Posts Tagged "delta"

30Nov

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

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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 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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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.

12Nov

COVID-19 update for Nov. 12: Seniors struggled with B.C. Vaccine Card: Study | Exposure alerts for 16 flights to and from B.C. | Subtype of COVID-19 Delta variant spreading in Western Canada: health officials

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. 12, 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. 10:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 210,758 (4,321 active)
• New cases since Nov. 9: 555
• Total deaths: 2,234 (11 additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 426 (down by 22)
• Intensive care: 124 (down by 7)
• Total vaccinations: 4,195,116 received first dose; 4,003,628 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 203,909
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 29

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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.

Research project finds seniors struggled with B.C. Vaccine Card

Confusion among some seniors over the implementation of B.C.’s vaccination card could have been addressed by consultation before implementation, according to the findings of a community study .

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Researchers are describing the experience of seniors with the vaccine card as an example of the digital divide — the gap between a society where information is increasingly digital and the inability of some people to access what they need.

For seniors, for example, the COVID-19 pandemic has moved many government functions online, such as applying for monthly Old Age Security.

“It would be a good idea for decision makers to involve seniors and community-based organizations and invite them to the table when decision-making is happening,” said Hannah Shin, a community-based researcher.

“We need to ensure that everyone has accessible information in multiple modes of communication strategies. We just assume that everyone gets their news through social media. That’s just not the case.”

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The rapid evaluation project was undertaken by Simon Fraser University’s Science and Technology for Aging Researching (STAR) Institute and 411 Seniors Care Centre Society .

— Kevin Griffin

Exposure notices issued for 16 flights

The BCCDC has issued exposure notices for 16 flights to and from B.C. between Oct. 28 and Nov. 7. They are:

Oct. 28
• Delta 3809, Seattle to Vancouver

Oct. 29
• United Airlines 5671, Denver to Vancouver
• WestJet 3316, Vancouver to Kelowna

Oct. 30
• WestJet 123, Calgary to Vancouver
• WestJet 3447, Calgary to Terrace

Oct. 31
• Sunwing 281, Vancouver to Cancun
• WestJet 3378, Abbotsford to Calgary

Nov. 2
• Air Canada 312, Vancouver to Montreal

Nov. 4
• Air Canada/Jazz 8827, Chicago to Vancouver
• WestJet 3233, Calgary to Abbotsford

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Nov. 5
• Swoop 207, Edmonton to Abbotsford

Nov. 6
• WestJet 1865, Honolulu to Vancouver
• WestJet 3315, Calgary to Comox

Nov. 7
• Delta 4062, Seattle to Vancouver
• Sunwing 282, Cancun to Vancouver
• WestJet/Delta 3295/7069, Vancouver to Victoria

You can see a full list of public exposures here .

Subtype of COVID-19 Delta variant spreading in Western Canada: health officials

A subtype of the COVID-19 variant is becoming predominant in Saskatchewan and is spreading throughout Western Canada, but health officials say it is not considered a variant of concern.

The AY.25.1 subtype likely originated in the mid-western United States where it mutated, said Dr. Jessica Minion, a Saskatchewan Health Authority medical microbiologist who presented the information to a health authority meeting last week.

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In Saskatchewan, AY-25.1 and another subtype, AY.27, have mainly displaced the original Delta variant. AY-25.1 is also spreading interprovincially in Alberta and British Columbia.

Health officials across Western Canada say the subtype is not more contagious.

“There is no evidence it causes more severe illness, that it evades vaccine protection, that it is significantly different from the Delta variant that has been circulating,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, during a COVID-19 briefing.

“When viruses replicate, they can change their genetics slightly, so sometimes you have these sublineages that evolve. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they behave differently from that parent strain, and that’s the case with this particular sublineage.”

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Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, said the public shouldn’t read too much into the subtype.

—The Canadian Press

Body’s coronavirus memory may abort new infections

Healthcare workers who did not test positive for COVID-19, despite heavy exposure to infected patients, had T cells that attacked a part of the virus that lets it make copies of itself, according to a report published Wednesday in Nature .

