B.C. recorded 1,533 new cases of COVID-19, and 26 deaths, over the Family Day long weekend, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a press conference Tuesday (Feb. 16). By day, the breaks down to 452 cases recorded Saturday, 431 cases reported Sunday, 348 cases on Monday, 302 on Tuesday and six epi-linked cases. 856 of the newly announced cases were found in the Fraser Health region. Henry said that there have been 171,755 doses of the COVID vaccine administered, of which 22,914 have been second doses. While B.C. has had few new doses of either approved COVID vaccines in recent weeks, Henry said that supply is ramping up and this week’s deliveries have already begun to show up. But Health Minister Adrian Dix noted that the vaccination effort is not nearly far enough along for people to slow down on COVID safety measures. “By April 1 about 10 per cent of the (B.C.) population will be immunized,” he said. Dr bonnie henry went on to say with continued gatherings in households & the quick spreading new variants of COVID-19, “Now is not the time to increase our social interactions, now is not the time to increase our events.”  “The precautions we take today will have an impact two weeks from now,” she said.

B-C’s police watchdog has been called in after a man suffered serious injures during a mistaken arrest in Surrey. The R-C-M-P say they notified the Independent Investigations Office after the incident early last Monday following an armed robbery. They say an officer spotted a man he believed to be the suspect and a struggle followed when he tried to take the man into custody, prompting other officers to join in. The R-C-M-P say the man was released when it was determined he was not the suspect and it regrets the error and has offered him a “complete apology.”

Fraser Health is declaring two new community COVID-19 outbreaks at a school and childcare center. The health authority says 35 COVID-19 cases were identified among staff and students at Timothy Christian School in Chilliwack on Saturday. It says the independent school voluntarily closed February 4t due to COVID-19 cases and Fraser Health is working with the school on a return to in-class instruction as early as next week. It says 24 COVID-19 cases were identified among staff and kids in five classes at the S-F-U Childcare Society in Burnaby, but the remainder of classes are continuing operations.

The mayors of Vancouver and Surrey say their cities will be ready to ban handguns as soon as federal legislation allowing the move passes. The legislation announced today would allow municipalities to pass bylaws restricting the possession, storage and transportation of handguns. Kennedy Stewart and Doug McCallum say they will direct staff to begin working on bylaws banning handguns so they’re ready for a vote as soon as possible. McCallum says in a statement that gun violence is a scourge in the Lower Mainland as shown by the recent surge in gang-related shootings and deaths

Unauthorized social gatherings are responsible for four out of every 10 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. according to the province’s top doctor. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during the COVID-19 briefing that the rate of community transmission needs to come down after she reported another 26 people have lost their lives to the virus. Since Saturday, 124 new school exposures were listed by the popular BC School COVID Tracker on Facebook. While she insists social gatherings, which are banned under provincial health orders, should not be happening, Henry said 50 people recently attended a game night somewhere in  the Fraser Health region. That area has nearly 900 new cases of COVID-19. With 60 cases of COVID-19 variants confirmed in B.C., Henry adds the risk of community transmission remains high.

 

Vancouver Police have released new security video of a suspect in an unprovoked assault of a 24-year-old woman on Saturday. Police say the victim was walking home from shopping along Davie Street when a man grabbed her, causing both to fall to the ground. Constable Tania Visintin says the force wants to identify the suspect as soon as possible. She’s asking anyone who can help identify the person in the video to contact police.

An order from the Vancouver Park Board will force several campers to relocate from one side of Strathcona Park starting Wednesday morning. In an effort to reclaim half the park, the Vancouver Park Board has split it off with fencing to limit the size of the controversial encampment. Campers on the east side can stay  but those on the west side will have to move over Donnie Rosa, general manager of the Vancouver Park Board, says she is confident there won’t be any problems when it comes to getting the campers to move at 10 a.m She says the park control bylaw that prohibits setting up permanent structures in parks and staying past 8 a.m. will be enforced.

British Columbia is recording 427 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to
4,150. Health officials say three more people have died and the death toll now sits at 1,317. There are 232 people in hospital, 63 of whom are in intensive care. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry say in a joint statement that chains of transmission are broken when everyone works together.

 

BC health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says she respects a top judge’s decision not to grant an injunction against three churches
flouting COVID-19 restrictions. The province asked for an injunction ordering the Fraser Valley churches to abide by a ban on in-person services after they filed a constitutional challenge of the restriction. Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson of the B-C Supreme Court says he doesn’t condone the churches’ conduct but Henry has means under the Public Health Act to enforce the rules without an injunction. In a statement issued after the ruling, Henry says she’s confident B-C’s public health orders will survive the charter challenge and must be followed while the case is heard.

 

The acting president of the BC Liberal Party says a new leader will be elected within the next year. Don Silversides says former leader Andrew Wilkinson delivered his official letter of resignation yesterday. Under the party’s constitution, a new leader must be chosen within one year of receiving that letter so the vote must be held by next February 16th. Silversides says a process is underway to set the rules for a leadership contest and a date will be chosen following a meeting of the party executive.

 

A jump in the price of gasoline is getting some of the blame for a boost in the cost of living in B-C and across the country.Statistics Canada says, compared with January of last year, inflation climbed one per cent across Canada, and 1.1 per cent in BC. For BC, that’s an increase of three basis points over the 0.8 per cent setting in December. Stats Can says the consumer price index was an even one per cent in Vancouver last month up from 0.8 per cent in December, while Victoria’s inflation dipped marginally, slipping to 1.4 per cent in January from 1.6 per cent the month earlier.