Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the coronavirus situation in B.C. for March 31, 2022.
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.
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B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS
Here are the latest figures given on March 30:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 356,252
• New cases: 291
• Total deaths: 2,996 (six new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 276
• Intensive care: 43
• Total vaccinations: 4,528,240 received first dose (90.8% of eligible pop. 5+); 4,351,830 second doses (87.3%); 2,665,395 third doses (57.5% of those 12+)
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: Seven
B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS
LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.
Health Minister Adrian Dix says the province is preparing to provide an update this Tuesday on potentially making a fourth COVID-19 dose available to vulnerable people in British Columbia.
The minister says discussions are underway about providing a second booster shot to clinically vulnerable people such as those in long-term care.
Dix told reporters B.C.’s COVID-19 strategy has always been to protect the most vulnerable and act on evidence that is reviewed daily.
B.C. reported two more COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing the toll to 2,998 people.
The Ministry of Health also reports 281 people in hospital, with 42 in intensive care.
The ministry report says almost 91.1 per cent of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and 57.5 per cent of those have had a booster shot.
Six people die from COVID-19 over past day, as toll gets close to 3,000
As of midnight Tuesday, 2,996 people have died in British Columbia after contracting COVID-19 – including six on Tuesday.
There are 276 people in hospital either because of COVID-19 or with COVID-19, of which 43 are being treated in intensive care. There are seven active outbreaks in health-care settings.
At this point, hospitalizations and wastewater data are the only ways to gauge the spread of the disease in the community as the Ministry of Health is no longer testing at capacity or tracking or contact-tracing active cases.
Hospitalizations have been falling since early February but have risen slightly over the past few days.
Quarantine program for temporary foreign workers ends March 31
B.C. will be ending its quarantine program for temporary foreign workers brought in to work in the the province’s agriculture sector.
In a statement shared Wednesday, officials cited the easing of federal travel restrictions and a 97 per cent vaccination rate among incoming workers as being the reasons for the end of the program.
Workers arriving in B.C. will travel to their employing farm where it will be the employer’s responsibility to ensure federal quarantine guidelines are still met for those who are not fully vaccinated.
The program will end on March 31.
The federally and provincially funded self-isolation program for farm workers, however, will continue. The program reimburses employers a maximum of $3,000 per worker who is required to isolate due to a positive COVID-19 infection or exposure, to cover the cost of accommodations and support. That program will continue until March 2023.
The World Health Organization published a report citing rare instances of hearing loss and other auditory issues following the COVID-19 vaccine.
The United Nations health agency was notified that tinnitus, a hearing problem that causes ear ringing, may be associated with the vaccines.
Though the symptom is rare, the WHO reported 367 cases of tinnitus and 164 cases of hearing loss among the 11 billion vaccines administered, most commonly within a day of the jab.
Dr. Christian Rausch and Dr. Qun-Ying Yue of the Uppsala Monitoring Centre, a Swedish nonprofit organization that collaborates with the WHO, identified the report of the adverse side effect.
According to their findings, people who reported tinnitus ranged in ages from 19 to 93 and 63 per cent of the cases were women.
At Thinkific, meeting rooms with tables and chairs have been overhauled into lounges with couches “for more of a living room feel.” There are also spaces at the Vancouver-based technology company for communal desk seating, and quieter places for those wanting solitude.
Since reopening their office on Feb. 28, most staff have opted to come in one or two days a week — about 30 to 40 workers a day at the beginning, then up to about 75 workers by late last week.
“We’re seeing more and more people coming in,” said Amanda Nagy, director of people operations at Thinkific, which employs about 500 people and has space for 175 in its Vancouver office. “But we still spend a lot of time on Google Hangout.”
Nagy describes it as a “test and learn environment,” where the company will monitor how the space is used, and how frequently, to determine if further physical changes are needed.
“The workplace is more focused on output rather than a clock-in and clock-out mentality.”
B.C. Women’s Hospital is reporting an increase in new parents needing support for postpartum problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Astrid Christoffersen-Deb, the hospital’s medical director of population and global health, says the reduction in world travel and family gatherings has reduced social and family networks after childbirth. As a result, many families haven’t had the support of friends and family filling in the gaps in their safety net, she said Wednesday.
While the hospital doesn’t have data to show the exact number, she said they have seen a noticeable increase in people needing help with postpartum depression or anxiety, social isolation among new immigrants with newborns, violence in the home, and lactation problems when there’s less in-person help.
Some studies have shown that in some cases the number of people needing support for postpartum depression has gone from around 10 per cent pre-pandemic to as high as 40 per cent during the pandemic.
Much of Canada is facing a fresh COVID-19 wave just as authorities ease measures meant to curb the spread of the virus, emboldened by a brief drop in cases and relatively high vaccination rates.
Public health experts are urging caution as COVID-19 levels in wastewater rise. Political analysts say looming elections in Ontario and Quebec, the most populous of Canada’s 10 provinces, could deter politicians from reinstating pandemic health measures.
Meanwhile, less testing is making it hard for individuals to do the personal risk assessments politicians are urging.
Most Canadians supported the restrictions and other pandemic measures in place for the past two years, though a vocal minority opposed them, prompting a three-week protest in early 2022 that paralyzed Ottawa and multiple international border crossings. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers to end the unrest.
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.
–with files from The Canadian Press