Researchers who studied the 58 healthcare workers found their T cells responded more strongly to a part of the virus, called the RTC, that is very similar on all human and animal coronaviruses, including all variants of SARS-CoV-2.

They suspect the T cells recognized the RTC because they had “seen” it on other viruses during other infections. That makes the RTC a potentially good target for vaccines if more research confirms these findings, study leaders Mala Maini and Leo Swadling, both of University College London, said in a joint email to Reuters. These data were collected during the first wave of the pandemic, they added.

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“We don’t know if this sort of control happens for more infectious variants currently circulating.”

— 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:


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.

11Nov

COVID-19 update for Nov. 11: Subtype of COVID-19 Delta variant spreading in Western Canada: health officials | 555 new cases, 11 deaths | New outbreaks at two long-term care homes in Fraser Health | Travel industry wants testing rules loosened for fully vaccinated visitors

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. 11, 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. 10:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 210,758 (4,321 active)
• New cases since Nov. 9: 555
• Total deaths: 2,234 (11 additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 426 (down by 22)
• Intensive care: 124 (down by 7)
• Total vaccinations: 4,195,116 received first dose; 4,003,628 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 203,909
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 29

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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.

Subtype of COVID-19 Delta variant spreading in Western Canada: health officials

A subtype of the COVID-19 variant is becoming predominant in Saskatchewan and is spreading throughout Western Canada, but health officials say it is not considered a variant of concern.

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The AY.25.1 subtype likely originated in the mid-western United States where it mutated, said Dr. Jessica Minion, a Saskatchewan Health Authority medical microbiologist who presented the information to a health authority meeting last week.

In Saskatchewan, AY-25.1 and another subtype, AY.27, have mainly displaced the original Delta variant. AY-25.1 is also spreading interprovincially in Alberta and British Columbia.

Health officials across Western Canada say the subtype is not more contagious.

“There is no evidence it causes more severe illness, that it evades vaccine protection, that it is significantly different from the Delta variant that has been circulating,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, during a COVID-19 briefing.

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“When viruses replicate, they can change their genetics slightly, so sometimes you have these sublineages that evolve. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they behave differently from that parent strain, and that’s the case with this particular sublineage.”

Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, said the public shouldn’t read too much into the subtype.

—The Canadian Press

B.C. reports 555 new cases, 11 deaths Wednesday

B.C. health officials reported 555 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday.

Eleven more people have died, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 2,234.

Fraser Health recorded the most number of new cases and deaths of any health region in B.C., with 197 cases and five deaths. There were also 114 new cases and one death in Interior Health, 106 new cases in Northern Health, 88 new cases and three deaths in Island Health, and 50 new cases and one death in Vancouver Coastal Health.

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B.C. also added three health-care facilities to its outbreak list: George Derby Centre and Dufferin Care Centre in Fraser Health and Royal Inland Hospital in Interior Health.

As of Wednesday, 90.5 per cent B.C. residents aged 12 and over have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 86.4 per cent have received their second dose.

New outbreaks at two long-term care homes in Fraser Health

Fraser Health has declared COVID-19 outbreaks at two long-term care homes on Wednesday.

Six residents and four employees at the George Derby Centre in Burnaby have tested positive for COVID-19. In Coquitlam, three residents and one employee at Dufferin Care Centre tested positive for the virus.

The affected residents and staff members are self-isolating in their homes.

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Fraser Health said both facilities are restricting social visits in the affected areas, although essential visits are still allowed. Staff and residents are also being screened twice a day, and the facilities have stepped up cleaning and infection control measures.

As of Tuesday, 33 health-care facilities were dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Travel industry wants testing rules loosened for fully vaccinated visitors

Travel industry officials in Vancouver are calling on the federal government to drop the pre-departure COVID-19 test requirement for fully vaccinated travellers coming to Canada, saying it is hurting hotel and conference bookings.

