Updated: Tuesday, February 9, 2021 – 12:30 pm
[NOTE: effective February 9, 2021, BCCPA will be putting these daily news scans on-hold indefinitely. We hope you have found these informative and useful, thank you]
What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Feb. 9
- Tuesday’s update is expected in a written statement around 3 p.m. PT.
- As of Monday, there are 234 patients in hospital with COVID-19, including 69 in intensive care.
- In all, there are 3,976 active cases in the province.
- A total of 1,259 people have died out of 70,952 confirmed cases in B.C.
- 154,496 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 12,111 second doses.
- 25 cases of the variant first found in the U.K. and 15 of the variant reported in South Africa have been confirmed in B.C.
- The current restrictions on social gatherings have been extended indefinitely.
Joint statement on B.C.’s COVID-19 response, latest updates (Monday, February 8, 2021 4:55 PM)
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the COVID-19 response in British Columbia: “Today, we are reporting on three periods. From Feb. 5 to 6, we had 428 new cases. From Feb. 6 to 7, we had 465 new cases and in the last 24-hours, we had a further 343 new cases. “This results in a total of 1,236 new cases, including five epi-linked cases, for a total of 70,952 cases in British Columbia. “There are 3,976 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 234 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 69 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. “We have two new health-care facility outbreaks at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Dawson Creek and District Hospital. The outbreaks at Evergreen Baptist Care Society, Hilltop House, The Madison Care Centre, Suncreek Village, St. Michael’s Centre, Mount St. Joseph’s Hospital, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital are now over.
B.C. tops 70,000 cases of COVID-19 after identifying 1,236 infections over the weekend
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 British Columbia recorded another 1,236 cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, pushing the provincial total past 70,000. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced 13 more deaths related to the disease at her coronavirus briefing on Monday. “Our condolences go out to those families and caregivers and communities that have lost loved ones again this weekend,” Henry said. For further info click here.
Mass COVID-19 vaccinations to begin in B.C. in March, health officials say
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CBC News article more COVID-19 vaccines are on the way to B.C., Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Monday, as she reported that health officials have confirmed another 1,236 cases of COVID-19 over the last three days and 13 more deaths. There are now 234 people in hospital with the disease, including 69 in intensive care, out of 3,976 active cases across the province. Henry provided an update on B.C.’s vaccination program, which has been delayed by a lack of supply from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. She said fresh doses are now on their way again, and the province is on track to begin mass immunization clinics in March. The first in line for the shot will be people over the age of 80, who will be receiving information in the weeks ahead on when and how to get their vaccinations. For further information click here.
Some B.C. seniors may receive vaccine clinic instructions within days
Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Abbotsford Regional Hospital
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 Abbotsford News article Fraser Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on Monday evening (Feb. 8). Two patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus so far, with evidence of transmission in a medicine unit, Fraser Health said. The outbreak is limited to the one unit, which has been temporarily closed to admissions, according to Fraser Health. The hospital and emergency department remain fully operational. All patients on the unit, and families of patients who are unable to communicate, have been informed of the outbreak, Fraser Health said. The hospital is working with essential visitors to the affected unit on a case-by-case basis. The health authority said they continue to implement precautions such as enhanced cleaning and contact tracing to protect the health of all staff, medical staff, and patients. For further info click here.
More clarity needed for care-home visits: ombudsperson
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 Times Colonist news article a provincial health order that essentially requires all long-term care homes across B.C. to grant residents the option of having an essential visitor and a social visitor is in place, but B.C.’s ombudsperson thinks it should go further. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke said Monday he welcomes the provincial health officer’s order Friday that legally requires all long-term care homes to consistently apply the visitor policy issued last month by the Health Ministry. But Chalk wants concerns about the appeals and communication process to be addressed. He called for mandatory timelines for decisions made by facility staff on requests for visits as well as for each stage of an appeals process. Care homes should also provide written reasons when visits are denied or restricted, he said. “When the stakes are high, we expect to see high standards of fairness and high standards of fairness, as a minimum, require a clear process, and if someone’s been unsuccessful, clear reasons as to why they’ve been unsuccessful in their application,” Chalke said in an interview. For further info click here.
