COVID-19 in B.C.: 21 new exposures in Lower Mainland schools, record high new cases, and more

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      New case counts were high over the weekend, including one that established a new record for new cases in one day, and active cases have also increased.

      There are also four new healthcare outbreaks, a new community outbreak at a meat-processing facility, and new exposure events or confirmed cases at 21 schools, on five flights, at one store, and at one fast-food outlet.

      As numbers continue to increase across Canada, with closures and lockdowns being implemented in other provinces, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked once again whether or not this province is in its second wave.

      “One can say that we are in our second wave of our COVID-19 storm here in B.C.,” she said, “but we have control over what that wave looks like and we have shown that we can do that.”

      She said an encouraging sign is that although B.C. is experiencing “continuing ongoing growth” and has hot spots (particularly the Lower Mainland), the province is not seeing “exponential growth” of cases.

      She warned that we need to ensure we avoid “a steep and sudden increase in new cases” as seen in other provinces and countries, as it can overwhelm the healthcare system.

      B.C. update: October 16 to 19

      Henry provided updates for the past three time periods since the last update on October 16.

      The new case counts over the weekend were among the highest the province has seen in some time.

      From October 16 to 17, there were 172 new cases; 153 new cases from October 17 to 18; and 174 new cases from October 18 to 19. That’s a total of 499 cases (including seven epi-linked cases) over three days.

      The last case count is a record high number of new cases for one day—the previous high was 170 cases on October 10.

      Currently, there are 1,639 active cases—that’s an increase of 126 cases since October 16. However, the number of people in hospital has decreased from 72 patients on October 16 to 67 people today, with 19 patients in intensive care units (down seven people from October 16).

      Public health is monitoring 4,028 people, which is an increase of 325 since October 16.

      Unfortunately, there are four healthcare outbreaks:

      • The Village (3920 198 Street) in Langley, which had a staff member who tested positive;
      • Rosemary Heights Senior Village (15240 34 Avenue) in Surrey, which had a staff member test positive;
      • Zion Park Manor (5939 180 Street) in Surrey, which had one staff member test positive;
      • Royal Arch Masonic Home (7850 Champlain Crescent) in Vancouver.

      Two healthcare outbreaks have been declared over: Banfield Pavilion House (2785 Ash Street) at Vancouver General Hospital and Yaletown House (1099 Cambie Street), both in Vancouver, have been declared over.

      Active healthcare outbreaks are in 19 longterm care facilities and two acute care units, with a cumulative total of 932 cases (536 residents and 396 staff involved in healthcare outbreaks.

      Also, there is one new community outbreak at the J&L Beef meat-processing facility (17565 65A Avenue) in Surrey. Fraser Health, which first became aware of a potential outbreak after an employee tested positive on October 8, stated that 13 employees tested positive as of October 18.

      A cumulative total number of 11,687 cases have been reported in B.C. during the pandemic, including:

      • 6,244 cases in Fraser Health;
      • 4,146 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 611 in Interior Health;
      • 355 in Northern Health;
      • 243 in Island Health;
      • 88 among people who are from outside Canada (Henry said that due to a data correction, there is one less person in this category).

      Sadly, there have been two new deaths (one in Fraser Health and the other in Vancouver Coastal Health), with the total fatalities increasing to 253 deaths during the pandemic.

      A total of 9,753 people have recovered.

      Dr. Roberta Bondar Elementary

      School exposures

      Regional health authorities in the Lower Mainland have added new exposure events at 21 schools.

      In Fraser Health, new exposure events at 20 schools were added.

      In Burnaby, three schools were added:

      École Alpha Secondary (4600 Parker Street), which previously had an exposure event from September 29 to October 2, had had new exposures on October 13 and 14;

      Burnaby North Secondary (751 Hammarskjold Drive) had an exposure event from October 8 to 9;

      Westridge Elementary School (510 Duncan Avenue) had an exposure incident on October 9.

      In Coquiltam, École Glen Secondary (3064 Glen Drive) had exposures on October 6, 7, and 9.

      Three schools in Delta were added:

      • Delta Secondary (4615 51st Street), which had an exposure on September 11, had another exposure on September 13;

      Hawthorne Elementary (5160 Central Avenue) had an exposure incident on October 15;

      • Heath Traditional Elementary (11364 72 Avenue) had an exposure incident on October 13.

      In Langley, two schools were added:

      • Brookswood Secondary (20902 37a Avenue) had exposures on October 5, 13, 15, and 16;
      • H.D. Stafford Middle School (20441 Grade Crescent) had an exposure on October 9.

      In New Westminster, Fraser River Middle School (800 Queens Avenue), which previously had exposures from September 15 to 17, had an exposure event from October 7 to 8.

      Three schools in Abbotsford had exposures:

      Abbotsford Senior Secondary (33355 Bevan Avenue) had an exposure incident on October 14;

      • Dr. Roberta Bondar Elementary (32717 Chilcotin Drive) had an exposure event from October 8 to 9;

      Rick Hansen Secondary School (31150 Blueridge Drive) had exposures on October 6, 7, and 13.

      In Surrey, seven schools were added:

      • Cedar Hills Elementary (12370 98 Avenue) had an exposure on October 13;
      • Enver Creek Secondary (14505 84 Avenue) had an exposure on October 9;
      • Hyland Elementary (6677 140 Street) had exposures from October 8 to 9;
      • L.A. Matheson Secondary (9484 122 Street), which previously had an exposure on September 16, had an exposure on October 9;
      • Lena Shaw Elementary School (14250 100a Avenue) had exposures on October 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9;
      • W.E. Kinvig Elementary (13266 70b Avenue) had exposures on October 6, 7, 8, and 9;
      • Westerman Elementary (7626 122 Street) had an exposure event from October 5 to 7.

      Vancouver Coastal Health added one school Tyee Elementary School (3525 Dumfries Street) in Vancouver, which previously had an exposure event from September 28 to 29, had exposures on October 5, and from October 7 to 9.

      Westridge Elementary

      Stores and flights

      Loblaw stated that an employee who last worked at Michael’s No Frills (5501 204th Street) in Langley on October 12 tested positive.

      CTV News reported that an employee at McDonald’s (1610 Davie Street) in Vancouver’s West End, who last worked there on October 13, tested positive. The location was temporarily closed for sanitization and has reopened.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added these flights confirmed with COVID-19 to its list:

      • September 30: Air Transat 932, Toronto to Vancouver;

      • October 10: WestJet 182, Kelowna to Calgary;

      • October 12: Delta 3702, Seattle to Vancouver;

      • October 12: KLM 681, Amsterdam to Vancouver;

      • October 12: Flair 8513, Saskatoon to Vancouver.

      Anyone on these flights should check the BCCDC website for affected row information. Anyone in affected rows or on these flights should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days and, if symptoms develop, should immediately self-isolate and call 811 for testing information.

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