COVID-19 update for Aug. 4: Here's what you need to know – Vancouver Sun

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the coronavirus situation in B.C. and around the world.
Here’s your update with everything you need to know on the COVID-19 situation in B.C. and around the world for Aug. 4, 2022.

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 every day this week, with developments added as they happen, so be sure to check back often.
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Here are the latest B.C. figures given on Aug. 4:

• Hospitalized cases: 410
• Intensive care: 38
• New cases: 938 over seven days ending July 30
• Total number of confirmed cases: 379,274
• Total deaths over seven days ending July 30: 28 (total 3,940)

Read the full report here | Next update: Aug. 11 at 3 p.m. (or later)

• The latest weekly report from B.C. health officials showed 28 more deaths from COVID-19 and small upticks in hospitalizations and those in ICU. (See story below.)
• The number of B.C. cyclists who were hospitalized after an accident jumped almost 25 per cent during the first year of COVID-19.
• U.S. CDC expected to ease COVID-19 guidelines for schools this week
• COVID-19 vaccine sales push Moderna past expectations in Q2
• Vancouver Coastal Health is now offering child-specific vaccination clinics for those under five
• The Canadian COVID hot spot of Quebec reported 21 more deaths Wednesday and a spike in hospitalizations
• Online crimes see stark increase during COVID-19 pandemic
• The Omicron variant may be more efficient at infecting children through the nose than previous versions of the coronavirus
• Severity of smell dysfunction after infection with the coronavirus may be a better predictor of long-term cognitive impairment than overall severity of COVID-19
 A new study has found that U.S. states that mandated COVID-19 vaccines for nursing home staff, the rules did not lead to mass resignations and or staffing shortages

The latest data from B.C. health officials shows that several people continue to lose their battle with COVID-19 each day, a trend that has been stubbornly consistent for several weeks.

Twenty-eight more people died with COVID-19 in the province in the seven days ending July 30. There were 29 deaths in the week before that and 21 in data from two weeks ago. An average of just over three patients a day died with COVID-19 through the month of July.

Overall, 3,940 have died in B.C. since the start of the pandemic.

New cases, hospitalizations and the number of patients needing critical care all ticked up in the current data as well. There were 410 people in hospital with COVID-19 as of Thursday, up nine from a week earlier; 38 of those patients were in intensive care, a rise of three.

Some 983 new cases were reported in the week ending July 30, though limits on COVID testing mean that number doesn’t accurately reflect the prevalence of the virus in the B.C. population.

The new case data does confirm that the latest variant of the novel coronavirus is widespread in the province, with a significant number of cases in every B.C. health region.

— Joseph Ruttle

The number of B.C. cyclists who were hospitalized after an accident jumped almost 25 per cent during the first year of COVID-19.

According to latest data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, there were 1,166 cyclists admitted to hospital with injuries between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, compared to 945 in the corresponding year before.

This marked the first full year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the year prior to the pandemic, there were 808 B.C. cyclists admitted to hospital,which was the lowest number in the past six years. There were 962 cyclists hospitalized in 2015/2016.

In the summer of 2020 — the first COVID summer — cycling activity exploded across Metro Vancouver, with the City of Vancouver reporting weekday bike traffic up 48 per cent, while weekday vehicle traffic numbers fell by 25 per cent.

Read the full story here.

— David Carrigg

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to ease its guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19, including in schools as soon as this week, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the plan.

The updated recommendations are expected to ease quarantine recommendations for people exposed to the virus and de-emphasize 6 feet of social distancing, according to the report.


Alberta Opposition Leader Rachel Notley says the United Conservative Party government, particularly former finance minister Travis Toews, must bear the responsibility and fallout for the record-setting six-figure bonus payment to the chief medical officer of health.

Notley said Wednesday she isn’t passing judgment on whether the payout to Dr. Deena Hinshaw is merited.

But she said the payout has to be set against a government that, at the same time, was trying to cut the pay of front-line health workers in collective bargaining during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is jaw dropping to me that they would then turn around and offer up a 60 per cent bonus to someone who had — by her own admission — chosen not to completely exercise her authority and (instead) hand over decision-making power to an incredibly ill-informed cabinet,” Notley told reporters in Calgary.

The CBC, gleaning information from the government’s sunshine salary list, reported Monday that Hinshaw received a bonus of almost $228,000 for COVID-19 work in 2021 — the highest such cash benefit payout to any provincial civil servant since the list went public six years ago.

—The Canadian Press

Better-than-expected COVID-19 vaccine sales pushed Moderna past Wall Street’s second-quarter forecasts.

The company said that its Spikevax vaccine brought in $4.53 billion during the quarter. Analysts were looking for around $3.6 billion, according to FactSet.

Moderna shares surged Wednesday after the company also announced another $3 billion share buyback plan.

Moderna’s vaccine sales in the second quarter represent a drop from the nearly $6 billion that the vaccine brought in during the year’s first quarter, when a virus surge through the United States pushed more people to seek protection.

But those sales could pick up again later this year.

Moderna has developed an updated version of its vaccine for a fall booster campaign that combines the original shot with protection against the omicron variant.

—The Associated Press

New statistics show that police-reported extortion cases in Canada rose by nearly 300 per cent in the last decade, as the crime swelled online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These concerning increases are being facilitated by social media platforms and other electronic services providers,” said Lianna McDonald, the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, in a news release.

“It should be a wake-up call.”

