Mounties say they found one man with stab wounds when they were called to Coquitlam Centre for reports of gunfire, and are still investigating to find out if anyone was shot. According to Sgt. Paul Vadik, calls came in just after 4 p.m. Monday. “We don’t know if anyone was hit with a bullet,” he says. “It is unclear at this point if there are any connections to the Lower Mainland gang conflict.” The man who was stabbed is thought to be “connected to the event.” He is receiving treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. The Coquitlam RCMP wants witnesses or anyone with information to call them, or if you want to remain anonymous you can call CrimeStoppers.
Seventeen more people have died in B-C after contracting COVID-19, pushing the death toll in the province to one-thousand-571. The province reports that two-thousand-491 new cases were
detected between Friday and Monday, and just shy of 82-hundred cases are active. There are 484 people in hospital, including 158 in intensive care. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the number of contacts each case has while infectious has come down since B-C tightened public health restrictions last month, but the circulation of more transmissible variants continues to elevate the risk of catching COVID-19.
BC’s top doctor says the province has confirmed that COVID-19 was a factor in the death of an infant from the Interior Health region. Dr. Bonnie Henry says the baby was hospitalized in January and the B-C Coroners’ Service has since determined COVID-19 was a factor in the death. Henry reported the baby’s death while addressing concerns raised in Ontario that more people are dying at home after contracting COVID-19. She says the coroners’ service has a process in place to investigate whether the illness was a factor in any sudden deaths, and B-C hasn’t seen an increase as COVID-19 cases spiked in recent weeks.
The province says it’s working on legislation to bring in paid sick leave, but there’s still no timeline on when it could be introduced. In December, Premier John Horgan said his government was prepared to fill the gaps in the federal sick leave program, saying no worker should be denied pay when they are preventing the spread of COVID-19 by staying home when unwell. He said the province was waiting on more information on what could be lacking in Ottawa’s plan. Since then, pressure has been building to have the province follow through and legislate paid sick days for all. There was no mention of funding for paid sick leave in the provincial or federal budgets last week. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked about it at Monday’s COVID-19 update. “It is an important part of the workplace program to make sure that workers are able to stay home when they’re sick and that’s an ongoing discussion that I know government is having with industry,” she said. Health Minister Adrian Dix adds the province is working on it and has passed other measures to protect workers, pointing to legislation introduced last week guaranteeing paid time off to get vaccinated.
A UBC immunologist says he doesn’t see any harm to mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines, in fact he thinks it could help. Dr. Kelly McNagny, a professor in the Department of Medical Genetics, says regardless of the brand name — all the shots work the same way. “Speaking as an immunologist what I can tell you is there’s really no reason why being primed with one vaccine and then boosted with a different vaccine should cause a problem, they actually should work quite well,” he says. “All vaccines have part of the virus that you make a response to. Then they’ve it got a little something that causes a bit of inflammation to tell your immune system to wake up and start making a response. Those two components are in every one of the vaccines that you would get. In fact, it’s possible that getting primed with one, and then a second stick with another one might actually prove beneficial in some cases, because it just wakes up your immune system in a different way that gives you maybe a broader response.” Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends the same vaccine be used for both doses, but they say if the vaccine used for the first dose isn’t available or unknown, the second dose should be a vaccine that uses the same technology. The effects of this approach are currently being studied in the UK, with results expected this summer. McNagny says he’s more worried about the timing of doses than he is about mixing and matching. “That boost, what it does is, it cements memory for the virus. When you get that second shot, that’s what protects you for the rest of your life, essentially,” he says.
The Vancouver School Board has ordered an end to its School Liaison Officer program, which puts uniformed officers into the city’s schools to act as mentors, coaches, counsellors — and police officers — for students. The board began questioning the use of uniformed officers last year in the wake of numerous American reports of police-related discrimination and racism — and many students who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour have said uniformed officers make them fearful. A report on the matter was handed to trustees last month and yesterday they voted eight-to-one to halt the liaison officer program at the end of this school year — although the motion also calls on Vancouver police to find other ways to stay active in the school community.
A loss for B-C as it fights the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which will triple the amount of oil flowing between the Edmonton area and Burnaby. The Federal Court of Appeal has rejected B-C’s argument that Alberta’s so-called turn-off-the-taps legislation is discriminatory and beyond that province’s powers. The three justices agree Alberta can enact the legislation — which some believe was written in 2018 to punish B-C for its opposition to the pipeline. The court says B-C’s claim of discrimination is premature because no restrictions have been applied yet — and B-C must pay the costs of the roughly two-year court battle.
Steaming mad after constantly finding full dog-poop bags discarded along Lower Mainland trails, a White Rock man is crying foul. Photographer A.P. Hovasse, who often goes for walks searching for photo opportunities, said he was getting increasingly frustrated by what else he was finding in nature: leftovers from irresponsible dog owners. He crafted a number of miniature flags, which he plants into the piles, as a way to bring attention to the issue. He shared what he was doing on social media, where it “kind of took off.” He’s since received requests for his flag design from people across Canada, in the U.K., and Florida. “I’m going to be known as the dog poop guy for the rest of my life, my wife says.”
Fraser Health says people 30 years old and up who live in certain COVID-19 hotspots may now receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The health authority says two drop-in clinics open today in Coquitlam and Surrey are offering the shot until 7 pm. Another drop-in clinic is open in Surrey for people 40 and older living in high-transmission neighbourhoods. Fraser Health is encouraging people to visit the province’s website to input their postal code and determine if they’re Eligible. British Columbia health officials announced 799 new test-positive COVID-19 cases on Today, and no new deaths.
Vancouver Police say they’re alarmed by social media “chatter” in the aftermath of the fatal stabbing of a teenage boy last weekend. Sergeant Steve Addison says emotions are running high after the 15-year-old died following the stabbing during a fight in park on the city’s west side. He says police are worried about further conflict amongst youth and they’re pleading for calm after seeing an uptick in potentially harmful posts online. He says posts have misidentified teens as being involved in the incident or inappropriately singled others out for retribution.
Vancouver police say they’re disappointed by what they say was a “political decision” to end the program that puts uniformed officers in city schools. School board trustees voted yesterday in favour of a motion to halt the school liaison officer program, but also called for police to find other ways to stay active in school communities. Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Wilson says the decision leaves a gap in relationship and decreases safety for youth and staff in schools. The program was scrapped due to concerns that uniformed officers make some students anxious or upset, including many identifying as Black, Indigenous or people of colour.