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BC had 2,239 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths in 3 day period

2,239 new cases, 18 deaths

Another 2,239 cases of COVID-19 and 18 coronvirus-related deaths were recorded across B.C. over the weekend, officials announced Monday as the government's vaccine card grace period came to an end.

The Ministry of Health, pushed the province's seven-day average for new infections to 728 per day, up from 650 on Friday. The seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths increased to 5.86 per day, it hasn't been that high since February 18.

  • Sept. 24-25: 876 new cases
  • Sept. 25-26: 657 new cases
  • Sept. 26-27: 706 new cases

The numbers of total and new cases are provisional due to a delayed data refresh and will be verified once confirmed.

There are 6,098 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 176,354 people who tested positive have recovered. Of the active cases, 303 individuals are in hospital and 141 are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

As of Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, 87.7 per cent or 4,064,859 of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 80.5 per cent , 3,729,606 have received their second dose.

In addition, 88.2 per cent, 3,815,333 of all eligible adults in B.C. have received their first dose and 81.3 per cent, 3,515,026, have received their second dose.

The new/active cases include:

  • 525 new cases in Interior Health
  • Total active cases: 1,159
  • 857 new cases in Fraser Health
  • Total active cases: 2,218
  • 256 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health
  • Total active cases: 843
  • 358 new cases in Northern Health
  • Total active cases: 1,165
  • 230 new cases in Island Health
  • Total active cases: 657
  • 13 new cases of people who reside outside of Canada
  • Total active cases: 56

In the past 72 hours, 18 new deaths have been reported, for an overall total of 1,940.
The new deaths include:

  • Interior Health: five
  • Fraser Health: three
  • Island Health: three
  • Vancouver Coastal Health: six
  • Northern Health: one


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Province provides $1.5 million to help pay for Indigenous-led supports for residential school survivors

$1.5M to help survivors

The B.C. government is setting aside $1.5 million to enhance Indigenous-led wellness supports for residential school survivors.

The money, part of $12 million promised by the province in June following the Kamloops Indian Residential School unmarked graveyard announcement, will be doled out to three organizations offering help to survivors — the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS), Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society and Metis Nation BC.

“It’s so important for Indigenous people to have access to supports they can trust — supports that understand the impact of the residential school program,” Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, said during a news conference on Monday.

IRSSS executive director Angela White said her organization’s crisis line dealt with a flood of phone calls in the days and weeks after the Tk’emlups announcement.

“Our numbers speak for themselves. I think it was two days after and for the next month and a half, our call line was averaging anywhere between 8:30 to 4:30, our call line was inundated with 500 to 600 calls over those hours,” she said.

“It has now subsided, but it just goes to show the need — how necessary these places are.”

According to Rankin, IRSSS is in line to receive $750,000, while Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society will receive $500,000 and Metis Nation BC will get $250,000.

IRSSS plans to use the money to enhance its 24/7 cultural support line, hiring counselling and support staff. Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society plans to use its funding to provide more in-person supports and Metis Nation BC will expand its Metis Counselling Connection program.

“My heart goes out to all of the Indigenous communities and the survivors and intergenerational survivors of the residential school system,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“I’m grateful for this partnership that provides urgent Indigenous-led, trauma-informed supports to foster wellness and resilience.”

On May 27, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir announced the discovery of more than 200 unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

B.C. was home to 18 residential schools and a number of so-called “Indian hospitals.” The last residential school to operate in the province was St. Mary’s, in Mission, which closed in 1984.



Coroner's inquest for B.C. man shot and killed by RCMP officer in 2014 underway

Coroner's inquest begins

The coroner's inquest into the shooting of Peter de Groot, seven years ago in Nelson B.C. got underway on Monday.

de Groot lost his life while at a remote cabin in 2014 in the Slocan area of the Kootenays after he was shot and killed by an RCMP officer.

Mounties indicate the 45-year-old de Groot exchanged gunfire with officers after they arrived at his home, he then fled, leading to a four-day search.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the inquest, originally scheduled for spring 2020, to be delayed.

de Groot’s sister Danna spoke to CTV News Vancouver in 2019, they are hoping the inquest will help provide answers to some of the families questions, including why she wasn't allowed to contact her brother in an attempt to bring the incident to a resolution and they want to know why Mounties showed up at de Groot's home in the first place.

“He was not the person they portrayed him to be,” she said. “He was very, very special to a lot of people. He was super intelligent.”

