COVID-19 in B.C.: Exposure incidents at five more schools, two flights, Wreck Beach, and more

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      Cases continue to increase in all categories, but no new outbreaks were declared.

      However, COVID-19 exposure incidents were reported in a number of locations, including five more schools, a beach, a store, and two flights.

      In a joint statement for today’s B.C. COVID-19 update, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix stated, "The cases we are seeing today are a direct result of how we spent our Labour Day long weekend.”

      Meanwhile, the Vancouver Park Board announced today that it is reopening full vehicle access to Stanley Park. Also, both the City of Vancouver and the B.C. government are extending authorizations for temporary patios until October 2021. In addition, the provincial government is extending permission for the delivery of alcohol with meals until March.   

      Daily update: September 18

      Henry and Dix announced 139 new cases in B.C. today, which includes seven epi-linked cases. (This number matches a previous record high on September 10 before yesterday’s 165 new cases set a new record.)

      In addition, B.C. also reported 40 past cases that had been tested between August 11 and September 16 for people who didn’t have personal health numbers. Henry and Dix explained that although these cases had been investigated, they had not been entered into the data system.

      Active cases have not stopped increasing for numerous days. Once again the number has gone up, this time from yesterday’s count of 1,705 active cases to today’s 1,803 active cases of COVID-19—an increase of 98 people.

      The number of cases in hospital increased by two people to 59 patients, with 20 of them in intensive care.

      After a few days of decreases, the number of people public health is monitoring (due to exposure to confirmed cases) has risen from 2,949 people to 3,075 individuals (an increase of 126 people).

      The total cumulative number of cases during the pandemic is now at 7,842 cases. That includes:

      • 4,007 in Fraser Health;
      • 2,817 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 492 in Interior Health;
      • 244 in Northern Health region;
      • 196 in Island Health region;
      • 86 people who live outside Canada.

      A total of 5,797 people who tested positive have now recovered during the pandemic.

      Unfortunately, three have been three new COVID-19 related deaths—the total number of fatalities in B.C. is now at 223 deaths.

      There aren’t any new healthcare outbreaks. The second outbreak at the Royal Arch Masonic Home longterm care facility in Vancouver has been declared over.

      Active outbreaks remain in 10 longterm care facilities and five acute care facilities.

      Also, there aren’t any new community outbreaks.

      BCCDC weekly surveillance report for September 11 to 17
      B.C. Centre for Disease Control

      Weekly surveillance report: September 11 to 17

      According the weekly report from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), the number of new cases increased from 789 cases during the previous weekly report (September 4 to 10) to 833 new cases this week (September 11 to 17).

      Active cases also increased from 1,412 cases in the previous week to 1,705 cases this week.

      The average age of cases continues to decrease, this time from 55 years old to 38 years old.

      The BCCDC stated that the number of new admissions to hospitals has increased over the past few weeks and now matches levels in early May. However, the number of ICU patients, although increasing, remain much lower than Phase 1 levels. 

      School exposures

      Fraser Health reported more exposure incidents at schools in Surrey, in addition to the eight events in Delta and Surrey listed as of yesterday:

      • Latimer Elementary on September 10;

      • Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary from September 14 to 15;

      • Morgan Elementary from September 8 to 10;

      North Surrey Secondary on September 14;

      T.E. Scott Elementary on September 14 to 15;

      Interior Health and Northern Health had no new exposures to report. 

      Vancouver Coastal Health and Island Health remain without any COVID-19 exposures to report.

      B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
      Province of British Columbia

      Exposure incidents

      Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has added two potential COVID-19 exposure events.

      One took place at clothing-optional Wreck Beach between 1 and 8:30 p.m. on September 7. VCH stated that this incident is low risk.

      This is the second incident at Wreck Beach—the previous one occurred on August 15.

      Meanwhile, an exposure incident took place from September 4 to 7 during operating hours at the King’s Head Public House (1618 Yew Street) in Kitsilano.

      Sobeys reported that an employee who last worked at Thrifty Foods (102–15745 Croydon Drive) in Surrey on September 5 tested positive.

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

      One was Air India flight 1143 from Delhi, India, to Vancouver on September 13. Affected rows weren’t reported.

      The second was on Korean Air Lines flight 72 from Vancouver to Incheon, South Korea, on September 15. Affected rows include rows 36 to 42.

      Anyone at these locations or on these flights on the specified dates should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after the date of visit or flight date. Anyone who develops symptoms should isolate immediately and call 811 about testing.

      New testing centre

      Fraser Health announced that it is relocating the Surrey testing centre to a new site that will allow testing to expand threefold.

      The new location at 14577 66th Avenue, which opened today and will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., can conduct up to 800 tests daily, which is 550 more tests than the previous site. 

      The new centre also has four drive-through lanes and has walk-in testing stations. Tests are available for adults and children and teens from ages 3 to 17.

      An online booking tool is taking appointments for September 19 onward.

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