Crime data released by Statistics Canada Tuesday also showed an eight per cent increase in the non-consensual distribution of intimate images from 2020 to 2021. There were also increases in indecent or harassing communications — up four per cent — and uttering threats — rising three per cent.

The nature of these crimes has moved online, Statistics Canada said, and may have been exacerbated by increased internet activity during the pandemic. There were almost 15,500 cybercrime-related harassing and threatening behaviour violations in 2021 — up 21 per cent from 2019.

—The Canadian Press

A UBC study has found Canada’s restrictions on international travel drastically reduced the number of COVID-19 cases entering the country during the first waves of the pandemic, but were not enough to prevent new outbreaks.

The study looked at genome sequences to examine how the virus was entering Canada during the early days of the pandemic – Jan. 2020 to Mar. 2021. It found 2,263 instances where COVID-19 was imported into the country, which was less than would otherwise occurred but was also enough to seed new chains of transmission.

Of the cases imported into Canada during the start of the pandemic, half were from the U.S.

The Canadian COVID hot spot of Quebec reported on Wednesday that another 21 deaths had been attributed to COVID-19. The province’s death toll now stands at 15,992.

The health ministry also announced that the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had increased by 20 in the previous day, to 2,146.

Of those patients, 67 are in intensive care — an increase of eight.

Read the full story here.

— Montreal Gazette

Starting Tuesday, Aug. 2, parents of infants and children up to four years in the Vancouver Coastal Health region can bring their kids to specially equipped COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

Young children over six months of age are now eligible for a child-specific vaccine. The 11 clinics in VCH will be tailored to the needs of children, including those with autism, sensory processing issues or needle phobia. Most of the clinics have set up separate quiet spaces for kids who need extra support to deal with getting a shot.

Children older than five also remain eligible, and all VCH clinics can accommodate those appointments.

There are over 45,000 children in the younger age group eligible for vaccination in VCH. Parents are urged to register their child or children in the provincial Get Vaccinated system. Once registered, parents will be notified when appointments are available.

— Joseph Ruttle

But recent test-tube experiments mixing the virus with nasal cells from 23 healthy children and 15 healthy adults found the antiviral defenses in kids’ noses “was markedly less pronounced in the case of Omicron,” researchers reported on Monday in PLOS Biology. They also report that Omicron reproduced itself more efficiently in childrens’ nasal-lining cells compared to both Delta and the original virus.
“These data are consistent with the increased number of pediatric infections observed during the Omicron wave,” the researchers wrote, while calling for additional studies.
Read the study here.
— Reuters
Severity of smell dysfunction after infection with the coronavirus may be a better predictor of long-term cognitive impairment than overall severity of COVID-19, according to an Argentinian study.
Researchers studied a random sample of 766 people over age 60, roughly 90 per cent of whom had been infected with the virus. Physical, cognitive and neuropsychiatric tests performed three-to-six months after infection showed some degree of memory impairment in two-thirds of the infected participants. After taking individuals’ other risk factors into account, severity of loss of smell, known as anosmia, “but not clinical status, significantly (predicted) cognitive impairment,” the researchers reported on Sunday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2022, held online and in San Diego.
“The more insight we have into what causes or at least predicts who will experience the significant long-term cognitive impact of COVID-19 infection, the better we can track it and begin to develop methods to prevent it,” study leader Gabriela Gonzalez-Aleman of Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina in Buenos Aires said in a statement.
— Reuters
There is a petition circulating to allow Novak Djokovic to play at the U.S. Open but the Serbian appears likely to miss the entire North American hardcourt swing barring a sudden change in COVID-19 protocols in the United States and Canada.
Djokovic has refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine yet the 21-time Grand Slam winner remains on the entry lists for the ATP 1000 events in Montreal and Cincinnati that serve as tune-ups for the Aug. 29-Sept. 11 U.S. Open in New York.
In the case of the U.S. Open, which does not have a vaccine mandate, organizers previously said that per the Grand Slam Rule Book, all eligible players are entered into the main draw based on their ranking 42 days prior to the first Monday of the event.
— Reuters
In U.S. states that mandated COVID-19 vaccines for nursing home staff, the rules achieved the desired effect and did not lead to mass resignations and or staffing shortages, a study found.
In states without such mandates, however, nursing homes did experience staff shortages during the study period, researchers reported on Friday in JAMA Health Forum. Data collected from mid-June to mid-November 2021 from the National Healthcare Safety Network showed that in 12 states with COVID-19 vaccine mandates, staff vaccination coverage rates ranged from 78.7 per cent to 95.2 per cent. States without mandates “had consistently lower staff vaccination coverage throughout the study window” and “higher rates of reported staff shortages throughout the study period,” according to the report.
“The association of mandates with higher vaccination coverage stands in contrast with prior efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake among nursing home staff through education, outreach, and incentives,” the researchers said. They added that the data “suggests that the fear of massive staffing shortfalls owing to vaccine mandates may be unfounded.”
Read the study here.
— Reuters
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 B.C. 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.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.
Everyone who is living in B.C. and eligible for a vaccine can receive one by following these steps:
• Get registered online at to book an appointment in your community.
• Or, if you prefer, you can get registered and then visit a drop-in clinic in your health authority.
• The system will alert you when it is time to go for your second dose.
• The same system will also alert you when it is time for your booster dose.
TESTING CENTRES: B.C.’s COVID-19 test collection centres 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 centre using the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s testing centre 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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