Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Nov. 19, 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. 18:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 24,422 (6,861 active)
• New cases since Nov. 16: 762
• Hospitalized cases: 209
• Intensive care: 58
• COVID-19 related deaths: 320 (10 new)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 9,871
• Recovered: 16,914
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 55
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.
8:45 a.m. – Vancouver Tenants Union calls for reinstatement of eviction ban
The Vancouver Tenants Union is calling on Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, to advocate to the provincial government for an immediate reinstatement of the eviction ban because of the surge in COVID-19 cases.
The union says it has sent a letter to the ministries of health and municipal affairs and housing, but no one has acknowledged the receipt of the letter.
“With the health orders now in place indicating that social gatherings are unsafe, you have to wonder how safe it is to lose your home,” said VTU spokesperson Mazdak Gharibnavaz.
“Renters’ homes are their first line of defense when it comes to preventing sickness. Dr. Henry must be asked if she believes it is currently safe for renters to lose their homes, and if it’s not, will she commit to advocating to the provincial government for an immediate reinstatement of the eviction ban.”
According to the union, about 15 per cent of rental households have not paid full rent during the pandemic and are shouldering the burden of rent debt.
Many of these households have been evicted or are at high risk of eviction due to the rent hikes that have been enforced by the government under its sanctioned repayment plan, the union added.
Health officials say there are more than 100 cases of COVID-19 at Tabor Home in Abbotsford, in the largest outbreak at a long-term care centre in the Fraser Health region since the pandemic hit B.C. in March.
Fraser Health declared the outbreak on Nov. 6, saying that two staff members and two residents had tested positive for the virus. Tabor Home is a long term care facility in Abbotsford that is owned and operated by Tabor Village. It has 118 long term care beds.
In a note to family and friends Monday, Tabor Village said that 42 staff and 59 residents had tested positive for the virus.
“Many staff who tested positive for the virus were in shock as they experienced no symptoms,” the note said.
“It is our belief that many of these positive cases are individuals who already had the virus within them, but didn’t display symptoms or show on their test until later.”
An organization representing seniors-care providers in British Columbia has released new recommendations as a second wave of COVID-19 descends on the province.
The B.C. Care Providers Association, which speaks for long-term care, assisted living, independent living and home health operators, has issued a report examining the response to seniors care during the pandemic.
Association CEO Terry Lake says strong measures have already been implemented by the health ministry, but his organization sees more ways to improve the lives of seniors and caregivers.
Key recommendations include the use of rapid testing protocols and clear guidelines on how essential family caregivers can stay safely connected to their loved ones.
The report also calls for better funding and pandemic pay for staff, along with improved mental health and safety programs to ease what Lake says is widespread employee burnout.
Heath industry consultant Howegroup authored the report, which also says the liberties of residents and staff were eroded by a series of public health orders and restrictions on visits to seniors’ facilities.
“There are many lessons from our experiences during the pandemic so far, and one of them is the need to protect residents’ quality of life during this vulnerable time,” Lake says in a statement.
The report was compiled following a sector-wide consultation of care facilities, staff and residents, using a mix of interviews, roundtables, a member survey and online submissions.
The COVID-19 case count in B.C. continued to break records Wednesday, with 762 new cases in one day.
Ten more people have died, bringing total deaths province-wide to 320.
Hospitalizations climbed past 200 for the first time since the pandemic began, with 209 residents now being treated in hospital, including 58 in intensive care.
The Canada-U. S. border is set to remain closed well into December.
A federal source speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly confirmed the 30-day rollover of the closure that was set to expire on Friday.
Visits such as vacations, day trips and cross-border shopping excursions have been forbidden since March in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The mutual restrictions have been jointly extended on a monthly basis by the two countries ever since they were first imposed.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the ban won’t be eased until there is clear evidence the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing in the United States, which is it is clearly not.
The U.S. is setting daily records for new cases and hospitalization rates, and the death toll is tracking toward 250,000.
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