COVID-19 in B.C.: Over 300 new cases; virus transmission between humans and cats; and more

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      The new case count remained above the 300 mark today but active cases continue to decline.

      COVID and cats

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the B.C. Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries Ministry are conducting a study to examine the transmission of COVID-19 from humans to cats. The BCCDC states that there has been some evidence that some animals can be infected and can indirectly transmit the virus.

      Participants will be involved in two 15-minute phone surveys, and will have to be able to place their cat (or cats) in a carrier (which can be provided) outside a front door at two sample collection times.

      If a cat tests positive, the sampling will continue on a weekly basis until the cat tests negative.

      Those who are eligible include anyone in the Lower Mainland with one or more human COVID-19 cases confirmed in the household seven days or less before the first sampling visit. These cases must be ones which are being managed at home (not at a hospital or other setting), and both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases are acceptable.

      Up to three cats per household can participate.

      Full details are available at the BCCDC website.

      B.C. Centre for Disease Control

      B.C. update: May 28

      B.C. has 317 new cases today, according to a joint statement from B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix. By region, that includes:

      • 163 new cases in Fraser Health;
      • 73 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 60 in Interior Health;
      • 16 in Northern Health;
      • five in Island Health;
      • no one from outside of Canada.

      Active cases continue to shrink in number. With 102 fewer cases than yesterday, there are now 3,441 active cases today.

      In contrast, hospitalized cases increased by six people to 292 individuals in hospitals today, with 79 of those patients in intensive care units (a decrease of nine patients since yesterday).

      Sadly, there are two new COVID-19-related deaths, which brings the total fatalities to 1,692 people who have died.

      With 431 recoveries since yesterday, a cumulative total of 138,360 people have now recovered.

      During the pandemic, B.C. has reported a cumulative total of 143,581 cases.

      In B.C.’s immunization program, 3,106,269 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered in B.C., and 160,885 of those are second doses. That means 67 percent of all adults and 63 percent of those aged 12 and older have now received their first dose.

      Island Health stated today that it reached a milestone on May 27 with half a million people (500,000) in its region having received their first dose.

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

      Outbreaks and exposures

      Today, Fraser Health declared a healthcare outbreak at Brookside Lodge in Surrey, where one resident and one staff member have tested positive so far.

      Vancouver Coastal Health lifted restrictions (which were imposed on April 28) at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver on May 27.

      There haven’t been any new community outbreaks or public exposure events.

      In an update on an outbreak at the Site C hydroelectric dam project in Northeast B.C. that was declared on April 28, Northern Health stated that there have now been 59 cases involved in this outbreak (13 cases since the last update), 51 people have recovered, and eight cases remain active.

      Interior Health listed two locations of Tim Hortons that will remain closed until June 4 due to COVID-19:

      • 1901 Harvey Avenue in Kelowna;
      • 1572–2271 Harvey Avenue in Kelowna.

      Fraser Health added two businesses that were closed on May 27 due to COVID-19:

      • Go Dodge Surrey (6280 120th Street) in Surrey (partial closure—auto body shop only);
      • CIBC Coquitlam (1410 Parkway Boulevard East) in Coquitlam.

      T&T Supermarket listed one part-time employee who tested positive last worked at the Marine Gateway store (458 Southwest Marine Drive) in Vancouver on May 18.

      Sobeys listed two of its stores that had staff members who tested positive:

      • an employee at Thrifty Foods (311 Edgemont Boulevard) in North Vancouver who tested positive last worked at the location on May 23;
      • one employee who tested positive last worked on May 22 at the Safeway at 697 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna.

      McDonald’s listed two locations where one employee at each location tested positive and last worked on May 24:

      • 4801 Hastings Street in Burnaby;
      • 20390 Dewdney Trunk Road in Maple Ridge.

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

      • May 23: Flair Flight 8312, Toronto to Vancouver;
      • May 26: Air Canada Flight 997, Mexico City to Vancouver.
      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.