Officials say the number of hospitalizations and health facility outbreaks is falling in B-C. They say the province recorded 988 people in hospital yesterday, with 136 of those in intensive care. Provincial health officer Doctor Bonnie Henry said this week hospitalizations appear to have peaked after case counts began to fall a few weeks ago. A statement from the Health Ministry says another 18 people have died, pushing the COVID-19 death toll to two-thousand, 643.
The Conservative Party of Canada is preparing to launch its third leadership race in five years. Manitoba M-P Candice Bergen has been chosen by her colleagues to be the party’s interim leader after M-Ps voted yesterday to give Erin O’Toole the boot. Bergen faces a divided caucus still ruffled by the party’s election loss to the Liberals last year. In a farewell video, O’Toole said his year-and-a-half-long tenure at the divided party’s helm is over, but will keep his seat as M-P. Tory finance critic Pierre Poilievre is considered by some pundits as a strong contender for leader, should he decide to run.
Ottawa’s police chief has said all options are on the table, including calling in the military, to end the ongoing truckers’ demonstration that some city councillors are now calling an “occupation.” Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson took to Twitter yesterday to complain about a photo that some Saskatchewan Conservative M-Ps and a senator took alongside a protest truck near Parliament Hill. Watson called the photo an “absolute disgrace,” saying downtown residents have been harassed by protesters camped out protesting COVID restrictions, and businesses have been forced to close for nearly a week.
The Surrey Police Service expects to deploy 175 more officers in 2022, bringing the total to 225 by the end of the year. They will be under the command of the Surrey RCMP, which the SPS is designed to eventually replace. Chief Const. Norm Lipinski, officer in charge of the SPS, says the force “continues to grow and make great progress towards the policing transition with the ongoing support of the three levels of government.
A Russian military jet carrying nearly 300 dogs and cats rescued from Afghanistan touched down at Vancouver International Airport Tuesday night. The animals were left stranded after their owners fled the country following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. Many of the animals will be reunited with their owners, while the rest will be kept at 17-thousand square-foot, new renovated facility in the south terminal at Y-V-R and will soon be up for adoption.
British Columbia health officials announced today that there have been 1,518 new COVID-19 cases reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 329,143. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 25,554 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 985 (-3) COVID-positive people are currently hospitalized, and 145 (+9) 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: 424 new cases, 10,057 total active cases
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 217 new cases, 5,024 total active cases
- Interior Health: 431 new cases, 7,759 total active cases
- Northern Health: 227 new cases, 1,153 total active cases
- Island Health: 217 new cases, 1,544 total active cases
- Outside of Canada: Two new cases, 17 total active cases
There have been 13 new COVID-19-related deaths in British Columbia, for a total of 2,656 deaths in the province.
The country’s leading physician says nearly 85 per cent of the total population — 89 per cent of those eligible — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Theresa Tam says 80 per cent of all Canadians have all their shots. Ontario’s chief medical health officer is telling people to remain cautious, even as the province begins to ease health orders. Restaurants, gyms and cinemas, along with other venues, were allowed to reopen to half capacity earlier this week in Ontario. Dr. Kieran Moore says vaccines give good protection against severe outcomes.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a military response to the ongoing Ottawa protest against COVID-19 measures isn’t on the table at the moment. He says there were questions a few years ago regarding using the military to end other protests that were blocking critical infrastructure. Trudeau adds there has been no request made to the federal government for military intervention.
Some clinical counsellors are prescribing a Parks Canada pass for anxiety. And some clients say they are pleasantly surprised that getting out in nature was considered a form of therapy that you don’t have to pay for. The passes are being offered by Parks Canada through its partnership with the British Columbia Parks Foundation. They allow health-care providers and therapists who have registered for the program to “prescribe” nature to patients dealing with both physical and mental health challenges. The foundation launched a program called Park Prescriptions in B-C in November 2020 and expanded it last year to Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
B-C Liberals are set to begin voting for a new leader today. The party is voting to replace Andrew Wilkinson, who resigned as leader following the party’s defeat in the 2020 provincial election. There are seven candidates running for the leadership, including legislature members Michael Lee, Ellis Ross and Renee Merrifield. Meanwhile, party member Vikram Bajwa has asked the B-C Supreme Court in a petition to delay the scheduled release of the leadership results on Saturday for 15 days while the party provides details of a membership audit it conducted.