Sunday April 25, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends
It was a delightful Sunday in the south Vancouver Island area today. A bit of rain for the gardens then some sunshine that drew people out to enjoy the outdoors and doing some errands.
People are itching to get back to ‘normal’ but it’ll be a while yet. Only about 30% of BC adults have received a COVID-19 vaccination so far. The spread of variants of concern is strong with the BC CDC case numbers. People are asked — and, frankly, expected — to follow the public health protocols that we all know well now: staying home if ill, physical distancing everywhere, wearing a mask everywhere outside your home, superior hand hygiene, and socializing only with your household.
The online lifestyle (shopping, socializing and doing business online) is a Godsend during this pandemic, making so much of the public health requests both possible and easy.
Tomorrow (Monday April 26) at 3 pm the update with Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry & Health Minister Adrian Dix will likely include the strong impact of variants. The variants review will be not just B.1.1.7 and P.1 (which have been in BC for a while) but also the new B.1.617 as first seen in India which is being called a ‘double variant’ and may not be controllable by vaccines as much as the earlier variants. This all makes the ‘original’ Wuhan strain seem so very far in the past.
Also likely to be pitched by media to Dr Henry and Minister Dix are questions about travel and border control (fines for that came into effect a few days ago, on Friday April 23).
The Monday update is likely to include further commentary on the inter-balance of age-based immunization in BC vs the worker program (which DBH has said will ‘converge’ at some point).
The age-based program through government clinics (which started with elderly people and has been working down from there) is primarily using the mRNA vaccine products (i.e. Pfizer and Moderna) while the worker-based program is primarily using the viral vector product(s) (i.e. AstraZeneca to date, and soon the John & Johnson vaccine once it becomes approved by Health Canada). The BC Government is pushing hard with their Get Vaccinated program.
As well, there is likely to be a further plea to consider the plight of health-care workers who have been on the frontline of this pandemic for over a year now. Last week (on Thursday April 22), Minister Dix announced how elective (scheduled) surgeries are being suspended for two weeks in Lower Mainland hospitals as a way to give doctors and nurses a bit of reprieve. This is a modified and more selective approach to the full surgical shutdown that Dix called in March of 2020 during the first wave.
Ahead of this weekend Island Health issued an Open Letter to the Vancouver Island community, reminding residents that health-care workers have been taking the brunt of this pandemic. Now at least 6.3% of test-positive COVID infections are in health-care frontline workers; of those, 21.7% of cases have hit care aides, while nurses experienced 16.7% of health-care worker cases, administration 7.7%, LPNs 5.6%, dental professionals 3.1%, and doctors 3.0%.
Also tomorrow (8 am Pacific)– in Ottawa — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will address media about what his party thinks should be done to better combat the current third wave of the pandemic, as there is clearly a federal government role particularly when it comes to the supply of vaccines to the provinces. The NDP as one of the official opposition parties in the House of Commons has held a lot of sway in the past year, pushing for the Liberals to achieve various supports for individuals and businesses in Canada including CERB (now CRB for self-employed and through EI for wage-earners), wage benefits to support employers, and paid sick leave supports.