Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the COVID-19 situation in B.C. and around the world for April 16-17, 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 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 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.
HEADLINES AT A GLANCE
• Lots of Easter weekend activities without COVID restrictions
• Ontario’s top doctor wants to extend mask mandate for hospitals, transit
• More Chinese cities tighten controls as Shanghai COVID cases rise
Here are the latest figures given on April 14 for the week of April 3 to 9:
• Hospitalized cases: 364
• Intensive care: 36
• Total deaths over seven days: 23 (total 3,036)
• New cases: 1,770 over seven days
• Total number of confirmed cases: 359,002
Read the full report here | Next update: April 21 at 1 p.m. (or later)
LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.
Celebrants flock to parks, outdoor activities on first Easter weekend in three years without COVID restrictions
After COVID-19 cancelled Easter and other long weekend rituals for the past two years, British Columbians appeared ready Friday to celebrate the three main religious celebrations this weekend — Vaisakhi, Passover or Easter.
The sun barely shone in Metro Vancouver on Good Friday, a B.C. statutory holiday, but a little rain didn’t deter families from snapping up all the tickets for the Stanley Park Easter Train rides. The event, which was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic was sold out on Friday.
“As soon as we heard about it, we bought the tickets online,” said Judy Kim of West Vancouver, who was at the park with her husband, John Ahn, and their kids, David, six, and Lina, three.
The family had also attended the Christmas Train ride at the park and said protocols were stricter then because ticket-holders still had to present their vaccination passports, a public health order that was removed in B.C. on April 8.
— Susan Lazaruk
Shanghai reported a record number of symptomatic COVID-19 cases on Saturday and other areas across China tightened controls as the country kept up its “dynamic clearance” approach that aims to stamp out the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
The Zhengzhou Airport Economic Zone, a central Chinese manufacturing area that includes Apple Inc supplier Foxconn, announced a 14-day lockdown on Friday “to be adjusted according to the epidemic situation.”
In northwestern China, the city of Xian on Friday urged residents to avoid unnecessary trips outside their residential compounds and encouraged companies to have employees work from home or live at their workplace, following dozens of COVID-19 infections this month.
A Xian government official, responding to residents’ concerns over potential food shortages, said on Saturday that the announcement did not constitute a lockdown and that the city would not impose one.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health will recommend that the province extend remaining mask mandates — in settings such as hospitals, long-term care and public transit — as new COVID-19 modelling suggests a tenuous plateau in transmission.
Dr. Kieran Moore will be submitting that proposal to the government, for a four-week extension beyond the current expiry date of April 27, he told The Canadian Press in an interview Thursday.
“I think that will get us down the epidemic curve to further protect those that are living and working in those vulnerable sectors,” he said.
His office is also able to further extend that mandate, even during the upcoming election period, if need be, Moore said.
Premier Doug Ford said earlier in the day that he would have “no problem” extending the remaining mask mandates beyond the end of the month if that is Moore’s recommendation.
— The Canadian Press
What are B.C.’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 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.
How do I get vaccinated in B.C.?
Everyone who is living in B.C. and eligible for a vaccine can receive one by following these steps:
• Get registered online at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated 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.
Where can I get a COVID-19 test?
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.