B-C says there were six new COVID-19 deaths yesterday, bringing the pandemic-related death toll to two-thousand-455. The province is reporting two-thousand-859 new cases of COVID-19. Officials say 500 people are in hospital, including 102 in intensive care. There are a total of 49 active outbreaks in health-care and long-term care facilities in B-C.
Delta has become the first and only school district in Metro Vancouver to move forward with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for staff. B.C. has not mandated immunization for staff province-wide, instead leaving the decision up to individual districts. Staff will have six weeks, starting on Jan.17, to disclose their vaccination status. Those who do not disclose, or have not been vaccinated will have to undergo daily rapid testing or take an unpaid leave of absence.
The federal government has shifted gears and is reversing its plan to require Canadian cross-border truck drivers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Instead, the new rule that was set to take effect on Saturday will only apply to American truckers, who will be turned away at the border unless they’ve been vaccinated. Unvaccinated Canadian truck drivers, or those who have had only one dose, will not have to quarantine.
Not even two weeks into the year, and the City of Surrey has already received about 300 pothole repair requests. The average is about 200 at this time of the year. The city says they are trying to get the repairs done as quickly as possible. The city has budgeted $1.45 million for pothole repairs.
A pregnant woman in Surrey says she was sent away from the hospital three times in one day. On the fourth visit, she ended up having her baby on the floor of the lobby of Surrey Memorial. It was on Christmas day. The first time the couple went to the hospital they were sent back home after being monitored for about two hours. But they went back again because the woman was in severe pain…that’s when she was given pain meds and sent away again. On the fourth try, her water broke during the car ride to the hospital. and the baby girl was born in the entrance to the hospital. Mom and baby are doing fine physically but emotionally the ordeal has taken a toll. Fraser Health has yet to comment.
Less than a day after Quebec’s premier announced a potential charge for unvaccinated adults in his province, the prime minister is not ruling out the possibility of a national anti-vax tax. The update from Justin Trudeau comes as provinces face increasing strains on their health-care systems due to the Omicron COVID-19 wave. Trudeau was asked yesterday about the possibility of a national financial charge for those who continue to refuse vaccination without valid medical reasons. He responded by saying there’s a lot more details that we have to hear on how this would work, but did not rule it out.
R-C-M-P in Surrey say 62 charges have been laid against five men in a car theft investigation. Police say the Crown approved the charges last month against the men, who range in age from 25 to 42. Three of the men are to be in court Friday, and the others in the coming weeks.
British Columbia health officials announced on Thursday that there have been 2,554 new COVID-19 cases reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 291,246. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 36,049 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 534 (+34) individuals are currently hospitalized, a new record for BC, and 102 (+0) 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: 885 new cases, 16,972 total active cases
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 485 new cases, 9,762 total active cases
- Interior Health: 462 new cases, 4,882 total active cases
- Northern Health: 304 new cases, 1,231 total active cases
- Island Health: 412 new cases, 3,193 total active cases
- Outside of Canada: Six new cases, nine total active cases
There have been seven new COVID-19-related deaths in British Columbia, for a total of 2,462 deaths in the province.
The Delta school board is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or they will have to undergo regular rapid testing or take a leave of absence. Board chair Val Windsor says the new policy is aimed at reducing the risk of staff and students getting COVID-19. Staff are being given at least six weeks to disclose their status — which the board says will provide time for it to set up rapid testing and for employees to get fully vaccinated. The requirement won’t apply to students.
The provincial government is slashing the amount of time pregnant women must wait to get a COVID-19 booster shot after their second dose of vaccine. It now says those who are pregnant will get to book a booster shot eight weeks after their second dose — down from the previous interval of six months. The province says in a release that it’s important that those who are pregnant get optimal protection for their child. It says about 18-hundred people who indicated they were pregnant while getting their second shot will automatically get an invitation for a booster as soon as they are eligible under the new rules.
“Degrassi” will be back in session next year. A fresh take on the beloved Canadian teen drama has been greenlit as a new hour-long T-V series for H-B-O Max. The 10-episode season will shoot in Toronto this summer and is slated to debut in spring 2023. Showrunners Lara Azzopardi, known for her work on Global’s “Mary Kills People,” and Julia Cohen, who worked on the C-W teen drama “Riverdale,” will lead the series.
Health Canada’s chief medical adviser says a decision on Pfizer’s antiviral treatment for COVID-19 is expected in seven to 10 days. But Supriya Sharma says Pfizer has told Health Canada that it couldn’t send shipments of the drug before approval, because it didn’t have any supply to send. Canada has a contract to buy one million doses of Paxlovid but Pfizer says information on shipments won’t be provided until Health Canada approves the drug.
The B-C Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says Highway 1 between Lytton and Spences Bridge will partially open on Friday. It says crews have been working to clear, repair and reopen the highway, which was damaged in 15 places between Hope and Spences Bridge in November. When it does open to traffic, drivers are being asked to expect significant delays, travel advisories, and reduced speed limits. The Ministry says the highway between Lytton and Hope is still closed as work has been delayed because of record snowfall and the risk of avalanches, but the permanent repair work to the Highway 1 corridor in the Fraser Canyon is underway.
Police are investigating after a battery report was filed against Ye (yay’), the rapper formerly known as Kanye West. Los Angeles police say no arrests have been made in connection with the incident early this morning outside a members-only downtown club popular with celebrities. The 44-year-old entertainer legally changed his name last year. He is in the midst of divorce proceedings with Kim Kardashian West.