COVID-19 in B.C.: New case counts exceed 300 per day, 14 schools with new exposures, and more

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      B.C. deputy health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson, who was filling in for Dr. Bonnie Henry at today B.C. COVID-19 update, and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix expressed concern about the extremely high case numbers that were registered over the past weekend.

      However, these new cases aren't linked to events that occured over the Halloween weekend—which included a mass congregation of people in the Downtown Vancouver core, fights, stabbings, and fires—as symptoms take up to 14 days to manifest.

      “All of us could see what was going on on Granville Street,” Dix said of the large gathering of partiers on Halloween night. “It was on TV. It was on social media, and I can imagine the frustration of the millions of British Columbians who are following the rules.”

      Dix also pointed out that these types of visible public events tend to gain a lot of attention, such as previous gatherings at English Bay did.

      However, what people aren't seeing on social media or on the news are the private parties that have been held at homes which been a major concern and have been contributing to the increases in cases.

      Gustafson, who added that we are now entering the 11th month of the pandemic, pointed out that as the weather has become colder and people have moved indoors, “we are going to see fluctuations and surges in some communities”.

      She explained that transmissions have tended to occur at large gatherings at peoples’ private homes where there isn’t a safety plan in place, rather than restaurants or venues that have safety protocols in place.

      For those who have to have a social gathering or event, Gustafson recommended holding it at a restaurant or venue that has an established safety plan.

      “So many places in British Columbia have learned how to operate safely,” she said.

      When it comes to workplace transmission, she said they are mostly seeing transmission among social networks gathering outside of the workplace.

      With regards to the recent provincial election, Gustafson said they review all types of places where transmission is occurring but there haven’t been any transmission traced to polling stations.

      Meanwhile, there were 14 schools with new exposure dates (all in Fraser Health), and seven flights and six stores with confirmed cases.  

      B.C. update: October 30 to November 2

      New case counts were significantly higher than previous weeks, and all of the new case counts over the past three consecutive days have each exceeded 300 cases. 

      Gustafson said at today's briefing that B.C. had a total of 1,120 new cases over the three days over the past weekend, including:

      • October 30 to 31: 352 new cases;

      • October 31 to November 1: 389 new cases, which is a new record high (the previous record high for new cases was set on October 22 with 274 new cases);

      • November 1 to 2: 379 new cases.

      By region, that includes:

      • 830 cases in Fraser Health;
      • 234 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 36 in Interior Health;
      • 10 in Northern Health;
      • nine in Island Health;
      • 90 people from outside Canada.

      Currently, there are 2,945 active cases—an increase of 555 cases over the span of the three time periods since October 30.

      At the moment, 90 people are in hospital (an increase of 12 people since October 30), with 19 of those patients in intensive care units (six less people than October 30).

      Public health is monitoring 6,448 people for exposure to confirmed cases, which is 445 more people than October 39.

      There are three new healthcare outbreaks:

      • Hamilton Village Care Centre (23111 Garripie Avenue) in Richmond, where Vancouver Coastal Health stated that it imposed restrictions on the first floor on October 29;
      • Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre (9341 Burns Drive) in Delta, which had one staff member test positive;
      • Rotary Manor (1121 90th Avenue) in Dawson Creek, which had one staff member test positive and Northern Health stated that the last exposure date was on October 25.

      Fraser Health declared the outbreak at Baillie House (11762 Laity Street) in Maple Ridge as over on November 1.

      Active outbreaks are currently at 28 healthcare outbreaks—26 in longterm care facilities and two acute care units.

      There aren’t any new community outbreaks.

      In addition, Fraser Health declared the community outbreaks at Valhalla Distribution/MSJ Distribution (7848 Hoskins Street) in Delta and J&L Beef Ltd. (17565 65A Avenue) in Surrey as both being over as of October 31.

      Tragically, there have been six deaths (five in Vancouver Coastal Health and one in Fraser Health), for a total of 269 deaths in B.C. during the pandemic.

