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

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for March 1, 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.


As of the latest figures given on Feb. 26

• Total number of confirmed cases: 79,262 (4,665 active)
• New cases since Feb. 25: 521 (corrected by Ministry of Health on Feb. 26)
• Total deaths: 1,355 (7 new)
• Hospitalized cases: 232
• Intensive care: 63
• Total vaccinations: 252,373 doses, of which 73,808 are second doses
• Cases under public health monitoring: 8,040
• Recovered: 73,188
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 16


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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


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

COVID-19 FAQ: What you need to know about the vaccine rollout in B.C.

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

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

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


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. – Health officials announce more details of B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination plan

Seniors over 80 and Indigenous people over 65 will start receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations on March 15, B.C.’s premier said Monday morning as he released details of the province’s mass vaccination plan for the general public.

The province will extend the timeline between the first and second dose to 16 weeks, or 112 days, to allow more people to be given some vaccine protection faster. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said research has shown that one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine provides up to 90 per cent protection for up to four months.


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Approximately 400,000 people, including 175,000 seniors over 80 living at home and 35,000 Indigenous seniors over 65, will receive their first dose of the vaccine in mid-March and early April as part of phase 2 of B.C.’s four-phase vaccination strategy.

About 190,000 vaccines are destined for high-risk groups, including health care workers, and high-risk people living in congregate settings, such as shelters or correctional facilities. Vaccines will also be delivered to about 9,000 people living in remote or isolated Indigenous communities who are still waiting for the vaccine.

Seniors can begin calling to book their appointment on or after March 8. Each health authority will have their own call centre number but those numbers have not yet been released.

Vaccinations for people between the ages of 60 to 79 will begin in mid-April as part of Phase 3. The vaccine will be prioritized based on five-year increments, starting with people aged 75 to 79 and Indigenous people over 60, who can start registering for an appointment at the end of March. People will be expected to register through a two-step online registration and booking system with a provincial call centre to help those who need it.

The province has not yet revealed details or a website for the online registration system.

Finally, those under 59 will receive their vaccinations between July and September, again based on five-year increments, going from oldest to youngest.

Watch the announcement live here:


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We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

10:15 a.m. – Metro Vancouver wastewater carries COVID-19, new app reveals viral load

A new online tool allows Metro Vancouver residents to track the viral load of COVID-19 found in untreated wastewater at each of the region’s five wastewater treatment plants.

Metro Vancouver, the regional district that delivers water, waste treatment and other services to the area’s local governments, says the tool is now active on its website.

A statement from Metro Vancouver says it worked with the public health laboratory of the BC Centre for Disease Control and the University of British Columbia to sample and test wastewater to track the presence and trends of the COVID-19 virus.

Residents can click on a specific wastewater treatment plant on a map to see a snapshot of the COVID-19 virus trend for that area.

Metro Vancouver says tracking the viral load can help health authorities evaluate how well COVID-19 containment measures are working.

But they say it can’t pinpoint the number of people who are infected or contagious.

— Canadian Press

7:45 a.m. – Port of Vancouver breaks records despite COVID-19 pandemic

The Port of Vancouver has reported stellar numbers today, showing record shipments of grain, potash and containers — despite a continuing global pandemic.

The 2020 port figures show a record in grain shipments for the fifth year in a row to 35.1 million metric tonnes — which is a 24 per cent jump over 2019.

Overall, cargo was steady at 145.4 million metric tonnes.


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– David Carrigg, Postmedia

6:20 a.m. – When the pandemic goes away, get ready for the great snapback

Social distancing was just one of the buzzwords of 2020. A quick Infomart search turned up almost 80,000 uses of it in print media last year. In 2019, there were exactly nine, often with the term in quotation marks, followed by an explanation of what it meant. A British virologist named John Oxford was using it to describe how to avoid catching a cold or the flu.

But this raises the question: If a term (and its attendant behaviour) can go from obscurity to ubiquity in less than a year, what are the chances that, when the pandemic goes away, we all go back to the way things were, including the sidewalk two-step?

Steve Joordens, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, thinks it’s very likely. He even has a name for it: The great snapback.

“We’re social creatures from birth,” he says. “There’s no other animal that needs to be with others of its kind for as long and as closely as we do. It is our go-to strategy when we’re feeling stress or danger or threat. We go to another human being and connect with them emotionally.”

He notes that when the pandemic was new, his first reaction was that distancing would become the norm and stay that way. But he’s had time to think about it — if there’s one thing COVID-19 has given us, it’s ample time for solitary reflection — and he’s now convinced that when the danger of infection has faded, so too will the physical responses we’ve learned to deal with it.


