British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Dec. 1

B.C. health officials announced the deaths of 16 people from COVID-19 on Tuesday and 656 new cases.

One new outbreak, while Holy Family Hospital and Jackman Manor outbreaks are over

Shoppers stand in line outside of Comor Sports in Vancouver on Thursday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • On Tuesday, health officials announced 656 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 deaths.
  • There are 8,796 people with active cases of the disease across B.C.
  • 336 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, including 76 in intensive care.
  • 457 people have died of the disease since the pandemic began.
  • A total of 10,123 people are under active public health monitoring and in self-isolation because of exposure to known COVID-19 cases.
  • There have been 33,894 confirmed cases in the province to date.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the deaths of 16 people and 656 new cases of COVID-19 in a statement Tuesday.

There are now 8,796 people with active COVID-19 cases in B.C., 336 of whom are in hospital, including 76 in intensive care.

There has been one new health-care facility outbreak at The Harrison at Elim Village in Surrey. The outbreaks at Holy Family Hospital in Vancouver and Jackman Manor in Langley Township are over — and there have been no new community outbreaks, according to health officials.

The Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions continue to see the greatest spread of the disease. Fraser Health has 6,430 active cases, while Vancouver Coastal Health has 1,330.

Also on Tuesday, Northern Health revealed that 52 employees at the LNG Canada worksite in Kitimat have tested positive for COVID-19 in connection with an outbreak there. Of those, eight cases are still considered active.

The health authority has also issued a warning about a potential exposure to the virus at The Key Resource Centre and the Cold Weather Shelter in Fort St. James between Nov. 12 and 25. Anyone who visited either facility on those dates has been asked to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Health officials have told British Columbians to pause all social interactions and be vigilant applying different layers of protection, including physical distancing, washing hands and using masks.

"Remember that events, which refer to anything that gathers people together — whether on a one-time, regular or irregular basis — are not allowed for now," Henry said.

She also acknowledged World AIDS Day, saying it was a time for kindness, compassion and giving back, despite the obstacles COVID-19 presents.

"It is a time for all of us to pause, to think about the many people throughout our province, our nation and the world who have been impacted by COVID-19 and other global epidemics," she said.

Most faith leaders support rules, Henry says

Henry on Monday addressed the news that at least three churches in Langley and Chilliwack have held in-person services over the last two weeks, defying an order prohibiting all community and social gatherings.

She said that despite some noisy exceptions in the Fraser Valley, most faith leaders have strongly supported restrictions preventing in-person services during a spike in COVID-19 numbers.

Leaders of the non-compliant churches in Chilliwack have alleged that the restriction on gatherings is a violation of their Charter rights, and there has been some talk about the potential for legal action.

Henry said it's part of her job to be the subject of lawsuits.

"I will always be accused of doing too much or not enough. I do not believe that we are infringing people's Charter rights. This is about taking measures to protect people from this virus," she said.

COVID-19 fines

Several fines were issued in Vancouver over the weekend as people continued to violate provincial COVID-19 health orders.

The Vancouver Police Department says it issued fines following health order violations at a pair of house parties, a birthday party and inside a limousine.

In all instances, there were too many people from different households gathering together.

Violation tickets ranged from $230 to $2,300.

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What's happening elsewhere in Canada

There have now been more than 382,812 cases of COVID-19 in Canada.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government will be ready to deploy vaccine shots soon after they receive the necessary Health Canada approvals.

Trudeau said the independent scientists reviewing the clinical trial data submitted by the drug-makers behind four promising vaccine candidates are working hard to ensure the safety of these products before Ottawa starts shipments.

Trudeau said once the regulator gives the green light to one of those vaccines, Canada will mobilize its public health infrastructure to deploy it to the provinces and territories.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Loss of taste or smell.
  • Headache.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or o​​​​​​ther extreme symptoms should call 911.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep your distance from people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

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