Danna says her brother was a PhD candidate but after suffering an aneurysm at 29, his life went in a different direction.

The officer accused of shooting and killing de Groot has since been cleared of any wrongdoing by the
Independent Investigations Office.

de Groot's family has also filed a civil lawsuit against the RCMP, which is being deferred until the inquest concludes, sometime in early October.

-with files from CTV News Vancouver



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Victoria police officer in hospital after being struck by vehicle, driver arrested

VicPD officer in hospital

A Victoria police officer has been seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle on a city street.

Police say in a news release that the officer was on special duty assignment, accompanying city bylaw staff on Monday morning, when he was hit.

The department says the officer was standing next to his vehicle when he was hit from behind.

The officer is being treated in hospital for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the vehicle was arrested at the scene.

Police say the man will be held while the investigation is ongoing.

 



Students 'ashamed' of SFU after university threatens discipline over climate mural

Heat over SFU mural

Simon Fraser University students say they are “ashamed” of their school after it threatened disciplinary action over a mural that questions the school’s role in the climate crisis.

The mural was painted recently in SFU’s convocation mall, with the goal of being up temporarily until Sept. 28. It urges SFU to “act now” in regards to the climate crisis.

In response, SFU sent a letter to student environmental group SFU350 saying the mural was painted “without necessary approvals” and that “this constitutes misconduct under SFU policy.”

The school said in the letter that it would be removing the mural and investigating the matter with “potential corrective and/or disciplinary action” that could include students being charged for the cost of removing the mural.

“We are disappointed that student members of SFU350 took this action and defaced our premises,” reads the letter.

The SFU letter sparked criticism of the school on social media, with Burnaby Coun. Alison Gu tweeting that it was “disappointing to see. Peaceful protest — with no harm to people or property — is a fundamental tenet of democracy. I hope this decision will be reversed, and while we’re at it, that SFU divests, too.”

SFU350 issued a statement on Friday condemning the response from the school, saying the group has clearly stated the mural would only be up until Sept. 28, the day of an SFU board of governors meeting in which a climate emergency declaration is to be voted on. SFU350 wants the school to fully divest its portfolio from fossil fuel companies.

The group also said in its statement that the mural is non-toxic, temporary and washable, adding that the school was welcome to test a patch of the mural to ensure it is removable. The group also says that asking for permission from the institution it is protesting “undermines the people’s ability to protest.”

“We are ashamed the university has taken this stance regarding a community lead climate action,” reads the statement. “We are ashamed the university has chosen to try and silence students’ voices. We are ashamed that the university is trying to protect its image instead of hearing students’ concerns and acting on the climate crisis.”



UVic researchers lead plan to lock carbon in the ocean floor

Locking carbon in ocean

Scientists warn that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are driving the Earth toward a point of no return when it comes to the dire consequences of climate change.

But what if you could pump those gases into rock deep below the ocean floor?

The University of Victoria and its Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and Ocean Networks Canada divisions are preparing a demonstration project off the coast of Vancouver Island to do just that. The demo, which could be ready for the Cascadia Basin by 2024, could eventually lead to sequestering gigatonnes of emissions around the globe that are driving climate change.

Technology is now being refined to outfit a floating drilling platform with turbines that would gather carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and push it through a pipe to holes bored into the basalt formation. There, scientists say, CO2 would react with minerals and crystallize into rock over time, with hundreds of metres of sediment acting as a sealant.

Since about 90% of the ocean crust is basaltic rock — a porous formation from cooling volcanic lava — researchers say locking up carbon this way could put a ­“serious dent” in the billions of tonnes of emissions caused by humans each year. It’s currently estimated that human activity adds about 51 gigatons (51 billion tons) of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere each year.

“The potential is enormous,” says Kate Moran, president of Ocean Networks Canada and lead on the Solid Carbon Project. She said many of the systems that will be used in the demonstration already exist, such as the drilling technology, pipelines and injection wells and carbon-capture technology — not to mention human resources in the oil and gas industry.

“Several of those companies see it as a transfer of their business and workers into green businesses,” said Moran, adding a Japanese company has already offered a ship for the demonstration.

It’s estimated a demonstration project would cost between $30 million and $60 million, with private companies stepping up and governments likely to follow, said Moran.

