COVID-19 update for Nov. 16: Unvaxxed federal workers to be put on unpaid leave today | Pfizer to allow generic versions of its COVID pill in 95 countries | 1,270 new cases over the weekend

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 Nov. 16, 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 Nov. 15:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 213,020 (3,837 active)
• New cases since Nov. 12: 1,270
• Total deaths: 2,273 (16 additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 376 (down by 8)
• Intensive care: 116 (down by 8)
• Total vaccinations: 4,203,257 received first dose; 4,021,455 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 206,665
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 23

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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.

1:30 p.m. – Health officials are set to provide an update on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, are holding a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday for an update on COVID-19.

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On Monday, B.C. reported 1,270 new cases of COVID-19 over a three-day period from Friday to Sunday.

There were also 16 more deaths during this time period, pushing the death toll to 2,273.

The health ministry said 502 new cases were reported between Friday and Saturday; 387 between Saturday and Sunday; and 381 from Sunday to Monday.

Unvaccinated federal employees not granted exemptions to be put on unpaid leave today

OTTAWA — Employees in the core federal public sector who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 were to be put on unpaid leave Monday, unless they were already granted an accommodation.

The policy could potentially leave more than 1,000 workers without pay and unable to access employment insurance benefits.

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As of Nov. 3, the vast majority — about 95% — of federal public servants were reported to be fully vaccinated.

The government said 1,255 workers reported that they are completely unvaccinated, which represents about 0.5% of employees who’ve declared their status.

There are 7,284 workers with only one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. They have been given 10 weeks after their first dose to receive their second shot before they are also put on unpaid leave.

The government said it would accommodate employees who cannot be vaccinated for health, religious, or other reasons protected under the Human Rights Act, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned at the outset of the policy that exemptions and accommodations would be difficult to obtain.

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The Treasury Board Secretariat has not yet released how many unvaccinated or partially vaccinated employees have received some kind of accommodation, such as the opportunity to work from home.

Federal public sector unions are still waiting to find out how many of their members have received special accommodations, and how many have been put on unpaid leave.

The unions have said they plan to file grievances if they feel an employee’s human rights were not respected.

— The Canadian Press

Pfizer to allow generic versions of its COVID pill in 95 countries

Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it will allow generic manufacturers to supply its experimental antiviral COVID-19 pill to 95 low- and middle-income countries through a licensing agreement with international public health group Medicines Patent Pool (MPP).

The voluntary licensing agreement between Pfizer and the MPP will allow the UN-backed group to grant sub-licences to qualified generic drug manufacturers to make their own versions of PF-07321332. Pfizer will sell the pills it manufactures under the brand name Paxlovid.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said it was “disheartened” by the deal which it said was restrictive and excluded countries such as Argentina and China with established capacity for producing generic drugs.

“The world knows by now that access to COVID-19 medical tools needs to be guaranteed for everyone, everywhere, if we really want to control this pandemic,” said Yuanqiong Hu, MSF Senior Legal Policy Adviser.

Pfizer, which also makes one of the mostly widely used COVID-19 vaccines, has said the pill cut the chance of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of severe disease by 89% in its clinical trial. The drug will be used in combination with ritonavir, an HIV drug that is already available generically.

— Reuters

B.C. lawyer seeks exemption for fully vaccinated son who was denied vaccine card

A B.C. lawyer wants health authorities to grant his son an exemption from having to get a vaccine card after the son was denied the card despite being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Darcy Lawrence says his son, Andrew Flockhart, was initially “vaccine hesitant,” but eventually realized he needed to get his vaccines, so he went to the Northern Health clinic at the Quesnel Seniors’ Centre and got his first Moderna shot on Oct. 20.

The Sechelt lawyer says that his son, who is employed by the forests ministry as a wildfire technician and faces a mandate from the provincial government requiring him to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, went back to the clinic on Nov. 5 to find out when he could get his second shot.

He says that the clinic told Flockhart, 26, that he could get the second shot immediately, despite the fact that the minimum wait time between COVID shots is currently 28 days. Flockhart got the second shot on Nov. 5, just 16 days after the first shot.

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Lawrence, a longtime criminal defence lawyer, says that nobody told his son that he needed to wait 28 days for the second shot.

Read more HERE .

— Keith Fraser


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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