Category "Local Health"

1Dec

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

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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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Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

30Nov

Indigenous patients in B.C. still face racism in health care, despite some improvements: Turpel-Lafond

by admin

One year after her scathing report documenting racism in hospitals, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says problems persist.

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Apologies have been issued and some improvements had been made, but much more work is needed to make B.C.’s health care system less racist, says the author of a scathing 2020 report.

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“I continue to receive complaints about racism, and the inadequacy of the complaints process,” said Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, a UBC law professor hired by the province last year to investigate the discrimination faced by Indigenous people when they sought medical help.

“I’m pleased with some of the progress I’ve seen … and at the same time I think there’s a lot to be done.”

One year ago, Turpel-Lafond, B.C.’s former children’s representative, documented in her “In Plain Sight” report the “widespread stereotyping, racism and profiling of Indigenous people,” that limited access to medical treatment, disproportionately affected Indigenous women, and led to discrimination against Indigenous health-care workers.

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The 236-page report prompted Health Minister Adrian Dix to create new Aboriginal liaison positions for each of the five health authorities, and name a new associate deputy minister of health in charge of addressing the problem.

On Tuesday, Turpel-Lafond released an update on the progress made on the report’s 24 recommendations. So far there have been apologies issued by health system leaders, the hiring of more Indigenous senior leaders in health care, protecting Indigenous identity under the B.C. Human Rights Code, and discussions about an Indigenous wellness and welcoming centre at the new St. Paul’s hospital.

But “the fundamental issues” she raised in her report haven’t gone away yet, she said, noting there is no easy way for Indigenous people to lodge complaints about racism, “ineffective collaboration” with Indigenous governments has slowed the pace of change, and Indigenous patients continue to face harm or death as a result.

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“Either the system has not been welcoming, or has mistreated people for so long, that they’re not accessing the support they needed. And they are suffering with morbidities that could be treated, but they can’t get in or they haven’t got supportive treatment ,” said Turpel-Lafond, who is director of UBC’s residential school history and dialogue centre.

She is calling for more work to be done to improve Indigenous peoples’ access to health care, which includes:

• Better response to public health emergencies, such as work to increase vaccine confidence and better funding for mental health and addictions services.

• Indigenous-created, anti-racism training for all health workers and students, and for whistle-blower protection to be extended to the health sector so employees are willing to report any racism they witness.

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• All new major health care buildings should partner with local First Nations, to ensure Indigenous human rights are built into the design.

• Accelerate the production of data about health system performance and outcomes for Indigenous patients. A synopsis of this data should be made public by Nov. 30, 2022.

Change has come too slowly, Métis Nation B.C. said in a statement Tuesday.

“It is a too frequent occurrence, that I hear from my patients their experiences of dealing with a system that treats them as ‘less than’,” said Dr. Kate Elliott, a family doctor and co-chair of the Nation’s In Plain Sight Task Team.

“There is a moral imperative to act, this can no longer remain permissible. All Métis people in the province have the fundamental right to safe and equitable health care.”

In February, Turpel-Lafond issued a second report which found that while Indigenous people have higher rates of chronic disease, lower life expectancy and higher rate of opioid deaths, they have poor access to primary health care and are often turned away from hospital emergency departments.

lculbert@postmedia.com

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Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

30Nov

COVID-19: B.C. confirms first case of Omicron variant

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The case was found in Fraser Health from someone who had recently returned from Nigeria.

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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 had been identified as having recently returned from the southern part of Africa. Henry said all these people were in self isolation. She said the Omicron variant was likely not widespread in the province.

Henry added that while it’s not confirmed yet whether the Omicron variant — which surfaced globally last week — is more contagious or dangerous, all COVID-19 layers of protection should be used, particularly masks.

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

30Nov

COVID-19 update for Nov. 30: Canada has five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant | Symptoms of Omicron different from Delta: Doctor

by admin

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. 30, 2021. Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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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. 29:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 218,068 (2,882 active)
• New cases since Nov. 26: 970 (389/309/272)
• Total deaths: 2,333 (11 additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 305
• Intensive care: 115
• Total vaccinations: 4,223,237 received first dose; 4,067,778 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 212,704
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: six

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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.

Canada has five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant

Ontario is investigating two other possible cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the Hamilton area.

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Canada has confirmed its first five positive cases of the mutated virus.

Two were confirmed in Ottawa on Sunday, two more in Ottawa yesterday and one in Quebec.

All five involved patients who recently travelled from Nigeria.

Hundreds of people who had recently travelled from African countries deemed high-risk for the variant are being contacted for testing.

Ontario is looking at widening eligibility for third doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

— The Canadian Press

B.C. kids aged 5-11 get their shot at vaccine on Day 1 of rollout

Vancouver mom Jenny Puterman called Monday morning and managed to get an early afternoon time on Day 1.

Her two sons, Ari and Josh, were among the first kids, aged five- to 11-years-old, to get their COVID-19 vaccinations at the Italian Cultural Centre in East Vancouver.