The Cascadia Basin, an area more than 100 kilometres off the coast of the Island on the Juan de Fuca Plate, is one of the most studied ocean floors in the world, said Moran.

The centre of the basin is about 2,600 metres deep and a sub-sea platform by Ocean Networks Canada shows a crust of volcanic rocks under a 200-metre-thick blanket of sediment.

She said decades of government surveys for seismic studies have left existing bore holes that can be used in the demonstration.

The science of turning CO2 into rock is already being used in Iceland, but on a much smaller scale. CO2 is injected in a dissolved state and it mineralizes rapidly, within two years, at shallow depths.

Geo-chemical simulations conducted by scientists at the University of Calgary, a research partner with UVic’s Pacific Institute of Climate Change, have demonstrated that “gigaton-scale” carbon dioxide storage is possible when plumes of captured CO2 are directly injected into deep ocean basalt. There, the CO2 reacts with minerals, and over time, forms a solid carbonate rock.

The results have been published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal.



Teenager Jesokah Adkens disappeared without a trace in 2001

Missing for 20 years

Cars and trucks rumble by the faded memorial on the side of the winding highway into the village of Sooke.

Twenty years ago, this site on the shoulder of the road was a bus stop where blonde, blue-eyed, 17-year-old Jesokah Adkens was seen for the last time.

It would have been dark and quiet at that bus stop around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2001, with nothing around and long waits between buses. And Jesokah, who looked young for her age and was known to hitchhike, was alone.

It was Saturday before her parents knew she was missing. The teenager had recently moved into her own place but remained on good terms with her parents. Clayten and Jocelan Adkens thought it was unusual when they didn’t hear from her on Thursday. On Friday, Jocelan went to the house to check on her, but she wasn’t there. On Saturday, they talked to her roommate, who said she had not seen Jesokah since Wednesday.

Police immediately suspected foul play. Jesokah had left her backpack, identification and beloved German shepherd pup Daphne at her house. Money in her bank account was untouched.

Anytime she went away in the past, she phoned to let her parents know and brought her puppy to their home.
Police started interviewing dozens of people, including the bus driver working that night who couldn’t identify her.

Searches of the wilderness from Sooke to Port Renfrew turned up nothing. The RCMP called in reinforcements, a tracking dog, a helicopter and a dive team to assist. A conservation officer was called out in case Jesokah had been killed by a cougar.

But police never found any sign of the teenager. With no answers for the family, investigators were frustrated. The scenarios were endless.

Was Jesokah picked up by a stranger and murdered? Was Jesokah picked up by someone she knew and murdered? Has someone living in Sooke for the past 20 years gotten away with murder?

Over the years, investigators pursued hundreds of leads, continuing to interview people and check other cases for possible links. But with time, the trail has grown colder. Jesokah’s murder remains unsolved, a constant source of grief for her devastated parents.

“We’re so bruised and beaten, we don’t even want to talk about it,” Clayten said as the anniversary approached. “This was just a young girl that was taken from us. Every night I deal with it. All I want to do is find my little girl.”

“It’s hard no matter what month, or day, or year,” said Jocelan. “It just brings up all the old memories and I just like to keep the good ones in there and keep it quiet. I don’t care to discuss it at all. I just know it’s not going to go anywhere. It’s been 20 years. I think the opportunity has come and gone.

“There was an opportunity and I think it was missed.”

Jesokah would be 37 now. Since her disappearance, Sooke has gone from a one-traffic-light village to a bustling town with four traffic lights.



Vancouver Park Board considers fines for feeding any wild animal, bird, in city parks

Don't feed the animals

Park board commissioners in Vancouver are preparing to vote on a proposal that could impose stiff fines for feeding any type of wildlife in city parks.

Commissioners are considering amendments that include a fine of $500 for anyone feeding wild animals ranging from pigeons, crows and geese to squirrels, raccoons and coyotes.

If the board adopts the recommendation at its meeting Monday night, a bylaw could be drafted and presented for enactment within weeks.

Attracting or feeding dangerous wildlife, including as coyotes, bears or cougars, is already banned under the Provincial Wildlife Act and a park board bylaw prohibits leaving food or grain anywhere except in a garbage can.

The board is seeking tougher measures in response to numerous coyote attacks in Stanley Park.

Eleven coyotes have been trapped and shot since last year, as food-conditioned coyotes were blamed for nipping or biting park visitors, including several children.

