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 April 17 to 18, 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 April 16:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 117,080 (10,081 active cases)
• New cases since April 15: 1,005
• Total deaths: 1,530 (6 new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 425
• Intensive care: 127
• Total vaccinations: 1,282,091 doses administered (87,970 second doses)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 15,877
• Recovered: 105,291
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 12

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


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

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

COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot 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: 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


LATEST NEWS ON COVID-19 IN B.C.

SUNDAY

9 a.m. – Ontario backs down on playground ban, new police powers

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has backed down on his government’s ban on the use of park playgrounds one day after imposing the deeply unpopular measure on pandemic-weary families.

In a Saturday afternoon announcement made online, Ford said Ontario’s stay-at-home order was intended to stop the large park gatherings that can spread COVID-19.

“Our regulations will be amended to allow playgrounds, but gatherings outside will still be enforced,” Ford said, adding: “Play outside safely. Parents keep your distance and wear masks if you can’t.”

The province also reversed course on the sweeping new powers it granted police to enforce its stay-at-home order.

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In a statement released late Saturday, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said police officers will no longer have the right to make random stops of pedestrians and motorists to demand an address and a reason for their travel.

“If a police officer or other provincial offences officer has reason to suspect that you are participating in an organized public event or social gathering, they may require you to provide information to ensure you are complying with restrictions,” Jones said. “Every individual who is required to provide a police officer or other provincial offences officer with information shall promptly comply.”

– Ottawa Citizen

12 a.m. – Dance party held on Kitsilano Beach as B.C. hits record number of hospitalizations

As B.C. grapples with a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and a surge in the more contagious variants of the coronavirus, a dance party was held Friday evening on a crowded Kitsilano Beach in contravention of public health orders.

The beach party happened on the same day B.C. health officials urged people not to gather in large groups this weekend because of the variants. It was also the same day as Ontario went into lockdown, banning outdoor gatherings altogether.

Beryl Pye, a resident in the area, said she was riding a bike with a friend Friday shortly before 8 p.m. and was horrified to see dozens of people crowded together dancing to loud music on the beach.

Under the public health order, no more than 10 people are allowed to get together outside, and they should be spaced two metres apart unless they are from the same household.

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“There was a huge line-up for the bathrooms like I’ve never seen,” said Pye on Saturday.

“We sat away from the beach on a peninsula of grass and then a full-on dance party with loud music started on the beach. I had to take a video because it upset me so much. There was no police presence at all! It felt like a festival.”

Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth said it is “absolutely frustrating and disappointing” to see people blatantly disregarding the public health orders, especially with the case counts rising.

– Tiffany Crawford

SATURDAY

11 a.m. – Harness racing suspended at Surrey’s Fraser Downs because of financial pressure

Harness horse racing has been suspended at Surrey’s Fraser Downs because of COVID-19 financial pressure, leaving 135 workers unemployed.

Harness Racing BC says as the province enters year two of the pandemic, horse racing in the Fraser Valley is facing difficult times.

“Because of COVID, we’ve been forced to suspend all racing indefinitely after the last race tonight and 135 workers will be unemployed,” said Nigel Holmes, executive director of Harness Racing BC, in a statement Friday.

“We have no choice—we’ve literally run out of money to operate at the track.”

Holmes said the regular spring racing meet will end early and prospects don’t look good for running the fall meet either unless they can negotiate some form of short term COVID financial support from the B.C. government.

9 a.m. – Dance party held on Kitsilano Beach as B.C. grapples with surge in hospitalizations

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As B.C. grapples with a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and a surge in the more contagious variants of the coronavirus, a dance party was held Friday evening on a crowded Kitsilano Beach in contravention of public health orders.

The beach party happened on the same day B.C. health officials urged people not gather in large groups this weekend because of the variants. It was also the same day as Ontario went into lockdown, banning outdoor gatherings all together.

Beryl Pye, a resident in the area, said she was riding a bike with a friend Friday shortly before 8 p.m. and was horrified to see dozens of people crowded together dancing to loud music on the beach.

Under the public health order, no more than 10 people are allowed to get together outside, and spaced two metres apart unless they are from the same household.

“There was a huge line up for the bathrooms like I’ve never seen,” said Pye on Saturday.

“We sat away from the beach on a peninsula of grass and then a full on dance party with loud music started on the beach. I had to take a video because it upset me so much. There was no police presence at all! It felt like a festival.”

On Friday, B.C. recorded more than 1,000 new COVID cases, six additional deaths, and a third straight day of record hospitalizations, with 425 people in hospital with the coronavirus, surpassing the record of 409 set Thursday.

Out of hospitalized patients, 127 are in intensive care, up two from the previous day.

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12 a.m. – Hospitalizations hit record high again, as more than 1,000 new cases reported

On Friday, B.C. recorded more than 1,000 new COVID cases, six additional deaths, and a third straight day of record hospitalizations, with 425 people in hospital with the coronavirus, surpassing the record of 409 set Thursday.

Out of hospitalized patients, 127 are in intensive care, up two from the previous day.

B.C.’s 1,005 new cases are spread across the province, with the majority in the populous Fraser Health, 536 cases, and Vancouver Coastal Health regions, with 259 cases. There were 49 new cases in Vancouver Island Health, 110 in Interior Health, and 51 in Northern Health.

— Cheryl Chan

12 a.m. – Ontario gives police new powers to enforce stay-home order and ban on outdoor gatherings

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has extended the stay-at-home order by two weeks and has imposed further restrictions on outdoor activities and retail in the hopes of flattening the surge of COVID-19 cases in the province.

The announcement followed new COVID-19 modelling released by provincial science advisers on Friday, which showed that Ontario could top 20,000 cases a day if strong measures aren’t imposed.

Police enforcement of the stay-at-home order will also be enhanced, said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. Police will have the authority to ask anyone who is outside what their address is and to ask why they’re out, she said.


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

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