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Coronavirus  

People with disabilities even more alone during pandemic

COVID magnifies isolation

Riley Oldford is usually out playing sledge hockey or hanging out with friends, but since the start of the pandemic he's mostly been at home.

The 16-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and a chronic lung condition, was the first person in the Northwest Territories under 18 to get vaccinated when he got the shot earlier this month.

The N.W.T. prioritized residents with chronic conditions or at high risk for COVID-19 in its vaccine rollout, but Oldford wasn't originally eligible because of his age.

On May 6, the territory started offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to youth between 12 and 17, a day after Health Canada approved its use.

Yellowknife has had relatively few cases of COVID-19 compared with other cities in Canada, but Oldford was taken out of school to reduce the risk of him getting infected.

For the past 14 months, the Grade 10 student has been learning from home.

"By now, I've almost gotten used to it," Oldford said.

Janice Bushfield, president of the Cerebral Palsy Canada Network, said others with disabilities have similar experiences to Oldford.

"Isolation has always been a problem for people with disabilities and the pandemic has magnified that," Bushfield said.

Bushfield, who lives in Alberta, said those with disabilities and their caregivers were prioritized in the province's second rollout of vaccinations. Her son, who has cerebral palsy, was recently immunized.

David Kron, executive director of the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba, said the province didn't initially prioritize people with disabilities.

"The rollout has been based, it seems like, solely on age," he said.

People with underlying conditions — including asthma, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and heart conditions — were prioritized for the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine, but that wasn't until late March, Kron said.

Manitobans with cerebral palsy have felt increasingly isolated throughout the pandemic, he added.

"People are tired of this. It's just trying to get through every day."

Reporters, photographers and health officials watched as Oldford got his vaccine. They made the teen more nervous than the jab itself, he said.

"That was a lot more people than I've been with in the past year. I like people, but I'm not used to them anymore."

Oldford said he's taken up playing flight simulation games during the pandemic, which lets him travel virtually. He said he looks forward to the day when he can travel again to see family and friends.

"I have a computer and a joystick and I'll do little flights around Canada. It's to pass the time I guess," he said with a laugh.

Although Oldford has had his first dose, he'll still need to isolate and keep his distance until he gets his second shot.

He said all his friends plan on being vaccinated, but some are still in isolation after a recent outbreak at one of Yellowknife's schools that resulted in 64 cases and over 1,000 contacts in the city.

Sharon Oldford, Riley's mother, said she felt hope watching her son get vaccinated.

"It was just this feeling of hope that life could start to go back to normal, that he could go back to school. He could see his friends," she said.

She and her husband have been extra cautious throughout the pandemic. They've gone beyond public health guidelines to protect Riley, she said, including sanitizing everything that's brought in the house and changing their clothes when they get home.

"I'm definitely looking forward to the time when we can breathe a little easier and it's not what you're thinking about all day, every day," she said.

As Yellowknife continues to deal with active cases of COVID-19, Oldford hopes people follow public health orders to bring the city's case count back to zero.

"Isolating for two weeks? I did it for a year. You can do it for two weeks."



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Canada's vaccine rollout operation won't miss a beat with new military leader: expert

Rollout won't miss a beat

The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge of Canada's vaccine rollout is unlikely to slow down the high-profile operation, an expert in military affairs said Saturday.

Christian Leuprecht, a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., said the unexpected reassignment Friday of Maj-Gen. Dany Fortin won't affect vaccine distribution because the military always has a second in command ready to get the job done.

"The mantra is, 'Failure is not an option,'" Leuprecht said in an interview Saturday.

"The mission has to go on. If you're fighting a war and your general gets taken out, you need someone who is able to step into the fray right away and keep running the operation. The entire machine is set up to keep on rolling."

Fortin's replacement was not revealed Friday and the Defence Department declined to comment on the case Saturday. The Public Health Agency of Canada did not respond to a request for comment.

In Manitoba, the province's deputy chief public health officer had little to say when asked about Fortin's abrupt exit.

"I haven't heard anything related to that," Dr. Jazz Atwal said Saturday during a news conference with provincial Health Minister Cliff Cullen.

The Department of National Defence has confirmed Fortin left his post with the Public Health Agency of Canada pending the results of a military investigation, though the nature of that probe was not revealed in a statement released Friday.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan issued a brief statement that night saying he was committed to building a culture of inclusion for the Canadian Armed Forces, and he also said he wants to make sure the military sheds "toxic and outdated values, practices and policies."