“The federal government’s own expert panel, in fact, does not recommend the approach. They said it’s unnecessary for fully vaccinated travellers,” said the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade CEO, Bridgitte Anderson, referring to Ottawa’s COVID-19 testing and screening expert advisory  panel.

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The panel’s  report  calls for eliminating pre-departure molecular PCR tests and testing for fully vaccinated travellers 10 days after arrival, but it says for “surveillance purposes, administer PCR tests on arrival.”

The recent reopening of the land border with the U.S. was a welcome step, but Anderson said that having to do pre-departure PCR tests was “costly” and “cumbersome” for travellers.

She estimated costs of up to $1,000 for a family of four to get the pre-departure PCR testing that is currently required.

—Joanne Lee-Young


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:

Advertisement

Article content


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.

21Sep

Election 2021 results: Liberals heading toward sweep in Richmond and Delta

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The Liberals appear set to pull off an upset and sweep both Richmond ridings

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The Liberals appear set to pull off an upset and sweep both Richmond ridings.

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Liberal Parm Bains, a Kwantlen business instructor, was leading Conservative incumbent Kenny Chiu in in Steveston-Richmond East, while Liberal Wilson Miao was leading Alice Wong, a Conservative MP first elected in 2008, in poll returns in Richmond Centre on election night.

But both Conservative incumbent candidates said there were thousands of advance and mail-in ballots yet to be counted, which could take days, and neither had conceded the seats.

With almost 100 per cent of polls returned, at midnight, Miao was ahead of Wong by about 700 votes. And more than 3,300 votes separated Chiu from his opponent.

Wong’s campaign manager said there were a potential 12,300 votes yet to be counted and Chiu’s team estimated more than 13,000 uncounted votes.

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Before the final polls were returned on Monday night, Bains said he would be honoured to represent Steveston-Richmond East in Ottawa.

He said his priorities would be to build affordable public housing and to work on a pandemic recovery.

“I’m passionate about affordability and housing, I’ve been speaking about that for years,” said Bains, adding that he would work to create housing for the “missing middle. It’s all about creating options.”

Conservative candidate for Richmond Centre Alice Wong.
Conservative candidate for Richmond Centre Alice Wong. Photo by Conservative Party /PNG

In Richmond Centre, Wong’s goal of a fifth term as MP was in jeopardy after easily winning the riding in 2019, with 49 per cent of the votes, compared to the second-place Conservative candidate’s 35 per cent.

Wong, who has won her seat in the last four elections — in 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2019 — served as the parliamentary secretary for multiculturalism. She said her priorities was improving the physical and mental well being of people in Richmond during the pandemic.

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Wong said the fact there were a minimal change in the number of seats proves the election was a waste of time and money.

“Even with a minority government (before the election), all the parties were working together and you can get things done,” she said.

She said if she is returned to Ottawa after the final vote count, she would focus on improving housing for seniors and creating jobs for women, both groups of whom she said were particularly hurt by COVID. And she said her number one priority is to restart the economy in Richmond Centre.

Chiu said his run for re-election may have been affected by “a lot of untruths and fabricated lies” in the Chinese media.

“That the Conservatives are anti-China and that Kenny Chiu was anti-Chinese,” he said.

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He vowed to continue to fight for issues important to Richmond residents, even if he doesn’t end up winning his seat.

“I will hold the government accountable,” he said.

Miao, who is listed online as a real estate agent and whose bio on his campaign website said he works in communications for a news outlet, didn’t return phone calls or texts requesting comment on Monday night.

Liberal candidate for Richmond Centre Wilson Miao.
Liberal candidate for Richmond Centre Wilson Miao. Photo by Liberal Party of Canada /PNG

Miao’s campaign website said he and would “promote Canadian values” and address the “rise in hate crimes” in Richmond. Miao also said he would support youth with their careers and the Liberals planned to eliminate all student loan interest.

Also running were the NDP’s Sandra Nixon, Green Party’s Laura Gillanders and James Hinton of the People’s Party of Canada.

