Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the COVID-19 situation in B.C. and around the world for April 20, 2022.
We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on 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, so be sure to check back often.
You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.
HEADLINES AT A GLANCE
• UBC says it will keep its mask mandate for indoor spaces until the end of June.
• Moderna plans to submit an application to the U.S. health regulator for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine for kids between the ages of six months to five years by the end of the April.
• Are you eligible for a second booster shot and wondering if you should get it? Here are some things to know about the fourth shot.
• An outbreak at Mountain Institution in Agassiz leaves dozens of inmates with COVID-19.
• The two-dose Nuvaxovid COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for use in Canada. Here’s how to find it near you.
• Delta Air Lines will restore flight privileges to about 2,000 customers who were barred from flights after failing to comply with mask rules.
• U.S. hospitalization rates for unvaccinated children ages 5 to 11 were twice as high as among those who were vaccinated during the record COVID-19 surge caused by the Omicron variant, according to a new study.
Here are the latest figures given on April 14 for the week of April 3 to 9:
• Hospitalized cases: 364
• Intensive care: 36
• Total deaths over seven days: 23 (total 3,036)
• New cases: 1,770 over seven days
• Total number of confirmed cases: 359,002
Read the full report here | Next update: April 21 at 1 p.m. (or later)
LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.
UBC to keep mask mandate in place until June 30 as sixth wave looms
The University of British Columbia says it will keep its mask mandate for indoor spaces until the end of June as experts anticipate the province will enter the sixth wave of the pandemic.
The university says in a statement there are signs of further Omicron variants and increased case numbers.
It says masks provide an added layer of protection, especially for those who are most vulnerable.
Read the full story here.
— The Canadian Press
Moderna to file for U.S. emergency use of COVID-19 shot for very young kids by April end
Moderna plans to submit an application to the U.S. health regulator for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine among kids between the ages of six months to five years by end of the month, a company spokesperson said on Wednesday.
The Omicron variant was predominant during Moderna’s pediatric trial, and the drugmaker said two doses were around 38% effective in preventing infections in 2 to 5-year-olds and 44% effective for children aged 6 months to under 2 years.
Last week, Pfizer Inc and BioNTech said a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine produced significant protection against the Omicron variant in healthy children from ages 5 to 11.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration authorized a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 and those aged 5 through 11 who are immunocompromised.
COVID-19: I’m eligible for a fourth COVID-19 shot. Should I get it?
Here are some things to know about the spring booster program in B.C., including who is eligible, what the recommendations are, and information on whether a new batch of COVID-19 vaccines is on the way.
Outbreak at Mountain Institution as 59 inmates test positive
A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Mountain Institution in Agassiz.
The Correctional Service of Canada reports that 59 inmates at the medium-security prison tested positive for COVID-19. Prison officials have put in measures to limit the spread of the virus, including a requirement that employees take a rapid self-test.
“This is an evolving situation and we continue to apply and reinforce infection prevention and control measures to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19,” said the correctional service in a statement Wednesday.
Staff are provided with masks, respirators and face shields, and inmates are encouraged to mask up when not in their cells. All offenders including new admissions are offered vaccines and boosters.
— Joseph Ruttle
Novavax: Where can you get Canada’s most recently approved COVID-19 vaccine?
The two-dose Nuvaxovid COVID-19 vaccine, created by the U.S. company Novavax, has been authorized for use in Canada for more than two months now. Recently, the rollout of the vaccine in clinics in most provinces and territories has begun.
Here is all you need to know about finding Novavax near you.
Delta to restore flight privileges to passengers barred over mask violations
Delta Air Lines said on Wednesday it plans to restore flight privileges to about 2,000 customers who were barred from flights after failing to comply with mask rules.
The Biden administration on Monday said it would no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on public transportation and airlines after a federal judge struck down the directive as unlawful.
Atlanta-based Delta Reuters it will restore passengers “only after each case is reviewed and each customer demonstrates an understanding of their expected behavior when flying with us. Any further disregard for the policies that keep us all safe will result in placement on Delta’s permanent no-fly list.”
The change will not impact Delta’s separate list of about 1,000 people “who demonstrated egregious behaviour and are already on the permanent no-fly list.”
Alberta COVID-19 third dose uptake lags behind rest of Canada as sixth wave bears on
Health officials are urging Albertans to roll up their sleeves for their booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine as the pandemic’s sixth wave continues to roll through the province.
In Alberta, third-dose vaccine coverage lags well behind the rest of the country, according to Health Canada data. Only 46.8 per cent of Alberta adults have received that first booster shot.
That’s compared to the Canadian average of 57.3 per cent; in every other province and territory, at least half of all adults have had a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Read the full story here.
— Jason Herring, The Calgary Herald
Canada keeping mask mandate
The Canadian government said on Tuesday it has no plans to stop requiring masks on planes.