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Their plan was to get the shots and then get ice cream, said dad Steve Rosenzweig.

“We’re going to Dairy Queen,” said Josh, who is 11. “We have this coupon and we’re probably going to buy something with it.”

The family had registered on Oct. 9 and thought they would receive an invitation by text or email to make a booking.

These were to go out Monday, but there may be some frustrations on Day 1 for parents as other people are booking booster shots or making appointments for their first or second vaccinations, according to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Read more HERE .

— Joanne Lee-Young

Omicron variant likely in global circulation for ‘weeks if not months’ as Canada discovers more cases

The new omicron variant of the coronavirus is likely already in circulation in Canada, health officials said Monday, as cases were reported in Quebec and Ontario, just as they have been across Europe and Africa, just days after the World Health Organization flagged the potentially dangerous new mutation.

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After finding the first two North American cases in travellers from Nigeria, health officials in Ontario are anticipating imminent test results from four other people suspected of having this worrying new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19. Quebec reported its first confirmed case Monday afternoon.

The new variant, with its genetic profile that suggests it spreads even more efficiently than the currently dominant delta variant, has amplified fears of a new wave of the airborne pandemic. It comes as vaccines are in abundant supply in many countries but colder weather in the northern hemisphere has increased indoor mixing.

When omicron became the latest World Health Organization “variant of concern” last Friday, financial markets panicked, and countries including Canada imposed flight bans on southern African countries, where the variant seems most prevalent. Japan on Monday closed its borders entirely to foreigners.

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But like many other border shut-downs, there was worry in Canada and elsewhere that this horse has already bolted from the barn, and the variant has been in global circulation for longer than surveillance agencies have known. It was first identified in early November in South Africa, and is thought to have emerged from a large unvaccinated population, possibly from a single chronic case.

— National Post

Doctor who saw Omicron early says symptoms different to Delta

People infected by omicron in South Africa are showing very different symptoms to those suffering from the delta strain, said the doctor who alerted government scientists to the possibility of a new variant.

Patients who contracted it complain of fatigue, head and body aches and occasional sore throats and coughs, said Angelique Coetzee, who is also chairwoman of the South African Medical Association. Delta infections, by comparison, caused elevated pulse rates, resulted in low oxygen levels and a loss of smell and taste, she said.

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After weeks of almost no COVID patients at her practice in Pretoria, the capital and epicentre of South Africa’s current surge, Coetzee said she suddenly started seeing patients complain of the symptoms on Nov. 18. She immediately informed the government’s Ministerial Advisory Council on COVID-19, and laboratories the next week identified a new variant, she said.

“I said these different symptoms can’t be delta, they are very similar to beta or it must be a new strain,” she said in an interview on Monday. “I don’t think it will blow over but I think it will be a mild disease hopefully. For now we are confident we can handle it.”

The World Health Organization is analyzing the new mutation, and has said it’s too early to say how transmissible and severe it is. It’s called on countries to start testing widely for omicron, saying the divergent design could fuel future surges of COVID-19.

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— Bloomberg 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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Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

29Nov

COVID-19: B.C. kids aged 5-11 get their shot at vaccine on Day 1 of rollout

by admin

Health Minister Adrian Dix said about 104,000 children out of the eligible 350,000 are now registered.

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Vancouver mom Jenny Puterman called Monday morning and managed to get an early afternoon time on Day 1.

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Her two sons, Ari and Josh, were among the first kids, aged five- to 11-years-old, to get their COVID-19 vaccinations at the Italian Cultural Centre in East Vancouver.

Their plan was to get the shots and then get ice cream, said dad Steve Rosenzweig.

“We’re going to Dairy Queen,” said Josh, who is 11. “We have this coupon and we’re probably going to buy something with it.”

The family had registered on Oct. 9 and thought they would receive an invitation by text or email to make a booking.

These were to go out Monday, but there may be some frustrations on Day 1 for parents as other people are booking booster shots or making appointments for their first or second vaccinations, according to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Over a three-day period, B.C. is reporting 970 new cases of COVID, including two epi-linked cases, for a total of 218,068 cases in the province. There are currently 2,882 active cases of COVID in B.C., and 212,704 people who tested positive have recovered. Of the active cases, 303 individuals are currently in hospital and 115 are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

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Dix said that about 104,000 children out of the eligible 350,000 are now registered for a vaccine, and that thousands of invitations are going out this week.

“We just feel like we are trying to stay ahead of it. The sooner we can get them vaccinated the better,” said Puterman. “Their grandparents are older and we have little cousins who can’t get vaccinated (because they are younger than five years.)”

“I have another friend who is getting it today, too,” said Ari Rosenzweig, 8.

Some parents and young children in the lineup Monday were, understandably, more focused on holding emotions together through the process instead of chatting about it with Postmedia News.

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Ari and Josh, however, were talkative about getting the vaccine “to prevent COVID-19.” They had some questions about how long it would take to get the shot and if they would “have to look.”

