The B-C government says it’s making headway on recovery since last week’s floods with supply chains stabilizing, gas shortages starting to ease and some evacuees allowed to return to their homes. Officials say the major supply route of Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley is on track to reopen later today, but are warning about a series of storms that have already begun sweeping over areas of the province that are struggling to recover from the floods. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming says the government is prepared to close some roads as a precaution as modellers try to predict when and where flooding and mudslides might occur.
The province is urging residents to prepare for evacuations and watch for updates during storms and says it has also added a new contact centre line to provide emergency support and information
about financial aid, road conditions and more.
Hundreds of thousands of livestock are believed to have perished when flood waters hit Abbotsford’s Sumas Prairie area last week. Well over a million chickens were living in the area when catastrophic flooding began early last week. At least 100,000 are believed to have perished and around 450 cows died. Despite the flooding, meat and eggs have continued to come from farms, which in some cases, are still surrounded by water…Farmers have been hauling in fresh water and supplies to keep operations going. Farmers are asking for patience from customers, as both the poultry and dairy industries work to get things back to normal.
Workers in British Columbia will be eligible for a minimum of five sick days per year starting January 1st. Labour Minister Harry Bains says the new sick leave policy affects all workers covered by the province’s Employment Standards Act, including part-time workers. Laird Cronk, the president of the B-C Federation of Labour, is critical of the decision, saying provincial data indicates that while workers may take an average of 4.8 sick days annually, countries like New Zealand, Australia, Sweden and Germany have 10 days or more. He says that is what it takes to make sure workers have the economic stability to stay home when they are sick.
The return of celebrations, robust savings and low unemployment are boosting consumer confidence and spending as we head into the holidays. Several retail surveys by Accenture Canada, Deloitte Canada, J-L-L Canada and Google all suggest Canadians are going to be playing Santa and not Scrooge this year. Accenture estimates spending will be up more than 23 per cent from last year while Deloitte Canada’s 2021 Holiday Retail Outlook estimates Canadians will spend 31 per cent more.
Spectators will be back out lining the streets of Manhattan for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade today after being kept away by pandemic restrictions last year. The Thanksgiving parade is the latest U-S holiday event to make a comeback Parade staffers and volunteers must be vaccinated and wear masks, and while there’s no mandate for spectators, Macy’s is encouraging them to cover their faces.
BC health officials announced 424 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 216,758. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 3,061 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 295 individuals are currently in hospital, 112 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
Broken down by health region, the new cases and total active cases are as follows:
- Fraser Health: 140 new cases, 1,092 total active cases
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 62 new cases, 512 total active cases
- Interior Health: 93 new cases, 608 total active cases
- Northern Health: 66 new cases, 414 total active cases
- Island Health: 63 new cases, 429 total active cases
- Outside of Canada: No new cases, six total active cases
There have been three COVID-19-related deaths over the past 24 hours, for a total of 2,316 deaths in BC. Of the new deaths, two were in Fraser Health and one was in Interior Health.
To date, 91.4% of all eligible people 12 and older in BC have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine; 88.1% have received their second dose.
From November 17 to November 23, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 58.9% of cases, and from November 10 to November 23, they accounted for 68.5% of hospitalizations.
Past week cases (November 17 to November 23) – Total 2,650
- Not vaccinated: 1,461 (55.1%)
- Partially vaccinated: 101 (3.8%)
- Fully vaccinated: 1,088 (41.1%)
Past two weeks cases hospitalized (November 10 to November 23) – Total 301
- Not vaccinated: 188 (62.5%)
- Partially vaccinated: 18 (6%)
- Fully vaccinated: 95 (31.6%)
Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (November 17 to November 23)
- Not vaccinated: 197.7
- Partially vaccinated: 44.6
- Fully vaccinated: 24.4
Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (November 10 to November 23)
- Not vaccinated: 39.3
- Partially vaccinated: 11.6
- Fully vaccinated: 2.1
B-C’s public safety minister is warning about a series of storms that are forecast across the province’s coastal areas and Lower Mainland starting today and continuing into next week. Mike Farnworth says routine rainfall may cause already swollen rivers to rise to dangerous heights and is encouraging residents to prepare for evacuations and watch for updates. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming says the section of Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack has been cleared to reopen, which he says will improve congestion on Highway 7 and help restore supply chains. But, Fleming says the Coquihalla Highway has sustained much more damage and will not reopen to commercial traffic until the end of January.
Environmentalist David Suzuki has apologized for comments he made about pipelines being blown up if government leaders don’t address climate change. In a statement today Suzuki says his comments to CHEK News on Saturday were a result of his frustration at government inaction. Suzuki now says the suggestion about violence was wrong.
Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak over at Queen’s Park Care Centre long-term care in New Westminster. With the implementation of comprehensive strategies to prevent and respond to COVID-19 in care facilities, there are no longer any COVID-19 cases at this location. To enter a long-term care or assisted living facility, visitors (except children under the age of vaccine eligibility, those with an approved medical exemption and visits at end-of-life) must provide proof of full vaccination (seven days past their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine). Visitors are required to be screened for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID-19 symptoms, and asked to sign in for contact tracing purposes, prior to entry at every visit. Visitors who do not demonstrate that they are fully vaccinated may visit outdoors and must adhere to all infection prevention and control requirements, including wearing a medical mask (for people age five years and older) during their entire visit. Exceptions related to compassionate care (e.g. end-of-life care), will be considered on an individual case basis with additional preventative measures in place.