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In Steveston-Richmond East, Chiu, who unseated Liberal incumbent Joe Peschisolido in 2019 in a close race separated only by 2,747 votes, was 2,000 votes behind Bains at press time Monday night.

Also running were Jack Trovato for the NDP, Francoise Raunet for the Greens and Jennifer Singh for the PPC.

Liberal candidate for Delta Carla Qualtrough.
Liberal candidate for Delta Carla Qualtrough. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/File

Meanwhile in Delta, Liberal Carla Qualtrough, incumbent MP and former cabinet minister, most recently the employment, workforce development and disability inclusion portfolio, had a 4,000 vote lead over the runner-up Conservative candidate, Garry Shearer, which means she is likely to be returned to Ottawa for a third term.

“I’m a little emotional right now,” said Qualtrough. “It’s been a tough year and a half for everybody. And I appreciate it (the win) so much.”

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She said even though the makeup of the House didn’t change much, “It was really important to put forth a post-pandemic vision for our country” and to finish the government’s recovery from the pandemic.

She said the issues such as the pandemic, the economic recovery and the proposed national child care program “weren’t on the table in 2019.”

She said even though the Liberals will continue to govern as a minority, “It (the election result) is a vote of confidence to get the country through the worst part of the crisis.”

Also running for the Delta seat were NDP’s Monika Dean, Jeremy Smith of the Green Party, PPC candidate Paul Tarasenko and Independent candidate Hong Yan Pan.

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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.

8Sep

Allow vaccine passport exemptions or face legal challenge, group warns B.C. government

by admin

VANCOUVER —
A Calgary-based legal foundation has threatened to take the B.C. government to court if officials refuse to allow medical and religious exemptions to the province’s COVID-19 vaccine passport system.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation, which previously supported a failed legal challenge of the province’s public health-care system, announced this week that it’s preparing litigation on behalf of individuals who will be temporarily excluded from non-essential activities such as dining in restaurants and going to the gym when the passport system takes effect later this month.

In an open letter sent to B.C. Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Attorney General David Eby on Tuesday, the group described the impact the system will have on unvaccinated individuals as “unwarranted and extreme.”

“The vaccine passport policy prevents people who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons or reasons of religion or conscience from participating in public life,” it reads. “A failure to create an exemption or accommodation for these individuals is a violation of their Section 15 Charter-protected right not to be discriminated against on the basis of disability or religion.”

The foundation, which is a registered charity in Canada and named as a partner of the U.S.-based Atlas Network, which supports hundreds of right-leaning think tanks around the world, also suggested the government should exempt everyone with a non-religious but “sincerely held” belief that prevents them from getting the vaccine.

It’s unclear how a passport system would function if those individuals were to exempted as well.

Christine Van Geyn, the group’s litigation director, told CTV News the foundation hasn’t decided what relief it will be seeking from the courts, and might request that the passport system be struck down entirely.

If the litigation does go forward, she said the CCF will likely be focusing on medical exemptions.

“Our preference is not to litigate. We would like to see the government make accommodations to people,” Van Geyn added, pointing to medical exemptions already being promised in other provinces. “If Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia can do it, why can’t B.C.?”

B.C. health officials have previously said there will be no exemptions to the proof-of-vaccination requirement, which is being phased in on Sept. 13 and expected to remain in place until the end of January. Officials hope that COVID-19 transmission, which surged over the summer as the highly contagious Delta variant spread across Canada, will be under control by then.

“This is a temporary measure that’s getting us through a risky period where we know people who are unvaccinated are at a greater risk, both of contracting and spreading this virus,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last month.

“Those rare people who have a medical reason why they can’t be immunized … they will not be able to attend those events during this period.”

While unveiling the details of the government’s plan on Tuesday, Henry stressed that grocery stores and essential services will remain available to everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated for any reason.

She also noted there will be some options for those who are temporarily impacted, such as ordering takeout from restaurants instead of dining in.

