The River Forecasting Centre is advising caution around fast-moving rivers on the. Lower Mainland this week as part of a high streamflow advisory. The centre says heavy rain and warming temperatures are expected to melt snowpack at lower elevations, raising water levels by Wednesday. It says mild to significant flooding may occur, although it’s too soon to say where rainfall will be heaviest. It also warns that areas recovering from last year’s severe floods could be more vulnerable to damage due to conditions like erosion.
Students are heading back to school in British Columbia today after a one-week delay caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The province has warned there may be functional closures due to staff illness and that COVID-19 exposure notices will no longer be sent unless there are significant dips in attendance. The back-to-class plan also includes mandatory three-layer masking in indoor areas, staggered start and break times and measures to reduce crowding in common areas. Despite an ongoing fifth wave of infections, provincial health officer Doctor Bonnie Henry has said schools need to remain open for the emotional, physical and intellectual well-being of children.
Thousands of students at the B-C-I-T have signed a petition calling for the school to delay the return to in-class learning amid the rapid spread of Omicron. More than three-thousand people have signed the petition, which states students feel “extremely vulnerable attending school in person B-C-I-T says the school’s plan aligns with the province’s return-to-campus guidelines and includes measures like daily health self-assessments and wearing masks indoors. It goes on to say that accessing the facilities is critical to student success.
Fraser Health has announced three COVID-19 vaccine clinics are reopening daily in Surrey, in addition to the one currently operating on 66 Avenue. The booster clinics at Cloverdale Rec Centre, South Surrey Rec Centre and Surrey North (in the old Best Buy building near Central City Mall) have reopened to seven days a week. Fraser Health said the three additional clinics are to help with the booster dose rollout. There 18 clinics total throughout the health region, which provides for 1.8 million people.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be holding a conference call with the premiers this afternoon to discuss how to battle this latest phase of the pandemic. COVID-19 cases are threatening to overwhelm hospitals in Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick. Ontario is reporting 24-hundred and 67 COVID patients in hospitals, including 438 in intensive care.
B-C Ferries has issued a statement warning of potential service disruptions over the next few months due to a crew shortage caused in part by the Omicron variant of COVID-19. It says other factors include the flu season and a global shortage of mariners as well as the usual disruptions from severe weather. The company says it has a pool of staff in reserve and cross-trains crew members, but there will be times when it will have to change its service. It says inter-island routes may be hit the hardest but while service may be modified, no schedule is expected to be completely suspended.
British Columbia health officials announced on Monday, January 10 that there have been 6,966 new COVID-19 cases reported over the past three days, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 283,841. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 34,551 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, breaking last week’s record. Of the active cases, 431 individuals are currently hospitalized and 95 are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
New cases and total active cases are broken down by health region as follows:
- Fraser Health: 2,672 new cases, 15,491 total active cases
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 1,067 new cases, 9,996 total active cases
- Interior Health: 1,393 new cases, 4,102 total active cases
- Northern Health: 584 new cases, 1,139 total active cases
- Island Health: 1,249 new cases, 3,821 total active cases
- Outside of Canada: No new cases, two total active cases
According to the province, there have been seven new deaths reported in the past 72 hours, for a total of 2,446 COVID-19-related deaths in British Columbia.
The president of the B-C School Trustee Association says most schools are not reporting any increase in student absences as classes resumed today. Stephanie Higginson says most schools are posting average attendance levels on the first day back after a holiday break that was extended due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Higginson says the exception was some Interior schools that reported higher-than-average absentee rates — but districts will have a better sense of the impact Omicron is having on schools by the middle of this week. The province has said unusual dips in attendance will trigger a response from public health, which may include an investigation, the use of rapid tests or a temporary shift to how students learn.
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is causing some unexpected problems for Vancouver-based athletic apparel retailer Lululemon. The company says net revenue and earnings for the fourth quarter will be on the low end of previously announced ranges. It says fewer customers allowed in stores, fewer staff to serve them and cuts to operating hours have all carved into Lululemon’s bottom line. One equity analyst says the company has always smashed sales and earning expectations and one lacklustre quarter won’t have an effect — but Morningstar analyst David Swartz says experts will be watching closely because there is also a concern that Lululemon is overvalued.
R-C-M-P in Surrey are investigating what they say appears to be a fatal shooting. The body of an unnamed man was found last night in a home in the Newton neighbourhood. A statement from police says the victim might have been killed in a shooting in the home earlier in the day but it went unreported until the body was found yesterday evening. Detectives remained at the home through the night and have not yet said if they consider the case targeted or if any suspects have been identified.
A lot of big T-V shows are getting renewed this week. And the doctor is in — for a 19th season! A-B-C has renewed “Grey’s Anatomy” and star Ellen Pompeo will keep seeing patients. “Grey’s” is the network’s highest rated drama. Also getting a new season is “The Morning Show” on Apple T-V Plus, which will have a new Showrunner — Charlotte Stoudt, who worked on “House of Cards,” and “Homeland.” “Emily in Paris” will get a season three and four on Netflix.