They did several rounds of “rock, paper, scissors” to decide who would go first, and also strategized about using mom’s phone to watch Minecraft memes on YouTube as a distraction.

“We’re thrilled that they’re so agreeable and we just want to get back to normal,” said Puterman. “We have friends where the parents are double-vaccinated and they’ve still been getting breakthrough infections. So we want to have more peace of mind.”

She’s also happy that Josh got a smaller, modified dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that is the one Health Canada has approved for younger children.

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By January, he would have turned 12 and qualified to get the vaccine for youth aged 12-to-17, which involves a larger amount.

“I don’t think this guy needs a full adult dose,” she said, squeezing his slight shoulders.

After letting Josh read a short comic story about a COVID superhero who gets vaccinated, Vancouver Coastal Health volunteer Dr. Francis Lee said to the boys: “I’m going to ask you the question, ‘Is it OK if I give you the vaccine?’ ”

They nodded, along with their parents. (A parent or legal guardian has to give verbal consent ahead of a child being vaccinated.)

“How often have you been told that you are mature?” asked Dr. Lee.

“Like, never,” beamed Josh.

— With files from The Canadian Press

jlee-young@postmedia.com


Get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here .


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Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

29Nov

COVID-19 update for Nov. 29: Children 5-11 eligible for vaccinations starting today | Symptoms linked to Omicron variant are mild so far: South Africa expert | Canada’s first known Omicron cases detected in Ontario

by admin

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. 29, 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. 26:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 217,099 (3,035 active)
• New cases since Nov. 25: 341
• Total deaths: 2,322 (six additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 291
• Intensive care: 115
• Total vaccinations: 4,219,790 received first dose; 4,060,193 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 211,577
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 8

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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.

Children between five and 11 are eligible for vaccinations starting Monday

Children in B.C. between five and 11 years old start receiving the first doses of their COVID-19 vaccines on Monday.

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More than 90,000 out of the 350,000 eligible children, or 26 per cent, in that age category were registered a week before the rollout, according to the B.C. government.

The government’s own surveys show that most parents support getting vaccines for their young children, but there are some whose views might keep the vaccination rate lower for this age category.

Of B.C. parents who responded, 58 per cent will register to vaccinate their children right away, while another 18 per cent planned to wait, and nearly 25 per cent said they are not sure they will do it, according to Penny Ballem, the executive lead for B.C.’s immunization efforts.

A parent or legal guardian has to give verbal consent ahead of a child being vaccinated, according to Ballem.

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Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11 on Nov. 19. This vaccine uses a lower dose of 10 micrograms that is one-third of the dose given to older children and adults.

Read more HERE .

— Joanne Lee-Young

Omicron COVID variant’s symptoms are mild so far, leading experts say

Symptoms linked to the omicron coronavirus variant have been mild so far, according to a Covid-19 adviser to the South Africa government and the Pretoria doctor who first sounded the alarm about the new strain.

But the World Health Organization cautioned there’s “no information” symptoms caused by omicron are different from other strains.

While South Africa, which first identified the new variant, currently has 3,220 people with the coronavirus infection overall, there’s been no real uptick in hospitalizations, Barry Schoub, chairman of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines, told Sky News on Sunday.

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“The cases that have occurred so far have all been mild cases, mild-to-moderate cases, and that’s a good sign,” said Schoub, adding that it was still early days and nothing was certain yet.

The WHO, however, said there was preliminary data showing increasing hospitalizations, “but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection with omicron.”

South Africa has been hit with a number of travel bans from the U.K. and other nations, after its scientists found the mutated variant last week. Since then, a growing number of European countries, along with Australia, have also identified people infected with the variant.

The large number of mutations found in the omicron variant appears to destabilize the virus, which might make it less “fit” than the dominant delta strain, said Schoub.

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“In a way, hopefully it won’t displace delta because delta we know responds very well to the vaccine,” he said.

— Bloomberg

Ontario detects Canada’s first two known cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant

Ontario detected Canada’s first two known cases of Omicron on Sunday, a new COVID-19 variant of concern that has led to a slate of new border restrictions around the world.

Both cases of the variant were found in the Ottawa area in people who had recently travelled to Nigeria, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a joint statement with the province’s top public health official, Dr. Kieran Moore.

“Ontario is prepared and ready to respond to this new variant. Our hospital and intensive care capacity remain stable and the province continues to report one of the lowest rates of active cases in the country,” the pair said.

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They said Ottawa Public Health is conducting “case and contact management” and the patients are self-isolating, while the province is testing all eligible positive COVID-19 samples to determine their variant.

The federal government recently banned visitors from seven countries in southern Africa, including Namibia and Zimbabwe. Nigeria is not among them.

Elliott and Moore’s statement urges the federal government to take stronger action at the border, suggesting that everyone be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, not just before leaving for Canada.

“The best defence against the Omicron variant is stopping it at our border,” they said.

Moore is set to speak to the media Monday morning about the cases of the Omicron variant.

