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For a second consecutive day this week, the new case count exceeded the 500 case mark.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix pointed out that the highest number of new cases in Fraser Health have been in Abbotsford and the Tri-Cities, rather than Surrey, which has frequently had higher numbers.

Dix said that these numbers show that COVID-19 is everywhere and that people should not be attending karaoke or trivia events in person, when these can be done virtually. Those examples refer to two karaoke bars that Richmond RCMP shut down last weekend, as well as a trivia night held at Port Moody’s St. James’s Well, which led to to 24 cases and a secondary outbreak at a childcare centre. 

In travel news, Transport Canada stated on February 18 that two passengers, who took flights from Mexico to Canada on January 23, have been fines of $10,000 and $7,000 respectively for presenting false or misleading COVID-19 test results and for making false declarations about their health statuses. The news release did not identify which city these individuals are in.

In addition, Public Safety Canada stated today that restrictions on non-essential foreign travellers have been extended until April 21.

In health violation news, the Vancouver Police Department reported that a man was physically assaulted at a Downtown Vancouver gym when he asked another gym user to wear a mask. Police arrested the male suspect and are recommending assault charges.  

While there have been a number of high profile cases of people violating provincial health orders—ranging from operating makeshift nightclubs to jumping queues to get the vaccines to physical conflicts over mask wearing—there could be more examples than expected.

Poll results released by Insights West today (February 19) found that only 34 percent of British Columbians feel that they are following all the rules all of the time. Nationally, 48 percent of Canadians claim to be doing the same.

That puts B.C. lower than Alberta (48 percent), Ontario (51 percent), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (54 percent), and Quebec (56 percent) in that category.

In contrast, 48 percent of British Columbians feel that they are following all of the rules nearly all the time, compared to 36 percent at the national level.

B.C. is the highest in this category when compared to Quebec (24 percent), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (30 percent), Alberta (35 percent), and Ontario (36 percent).

When those two categories were combined, B.C. (at 81 percent) was around the same levels as other provinces, which ranged from 80 percent in Quebec to 87 percent in Ontario.

British Columbians were found to be the least likely Canadians to take a flight of any kind, particularly in contrast to those in Ontario and Quebec.

When it comes to spring break, the survey found that 63 percent of Canadians are planning to do activities that may break provincial health rules, including:

  • indoor visits with family members (50 percent) or friends (49 percent) who are outside of the households;
  • driving to a vacation destination (30 percent); staying in a hotel outside their community (28 percent);
  • using air travel to visit family in their province (19 percent) or in Canada (16 percent) or for a vacation in Canada (18 percent).
Insights West

At a briefing from Vancouver, deputy provincial health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson, filling in for Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced there are 508 new cases in B.C. today, including (by region):

  • 286 new cases in Fraser Health;
  • 116 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
  • 59 in Interior Health;
  • 25 in Northern Health;
  • 22 in Island Health;
  • no one from outside of Canada.

Active cases are up for another consecutive day. Currently, there are 4,486 active cases, which is an increase of 138 new cases since yesterday.

In contrast, the number of hospitalized cases continues to decrease. With seven people discharged from hospitals since yesterday, there are now 217 people are in hospital, with 61 of those patients in intensive care units (one more since yesterday).

Public health is monitoring 7,699 people for exposures to identified cases.

A cumulative total of 69,970 people have recovered.

Sadly, there have been six new deaths—Dix said that four of those people were in Interior Health and two were in Fraser Health. The total number of fatalities in B.C. is now at 1,327 people who have died during the pandemic. 

B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 75,835 cases during the pandemic.

As of today, B.C. has administered 192,942 doses in its immunization program, with 36,923 of those being second doses.

Gustafson said there are 72 variant cases in B.C., which include:

  • 52 cases of the B117 variant (U.K.);
  • 20 of the B1351 variant (South Africa).

She didn’t mention the B1525 variant (Nigeria) that was announced to have been confirmed in B.C. on February 12.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix

Gustafson said there are 19 active outbreaks in healthcare facilities, which includes 13 in longterm care facilities and six in acute care facilities. These outbreaks involve a total of 734 cases (447 residents and 287 staff).

Interior Health stated today that the outbreak at Canim Lake has been declared over. A total of 66 cases and two deaths were involved in the outbreak, which was declared on January 11. 

In addition, Interior Health also announced today that the community cluster in Fernie has been contained. No new cases have been reported since January 31 and a total of 97 cases (which have all recovered) have been confirmed.

At Big White Mountain, there is one new case in this community cluster since the last update on February 12. Currently, there remain 11 active cases out of a total of 237 cases involved in this cluster.

At Williams Lake, there have been three new cases confirmed in this cluster since the last update on February 16. There are 38 active cases at the moment, and a total of 417 cases confirmed in this cluster.

Northern Health provided an update on the outbreak at the Pretium Resources Brucejack Mine located north of Stewart, B.C., which was declared on February 10. As of today, there have been 42 cases confirmed, and nine of those cases remain active.

Loblaw had three stores with staff members who tested positive.

Two stores were Real Canadian Superstore locations, including:

  • two employees who last worked on February 12 and 13 at 6–291 Cowichan Way in Duncan;
  • one employee who last worked on February 15 at 32136 Lougheed Highway in Mission.

The third store was Shoppers Drug Mart (288 East Columbia Street) in New Westminster, where an employee who tested positive last worked on February 15.

CTV News reported that four McDonald’s location temporarily closed over the past two weeks after staff members tested positive, including in North Vancouver, Revelstoke, Fort St. John, and Prince George.