But the minister's statement did not provide any clarity regarding the reasons for Fortin's departure.

The Canadian military has faced increased scrutiny since February when allegations of sexual misconduct were levelled against the former chief of defence staff, retired general Jonathan Vance.

Military police are investigating allegations that Vance had a sexual relationship with an officer under his command and that he sent an off-colour email to a junior officer in 2012, before taking the military’s top job.

Vance has not responded to requests for comment from The Canadian Press, but Global News has reported he denies any wrongdoing. He stepped down as chief of the defence staff in January and has since retired from the military.

Meanwhile, Vance's replacement as chief of the defence staff, Admiral Art McDonald, stepped aside due to an unspecified allegation of misconduct. He, too, is facing a military police investigation.

Another top commander, Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson, is also being investigated by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service following media reports detailing an allegation of sexual assault.

Brian Greenspan, a lawyer for Edmundson, said Friday his client denies the allegations.

Leuprecht said the military is suspending people "to maintain the integrity and the legitimacy of both the institution and the chain of command."

"Given how pervasive the problem appears to be, the approach they've had to implement ... is effectively to remove people with pay until such time as the matter has been fully investigated."

Having served in the military for almost 30 years, Fortin commanded NATO's training mission in Iraq and led Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan at the height of the fiercest fighting there.

Last November, Fortin was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to oversee what he called the "greatest mobilization effort Canada has seen since the Second World War."

The military has since managed a global supply chain for national vaccine distribution, and has also helped with provincial management of long-term care homes.

Fortin was appointed to serve as vice-president of operations and logistics for the for the Public Health Agency of Canada.

As Canada watched for further developments on the national immunization drive, COVID-19 infections continued to mount in some recent hot spots.

Ontario counted 2,584 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, coupled with 24 new deaths linked to the virus.

Quebec, meanwhile, added 760 new cases of COVID-19 to its tally and reported eight new deaths.

Farther east, New Brunswick recorded seven new cases of COVID-19, while Newfoundland and Labrador counted five and Prince Edward Island logged one.

Nova Scotia, which has been the Atlantic province hardest hit by the pandemic in recent weeks, reported 86 new cases of COVID-19.

It's the first time the province's daily case count has dipped below 100 since May 1.

Meanwhile, Manitoba counted 430 new cases of COVID-19 and four added deaths, while Saskatchewan recorded 196 new cases of the virus and one death and Alberta identified 1,195 new cases and three deaths.

Nunavut reported five new COVID-19 diagnoses.



Interior Health brings pop-up COVID vaccination clinic to Spallumcheen manufacturing plant

Clinic comes to Kohler

When it came to vaccinating 150 employees, it was easier to bring the vaccine to the workers than the workers to the vaccine.

Interior Health agreed, so a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic was set up in front of Spallumcheen's Hytec–Kohler plant on Friday.

The manufacturer makes fibreglass bathtubs and showers.

“We're a manufacturing facility, so we are frontline workers, so they are ready for vaccinations and are allowed to get theirs done,” operations manager Dennis Meyer said Friday.

The company reached out to IH to find out how to get its staff vaccinated, and the health authority suggested bringing the vaccines and medical staff to them.

Meyer said Hytec-Kohler shut down the plant for as long as it took to get all of the 100 employees who were working today vaccinated.

Meyer said there has been no outbreak at the facility and that the vaccination clinic was a preventative measure to keep employees safe from the virus.

“They are getting ahead of the game and being pro-active,” said Meyer, adding IH moved quickly to get the mobile clinic set up.



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Time to reopen Canada-US border, congressman says

'Time to reopen border'

A U.S. lawmaker who has made a political crusade out of getting the border with Canada reopened is once again pressing his case with President Joe Biden.

New York Rep. Brian Higgins has written to Biden again, this time to argue that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is proving his point.

Yesterday, the CDC declared that fully vaccinated people need no longer wear face masks in nearly all situations, including indoors.

Higgins says that decision affirms the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and what he calls the "minimal risk" Americans would pose to Canadians when visiting family or property.

He says Canada has made "steady progress" in its vaccination efforts and praised Biden for sending 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine north.

He also says the U.S. can and should share more of its vaccine supply.



Fewer flights land in Canada with COVID-19 since ban on planes from India, Pakistan

Fewer COVID flights land

The number of planes landing in Canada carrying passengers with COVID-19 was cut by more than half in the two weeks after the federal government barred incoming flights from India and Pakistan.

