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COVID-19 update for Oct. 15: 667 new cases, 13 deaths | U.S. to accept mixed-vaxxed travellers | U.S. to open land borders on Nov. 8 for vaccinated foreign travellers

Here's your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

Here's your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Oct. 15, 2021.

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 Oct. 15:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 196,433 (5,128 active)
• New cases since Oct. 13: 667
• Total deaths: 2,055 (13 additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 367
• Intensive care: 152
• Total vaccinations: 4,126,668 received first dose; 3,848,689 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 188,851
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 19

IN-DEPTH:   Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021 | in 2020

B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

• COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

• COVID-19: B.C.’s vaccine passport is here and this is how it works

• COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

• COVID-19: Look up your neighbourhood in our interactive map of case and vaccination rates in B.C.

• COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

• COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

• COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

• B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

An increasingly deadly COVID-19 outbreak at a Burnaby long-term care home has a home care providers group asking why booster shots were not rolled out faster in B.C.

The B.C. government has reported 10 deaths so far at the 95-bed Willingdon Care Centre, but a letter purportedly sent to family and friends and posted on social media this week said there had been 12 deaths. The letter stated as many as 82 residents and 30 staff had tested positive for COVID-19. Fraser Health’s official numbers as of Friday were 78 cases among residents and 22 cases among staff.

B.C. Care Providers Association CEO Terry Lake said the family-owned facility was well run and had avoided an outbreak in the first three COVID-19 waves beginning in early 2020.

“If the residents there had had their … booster when Alberta and Ontario were giving out their boosters, it’s highly probable this would not have happened,” Lake said Friday.

Read more HERE .

— Gordon Hoekstra

B.C. doctors, dentists and other health professionals in private practice will soon be required to get vaccinated.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, issued an order Friday putting unvaccinated health professionals on notice that they would be required to be vaccinated in order to see patients or provide care or services in B.C.

The notice was directed at health professionals not covered by previous orders, including those who work in private practice and do not have privileges at a hospital or health-care facility. Henry’s order did not set a deadline.

COVID-19 vaccinations are already mandatory for staff at long-term care homes and assisted living facilities. Anyone who works in a health-care facility, including hospitals, will be required to be fully immunized by Oct. 26.

Read more HERE .

 — Cheryl Chan

You won’t need a COVID-19 test to enter the United States when that country reopens its land border to all fully vaccinated travellers from Canada on Nov. 8, but you’ll still need a test to return to Canada.

The Canada Border Services Agency issued a statement Friday reminding travellers that existing COVID-19 border measures for travellers entering or returning to this country remain in place.

That means even fully vaccinated travellers must undergo a molecular COVID-19 test, which includes a PCR test, and submit mandatory information and digital proof of vaccination using the ArriveCAN app or website within 72 hours before arriving. Rapid tests will not be accepted.

However, for trips that are less than 72 hours, travellers going to the U.S. will be permitted to take the test before leaving Canada.

— Postmedia News

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late on Friday that it will accept mixed-dose coronavirus vaccines from international travelers, a boost to travelers from Canada and other places.

The CDC said last week that it would accept any vaccine authorized for use by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization. “While CDC has not recommended mixing types of vaccine in a primary series, we recognize that this is increasingly common in other countries so should be accepted for the interpretation of vaccine records,” a CDC spokeswoman said.

The White House said Friday the new vaccine requirements for foreign nationals traveling to the United States will begin Nov. 8 for visitors crossing at land borders as well as international air travelers.

 — Reuters

667 new cases, 13 new deaths

B.C. reported 13 deaths on Friday, bringing the provincial death toll from COVID-19 to 2,055.

Eleven of the 13 deaths occurred in Fraser Health and include deaths from Willingdon Care Centre, a Burnaby long-term care facility, which has been suffering from a COVID-19 outbreak since late September that has infected at least 90 people.

There were 667 new cases reported on Friday. Out of the 5,128 active cases, 367 are in hospital including 152 in intensive care. The new cases are spread out across the province, with Fraser Health seeing the highest number of infections, at 246, followed by Northern Health with 184 and Interior Health with 101.

The U.S. says it will lift travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals effective Nov. 8, at land borders and for air travel.

Curbs on non-essential travellers at land borders have been in place since March 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic and were first imposed on air travellers in China in early 2020 and extended to more than 30 other countries.

— Reuters

New ‘circuit-breaker’ restrictions introduced in northern B.C.

B.C. has stepped up restrictions in northern B.C. following a rise in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the region.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said so far, 58 people have been transferred by plane from Northern Health hospitals to hospitals on Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver. Of those 58, 45 had COVID-19 and all but one of them had not fully vaccinated.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new measures are meant to stop transmission and save lives. The new rules covers the entire health region, except for areas including Terrace and Kitimat that had high rates of vaccination, effective Oct. 15 until Nov. 19.Some of the new restrictions include:

On Wednesday, the province reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Health Region and three deaths. There are 689 active cases in the region of about 300,000 people, which is only 32 fewer than currently active in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, a region that serves 1.25 million people.

In what may be a first for B.C., two women with physical disabilities have filed a constitutional challenge to the provincial government’s COVID-19 vaccine cards.

But a former B.C. attorney-general asked to comment on the case cautioned that Charter rights are not absolute and the government would likely argue that any infringement of the petitioners’ rights would be justified to prevent further harm caused by the pandemic.

The B.C. Supreme Court petition filed by Sarah Webb and Leigh Anne Eliason seeks a number of court orders including an injunction staying the legal effect or enforcement of the vaccine card orders.

Webb, a 39-year-old mother of two who lives and works in both Victoria and Calgary, says she got her first COVID-19 vaccine shot on May 2 but developed a reaction that included fatigue, cramping, heart arrhythmia and severe pain.

Read more HERE.

-Keith Fraser

Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna saw a surprising flurry of job applicants following the Thanksgiving long weekend to fill some of the 650 positions it’s trying to fill for the upcoming ski season, not that it takes any pressure off senior vice-president Michael Ballingall.

In a normal year, Big White would get five to six applicants for every position it offers, this year, deep in B.C.’s fourth wave of COVID-19, “we don’t have one-to-one,” Ballingall said, which is currently typical across a lot of ski resorts in the province.

Skiing proved to be a popular outdoor outlet for a lot of British Columbians during the first waves of the pandemic, which has resorts banking on another solid season.

Recruiting, however, remains a challenge as earlier COVID-related travel restrictions still make it difficult to secure the usual pool of snow-seeking foreign visitors that resorts traditionally relied on to fill out their workforce, and resorts compete with all other hospitality businesses to hire from an increasingly thin local labour pool.

Read more HERE.

-Derrick Penner

B.C. MAP OF WEEKLY COVID CASE COUNTS, VACCINATION RATES

Find out how your neighbourhood is doing in the battle against COVID-19 with the latest number of new cases, positivity rates, and vaccination rates:

B.C. VACCINE TRACKER

LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

• B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

• Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

• HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

• B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

• Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

• World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press