B.C. ombudsperson calls for fair, consistent policy on long-term care visits
Clinical trial of COVID-19 drug for severe cases to be carried out at Surrey hospital
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 BC Local News article British Columbia will begin a clinical trial on a COVID-19 drug therapy approved by Health Canada on an emergency basis for patients who are at risk of being hospitalized with severe illness. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday the trial on the drug bamlanivimab, which has been studied elsewhere, is expected to get underway by the beginning of March. “The clinicians here in B.C. felt they had to better understand who it works best in,” she said. The drug would be given to patients within a certain time period after diagnosis, involving a one-hour infusion and two hours of observation. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the trial will be done at Surrey Memorial Hospital with the help of a $1-million donation from a biotech company in B.C. For further information click here.
B.C. health authority isn’t effectively managing cybersecurity threat on medical devices: audit
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CBC News article B.C.’s auditor general says the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is not effectively managing cybersecurity threats for medical devices and has not evaluated the risk to patients. Michael Pickup said ineffective cybersecurity management means the authority can’t apply proper security controls to its systems and devices, and may not be able to detect cyberattacks. The audit covered more 18,000 devices in the Lower Mainland, ranging from infusion pumps to MRI systems, and the systems supporting their operation. He recommended the authority evaluate cybersecurity threats and the potential harm to patients, and take action to protect systems, devices and patients. For further info click here.
BC Unions Representing Frontline Workers Were Not Consulted for Report on COVID-19 and Long-Term Care
Canada sees 2,967 new coronavirus infections as total cases top 808K
As outlined in a February 8, 2021 Global News article Canada is reporting 2,967 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 808,124. Sixty-two more fatalities means that to date, Canada has seen 20,835 deaths associated with COVID-19. However, 745,404 people have recovered after contracting the disease, and 22.9 million tests to identify the virus have been conducted. In a series of tweets Monday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam warned of the new, more transmissible coronavirus variants that are “gaining ground” in Canada. For further info click here.
ILTCPN: The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines in care homes in Canada, 9th February update
Health Canada in ‘final stages’ of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine review
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CTV News article Health Canada is in its “final stages” of reviewing the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine candidate, according to the agency’s senior medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma. On Tuesday during a technical briefing, Sharma said that Health Canada is currently going back and forth with the pharmaceutical company about what information the label will include. “That’s what we’re in the process of doing right now,” she said, adding that this process can take “some time” before finalizing the review, which has been conducted in collaboration with the European Medicines Agency. For further info click here.
Health Canada says Pfizer’s vaccine vials can be stretched to 6 doses
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 after an independent regulatory review, Health Canada has agreed with a request from Pfizer to recognize that each vial of the company’s vaccine includes six doses, not five. The labelling change means that more shots can be squeezed out of each vial — and the company can ship fewer vials and still meet its contractual obligations to send a certain number of doses to its customers. While some provinces — notably Saskatchewan and Quebec — have succeeded in extracting more from each vial, Health Canada had been saying up to now that the vials are only good for five doses. Health Canada and other international regulators require vials to include a certain amount of overfill to ensure there is sufficient vaccine in each vial to yield the expected doses. For further information click here.
Pfizer Vaccine Contains More Doses Than Previously Thought: Health Canada
‘It’s devastating’ disabled people not prioritized in vaccine rollout, advocates say
Training personal support workers to cost $38.5 million over two years: PBO
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CTV News article as the government moves to train 4,000 new personal support workers across the country, Parliament’s budget watchdog estimates it will cost $38.5 million over two years. A costing note from the parliamentary budget office Tuesday says the federal government proposes to fund a six-week accelerated online program and four-month internship. Parts of the country have faced dire staffing shortages in long-term care homes, where COVID-19 outbreaks have strained resources and caused thousands of deaths. For further information click here.
New federal personal support worker training to cost $33.5 million: PBO
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 iPolitics.ca news article a federal initiative to train 4,000 new personal support workers to help address an acute labour shortage in long-term care and home care facilities will cost $33.5-million, says a new costing note from the parliamentary budget officer (PBO). The estimated cost, spread over the current and following two fiscal years, is $5 million below the $38.5-million Ottawa earmarked over two years for the program in the fall economic statement. Trainees will go through a six-week accelerated online program and an accompanying four-month work placement program at no cost to the trainee. Ottawa would cover the cost of the online course and a wage subsidy rate of $7.50 per hour for internship participants, who are expected to work 40-hours per week for the four-month duration of the internship. For further info click here.
