COVID-19 update for April 19: 2,960 new cases, eight deaths including toddler | B.C. lowers eligibility age for AstraZeneca | Bill proposed for paid time off for vaccination

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

Article content

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for April 19, 2021.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


As of the latest figures given on April 19:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 120,040 (9,353 active cases)
• New cases since April 16: 2,960
• Total deaths: 1,538 (8 new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 441
• Intensive care: 138
• Total vaccinations: 1,282,091 doses administered (87,970 second doses)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 14,711
• Recovered: 108,919
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 10


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19 FAQ: What you need to know about the vaccine rollout in B.C.

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


3:30 p.m. – Federal budget 2021 keeps COVID-19 benefits in place — but CRB will be less come July

With the third wave of COVID-19 hitting Canada, leading to record case counts, swamped hospitals and new lockdowns, the federal government is keeping emergency supports in place through the summer.

In the federal budget released Monday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, said the government needs to offer support so businesses can weather the storm and emerge from it when COVID is finally beaten.

The government is keeping the Canada Recovery Benefit in place. The program was a replacement for the initial $2,000 a month program for people out of work due to the pandemic, who were not covered by employment insurance.

While the benefits will continue, they will be made less generous come July, dropping to $300 per week from $500 now. Extending the CRB, and a similar benefit for people who had to leave their job to care for someone, will cost $2.5 billion.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

The government will extend both the wage subsidy and the rent subsidy until the end of September; the deadline the Liberals have given for when they expect all Canadians to be fully vaccinated.

The wage and rent subsidies will be extended under the same terms it has operated under since it was last overhauled, gradually tapering off as businesses get more of their revenue back. But the government is also adding a time component, gradually phasing out the benefits through the summer months.

— Ryan Tumilty, Postmedia News

2 p.m. – Provincial health officer reports child aged under two has died from COVID-19 in B.C. – 2,960 new cases, eight deaths

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says a child aged less than two has died from complications related to COVID-19.

She said the infant lived in the Fraser Health region but was being treated at B.C. Children’s Hospital. While the child had pre-existing health conditions, Henry said the death was due to COVID-19.

There were 2,960 cases of COVID-19 reported over the past three days and eight deaths. There have been no new outbreaks at health facilities reported.

Meanwhile and despite the seven-day average daily case count starting to plateau Premier John Horgan has authorized police in B.C. to conduct roadside checks on random groups of people to ensure they are not travelling out of their health region.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth will use the Emergency Program Act to allow police to issue fines to people travelling on non-essential business outside their health region.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Horgan said all current restrictions were being extended for five weeks and B.C. Ferries would stop taking bookings for RVs.

2 p.m. — B.C. lowers eligibility age of AstraZeneca vaccine in COVID-19

B.C. will lower the eligible age for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to 40 and target 15 COVID-19 hot spot communities with vaccinations in order to combat surging cases of the virus which have hospitals across B.C. nearing capacity.

Henry said people 40 and older can now call their local pharmacy to book the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has so far been available to people between the ages of 55 and 65.

Due to high COVID case counts, the province will vaccinate all adults in Invermere and Enderby. Adults 40 and older in 13 other communities in B.C., representing almost 200,000 people, will also be eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine through health authority-run clinics. They include: Dawson Creek, West Newton, East Newton, Whalley, North Delta, Panorama, South Langley Township, West Abbotsford, North Surrey, Port Coquitlam, Squamish, Kensington and Fleetwood.

Other than Dawson Creek, Invermere and Enderby, all of the priority communities are in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health health authorities which have consistently seen the highest daily case counts.

– Katie DeRosa

2 p.m. –  B.C. announces travel restrictions, lowers eligible age for AstraZeneca vaccine in hot-spot areas

B.C. Premier John Horgan announced Monday new travel restrictions that prohibit people from travelling outside their health authority to stop the spread of COVID-19.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

B.C. will bring in an order on Friday that means people could face a fine for non-essential travel outside their local health authority with checkpoints across the province.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth will issue orders under the Emergency Program Act which will allow police to do random roadside check spots, Horgan said, not unlike the check stops that target impaired drivers over the holiday season.

“They will be random and there will be a fine if you were traveling outside of your area without legitimate reasons.” Horgan said. He said the province will consult with Black and Indigenous communities and people of colour to ensure the new restrictions do not disproportionately target racialized people.

“This is about travel,” Horgan said. “There will be no additional authority given to police.”