26Aug

B.C.’s vaccine passport will ‘ostracize’ people who can’t get the shot, says lawyer

by admin

VANCOUVER —
When the province announced B.C.’s new COVID-19 vaccine passport, Leigh Eliason was stunned.

“I’m sad. I’m sad for what this has become,” she said.

The 41-year-old Maple Ridge woman has complex health issues, including an autoimmune disease called neuro vestibular dysfunction. At its worst, she says, the illness left her bedridden for more than a year.

She’s doing much better now but says with no vaccine studies on people with her condition, she’s worried getting the COVID-19 shot could trigger severe symptoms.

“I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I’m pro-body autonomy and my choice for myself is I’m not comfortable,” she said.

Beginning Sept. 13, proof of vaccination will be required to go to restaurants, gyms, concerts and other ticketed events. There are no exceptions.

“These new measures will help reduce transmission and keep our communities safer,” Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer said on Monday.

But for Eliason, the changes mean she won’t be able to watch her daughter on stage.

“I’m devastated I’m going to miss seeing my daughter perform,” she said.

Human rights lawyers say they are hearing from many people who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons.

“The people that we’re hearing from at the Human Rights Clinic are people with allergies to components of the vaccine, maybe people who received a first dose and had a reaction to the shot and have been advised by their doctor not to get the second shot,” says Vancouver lawyer Laura Track.

Track says she expects the passport mandate to be challenged in court.

“Our human rights laws in Canada protect people from discrimination on the basis of both disability and religious grounds,” she said.

Her concerns are echoed by lawyer Christine Van Geyn of the Canadian Constitution Foundation.

“People who wish they could be vaccinated but can’t be are now sort of ostracized from society and I think that poses a very big constitutional problem,” Van Geyn said.

“There are reasons people can’t be vaccinated. They are rare but in a province the size of British Columbia, that amounts to a lot of people,” she explained.

Van Geyn says the province needs to create accommodations in the vaccine passport program for people who can’t be vaccinated because of a disability.

Eliason also hopes health officials will make exemptions.

“We’re losing empathy for one another. Everybody’s so angry,” said Eliason. “It’s going to cause a lot of division where we already have so much division.”

She says her daughters are both vaccinated but understand their mom’s decision.

25Aug

‘Significant’ increase in vaccine registrations and bookings over past 2 days: province

by admin

VANCOUVER —
The B.C. government says there has been a significant increase in vaccine registrations and bookings for first doses over the past two days, especially among those under age 40.

The surge comes the same week B.C.’s vaccine card program was announced. The program is set to take effect next month.

The government said proof of vaccination will be required for access to a variety of non-essential activities and events, including restaurant dining; going to a movie theatre, casino, or nightclub; working out at a gym or fitness centre; and attending indoor ticketed sporting events and concerts, as well as organized indoor weddings, parties, conferences, meetings, and workshops.

Proof of a first vaccine dose will be required by Sept. 13, and proof of full vaccination (seven days after the second dose) will be required by Oct. 24.

The province announced the program Monday, and said over the past two days, 12,904 people under 40 years old have registered for a vaccine, compared to 4,161 during the same period last week.

On Monday, there were 8,909 new registrations, a 174.8 per cent jump over last Monday.

The day following the vaccine card announcement, there were 10,175 new registrations, a 201.3 per cent increase over last Tuesday.

SFU health sciences professor Scott Lear said a similar response has been seen in other jurisdictions that have implemented vaccine passport systems.

“Probably earliest on in France, when they implemented it country-wide,” he said. “They saw their uptake in vaccination, first shots go up in the millions.”

He noted Quebec, which will also be introducing a vaccine passport next month, saw a jump as well.

“They reported after announcing it was going to go in place … that first shots doubled in the first 24 hours as compared to the 24 hours before,” he said. “The majority of people who aren’t vaccinated, they don’t hold strong vaccine-resistant views. A lot of them, it’s complacency and convenience.”

Lear said the vaccine card provides the type of “nudge” and a further incentive to get people vaccinated.

