Hundreds have been rushing out to drop-in vaccine clinics in Surrey this week. Partway through the day on Tuesday, Fraser Health announced three drop-in clinics in the health region, with two in Surrey (Whalley and Cloverdale) and one in Coquitlam. However, a pop-up vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park, that was ongoing throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, wasn’t mentioned in Fraser Health’s announcement. People reportedly waited in lines for hours, even overnight to get the vaccines and many were turned away once supply ran out. The province has announced more pop-up clinics administering AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged 30 and above, who must register first at the provinces Get Vaccinated website. People can also confirm if they live in a high-transmission region by entering their postal code at the new high-transmission neighbourhood website here that identifies all the new clinics. Targeted neighbourhoods include East Newton, West Newton, North Surrey, Whalley, Fleetwood and Panorama, as well as North Delta, South Langley Township, West Abbotsford and Port Coquitlam.

 

Workers in British Columbia can receive up to three hours of paid leave in order to get a COVID-19 vaccination. A statement from the Ministry of Labour says amendments to the Employment Standards Act are now in effect, retroactive to April 19. The employer-paid leave covers full-time and part-time workers and the ministry says it ensures no employee will lose pay for taking time off to get vaccinated. The three-hour leave is part of B.C.’s immunization plan and the statement says it helps make the vaccination process as easy as possible. The legislation improves on changes enacted April 1 that provide unpaid leave for pandemic-related vaccinations, which could include a worker accompanying a family member for a shot, or if the worker needs more time to get to an assigned vaccination facility.

 

A power engineer in Vancouver says he fears getting COVID-19 or being exposed to the illness because he couldn’t support his family if he had to quarantine for two weeks without paid sick leave.
Avtar Badesha (bah-DESH’-ah) says he’s counting on the B-C government to create a sick-leave program that would protect workers and their employers that must shut down if three or more people contract COVID-19. Labour Minister Harry Bains says B-C is trying to come up with a plan that would strike a balance between the needs of workers and employers that shouldn’t be expected to carry the entire financial burden of paid sick leave. He says the province is partnering with WorkSafe-BC to go beyond the temporary federal program that would pay workers 450 dollars a week after taxes, which is below B-C’s minimum wage.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in B-C has ticked up to 515, breaking a previous record set last week. Among those hospitalized, 171 people are in intensive care. Five more people have died after contracting the illness, pushing the death toll in the province to one-thousand-576. The number of active infections was down to just over eight thousand as health officials reported 841 new cases.

 

It’s an idea one Vancouver City Councillor believes could help restaurants, the arts, and pedestrians; Close the Granville Strip to traffic this summer. Councillor Sarah Kirby Yung says she’s pitching a pilot project for this summer to turn the area, south of Robson, into a large, open-air pedestrian space, with room for patios, and potential performances from artists. She says, like the restaurant industry, the pandemic has hit the arts sector very hard. If the pilot project is approved, and if it goes well, Kirby-Yung believes the idea could be expanded. She says the City would need support from TransLink so buses could be rerouted. The proposal is expected to come before the council table the week of May 18.

 

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ensure every adult has access to a vaccine against COVID-19 by the May long weekend. He says Canada should push hard to get surplus doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that U-S President Joe Biden has promised to give away. O’Toole says more vaccines are needed for Canada to catch up to

places like the U-S in moving past the health and economic crisis. Trudeau has said every adult who wants a vaccine will be able to access one by September.

Vancouver is one ‘significant’ step closer to hosting the Canadian round of the Formula E World Championship after city council approved the motion at its meeting Wednesday night. The race only uses battery-powered electric racing cars zooming around the track which would likely go in the False Creek area in the summer of 2022. But Councillor Michael Wiebe says, it would be more than just a race, including a Science World Exhibit, and a two-day conference looking at electric tech. “[This is] a huge opportunity for us coming out of COVID to have a really interesting event that’s going to be multifaceted with concerts and conventions, Organizers project the three-day event bring in upwards of $80 million and 3,000 jobs through 195 suppliers, of which would be 90 per cent local.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in B-C has ticked up to 515, breaking a previous record set last week. Among those hospitalized, 171 people are in intensive care. Five more people have died after contracting the illness, pushing the death toll in the province to one-thousand-576. The number of active infections was down to just over eight thousand as health officials reported 841 new cases.

 

One Surrey couple is celebrating after winning $25,000 in a recent 6/49 lottery draw. Dalbir and Gurpreet Grewal scored one of 20 additional prizes announced Feb. 13. They bought the winning ticket at the Walmart store on 88th Avenue, and Dalbir later stopped at a gas station to check it. “I checked it on the self checker and had to check it a few times because I just couldn’t believe it,” she said in a BCLC news release. Upon returning home, Dalbir asked Gurpreet to help her confirm it was indeed a winning ticket. “When I found out it was a winner I was in disbelief,” added Dalbir. The couple has no immediate plans for the prize money, but say the win came at a great time. “We haven’t won anything this large before, so it’s nice to be a winner,” Gurpreet said. “I buy because it’s nice to dream.” Added Dalbir: “Any win is a good win.”

 

Police in Delta say they worked with other police departments to recover two trucks and two trailers stolen from different locations last Monday. They say police traced two trucks and one of the trailers to Langley the next day, and the remaining trailer was later found in Abbotsford. They say the last trailer was full of appliances worth about 280-thousand dollars, all of which police were able to recover — except a single microwave. Police say it seemed an attempt had been made at the Abbotsford property to hide a suspicious amount of large boxes.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says hospitals in hard-hit regions are feeling the strain from COVID-19 infections with a record number of people in intensive care. There are 853 more cases of COVID-19 today and one new death, bringing the total in the province to one-thousand-577. Henry also announced that 508 people are in hospital, including 178 people in an ICU. She says the province is expecting increased vaccine shipments in the coming weeks, but B-C is in a tug-of-war with COVID-19 — and people need to hold the line by following public health orders

UPDATE: Fraser Health says it is no longer planning any pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics in hot-spot neighbourhoods after chaos and disappointment this week. Hundreds of people were turned away at two clinics in Surrey yesterday and Tuesday and people lining up today were told the clinics weren’t running. C-E-O Victoria Lee says the health authority recognizes there could have been better strategies to manage the lines as well as better communications. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry apologized for the miscommunications and confusion.

 

BC’s housing minister says moving from camp to camp is not a long-term solution for campers ordered to leave Vancouver’s Strathcona Park by tomorrow morning. David Eby says more than 200 people have already been moved to indoor housing from the park. Eby says there will be “difficult” conversations with those who do not want to move into more traditional housing. But he says he expects to house the remaining campers by the end of the week.