A growing number of countries are making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for health care workers, and some are wondering why that’s not the case in Canada. France and Greece are two of the latest European countries to bring in rules that will ensure all health and long-term care workers are vaccinated, or otherwise face penalties. Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases expert out of Toronto General Hospital, took to social media on Monday night saying that the new rules in those two countries make sense. “You can’t put the most vulnerable at risk,” said Bogoch in a tweet “If you’ve signed up to care for people, you can’t also voluntarily serve as a COVID-vector.” B.C. has previously said it was considering a mandate, however, no such order has been given. On July 8, the province announced further easing of restrictions at long-term care facilities, saying masks will not be required for fully-vaccinated visitors, and that unvaccinated staff members will still have to wear masks.
A Surrey-based sawmill company l is stepping up to help the Village of Lytton and the Lytton First Nation after a wildfire all but destroyed those communities. The fire on June 30 spread rapidly through the area forcing about 1,000 people to flee their homes, and leaving two people dead. Jack Gardner with the Teal Jones Group says the company is donating half-million board feet of lumber, which is enough to rebuild about 50 homes. With mills located in the Fraser Valley and the Fraser Canyon, Gardner says the devastated communities are close to home for the company. Since the company announced the donation, Gardner says he’s been contacted by a trucking firm that wants to help with transport. Gardner says they don’t just plan to show up with a bunch of lumber — they want to make sure the donation is properly coordinated to support efforts to rebuild.
After hearing from West Beach business owners, White Rock council voted Monday (July 12) to stick to its commitment to end its one-way test of Marine Drive now that full indoor-dining capacity has been restored. Council voted 4-3 in favour of reopening the waterfront strip to two-way traffic no later than Aug. 7. The delay is due to the availability of the contractor to remove the barricades, which acting chief administrative officer Jim Gordon told council couldn’t begin until Aug. 3 at the earliest. Coun. Scott Kristjanson was among those opposed to ending the pilot, contending that council needed to respect its initial decision to embark on the one-way project until the end of September, and noting that businesses that choose to participate made “a large commitment” in doing so. Council also voted Monday – with Coun. David Chesney opposed – to conduct a survey of White Rock businesses and residents to collect data on the one-way experiment, for the use of a future council, should they choose to revisit it.
As wildfires across B.C. force thousands of people out of their homes, the province is urging people who aren’t being ordered to evacuate not to head to evacuation centers. That message is being echoed by the mayor of 100 Mile House, Mitch Campsall. While Campsall sympathizes with those who need to find other accommodation, he adds for communities already hosting evacuees, an influx of those not under an evacuation order could pose a capacity problem. The B.C. government is suggesting people plan their accommodations in advance, if possible, to help ensure there is space for evacuees who need hotel rooms if an evacuation order is issued.
As more people get vaccinated, there may be some barriers for Canadians when it comes to travelling. Some cruise lines already won’t accept international passengers who’ve mixed and matched COVID-19 vaccinations. Mixed vaccination protocols will not be accepted on Norwegian Cruise lines embarking or disembarking at U.S. ports. For Princess Cruise Lines, guests who have received one single dose of a AstraZeneca and one single dose of an mRNA vaccine (such as Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna) will not be considered fully vaccinated Sanjay Goel, president and founder of Cruise Connections Canada, expects the vaccine guidelines to evolve in the months to come. Canada’s cruise ship ban will end in November. Meanwhile, cruises resumed in the U.S last month for the first time since March 2020.
This is kind of awesome: Vancity is giving their employees a day off as a token of appreciation for their hard work throughout the pandemic. On Tuesday, July 20, all community branches will be closed so that employees can reset and recharge. Christine Bergeron, president and CEO of Vancity, says along with the day off, they try to ensure all employees have access to mental health supports as well. Bergeron says staff have gone above and beyond for customers without much downtime. She says Vancity is also trying to promote work-life balance while giving their staff a day off. While Bergeron says it’s a bit too soon to tell if this will be annual occurrence, she adds that services online will operate as normal.
The federal government is adjusting its COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy. Canada is approaching the point where enough doses will have arrived in the country to vaccinate every eligible person. Brigadier-General Krista Brodie says more than two-million doses of vaccine are already being held back because provinces have said they can’t use them yet. Surplus doses will be shipped to developing countries.
British Columbia health officials announced on Monday there have been 156 new test-positive COVID-19 cases since Friday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 148,487. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 653 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 49 individuals are currently hospitalized, 12 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. There were 56 cases between Friday and Saturday, 60 between Saturday and Sunday, and 40 between Sunday and Monday.
New cases, as well as total active cases, broken down by health region, are as follows:
- Fraser Health: 63 new cases, 166 total active cases
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 27 new cases, 246 total active cases
- Interior Health: 58 new cases, 179 total active cases
- Northern Health: Three new cases, 33 total active cases
- Island Health: Four new cases, 21 total active cases
- Outside of Canada: No new cases, eight total active cases
There were two new COVID-19-related deaths in the past 72 hours, for a total of 1,763 deaths in British Columbia. To date, 80.9% of all eligible people 12 and over have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In total, 5,896,392 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in BC, 2,447,323 of which are second doses. 146,062 people who tested positive have now recovered.
Green party Leader Annamie Paul is not going to face a non-confidence vote tomorrow after all. But she is expected to face reporters at a news conference later today. Two party sources say a party membership review that would have suspended Paul’s membership has also been cancelled. No reasons have been given.
Police are looking for witnesses after a man was shot outside a Surrey pub early Monday morning. Surrey RCMP say officers found the victim under the Pattullo Bridge at about 1:15 a.m. He was taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries, police say. Surrey RCMP Serious Crime Unit is seeking witnesses to a shooting which occurred outside of a pub in Whalley. Police say they believe the man was shot near the Brownsville Pub in the 11900-block of Old Yale Road and they are asking for witnesses or anyone with dash-cam video to contact Surrey RCMP. Police say they believe this is a targeted incident and that the victim is known to police.
The BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is offering half-price adoptions to free up space for animals affected by wildfires. During the promotion, which runs from July 20 to 30, the organization will offer 50% off the adoption fees of companion animals, including dogs, cats, and rabbits. “Our goal is to create capacity for as many animals needing free temporary shelter as possible, while at the same time finding wonderful homes for the animals currently in our care,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communications for the BC SPCA. “We encourage anyone who has been thinking about adopting a pet to take advantage of this promotion. You will not only be providing a loving home for a deserving animal in our care, but it will also help the BC SPCA’s emergency response for animals in crisis.” Since wildfires broke out across the province last month, the BC SPCA has provided free emergency boarding for more than 80 animals in its shelters.