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— Canadian Press


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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Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

28Nov

COVID-19: Children between five and 11 are eligible for vaccinations starting Monday

by admin

Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11 on Nov. 19. This vaccine uses a lower dose of 10 micrograms — one-third of the dose given to older children and adults

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Children in B.C. between five and 11 years old start receiving the first doses of their COVID-19 vaccines on Monday.

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More than 90,000 out of the 350,000 eligible children, or 26 per cent, in that age category were registered a week before the rollout, according to the B.C. government.

The government’s own surveys show that most parents support getting vaccines for their young children, but there are some whose views might keep the vaccination rate lower for this age category.

Of B.C. parents who responded, 58 per cent will register to vaccinate their children right away, while another 18 per cent planned to wait, and nearly 25 per cent said they are not sure they will do it, according to Penny Ballem, the executive lead for B.C.’s immunization efforts.

A parent or legal guardian has to give verbal consent ahead of a child being vaccinated, according to Ballem.

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Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11 on Nov. 19. This vaccine uses a lower dose of 10 micrograms that is one-third of the dose given to older children and adults.

COVID-19 information from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control from Nov. 25 shows that 80 per cent of British Columbians at the next age group up, aged 12 to 17, are now fully vaccinated and more than 87 per cent have a first dose.

There are varying rates in different health authorities, however. In Fraser, Vancouver Coastal and Vancouver Island, it is higher at 82 per cent, 89 per cent and 83 per cent, respectively. In Interior, it was 70 per cent and in Northern, it was 59 per cent.

Within authorities, there is also a wide spectrum. As of Nov. 23, Enderby and Kettle Creek in the Interior authority had only 38 per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds double vaccinated, while Kimberley posted 80 per cent. In Vancouver Coastal, Bella Coola Valley had 59 per cent of 12- to 17-year-olds double vaccinated, while North Vancouver was at 93 per cent.

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Between Oct. 27 to Nov. 25, the number of average daily cases per 100,000 people among the double vaccinated for this 12 to 17 age group across B.C. was 2.5. Among those who had one vaccination, the number of average daily cases per 100,000 people was 8.2. And for the unvaccinated, the figure was 46.8 per 100,000.

For that same period, in the category of 0-11 year olds, who are all unvaccinated, the number of average daily cases per 100,000 people was 16.8.

“I think the most important thing is that vaccinations be readily available for all children and families,” said Teri Mooring, president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

“For families where it’s not convenient for them to book an appointment in a separate clinic or perhaps they work long hours or there are other various individual circumstances, we think there should be an option (for COVID-19 vaccination) in schools as well.”

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Mooring said that “it was a concern with the 12- to 17-year-olds as well and what we’re seeing in some parts of the province, where we have vaccine hesitancy, we are still those (vaccination) numbers lag behind. We don’t want that to be the case for the five to 11-year-olds.”

Youth aged 12 to 18 have to carry a B.C. Vaccine card, or have a trusted adult carry one for them, to go to restaurants and attend indoor, organized events. Unlike adults, they don’t have to also show government-issued identification. Children aged five to 11 are not be required to show proof of vaccination.

jlee-young@postmedia.com

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27Nov

COVID-19 update for Nov. 27-28: 341 new cases, six deaths | Omicron variant not yet detected in B.C. | Omicron now detected in Britain, Hong Kong

by admin

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. 27-28, 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 Nov. 26:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 217,099 (3,035 active)
• New cases since Nov. 25: 341
• Total deaths: 2,322 (six additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 291
• Intensive care: 115
• Total vaccinations: 4,219,790 received first dose; 4,060,193 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 211,577
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 8

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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.

Two cases of Omicron coronavirus variant detected in Britain

Two linked cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in Britain connected to travel to southern Africa, health minister Sajid Javid said on Saturday.

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Omicron, dubbed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on Friday, is potentially more contagious than previous variants of the disease, although experts do not know yet if it will cause more or less severe COVID-19 compared to other coronavirus strains.

“Late last night I was contacted by the UK Health Security Agency. I was informed that they have detected two cases of this new variant, Omicron, in the United Kingdom,” Javid said in a broadcast clip.

Essex County Council later confirmed on Twitter that there was a single case identified in Brentwood in the southeastern region of England. The council said it was linked to a single case from Nottingham in central England involving travel to South Africa.

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—Reuters

Hong Kong confirms two cases of virulent new COVID-19 variant, one of which travelled from Canada

Two cases of the new COVID-19 strain raising alarm in parts of southern Africa and unnerving financial markets worldwide have been found in travellers in compulsory quarantine in Hong Kong.

A traveller from South Africa was found to have the variant — B.1.1.529, dubbed Omicron — while the other case was identified in a person who had travelled from Canada and was quarantined in the hotel room opposite his, the Hong Kong government said late Thursday. The traveller from South Africa used a mask with a valve that doesn’t filter exhaled air and may have transmitted the virus to his neighbour when the hotel room door was open, a health department spokesperson said Friday.

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Twelve people who were staying in rooms close to the two Hong Kong cases are now undergoing compulsory 14-day quarantines at a government facility, according to the statement out Thursday.

