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COVID-19 update for Feb. 6-7: Brazil variant detected in Ontario | Canada hits 800,000 total cases

a close up of a decorated cake: FILE PHOTO: The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020.

© Provided by Vancouver Sun
FILE PHOTO: The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020.

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Feb. 6, 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. 5

• Total number of confirmed cases: 69,716 (4,423 active)

• New cases since Feb. 4: 471

• Total deaths: 1,246 (6 new)

• Hospitalized cases: 253

• Intensive care: 70

• Total vaccinations: 149, 564 of which 10,3666 are second doses.

• Cases under public health monitoring: 6,886

• Recovered: 62,567

• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 31

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


Sunday, 1:30 p.m. – First Brazilian and South African variants of COVID-19 identified in Toronto

Toronto Public Health has confirmed the first cases of the Brazilian and South African variant of the COVID-19 virus in the city.

A patient who had recently travelled from Brazil has tested positive for the P.1 COVID-19 mutation. They are currently hospitalized.

Health officials also reported the first confirmed case of the B.1.351 mutation, known as the South African variant of the virus. This person has no recent travel history and has had no known contact with anyone who has recently traveled.

Sunday, 10:30 a.m. – More Vancouver flights added to airline exposure list

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed some more recent flights that had potential COVID-19 exposure.

The BCCDC added these seven flights to its exposure list on Saturday:

• Jan 24: Air Canada 301, Montreal to Vancouver

• Jan 29: AeroMexico 696, Mexico City to Vancouver

• Feb 1: Air Canada 551, Los Angeles  to Vancouver

• Feb 1: Air Canada/Jazz 8239, Terrace to Vancouver

• Feb 1: Air Canada/Jazz 8550, Vancouver to Regina

• Feb 1: WestJet 711, Toronto to Vancouver

• Feb 2: Air Canada 306, Vancouver to Montreal


Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – Canada hits 800,000 total cases of COVID-19, top doctor says numbers trending down

Canada crossed another disheartening threshold in the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday, even as the country’s top doctor said there are hopeful signs with case counts and hospitalizations gradually trending downward.

The national tally of total cases since the onset of the global health crisis surpassed 800,000, led by daily reports from Quebec and Ontario that added 1,204 and 1,388 respectively to the overall count. Federal government data shows Canada has logged 801,057 total infections and 20,702 deaths over the course of the pandemic.

It took three weeks for Canada to add another 100,000 cases to its national tally, with the government reporting just over 700,000 diagnoses on Jan. 16.

Quebec, meanwhile, was poised to record its 10,000th death linked to the illness. The 27 fatalities counted Saturday pushed the provincial death toll to 9,999.

At the same time, a statement from Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said national surveillance data show “hopeful signs of declining COVID-19 activity,” suggesting ongoing public health restrictions across the country are taking effect.

“It is crucial that strong measures are kept in place in order to maintain a steady downward trend,” she added.

– The Canadian Press

Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – Chronic Covid-19 and convalescent plasma may boost mutation risk

British doctors who spent 102 days treating a cancer survivor for Covid-19 documented how the virus mutated after the man was treated with convalescent plasma.

The case study suggests the use of blood plasma donated from Covid-19 survivors may have put enough pressure on the virus to force it to evolve. The result: Less susceptibility to immune system antibodies that normally fight off infection, according to the report published Friday in the journal Nature.

While the convalescent plasma didn’t seem to harm the patient, it offered no clear benefit, said senior author Ravindra Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at the Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease. It should be used cautiously in people with chronic immune conditions, he said, preferably in clinical trials or carefully controlled settings.

The report also suggests that numerous mutations may be emerging among patients who have both compromised immune systems and chronic infections.

“When the virus has a chance to sit in one person for a long time and replicates for weeks and months, it learns how to fight the immune system,” Gupta said. It’s all about “pressure on the virus.”

The patient didn’t develop the exact variant that’s now become the dominant form of the virus circulating in the U.K., the report said, but it did have certain elements in common. “It just illustrates that someone like him is probably patient zero,” Gupta said.

– Bloomberg News

Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – Israel won’t reach herd immunity even if all adults jabbed

Israel is unlikely to reach herd immunity from Covid-19 even if all adults are inoculated, because there is currently no vaccine that has been approved for children, Israel’s top public health official said on Sunday.

“At the moment we have 2.5 million children that can’t be vaccinated, we probably won’t reach herd immunity, even if the entire population that can be vaccinated, will be vaccinated,” Sharon Alroy-Preis said at a parliamentary committee meeting.

More than a third of the 9.3 million people who live in Israel have had at least one dose of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine, and about one-fifth are fully vaccinated.

– Bloomberg News

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. – No evidence of further exposure to U.K. variant at Garibaldi

Fraser Health says extensive testing at Garibaldi Secondary School after a confirmed case of the U.K. variant of the novel coronavirus shows no further exposure.

Public health confirmed the case and possible exposure on Jan. 18 and 19, but tests of 87 staff and students identified as close contacts came back negative.

Saturday, 2 p.m. – Fraser Health declares outbreak at Mountain View Manor in Delta

Fraser Health has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at Mountain View Manor long-term care home in Delta after two staff members tested positive for the virus.

Mountain View Manor in Delta is a long-term care facility that is owned and operated by Fraser Health.

Health officials say the staff members are in self-isolation at their homes.

Enhanced control measures have been put in place at the site, and Fraser Health is working to identify anyone who may have been exposed.

5 a.m. – Health officials issue plea to Whistler residents and visitors

Vancouver Coastal Health is pleading with all Whistler residents and potential visitors to be vigilant and follow provincial guidelines and orders to keep other people safe.

The agency says a higher than average number of individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in this community.

From Jan. 26 to Feb. 2, VCH recorded 259 cases in Whistler. This is a total of 547 cases in Whistler from Jan. 1 to Feb. 2.

The majority of cases continue to be identified in young people in their 20s and 30s.

To date, no deaths have occurred. Almost all of the recent cases are associated with transmission occurring within households and social settings.

VCH says very little transmission has been linked to outdoor recreation areas such as Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

Health officials say keep to your household bubbles and avoid social gatherings, avoid all non-essential travel, and stay home if you have any symptoms of the virus, even if they are mild.

They also ask people to practise physical distancing and wear a mask.

3 p.m. Friday – Health officials announce 471 new cases of Covid-19, six additional deaths.

In a joint statement, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, and Health Minister Adrian Dix announce that another 471 British Columbians have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, brining the total number of cases in B.C. to 69,716 since the start of the pandemic.

Of that total, 1,246 British Columbians have died, including six in the past day, the statement read.

Of the new cases, 108 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 208 were in the Fraser Health region, 56 were in the Interior Health region and 71 were in the North Health region.

“We want to protect the progress we have made since the start of the year and not throw away our success,” the statement read. “To do this, we need to buy time — time to get our immunization program back up to speed as vaccine supply is restore and scaled up, and time to understand how the variants of concern will affect transmission in our communities.”


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