The B-C government is expanding mandatory COVID-19 vaccinationsfrom health care workers to its 30-thousand public service employees. The B-C Public Service Agency says government employees working in core government or ministries will be required to prevent proof of full immunization by November 22nd. It says the aim is to increase vaccination rates across the province but accommodations will be made for the “few people” who are unable to be vaccinated. All health-care workers in B-C were earlier ordered to be fully vaccinated by October 26th as a condition of their employment.
B-C health officials say the province has recorded 593 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of active infections to five-thousand-937. Of the active infections, they say 345 people are in hospital and 144 are in intensive care, but that there have been no new deaths. Officials announced that government employees in the province will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 22nd. Paul Finch, treasurer of B-C General Employees Union, says he has been supportive of vaccines but wants to see the full policy to better understand how exemptions and accommodations will be handled.
CUPE B-C is renewing its call for making masks mandatory for all students, including for kids in Kindergarten to Grade Three. The organization says it is applauding the Vancouver School Board’s recent decision to expand the mask mandate to all students. They say the decision to endorse masks for all grades was made in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in school-age children, who are still not eligible to be vaccinated. CUPE B-C is also calling for additional safety measures in schools, including increased ventilation and more rapid testing.
Surrey Mounties are calling on witnesses of a sexual assault late last month at Bear Creek Park to help them find the person responsible. On Monday, Sept. 27, just before 5 p.m., a woman was walking in Bear Creek Park when she was grabbed from behind by a stranger. The victim was able to escape without any physical injuries, but police point out. The suspect got away. While the woman was able to escape uninjured, a release from police adds, “incidents like these can have a profound and long-lasting impact on victims.” Mounties say investigators and the victim are working with an artist so they can share a forensic sketch of the suspect. The suspect is described as a man in his 20s with a medium build, a darker complexion, and black curly hair past his ears. He’s about 5’10″ tall. He was wearing a grey hoodie with baggy pants. If you have information about the incident, contact the Surrey RCMP If you prefer to make an anonymous report, contact Crime Stoppers
Police are investigating after a fatal shooting in Newton Tuesday night (Oct. 5). Just before 10 p.m., Surrey RCMP were called to the 12200-block of 80 Avenue for reports of shots fired in the area, according to a release from Staff Sgt. Duane Honeyman. Honeyman said when officers arrived, an adult victim was found suffering from gunshot wounds. The victim died at the scene. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has now been called in to work with the Surrey RCMP Major Crime Section. Honeyman added police are “currently in the evidence gathering phase” and no further information will be provided at this time.
The Opposition Liberals and Greens slammed the N-D-P government’s response to this summer’s heat wave following the release of a report by an international human rights group. Human Rights Watch says B-C does not have a heat action plan and the lack of access to cooling and targeted support for the elderly and those with disabilities contributed to unnecessary suffering and possibly deaths. The B-C Coroners Service has said most of the 569 heat-related deaths in the province from June 20th to July 29th were among those aged 70 years and older. Health Minister Adrian Dix says the government was faced with a once-in-a-one-thousand-year weather event but changes including an increase in ambulance staff will help it battle the next challenging event.