Global authorities around the world have already reacted with alarm Friday to the new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa. The EU and Britain were among the first to tighten border controls as researchers seek to determine whether the mutation was vaccine-resistant.

Canada is now closing its borders to all foreigners who have recently been to southern Africa. The ban and new testing and quarantine requirements for Canadians returning home applies to people who have been to South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini in the last two weeks.

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—Reuters

341 new cases, six more deaths

B.C. reported 341 new cases of coronavirus reported Friday, according to the province’s latest pandemic update.

Of the cases, 100 new cases were in Fraser Health, 77 in Interior Health, 68 in Island Health, 65 in Vancouver Coastal Health and 31 in Northern Health, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.

Today’s new cases were less than yesterday’s 424 reported cases. The new cases brings the provincial total number of COVID-19 cases up to 217,099.

There are currently 3,035 active cases in the province and of those, 291 are being treated in hospital, including 115 in intensive care.

The majority of active cases are located in Fraser Health, with 1,071 active cases. Meanwhile, there are 593 active cases in Island Health, 536 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 448 in Island Health and 381 in Northern Health. There are six active cases in people who reside outside of Canada.

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The province also reported six more deaths, bringing the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic up to 2,322. Of the deceased, three were residents of Fraser Health, two were in Vancouver Coast Health and one was in Northern Health.

— Cayley Dobie

Omicron variant not identified in B.C. COVID-19 cases, say health officials

Health officials in B.C. say the newly identified COVID-19 variant from southern Africa has not been found to have spread to the province.

“There is no evidence that this variant has been introduced into British Columbia,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint statement Friday.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s public health lab has sequenced over 90,000 virus isolates in B.C. and will continue to use whole-genome sequencing to monitor for variants of concern, including Omicron, they said.

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“Public health will be working with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Canada Border Services Agency to identify any people recently returned from the areas of concern to arrange testing and to ensure they remain well… w e do not yet know the impact this new VOC will have on transmission or of the severity of illness.”

—Sarah Grochowski

What we know about Omicron COVID-19 variant

The World Health Organization on Friday classified the B.1.1.529 variant known as Omicron first detected in South Africa as a SARS-CoV-2 “variant of concern,” saying it may spread more quickly than other forms. Here is what we know about it so far:

WHERE AND WHEN WAS NEW VARIANT FOUND?

South African scientists detected a small number of the variant known as B.1.1.529 on Tuesday in samples taken from Nov. 14 to Nov. 16.

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On Wednesday, South African scientists sequenced more genomes, informed the government that they were concerned and asked the World Health Organization to convene its technical working group on virus evolution for Friday.

The country has identified about 100 cases of the variant, mostly from its most populated province, Gauteng, where Johannesburg and Pretoria are located.

Read more HERE

—Reuters, Bloomberg


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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Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

26Nov

Anatomy of a rescue: How heroic strangers saved injured Surrey family from a mudslide

by admin

The Weiss family’s car was slammed by a mudslide, leaving a 14-year-old son with serious head injuries. He and his family are now recovering, and grateful to their rescuers.

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The massive landslide slammed the Weiss family’s van off Highway 7, shattered the windows, caked the family in mud, tore shoes off their feet, and rolled their Dodge Caravan twice before it finally came to rest in utter blackness.

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Lori-Ann Weiss yelled out for her husband Joshua and her three children. In the back row, 14-year-old Elijah was covered in blood and unresponsive. She thought he might be dead.

They desperately needed help, but what the family didn’t know was that they were sandwiched between a series of mudslides on the highway between Hope and Agassiz. No ambulance could reach them.

The Weiss family’s van. Photo by Jarod Ridge.
The Weiss family’s van. Photo by Jarod Ridge. Photo by Jarod Ridge

Almost two weeks after a devastating rain storm triggered landslides that left at least five people dead, flooded farms, and destroyed roads and other major infrastructure, the Weiss family is recuperating at home in Surrey.

Elijah, who had a skull fracture, a jaw broken in two places, and large gashes to his forehead and scalp, is expected to make a full recovery. The others are healing from wounds less serious, but no less traumatic.

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Parents Lori-Ann and Joshua believe they owe their family’s survival to the selfless actions of heroic strangers who came to their rescue after the Nov. 14 mudslide.

“People we don’t even know, complete strangers. And their ability to show us love and their ability to selflessly give to us, having never, ever known us before …” Lori-Ann said.

” … in the drop of a hat,” Joshua added, finishing her sentence. “All of these people, and all of these efforts, helped to keep our family intact.”

Following the “most harrowing and scary” experience of their lives, Joshua kept a list of the people to thank: The off-duty nurses and other good Samaritans who helped at the scene, Hope Search and Rescue team members   who carried their stretchers over the landslide debris, the strangers in Hope who gave them shelter, and the Surrey medical team who travelled through flooded roads and along rail lines to treat Elijah and eventually arrange an air ambulance to B.C. Children’s Hospital.