      During the pandemic, a cumulative total of 15,501 cases have been confirmed in B.C., including:

      • 9,049 in Fraser Health;

      • 4,898 in Vancouver Coastal Health;

      • 777 in Interior Health;

      • 422 in Northern Health;

      • 265 in Island Health; 

      • 90 people from outside Canada.

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

      Stores and flights

      Six grocery stores and pharmacies have reported having staff members who tested positive.

      Sobeys announced that an employee at Thrifty Foods (102–15745 Croydon Drive) in Surrey, who last worked at the location on October 26, has tested positive.

      Loblaw has announced each of the following stores had one employee who tested positive:

      • Real Canadian Superstore (2332 160th Street) in Surrey, with the last exposure date on October 19;
      • Shoppers Drug Mart (8180 No. 2 Road) in Richmond, with the last exposure date on October 23;
      • Loblaws City Market (1650 Lonsdale Avenue) in North Vancouver, with the last exposure date on October 24;
      • Real Canadian Superstore (8195 Scott Road) in Delta, with the last exposure date on October 25;
      • Shoppers Drug Mart (4295 Blackcomb Way) in Whistler, with the last exposure date on October 28.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control added the following seven flights confirmed with COVID-19 to its list (with affected row information available on its website):

      • October 18: Flair 8186, Edmonton to Prince George;

      • October 19: United Airlines 466, Denver to Vancouver;

      • October 21: Air Canada 103, Toronto to Vancouver;

      • October 23: Air Canada 127, Toronto to Vancouver;

      • October 23: WestJet 725, Toronto to Vancouver;

      • October 28: WestJet 725, Toronto to Vancouver;

      • October 30: WestJet 183, Calgary to Kelowna.

      Anyone in the affected rows or on these flights should watch for symptoms for 14 days and immediately self-isolate if symptoms develop while contacting 811 or your local healthcare provider for testing information.

      École Westwood Elementary

      School exposures

      Fraser Health—the only regional health authority to report new exposure incidents at schools—added 14 schools with new exposure dates.

      In Abbotsford, Abbotsford Dasmesh Punjabi (5930 Riverside Street) had an exposure event from October 20 to 21.

      In Coquitlam, Mundy Road Elementary (2200 Austin Avenue), which previously had an exposure incident on October 6, has had another exposure event from October 20 to 22.

      In Port Coquitlam, École Westwood Elementary (3610 Hastings Street) had exposures from October 19 to 22 and 26.

      In Langley, two schools had new exposure dates:

      • Langley Fundamental Elementary (21789 50th Avenue) had an exposure incident on October 22;
      • Global Montessori School (19785 55A Avenue), which previously had exposure events from October 19 to 22, had added October 23 and 26 as additional dates.

      In Surrey, there were nine schools with new dates, including:

      • Cloverdale Catholic School (17511 59th Avenue) had an exposure event from October 21 to 22;

      • Dr. F.D. Sinclair Elementary (7480 128th Street), which had a previous exposure event from October 5 to 6, has had another exposure event from October 20 to 22;

      • École Panorama Ridge Secondary (13220 64th Avenue)—which previously had exposures on September 8 and 10; from September 30 to October 1; from October 6 to 9; from October 13 to 15; and from October 19 to 20—has had more exposures from October 21 to 22;

      • Enver Creek Secondary (14505 84th Avenue), which previously had exposures on October 9 and October 14, had a new exposure on October 26;

      • Fleetwood Park Secondary (7940 156th Street), which previously had an exposure incident on October 1, has had an exposure event from October 20 to 21;

      • Sikh Academy—Newton (12895 85th Avenue), which had a previous exposure on October 14, has additional exposure dates from October 19 to 22 and 26;

      • Sullivan Heights Secondary (6248 144th Street)—which had previous incidents on September 8; from September 30 to October 1; from October 13 to 15 and 19; and from October 20 to 22—has added October 30 to its exposure dates;

      • Sunrise Ridge Elementary (18690 60th Avenue) had an exposure on October 21;

      • Surrey Centre Elementary (16670 Old McLellan Road) had an exposure on October 22.

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