COVID-19 in B.C.: Masks mandatory in Richmond, 17 schools with new exposures, hot yoga studio has cases, and more

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      Although today’s new case count is lower the weekend, it continues to remain above the 200-case mark. Meanwhile, numbers of active and hospitalized cases and monitored people remained about the same as yesterday.

      The B.C. government announced today (October 27) that it has once again extended the provincial state of emergency, this time until November 10.

      Regional health authorities added 17 schools with new exposures to their lists while there are two new healthcare outbreaks, and two eateries and a fitness studio reported cases on their premises.

      Mandatory masks

      Yesterday, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that while she is not making mask-wearing mandatory, she said masks will now be expected to be worn in all public places.

      However, one municipality in Metro Vancouver is making them mandatory.

      The City of Richmond announced on October 26 that masks must be worn inside all city-operated facilities in Richmond as of Sunday (November 1).

      This policy will include community centres, libraries, arenas, ice centres, Minoru Centre for Active Living, fire-rescue facilities, city hall, the Richmond Olympic Oval, the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, Steveston Museum, and Richmond Art Gallery and Museum. 

      Exceptions will be made for people with disabilities, chronic health conditions (that prevent wearing face coverings), and children age five and under.

      “Richmond has some of the lowest COVID-19 rates in Metro Vancouver,” Mayor Malcolm Brodie stated in a news release. “Much of that is attributed to proactive measures such as regularly wearing masks. We want to continue to enhance and protect the safety and well-being of the community by asking everyone who enters a city facility to put on a mask.”

      Daily update: October 27

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Deputy Health Minister Stephen Brown announced in a joint statement that there are 217 new cases (including two epi-linked cases) in B.C. today.

      At the moment, there are 2,322 active cases, which is three less than yesterday.

      The number of people in hospital has increased by seven more people since yesterday—84 individuals are now hospitalized, with 27 of those patients in intensive care units (which is one less than yesterday).

      Public health is now monitoring 5,101 people for exposure to confirmed cases, which is an additional 24 people since yesterday.

      A total of 10,954 people who tested positive have now fully recovered.

      There aren’t any new community outbreaks but there are two new healthcare outbreaks, both in Fraser Health:

      • Felburn Care Centre (6050 E Hastings Street) in Burnaby;
      • St. Michael's Centre (7451 Sussex Avenue) in Burnaby.

      Active healthcare outbreaks are currently at 23 facilities, including 21 longterm care or assisted-living facilities and two acute-care facilities.

      There weren’t any new deaths announced today, leaving the total number of fatalities at 259 deaths.

      Over the course of the pandemic so far, there have been 13,588 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in B.C., including:

      • 7,674 in the Fraser Health
      • 4,476 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 717 in Interior Health;
      • 383 in Northern Health;
      • 250 in Island Health;
      • 88 people from outside Canada.
      Oxygen Yoga and Fitness—Port Coquitlam 

      Food facilities and fitness studio

      North Shore News reported that an undisclosed number of kitchen staff at Lions Gate Hospital (231 East 15th Street) in North Vancouver have tested positive.

      Fraser Health has listed an exposure incident at Atrack Restaurant (3180 St. Johns Street) in Port Moody from 4 p.m. to midnight on October 11 and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on October 16 to 20.

      A McDonald’s location at 3695 Lougheed Highway in Vancouver reportedly closed temporarily for sanitization (and has since reopened) after an employee, who last worked at the location on October 22, tested positive.

      Oxygen Yoga and Fitness (102–1125 Nicola Avenue) in Port Coquitlam, which offers hot yoga and fitness classes, stated on its social media that it temporarily closed the studio as a precaution on October 22 after “multiple cases” were linked to the studio (it did not provide a specific number).

      The studio plans to reopen on November 4.

      Burnaby Central Secondary

      School exposures

      Vancouver Coastal Health only added one new date to one school.

      In West Vancouver, the Wentworth Campus of Collingwood School (2605 Wentworth Avenue), which previously had exposures on September 30 and October 1, 2, and 6, added October 7 as an exposure date.

      Meanwhile in Fraser Health, 14 schools had new exposures.

      In Burnaby, two schools had new exposures:

      • Burnaby Central Secondary School (6011 Deer Lake Parkway) had an exposure event from October 13 to 16;
      • Burnaby North Secondary (51 Hammarskjold Drive), which previously had exposures on from October 8 to 9 and October 14 to 15, has added October 13 as an exposure date.

      In Coquitlam, five schools had new exposures:

      •  Centennial Secondary (570 Poirier Street), which previously had exposures from October 15 to 16, has added October 19 to 21 as exposure dates;

      • École Maillard Middle (1300 Rochester Avenue) had exposures from October 14 to 15 and 19 to 21;

      • Harbour View Elementary (960 Lillian Street) had exposures on October 16 and 20;

      • Pinetree Secondary (3000 Pinewood Avenue) had exposures from October 15 to 16 and 19 to 20;

      Summit Middle School (1450 Parkway Boulevard) had exposures from October 13 to 14.

      In Port Coquitlam, École Pitt River Middle (2070 Tyner Street), which previously had an exposure event from September 30 to October 1 and from October 15 to 16, has added October 19 and 21 as exposure dates.

      In Delta, Sands Secondary (10840 82 Avenue) had an exposure event from October 19 to 22.

      In New Westminster, New Westminster Secondary (835 8th Street), which previously had an exposure from September 15 to 17, had new exposures from October 14 to 16 and 20 to 21.

      École Salish Secondary

      In Surrey, three schools had new exposures:

      • École Salish Secondary (7278 184 Street) had an exposure on October 16;

      • Fraser Heights Secondary (16060 108 Avenue), which had previous exposures on September 30 and October 1 and 2, added October 16 as an exposure date;

      Sikh Academy—Newton (12895 85 Avenue) had an exposure on October 14.

      In Maple Ridge, Garibaldi Secondary (24789 Dewdney Trunk Road) had exposures from October 19 to 20.

      Interior Health added two new exposures, both in Kelowna schools:

      • Kelowna Secondary School (1079 Raymer Avenue), which already had an exposure event from October 19 to 21, added a second exposure case on October 21;

      St. Joseph Elementary School (839 Sutherland Avenue) from October 21 to 22.

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