“We live in a society where we do have individual rights, but we also have rights of others,” he said. “And that’s kind of our social contract, in that yes, we can live a certain way, as long as it doesn’t infringe or harm others. And in this case, there’s a possibility of transmitting the virus. That’s a harm.”

Lear said it’s comparable to tobacco regulation, and wearing seatbelts.

“If someone’s smoking beside you, there’s a potential harm to you inhaling that smoke,” he said. “We do at times have to put limits to certain behaviours so that the greater population can function and be safe.”

He said he’d also like to see the proof of vaccination requirement extended to post-secondary classrooms. Right now, it will apply to student housing and other on-campus locations such as gyms and pubs.

“I’ve heard the public health officer say that vaccines shouldn’t stand in the way of education, and that tried to make it an equity type of argument,” he said. “Unless the province is not distributing vaccines to everybody, there’s no equity argument.”

He added there already are other barriers to higher education, including financing and accessibility.

VACCINE CARD FOR TRAVELLERS

The vaccine proof requirement will also apply to tourists visiting B.C. According to the province, those from within Canada must supply a vaccine record that’s “officially recognized” by their home province or territory, along with government ID. International visitors can display the proof they used to enter Canada, and their passport.

Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia chair Vivek Sharma said the group has been advocating for some kind of proof that people can produce for easing travel.

“So we’re completely behind this,” he said. “I think it’s the right thing to do.”

However, because not every province has a vaccine passport system, there are still questions about the different kinds of documentation.

“Clarity around how our inter-provincial guests will produce the proof, that’s the clarity that I think more businesses are looking for sooner than later,” Sharma said. “Yes, there’ll be some pinch points and some learning curves around it, but it’s a short-term pain for long-term gain.”

The province will be creating a website and a call centre so people can get their cards before Sept. 13.  

23Aug

No jab, no job? Experts weigh in on legality of vaccine mandates at private companies

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Once it was announced that vaccines will be mandatory for federal government employees, other levels of government and companies in the public and private sector followed suit.

Earlier this month, B.C. decided to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for workers in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities.

Canada’s largest banks said last week that they will also require employees working in their offices to be fully vaccinated.

Porter Airlines and financial conglomerate Sun Life made similar moves as well. Numerous municipal governments, universities and public services such as the Toronto Transit Commission have announced vaccine mandates in recent days.

But do employers have the right to impose such mandates? What if the employee is unwilling or unable to get vaccinated?

Employment lawyer Jon Pinkus told CTV News that until the federal or provincial government passes a law, many employers will likely be dealing with a high volume of disputes from employees.

“Employers are not obligated by law to have their employees vaccinated,” said Pinkus, a partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

“I would have thought there would have been laws passed by now. We are seeing some signals from the federal government and some companies that it will be mandatory, but we haven’t seen a law requiring vaccinations,” he added.

Pinkus said refusing a vaccine is unlikely to be cause for termination. If it gets to that point, it will be a risky move for businesses.

“There is certainly going to be a wrongful dismissal liability if they don’t pay severance, and there is also going to be some human rights exposure for doing that,” said Pinkus.

“Mandatory vaccinations sound really simple. It sounds like no jab, no job. Unfortunately, it’s not really that simple. It’s something employers will have to consider very carefully before rolling it out,” said Sara Forte with Forte Law.

Most larger companies that have it made vaccinations mandatory like Canada’s big banks have only made it a requirement for those returning to the office.

Forte said B.C.’s Human Rights Code would protect anyone who is physically unable to get immunized due to medical reason or religious beliefs.

“Our Human Rights Code here in B.C., which is what regulates most employers and employees in B.C., protects people on disability and people’s religious beliefs so that is already in place,” Forte explained.

“If you were to fire someone who was unable to get vaccinated, you’re looking at a human rights issue and that employee could take the case to the Human Rights Tribunal,” said Forte.

Employees who are unable to get the vaccine should have a right to accommodation, added Pinkus.