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– Chris Knight, National Post

6 a.m. – Churches in court to challenge British Columbia’s COVID-19 health orders

A legal advocacy group challenging British Columbia’s COVID-19 restrictions on worship services and public protests is scheduled to be in court today to argue its case.

A petition filed by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms also asks the B.C. Supreme Court to dismiss tickets of up to $2,300 each for alleged violations of the public health orders.

The Calgary-based organization says it represents over a dozen individuals and faith communities in the province.

The challenge is based on several sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including freedom of conscience and religion, and freedom of peaceful assembly.

British Columbia’s Ministry of Health has said it is confident all the provincial health officer’s orders are in accordance with the law, including the charter.

– The Canadian Press

6 a.m. – Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

The federal government hopes to start receiving doses of AstraZeneca’s recently approved COVID-19 vaccine this week as the flood of shots that flowed into Canada from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna last week partially subsides.

Health Canada announced on Friday that it had approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, the third COVID-19 shot to have received regulatory approval since the start of the pandemic.


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Canada has ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine, with the majority to be delivered from the United States between April and September.

But two million jabs have been ordered from the Serum Institute of India, and Verity Pharmaceuticals, which is facilitating the institute’s application in Canada, has said the first 500,000 would reach Canadian shores this week.

A senior government official told The Canadian Press on background Sunday that the first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday, though the shipment has not been confirmed.

– The Canadian Press

12 a.m. – Chinatown advocates call for better plan to vaccinate low-income seniors

Advocates are calling for a more coordinated plan for vaccinating low income seniors living in Chinatown’s hundreds of affordable housing and SRO units.

“We just thought we would raise the point to make sure it’s on people’s radar,” said Michael Tan, co-chair of the Vancouver Chinatown Legacy Stewardship Group, which was appointed by the City of Vancouver.

So far, he sees very little sign of any groundwork in place for how Vancouver Coast Health (VCH) plans to inform and ensure seniors in Chinatown have access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Tan is also vice-president of the Chau Luen Society, a non-profit that was established in 1943 and runs a low-income housing residence for over 100 seniors on Keefer Street.

He said Chau Luen, like other societies that manage buildings with mostly Chinese senior residents, isn’t just a landlord. It also provides “linguistically accessible and culturally appropriate programming and support (so) residents are able to live fully.”


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He estimated there are about 1,900 seniors living by themselves in Chinatown and Strathcona, mostly in SROs and affordable housing units.

– Joanne-Lee Young, Postmedia


4 p.m. Two new variant cases appear in Surrey school after earlier exposure

Fraser Health has told parents at two Surrey schools where they has been COVID-19 variant exposures that there have been more cases – including two variants.

On Sunday, the health authority told parents at Surrey Traditional School that four more cases had been discovered that were related to an exposure on Feb. 8, 10 and 11 and that two were variant. The testing of seven staff and 37 students was done on Feb. 22 and 23 with the results not being immediately available due to the whole genome sequencing needed to identify a COVID-19 variant.

Fraser Health also told parents at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary, where there was an exposure from Feb. 3-12 with four cases, that one additional case had been identified after testing 33 staff and 56 students who were exposed to the disease at school and it was not a variant case.

On Friday, Fraser Health reported three additional COVID-19 variant exposures at Surrey schools -at Queen Elizabeth Secondary, Frank Hurt Secondary and M.B. Sanford Elementary.

There has been 10 variant exposures reported in B.C. schools – with nine in Surrey and one in Delta.

The other schools are AHP Matthew Elementary, Tamanawis Secondary, Gobind Savar School, James Ardiel Elementary and Hellings Elementary in Delta.


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12 p.m. – B.C. should prioritize essential workers in vaccine rollout, experts say

Vaccination plans that target essential workers would not only be more equitable but would lead to fewer cases, deaths and people suffering chronic COVID-19 symptoms, according to a new preprint study from Simon Fraser University modelling experts. It would still provide “a significant level of indirect protection” for older adults.

The study was based on models that included current COVID-19 conditions in B.C. and used age and essential worker data from the province.

Results also suggest that vaccinating B.C.’s essential workers could lead to reopening the economy “months sooner than if we go age based,” said Dr. Caroline Colijn, Research Chair in Mathematics for Evolution, Infection and Public Health at SFU and an author of the study.