Negative COVID-19 test will soon be required at land border: Trudeau
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CBC News article non-essential travellers entering Canada through the land border will soon need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today. “As of February 15th, when you return to Canada through a land border, you’ll need to show a 72-hour PCR test, just like air travel,” Trudeau said today during his regular morning media briefing outside Rideau Cottage. The prime minister said border officers can’t legally deny entry to Canadians, but those who show up without proof of a test could face fines of up to $3,000. For further info click here.
Feds to require negative COVID-19 test for those entering Canada at land borders
Early evidence suggests vaccines halting COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes
Erin O’Toole rejects national standards for long-term care
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 Niagara Falls Review article Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is rejecting the idea of imposing national standards on long-term-care homes as provinces struggle to address the industry’s crisis. O’Toole said the “Ottawa knows best” approach is the wrong one for dealing with the crisis in long-term care, which dates back decades but has been laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I think we have to partner with the provinces,” O’Toole told the Star’s editorial board on Monday. “And so specifically in areas of provincial competency and provincial jurisdiction, you can’t have a top-down mandatory approach. That’s not collaborative federalism.” While the regulation of long-term care falls under provincial jurisdiction, the COVID-19 crisis has once again raised questions about provincial competency. After the pandemic drew attention to the horrific conditions some Canadian seniors were living in, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government proposed a set of national standards for long-term-care homes. For further information click here.
Ontario reports 1,022 new COVID-19 cases — the fewest since early November
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CBC News article Ontario reported another 1,022 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the fewest on a single day (without data problems) since early November. Officially, the province logged just 745 additional infections on Feb. 2 —but that figure included no cases from Toronto Public Health due to a major data migration. The new cases today include 343 in Toronto, 250 in Peel Region and 128 in York Region. They come one day after Premier Doug Ford announced his government’s plan to begin transitioning regions out of lockdown. For further info click here.
Ontario reports just over 1,000 new cases of COVID-19, marking drop not seen in months
Northern Ontario PSW infected with COVID-19 speaks out
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CTV News article the difficulties continue for the Extendicare nursing home in Kapuskasing, where dozens of people have been infected with COVID-19 and 13 people have died as a result. Melanie Lebrun is a personal support worker (PSW) that works at the long-term care home who tested positive for the disease and is in quarantine to protect her family. Lebrun has been staying at a motel since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared at the facility saying she didn’t want to risk exposing her family. For further info click here.
Caressant Care Nursing Home COVID-19 outbreak declared over
Ontario NDP Calls For Investigation Into Vaccine Line-Jumping
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 Huffington Post news article the Ontario NDP is calling for an investigation into allegations that COVID-19 vaccines are going into the wrong arms while Canada grapples with a shortage. “The limited supply of vaccines Ontario has received to date is jarring; what is even more concerning is the possibility that individuals are jumping the queue and using vaccine for themselves, instead of the seniors who desperately need them,” NDP deputy leader and long-term care critic Sara Singh wrote in a letter Monday to Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, the official in charge of Ontario’s vaccination program. For further info click here.
Ontario Supporting COVID-19 Response in High Priority Communities
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 news release the Ontario government continues to implement its High Priority Communities Strategy to provide targeted supports to 15 communities hardest hit by COVID-19. As part of the strategy, the province is providing $12.5 million to local lead agencies to work in partnership with Ontario Health, public health units, municipalities, and other community partners to help high risk neighbourhoods contain the spread of the virus and access services to better protect individuals and families. “We know that COVID-19 has impacted some communities much worse than others due to some of the barriers to accessing critical services,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This strategy starts to break down these barriers by offering people assistance in a variety of languages to ensure these communities know where to get PPE, get tested or isolate safely away from loved ones.” For further info click here.
Quebec reports lowest daily COVID-19 cases in weeks, non-essential stores reopen
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 Global News article Quebec reported its lowest daily infection count in weeks on Monday as non-essential retail stores, personal-care salons and museums reopened across the province following a strict lockdown. In six, less populated regions, including the Gaspe peninsula and the Saguenay area north of Quebec City, gyms and in-person dining were also permitted to reopen. Quebec reported 853 new cases of COVID-19 and 17 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including two that occurred in the past 24 hours. Hospitalizations rose by six, to 969, and 160 people were in intensive care, an increase of two. For further info click here.