“It’s going to be very difficult for an employer to say, well we can’t have you work from home, even though you’ve been doing this for the last 18 months,” said Pinkus.

Human resources expert Debby Carreau said those types of accommodations such as continuing to work from home or rapid testing should be discussed with your employer.

“Instead of assuming the worst and having a conflict with your employer, try to have a conversation,” said Carreau.

“Help them understand the barriers that you’re facing. It may not be you not wanting to get vaccinated, there may be some real implications for you.”

As more companies implement vaccine mandates, HR and legal experts are advising businesses to closely watch for any changes and like all things in this pandemic, be prepared to pivot.

20Aug

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal dismisses complaint from woman denied service for not wearing a mask

by admin

VANCOUVER —
B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint from a woman who argued that a jewelry store discriminated against her by refusing to serve her when she declined to put on a face mask.

The complainant, Shera Rael, was refused service at Cartwright Jewelers in New Westminster on July 31, 2020, according to the decision issued Thursday by tribunal member Paul Singh.

In the decision, Singh writes that he had limited information on the complaint because Rael did not respond to the store’s application to dismiss it and “provided only minimal information in her complaint form.” 

On the form, Rael claimed she has a disability, which she described as “breathing issues and cannot wear a mask,” according to Singh’s decision.

Asked on the form how the alleged discrimination related to her disability, Rael wrote: “My human rights were denied. Mask wearing is not a law.”

In response to the complaint, the jewelry store’s owner Susan Cartwright-Coates acknowledged denying service to Rael, saying the store had implemented a mandatory mask policy to comply with public health orders and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The respondents acknowledge that people with disabilities have the right to be accommodated, which may mean exempting them from the requirement to wear a mask or finding other ways to accommodate their disability‐related needs,” Singh writes in his decision. “However, they say that Ms. Rael at no time advised them that she had a disability or otherwise needed accommodation.”

B.C.’s Human Rights Code requires the complainant to demonstrate “alleged facts” that, if proven to be true, could constitute discrimination under the code, according to Singh’s decision.

The tribunal member concluded that Rael’s complaint does not meet this test because she did not provide enough information on the nature of her alleged disability or the harm that came from the alleged discrimination.

“Any claim of disability discrimination arising from a requirement to wear a mask must begin by the complainant establishing they have a disability and explaining why it interferes with their ability to wear the mask,” Singh writes. “Ms. Rael’s mere assertion of ‘breathing issues,’ without more, is insufficient to establish a disability under the Code.”

Singh adds that, without telling the store that her reason for declining to wear a mask was disability-related, Rael couldn’t reasonably claim that the store should have accommodated her.

“While complainants are not required, for valid privacy reasons, to divulge detailed particulars of their disability when seeking accommodation, they should, at a minimum, inform a service provider that they require some form of disability‐related accommodation to trigger a service provider’s duty to accommodate,” Singh writes. 

17Aug

Vancouver’s airport ranked best in North America by customer surveys

by admin

VANCOUVER —
The Vancouver International Airport has been ranked as the best airport in North America.

The 2021 World Airport Award ranking, by Skytrax, came thanks to customer survey ratings.

The awards “are regarded as a quality benchmark for the world airport industry, assessing customer service and facilities,” according to the Skytrax website.

Surveys were completed by those using the airport between August 2020 and July 2021.

YVR was also awarded a COVID-19 distinction award, along with several other airports.

“The survey evaluates traveller experiences across different … performance indicators – from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration through to departure at the gate,” continues the SkyTrax award details page.

The survey included questions about ease of transit to the terminal, security wait times, luggage cart and taxi availability, staff friendliness, lounge availability and more.

This year’s survey also included questions related to COVID-19. Specifically, it asked about COVID-19 signage, enforcement of face masks, availability of hand sanitizer, enforcement of social distancing, and washroom cleanliness, among others.

Airports do not pay to be involved in the evaluation or award process, according to Skytrax, which first started giving out the awards in 1999. 

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