B.C.’s premier says the province’s health-care system will continue seamlessly, as the deadline arrives for all health-care workers to have at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The mandate could mean thousands of workers would be forced to take leave without pay, however Premier John Horgan says the risk of unvaccinated staff making their colleagues or patients ill is too big. Starting Tuesday, nearly 130,000 hospital and health-care staff need to have at least one dose of a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine. The deadline for 50,000 long-term care and assisted living staff was Oct. 12. By that day, nearly 2,000 of those workers had refused. Data provided by the province Monday shows 3,402 workers have not been immunized, which works out to three per cent overall. That rate is five per cent in Interior Health, and four per cent in Northern Health. An additional 2,598 workers are not fully vaccinated, and the deadline for them to get their second shot is Nov. 15.
Canada’s largest airline is introducing a new option for COVID-19 testing, meant to eliminate the need to find a clinic while travelling. On Monday, the airline announced it will be making portable antigen test kits available for purchase when departing the country. “Customers can test themselves while travelling abroad prior to their flight to Canada to meet Government of Canada testing entry requirements without the need to visit a foreign COVID-19 testing clinic. These tests are conducted under the remote supervision of a Telehealth professional from Switch Health and include an electronic report suitable for travel,” says a statement from the company. “These solutions are designed to ease the travel experience until the mandatory pre-departure test requirement evolves for fully vaccinated travelers.” Each kit costs $149 plus tax, with a discount available to Aeroplan members. The announcement comes as Canada makes moves to allow those fully vaccinated to resume international travel, including the introduction of a pan-Canadian vaccine passport, and the lifting of an advisory against non-essential travel.
Twenty people have been arrested after a protest that blocked a road near Vancouver International Airport Monday. The protest, organized by Extinction Rebellion, resulted in traffic around YVR being backed up for several hours, getting back to normal at around 7:30 p.m. It is the latest in a series of disruptions targeting major traffic routes, bridges and intersections in Vancouver. The 14-day campaign is timed to lead up to the COP 26 meetings in Scotland next month, where world leaders will gather to discuss their latest steps to try to keep climate change in check. While the demonstrations affect drivers in Vancouver, the group says their focus is to put pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We are calling upon Justin to end the $18 billion of subsidies that he gives to very rich fossil fuel companies every single year. That’s taxpayer dollars that could be used for transitioning us to a green economy,” organizer Brian Eichler told CityNews just before the series of protests launched. He said while they hope to convince all levels of government to take action on climate change, they feel their message still isn’t getting through.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil his new cabinet on Tuesday, and it’s shaping up to be a major overhaul. We’re expecting quite a few moves to the inner circle at a ceremony starting at 10:30 a.m. It comes after the Liberals were handed a second minority mandate in the September federal election. As the Prime Minister hits reset on his government, Liberal sources tell CityNews there will be a lot of change. Those sources, who spoke on anonymity, tell CityNews the selections will be aimed at delivering on key election promises, varying from COVID-19 to housing to climate change. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is staying put, but other senior ministers are expected to be on the move, such as Harjit Sajjan in Defence, who has struggled to deal with sexual misconduct in the military. It’s believed a woman may take over the role, with speculation Procurement Minister Anita Anand could get the post. Multiple reports say longtime MP and former astronaut Marc Garneau will be out at Foreign Affairs and removed from cabinet. The new ministers will have until November 22nd to get up to speed before parliament returns.
B.C. recorded 1,618 new COVID-19 cases and 20 deaths over the weekend, as the province marked a milestone in its vaccination program. On Monday, the province announced 90 per cent of all eligible adults have received their first vaccine dose, while 85 per cent have received their second. Among all eligible British Columbians (aged 12 and up), 89.6 per cent have received one dose and 84.4 per cent have received both doses. Fraser Health continues to record the most new cases, with 699 in the past three days. It also has the most active cases, with 2,030 of the 4,966 province-wide. According to the province, 65.2 per cent of cases recorded between Oct. 14 and Oct. 20 were among people who were not fully vaccinated. From Oct. 7 to Oct. 20, they accounted for 77 per cent of hospitalizations. B.C. now has 29 outbreaks in health-care facilities: As of Sunday, anywhere where the B.C. Vaccine Card is mandatory, such as gyms, bars, concerts, wineries, and trade fairs, began requiring people have two COVID-19 vaccines.
