COVID-19 Diary – Day 223

BC Reports First School Outbreak

Today BC Public Health reported the first confirmed school outbreak event, located at École de l’Anse-au-sable, a French-speaking school located in School District #93 in Kelowna. The exposure is confirmed to have taken place on October 13-15, and 160 members of the school community have now been directed to self-isolate for 14 days. Those affected by this include all students from kindergarten to Grade 3 and the staff who work with them from the school.

Daily Case Number Record Broken…Again

Today an additional 203 new cases were reported in BC, breaking the record for the most cases reported in a single day for the 3rd time in 5 days. Of those 203 cases, 151 were reported within the Fraser Health Authority area. Public Health also reported that many of these new cases were directly connected to recent weddings, funerals, and celebration of life events. Needless to say, this is not a good time for gathering outside your bubble.

Westjet to Offer Refunds for Cancelled Trips

It may have taken a class-action lawsuit, but WestJet has announced that they are going to begin processing refunds for people who had to cancel flights due to the pandemic. Previously, WestJet’s policy was to offer flight vouchers, but due to current travel conditions, this solution has been rejected by many would-be vacationers. WestJet says they will begin contacting all eligible flyers with WestJet and Swoop on Nov. 2, beginning with those whose flights were cancelled in March. The process is expected to take six to nine months, and customers are asked to wait to be contacted, to avoid overloading the call centre.

UK Human Challenge Study

The UK government is joining forces with experts from the NHS (UK National Health Service), academia and the private sector, to speed up the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Up to 90 volunteers aged 18-30 will receive a COVID-19 vaccine candidate and then be inoculated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself. Medics and scientists then closely monitor the effect on the volunteers 24 hours a day to see exactly how the vaccine works and to identify any side effects, or if they develop COVID-19.

The volunteers will be carefully selected healthy adults, who will be compensated for their time in the study. The study will be conducted under strict conditions, including a controlled entrance to the facility, careful decontamination of waste and a dedicated laboratory for carrying out tests. All the air leaving the unit is also cleaned so there is no risk to anyone outside the unit.

Initially, the research team will be using small controlled doses of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to help determine the smallest amount of the virus needed to cause a COVID-19 infection in a patient. This is knowledge we have been lacking and sorely in need of since the pandemic began, and could lead to significant improvements in our fight against viral transmission going forward.

We would also like to take this moment to thank the brave volunteers who are agreeing to take part in this study. It is no small thing that you are doing!

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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