COVID-19: High Cases Among Children Bring More Restraints For British Columbia Region

Prime Minister John Horgan said early Tuesday that the “unvaccinated pandemic” is putting pressure on the health system.

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VICTORIA – The British Columbia provincial health official on Tuesday announced regional restrictions in an area that has seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases among children as more adults have also become infected due to higher vaccination rates. low.

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Dr. Bonnie Henry said her request refers to the eastern Fraser Valley cities of Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission and Agassiz-Harrison, as up to 10 percent of children between the ages of five and 11 years have tested positive for the virus since last year. start of the school year.

More than 500 children a day are tested for the virus, up from about 100, Henry said.

“The rates that we are seeing right now, of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, are increasing dramatically, particularly in younger school-age children who are not yet eligible for vaccination,” he said.

Two children aged four and under have been hospitalized and another has needed intensive care, while one child from each of the oldest age groups, ages 5-11 and 12-17, has been in the hospital, Henry said.

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Private gatherings must now be limited to five additional people or one additional household and 10 people outdoors, unless all are vaccinated. Organized events such as weddings or conferences will be limited to 10 people or 50 people outside, unless everyone is fully vaccinated.

While the province’s vaccine passport requires people to have both doses of a vaccine by Oct. 24 to enter ticketed restaurants, gyms, and events, Henry said venues in Fraser Health’s eastern regions will have that. requirement immediately.

Other measures include limiting adult outdoor sports to 50 percent of participants, unless all participants are vaccinated. Event organizers are also required to maintain a contact list of guests in addition to having COVID-19 safety plans in place.

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Case rates in children were increasing before classes began at the northern and inland health authorities, where vaccination rates are also lower compared to other regions, including the Vancouver coast and Vancouver Island. , said.

However, Henry acknowledged that there have been long waits for COVID-19 testing in the Northern Health region, especially in Prince George, since the cases began to take off a few weeks ago.

He said public health officials are trying to address that challenge.

Many of the 500 children tested daily actually have the cold virus, but anyone with symptoms should stay home for the seasonal flu season, Henry said.

He said the best way to prevent COVID-19 is for those around children who are eligible for vaccination to get their shots.

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However, Henry did not order masks for children in kindergarten through third grade after Vancouver School Board trustees became the first in the province to vote unanimously Monday in favor of requiring that younger children wear face covers.

School board president Carmen Cho said parents’ concerns prompted the meeting and that staff will meet Tuesday to discuss when the policy could be implemented.

“The fact is, we are still in a pandemic and the unvaccinated are the hardest hit, so the trustees felt it was important to add an extra layer of protection as we continue to look for different ways to limit the spread of COVID. – 19, ”said Cho. “Since the beginning of the school year, administrators have been receiving emails from parents in the district, letting us know that this was a concern.”

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Nadine Kelln, who has daughters in grades 3 and 7, said she was looking forward to a province-wide mask mandate to protect children at least until parents can make the decision to vaccinate their children whenever possible.

The mother from Delta, BC, said her children had been learning at home until this month to protect the health of an immunosuppressed family member, but her third-grade daughter has had no problem wearing a mask on the school.

“Going to school full time with a mask all day has not been a problem for her. I think she feels more comfortable wearing it because it feels safe. “

Prime Minister John Horgan said Tuesday that the current “pandemic of the unvaccinated” includes those under 12 years of age and one way to protect them and protect communities is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

“If you have a friend who is not vaccinated, encourage him to do so. If you have a family member who is waiting for more data, have them look at those who are begging their family members to get vaccinated from ICU beds, not just here in British Columbia but around the world. “


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