After shutting down more than a year and a half ago, Greyhound bus service between Canada and the US is finally making its comeback in just a matter of weeks Starting November 8, riders will once again be able to travel across the border on one of Greyhound’s coach buses, as long as they are fully vaccinated and masked. That is the same day that the US-Canada border is opening to all non-essential travel, so Greyhound is ready to begin transporting customers as soon as possible. Riders can catch a Greyhound bus from Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal. Toronto will have three trips a day (11:45 am, 1:30 pm, and 9 pm) into Buffalo with connections available to Syracuse and New York City, among other destinations. Bookings are already open on Greyhound’s website for all of these routes.
British Columbians attending hockey games and concerts can now expect a full house as limits on numbers of people gathering at events like weddings have ended — though a 50-per-cent capacity limit will remain in parts of the Fraser, Interior and Northern regions. But business owner Harpal (HAR’-pal) Sooch says seniors and families with children who still can’t be vaccinated aren’t so eager to get back to socializing as usual at parties like those held at his banquet hall in Surrey. Heidi Tworek (t-WOE’-rek) a professor who specializes in health communications at the University of British Columbia’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs also says some people will have a hard time adjusting to being around lots of people beyond the few close contacts they’d had for months. She says employers, businesses and even individuals wanting to invite someone over for dinner should be mindful that COVID-19 has taken a mental health toll on some people so flexibility and understanding are key to helping everyone adjust as the pandemic Continues.
The ousted C-E-O of Rogers Communications plans to take his fight to retain control of the board of directors to B-C Supreme Court. Edward Rogers was removed from his post on Thursday, but claims to have regained it after a meeting last evening with five new, hand-picked board members. His siblings and several other board members say the meeting wasn’t legitimate, with Martha Rogers tweeting that her brother had held a pretend board meeting.
The New Westminster Police Department says a man who was allegedly involved in a fight on the street has died of his injuries. It says police received multiple calls Friday night about two men fighting and that when officers arrived they found one of them suffering from serious injuries. He later died in hospital, and homicide detectives have now taken over the investigation. They want to talk to anyone who saw or heard the altercation near Bole and Maple streets.
BC health officials announced 457 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 202,973. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 4,829 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 390 individuals are currently in hospital, 155 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
New cases and total active cases, broken down by health region, are as follows:
- Fraser Health: 176 new cases, 2,002 total active cases
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 61 new cases, 670 total active cases
- Interior Health: 83 new cases, 642 total active cases
- Northern Health: 82 new cases, 877 total active cases
- Island Health: 55 new cases, 579 total active cases
- Outside of Canada: No new cases, 59 total active cases
There have been two COVID-19-related deaths over the past 24 hours, for a total of 2,131 deaths in BC. This includes one in Fraser Health, and one in Northern Health.
From October 18 to 24, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 64.1% of cases and from October 11 to 24, they accounted for 76.2% of hospitalizations.
Past week cases (October 18 to 24) – Total 4,181
- Not vaccinated: 2,377 (56.9%)
- Partially vaccinated: 300 (7.2%)
- Fully vaccinated: 1,504 (36%)
Past two weeks cases hospitalized (October 11 to 24) – Total 362
- Not vaccinated: 252 (69.6%)
- Partially vaccinated: 24 (6.6%)
- Fully vaccinated: 86 (23.8%)
Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (October 18 to 24)
- Not vaccinated: 288.8
- Partially vaccinated: 95.1
- Fully vaccinated: 35.2
Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (October 11 to 24)
- Not vaccinated: 44.9
- Partially vaccinated: 10.9
- Fully vaccinated: 1.9
To date, 89.6% of all eligible people 12 and over have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine; 84.5% have received their second dose.
Transport Canada has levied fines totalling nearly 25-thousand dollars against five vessel owners for violating orca sanctuary zones around Pender Island. The fines were handed out between December 2019 and July this year for vessels in an interim area set aside for the protection of southern resident killer whales, which are listed as an endangered species. The agency says several vessel owners were cited multiple times and that the owner of one boat was fined nearly 68-hundred dollars for three violations over five days in the summer of 2020. Last month, a whale watching company in Campbell River was ordered to pay 10-thousand dollars for contravening distancing rules around a pod of transient killer whales.