“We are taking a layered approach to keeping travellers safe, and masks remain an incredibly useful tool in our arsenal against COVID-19,” a spokesperson for Canada’s Transport Minister wrote in an email.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration said on Tuesday it would appeal a judge’s ruling ending a mask mandate on airplanes if public health officials deem it necessary to stem the spread of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to whom the administration was deferring, said it would continue to study whether the mandates were still needed. The mandates apply to planes, trains and other public transportation and, prior to Monday’s ruling, had been due to expire on May 3.
Quebec judge bans father from taking son to protests against COVID-19 health orders
A Quebec judge has ruled a mother can have her young son vaccinated against the novel coronavirus without the father’s consent and ordered the father not to take the child to COVID-19 protests.
In a ruling dated April 12, Superior Court Justice Nathalie Pelletier sides with the 10-year-old’s mother, who says she learned the boy’s father forced him to lie about his age to avoid masking in public places.
The mother says the child’s father took him to the trucker convoy protests in Ottawa last winter, claiming he wanted to instil democratic values in the boy, but she argues those kinds of protests are dangerous for children.
The father, meanwhile, said demonstrations against COVID-19 health orders aren’t risky for children and that he has the right to a contrarian opinion against the vaccine.
— Canadian Press
Breathalyzer test for COVID-19 wins approval in U.S.
A COVID-19 breathalyzer test with the ability to provide diagnostic results in three minutes has won emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency announced Thursday.
The test kit – the size of a piece of carry-on luggage – can be used 160 times a day and must be administered by a health-care professional.
It works by detecting chemical compounds in breath samples associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The FDA said the test was validated in a study of 2,409 people, where it correctly identified 91.2 per cent of positive samples and 99.3 per cent of negative samples.
“Today’s authorization is yet another example of the rapid innovation occurring with diagnostic tests for COVID-19,” Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in the statement.
Shanghai hopes COVID tide turning
China’s commercial capital of Shanghai reported no new COVID-19 infections outside quarantine areas in two districts on Wednesday, fanning hopes that the tide is turning in its pandemic battle, as some factories began to resume operations.
State media trumpeted the resumption of production by electric car company Tesla at its Shanghai plant on Tuesday, after a halt of more than three weeks.
Unvaccinated children hospitalized at twice the rate during Omicron surge: U.S. study
Hospitalization rates for unvaccinated children ages 5 to 11 were twice as high as among those who were vaccinated during the record COVID-19 surge caused by the Omicron variant, according to a U.S. study released on Tuesday.
or every 100,000 unvaccinated children in the age group, 19.1 per were hospitalized with COVID-19 between mid-December and late February, compared with 9.2 per 100,000 vaccinated kids, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
The researchers looked at nearly 400 hospitalizations in 14 states during the period.
It found that among the 397 children who were hospitalized with COVID when Omicron was dominant, 87% were unvaccinated, one third had no underlying medical conditions, and 19% were admitted to an intensive care unit.
What are B.C.’s current public health measures?
MASKS: Masks are not required in public indoor settings though individual businesses and event organizers can choose to require them.
Masks are also encouraged but not required on board public transit and B.C. Ferries, though they are still required in federally regulated travel spaces such as trains, airports and airplanes, and in health-care settings.
GATHERINGS AND EVENTS: There are currently no restrictions on gatherings and events such as personal gatherings, weddings, funerals, worship services, exercise and fitness activities, and swimming pools.
There are also no restrictions or capacity limits on restaurants, pubs, bars and nightclubs; and no restrictions on sport activities.
CARE HOMES: There are no capacity restrictions on visitors to long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities, however, visitors must show proof of vaccination before visiting. Exemptions are available for children under the age of 12, those with a medical exemption, and visitors attending for compassionate visits related to end of life.
Visitors to seniors’ homes are also required to take a rapid antigen test before visiting the facility or be tested on arrival. Exemptions to testing are available for those attending for compassionate visits or end-of-life care.
How do I get vaccinated in B.C.?
Everyone who is living in B.C. and eligible for a vaccine can receive one by following these steps:
• Get registered online at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated to book an appointment in your community.
• Or, if you prefer, you can get registered and then visit a drop-in clinic in your health authority.
• The system will alert you when it is time to go for your second dose.
• The same system will also alert you when it is time for your booster dose.
Where can I get a COVID-19 test?
TESTING CENTRES: B.C.’s COVID-19 test collection centres are currently only testing those with symptoms who are hospitalized, pregnant, considered high risk or live/work with those who are high risk. You can find a testing centre using the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s testing centre map.
If you have mild symptoms, you do not need a test and should stay home until your fever is gone. Those without symptoms do not need a test.
TAKE-HOME RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS: Eligible British Columbians over the age of 18 with a personal health number can visit a pharmacy to receive a free take-home test kit containing five COVID-19 rapid antigen tests.
More news, fewer ads: Our in-depth journalism is possible thanks to the support of our subscribers. For just $3.50 per week, you can get unlimited, ad-lite access to The Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | The Province.