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drugs

The BC Coroners Service has released its latest report of illicit drug toxicity deaths in the province, covering up to March.

Across BC in March, there were 113 suspected drug toxicity deaths. It’s the first time that the number has exceeded 100 since March 2019. The number is also a 61% increase over February 2020.

As in years past, men account for the majority of drug deaths in BC with 76% of all deaths being men.

To date, the Interior Health Authority has recorded 46 deaths in 2020. For comparison, in all of 2019, there were 139 deaths.

Broken down further, the Thompson Cariboo is reporting 17 deaths so far this year, compared with 42 in all of 2019.

The report did not provide specific statistics for Merritt.

The entire report from the coroner's service can be found - https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/death/coroners-service/statistical-reports

 

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Update-

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

"Today, we are announcing 33 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 2,288 cases in British Columbia.

"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19: 865 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,064 are in the Fraser Health region, 126 are in the Island Health region, 179 are in the Interior Health region and 54 are in the Northern Health region.

"We are saddened to report two new COVID-19 related deaths, one in the Fraser Health region and one in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, for a total of 126 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones.

"In the last day, there have been no new long-term care or assisted-living facility outbreaks. In total, 16 facilities and five acute-care units have active cases. Outbreaks have now been declared over at 18 care facilities, including the Swedish Canadian Manor.

"Public health teams are also providing support to a number of community outbreaks, actively contact tracing those who may be directly affected and their close contacts.

"There are seven confirmed positive cases at Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry, 56 at Superior Poultry in Coquitlam and 35 at United Poultry in Vancouver.

"There are also 134 inmates and staff confirmed positive at the Mission Institution federal correctional centre, as well as 16 positive cases of COVID-19 connected to the Kearl Lake plant in Alberta.

"To date, 1,512 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.

"Of the total COVID-19 cases, 76 individuals are hospitalized, 20 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"We are in Phase 1 of our four-part COVID-19 B.C. Restart Plan, which means we must continue doing what we have been doing since the orders and restrictions were put in place a few weeks ago.

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Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided the latest figures of COVID-19 in BC.

(Previous numbers in brackets)

New Cases – 33

Total Cases – 2,288 (2,255)

Patients in Hospital – 76 (74)

Patients in ICU – 20 (19)

Recovered – 1,512 (1,494)

New Deaths – 2

Totals Deaths – 126 (124)

Health region breakdown;

Vancouver Coastal – 865 (852)

Fraser – 1,064 (1,046)

Island – 126 (124)

Interior – 179 (179)

Northern – 54 (54)

More to come.

 

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Surgeries that were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic are starting back up as part of a massive surgical renewal plan.

"British Columbians have stepped up to the challenge of COVID-19 by making sacrifices, including thousands of people who have waited for postponed elective surgeries. This has been very difficult for people and their families," said Premier John Horgan. "But these sacrifices have helped flatten the curve in B.C., and now we can move forward, safely, getting people the surgeries they've been waiting for."

Beginning this month, the Province will launch an extensive surgical renewal plan that will include calling patients, adding new capacity, and hiring and training staff.

"On March 16, we made the difficult decision to postpone surgeries to prepare our health-care system for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "Our commitment is now to get patients through their surgery safely. It is a massive undertaking, but we are giving the same 100% effort to the task that we've made to flattening the curve in B.C."

By May 18, 2020, an estimated 30,000 non-urgent scheduled surgeries will have either been postponed or left on a waitlist due to COVID-19. A further 24,000 patients could also be without a referral to a waitlist. This presents a unique and unprecedented challenge never faced by B.C.'s health system. The demands placed by COVID-19 have meant decreased productivity in operating rooms, meaning fewer surgical cases can be completed in the same time.

The 30,000 non-urgent elective postponed surgeries, combined with the 24,000 new surgeries are a substantial backlog to address. The impact is greater than anything faced by B.C.'s health system.

The actions taken under the plan will ensure the health system can keep up with demand for new surgeries and clear the existing COVID-19 backlog in the next 17 to 24 months.

 

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MSS

On Wednesday, Premier John Horgan, along with Dr. Bonnie Henry, Minister Adrian Dix, and Deputy Minister Stephen Brown outlined the province's plan to ease restrictions and return to a ‘new normal.’ 

One point of focus was the public-school sector where currently a limited number of students are still receiving in-class instruction while most are receiving online lessons.

Dr. Henry responded to a question about what schools will look like later this school year and into September. 

“We do expect to see an expansion of (in-classroom learning) in June. But then we don’t expect formal school through the summer. Some combination of in-classroom and at-home teaching come September,” said Henry.

“The process will be led by the Ministry of Education between now and the end of the school year. A lot of work needs to be done to prepare,” added Minister Dix.

The following guidelines were outlined by the province;

Additional Guidelines Schools (K-12)

•Routine daily screening protocol for all staff and students.

•Routine and frequent environmental cleaning.

•Smaller class sizes, increased space between desks, alternating attendance arrangements, frequent hand washing, wearing non-medical masks for group activities and sports, and limiting group sizes. 

•Clear policy for children, youth, and staff who have symptoms of a cold, flu, or COVID-19, with any coughing or sneezing not coming into school or taking part in extracurricular activities and sports.

•Planning over the summer for increased use of remote online learning, especially for high school children.

•Early arrival and self-isolation for 14 days of international students.

 

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breaking graphic deamstime 1

Today, BC released its plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions in the province and return to a ‘new normal’.

While restrictions will be eased throughout the Spring and Summer, contingent on new case numbers remaining low, the importance of reducing transmission will continue.

The three keys areas of focus for reducing transmission are personal self-care, managing social interactions with extended family, and implementing safe practices in organizations and public intuitions. 

The health ministry has also laid out specific plans for offices, schools, daycares, and personal services. 

One detail that covers all sectors is the importance of no longer going into work when you’re feeling sick.

 

The following is from the Minister of Health;

Focus for Mid-May Onwards - Under enhanced protocols

•Restoration of health services

•Re-scheduling Elective Surgery

•Medically-related services

•Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Registered Massage Therapy, Chiropractors

•Physical therapy, speech therapy and similar

•Retail sector 

•Hair salons/ barbers/other personal service establishments

•In-person counselling

•Restaurants, cafes, pubs –with sufficient distancing measures

•Museums, art galleries, libraries

•Office based worksites

•Recreation/sports 

•Parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces 

•Transit Services

•Child care

 

Focus June-September – If Transmission Rate Remains Low or In Decline

Under enhanced protocols

•Hotels and Resorts (June)

•Parks –broader reopening, including some overnight camping (June)

•Filmindustry –beginning with domestic productions (June/July)

•Select entertainment –Movies and symphony, but not large concerts (July)

•Post-secondary education –with a mix of online and in-class (September)

•K-12 education –with only a partial return this school year (September)

 

More Challenging or To Be Determined

•The timing of a safe restart of night clubs, casinos, and bars is a more complicated consideration. As with other sectors, industry associations will be expected to develop safe operations plans, for review, that are in keeping with Public Health and Safety Guidelines, as well as WorkSafeBC.

•Conditional on at least one of: wide vaccination; “community” immunity; broad successful treatments:

•Restrictions of large gathering (not >50 for social gathering NOTapplied work or retail box stores, larger grocery stores, or malls) will remain in place for now

•Activities requiring large gatherings will be prohibited

•Conventions

•Live audience professional sports

•Concerts

•International tourism

 

More to come

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