VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver Coastal Health has issued an alert and is investigating a potential community COVID-19 exposure at the Sandman Suites hotel on Davie Street, while an infant has tested positive for the coronavirus at St. Paul’s Hospital.
The potential hotel exposure occurred between July 7 and 16, according to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who stood alone during a special briefing on Friday.
“There were a number of healthcare workers who were staying at that hotel,” she said.
“I know there was a provincial program and it was supported by the federal government early on when hotels were empty, that healthcare workers were given good rates to stay there. But now as hotels are opening up, they are more a source of risk, so we don’t want healthcare workers who are working in long-term care or in hospitals to be mixing with people who are coming in from other places.”
Exposure alert to anyone Jul 7-16 sandman on davie
35 cases with Kelowna – this is one of the more concerning events she says. Anticipating more cases in coming days. Ppl need to think about how to socialize safely.#bcpoli #covid19 @NEWS1130
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) July 17, 2020
‘Infant tests positive’
Henry also confirmed the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver closed Thursday due to a positive COVID-19 case involving an infant.
“I will say that the maternity unit remains fully operational,” said Henry, adding a separate neonatal intensive care unit has been set up to ensure all receive the necessary care.
“Vancouver Coastal is still looking at exactly how the virus was introduced,” she said.
Fewer than 10 people — including infants and healthcare staff — associated with the neonatal unit were exposed.
“There’s nobody who is very ill, everybody’s being monitored carefully,” she said. ” There’s no infant in the NICU at St. Paul’s right now who has severe illness or worrisome illness, at all.”
Henry added a number of families and staff have been isolated and are being monitored.
Q: St. Paul’s – how did it get in
– how many?
Henry: Less than ten in exposed group. No one very ill. All being monitored and supported. Some babies, families, health care workers exposed.#bcpoli #covid19 @NEWS1130
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) July 17, 2020
Kelowna, Site C cases
Henry also reported 28 new cases — many involving people between the ages of 20 and 30 — while those linked to the Kelowna exposure on Canada Day are up to 35.
She expects more cases related to the latter in the coming days as people who were exposed to start developing symptoms, and also confirmed a positive COVID-19 case at the Site C work camp in Fort St. John.
“The worker arrived from Alberta on July 13, and immediately self-isolated after receiving test results from Alberta Health Services on July 15,” Hydro says in a release.
The worker is being cared for by the on-site health clinic and prior to self-isolating had not left the camp or had any community interactions.
“A very small number of contacts have also been identified and have been isolated and are being monitored,” Henry added.
Oliver outbreak linked to Kelowna
Meanwhile, Henry reported no new deaths, which remain at 189 overall.
She reported no new outbreaks. The one at the Krazy Cherry Fruit Co. in Oliver still has four cases of the coronavirus, which Henry said are linked to the Kelowna exposure.
Two of the four cases involve at the fruit farm involve temporary foreign workers, she added, while two are members of the family who owns the company.
As well, Henry said the outbreak at Maple Hill, a long-term care home in Langley, has been declared over. The outbreak at Holy Family Hospital, a long-term care home in Vancouver, remains active.
Of 207 active cases, 18 people are in hospital, including two in intensive care.
‘Flareups a warning’
Henry said she remains concerned about the COVID-19 flareups around the province. They are not unexpected, she added, but do serve as a warning.
“This is one of the reasons that I felt it was important to speak today. Many of these new cases are people in their 20s and 30s, and transmission is directly connected to those very important social events,” Henry said.
” We know that gathering helps us feel connected and hopeful in these challenging times. And we want to be able to continue to do that.”
While the severity of the illness for people in their 20s and 30s isn’t as severe as it is for those who are older, they can still spread the virus.
Henry recently took over Olivia Munn’s social media accounts, to share advice about preventing the spread of COVID-19.
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I also want all of us, especially younger people, to understand the danger #COVID19 poses for our seniors. One of the most important things we can do is to recognize this and protect them. They are the keepers of our history, culture, and language. Here in British Columbia, for example, we need to take extra care to protect our Elders, especially in Indigenous communities. No matter where you are, young people need to know that they must play a central role in keeping our elders safe from COVID-19. Help take care of your family and community by joining our global, coordinated response to COVID-19, demand action at @ONE. #passthemic #oneworld
“And now I am asking you to be my voice and our voice on social media. Use your influence to share a message with your friends, with your connections around the province. And that message is to make sure that we don’t let COVID-19 steal our summer,” she said.
“We need to play safe and stay safe. Always know who you’re with when you’re out. Take steps to protect each other, so you can spread kindness, joy, and not the virus.”