The entire park was closed overnight during a recent cull that captured four coyotes. It reopened Sept. 21, the same day the Conservation Officer Service says it arrested two people and seized their vehicle for allegedly trying to feed a coyote.

The park board proposal says a halt to feeding all wildlife in all its parks is necessary because a single instance of feeding can have a spiralling effect.

"This new bylaw would apply to all wildlife because feeding even small animals increases the amount of prey available for dangerous wildlife, which have greater potential risk to humans. Additionally, feeding wildlife is physically harmful for all animals," the report says.

A decision on higher fines for repeat offenders could be considered later. The proposal also calls on the board to monitor the need for added enforcement.



BC vaccine passport requirement as only acceptable proof of vaccine starts today

Must have vax card today

Starting today, the only acceptable proof of vaccination in British Columbia to dine at restaurants and attend indoor recreational events is the B.C. vaccine card.

The government says the transition period allowing people to present their vaccine records from their immunization appointments expired Sunday.

The vaccine card, under orders from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, is required at most restaurants and indoor events to help ensure businesses can stay open and people can feel safe in these settings.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says more than three million people in B.C. have already received their vaccine card.

He says people can get their card online from the government's website and keep a digital copy on their mobile device or print a hard copy to present at events or businesses.

Henry says the vaccine card helps people attend and support events and businesses with confidence, knowing other people around them are also vaccinated.



Abbotsford family looking for support for nine-month-old who needs a new heart

Baby needs heart transplant

An Abbotsford baby is in need of a heart transplant.

Rennah was born with mitral regurgitation and cardiomyopathy, which means a valve in her heart does not work properly.

In just one day, she went from being a happy, healthy baby to struggling for each breath at BC Children’s Hospital," fundraiser organizer Courtland Siak said.

Rennah has since been transported to an Edmonton hospital to await her new heart.

"Once she receives her transplant, she will need to remain in Edmonton for a minimum of three months post-transplant. When she is allowed to come home, she will visit BC Children’s hospital once per week for a year, then every two weeks, and finally, once every three months. For the rest of her life," Siak said.

"Rennah’s mom and dad, Aiesha and Brendon, have more worries than any parent should ever have. Our goal here is to help relieve some of their financial burden in the coming months so they can focus entirely on being by their daughter’s side, giving her the strength she needs to fight for her life," Siak added.

Ronald McDonald House will be providing a place for Rennah’s family to stay in Edmonton.

The GofundMe currently sits at $35,000 with a goal of $50,000.

At this time it's unclear when Rennah will receive a new heart.



BC SPCA offering half-priced adoption

SPCA half-priced adoptions

The BC SPCA is having a half-priced adoption promotion to free up space in its locations for incoming animals.

“Many of our shelters are very full right now with animals seized or surrendered in large-scale investigations and our goal is to create capacity for these animals, while at the same time finding wonderful homes for the pets currently in our care,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communications for the BC SPCA.

The promotion, presented by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, will take place from Sept. 27 to Oct. 6.

“We are offering 50 per cent off adoption fees for all companion animals – dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, rabbits and small animals, as well as for farm animals, with the exception of horses,” says Chortyk.

“We encourage anyone who has been thinking about adopting a pet to take advantage of this promotion. You will not only be providing a loving home for a deserving animal, but it will also allow us to create capacity for abused and neglected animals who urgently need our help.”

Anyone interested in adopting a new furry best friend can visit the BC SPCA website and view animals currently looking for a home and follow the online instructions for the adoption process.

“We are extremely grateful to Hill’s for their ongoing and generous support of vulnerable animals in B.C. and for sponsoring this adoption promotion,” says Chortyk.



IHIT investigating after body found in burned-out truck near Maple Ridge

Body found in burned truck

British Columbia's homicide team is investigating the discovery of a body found inside a pick up truck destroyed by fire in Maple Ridge.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team says in a statement it has taken over the investigation, but also says it's unknown if the discovery is related to the Lower Mainland's ongoing gang conflict.

IHIT says the body was discovered by members of the Maple Ridge Fire Department early Saturday after they responded to reports of a vehicle fire at the intersection of Park Lane and Vernon Trail.

The Ridge Meadows Serious Crime Unit was also at the fire scene before IHIT's arrival.

IHIT has yet to identify the person found inside the truck.

Police are appealing to the public for information, saying the pickup did not have a muffler and would have been making loud noises in the area.



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