COVID-19 update for August 15: here’s what you need to know

Here’s your daily update on everything you need to know about the coronavirus situation in BC and around the world.

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Here’s your update on everything you need to know about the COVID-19 situation in BC and around the world for August 15, 2022.

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We provide summaries of what’s going on here so you can see the latest news at a glance. This page will be regularly updated every day this week, with developments being added as they happen, so check back often.

You can also get the latest COVID-19 news in your inbox on weeknights at 7:00 PM by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Here are the latest BC numbers given on August 11:

• Hospital cases: 385
• Intensive care: 23
• New cases: 900 for seven days ending August 6
• Total number of confirmed cases: 380,174
• Total deaths for seven days ending August 6: 28 (total 3,995)

Read the full report here | Next update: Aug 18 at 3 p.m. (or later)

Headlines at a glance

Ikea shoppers in Shanghai panic after security tries to shut down due to COVID risk
• Great Britain to be first to approve Omicron-adapted COVID recording
Quebec starts offering fifth dose of COVID vaccine to long-term care residents
• Shanghai plans to open all schools on September 1 because the fear of lockdown continues
• BC reports 385 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 28 dead over 7 days
• Saskatchewan Expands Second COVID-19 booster shots for all adults
• EU can be OK combined COVID vaccines next month
• North Korea declares the victory on COVID, suggests leader Kim had it

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Ikea shoppers in Shanghai panic after security tries to shut down over COVID risk

Scenes of chaos unfolded at an Ikea in Shanghai as health authorities tried to shut down the store on Saturday and quarantine people on site after learning that someone who had been in contact with a COVID-19 patient had visited.

News of the flash shutdown caused shoppers to flee and scream in an attempt to leave the building before the doors locked, videos posted on social media. Shanghai’s 25 million residents are well versed in lockdowns after being banned from their homes for two months this spring in an effort to eradicate the virus.

Health authorities in the financial center said they had imposed “temporary control measures” at the store after learning that there had been close contact with a 6-year-old boy with asymptomatic COVID infection. They did not say when the close contact was in the store.

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— Reuters

Britain becomes first to approve Omicron-modified COVID injection

Britain, the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine in late 2020, has now also given the first green light for a variant-modified shot targeting both the original and Omicron versions of the virus.

The British drug regulator (MHRA) on Monday granted conditional approval to the so-called bivalent vaccine from the American drug company Moderna as a booster for adults.

The UK’s Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI) is now expected to issue a recommendation shortly on how to deploy the vaccine in the country.

— Reuters

Quebec begins offering fifth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to long-term care residents

Quebec has begun offering a fifth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to residents of long-term care facilities and private senior housing.

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The health ministry says it has launched the new vaccine campaign for at-risk groups as it expects infections to increase in the fall after schools reopen.

It says that the recommended interval between booster doses is at least five months.

Public Health Director Dr. Luc Boileau has said the government will step up its message on vaccination in the coming weeks as the health system prepares for another wave of COVID-19.

— The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Expands Second COVID-19 Booster Shots To All Adults

All adults in Saskatchewan will be eligible for a fourth COVID-19 shot on Monday.

The county says it is expanding eligibility for second boosters to all residents 18 and older who received their third dose at least four months ago.

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Residents could start booking their appointments on Friday, and the recordings became available Monday, the same day the province opens clinics.

Health officials have said immunity from COVID-19 appears to wane over time and booster doses offer increased protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death.

— The Canadian Press

China reports 2,144 new COVID cases for August 12 versus 2,009 a day earlier

China reported 2,144 new COVID-19 infections on Aug. 12, 704 of which were symptomatic and 1,440 asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said Saturday.

That compares with 2,009 new cases a day earlier, 704 symptomatic and 1,305 asymptomatic infections, which China counts separately.

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There were no new deaths, as there were the day before, leaving the number of fatalities in the country at 5,226.

As of August 12, mainland China had confirmed 234,159 cases with symptoms.

— Reuters

More cruise lines are dropping COVID vaccine requirements

Two giant cruise lines are dropping vaccine requirements for some ships, following a spate of recent measures to ease pandemic-era restrictions that prevented some travelers from boarding.

Sister cruise lines Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises said on their websites that starting September 5, anyone “regardless of vaccination status” could sail on specific cruises as long as they meet the testing requirements.

For Celebrity, that means cruises departing from Los Angeles, the United Kingdom and Europe (except Iceland). Royal Caribbean cruises that do not require a vaccination include sailings departing from European ports, Los Angeles, Galveston, Texas and New Orleans.

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—Washington Post

US CDC no longer advises students to quarantine for exposure to COVID-19

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will no longer recommend quarantines or test-to-stay programs in schools or daycare centers for people exposed to COVID-19, the agency said in updated guidelines on Thursday.

The agency also said it no longer recommended that unvaccinated people go into quarantine after exposure, as about 95% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated, has already had COVID-19, or both.

“This guidance recognizes that the pandemic is not over yet, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives,” a CDC scientist said in a statement.

The CDC said it had updated its recommendations that people exposed to COVID-19 should wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and test on the fifth day after exposure, regardless of vaccination status.

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— Reuters

385 people in hospital with COVID-19, 28 dead in 7 days

The number of people in BC hospitals with COVID-19 has fallen below 400, according to the most recent data from the BC Center for Disease Control.

On Thursday, 385 people were hospitalized with the virus, down from July when the figure hovered steadily around the low 400s.

Of the 385 patients, 23 are in intensive care.

The BCCDC, which releases the latest COVID-19 data every Thursday, said there were 173 hospitalizations from July 31 to August 6, a dramatic drop of nearly 45 percent from last week’s 312.

In the same seven-day period, 900 new cases were reported across BC, up from 983.

However, the figure is an inaccurate representation of the true number of COVID-19 cases in BC, as most people do not have access to PCR testing. Positive test results from rapid test kits used at home are not included in the official figures.

The new infections bring the total number of BC cases to 380,174. In the same week, 28 people died within 30 days of a positive COVID-19 test. By comparison, 54 people died the week before. The deaths bring BC’s death toll from the virus to 3,995.

— Cheryl Chan

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