COVID-19 in B.C.: Eight schools with cases, active cases decrease, and Dr. Bonnie Henry targeted by threats

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      While B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry may be one of Canada’s most celebrated figures during the pandemic, she has also been a focal point for criticism.

      Today, several news outlets reported that Henry has revealed that she has been targeted by death threats, has received abusive letters and phone calls, and has had to have security in her home during the course of the pandemic.

      On the other hand, Global News interviewed UBC international history and public policy professor Heidi Tworek, who evaluated the COVID-19 health communication strategies in various countries, such as South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Norway, and Canada.

      Tworek pointed out that Henry has avoided blaming and shaming and instead has emphasized positive aspects, has connected with people, and has relied more on trust and education than enforcement and punishment. 

      Meanwhile in other B.C. news, a few incidents have occurred involving police ticketing individuals for violating health orders, including two separate party hosts who held gatherings at a rental suite in Burnaby, and three belligerent patrons who caused a disruption at a Port Moody restaurant.

      Daily update: September 22

      Henry issued a joint statement for today’s B.C. COVID-19 update with Deputy Health Minister Stephen Brown, who (as explained at yesterday’s briefing) will be filling in for Health Dix Adrian Dix for the duration of the provincial election campaign.

      The province appears to be having a bit of a reprieve from some of the higher case counts over the past few days.

      B.C. has 96 new cases today (including seven epi-linked cases), which is slightly down from the new case numbers over 100 during the weekend.

      Also some encouraging news is that there’s been a major drop in the number of active cases: from 1,987 active cases yesterday to 1,465 active cases today—a difference of 522 people.

      Meanwhile, 61 individuals are in hospital, with 22 of those patients in intensive care units, which is only one person more in each of those categories than yesterday.

      Public health is monitoring 3,314 people (due to exposure to confirmed cases), an increase of 81 people from yesterday’s number of 3,233 people.

      Unfortunately, there is one new healthcare outbreak—in a unit at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. St. Paul’s previously had an outbreak in a neonatal unit in July when an infant tested positive.

      Active outbreaks are at 12 longterm care facilities and four acute care facilities.

      There weren’t any new community outbreaks declared.

      The good news is that there weren’t any new deaths announced, leaving the total at 227 fatalities.

      A cumulative total of 8,304 cases in B.C. have been confirmed during the pandemic includes:

      • 2,984 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health;
      • 4,254 in Fraser Health;
      • 203 in Island Health;
      • 511 in Interior Health;
      • 266 in Northern Health;
      • 86 cases of people live outside Canada.

      A total of 6,589 people who tested positive are now considered recovered.

      School exposures

      Unfortunately, eight more schools have confirmed cases in B.C.

      Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) reported its first exposure incident at Sentinel Secondary in West Vancouver from September 14 to 18, which was previously reported to have been under investigation.

      CTV News reported that, after a student was confirmed with COVID-19, a teacher at the school who also tested positive has filed a WorkSafeBC claim. VCH is reportedly investigating whether or not there was transmission from the student to the teacher.

      Fraser Health added six more schools to its list.

      Two schools in Abbotsford reported exposures: Harry Sayers Elementary from September 14 to 15, and Ten-Broeck Elementary on September 17.

      New Westminster also has two schools reporting exposures: Fraser River Middle School from September 15 to 17, and New Westminster Secondary from September 15 to 17.

      In Surrey, École Panorama Ridge Secondary has an exposure incident on September 10 while Boundary Park Elementary reported an exposure incident from September 14 to 15.

      Interior Health added Rossland Summit School in Rossland to its list after a case was confirmed on September 21.

      Island Health had no new cases to report.

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