COVID-19 update for June 9: Here’s what you need to know

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

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the COVID-19 situation in B.C. and around the world for June 9, 2022.

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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 throughout the day, 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 figures given on June 3 for May 22 to 28:

• Hospitalized cases: 421
• Intensive care: 41
• New cases: 1,163 over seven days
• Total number of confirmed cases: 370,559
• Total death over seven days: 44 (total 3,547)

Read the full report here | Next update: June 9 at 1 p.m. (or later)

Headlines at a glance

• Mounties in Surrey are probing allegations of fraud linked to COVID-19 paid sick leave program.
• A seventh COVID wave is possible this fall, Tam tells MPs: ‘The pandemic is not over.’
• Experts urge Germany’s govt to prepare for fall COVID wave.
• More than two dozen inmates at Matsqui Institution test positive for COVID-19.
• Moderna says its updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection.
• Advisers to the U.S. FDA have voted overwhelmingly to recommend that the agency authorize Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in adults.
• Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 account for up to 13 per cent of COVID variants in U.S.: CDC

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RCMP probing allegations of fraud linked to COVID-19 paid sick leave program

Surrey RCMP is investigating a security breach at WorkSafeBC after the discovery of alleged fraudulent activity related to the government’s COVID-19 paid sick leave program for businesses.

The fraudulent activity was flagged late last year, but WorkSafeBC and the government didn’t inform the public.

The detachment’s financial crime unit is investigating alleged fraud involving the COVID paid sick leave employer reimbursement program, Surrey RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Vanessa Munn told Postmedia News on Wednesday. Police were made aware of the allegations in December 2021.

Munn said no charges have been laid and the investigation is still in the evidence gathering phase, so no additional details could be provided.

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“We are limited in the information we can provide as no charges have been laid,” Munn said.

Read the full story here.

—Katie DeRosa

Seventh COVID wave possible this fall, Tam tells MPs: ‘The pandemic is not over’

OTTAWA – Canada’s chief public officer stressed to MPs Wednesday that the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, warning that a seventh wave this fall is a real threat.

“The pandemic is not over,” Dr. Theresa Tam told MPs, at the Commons health committee. “We think that it is very likely that we will get some more viral activity in the future, and we can’t predict exactly how big the next wave is, but I think we need to prepare.”

Tam testified to MPs as part of the review of health spending this year. She said she is concerned that some of the subvariants of the COVID-19 Omicron variant could be a problem, but she is also concerned that other, new variants could emerge.

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Experts urge Germany’s govt to prepare for fall COVID wave

Authorities in Germany should prepare for several possible pandemic scenarios this fall that would likely strain the country’s health system and critical infrastructure, an expert panel said Wednesday.

The government-appointed panel said the country continues to have immunity gaps in the population, and it recommended promoting vaccines against the coronavirus and making them more easily available.

The panel advised authorities to ensure that testing facilities can be scaled up quickly in the fall and also said COVID-19 patients also should get earlier access to antiviral drugs.

The experts urged the German government to provide a clear legal foundation for any public health restrictions it might decide to put in place, especially if a dangerous new variant emerges.

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—The Associated Press

RBC Canadian Open tees off for first time since 2019 due to COVID-19 pandemic

The RBC Canadian Open has teed off for the 111th time.

The national men’s golf championship was cancelled the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rory McIlroy, who won the tournament at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in 2019, is back in the field.

The native of Northern Ireland says he is eager to defend his title because he respects the history of the sport.

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., is the top ranked Canadian in the field and will be joined by 19 of his fellow countrymen.

—The Canadian Press

More than two dozen inmates test positive for COVID-19 at Matsqui Institution

A total of 28 inmates at Abbotsford’s Matsqui Institution have tested positive for COVID-19.

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All inmates arriving at Matsqui are offered vaccination, and employees are required to perform rapid tests and attest to a negative result before work.

The current number of positive cases among inmates were confirmed via rapid or PCR tests, and the total number of cases may change as contact tracing and testing continues.

“This is an evolving situation and we continue to apply and reinforce infection prevention and control measures to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19, and adapt based on public health advice,” read a statement issued by the Correctional Service of Canada.

Moderna says updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection

Moderna’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine that combines its original shot with protection against the omicron variant appears to work, the company announced Wednesday.

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COVID-19 vaccine makers are studying updated boosters that might be offered in the fall to better protect people against future coronavirus surges.

Moderna’s preliminary study results show people given the combination shot experienced an eight-fold increase in virus-fighting antibodies capable of targeting the omicron mutant, the company announced.

Today’s COVID-19 vaccines all are based on the original version of the coronavirus. They’re still providing strong protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death even after the appearance of the super-contagious omicron variant — especially if people have had a booster dose.

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

Novavax COVID vaccine backed for authorization by U.S. FDA panel

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Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to recommend that the agency authorize Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in adults, which the drugmaker hopes can become the shot of choice among some American vaccine skeptics.

The panel of outside vaccine experts voted 21-0 with one abstention in favor of the vaccine for those 18 and older.

If the FDA follows the recommendation and authorizes the shot, it will be the fourth COVID vaccine available for use in adults in the United States.

Novavax’s shot is a more traditional type of vaccine employing technology that has been used for decades to combat diseases including Hepatitis B and influenza.

Read the full story here.

— Reuters

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Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 account for up to 13 per cent of COVID variants in U.S.: CDC

The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron are estimated to make up nearly five per cent and eight per cent of the coronavirus variants in the United States as of June 4, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday.

The two sublineages, which were added to the World Health Organization’s monitoring list in March and designated as variants of concern by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), were present in all U.S. regions.

Last month, South African scientists found that the sublineages of the Omicron coronavirus variant can dodge antibodies from earlier infection well enough to trigger a new wave.

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BA.4 made up 5.4 per cent of the variants in the country for the week ending June 4, according to CDC estimates, while BA.5 made up 7.6 per cent of the variants during the same time.

The seven-day moving average of U.S. COVID-19 cases stood at 98,010 as of June 4.

— Reuters

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.

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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.

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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.

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