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Health officials announce temporary restrictions surrounding indoor dining and fitness facilities

(Files by Dione Wearmouth-MyPGNow)

Dr.Bonnie Henry announced a number of new restrictions on Monday as BC saw a record-high of COVID-19 case counts.

For the next 3 weeks (Midnight until April 19th) the following restrictions are being made:

  • Indoor dining is suspended, however, patio dining, delivery and takeout are still allowed (Restaurants that only serve snacks and appetizers must close)
  • Indoor, adult group fitness activities of any kind are also paused. Gyms and fitness centres are restricted to individual or one-on-one activities only i.e. one-on-one personal training.
  • Travel continues to be limited to essential travel, work or medical reasons only
  • Public health guidance for schools has also been amended to support and encourage students down to Grade 4 to wear masks while at school.
  • Blackcomb Whistler Ski Resort has been shut down.

Additionally, the previous announcement of variance’s surrounding indoor holiday religious services is also suspended, however, the outdoor variances will still be in place.

Dr. Henry says she can’t ‘with good conscience’ allow these activities to now happen with high rates of transmission.

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She also announced BC will suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for residents under the age of 55 for the next few days.

Anyone that has received the AstraZeneca vaccine within the past 20 days that develop symptoms such as headaches or swelling must seek medical attention.

“Over this past week, a signal was detected in younger people in Europe using the AstraZeneca vaccine, while the instances are rare this is a very rare condition as tens of millions of doses of this vaccine being used, we are taking the precaution,” explained Henry.

The signal is a condition called “Vaccine-Induced Pro Thrombotic Immune Thrombocideapenia (VIPID), which can be both tested for and treated.

“There have been less than 30 cases identified around the world, primarily in Europe, but it is a serious condition and could lead to serious outcomes,” she explained.

Health Canada has issued, “Terms and Conditions” for the vaccine and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization met with the province to make this adjustment because BC does have other vaccine options for residents under 55.

According to Health Canada, rare cases of serious blood clots have been identified so far primarily in women under 55 years old following the use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Europe.

“Although cases in men have also been reported and have mostly occurred between 4 and 16 days after receipt of vaccine,” reads Health Canada.

Henry says she anticipates having more information on the vaccine within the next 2-3 days but doesn’t expect any BC residents to come down with the illness, as it is so rare.

Meanwhile, health officials pleaded with BC’s youth to adhere to guidelines, noting that transmission between the younger population has been an issue in the past few weeks.

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