facility, the Holy Family Hospital in Vancouver.

      Accordingly, the total active healthcare outbreaks has risen from four to five.

      There aren’t any new community outbreaks, leaving the total active number at six.

      NHL proposal

      Premier John Horgan announced today (June 10) at a news conference in Victoria that Dr. Henry and the provincial government have approved the Vancouver Canucks proposal for Vancouver as an NHL hub city.

      He said that the plan will include a modification to a quarantine plan that will allow teams to considered a “family entity or a bubble”.

      However, he added that the teams would be required to travel together in private transportation, remain in one hotel, and would still be subject to the 14-day quarantine (no interaction with the public would be permitted) upon arrival.

      When asked if the plan would include any hockey games being played outside of Vancouver, Horgan said that the NHL did reject an initial idea for games to be played in several cities across B.C. and that the NHL has opted instead for a hub-city model, in which there will be one Western conference city and one Eastern conference city designated.

      Family infection clusters

      At yesterday’s news briefing (June 9), Dr. Henry spoke about an infection cluster that has arisen amongst a family in the Fraser Health region who held a gathering of about 30 people, with 15 of those in attendance later testing positive for COVID-19.

      Today, Dr. Henry and Dix confirmed that a second cluster has been linked to family connections. However, they did not specify the health region, the number of cases involved in the outbreak, or how many people may have been exposed to or have been tested for the virus.

      “When you bring households together, regardless of how many people that may include, everyone brings their own risk with them and the potential for spreading COVID-19 increases,” the news release from Dr. Henry and Dix states.

      Anyone who works in or lives with someone in the healthcare system, is required to take essential travel, or is returning to B.C. from other parts of Canada or the United States (particularly from high-risk areas) is asked to take extra precautions to avoid infecting family or community members here and to self-monitor for symptoms.

      As Dr. Henry has previously stated several times, they reiterated that COVID-19 tests are ineffective for people who don’t have any symptoms.

      B.C. Premier John Horgan
      Province of British Columbia

      State of emergency extended

      Meanwhile, B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has once again extended the provincial state of emergency, which enables the provincial government to use additional powers under the Emergency Program Act.

      Farnworth originally made the official declaration on March 18, and it will now continue until June 23.

      The extension has made it the longest state of emergency, which can be extended up to 14 days at a time, declared in the province as it has surpassed the one declared during the 2017 wildfire season.

      When asked about how B.C. has been able to effectively manage the number of cases in the province, Horgan pointed out that Dr. Henry and Dix began informing public about the challenges the province was facing before it became an emergency, but he emphasized that what was key was that people listened.

      “We were given evidence, we followed the evidence, and the public responded so I think the credit for the success in British Columbia has to go to the people in B.C. because it would have been very easy to disregard Dr. Henry’s objectives and the restrictions that she put in place,” he said. “British Columbians didn’t do that.”

      Horgan, who said he remains concerned about recent rises in U.S. states south of B.C., pointed out that the questions he has received from reporters at today’s news conference reflects the “continued vigilance to make sure that there is no opportunity at all for further spread of COVID-19”.

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