COVID-19 update for March 9: Here’s the latest on coronavirus in B.C.

Linda Rider

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

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the coronavirus situation in B.C. for March 9, 2022.

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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

Here are the latest figures given on March 9:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 351,415
• New cases: 274
• Total deaths: 2,929 (14 reported in past 24 hours)
• Hospitalized cases: 405
• Intensive care: 58
• Total vaccinations: 4,521,087 received first dose (90.7% of eligible pop. 5+); 4,315,064 second doses (86.6%); 2,519,018 third doses (58.2% of those 12+)
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 15

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IN-DEPTH: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021 | in 2020


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

• COVID-19: B.C.’s vaccine passport is here and this is how it works

• COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

• 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.

Fewer than 900 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered over past day

There were 891 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in B.C. over the past day, as the percentage of people aged five and over in the province who have had a first dose remained steady at 90.7 per cent.

In total there were 6,043 doses administered either as first, second or third doses.

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The B.C. Ministry of Health reported 14 deaths in the past 24 hours, with that total now at 2,929. The number of people in hospital either because of COVID-19 or with the disease continues to fall – with 405 cases in hospital on Tuesday, including 58 in intensive care.

On Tuesday there were 5,604 PCR tests performed – about a quarter of B.C.’s testing capacity – with just over seven per cent of those tests coming back positive.

Due to limited testing the government does not know how many active cases there are in the community, instead relying on hospitalization numbers and wastewater data to give guidance on where the pandemic is headed.

Given hospital numbers and wastewater metrics are falling, the pandemic is considered to be improving.

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There are 15 active outbreaks in health-care facilities, two fewer than yesterday.

Ontario to eliminate most mask mandates on March 21

Ontario students won’t have to wear masks when they return to school after March break, the province announced Wednesday.

Most mask requirements will be dropped as of March 21, with remaining mandates for higher risk settings such as long-term care, hospitals and transit, to be dropped on April 27.

Provincial officials said the move — as case counts and other key indicators are improving — are part of learning to live with and manage COVID-19. During a technical briefing, officials acknowledged that COVID-19 is likely to return next fall and winter or even sooner if a new evasive variant emerges.

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“Removing the mask mandate does not mean the risk is gone. COVID transmission is still occurring and masks can protect you and others from becoming infected,” the Dr. Kieran Moore, the province’s chief medical officer of health.

Moore said the province is “now learning to live with and manage COVID for the long term.”

Read full story here.

— Postmedia News

Winnipeg zoo giving COVID-19 vaccine to 55 animals including tigers, snow leopards

The Winnipeg zoo is giving a COVID-19 vaccine to some of its animals that are considered to be at greater risk of contracting the virus.

The Assiniboine Park Zoo says it has begun using a vaccine made uniquely for animals to protect them against the novel coronavirus.

Chris Enright, the zoo’s director of veterinary services, says vaccination is a common and safe way of protecting animals in human care from a variety of illnesses.

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The zoo says certain animals are more vulnerable to COVID-19, including primates, big cats such as tigers and snow leopards and those that have closer interaction with human caregivers.

Fifty-five animals are expected to get the shots.

The vaccine is to be administered to the animals in two doses about three weeks apart. It is made by Zoetis, an American company which specializes in animal health. The vaccine’s use is authorized on a case-by-case basis by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the zoo said.

Read full story here.

— The Canadian Press

One COVID-19 death reported Tuesday

One COVID-19 death was reported Tuesday, bringing that total to 2,915 since the pandemic began over two years ago. The average age of people who have died from the disease in B.C. is 82 – that is also the province’s life expectancy.

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The B.C. Ministry of Health reported 254 new cases over the past day and performed 4,038 laboratory tests on Monday – with a test positive rate of 7.8 per cent.

This is less than a quarter of the the province’s testing capacity. The government is no longer tracking active cases of the disease and is relying on people to use free rapid tests rather than PCR tests – that are more accurate and more expensive.

The number of people in hospital either because of COVID-19 or with the disease continues to fall. There are now 419 people in hospital including 63 in intensive care.

Order in place forcing B.C. health care professionals to disclose COVID-19 vaccination status

The provincial health officer has posted a new provincial health order ordering health care professionals to report their vaccination status to their colleges and for that information to be provided to the Health Ministry by month’s end.

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Dr. Bonnie Henry had previously made an announcement in early 2022 that all health care professionals would need to be vaccinated to work, but the latest order stops short of setting a deadline for that requirement.

The latest order requires all health care professionals from across a range of fields to report their vaccination status to their respective colleges. Those colleges will then be required to share the information with the ministry, which will verify the information against their vaccination registry.

The order applies to nurses and midwives, chiropractors, dental hygienists, dental technicians, dental surgeons, denturists, dieticians, massage therapists, naturopaths, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physical therapists, physicians and surgeons, psychologists, speech and hearing professionals and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.

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Read full story here.

Austria says it is putting its COVID-19 vaccine mandate on ice

Austria is suspending its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, its ministers for health and constitutional affairs said on Wednesday, six days before fines for breaches were due to start being handed out.

The measure has been in effect since Feb. 5, but enforcement was only due to begin on March 15.

The decision to introduce it was announced in November, before the wider emergence of the highly contagious but less severe Omicron variant in Austria. The strain on intensive-care units has since eased.

The measure has been in effect since Feb. 5, but enforcement was only due to begin on March 15.

The decision to introduce it was announced in November, before the wider emergence of the highly contagious but less severe Omicron variant in Austria. The strain on intensive-care units has since eased.

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—Reuters

Remember COVID? Why many of us are suffering from brain fog

As Canada reopens amid loosening pandemic restrictions, some people are finding it hard to recall words or names or compute things in their heads. Maybe you don’t remember all the steps to your morning routine anymore or your child’s teacher’s name.

Approximately 600 million people worldwide experience cognitive impairment in the form of “brain fog”. This “fog” is a common symptom of what is dubbed “long COVID,” the long-term effects of having contracted the COVID-19 virus.

Why is this happening and what can be done to combat it?

“I don’t think we exactly know the answer…these are all, neuroscientifically, not very well-defined things,” said Dr. Adrian Owen, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at Western University in London, Ontario.

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Even though “brain fog” lacks a specific scientific definition, he said they are starting to understand how it impacts the brains of people who have had COVID.

Read the full story here.



DEATHS BY HEALTH AUTHORITY


WHAT’S HAPPENING ACROSS CANADA


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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