Transport Canada announced April 22 that direct flights from the countries would be halted for 30 days after high numbers of passengers were testing positive for the virus after landing.

The last flights to arrive from India landed in Toronto the next day.

Health Canada data posted online show between April 10 and 23, 135 international flights arrived with at least one passenger who had COVID-19.

Thirty-six of those were direct flights from India and two were from Pakistan.

Between April 24 and May 7, the total number fell to 56 flights, including a dozen from the United States and eight from Europe.

A spokeswoman for Health Canada says the ban on direct flights from India and Pakistan has also affected passengers trying to return to Canada from those countries on connecting flights through airports in Europe or the United States.



Latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Friday, May 14

COVID-19: latest numbers

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of Friday, May 14, 2021.

_ Canada: 1,312,408 confirmed cases (75,475 active, 1,212,108 resolved, 24,825 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 6,615 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 198.59 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 47,068 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,724.

There were 60 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 338 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 48. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.32 per 100,000 people.

There have been 33,130,218 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,173 confirmed cases (86 active, 1,081 resolved, six deaths).

There were seven new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 16.47 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 53 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people.

There have been 252,133 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 188 confirmed cases (seven active, 181 resolved, zero deaths).

There was one new case Thursday. The rate of active cases is 4.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 151,857 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 4,407 confirmed cases (1,572 active, 2,764 resolved, 71 deaths).

There were 110 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 160.51 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,043 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 149.

There were zero new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.03 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 7.25 per 100,000 people.

There have been 693,313 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 2,040 confirmed cases (128 active, 1,871 resolved, 41 deaths).

There were 16 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 16.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 60 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine.

There were zero new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 5.25 per 100,000 people.

There have been 318,482 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 360,982 confirmed cases (7,795 active, 342,170 resolved, 11,017 deaths).

There were 781 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 90.91 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,685 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 812.

There were five new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 48 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 128.48 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,733,163 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 502,171 confirmed cases (29,235 active, 464,531 resolved, 8,405 deaths).

There were 2,759 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 198.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19,114 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,731.

There were 31 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 192 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 27. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.04 per 100,000 people.

There have been 14,452,272 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 43,700 confirmed cases (4,046 active, 38,652 resolved, 1,002 deaths).

There were 560 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 293.35 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,262 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 466.

There were three new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 16 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.17 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 72.65 per 100,000 people.

There have been 729,722 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 43,926 confirmed cases (2,032 active, 41,381 resolved, 513 deaths).

There were 223 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 172.4 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,526 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 218.

There were five new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 12 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.52 per 100,000 people.

There have been 807,245 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 215,193 confirmed cases (24,586 active, 188,475 resolved, 2,132 deaths).

There were 1,558 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 556.01 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12,058 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,723.

There were nine new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 30 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 48.21 per 100,000 people.

There have been 4,349,694 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 137,810 confirmed cases (5,868 active, 130,310 resolved, 1,632 deaths).

There were 587 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 113.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,191 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 599.

There were seven new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 37 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 31.7 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,598,205 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 84 confirmed cases (two active, 80 resolved, two deaths).

There were zero new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 4.76 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.76 per 100,000 people.

There have been 9,129 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 115 confirmed cases (44 active, 71 resolved, zero deaths).

There was one new case Thursday. The rate of active cases is 97.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been 17 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 21,215 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 606 confirmed cases (74 active, 528 resolved, four deaths).

There were 12 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 188.04 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 54 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 13,712 tests completed.



Immunization making difference, gradual reopening on horizon

Gradual reopening soon?

COVID-19 immunizations are starting to make a difference in British Columbia and a gradual loosening of restrictions is being considered as the summer months approach, health officials say.

Government data is showing reduced community transmissions as more people receive their first doses of vaccine, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday.

"We are in a place where we are in a good direction," she said at a news conference. "We need to keep it up until at least the end of the May long weekend. We can see a future where we don't have COVID-19 ruling our lives."

But Henry said any movement to relax current health restrictions on large gatherings and other activities won't be under consideration until after the Victoria Day weekend and likely not until at least Canada Day.

She said any reopening plan will be small and gradual, "not a flick of the switch."

B.C. government restrictions on non-essential travel, group exercise and indoor dining are in place until May 24.

"What we are doing in B.C. is working," said Henry. "We look to brighter days ahead."

Henry discussed government data that tracked 79,480 positive COVID-19 cases and the impact of vaccines between Dec. 27, 2020, and May 1, 2021.