N95 face masks mandatory for Quebec health workers in COVID-19 hot zones
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 Montreal Gazette news article beginning Thursday, it will be mandatory for health-care workers deployed in any COVID-19 “hot zone” in Quebec to wear an N95 face mask or equipment that offers even superior protection. Quebec’s work health safety board (CNESST) announced Tuesday that the regulation was based on a new scientific understanding of the coronavirus gleaned over the course of the pandemic, including the increased transmission threat posed by its variants. Use of the equipment will be mandatory in all Quebec hospitals, clinics, family medicine groups, external clinics, rehabilitation centres, long-term care centres, seniors residences and similar residences. For further info click here.
Quebec hot zones: N95 masks to be mandatory starting Thursday for health-care workers
‘Planning for dropouts’: Drugmakers grapple with testing unproven vaccines on seniors
269 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta on Monday as province takes first step to reopen
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CTV News article Alberta announced 269 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, including 25 more cases of the variant strain first identified in the United Kingdom. The positives were found in some 6,200 tests conducted by labs on Sunday, leaving the province with a positivity rate of 4.3 per cent. Alberta’s reproductive (R) value sits at 0.87. For further info click here.
‘The public didn’t know’: Why some frail seniors weren’t in Alberta’s first vaccine rollout — Groundwork
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 Edmonton Journal news article it’s a one-word difference — licensed versus designated — but it’s meant the difference between the relief of a vaccination campaign and being stuck in the same mind-numbing isolation and anxiety that care homes have been dealing with for months. The COVID-19 vaccine has gone to what are called designated supportive living facilities, not licensed supportive living. And since supply has virtually dried up, that’s a really big deal. Seniors and families of frail older adults have been writing in to the Edmonton Journal‘s Groundwork project, saying they’ve felt lied to, like “second-class citizens,” because reports claiming all seniors’ homes got the vaccine are simply untrue. Only that never was the government’s claim. It just sounded like it. For further info click here.
Alberta announces further expansion of COVID-19 rapid testing
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CBC News article Alberta is expanding its rapid testing program for COVID-19 to staff at all long-term care and supportive living facilities in the province even if they have no symptoms. Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the province has also provided 7,000 rapid test kits for a pilot project at Suncor’s base plant in Fort McMurray and Fort McKay. About 325 workers will be tested twice a week for 10 weeks. In December, Alberta expanded rapid testing to long-term care facilities, urban homeless shelters and 25 rural hospitals after trying the technology out on a limited scale at the Calgary Drop-In Centre and an isolation facility in Edmonton. Rapid tests can deliver results in 20 minutes, unlike the standard polymerase chain-reaction (PCR) test, which can take hours or days. For further info click here.
Province expands rapid testing in continuing care homes
Alberta expands COVID-19 rapid testing, will screen asymptomatic care workers
Manitoba reports 3 additional coronavirus deaths, 75 new cases
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 Global News article as Manitoba moves to loosen COVID-19 restrictions later this week, health officials say another three Mantiobans with the virus have died and 75 more infections have been identified across the province. Tuesday’s new cases include 51 infections in the Winnipeg Health region, five cases in the Southern Health region, zero cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region, 16 cases in the Northern Health region, and three cases in the Interlake-Eastern Health region. For further info click here.
Manitoba detects COVID-19 variant first recorded in U.K
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CTV News article Manitoba is reporting its first case of a COVID-19 variant in the province. During a news conference on Tuesday announcing changes to the province’s public health orders, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, confirmed the B-117 variant, also known as the U.K. variant, was discovered in Manitoba following a COVID-19 test. Roussin said the case was related to international travel, and the patient has since recovered. For further info click here.
5 COVID-19 related deaths, 80 new cases reported in Sask.
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CTV News article Saskatchewan reported five more residents who tested positive for COVID-19 have died, in addition 80 new cases. Saskatchewan is preparing to announce details on Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccination plan on Tuesday. Premier Scott Moe made that announcement on Monday at the Municipalities of Saskatchewan’s annual convention, which is being hosted virtually this year due to the pandemic. For further info click here.
