COVID-19 in B.C.: Over 1,000 new cases; new Vancouver immunization clinics; and more

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      For the second time in the past week, B.C. has set a new record high for the new case count over the span of the pandemic.

      In addition, numbers increased in all other categories, including active and hospitalized cases, and monitored people.

      This isn’t good news as the province heads into a holiday long weekend, which have contributed to surges in case counts in the past due to increased social gatherings.

      Meanwhile in health violation news, the owner of Charley Victoria's All Day Après at Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna issued an apology for holding an indoor dance party on March 29. 

      CTV News reported that Big White is taking the unprecented step of terminating the lease for the restaurant and evicting the business. Kelowna RCMP are conducting an investigation but no charges or fines have been laid or issued yet.

      B.C. update: March 31

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced, in a joint statement, that there are 1,013 new cases (including six epi-linked cases) in B.C. today.

      By region, that includes:

      • 458 new cases in Fraser Health (45 percent);
      • 385 in Vancouver Coastal Health (38 percent);
      • 64 in Interior Health (six percent);
      • 60 in Northern Health (six percent);
      • 47 in Island Health (five percent);
      • no one from outside of Canada.

      Active cases shot up by 343 more cases since yesterday to a current total of 7,405 active cases today.

      With 11 more people in hospitals today than yesterday, there are now 301 hospitalized cases, and 80 of those patients are in intensive care units.

      Public health is currently monitoring 11,468 people, which is an increase of 304 people since yesterday.

      Sadly, Henry and Dix announced three new COVID-19-related deaths today, which brings the cumulative total number of fatalities to 1,458 people who have died.

      With 665 recoveries since yesterday, a cumulative total of 91,066 people have now recovered.

      B.C. passed the 100,000 mark for total cases during the pandemic

      Over the course of the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 100,048 cases. By region, that includes:

      • 57,312 cases in Fraser Health (57 percent);
      • 23,845 in Vancouver Coastal Health (24 percent);
      • 8,481 in Interior Health (eight percent);
      • 5,944 in Northern Health (six percent);
      • 3,277 in Island Health (three percent);
      • 176 people from outside of Canada (less than one percent).
      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
      Province of British Columbia

      Variants and vaccinations

      Unfortunately, an update on variant case numbers isn’t available today as Henry and Dix stated that "there was a delay in the sequencing analysis for variants of concern”.

      As of today, 756,080 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca-SII vaccines have been administered in B.C., and 87,351 of those are second doses.

      Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) announced today that it has opened two new COVID-19 vaccination clinics to expand its immunization capacity.

      These new clinics are located the UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences Building and the Vancouver Convention Centre (East).

      A full list of VCH clinics is available at the VCH website.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Interior Health declared an outbreak today in unit 4E at Kelowna General Hospital, where one patient and one staff member have tested positive. Interior Health stated that these cases aren’t linked to the other outbreak at the hospital in 5B.

      The hospital remains open for appointments and emergency care.

      In addition, Interior Health declared an outbreak at a Level 3 surgical unit at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Interior Health stated that three patients have tested positive and any patients with COVID-19 will be relocated to the COVID-19 unit.

      Anyone who was discharged from this unit from March 15 to 21 is advised to self-isolate.

      The hospital remains open for appointments and emergency care. However, some surgeries requiring overnight stays might be postponed or replaced with day surgeries.

      Meanwhile, Fraser Health declared the outbreak at Mission Memorial Hospital to be over.

      Food and flights

      Vancouver Coastal Health added a public exposure event at Glowbal restaurant (590 West Georgia Street) in Vancouver, during operating hours from March 19 to 27.

      Sobeys added three stores to its list of locations with staff members who tested positive.

      Two locations were Safeway stores:

      • two employees who last worked on March 25 and 26 at 9123 100th Street in Fort St. John; 
      • one employee who last worked on March 28 at 6564 East Hastings Street in Burnaby.

      The third store was a Thrifty Foods location at 311 Edgemont Boulevard in North Vancouver, where an employee who tested positive last worked on March 27.

      Loblaw added four stores to its list of locations with staff testing positive.

      Two were Shoppers Drug Mart locations:

      • one employee who tested positive last worked on March 23 at 5000 Canoe Pass Way in Tsawwassen First Nation;
      • an employee who tested positive last worked on March 25 at 7538 120th Street in Surrey.

      The other two stores were Real Canadian Superstore locations:

      • one employee who last worked on March 24 at 835 Langford Parkway in Victoria;
      • an employee who last worked on March 27 at 333 Seymour Boulevard in North Vancouver.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added these nine flights to its lists of public exposures:

      • March 21: Air Canada 215, Calgary to Vancouver;
      • March 21: Air Canada 306, Vancouver to Montreal;
      • March 22, Air Canada/Jazz 8239, Terrace to Vancouver;
      • March 22, Air Canada/Jazz 8261, Vancouver to Nanaimo;
      • March 24, Air Canada 123, Toronto to Vancouver;
      • March 26, Air Canada 106, Vancouver to Toronto;
      • March 26, Air Canada 202, Vancouver to Calgary;
      • March 26, Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver;
      • March 26, Air Canada/Jazz 8256, Vancouver to Nanaimo.

      Affected row information is listed at the BCCDC website.

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