More than 98 per cent, or 78,020 COVID-19 cases, were diagnosed in people who were not vaccinated or had received their first dose less than 21 days before testing positive.

She said of those who had received a first vaccine dose and 21 days had elapsed, 1.7 per cent or 1,340 people tested positive for COVID-19. Of those who received a second vaccine dose and were tested after seven days, less than half of one per cent or 120 people tested positive for COVID-19, said Henry.

"While there have been some infections among vaccinated people, anyone who has received a vaccine is lower risk than unvaccinated people," said a government briefing document released at the news conference.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said more than 50 per cent of eligible people in B.C. have received their first vaccine dose, but he urged more people to register for their shot.

"Let's face it, 500 to 600 cases a day is still way too high," he said.

Henry reported 587 new infections Thursday and five deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 1,632 people.

Henry also confirmed a second person in B.C., a male in his 40s in the Fraser Health region, suffered the rare blood-clotting disorder after receiving a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, but he's listed in stable condition in hospital.

"We are following this carefully," she said. "It is rare but it is also serious."



Canada unlikely to follow US approach to easing COVID-19 masking rules

Unlikely to follow US

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear masks outdoors and in most indoor settings, but one of Canada's top public health officials suggests a different approach would be taken here.

"We have more of what I'd call a collective or community approach," Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, told a briefing in Ottawa on Thursday. "So it's not about what an individual should be able to do with one or two doses."

He said even as more Canadians get their shots, public health measures such as physical distancing, mask wearing and frequent hand washing remain key.

Njoo added the rate of new infections, the number of new cases resulting from each infection, test positivity rates and impact on the health-care system are all factors that should be weighed.

"If all that is looking good at a certain point in time — along with high vaccine coverage — that's the point I think that certainly local health authorities will be able to consider loosening restrictions on what Canadians are able to do."

Njoo said 40 per cent of eligible Canadians over the age of 18 have now received one vaccine dose — good, but not maximum, protection.

More than 46 per cent of the U.S. population has been given at least one dose and more than a third given both.

Njoo made his remarks after Ontario announced it's keeping its stay-at-home order in place until at least June 2 in order to have the "most normal July and August possible."

In Ottawa, the military officer in charge of Canada's vaccine rollout said 655,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been received from COVAX, the global vaccine sharing alliance.

The doses aren't being immediately distributed, but provinces are invited to put in orders, said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin.

"We want to assure everyone that sufficient supply will be available for those who want a second dose of AstraZeneca or who cannot take an mRNA vaccine (made by Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna)," he said.

Njoo said that Canada has confirmed 18 cases of an extremely rare blood clotting condition in patients who received the AstraZeneca shot and that 10 more are under investigation.

British Columbia is monitoring its second case of the vaccine-induced clotting condition. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the man in his 40s is stable.

B.C. diagnosed 587 new cases of COVID-19, as its infection rate continued to trend downward.



Will B.C. soon change mask mandate as vaccination rate increases?

Too soon to ditch masks

In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people in the United States on Thursday, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

But don't plan on B.C. adopting a similar policy soon.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters in the daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday (May 13) that vaccination rates are increasing across the province but that it is still too early to consider allowing people to stop wearing masks indoors.

While over 50 per cent of eligible adults have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccinate in B.C., Henry noted that "we are not using only immunized percentage, though that's obviously an important piece, both first dose and second dose."

Henry added that health officials are also looking at the trends in transmission across B.C. communities. "I know we spend a lot of time thinking about the day-to-day numbers but really it's how do we look at the numbers over time - what's happening in our communities."

After the May long weekend, health officials will present advice, direction and guidance on several different things British Columbians will be able to do in the future when more people are immunized and transmission rates decrease, Henry explained.

For now, B.C.'s top doctor noted that meeting with people outside is still the safest option.

"I always say that when you're outside, as long as you're not in a large group together, talking closely with people, that masks are optional. And we know that outside versus inside is much much less risky; if there's any breeze at all things disperse rapidly," she said.

South of the border, the CDC states that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing. However, the guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues — even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.



Single vaccine dose proving effective lowering COVID-19 rates

Vaccine proving effective

The widespread use of just one dose of COVID-19 vaccines in various B.C. communities has proven effective at lowering rates of infection, according to B.C.’s top doctor.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry took an extended period during a Thursday briefing to outline early results of how COVID-19 cases have tapered off within Prince Rupert, First Nations communities and frontline health-care workers for those who’ve received one dose.