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Postmedia spoke with many of those rescuers, who, in turn, are grateful that the family is on the mend and are inspired by how people worked together during a disaster.

“I’m so thankful for everyone that was involved in being able to get them to a hospital. … It took a huge team of people, and it was just so nice to hear that side of humanity, where everyone is so helpful and creative in an emergency,” said Kathleen Sullivan, a B.C. Children’s Hospital nurse practitioner who provided first aid to the Weiss family.

“I’ve cared for hundreds of kids in scary and uncertain circumstances. Stuck between two mudslides with a MVA (motor vehicle accident) trauma teenager certainly takes the cake.”

Nurse practitioner Kathleen Sullivan cares for Elijah Weiss at the scene of the mudslide.
Nurse practitioner Kathleen Sullivan cares for Elijah Weiss at the scene of the mudslide. Photo by Nadia Weiss /PNG

On the morning of the mudslide, the Weisses began driving home from Kamloops. During their trip, rain started to pound down, and a series of accidents and road closures eventually led them to detour onto Highway 7, east of Hope.

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The highway was wet and dark, but traffic was moving well. Around 7:30 p.m., Lori-Ann, who along with her husband is a Surrey high school teacher, was quizzing the two boys for a chemistry test when Joshua saw something falling fast on the steep slope to their right.

“I said to Lori-Ann, ‘What is that?’”

She screamed, “Watch out!” as the mudslide slammed into the side of the van with a deafening roar.

“It sounded like thunder,” recalled Elijah.

It would be the last thing he remembered before waking up in hospital a day later.

Noah, who was in the third row of the van beside his twin Elijah, and Nadia who was sitting alone in the middle row, counted as the vehicle flipped two times down the slope.

“We went off the road and it was so fast. And we rolled twice upside down and we just stopped against a tree,” Noah said.

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Lori-Ann called out everyone’s names. Noah yelled that Elijah wasn’t saying anything. He was making groaning noises and his body had gone stiff as a board. There was a giant rock in the back, which the family believes blew through the window and hit Elijah in the head.

Joshua, like the rest of his family, had mud in his eyes, in his ears, in his mouth. Terrified, he knew he needed to get help. He wrenched open his mangled door, and stumbled towards headlights he could see far above on Highway 7.

The Weiss family van.
The Weiss family van.

When he got to the top, he jumped over a downed power line and ran to the first car. Inside was emergency room nurse Laura Ronson, who gave him a headlamp and promised to come help.

Joshua ran back down the embankment to the van, where Lori-Ann was using bottles of water to try to wash the mud out of everyone’s eyes. The headlamp illuminated the blood covering Elijah’s face, Noah’s blood-soaked arm, and Lori-Ann’s bloodied face and hand.

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As Nadia, 16, was the most able-bodied, Joshua helped her out first. She was in bare feet but found a pair of slippers, which she put on after shaking them free of glass. The flimsy footwear gave her very little grip, though, while climbing over wet boulders, downed trees and large piles of mud.

“I had to crawl up on my hands, on my knees to get up this slope,” she said.

Once they reached the road, Heather and Steve Roseboom, dairy farmers from Chilliwack, offered Nadia refuge inside their warm pickup truck. The frightened teenager started to pray out loud, and Heather prayed with her.

“I have no clue what’s happening in the car right now. I don’t know if Elijah’s OK. In the moment that I was leaving the car, I actually thought that he was gone,” Nadia recalled.

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Back in the van, Lori-Ann got Noah to help her pull Elijah to the front seat, torn between worrying that he shouldn’t be moved because of a possible spinal injury and the certainty that they must get out of the van to safety.

When Joshua returned, he was accompanied by Ronson, who had borrowed boots and a second headlamp. Together, they all lowered Elijah, who couldn’t walk on his own, out of the van onto the uneven ground below.

It was a struggle for the determined dad and nurse to carry the 6-foot-2 teenager over the many mounds of debris lying between the van and a life-saving rope.

A 15-metre rope dangling down the embankment had been tied to a utility pole at the top by another stranded motorist, an infantry soldier with the Rocky Mountain Rangers, a Canadian Armed Forces reserve unit.

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Ronson had flagged down the soldier to help, and he had gone down the embankment with her and Joshua, but realized that an injured person would need help to get up the slope. So he ran back to get his rope and, after tying it to the pole, descended to assist Elijah over a high pile of logs.

“I held him upright while the dad was getting across (the logs), and then I pushed Elijah up so he was almost vertical, so he wouldn’t fall over again. He was just leaning on me the whole time,” said the soldier, Mackenzie, who asked that his last name not be used.

Joshua was not sure they could get the injured teen up the rope. But they pushed and pulled, and Elijah was able to grip the cable. “I’m behind him and I’ve got his bum and I’m shoving him up while he’s hand over hand.”

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Elijah was taken to the Rosebooms’ truck, where Nadia was relieved to see her brother alive. She tried to keep him calm as he mumbled questions: What happened? Where was he? Why did his eyes hurt? Were Noah and his parents OK?