Father spent two days on floor after fall says family suing N.S. home-care company
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 CBC News article a Nova Scotia family suing a home-care company for missing two scheduled visits with their father say they were shocked to learn the company says the man’s adult children are partially to blame for what happened to him when he fell in his home. Stephen Slaunwhite said he believes his dad, John — then 84 — was on the floor for nearly two days after a fall at his home in Terence Bay, N.S., a rural community just outside Halifax, “He was very weak, barely conscious, very confused, he had blood around his mouth,” said Slaunwhite, who discovered his dad on the floor in September 2019 after getting a call from a neighbour saying the home’s blinds were closed all weekend. For further info click here.
Nova Scotia reports 1 new COVID-19 case Tuesday
N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 15 new cases, fourth variant case and another death
Online booking for vaccines on P.E.I. could come next week
Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and the world on Tuesday
- ‘Circuit-breaker’ restrictions coming to St. John’s region after N.L. reports 30 new cases.
- Health Canada says extra doses from Pfizer’s vaccine vials can be used.
- Negative COVID-19 test will soon be required at land border, Trudeau says.
- Ontario reports 1,022 new COVID-19 cases, the fewest since early November.
- U.S. joins WHO program aimed at boosting COVID-19 fight.
- WHO says coronavirus unlikely to have leaked from Chinese lab.
- Travellers arriving in England will face fines, even prison for breaking hotel quarantine rules.
WHO says coronavirus unlikely to have leaked from Chinese lab
Roll-out of Sars-CoV-2 vaccination in Germany: how it started, how it is going
COVID‐19 and dementia: Analyses of risk, disparity, and outcomes from electronic health records in the US
Covid-19 Live Updates: U.S. Cases Under 100,000 for Second Straight Day
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 Wall Street Journal article coronavirus pandemic mostly likely began with the virus spilling over naturally from an animal into humans, and not from a leak at a lab, a World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the pathogen said at the end of a four-week mission in China. The news comes as confirmed Covid-19 cases world-wide top 106.6 million and countries around the globe contend with new variants even as infections ease in some hard-hit places. The U.S. reported fewer than 100,000 new cases for the second day in a row Monday, and hospitalizations continued to fall, as data showed that in several states, more than 10% of residents have received an initial dose of Covid-19 vaccines. In Europe, governments are mulling how far and how soon to ease restrictions as the number of new infections continues to decline. For further info click here.
Nursing home workers, caregivers call for increased staffing requirements, protections
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 McKnight’s LTC news article long-term care workers in Pennsylvania are seeking significant reform of the state’s nursing home regulations, demanding higher minimum staffing requirements in the wake of COVID-19. Members of SEIU Healthcare PA on Monday called on state leaders to consider changes to several nursing home regulations, including staffing requirements, local media outlets reported. The group wants minimum staffing requirements to increase from a current 2.7 hours of care per-day, per-resident to 4.1 hours of care per-day. Longtime long-term care nurse Tina Siegel said Monday residents suffer “when there isn’t enough staff.” “We’re on the front lines, we see it every day,” Siegel said during a news conference. “We’re the ones who see safe staffing affects our residents.” Provider groups in the past have typically opposed minimum staffing requirements and have cited a need for more government funding to hire more qualified workers to meet any new requirements. For further info click here.
Average salary for LTC execs rises nearly 3%
COVID-19, in some respects, made senior living more appealing: survey
Vaccine Hesitancy vs. Vaccine Refusal: Nursing Home Staffers Say There’s a Difference
As outlined in a February 9, 2021 KHN News article it had been months since Tremellia Hobbs had an excuse to bring out the pompoms. Before the pandemic, they were a crowd favorite at movie nights and bingo tournaments that Hobbs organized as activities director at the Brian Center Health & Retirement/Cabarrus nursing home. On Jan. 14, she finally had a reason. After nearly a year of living with pandemic restrictions and a summer outbreak that killed 10 residents and infected 30 staff members, the nursing home was hosting its first covid-19 vaccine clinic. For further info click here.
What Nursing Home Operators, Home Health Providers Are Saying About SNF-to-Home Diversion
Community Health Workers, Often Overlooked, Bring Trust to the Pandemic Fight