Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Nov. 18, 2020.
We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.
Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.
B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS
As of the latest figures given on Nov. 17:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 23,661 (6,589 active)
• New cases since Nov. 16: 717
• Hospitalized cases: 198
• Intensive care: 63
• COVID-19 related deaths: 310 (11 new)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 10,960
• Recovered: 16,489
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 53
LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.
3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.
Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.
10:30 a.m. – B.C. premier calls for restrictions on non-essential travel in Canada
The premier of British Columbia says Canada needs a national strategy to discourage non-essential travel between provinces.
Non-essential travel within B.C. is prohibited right now, and John Horgan says it will continue to be this way for another two weeks at least.
Horgan says he’ll be calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to implement a pan-Canadian approach to travel.
“We need to make sure that those who want to come to British Columbia must do so only if it is essential for their business or their well being,” Horgan said Wednesday.
“What I’m suggesting is that the people of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba need to know that they should stay in Quebec, Ontario Manitoba, until we get to a place where we can start distributing vaccine across the country.”
B.C. health officials reported 717 new COVID-19 cases and an additional 11 deaths from the respiratory disease, both one-day records.
There have been 310 COVID-19 related deaths in the province since the pandemic started.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu is tapping a former national security adviser to lead a probe into whether Canada’s pandemic warning system fell down just before COVID-19 reared up.
Margaret Bloodworth will chair a three-member review panel studying what went wrong with the Global Public Health Intelligence Network.
She will be joined by former deputy public health officer Dr. Paul Gully, and Mylaine Breton, Canada Research Chair in Clinical Governance on Primary Health Care at Universite de Sherbrooke in Quebec.
The network, known commonly as GPHIN, was created more than two decades ago and helped flag both the SARS pandemic in 2003, and H1N1 in 2009, before either really exploded.
But its role in gathering intelligence and reporting on international outbreaks of disease shifted in 2019 when the Public Health Agency of Canada began focusing more on domestic matters.
Some experts have said that shift left Canada without early intelligence on the novel coronavirus as it emerged in China last fall and Hajdu intends review to explore whether the system failed and how it could better prepare Canada for future pandemics.
The Canadian Press
America’s top infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci says Canada, once an example of managing COVID-19 is getting into dangerous territory as the virus surges across the world.
“Right now, the entire planet is in trouble. If you look at almost every country, there are very few exceptions,” said Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in an interview with CBC News.
“The European Union, if you look at the number of new infections, it’s out of sight. The United States is out of sight. Canada, which was supposedly doing so well, is also getting into trouble. There’s a lot of community spread.”
Fauci worries particularly about the spread of the novel coronavirus at the household level, where smaller groups of people are becoming infected but may not even know about it. This is because of the threat of asymptomatic people.
7:45 a.m. – Canada accused of hoarding vaccines
For a government that’s faced its fair share of criticism over handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the statistics seem like a sign of exceptional competence.
Canada has pre-ordered far more COVID-19 vaccine per capita, and from more potential suppliers, than any other country, figures from North Carolina’s Duke University suggest.
And that includes the two manufacturers — Pfizer and Moderna — that recently reported promising results on the effectiveness of their products.
But to international development organizations, Canada’s accomplishment is something else a sign of how rich countries are “hoarding” coronavirus vaccine in a way that will deprive poorer nations for months or years.
7:30 a.m. – We are searching for COVID-19 heroes
Do you know a COVID-19 hero?
They could be a neighbour, a teacher or a volunteer because heroes are everywhere.
Tell us about them and they might become part of an upcoming series in print and online. Send submissions to [email protected] with the subject line “COVID heroes.”
B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported a terrible day — a record 11 deaths and a record 717 new cases between noon Monday and noon Tuesday, with the number of active cases and hospitalizations growing.
Henry said those new cases were “connected to travel to and from the Lower Mainland.”
12 a.m. – Several staff test positive at Langley Superstore
Loblaw Companies Ltd. says four staff members at its Real Canadian Superstore location at in Langley have tested positive for COVID-19.
On the company website , Loblaw says the last days that the infected staff members worked at the Willowbrook Drive grocery store were on Nov. 6, Nov. 9, Nov. 10 and Nov. 13.
Meanwhile, a staff member at the Real Canadian Superstore on Gladwin Road in Abbotsford has also tested positive. Loblaw says that employee last worked on Nov. 13.
Neither store is listed on Fraser Health’s record of current public exposures .
A bar in Campbell River has been fined $4,600 for failing to comply with COVID-19 health regulations.
Campbell River RCMP spokesperson Const. Maury Tyre said the bar, which police did not identify, had been visited multiple times by police and health officials for flouting B.C.’s COVID-19 Related Measures Act.
Tyre said the earlier visits were for “educational purposes” to ensure the rules, which include no more than six people to a table and cutting off liquor sales at 10 p.m., were being followed.
However, during a subsequent check on the downtown venue, officers found further violations and issued the bar two fines of $2,300.
“They were serving past 10, there were more than six people to a table … just about every regulation you can think of was not being followed,” said Tyre.
Actor Richard Schiff, who portrays Dr. Aaron Glassman as the Vancouver-shot TV series The Good Doctor, has been hospitalized after contracting COVID-19.
The 65-year-old Schiff confirmed on Twitter Monday that he is in hospital and being treated with a combination of the antiviral drug Remdesivir, oxygen and steroids.
Schiff, who tested positive on Nov. 3, says he is showing improvements every day.
Season 4 of The Good Doctor has been filming in Vancouver since Sept. 3.
His wife Sheila Kelley, who also stars on the ABC medical drama, and son Gus have also tested positive for the respiratory disease but have not been hospitalized. Kelley said she is in quarantine at their Vancouver home.
B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS
LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information
Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.
–with files from The Canadian Press