COVID-19 Diary – Day 267

Fraser Health Launches Contact Tracing Tool

It’s no secret that for the last several months somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3rds of all new COVID-19 cases have come from the Fraser Health area. This statistic, coupled with the fact that most of those recent cases have been people aged between 20 and 39 years old, has led to the creation of a new tool to assist with contact tracing.

Anyone who lives within the Fraser Health area is now able to fill out a convenient form, which will collect all the initial data contact tracers will need to begin determining how to proceed with tracing your test-positive result. Taking the time to fill this out can greatly reduce the burden currently put on the contact tracing team. Right now thanks to recent mass hirings, Fraser Health is able to handle about 600 case investigations within 24 hours of receiving the information. Last week Fraser Health saw an average of 500 new cases a day, sometimes peaking over that 600 cases in a day threshold. As such, every little thing that can be done to help could yield a huge benefit. A direct link to the form can be found here.

This questionnaire could end up benefiting other health authorities as well, even though you can not submit the data online the same way, having the questions answered and ready in advance could save time and effort, and facilitate the process. We have saved the questionnaire as image files in case you or someone you know may need them in the future:

Dedicated PPE Vending Machines On The Way

Local resident Edvin Muminovic is in the process of launching a set of dedicated PPE vending machines around the city of Vancouver. These cashless automated vendors will be equipped to sell face masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, and various disinfectant wipes. It is not yet known what the pricing will be, but it is expected to carry a convenience premium.

In addition to these dedicated machines, PPE can also be found in some regular vending machines alongside conventional snacks. If you ever find yourself in a pinch while out and about and you see a vending machine, you may find what you need between the mars bars and the trident gum!

Vancouver Anti-Health Rally Planned for Tomorrow

If you live in the lower mainland you probably will want to avoid downtown Vancouver in the afternoon. A “Christmas Themed” anti-health rally is being planned, along with a march and a sing-a-long. Local Vancouver police are aware of the situation but have not yet publicly committed to fining or taking action against the organizers or attendees for violating public health orders.

Recently it was announced that the Canuck’s official anthem singer Mark Donnelly had agreed to perform the National Anthem at the event. In what felt like less than an hour, local media was informed by team owner Francesco Aquilini that Mark Donnelly was no longer the official anthem singer for the Canucks, and that his actions do not represent the team, and that people should wear masks.

Air Travel Quarantine Alternative Pilot Program in Calgary Called Into Question

Across Canada, if you are flying in from another country you are required by law to quarantine yourself for 14 days. In hopes of reducing this burden on travellers, Transport Canada launched a pilot program alternative with Calgary International Airport. In this program, you may choose to have a PCR swab test, and if it returns negative (usually with 48hrs) you may leave quarantine. One of the rules of this new program is that you also need to arrange a second test for the 6th or 7th day after arrival.

Unfortunately, because the program relies on testing asymptomatic travellers, the accuracy of the tests (especially the initial test) can be questionable. Such was the case for Alberta man Gabe Kane, and his sister. Gabe Kane’s sister took part in the program when returning home from a trip abroad. She initially tested negative and left quarantine to spend time with her family at home. A few days later she started feeling sick but brushed it off as a cold or flu season related illness because she had just received a negative COVID test.

Her second test returned “inconclusive” results, which required a follow-up and immediate self-isolation. Unfortunately, the damage had been done, and shortly after no less than 7 friends and family had also contracted the virus.

Gabe Kane has shared his family’s experience in his own words through his Facebook account, and you can watch his video here. He also discusses the long term symptoms he has been suffering from, despite being in above-average health before the infection.

That’s all for now, stay safe everyone!

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