– Katie DeRosa

2 p.m. – B.C. extends COVID-19 measures involving indoor dining for 5 more weeks

British Columbia has extended pandemic restrictions on indoor dining at restaurants and bars until the end of the long weekend in May.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the measures that also restrict adult activities at gyms will continue beyond the initial three-week deadline because the province is in “a very challenging situation.”

Henry says some restaurants and bars have pushed the limit by seating large numbers of people on patios and some gyms have also not been following the guidelines.

She says that while people have been encouraged to gather outdoors in groups of up to 10 in their bubble, it’s concerning that some have skirted those guidelines.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

— Canadian Press

12:45 p.m. – Proposed B.C. law will ensure workers get paid time off to get vaccinated

The B.C. government is following Saskatchewan’s lead by taking the first step to ensuring workers who get a COVID-19 vaccine during work hours are not docked their pay.

Labour Minister Harry Bains said this afternoon he’ll introduce a bill that, if passed, will require employers to give workers up to three hours paid time off to get vaccinated.

Many workers, we understand, are on paycheque to paycheque and they cannot afford to lose pay to go get vaccinated,” Bains told reporters Monday morning. “People should not have to make this decision, to choose between pay or getting vaccinated.”

The legislation will also prevent someone from losing their job if they must be vaccinated during work hours, Bains said. B.C. already has a similar law that requires employers to give paid time off to employees who must use working hours to vote in a provincial, federal, municipal or First Nations election.

— Katie DeRosa

9:45 a.m. – Majority of Canadians plan to get vaccine, but hesitancy and misinformation common: poll

The majority of Canadians say they will or are likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but a sizeable minority say they don’t intend or aren’t likely to roll up their sleeves, according to a new Insights West survey.

Nearly one in four Canadians expressed some degree of vaccine hesitancy, found the nationwide poll, with concerns ranging from the side effects of the vaccines to a belief vaccines are not effective and COVID-19 isn’t a serious disease.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

When asked how likely they are to get the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available to them, 43 per cent of respondents expressed certainty they will get the vaccine, with 23 per cent saying they’re very likely or somewhat likely to go for it.

About nine per cent said they were very unlikely or somewhat unlikely to get the vaccine, with another five per cent saying they will definitely skip the vaccine once it’s offered to them.

Despite messaging from health officials, medical professionals and politicians about the safety of vaccines, 35 per cent say they don’t trust information about the vaccines. That mistrust is highest among those who said they’re unlikely to get vaccinated (87 per cent), but was also expressed by 16 per cent of people who have already received or plan to get a vaccine.

– Cheryl Chan

9:45 a.m. – There’s a new ‘double mutant’ COVID-19 variant in India. How worried should we be?

With India’s daily tally of COVID-19 infections surging by records, public health experts worry that a new — possibly more virulent — coronavirus variant could be racing through the crowded nation of more than 1.3 billion people.

The new variant, which has a so-called double mutation, is thought to be fueling India’s deadlier new wave of cases that has made it the world’s second worst-hit country, surpassing Brazil again, and has already begun to overwhelm its hospitals and crematoriums. India has reported more than 14.5 million COVID-19 cases so far and more than 175,600 fatalities.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

“This is a variant of interest we are following,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) technical lead officer on COVID-19, told reporters Friday. “Having two of these mutations, which have been seen in other variants around the world, are concerning,” she said, adding that there was a similarity with mutations that increase transmission as well as reduce neutralization, possibly stunting the ability of vaccines to curb them.

The new variant, called B.1.617, was initially detected in India with two mutations — the E484Q and L452R. It was first reported late last year by a scientist in India and more details were presented before the WHO on Monday, according to Van Kerkhove.

– Reuters

8:45 a.m. – Quebec and Ontario impose travel restrictions to slow surging COVID-19 variants

Ontario and Quebec have imposed new interprovincial travel restrictions in an effort to slow the surging COVID-19 variants that are putting increasing strain on Ontario’s hospital system.

Starting today, travellers from Manitoba and Quebec cannot enter Ontario unless they live or work in the province, are transporting goods, or are travelling for health, compassionate reasons or to exercise an Aboriginal treaty right.

Quebec has enacted similar rules for its western border with Ontario, and is requiring anyone returning to their primary residence from that province to isolate for 14 days unless they fall under one of the listed exceptions.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

The measures come as Ontario reports another 4,447 cases of COVID-19 amid worries that the province’s intensive care units are struggling to keep up with a growing number of extremely sick patients.

