COVID-19 update for Oct. 28: Surgeries on hold as unvaccinated health care workers on leave | 609 cases, six deaths | Kamloops councillor opposes vaccine mandate | Tips for being safe on Halloween

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 Oct. 28, 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 Oct. 26:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 203,582 (4,748 active)
• New cases since Oct. 26: 609
• Total deaths: 2,137 (six additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 422 (up 32 patients)
• Intensive care: 157 (up by two patients)
• Total vaccinations: 4,157,816 received first dose; 3,925,937 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 196,342
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 28

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IN-DEPTH:   Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021 | in 2020


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

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

COVID-19: B.C.’s vaccine passport is here and this is how it works

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’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

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


LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

Surgeries, tests postponed as 4,000 unvaccinated B.C. health-care workers put on leave

Surgeries are being postponed and access to diagnostic tests at hospitals and clinics in B.C. is being reduced because of the loss of health-care workers who have not been vaccinated.

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More than 4,000 health-care workers in B.C. who have not received at least one dose of vaccine were placed on unpaid leave on Tuesday. They have until Nov. 15 to get their first dose or they will be fired. In the meantime, the minister of health said health authorities have been working on plans to fill those vacancies.

Adrian Dix said largely urban health authorities such as Fraser and Vancouver Coastal are more able to fill vacancies because they have a larger pool of casual staff to draw on. Rural regions with lower vaccination rates, like Interior and Northern Health, face greater challenges.

There are about 126,000 public-sector health-care workers in B.C.

“Let’s say something such as renal (kidney) care, where you have a limited number of employees and one or two of them are not able to work in that circumstance, it’s really challenging,” he said. “I think it’s fair to say that in some areas, for example diagnostic imaging, our labs in different parts of the province, there’ll be some impact. We’ll either have to initially reduce hours in order to address that or provide other staff in the weeks to come.”

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—Lisa Cordasco

Kamloops councillor won’t get vaccinated, opposes city mandate

Most councillors in Kamloops favour a vaccine mandate for city staff, but one is opposed and is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Coun. Denis Walsh said he is against a mandate for council, city staff, contractors and volunteers.

“I think it’s cruel and unethical,” Walsh said. “To force someone to make a decision to lose their livelihood or their ability to financially support their families, et cetera, is cruel.”

The city is working on policy to require staff, volunteers and contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 15. Details are expected by the end of the month, including guidelines around what happens to those who aren’t vaccinated, which could include testing requirements or other measures.

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—Kamloops This Week

Pandemic in B.C. ‘largely stable,’ says independent modelling group

The COVID-19 pandemic is “largely stable” in British Columbia, with infection rates slowly declining from the fourth-wave peak in September, according to an independent modelling group.

In a   report   released Wednesday, the B.C. COVID-19 Modelling Group said new cases are decreasing at a rate of about two per cent a day, with the strongest decline in Interior Health, Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions.

Projections indicate case counts are expected to drop across B.C. over the next three weeks, including in the north, which saw the province’s highest rates of infection in recent months, swamping hospital beds and overwhelming its health-care system.

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The report said safety measures such as indoor masking and regional restrictions implemented in Northern Health and Interior Health regions helped stabilize case counts.

It also found that COVID-19 infections among children ages 10 and younger, which spiked in September, have “largely reversed” to within range of the general population.

—Cheryl Chan

‘Be creatively safe’ this Halloween, COVID-19 researchers stress

Halloween is back after a pandemic pause, but a group of COVID-19 researchers stress that given the health risks, trick-or-treaters and adult partiers still need to be careful.

“Our recommendation is to be creatively safe,” said Cheryl Camillo, who is one of the researchers at the Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network. “That means having fun but taking steps to protect yourself and others from transmission.”

So for trick-or-treaters, the research group suggests kids going door-to-door for candy should wear the protective masks they usually wear “and decorate your mask to make it scary or fun,” Camillo said.

In other words, wear your pandemic mask, not a Halloween mask.

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For the adults giving out the candy, she recommends having some fun but not opening the door and dropping the candy in bags the way we normally do.— Postmedia News

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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