“He has such a kind heart,” she said, tearing up. “It was really hard to see my little brother in this situation.”

Lori-Ann, who had just one shoe, and Noah, who was wearing only socks, also got to the rope with help from Mackenzie.

They were taken to an industrial painter’s van, where Lori-Ann huddled with Noah under a blanket, trying to comfort the teenager. “He was going into a bit of shock. He was shaking. And so I was able to hold him and have body contact with him,” she said.

She also flushed her right eye with water, removing pieces of rock roughly the size of peas.

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Joshua went back and forth between the trucks harbouring his family, but now that the adrenalin from rescuing them had subsided, he started to panic about whether Elijah would recover.

“I knew at that moment that he was critically, critically injured, and that I couldn’t help him.”

Six members of the Hope Search and Rescue team helped the Weiss family. From left to right: Matthew Baerg, Keith Carlin, Kevin Meredig, Walter Miller, Miguel Parra. (Missing from photo is Taysha Grindon).
Six members of the Hope Search and Rescue team helped the Weiss family. From left to right: Matthew Baerg, Keith Carlin, Kevin Meredig, Walter Miller, Miguel Parra. (Missing from photo is Taysha Grindon). Photo by Hope SAR

Farther back in the line of trapped vehicles, Sullivan, the nurse practitioner, was going car to car to ask if anyone needed help. When she learned about Elijah, she assessed him for neurological damage but did not see any signs of a brain injury.

“I talked to him and stayed with him. I cleaned up a few of his lacerations, I assessed where he was bleeding,” said Sullivan. She also called an ophthalmologist to ask about his eyes, still swollen shut with mud and blood.

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At this point, Sullivan got word that a Hope Search and Rescue team had arrived, hauling stretchers over the mudslide.

Elijah was bundled in blankets and put on a stretcher. SAR members carried him through about 10 centimetres of water gushing across the road, and then over the 75-metre-wide landslide field, said team leader Keith Carlin.

“We got him across the water using a couple of rocks to rest the stretcher on. And then we got him through all of the debris field into the ambulance,” he said.

There was only one available ambulance that was able to reach their location, and Carlin had arranged for it to meet them on the Hope side of the mudslide.

His team then returned to carry Noah, whose arm had been splinted by Sullivan, over the mudslide in a stretcher. They also helped Joshua walk across, and then the ambulance took father and sons to the Fraser Canyon Hospital in Hope.

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“I kept telling the family, ‘You know, no matter what happens, you’re all alive, and you’re all together,’” Carlin recalled.

Nadia borrowed new slippers and Lori-Ann wore someone else’s large boot on her left foot, with her own shoe on the right, as the SAR members accompanied them across the mudslide next.

“I was shaking, disoriented, so they were helping me cross over. And I had to clench my toes to keep the slippers on,” Nadia said. “The water was rushing really fast. And if I didn’t have someone holding me, you could be swept away.”

Nadia Weiss (left) and her mother, Lori-Ann (right), after they were rescued.
Nadia Weiss (left) and her mother, Lori-Ann (right), after they were rescued. Photo by Handout /PNG

The SAR truck took mother and daughter to the small hospital in Hope, arriving about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. It was overwhelmed and understaffed due to the floods, and Elijah was in one of the 10 ER beds.

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There the family was embraced by kindness again. A hospital social worker brought them clothes and shoes. A stranger took them in and gave them dinner and beds on Monday night.

While they appreciated the care they received at the hospital, the Weiss family wanted Elijah to get to a larger centre for more advanced medical treatment. But all roads between Hope and Metro Vancouver were blocked by landslides, and the air ambulance was delayed by high winds and horrendous rain.

The family, though, had no idea that a medical team from Surrey Memorial Hospital, led by Dr. Greg Haljan, was already working to bring their ICU department to the injured teen .

Monday evening, police escorted Haljan, along with a nurse, a respiratory therapist, and another doctor over flooded roads and through a gravel pit to reach the rail tracks in Chilliwack, where a CN vehicle drove them to Hope. They arrived at the hospital just before midnight, and provided Elijah with more specialized care.

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Haljan was also in contact with the air ambulance, which arrived early Tuesday and flew Elijah and Joshua to B.C. Children’s Hospital.

“It’s great to be one piece of that huge chain of survival, across all the different organizations,” Haljan said. “I’m really, really grateful that everybody came together to support (Elijah).”

From left to right: Sumeet Gill, respiratory therapist, CN Rail employee Tyson, Dr. Greg Haljan, and nurse Greg Sills. Handout photo.
From left to right: Sumeet Gill, respiratory therapist, CN Rail employee Tyson, Dr. Greg Haljan, and nurse Greg Sills. Handout photo. Photo by Fraser Health /PNG

Lori-Ann, Nadia and Noah flew to Vancouver later Tuesday when a friend arranged a helicopter flight. In the urban hospitals, a large chunk of glass was removed from Noah’s battered left arm, and Lori-Ann received several antibiotics to stave off infections in her badly lacerated right hand.

