COVID-19 in B.C.: Dr. Bonnie Henry condemns anti-maskers, data correction, physical activity update, and more

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      Tragically, B.C. has hit yet another new record number of deaths. In additon, the new case count remained high, and case numbers increased in other categories.

      While there weren’t any new outbreaks, there were three stores and six flights with confirmed cases.

      There were a number of updates, including updated physical activity guidelines and data corrections.

      Physical activity update

      Although B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had announced on November 19 that all spin classes, high intensity interval training (HIIT), and hot yoga had to temporarily stop, B.C. health officials updated its guidelines for physical activity spaces on November 24, which includes further suspensions.

      All dance studios, yoga studios, gymnastics centres, and other spaces with group indoor fitness activity now have to suspend those activities across the province while “new guidance is being developed”.

      These activities include gymnastics, dance, martial arts, yoga, pilates, cheerleading, and strength and conditioning.

      Venues will have to use the new guidance and post an update COVID-19 safety plan before resuming activity.

      Health order defiance

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that they are seeing a decrease in cases and outbreaks related to parties, wedding, and social events.

      An encouraging sign is that she said they haven’t seen any surges linked to Diwali (November 14).

      However, she said they are seeing surges in other settings, such as clusters in workplaces.

      Henry explained that her mandatory mask order is designed to help staff at locations such as retail shops, and to enable police in taking action to address people responding in belligerent ways, and for “people to know there are consequences from taking unsafe actions”.

      She said she has “no time for people who are belligerent and are trying to make some sort of a statement about anti-vax and think that this is not a truly challenging pandemic and I have no time for people who believe that wearing a mask somehow makes them ill or is a sign of a lack of freedom,” she said. “To me, it’s about respect for our fellow people who are suffering through this with us and about making sure we’re doing our piece in solidarity to get us through this really challenging time.”

      As she said she also wants to protect the people who truly cannot wear a mask to receive the services they need, she wanted to emphasize the need for everyone to demonstrate respect for others.

      Unfortunately, there have been some recent examples of those who have no interested in doing so.

      Vancouver police shut down a party in Yaletown on November 21, where all of the guests were seated close together and weren’t wearing masks in violation of COVID-19 restrictions for social gatherings. After the party guests ignored health information from Vancouver police, officers issued a $2,300 ticket to the main occupant.

      Meanwhile, a West End tenant issued letters to his neighbours in a condo building to inform them that he refuses to wear a mask and will sue anyone who makes him do so.

      Data correction

      Henry said there was a technical error in the transfer of data from a lab to the health authority that affected case numbers in Fraser Health from November 17 to 24.

      She said the error was detected yesterday and she provided corrected numbers. As well, a chart of corrections was issued.

      However, the numbers that Henry read out at the briefing and what appear on the chart appear to be different.

      The Georgia Straight contacted the B.C. Health Ministry to clarify the discrepancies. The corrected numbers are available in this article.

      B.C. Health Minister
      Province of British Columbia

      B.C. update: November 25

      Henry announced that there are 738 new cases today, including four epi-linked cases.

      By region, that includes:

      • 443 in Fraser Health;
      • 169 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 70 in Interior Health;
      • 35 in Northern Health;
      • 21 in Island Health;
      • none among people from outside Canada.

      Currently, there are 7,616 active cases, which is an increase of 116 cases.

      The number of hospitalizations continue to rise. At the moment, there are now 294 people are in hospital (10 more people since yesterday), with 61 patients in intensive care units (same number as yesterday).

      Public health is monitoring 10,270 people, which is only 13 more people since yesterday.

      Unfortunately, there are 13 new deaths, which is a new record for one day. The last record was 11 deaths on November 17.

      The total number of fatalities is now at 371 people have died.

      A total of 19,814 people have now recovered

      B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 29,086 cases during the pandemic, which includes:

      • 18,167 cases in Fraser Health;
      • 8,161 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 1,426 in Interior Health;
      • 713 in Northern Health;
      • 526 in Island Health;
      • 93 people from outside Canada.

      Outbreaks and exposures

      The good news is that there aren’t any new healthcare outbreaks.

      Fraser Health declared the outbreak at Royal Columbian Hospital, which began in a medicine unit, over.

      Active healthcare outbreaks remain at 57 facilities—52 are in longterm care facilities while five are in acute care units.

      In addition, there aren’t any new community outbreak and Henry said that the outbreak at MSJ Distribution at Valhalla in Delta has been declared over.

      Loblaw reported cases at three of its stores:

      • two employees who tested positive last worked on November 13 and 16 at Real Canadian Superstore (2855 Gladwin Road,) in Abbotsford;
      • one employee who tested positive last worked on November 15 at Real Canadian Superstore at 350 Southeast Marine Drive in Vancouver;
      • an employee who tested positive last worked on November 20 at Shoppers Drug Mart located at 1125 Davie Street in Vancouver.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added six flights to its lists of domestic and international flights confirmed with COVID-19 cases:

      • November 16: United Airlines 5312, San Francisco to Vancouver;
      • November 18: Air Canada/Jazz 8265, Vancouver to Nanaimo;
      • November 18: United Airlines 5436, San Francisco to Vancouver;
      • November 21: United Airlines 5312, San Francisco to Vancouver;
      • November 22, Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver;
      • November 23: WestJet 3349, Edmonton to Victoria.

      For affected row information, visit the BCCDC website.

      School exposures

      Today, there were 44 schools from three regional health authorities with new exposure dates.

      Due to the extensive number of schools with exposures, today's list was published as a separate article

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