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11 million Canadians could experience ‘high levels of stress’ due to COVID-19: Health Canada – Global News

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As Canadians continue to stay home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, prolonged isolation and worry about the pandemic has begun to take a toll on mental health.

In fact, it’s estimated that roughly 11 million Canadians will experience “high levels of stress in family and work settings,” according to Health Canada data revealed to Global News. Close to two million Canadians are predicted to show signs of “traumatic stress.”

These estimates are based on the effects of the SARS outbreak in 2003.


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“Following the SARS outbreak, it was reported that more than 40 per cent of the population reported increased levels of stress in family and work settings during the outbreak, with 16 per cent showing signs of traumatic stress levels,” said a spokesperson for Health Canada.

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Experts are worried about the mental health impacts of the pandemic, which are anticipated to affect society in numerous ways long after the COVID-19 outbreak is contained.

“What I think we’re facing here is a very traumatic event for a lot of people,” mental health strategist and speaker Mark Henick previously told Global News.

“It’s a traumatic societal event for people. And one thing that we know about trauma is that while it’s happening, you do whatever you can do to survive.”






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Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario announces expanded virtual mental health supports


Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario announces expanded virtual mental health supports

As provinces begin to reopen, Henick anticipates “residual stress, depression … financial pressures, learning how to re-engage with the world in [a] new way.”

“That’s going to be difficult for a lot of people,” Henick said. “And those are exactly the kinds of risk factors that lead to increasing rates of depression, anxiety and even suicide.”

That’s why the federal government created Wellness Together Canada, an online portal intended to provide Canadians with free resources, tools and professional support services to help with mental health.


READ MORE:
COVID-19 pandemic taking toll on Canadians’ mental health, according to survey

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau an investment of $240.5 million to develop and expand the portal.

The tools in the portal are intended to offer Canadians “different levels of support” depending on their needs. It also has the ability to directly connect Canadians with mental health service providers.

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3:35
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario announces expanded virtual mental health supports


Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario announces expanded virtual mental health supports

“There are more than 6,000 service providers employed with Homewood Health and Kids Help Phone who will deliver psycho-social support services via text and call,” said the Health Canada spokesperson.

“While the exact provider mix is not available at this time, the service providers cover a range of health professions, including social work and psychology, with diverse backgrounds: counselling psychology, clinical social work, rehabilitation, crisis management, child psychology/neuropsychology, sexuality, adolescence issues, marital/family therapy, and substance use.”

The portal will be “closely monitored” to meet the demands of Canadians, read the statement.

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Loneliness and mental health

Loneliness has been shown to have an effect on a person’s physical and mental health.

“There is some research linking loneliness with adverse health consequences: increased levels of stress, depression and anxiety have been reported, [and] social isolation has also been linked to poorer quality sleep,” registered psychologist Melanie Badali previously told Global News.

“There are also some links to problems with cognitive functioning … [as well as] poorer cardiovascular function and immune system functioning.”


READ MORE:
Federal funding supports new online mental health resources for Canadians during pandemic

The good news: being alone does not have to be synonymous with loneliness, said Badali.

“Loneliness is about people’s levels of satisfaction with their connectedness or their perceived social isolation,” she said. “It’s possible to be physically isolated right now and not feel lonely.”

Luckily, technology is an easy way to maintain social connections — something Badali recommends to Canadians as the pandemic wears on.

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“Now, more than ever before in our history, we can connect to other people through verbal and nonverbal communication channels in ways that do not require physical contact or proximity,” she said.

Use technology wisely

It’s one thing to use technology to stay connected with friends and family; it’s another to spend your time in isolation endlessly scrolling through social media.

Being plugged into the news every hour of every day is a “major factor” in mental and physical health, registered psychologist Simon Sherry previously told Global News.

One 2018 study found that “compulsive media use” triggered social media fatigue, ultimately leading to elevated anxiety and depression.


READ MORE:
How the coronavirus crisis can impact mental health and what you can do about it

“Increased screen time [can cause] anxiety, distractibility and loneliness,” Sherry said.

When this is all compounded by fear and anxiety over COVID-19, Sherry said people experience a sort of “digital distortion.”

“The distortion being that people are being flooded with negative, threatening, panic-inducing information and that information is becoming over-represented in their mind,” Sherry said.

“This is a problem of too much information.”

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New cat virus found at B.C. SPCA prompts science journal publication – Times Colonist

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VANCOUVER — The outbreak of a fast-spreading disease at the SPCA’s animal centre in Vancouver has led to the discovery of a new feline virus that affected 43 cats in B.C.

