COVID-19 update for Dec. 1: 358 new cases, no deaths | Omicron variant detected in B.C. | Skiers’ group pushes for vaccination proof to ride gondolas at Whistler Blackcomb | Air travelers to U.S. likely to face tougher testing

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 Dec. 1, 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. 30:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 218,426 (2,889 active)
• New cases since Nov. 29: 358
• Total deaths: 2,333 (no additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 300
• Intensive care: 104
• Total vaccinations: 4,225,218 received first dose; 4,069,988 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 213,053
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 5

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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.

Skiers’ group pushes for vaccination proof to ride gondolas at Whistler Blackcomb

Nick Green has been skiing at Whistler Blackcomb since it opened 41 years ago, but this year his enthusiasm has been dampened by concern that unvaccinated people could be riding with him on the gondolas.

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“It’s like Russian roulette because you don’t know the vaccination status of the nine other people in the gondola with you,” said Green.

The 70 year-old cancer survivor is part of a “Load Safe Whistler” group behind a 12,000 name petition, calling on the provincial health officer to order proof of vaccination to ride in the five gondolas at Whistler Blackcomb.

“Packing 10 strangers into an enclosed gondola for a minimum 25 minute ride is the very definition of an enclosed space, so it’s totally mysterious to me why Dr. Bonnie Henry won’t protect us,” he said.

Henry, the provincial health officer, told reporters on Tuesday it is not her job to micromanage businesses.

“As with many specific businesses, I think that is not my role,” she said. “My role is to advise different businesses on how to do their business safely and I would encourage people who ski at Whistler to make their views known to Vail, who makes those decisions.”

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—Lisa Cordasco

358 new cases, no deaths reported Tuesday

B.C. recorded 358 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, but no new deaths.

The number of active cases in the province rose just slightly, to 2,889.

Of the new cases, 107 were in Fraser Health, 85 in Interior Health, 57 in Island Health, 56 in Northern Health and 53 in Vancouver Coastal Health.

There are 300 people in hospital with COVID-19, of whom 104 are in intensive care.

The number of health-care facilities with active outbreaks has dropped to just five after the one at Abbotsford Regional Hospital was declared over.

One case of Omicron identified in B.C.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant of concern in B.C.

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Henry said the case was found in Fraser Health from someone who had recently returned from Nigeria.

The person was among 204 people who have been identified as having recently returned from the southern part of Africa. Henry said all these people were self-isolating. She said the Omicron variant was likely not widespread in the province.

Henry added that while it’s not confirmed whether the Omicron variant – which surfaced globally last week – is more contagious or dangerous.

She said all COVID-19 layers of protection have to be used, particularly masks.

In the lead up to key religious services people attending churches, including choirs, must now wear a mask during services. Readers can remove their masks while speaking.

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Air travelers to U.S. likely to face tougher COVID-19 testing

The Biden administration is likely to impose stricter COVID-19 testing rules for air travelers entering the United States amid concerns about a new COVID-19 variant, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.

A draft proposal is circulating among government agencies, officials said, that would require all air passengers arriving from other countries to show a negative COVID-19 test performed within one day of departure from their point of origin.

Currently, vaccinated international air travelers can present a negative test result obtained within three days. Nearly all foreign nationals must be vaccinated to enter the United States. Unvaccinated travelers must get a negative COVID-19 test within one day of arrival.

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The administration is also considering whether to require air travelers to get another COVID-19 test within three to five days after arrival in the United States, officials said.

The stricter rules could be announced Thursday, but it was not clear when they might take effect.

—Reuters

Germany moves toward mandatory COVID-19 shots as Europe clamps down

Germany took a step closer toward making Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory as the incoming chancellor threw his support behind the move, part of a tougher line by European leaders as the pandemic spirals out of control.

Olaf Scholz called for a parliamentary vote on the step before the end of the year, saying on Tuesday that he would allow lawmakers to make the decision.

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“My recommendation is that we don’t do this as a government, because it’s an issue of conscience,” he said on Tuesday in an online interview with the Bild newspaper.

Scholz and outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel met with state premiers to discuss the country’s outbreak. While the measure wasn’t approved at the talks, there’s a growing consensus across the political spectrum that shots will have to be required.

—Bloomberg News

As Omicron plays havoc with markets, shares of vaccine makers surge

The emergence of a worrisome coronavirus variant is benefiting shares of vaccine makers Moderna Inc, BioNTech and Pfizer as investors search for winning bets in markets roiled by uncertainty in recent days.

Moderna shares have jumped 28% since last week when the variant, named Omicron, triggered global alarm. Shares of vaccine partners Pfizer and BioNtech have also climbed over that time, with Pfizer up 6% and U.S. shares of BioNTech jumping 15%, in contrast to a decline in the S&P 500 of 2.5%.

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Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are the predominant vaccines used in the United States, and it is expected they will be able to re-engineer their products to address the new variant if required.

“They are clear COVID plays and anything that ramps up the intensity of COVID is going to benefit them,” said Kevin Kedra, pharmaceuticals analyst at GAMCO Investors. “They are the front line of defense against COVID.”

Along with the rise in vaccine stocks, the market reactions to the new variant included a sell-off in travel and leisure stocks and brief increases in stay-at-home stocks that thrived during lockdowns in 2020.

—Reuters


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:

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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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