Elijah, who was admitted for three nights, had surgery and was put through a battery of tests before being released.

Today the grateful family is together and healing because motorists trapped on Highway 7, and later others in Hope and Surrey, rushed to save strangers in need. “There was a wider community …” Lori-Ann began.

” … that had developed in this short, very, very short, intense time frame,” Joshua added, smiling at his son Elijah.

“The amount of people that gathered selflessly for this young man here was nothing short of excellent.”

lculbert@postmedia.com

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Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

26Nov

COVID-19 update for Nov. 26: 424 new cases, three deaths | Some CERB recipients about to get notices to repay portion of the money | Liberals introduce new bill with $7.4B in pandemic aid for businesses, workers

by admin

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. 26, 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. 25:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 216,758 (3,061 active)
• New cases since Nov. 23: 424
• Total deaths: 2,316 (three additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 295
• Intensive care: 112
• Total vaccinations: 4,218,099 received first dose; 4,056,728 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 210,828
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 10

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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.

Some CERB recipients about to get notices to repay portion of the money they received

Some Canadians who received a pandemic jobless benefit are set to receive notices that they have to repay some of the aid they received last year.

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The Canada Emergency Response Benefit was rolled out at the onset of the pandemic during a historic drop in the labour market — three million jobs lost and two million people with hours cut. The government sent $2,000 payments to some recipients who applied through Service Canada as an advance on the first four weeks to help households who saw sudden loss of earnings.

The idea was to reconcile the payment at some point during the time CERB was available, which is why many who got the advance saw a break in benefits during the summer of 2020.

The government now says there are still recipients who owe some or all of the $2,000, specifically those who were not entitled to the aid or didn’t collect CERB for at least 20 weeks.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says anyone who needs it will get a flexible repayment schedule and there will be no penalties or interest charged on the overpayment.

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“Canadians will not be put into financial hardship by having to repay emergency benefits they received,” Qualtrough says in a statement.

Those who owe money will get a notice from Service Canada outlining how much they owe, the process to repay, and how they can appeal the decision.

—The Canadian Press

Croatia restricts travel rules due to new COVID-19 variant

Croatia will restrict the travel rules from several countries due to the new coronavirus variant, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic told reporters on Friday.

“We will ban arrivals from some countries or impose a quarantine of 14 days with obligatory testing,” he said.

He said the measure, which refers to the arrivals from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Hong Kong, would be formally taken later on Friday.

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— Reuters

Liberals introduce new bill with $7.4B in pandemic aid for businesses, workers

The Trudeau Liberals have outlined their latest aid package for an economy recovering from COVID-19, proposing targeted financial support to businesses still recovering from the pandemic, help for some workers, and extra weeks of benefits that expired just days ago.

The bill introduced Wednesday in the House of Commons is one of four pieces of legislation the government wants MPs to pass before the middle of December ahead of a scheduled winter break.

The Liberals are proposing to send income-support payments of $300 per week to workers who find themselves off the job because of a “COVID-19-related public health lockdown in their region” between now and spring 2022.

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Those payments would be retroactive to Oct. 24 when the Liberals decided to let a pandemic-era benefit for the unemployed expire. The Canada Recovery Benefit’s siblings — sickness and caregiver benefits — would each get revived after expiring this past weekend with two more weeks of eligibility until May 7.

Wage and rent subsidies for businesses would be more generous and targeted over that same period to still-hurting tourism, culture and hospitality sectors, as well as a long list of companies like movie theatres, arcades, casinos and gyms, so long as they can prove a deep and prolonged revenue loss.

—The Canadian Press

Update for Thursday, Nov. 25

British Columbia is reporting 424 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the active case count in the province to 3,061.

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Of the active cases, it says 295 people are in hospital with 112 in intensive care.

Over the past two weeks, the province says 301 people were hospitalized due to the virus, and about 62 per cent of them were unvaccinated, six per cent were partially vaccinated and about 32 per cent fully vaccinated.

Health officials say there have been three new deaths, which brings the overall death toll in B.C. to 2,316.

They say vaccine numbers are slowly rising, with 91 per cent of eligible people over the age of 12 having received their first dose of a vaccine and 87.5 per cent of eligible people having received a second shot.

There have been two new health-care facility outbreaks declared for a total of 10 facilities with ongoing outbreaks.

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—The Canadian Press

Scientists detect a new variant in South Africa with ‘very unusual’ mutations

Scientists in South Africa are studying a newly identified coronavirus variant of concern, stoking fears the country may face a potentially severe fourth wave that could spread globally.

The new variant, called B.1.1529 until a Greek letter is assigned, has a “very unusual constellation” of mutations, which are concerning because they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible, scientists told reporters at a news conference

B.1.1.529  is “clearly very different” from previous incarnations, Tulio de Oliveira, a bio-informatics professor who runs gene-sequencing institutions at two South African universities, said at a briefing on Thursday.

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—Bloomberg 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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