“What we found in the modelling is that the benefit of vaccinating the people who have high contact is actually a lot higher than the benefits from our age based rollout,” said Colijn.

Essential workers in B.C. are defined as those services “essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning,” and includes everything from health care workers and public safety staff, to people working in grocery stores, food processing plants and community services like child care, among others.

— Nathan Griffiths

11:40 a.m. – Vancouver police break up gender reveal party, fine host


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Vancouver police busted a gender reveal party held inside a downtown Vancouver condominium on Saturday night, and the party host received a $2,300 fine for violating provincial COVID-19 restrictions.

Police began receiving reports around 8:15 p.m. about a large gathering being held inside an apartment near Robson and Hamilton streets.

VPD spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison said responding officers reported that there were 17 people inside the suite.

B.C.’s current COVID-19 restrictions prohibit social gatherings of any kind with anyone outside of one’s household or core bubble.

“The host was given a $2,300 ticket and the party was shut down,” said Addison.

10 a.m. – What B.C. can learn from Washington State’s vaccine rollout

As B.C. begins to put in place the pieces to significantly ramp-up and administer millions of vaccines starting in April, our next-door American neighbours may have some lessons to provide.

Because the U.S. has had access to a much greater supply of vaccine that they produce domestically, Washington state is well ahead of B.C. in its vaccine rollout plan.

As of the middle of last week, the latest date for which official information is available, Washington state has administered more than 1.5 million doses to its residents. B.C. has administered one sixth of that, at just under 253,000 as of last Friday, and has yet to scale-up delivery to the public.

But it hasn’t been an entirely smooth road for Washington state.


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The state had to deal with early problems with its online tools to help book appointments and track vaccines, and also struggled to administer all the vaccines that were delivered, at one point administering to people less than 50 per cent of vaccines supplied. That figure has increased to 78 per cent.

Like B.C., Washington state has a phased vaccine rollout plan that prioritizes some groups first. The state first inoculated front-line health care workers, residents and staff at long-term care homes, and is now vaccinating people 65-and-over.

Washington state, which has a private-public health care system, has a more decentralized vaccine rollout system than what is likely to occur in B.C., which has a public health-care system. The state has four mass-vaccination sites, but the vaccines are also being distributed through 1,200 smaller facilities that include hospitals, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, seniors’ homes, public health centres, fair grounds, arenas and private-insurance medical clinics.

— Gordon Hoekstra

9:15 a.m. – Three more Vancouver flights on COVID-19 exposure list

The B.C. Centre of Disease Control has added three more Vancouver flights to its list possible COVID-19 exposures.

The affected flights are:

• Feb. 24: Air Canada 103, Toronto to Vancouver
• Feb. 21: Air Canada 114, Vancouver to Toronto
• Feb. 21: Air Canada/Jazz 8413, Kelowna to Vancouver

The centre says all passengers on a domestic flight with a COVID-19 case should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.


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9 a.m. – UK says first COVID vaccines given to 20 million people

A total of 20.09 million people in Britain have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, official data released on Sunday showed.

As of Saturday, a little more than 1.3 million Canadians had received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine and just under 521,000 had received their second shot.

Britain also reported a further 6,035 cases within the previous 24 hours, and 144 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

The latest figures meant cases over the past seven days were down 21.2 per cent compared with the previous seven-day period, and deaths were down 33.5 per cent.

8:30 a.m. – Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue.

Their comments came after the head of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Mark Machin, stepped down after admitting to travelling to Dubai to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The reputational damage — the lasting scar of you being caught, outed and tarred and feathered in the public square over your decision to engage in vaccine tourism — will linger,” said Wojtek Dabrowski, managing partner of Provident Communications.

He said it will likely be some time until Machin, once a highly respected money manager, lands a new gig, as most companies will be loath to have their names associated with his.


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“You have to think about what kind of organization would take on a leader with this in their background,” Dabrowski said.

Decisions to travel abroad for COVID-19 vaccines also raise questions about the culture a person expects to cultivate in their company, he added.

– Canadian Press

8:15 a.m. – Exposure alert at Maple Ridge gym

Fraser Health is warning the public about a potential COVID-19 exposure at a health club in Maple Ridge.

The health authority says anyone who visited Olympians Gym at 22611 Lougheed Highway during business hours on Feb. 17, 18 and 19 may have been exposed to the virus.

The exposure is believed to be low-risk, but Fraser Health advises anyone who visited the gym on those days  to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms, such as fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, loss of smell and/or diarrhea.

Those with symptoms are asked to seek testing and then self-isolate.


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


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