Here’s your update with everything you need to know on the COVID-19 situation in B.C. and around the world for July 4, 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 every day this week, 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.
Here are the latest B.C. figures given on June 30 for June 19 – June 25:
• Hospitalized cases: 273
• Intensive care: 28
• New cases: 620 over seven days
• Total number of confirmed cases: 374,594
• Total deaths over seven days: 17 (total 3,747)
Read the full report here | Next update: July 7 at 1 p.m. (or later)
Headlines at a glance
• Preparations are underway to help B.C. fight any potential surges in COVID-19 this fall.
• Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says Canadians should expect to get a booster shot every nine months for the foreseeable future as the term “fully vaccinated” no longer makes sense.
• The third Omicron wave has begun in B.C. and is expected to increase rapidly and peak in August, says a COVID modelling expert.
• Canada’s chief medical officer is urging those behind on their boosters to catch up now with Omicron cases expected to increase in the coming weeks but B.C. is continuing to limit those who can get a fourth dose
• Novovax’s COVID vaccine targeting Omicron expected in late summer or fall
• New contagious sub-variants driving COVID increases in Ottawa
• Multiple signs point to resurgence of COVID-19 in Quebec, said health officials
• On the eve of Canada Day, B.C. reports 273 people in hospital with COVID-19, 17 deaths over seven days
• The federal government is extending current COVID-19 public health measures for travellers entering Canada, including the use of the ArriveCan app, until at least Sept. 30
B.C. health minister says province preparing for fall COVID-19
Preparations are underway to help B.C. fight any potential surges in COVID-19 this fall.
Health Minister Adrian Dix says the COVID-19 pandemic has not ended and he’s urging people to continue to stay safe and ensure they have been vaccinated.
Dix says the number of people in hospital in B.C. with COVID-19 continues to decline but that isn’t the case in other jurisdictions.
The minister made the comments at a news conference announcing the government is seeking proposals to build a new hospital and cancer centre in Surrey.
Dix says there are currently no immediate plans to return to a province-wide mask mandate.
Read the full story here.
— Canadian Press
‘Two doses are no longer enough’: Canadians should expect to get COVID shot every nine months, says health minister
As we continue to live with COVID-19, turns out we will also have to get used to living with COVID-19 vaccinations.
Canadians will be required to get a booster shot every nine months for the foreseeable future, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told reporters.
So if you thought you were fully vaccinated, think again.
Duclos said that the previous definitions of “fully vaccinated” makes no sense, explaining that it’s more important that shots are “up to date” and whether or not a person has “received a vaccination in the last nine months.”
He added, “We will never be fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
Read the full story here.
— Denette Wilford, Toronto Sun
Third Omicron wave has begun in B.C. and it’s expected to grow rapidly
The third Omicron wave has begun and is expected to increase rapidly and peak in August, says a COVID modelling expert.
“I think there was hope we wouldn’t have another wave until the fall, but the wave is starting now,” said Sally Otto, who advises masking up again, along with getting booster shots.
Otto, an evolutionary biologist and mathematical modeller at the University of British Columbia, presented her data to the main North American meeting of evolutionary biologists in Cleveland, Ohio, this past week.
Data from public health labs across Canada tracking Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 show they will soon outgrow the initial Omicron subvariants in Canada, said Otto, who is a member of the COVID-19 modelling group in B.C.
“Right now we’re in a reasonable low point, the lowest point in 2022,” Otto said in an interview. “So we can afford to be a little more relaxed right now, but not for long, because this is rising so fast that we’re going to face a higher risk.
“You go to the grocery store now and your risk is reasonably low. You go to the grocery store in three weeks and there is a high chance that somebody else will have COVID.”
Read the full story here.
— Cindy E. Harnett, Victoria Times Colonist
COVID-19: B.C. resists offering fourth dose of vaccine to broader population
B.C. health officials’ staunch decision to limit who gets fourth COVID-19 vaccine doses seems to be at odds with advice from Canada’s chief medical officer.
Despite ongoing pressure to change its stance, the province is giving fourth doses only to people age 70 and older, Indigenous people over 55, and people in long-term care. Those individuals can receive their fourth dose six months after their last booster.
Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam warned Thursday that there could be a rise in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks due to highly-transmissible Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 circulating, which evade immunity more than previous variants.
That’s why she urged those behind on their boosters to catch up now.
She and Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos stressed the importance of up-to-date vaccination status, noting 40 per cent of Canadians still have not received a booster following their primary two shots, putting Canada behind other G7 countries when it comes to three doses.
Tam also warned of a possible COVID-19 resurgence in the fall and winter, and said booster shots could help reduce severe outcomes and ease potential strain on the health-care system.
Read the full story here.
— Katie DeRosa
CP conductor who exposed colleagues to undeclared COVID-like symptoms for days was fired despite later testing negative
Going to work with undeclared COVID-like symptoms can derail your career, a now former Canadian Pacific train conductor learned the hard way.
Show up to work with COVID-19 symptoms for days, dismiss your colleagues’ concerns, make “jokes” about it on social media, and you’re eligible to be dismissed even if you end up testing negative, according to a new arbitration ruling.
On March 24, 2020, just weeks after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic and the world was on high alert, CP conductor Jeff Reid went to work to conduct a train from Winnipeg to Brandon, Man., with a cough.
The day before, Quebec and Ontario had just announced they were shutting down all non-essential businesses for the first time to curb COVID-19 transmission and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exhorted all Canadians, particularly those with COVID-like symptoms, to “stay home.”
— Christopher Nardi
About 40 per cent of Canadians haven’t got a booster shot
Faced with sluggish enthusiasm for COVID-19 boosters, federal health officials appealed to Canadians Thursday to prepare for a possible COVID-19 resurgence in the weeks or months ahead by getting “up to date” with their vaccines.
“What, exactly, do we mean by up-to-date vaccination? Let me be very clear,” federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said during a briefing Thursday. “Up to date means you’ve received your last dose in the past nine months.”
Those who have received a first booster should see if they’re eligible for a second or third, Duclos.
“But my message today, more specifically, is for those that haven’t yet received their first booster.” About 40 per cent of adult Canadians who have had two shots haven’t returned for a third.
The immunity from two doses a person would have received in 2021 has waned, Duclos said. “While you might have gotten infected, (the) risk is high you could get reinfected, with all the downfall, including the risk of developing symptoms like long COVID.”
But the timing, severity, or even likelihood, of a fresh wave is still uncertain, and questions around when to get boosted — now or wait for the fall — is creating confusion. Many are also asking, why not hold out for an Omicron-specific shot rather than another round of the original vaccines?
Read the full story here.
— Sharon Kirkey, National Post
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.