COVID-19 update for Aug. 25: British researchers say vaccine protection wanes within six months | B.C. reports 641 new cases

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 Aug. 25, 2021.

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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 Aug. 24

• Total number of confirmed cases: 160,630 (5,357 active cases)
• New cases since Aug. 23: 641
• Total deaths: 1,801 (no additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 138 (up five since Monday)
• Intensive care: 78 (down two since Monday)
• Total vaccinations: 3,861,296 received first dose; 3,482,876 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 153,967
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 12

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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: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19: Look up your neighbourhood in our interactive map of case and vaccination rates in B.C.

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021

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

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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.

Vaccine protection wanes within six months

Protection against COVID-19 offered by two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines begins to fade within six months, underscoring the need for booster shots, according to researchers in Britain.

After five to six months, the effectiveness of the Pfizer jab at preventing infection in the month after the second dose fell from 88% to 74%, an analysis of data collected in Britain’s ZOE COVID study showed.

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For the AstraZeneca vaccine, effectiveness fell from 77 per cent to 67 per cent after four to five months.

– Reuters

Students cheer while faculty gives failing grade to new B.C. rules for post secondary schools

Post-secondary students must be fully vaccinated if they want to live in campus residences or take part in studies that require them to work in seniors’ care homes, but students will not have to be immunized to attend lectures in classrooms.

The new provincial health orders were announced Tuesday and come into effect on Sept. 7.

However, masks will be required in lecture halls and classrooms under Monday’s mask order by B.C.’s provincial health officer.

“We thought we would be able to release some of the restrictions, however, we know there is a need to take further measures,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said in announcing the new orders, which come as COVID-19 cases have been creeping upwards in B.C.

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However, groups that represent educators in B.C. fear the measures do not go far enough, said Lynne Marks, president of the University of Victoria Faculty Association.

“The concern is because we are in Stage 3 of B.C.’s pandemic plan, where 50 people or 50 per cent capacity is the maximum allowed for indoor gatherings, and that is not going to apply to post-secondary classrooms,” said Marks. “In the biggest universities, you can have 300 to 500 students in a classroom with no physical distancing requirements.”

Marks said more than 2,900 students and faculty in B.C. have signed a petition calling for mandatory immunization or, alternatively, rapid COVID-19 testing before unvaccinated students attend classes at post-secondary institutions. She said she does not understand why Henry has rejected their request.

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– Lisa Cordasco

B.C. reports 641 new cases, no additional deaths

B.C. health officials reported 641 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

There are 138 COVID-19 patients being treated in hospital; more than half, 78, are in intensive care.

It’s the most hospitalizations since June 15 (139).

As of Tuesday, 71.1 per cent of British Columbians, more than 3.48 million people, were fully vaccinated, while 83.3 per cent had received at least one shot of vaccine.

B.C.’s Ministry of Health said between Aug. 9 and 22, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 83.4 per cent of cases and 85.6 per cent of hospitalizations.

There were no new COVID-19 related deaths reported Tuesday. B.C.’s pandemic death toll remains at 1,801.

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Also Tuesday, Fraser Health declared the end of an outbreak at KinVillage in South Delta. That leaves six outbreaks in long-term care (Heritage Village in Fraser Health; Village at Mill Creek, Nelson Jubilee Manor, Kootenay Street Village, Cottonwoods Care Centre and Brookhaven Care Centre in Interior Health; five in assisted or independent living facilities (Nicola Meadows, Hawthorn Park, David Lloyd, Sun Pointe Village and Hardy View Lodge, all in Interior Health); and one in acute care (Peace Arch Hospital in Fraser Health).

Masks once again required on transit, B.C. Ferries

The resumption of B.C.’s indoor mask mandate means face coverings will once against be required on public transit.

Beginning Wednesday, both TransLink, which operates transit in the Lower Mainland, and B.C. Transit will require customers to mask up while using transit and while boarding or waiting for transit at any indoor or sheltered stations and stops.

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TransLink says there are some exceptions to the policy:

  • Anyone with an underlying medical condition or disability which inhibits the ability to wear a mask or face covering;
  • Persons unable to place or remove a mask or face covering without assistance;
  • Children under 12 years of age;
  • Employees working behind a physical barrier or within areas designated for employees and not for public access;
  • Police, employees, or first responders in an emergency.

B.C. Ferries is also reminding travellers that masks will be required on its vessels and inside it terminals starting Aug. 25.

“Some exemptions will apply to the policy, such as if a customer is inside a vehicle or consuming food or drinks in designated areas for this purpose,” the ferry corporation.

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“In the event that a passenger cannot wear a mask due to medical reasons, B.C. Ferries may require passengers to present documentation from a healthcare professional.”

B.C. Lions backing province’s proof of vaccine policy

The Canadian Football League’s B.C. Lions have come out in support of the B.C. government’s proof of vaccination policy.

On Monday, Premier John Horgan announced that beginning Sept. 13 all British Columbians will need a vaccine card showing proof of receiving at least one dose of vaccine to get into restaurants, clubs, ticketed sporting events and organized receptions. Starting on Oct. 24, the public will be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated with two doses.

Along with being “very supportive” of the new B.C. Vaccine Card, Lions president Rick LeLacheur says the club also welcomes the return of the indoor mask mandate that was announced Tuesday by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“Many of our season ticket holders have already expressed their support of this,” said LeLacheur.

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The Lions next home game is Sept. 11 against the Ottawa RedBlacks.

Mask mandate back in indoor spaces in B.C., including K-12 schools

B.C. is resuming a mask mandate in indoor settings as COVID-19 cases continue to creep upwards.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made the province-wide announcement on Tuesday, alongside education officials.

The new temporary health order, which starts Wednesday, will apply to all indoor spaces including malls, stores, coffee shops, municipal spaces, recreation centres, as well as restaurants, pubs, and public transit, said Henry.

Face masks are also going to be required for B.C. K-12 staff and some students, similar to the mask mandate in place earlier this year.

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“The mask requirement that was in place last spring will continue in place to start this upcoming school year,” said Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside.

That means Grade 4 to 12 students as well as K-12 staff will have to wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas, including classrooms and school buses.

Students from kindergarten to Grade 3 are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks.

— Cheryl Chan


B.C. MAP OF WEEKLY COVID CASE COUNTS, VACCINATION RATES

Find out how your neighbourhood is doing in the battle against COVID-19 with the latest number of new cases, positivity rates, and vaccination rates:


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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