Prince Rupert was ground zero earlier this year for a significant outbreak, pushing health officials to engage in widespread vaccinations in the northeastern B.C. city.

Indigenous people were prioritized as a group early and health officials administered widespread vaccinations First Nations communities rather than deferring to the age-based program for the general population.

From December 27 to May 1, the province logged 79,480 cases of COVID-19.

Among those who’ve received one dose of a vaccine, 1,340 people eventually became infected — or 1.7% of cases. A total of 26 who had received one dose passed away and four people who received two doses passed away.

The median age of those who became infected was 49, however, that number is influenced by the fact the province has been administering the vaccine based on descending age brackets.

But Henry noted that the number of cases dropped off significantly the more weeks that had passed after a first dose was administered.

“There is a drop off after 14 days and then an additional drop off after about three weeks,” she said.

“This is when your body is developing the immune protection that you need to protect you long term.”

She emphasized that while a single dose can reduce the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 significantly, that risk does not fully dissipate.

To date, 2,215,826 British Columbians have received at least one dose of a vaccine, while 119,691 people have received two doses.

Henry also revealed a second case has emerged of a person within B.C. developing rare blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca plc vaccine.

A man in his 40s living in the Fraser Health region is in stable condition and receiving treatment.

“The vaccine seems to stimulate an immune response that develops antibodies against our platelets. So this causes a type of clotting that is different from other types of blood clots that people have had,” she said.

Henry urged people to contact health authorities to receive treatment if they are experiencing persistent severe headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain or severe abdominal pain, and swelling or redness in a limb.

Meanwhile, some jurisdictions in the world have been offering incentives — anything from free beers to sweepstakes for cash — to those reluctant to get vaccinated.

Henry said health officials will continue to provide information to people and many previously reluctant British Columbians have been coming around on getting vaccinated as more info is presented to them.

“Right now we’re not considering incentives but that’s something that is always in there [to consider],” Henry said.

You can register for your vaccine here.



As of Sunday night, all adults in B.C. can book a vaccine appointment

Vaccines expanding to 18+

The age-based rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in British Columbia continues to accelerate, with all adults becoming eligible to book a vaccination appointment by Sunday evening.

As of Thursday, British Columbians 30 and older can book an appointment for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. But that will drop to everyone 25 and older beginning 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by 20 and older Saturday night and 18 and older by Sunday evening.

“If you know anyone, especially those between 18 and 30, who haven't registered yet, or who thought the age-based immunizations was a sufficient way away from them, now is the time to register, register, register,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said Thursday.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said they'll have more information next week about expanding the vaccine rollout to those 12 and older.

While booking a vaccine appointment is opening up to all adults shortly, that doesn't necessarily mean vaccines will be in every adult within days. In Kelowna for example, the earliest booking at the Trinity Church on Thursday morning was in about two weeks' time.

As of Thursday, 2,335,513 total doses of vaccines have been administered in B.C., and more than 50 per cent of all adults in the province have received at least one dose.

This week, the province announced that it would no longer be administering AztraZeneca vaccines for people's first doses, as they're saving their supply for people's second doses.

You can register for your vaccine here.



B.C. had 587 new COVID-19 cases, five deaths, in past 24 hours

587 new cases, five deaths

Another 587 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in B.C., including 60 in the Interior. Three more Interior residents have died from the virus.

To date, 137,810 British Columbians have tested positive for the virus, but 5,691 active cases remain. Active cases dropped by 196 since Wednesday, continuing the province's trend of declining cases.

COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped by 10 in the past day, to 413, and 141 of these patients are being treated in ICU.

The province reported five new COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, three of which came from the Interior. To date, 1,632 British Columbians have died from the virus, including 144 in the Interior

There are 488 active cases of the virus in the Interior. Of these, 21 people are hospitalized, 10 of whom are in ICU.

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced the province has seen its second case of blood clots following the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The man in his 40s is in stable condition, recovering in hospital.

The BC CDC is no longer disclosing the number of people who are self isolating after coming into contact with a COVID-positive person.

No new COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared in recent days, and the only three seniors' home outbreaks are in Kelowna and Keremeos.

More than 50 per cent of all adults in the province have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 2,335,513 total doses administered. Of these, 119,691 have been second doses. In the past 24 hours, 58,195 doses have been administered.

As of Thursday, British Columbians 30 and older can now book their vaccination appointment through the age-based rollout. Dr. Henry said they will have more information next week about expanding the vaccination rollout to people 12 and older.



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