Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the coronavirus situation in BC 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 BC and around the world for May 14-15, 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 pm by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Headlines at a glance

• • The Esquimalt-based HMCS Winnipeg has been hit with a COVID-19 outbreak
• A Canadian soldier who criticized federal vaccine requirements in a TikTok video has been uploaded.
• BC health officials reported the highest number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 in months.
• Metro Vancouver residents threw out the equivalent of 94 masks per person in 2021.
•Two dozen COVID-19 violation tickets against three Chilliwack pastors who continued in-person worship services in violation of provincial public health orders have now been dropped.
• An alarming possible complication of COVID-19 in young children is being investigated across the globe, but BC health officials say there’s still no evidence it’s been seen here yet.

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Canadian warship based in BC hit with COVID-19 outbreak

A Canadian warship has been hit with an outbreak of COVID-19 while preparing for an overseas deployment in the Pacific.

HMCS Winnipeg is back home in Esquimalt after seven sailors tested positive, only weeks before the ship is due to participate in a major training exercise and two overseas missions.

Those include assisting with the enforcement of United Nations sanctions against North Korea, which the Canadian Armed Forces has been doing since 2018.

Navy Lt. Pamela Hogan says the Winnipeg will remain docked in Esquimalt until mid-June, during which time sailors exhibiting symptoms will be required to self-isolate and not report to duty.

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Read the full story here.

— The Canadian Press

Canadian soldier charged for speaking out against vaccine requirements while in uniform

A Canadian soldier who publicly spoke out against federal vaccine requirements while in uniform has been charged while another Armed Forces member has been fined after posting a video supporting the Freedom Convoy.

The Defense Department confirmed the charges against Warrant Officer James Topp and finding of guilt against Aviator Riley MacPherson on Wednesday, adding six other service members remain under investigation for criticizing government policy.

A 22-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces who served in Afghanistan, Topp faces two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline for comments that he made while wearing his uniform in February.

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A copy of the charge sheet provided by his lawyer, Phillip Millar, says one of the charges relates specifically to a video posted to TikTok in which the army reservist criticized vaccine requirements for military personnel and other federal employees.

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Read full story here.

— The Canadian Press

Patients in hospital with COVID-19 hits highest level since February

The number of British Columbians in hospital with COVID-19 has climbed to its highest level since February.

According to the latest COVID-19 figures released Thursday, 596 people who tested positive for the virus are currently in hospital, including 54 in critical care.

Hospitalization figures have been climbing steadily since a low of 255 in mid-March. The last time that number was this high was on Feb. 24, when 612 COVID-positive patients were in hospital.

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Read the full story here.

— Cheryl Chan

Equivalent of 94 masks per person tossed into Metro Vancouver trash in 2021

Metro Vancouver residents threw away an estimated 260 million masks in 2021 — the equivalent of 94 masks per person, according to a staff report for Metro Vancouver’s zero waste committee.

That was more than double the number of masks discarded in 2020, a side-effect of public health mandates on masking that were in place for most of 2021.

“They were everywhere,” said Juan Jose Alava, research associate at UBC and a principal investigator at the Ocean Pollution Research Unit, of the rise in discarded masks. “Not just in the city but in remote areas.”

Alava said he found discarded masks hanging from the branches of mangrove trees during a recent expedition in the Galapagos islands, an indication of the pervasiveness of ocean pollution.

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Terry Fulton, a senior engineer at Metro Vancouver Solid Waste Services said the 2021 study took place in December 2021, when COVID-19 case numbers were elevated due to the Omicron variant.

Read the full story here.

— Nathan Griffiths

BC drops 24 tickets against pastors issued for violating COVID-19 orders

BC’s Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed it dropped two dozen COVID-19 violation tickets against three Chilliwack pastors who continued in-person worship services in violation of provincial public health orders.

The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms, which represents the pastors, says the ends would have totaled $55,200.

The Crown dropped seven tickets against Pastor John Koopman of the Chilliwack Free Reformed Church, 11 tickets against Pastor James Butler of the Free Grace Baptist Church and six tickets against Pastor Timothy Champ with the Valley Heights Community Church.

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Read the full story here.

— The Canadian Press

Acute hepatitis in children still unreported in BC, but health officials keeping watch

An alarming possible complication of COVID-19 in young children is being investigated across the globe, but BC health officials say there’s still no evidence it’s been seen here yet.

During a briefing on Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked whether BC has reported cases of acute hepatitis in children who have contracted the novel coronavirus.

She said one child with a liver ailment was recently investigated for a possible link, but it turned out not to be related to COVID-19.

“This is one of those things that we’ve been watching along with our colleagues across the country,” said Henry.

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While more than 200 cases have been reported globally, she said none has been detected in BC Nonetheless, there is enough concern that pediatric physicians were reminded just last week that liver complications in children are a reportable condition, said Henry.

Read the full story here.

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—Joseph Ruttle

What are BC’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 BC 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: BC’s COVID-19 test collection centers 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 center using the BC Center for Disease Control’s testing center 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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