COVID-19 in B.C.: More Vancouver restaurants with confirmed cases, Alberta oilsands outbreak alert, and more

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      As B.C. heads toward schools reopening next week, the number of new COVID-19 cases today is lower than numbers reported over the weekend. However, the number of cases in other categories continue to climb.

      Meanwhile, an outbreak alert has been issued for B.C. workers returning from an Alberta work site, and cases were confirmed at a few restaurants in Metro Vancouver and on two domestic flights.

      The B.C. COVID-19 Research and Collaboration Symposium, held by the B.C. Academic Health Science Network, started today (September 1) with a welcome from B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and will continue tomorrow. The virtual conference involves public health, epidemiology, social science, and education researchers from across the province to discuss COVID-19 impacts, research, strategies, and public health measures.

      Also, once again, B.C. Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has extended the provincial state of emergency, which was originally announced on March 18, to September 15.

      Under the Emergency Program Act, the provincial government enabled officers on August 21 to issue violation tickets to those who were disobeying the provincial health officer's orders. In the first week of enforcement from August 21 to 28, officers issued 10 violation tickets, which included six $2,000 violation tickets for contravening orders on gatherings and events and four $200 tickets to individuals.

      Daily update: September 1

      In a joint statement, Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that there are 58 new cases today, which is much less than counts reported over the past three days (86 on August 29, 107 on August 30, and 101 on August 31).

      At the moment, there are 1,124 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, an increase of 17 people from yesterday.

      After a brief decrease yesterday, the number of people public health is monitoring has risen by 38 individuals to 2,761 people (who are being monitored due to exposure to confirmed cases).

      Hospitalized cases also have continued along an upward curve—the number of cases in hospital has risen from 28 yesterday to 31 people (with 10 of those patients in intensive care).

      As there aren’t any new healthcare outbreaks, active outbreaks remain in eight longterm care facilities and two in acute care units.

      Also, there aren’t any new community outbreaks.

      However, a new death was unfortunately announced. A total of 209 people have now died from COVID-19-related issues during the pandemic.

      Over the span of the pandemic so far, the cumulative provincial total is 5,848 COVID-19 cases. That includes:

      • 1,922 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 3,072 in Fraser Health;
      • 175 in Island Health;
      • 440 in Interior Health;
      • 160 in Northern Health;
      • 79 cases of people who live outside Canada.

      A total of 4,505 people who tested positive have now fully recovered.

      El Furniture Warehouse Granville

      Exposure incidents and air travel

      Vancouver Coastal Health has added a restaurant and bar in the downtown Entertainment District, El Furniture Warehouse Granville (989 Granville Street), to its list of potential COVID-19 exposure sites.

      The possible exposures were on August 25 and 26 during operating hours.

      CTV News reported that an employee at a McDonald’s (8191 Alderbridge Way) in Richmond tested positive. The staff member last worked at the location on August 27. The location temporarily closed for sanitation on August 31.

      In White Rock, Uli’s Restaurant temporarily closed until September 8 after an employee tested positive. According to a post on its social media, although health authorities approved the restaurant to operate, the restaurant voluntarily closed. All staff have tested negative but have agree to self-isolate for two weeks as a precaution.

      The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) stated that a COVID-19 outbreak began at the Canadian Natural Oil Sands’ Albian site in Northern Alberta on August 8, 2020. Employees who returned to B.C. are asked to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. 

      Uli's Restaurant

      The BCCDC has added two domestic flights with COVID-19 to its list.

      One is Air Canada flight 214 from Vancouver to Calgary on August 18 (affected rows weren’t listed).

      The other is Air Transat flight 931 from Vancouver to Toronto on August 22, with rows 13 to 19 listed as affected.

      Anyone on these flights or in the specified rows should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after the flight date while minimizing contact with others. If symptoms develop, immediately isolate yourself and contact 811 to arrange for testing.

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