SOCIAL BAN EXTENDED –
British Columbia’s ban on social gatherings and events, has been expanded. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the move this morning, asking residents to continue staying apart for the time being. "Right now we need to stay the path,"
Dr. Henry said. "We need to buy time to understand how these variants of concern – whether these variants of concern – are going to affect transmission in our community, and we need to buy time to get our immunization program back up and running
at full speed."
TRENDING DOWN - The coronavirus curve is sloping downwards, according to the latest epidemiology modelling. The overall cases are descending, but going up on the Island. Every other health authority’s latest numbers have trended downwards
from November, except Island Health, but still remain relatively low, averaging 27 new cases per day in the last two weeks. November was the most difficult time, with 948 cases recorded on Nov. 14. The daily case count in the last two weeks averaged about
450 new cases per day. The latest modelling data shows COVID-19 is most prominent in people aged from 20-29, followed then by those 30-39, 40-49 and 50-59 years old.
SENIORS VISITATION – Confusion and inconsistency is still a problem in visitation policies for seniors, says interim
Liberal leaders Shirley Bond. She wrote to Health Minister Adrian Dix Thursday, calling for better family access to social visits for elderly people who have been locked down for a year. “We continue to hear stories of confusion across the province, where we
have seen discrepancies, even between care homes in the same health authority, where people are unclear about what the rules are, who gets to visit, that kind of detail,” Bond told Black Press Media. “We’re not at all suggesting that we want
to put the residents of long-term care at risk of people transmitting the virus by visiting, but there does need to be clarity.”
MEN’S CENTRE in Nanaimo has seen an estimated 25-30-per cent increase in service provision since fall. Mark Busby began at the Fitzwilliam Street centre, at the end of November, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The centre provides
mental support services to men. COVID has affected clientele, as well as brought in people who probably wouldn’t have come in the past, he said. It’s a challenge, he says, because they are not able to see people in face-to-face situation. Some
of our more senior clients aren’t necessarily what we might consider to be tech-savvy, so there’s support that’s needed there to help our senior members of the community to engage.
TEACHERS WANT MORE PROTECTION – The province expanded mask rules
for students yesterday, but Nanaimo-Ladysmith teachers’ union is not satisfied. Masks are now mandatory in indoor areas for middle school and secondary students, but they will be exempt when they are at their seat, if a barrier is in place and while
drinking or eating. Elementary school students are still not required to wear masks. Jeremy Inscho, of the union said he is pleased standards are becoming incrementally more in line with others, but it falls short of other provinces. The district has
reported COVID-19 exposures at schools in the last week, and Inscho said union members are worried as they are under “deep pressure to maintain a healthy, safe environment to the best of their ability to perform their jobs.”
MORE COVID AT SCHOOLS –
There are more coronavirus exposures at five Nanaimo schools. New cases were confirmed at Bayview, Brechin and Rock City elementary schools, along with NDSS and the Learning Alternatives program at John Barsby secondary. Exposure events range from Jan. 26
through Feb. 2. The cases are on top of existing ones announced by the school district over the last four nights with exposure
events also in late January and early February.
CRUISESHIPS GROUNDED – Transport Canada has extended the national ban on cruise ships for an additional year until February 28, 2022. The ban means cruise vessels carrying more than 100 people will be prohibited from operating in Canadian waters. The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority
said cruises represent more than 70 per cent of its annual revenue, which it estimates more than $12.5 million in 2020.
UNEMPLOYED – Unemployment climbed for the second month in a row as the province managed its second wave of COVID-19. Statistics Canada's monthly labour force survey reported B.C.'s unemployment rate at eight per cent in January –
up from 7.2 per cent the month before. Nationwide, the unemployment rate rose to 9.4 per cent, the highest
rate since August. B.C. enjoyed steady improvement last year, after unemployment reached a high of 13.4 per cent in May, related to economic slowdown from the province's COVID-19 response, and it gradually decreased as businesses reopened in the spring and
CHARTWELL OUTBREAK IS OVER – An outbreak at Chartwell is over. Social visits for residents resumed yesterday and the facility
will resume new admissions and patient transfers while residents can dine together with appropriate safety protocols in place. Island Health had 28 new positive tests for Coronavirus in the previous 24 hours with 234 active cases in the region – 168
in the central Island region. The province had 465 new cases to go with 4,447 active cases. Hospitalizations continue to drop, and 76 people are in intensive care. There were six deaths. The province has administered 145,567 doses of vaccine, including more
than 8,000 second doses.
WALKING TO VICTORIA – Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Culture and
New Balance Nanaimo bring the “Walk On” Winter Wellness Challenge to the community – a walking journey from Nanaimo to Victoria and beyond. The challenge will take place from Feb. 8 to March 19 and participants can join any time between those
dates. You can even win prizes. Prizes are based on participation rather than total distance walked. The more times walkers input their data, the more ballots are entered for a chance to win weekly and the grand prize draw. The first 20 people to
email email@example.com will get a pedometer to keep and use.
STILL TAKING THE BAIT –
Bicycle thieves are not catching on. Two bait bikes were stolen within an hour of being placed on Thursday in downtown Nanaimo. Both were stolen by individuals well known to Nanaimo cops. Cops were monitoring the first bait bike when a man rode off with it.
Within nine minutes, the 37-year-old was arrested taken to the slammer. Less than an hour later, another man also decided to help himself to the bike. Twenty minutes later, the 41-year-old was arrested and escorted to the cells. Both were released on an undertaking
for one count of Possession of Stolen Property. They are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday April 6.
HEALTH REPORT – An updated report into anti-Indigenous racism in British Columbia’s health-care system finds that Indigenous people have less access to primary care doctors than non-Indigenous British Columbians. The report is
part of a broader investigation into anti-Indigenous racism in the health-care system by independent investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. The initial report found hundreds of examples of prejudice and racism in health facilities across the province when its findings were released in November. The report was the result of an investigation into allegations that emergency room staff were playing
a game to guess the blood-alcohol level of Indigenous patients. Thursday’s update revealed that a lack of access to primary care physicians is contributing to poorer health outcomes for Indigenous people.