It started when eight cats fell ill on a single day in 2018 with symptoms like a human stomach flu, but Dr. Emilia Gordon, the senior manager of animal health, says they became concerned when tests came back negative for parasites.

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Gordon says in a news release they knew within days that they were dealing with a virus or bacteria they hadn’t faced before.

Outbreak tracing found two cats in the Quesnel shelter introduced the illness to Vancouver’s facility, where it spread rapidly before being detected.

A research team at the University of California, San Francisco found the new species of parvovirus, which isn’t related to COVID-19, and those findings were recently published in the science journal Viruses.

Gordon says the high rate of recovery was due to a quick response and stringent control measures, although two of the 43 cats that were ill were euthanized because of other medical problems.

“As soon as we understood we were dealing with something unusual, our first goal was to stop the outbreak so more cats wouldn’t get sick,” Gordon says. “Our second goal was to try to get answers for our teams, for the cats, and for other shelters and veterinarians facing unexplained gastrointestinal outbreaks in cats under their care.”

She says being part of the discovery of the new virus was very exciting, however data from a single outbreak isn’t enough to be certain the virus can cause disease and more research will need to be done.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2019.

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2 B.C. long-term care homes get extra help to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks – CBC.ca

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Specialized health teams have been sent to fight COVID-19 outbreaks at two Metro Vancouver long-term care homes.

The Fraser Health Authority appointed a pandemic response director on Thursday at Langley Lodge, where more than 20 people have died from the virus in recent weeks.

It also sent extra staff to Nicola Lodge in Port Coquitlam after one resident tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19, said Dr. Martin Lavoie, Fraser Health’s chief medical health officer. The resident was placed in isolation at the lodge, he said.

“Over the past several weeks, we’ve been supporting and offering guidance to Langley Lodge in different ways,” Lavoie said at a news conference.

“Today, we’re taking further action and we have appointed our own director of pandemic response to provide oversight of the COVID-19 response at Langley Lodge and also to further support the facility leadership and staff.”

Dr. Martin Lavoie, Fraser Health’s chief medical health officer, said the COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge has been difficult to control. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The lodge website says it is a not-for-profit registered charity run by the Langley Care Society.

It says the lodge in Langley provides long-term care for adults who can no longer live safely or independently at home because of their health-care needs. The lodge includes 121 funded spaces and 14 private pay spaces.

An official at the lodge referred questions about the COVID-19 outbreak to Fraser Health on Thursday.

Lavoie said the COVID-19 outbreak at the lodge has been difficult to control.

“It is our hope that these additional measures will support the site in controlling this complex outbreak,” he said. “We’re taking all the necessary steps to minimize the exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.”

Lavoie said extra nurses and staff are being called in, along with infection control specialists who will use a specialized ultraviolet germ sterilization machine.

As of Wednesday, the Health Ministry said 111 people who have died from COVID-19 in the province were connected to long-term care facilities, assisted-living homes or acute-care hospitals. A total of 162 people have died from the virus.

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Research on new cat virus discovered at B.C. SPCA published in scientific journal – CBC.ca

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The outbreak of a fast-spreading disease at the SPCA’s animal centre in Vancouver has led to the discovery of a new feline virus that affected 43 cats in B.C.

It started when eight cats fell ill on a single day in 2018 with symptoms like a human stomach flu, but Dr. Emilia Gordon, the senior manager of animal health, says they became concerned when tests came back negative for parasites.

Gordon says in a news release they knew within days that they were dealing with a virus or bacteria they hadn’t faced before.

Outbreak tracing found two cats in the Quesnel shelter introduced the illness to Vancouver’s facility, where it spread rapidly before being detected.

The exterior the B.C. SPCA’s Vancouver location, as seen in 2019. A research team from the University of California San Francisco found a new virus in some cats in the SPCA’s care. (Google Streetview)

A research team at the University of California San Francisco found the new species of parvovirus, which isn’t related to COVID-19, and those findings were recently published in the science journal Viruses.

Gordon says the high rate of recovery was due to a quick response and stringent control measures, although two of the 43 cats that were ill were euthanized because of other medical problems.

“As soon as we understood we were dealing with something unusual, our first goal was to stop the outbreak so more cats wouldn’t get sick,” Gordon says. “Our second goal was to try to get answers for our teams, for the cats, and for other shelters and veterinarians facing unexplained gastrointestinal outbreaks in cats under their care.”

She says being part of the discovery of the new virus was very exciting, however data from a single outbreak isn’t enough to be certain the virus can cause disease and more research will need to be done.

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