The federal government announced Sunday that it was working with provinces that have not been as hard hit to fly health-care workers to help in the Greater Toronto Area’s struggling ICUs.

– The Canadian Press

8 a.m. – AstraZeneca to be offered to people 40-plus in Manitoba and Alberta 

Manitobans 40 and over are now able to get the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The Manitoba government has lowered the minimum age eligibility effective immediately, following similar moves by Ontario and Alberta on the weekend.

It’s not known if B.C. will follow suit but B.C. Premier John Horgan has called a press conference for 2 p.m.

Health Canada has approved the vaccine for people under 55, but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended the shot only be offered to those 55 and older due to a slightly elevated risk of an extremely rare blood clot disorder.

There have been just two cases of blood clots in Canada out of the more than 700-thousand doses of AstraZeneca administered so far.

– The Canadian Press

6 a.m. – British Columbians ages 40 and up can register for a vaccination today

The B.C. government is inviting all adults, aged 18 and over, to register for COVID-19 vaccinations this week.

The Ministry of Health’s new registration schedule for its age-based immunization program calls for people aged 40 and up to register on Monday, 35 and up on Tuesday, 30 and up on Wednesday, 25 and up on Thursday, and 18 and up on Friday.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

People born in 1976 and earlier, Indigenous peoples 18 and up, and those deemed clinically extremely vulnerable can register at any time.

Registration, which is just the first step in the immunization process, can be completed online at, by telephone through a provincial call centre at 1-833-838-2323 (between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.) or in-person at the nearest Service B.C. location.

— Scott Brown 

6 a.m. – Wanted: People who survived COVID-19 — and are willing to be reinfected

People who have fought off the COVID-19 virus will be deliberately reinfected in a first-of-its-kind trial at the University of Oxford that may shed light on how to develop more effective vaccines against the pathogen.

Researchers are looking for 64 healthy, previously COVID-infected volunteers from 18 to 30 years-old to be studied under controlled, quarantined conditions for at least 17 days, the U.K. university said Monday. Participants will be infected with the original strain from Wuhan, China and followed for a year.

While vaccines and previous infections provide some immune protection against the coronavirus, concerns and doubts remain about how long it lasts. A recent study indicated that as much as 10 per cent of previously infected young adults were reinfected, underscoring the need for effective vaccines to prevent spread, and Pfizer Inc.’s chief executive officer has said that booster shots may be needed to maintain the immunity provided by the initial two doses of the company’s shot.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

— Bloomberg News

12 a.m. – Talk but no penalties after consecutive nights of beach parties in Vancouver

The Vancouver Police Department will be rethinking their approach to the policing of outdoor partying, Mayor Kennedy Stewart said Sunday morning, after back-to-back nights of raucous beach parties in the city went unchecked.

The latest beach bash was held at English Bay in Vancouver’s West End, where residents could hear the revelry run late. A public health order limits outdoor gatherings to 10 people to help slow the spread of COVID-19, but footage of the party puts attendance estimates into many scores of people.

Stewart addressed the partying in a series of posts on Twitter Sunday morning. Stewart spoke to Chief Constable Adam Palmer Sunday and said the VPD would be “reassessing their approach” to the parties, but said police have better things to do with their time, citing their need to respond to a gang-related weekend shooting in Coal Harbour.

Park rangers were on patrol when the party at English Bay was happening and they responded by notifying the VPD, said Kirsten Langan, a City of Vancouver spokeswoman. That is the procedure when rangers encounter a group of people that is blatantly disregarding the public health order and putting people at risk, she said.

— Matt Robinson

12 a.m. – Alaska will offer COVID-19 vaccines to tourists starting June 1

The state of Alaska will begin offering COVID-19 vaccinations to tourists arriving and departing the state through four of its biggest airports starting June 1, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Friday.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

“The idea is that we have access to vaccines, so why not use them? So this is what we’re saying to our tourists: If you come to Alaska — and this will start on June 1 — if you come to Alaska, you get a free vaccination,” he said.

The vaccinations will be offered at the Anchorage, Juneau, Ketchikan and Fairbanks airports, said Heidi Hedberg, director of the Alaska Division of Public Health.

She said a “soft rollout” will take place for five days at the end of April in Anchorage to judge interest.

The vaccination program is part of a broader effort to encourage Alaska tourism. Other parts of the effort include a multimillion-dollar tourism advertising campaign and a request for $150 million in economic relief for tourism-related businesses.

— Anchorage Daily News


LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

– With files from The Canadian Press


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.