B-C’s transportation ministry says essential travel restrictions on Highway 7 between Mission and Hope have been lifted. This means people can use Highway 7 for daily activities, such as
commuting to work, driving children to school and attending appointments. It says traffic volumes on Highway 7 are expected to increase even though Highway 1 is open. The government says repairs to slide-damaged sections of the Trans-Canada Highway through the Fraser Canyon are underway, but are not expected to be complete until mid-January. Highway 8 between Spences Bridge and Merritt remains inaccessible, but efforts are being made to secure some access through forest service back roads.
Transportation Minister Rob Fleming says progress is being made in reopening damaged transportation routes, but the Coquihalla Highway, a major route to B-C’s Interior, remains closed to all traffic until at least late January after sustaining bridge and road damage at numerous sites. He says rail traffic through the Interior to and from Vancouver has restarted for both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways, Highway 99 from Pemberton to Lillooet was reopened following a second slide, while Highway 7 between Agassiz and Hope was opened to non-essential traffic following several slides and travel restrictions. Fleming says Highway 3 into the Interior is the only major open route, but traffic is restricted to commercial vehicles. The B-C government has not provided a damage estimate caused by the floods and slides other than to say it will hugely expensive.
B-C public health officials are scheduled to give an update on COVID-19 in the province at 1:30 p-m today. The province’s health minister says the announcement that pharmaceutical giant Merck is making an oral COVID-19 antiviral pill in Canada is good news because it will help those with moderate to severe symptoms, but it still shouldn’t replace a vaccination. Adrian Dix says more than 85 per cent of those aged five and older in the province have had their first shot of vaccine, while 82 per cent have received their second dose. The B-C Health Ministry reported 946 new cases over a three-day period yesterday along with 11 more deaths.
Transit police are trying to find a man who allegedly stabbed another passenger on the SkyTrain in a “dispute over a seat.” On Saturday around 1 p.m., a 67-year-old man boarded at Scott Road Station. When he tried to sit down, “he accidentally bumped into another man who was about to sit in the same seat,” Police say The victim ignored the accidental bump and moved to a different part of the train. Moments later, the suspect allegedly approached the victim, got close to his face, and demanded an apology. A scuffle then ensued which ended with the 67 year old victim being stabbed multiple times. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Police.
Two nights ago, the Vancouver Canucks were at their lowest. Losing 4-1 at home, fans were booing, chanting for Jim Benning to be fired, and a jersey was thrown onto the ice. Now, suddenly, anything seems possible. They’ve still got a long way to go, but at least there’s hope now. The Canucks are 1-0 under new head coach Bruce Boudreau, winning 4-0 against the Los Angeles Kings last night Canucks will see if they can keep the momentum going tomorrow night when the Boston Bruins are in town.
BC health officials announced 326 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 220,856. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 2,814 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 242 individuals are currently in hospital, 82 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: 92 new cases, 930 total active cases
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 53 new cases, 471 total active cases
- Interior Health: 88 new cases, 561 total active cases
- Northern Health: 22 new cases, 261 total active cases
- Island Health: 71 new cases, 591 total active cases
- Outside of Canada: No new cases, zero total active cases
There has been one COVID-19-related death in Northern Health over the past 24 hours, for a total of 2,363 deaths in BC. To date, 85.6% (4,267,612) of eligible people five and older in BC have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 82% (4,088,609) have received their second dose. From November 29 to December 5, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 58.7% of cases, and from November 22 to December 5, they accounted for 63.1% of hospitalizations.
Past week cases (November 29 to December 5) – Total 2,423
- Not vaccinated: 1,326 (54.7%)
- Partially vaccinated: 97 (4%)
- Fully vaccinated: 1,000 (41.3%)
Past two weeks cases hospitalized (November 22 to December 5) – Total 182
- Not vaccinated: 108 (59.3%)
- Partially vaccinated: 7 (3.8%)
- Fully vaccinated: 67 (36.8%)
Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (November 29 to December 5)
- Not vaccinated: 170.9
- Partially vaccinated: 46.8
- Fully vaccinated: 22.2
Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (November 22 to December 5)
- Not vaccinated: 23.3
- Partially vaccinated: 5.2
- Fully vaccinated: 1.5
Delta police say a man has been arrested in the death of a 17-year-old girl who was reported missing on Sunday. Police say officers searching for Maaike Blom discovered her body today inside a home on Tsawwassen First Nation lands in Delta. They say in a statement that Blom’s disappearance was considered out of character. Although they have made an arrest, police stress the investigation is in its early stages.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says five cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant have now been confirmed in B-C. Henry says four additional cases were discovered over the weekend in addition to one reported last week — and all are associated with travel from southern Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Iran. She says three people infected were fully vaccinated with three different vaccination combinations and two were unvaccinated — but in all cases the symptoms have been mild. Henry says there are a number of other suspected cases of Omicron in the province but that is not a surprise as the virus travels quickly.
Northern Health says it hopes anyone planning to protest outside its COVID-19 vaccination clinics for children has received the message loud and clear that such actions are illegal. The R-C-M-P say about a dozen protesters voiced their opinions against vaccines at a clinic in Prince George yesterday — including some who followed families to their vehicles. Corporal Jennifer Cooper says police have warned protesters such actions are illegal under a law passed last month and officers will also be patrolling the clinic. Northern Health spokeswoman Eryn Collins is urging parents and staff to contact police with any concerns about accessing clinics.
WorkSafe B-C is reminding employers and contractors to identify hazards and risks as recovery from extensive flooding and landslides gets underway. The worker-protection agency says potential hazards in the aftermath of the recent severe storms could include materials containing asbestos, chemical or biological contamination, moisture and mould in buildings, damaged equipment, structural or electrical damage or animal carcasses. Al Johnson, head of prevention services at WorkSafe, says risk assessments must be tailored for each work site and in some cases, such as danger from asbestos, the assessment has to be conducted by qualified professionals. The agency notes that asbestos was widely used as a building material in B-C until the early 1990s, so it can be present in many areas of older buildings and it should not be disturbed.
A barge that’s been grounded near Vancouver’s English Bay following a severe storm more than three weeks ago wasn’t removed as expected yesterday, and the city says a recovery plan may not be released for weeks. The vessel operator previously said crews would attempt to remove the barge on December 6th, when a king tide was expected, but it’s still grounded. The City of Vancouver says Transport Canada is expecting to receive a recovery plan in the coming days with more details in the following weeks. Attempts were made to remove the barge with a tugboat shortly after the storm, but it wasn’t strong enough to do the job.