COVID-19 update for April 26: Here’s the latest on coronavirus in B.C.

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

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for April 26, 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.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on April 23:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 123,758 (8,842 active cases)
• New cases since April 22: 1,001
• Total deaths: 1,554 (4 new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 486
• Intensive care: 160
• Total vaccinations: 1,542,066 doses administered (88,663 second doses)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 12,608
• Recovered: 113,139
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 14

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


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

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


LATEST NEWS ON COVID-19 IN B.C.

3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

6:15 a.m. – India’s federal government won’t import vaccines, leaving it to states: sources

India’s government has decided to leave the import of COVID-19 vaccines to state authorities and companies, two government officials told Reuters, a decision that may slow acquisitions of shots as a second wave of the pandemic rips through the country.

They said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government would instead aim to support domestic vaccine makers by guaranteeing purchases from them.

The government this month paid Indian producers in advance, for the first time, for vaccine doses.

– Reuters

12 a.m. – COVID-19: Tourism-based businesses scraping by first weekend of B.C.’s new travel restrictions

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Two popular road trip pit stops, one a Horseshoe Bay café and the other a diner in Hope, just scraped by on the first weekend of business following the introduction of new travel restrictions in B.C.

“Since Friday, it’s been really, really slow,” said Samantha Rosas, an employee at the Good Karma Cafe, which runs a take-away window inside the B.C. Ferries terminal at Horseshoe Bay.

She said it’s just as well the café will close for a few weeks as a new wall gets installed between the business and the mountain cliff behind it.

B.C. Ferries said last Friday it will “deny travel to customers travelling for non-essential reasons on routes crossing regional zones” as defined in the public health order.

Customers travelling on routes that operate within the same regional zone will be reminded they should be avoiding non-essential travel.

Non-essential reasons include vacations, weekend getaways and tourism activities, visiting family or friends for social reasons and recreation activities, according to the public health order.

B.C. Ferries said it will have weekend traffic statistics to compare later. A quick scan of real-time information on its “current conditions” page on Sunday showed that for most of the sailings that cross regional zones, the total deck space available for cars about an hour before a midday sailing time was near 70 per cent for most, with slightly less availability, at 59 per cent, for the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route.

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The new travel restrictions combine B.C’s five health authorities into three regions and prohibit non-essential travel between them. This shuffle moved the town of Hope from being in Fraser Health to Interior Health region.

It’s meant a big fall in customers who usually get off Highway 1 and head into Home Restaurant in Hope.

“It’s been about a 50 per cent hit over this weekend,” said manager Lana Popp. “Normally, we rely on locals and travellers. We are getting the odd traveller, but it’s mostly locals now and they can only (come) so much.”

– Joanne Lee-Young

12 a.m. – Trial of COVID-19 treatment drug expanded to include all of Fraser Health

Anyone in Fraser Health who has active COVID-19 and is older then 65 or has a pre-existing medical condition can now enrol in a study of the Health-Canada approved treatment drug bamlanivimab.

On Sunday, the health authority reported the initial trial that began in March was open only to those living in Surrey, White Rock and Delta and was then expanded to people in Burnaby, Langley, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

“As of April 26, COVID-19 patients in all communities in the Fraser Health region have the opportunity to access this drug, providing they meet the enrolment criteria,” a health authority spokesperson said in a prepared statement.

“The study is open to those in the Fraser Health region who are 65 or older, or between the ages of 18-64 who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have at least one co-morbidity (illness or condition) that places them at risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19 infection.

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“Being able to open the study to a broader section of our patients comes at a time when a multi-pronged approach is needed against COVID-19 in our communities.”

The trial at the Peace Arch Memorial Hospital was announced in February, using a $1 million donation from the Vancouver-based drug developer AbCellera Biologics.

– David Carrigg

SUNDAY

2 p.m. – Animals at risk as B.C. falls behind in educating veterinarians: society

A society representing veterinarians in B.C. says a provincial personnel shortage is responsible for animals suffering an dying, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem.

Dr. Al Longair, President of the Society of BC Veterinarians, is among eight who signed an open letter to members of the legislative assembly saying the minister of advanced education won’t meet with them about increasing seats at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

Longair says people are waiting weeks for a vet appointment, and in some instances animals have died.

He says the situation has only gotten worse as more people get puppies and kittens during the pandemic.

He says funding the extra 20 seats at the veterinary college in Saskatoon would cost about $8 million a year, but that still wouldn’t cover an estimated shortage of 100 vets per year by 2024 — the worst situation in Canada.

– The Canadian Press

2 p.m. – U.S. says it’ll send India vaccine materials, boost aid finance

COVID U.S. will send India raw materials for vaccines and step up financing aid for COVID-19 shot production, joining European countries in pledging to help stem the world’s biggest surge in cases.

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“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need,” President Joe Biden tweeted on Sunday.

Material needed to produce Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine made in India, has been identified and “will immediately be made available,” Emily Horne, a spokesperson for U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, said in a statement.

Sullivan spoke by phone Sunday with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, according to the statement, and the pair agreed to stay in close touch.

Additionally, the U.S. Development Finance Corporation will fund an expansion of production capability by Indian vaccine maker Biological E Ltd., or BioE, to at least 1 billion doses by the end of 2022. Ventilators, therapeutics, rapid-test kits and personal protective equipment will be sent as well, according to the statement.

The U.K., France and Germany also pledged aid for India, which has reported some 1 million new cases over the last three days and 2,767 deaths in the latest 24-hour period. The outbreak is increasingly closing the rest of the world to travelers from India and threatening the country’s economic recovery.

India is administering an average of about 2.6 million doses per day, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. At that pace, it’ll take an estimated two years to cover 75% of its population.

– Bloomberg News

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9:15 a.m. – Five more Delhi flights added to BCCDC exposure list

Five more planes carrying COVID-19 sick passengers from Delhi landed at Vancouver International Airport in the days before Canada suspended passenger flights from India and Pakistan.

The affected flights were:

  • April 21: Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver
  • April 21: Air India 185, Delhi to Vancouver
  • April 18: Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver
  • April 17: Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver
  • April 14: Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver

According to the exposure notice posted by the B.C. Centre of Disease Control, all of the planes were carrying multiple infected passengers.

The BCCDC says passengers in 26 rows on the April 14th flight may have been exposed to COVID-19, while exposure on the April 18th flight covered 24 rows.

A second wave of the COVID-19 has led to health crisis in India as the country continues to set global records for the most number of COVID-19 infections in a day.

The number of cases surged by 349,691 in the past 24 hours, the fourth straight day of record peaks.

Hospitals in Delhi and across the country are turning away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds.

All commercial and private passenger flights arriving in Canada from India and neighbouring Pakistan were suspended effective 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

B.C. health officials revealed on Wednesday that the province had detected 39 cases of B.1.617, the variant fuelling the surge in India. The number grew to 42 on Thursday.

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Other provinces, including Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, have also identified the variant which is currently listed as “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization, rather than a “variant of concern” like P.1, which was first identified in Brazil, B.1.1.7,  first identified in the UK, and B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.

Variants of concern are known to be more infectious than the original strain and may cause a more severe case of COVID-19.

As of Friday, the BCCDC said the British Columbia had confirmed 6,179 VoC cases, included 4,041 cases of B.1.1.7 and 2,062 of P.1.

– Scott Brown with files from Reuters


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



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

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