Health officials are again calling on people in Winnipeg to follow public health directions, as 23 of Manitoba’s 29 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday are people in the capital city.
Many of the cases of the illness among a worrisome recent increase in Winnipeg have large numbers of close contacts, the province says in a news release.
Of Manitoba’s 354 active COVID-19 cases, 275 — more than three-quarters — are now in Winnipeg, according to provincial data.
Another three of Sunday’s new cases are in the Prairie Mountain Health region, while two are in the Interlake-Eastern health region and one is in the Southern health region, the release says.
One case of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus previously reported on Sept. 19 has been removed from the totals, the release says, though it does not specify why.
Twenty of Sunday’s new cases are people under age 30, provincial data shows.
Half of those are people in their 20s, while the other half are people younger than 20.
There have now been 1,586 cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba.
There are now 11 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Manitoba, including three in intensive care.
Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate, a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive, is up slightly to 1.9 per cent, the release says.
To date, 1,216 people in Manitoba have recovered from COVID-19 and 16 have died.
People who were on the bus to John Pritchard School on Sept. 14 and 15 may have been exposed to the illness, the release says. The exposures happened on Winnipeg Transit school route S412 from around 8:15 a.m. at the Headmaster/Mildred stop to 8:40 a.m. at the school, and from 3 p.m. at the school to 3:25 p.m. back at the Headmaster/Mildred stop, the release says
Café La Scala on Corydon Avenue is temporarily closed, the release says, as public health officials investigate COVID-19 exposures that happened there on Sept. 11 from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and Sept. 12 from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
XXI Lounge on Pembina Highway was also closed temporarily for investigations into exposures to the illness, though it has since reopened. Those exposures happened on Sept. 11, 12 and 13 from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., the release says.
On Saturday, officials warned of possible exposures to the illness at a Winnipeg daycare, high school and restaurant.
A person with COVID-19 was at the Munroe Early Childhood Education Centre in Elmwood on Monday morning and afternoon, the province said. Seven staff and 21 kids are in isolation after being named as close contacts.
The centre has closed off areas used by the sick person and will not use them again until they’re disinfected, Sunday’s news release says. The rest of the building is still open for unaffected kids and staff.
Another person with the illness was at Gordon Bell High School in central Winnipeg on Thursday morning and afternoon, the province said, though no close contacts were named in that investigation and the risk of further transmission is deemed low.
Meanwhile, Local Public Eatery downtown was closed on Saturday, pending the results of investigations into COVID-19 exposures that happened there on Sept. 11 and 12, the release says, though the restaurant has since reopened.
Three new cases of the illness were announced on Fisher River Cree Nation this weekend, in addition to the first case in the Interlake community announced last week.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is watching for COVID-19 symptoms after meeting earlier this week with Quebec Premier François Legault, who is self-isolating after coming into contact with a confirmed case of the illness, a spokesperson for Pallister said on Saturday.
Legault tested negative on Saturday evening but is still self-isolating in accordance with public health guidelines.
On Saturday, 1,216 more COVID-19 tests were done in Manitoba, bringing the total number of tests completed in the province to 164,177.
News Releases | COVID-19 Bulletin #234 – news.gov.mb.ca
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Scientists find signs of waning antibody immunity to COVID-19 over time in England – CBC.ca
Antibodies against the novel coronavirus declined rapidly in the population in England during the summer, according to a preprint posted on Tuesday, suggesting protection after infection may not be long-lasting and raising the prospect of waning immunity in the community.
Scientists at Imperial College London have tracked antibody levels in the population in England following the first wave of COVID-19 infections in March and April.
Their study found that antibody prevalence fell by a quarter, from six per cent of the population around the end of June to just 4.4 per cent in September. That raises the prospect of decreasing population immunity ahead of a second wave of infections in recent weeks that has forced local lockdowns and restrictions.
Although immunity to the novel coronavirus is a complex and murky area, and may be assisted by T cells as well as B cells, which can stimulate the quick production of antibodies following re-exposure to the virus, the researchers said the experience of other coronaviruses suggested immunity might not be enduring.
“We can see the antibodies and we can see them declining and we know that antibodies on their own are quite protective,” Wendy Barclay, head of the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London, told reporters.
“On the balance of evidence I would say, with what we know for other coronaviruses, it would look as if immunity declines away at the same rate as antibodies decline away, and that this is an indication of waning immunity at the population level.”
Those for whom COVID-19 was confirmed with a gold standard PCR test had a less pronounced decline in antibodies, compared to people who had been asymptomatic and unaware of their original infection.
There was no change in the levels of antibodies seen in health-care workers, possibly due to repeated exposure to the virus.
Vaccine may be more protective
The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed to flag flaws, backs up findings from similar surveys in Germany. The German researchers found the vast majority of people didn’t have COVID-19 antibodies, even in hotspots for the disease, and that antibodies might fade in those who do.
WATCH | The limits of pursuing herd immunity:
World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said that uncertainty over how long immunity would last, and the fact that most people had never had antibodies against the coronavirus in the first place, showed the need to break transmission chains.
“Acquiring this collective immunity just by letting the virus run through the population is not really an option,” he told a UN briefing in Geneva.
Imperial’s study was based on a survey of 365,000 randomly selected adults.
The rapid waning of antibodies did not necessarily have implications for the efficacy of vaccine candidates currently in clinical trials, Imperial’s Barclay said.
“A good vaccine may well be better than natural immunity,” she said.
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday – Lacombe Express – Lacombe Express
Alberta confirmed 1,440 COVID-19 cases from over the weekend and seven additional deaths.
The cases are: 364 on Friday, 572 on Saturday and 504 on Sunday. The Saturday case number is another record for the province.
That’s identifying, on average, 480 COVID-19 cases over the weekend, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health.
She said one of the challenges is to find a balance between minimizing the risk of COVID-19 and minimizing the risk of harms of restrictions.
“This requires us to keep the spread of COVID-19 manageable. We’ve now crossed a tipping point and are losing the balance we’ve been seeking,” said Hinshaw.
The government imposed new temporary mandatory limits Monday – of 15 people – at most social gatherings for the City of Calgary and Edmonton.
In total, 118 people in Alberta are in hospitals with 16 in intensive care.
The total number of active cases in the province sat at 4,477 Monday afternoon up 826 from Friday’s 3,651.
The number of active cases in the central zone jumped to 162 from Friday’s 126. There are three people in hospital in the local zone with none in intensive care.
To date, there have been 953 COVID-19 cases confirmed in the local zone with 783 recoveries.
The deaths were in Edmonton and Calgary zones. The virus-death toll is at 307.
The City of Red Deer’s active cases sits at 39 up from Friday’s 31.
A letter was sent Monday to families alerting them of a positive case of the virus at Gateway Christian School in Red Deer.
On Monday, Red Deer’s Hunting Hills High School was on province’s watch list.
Red Deer County had 10 active cases Monday afternoon, two in Town of Sylvan Lake, six in Lacombe County, one in the City of Lacombe, 45 in Ponoka County, two in County of Wetaskiwin, and 11 in City of Wetaskiwin.
There were two active cases in the Town of Olds, three in Clearwater County, five in Kneehill County, four in Camrose County, six in City of Camrose and one in Town of Drumheller.
There are no active cases in Mountain View County, Starland County and County of Stettler.
One of the challenges of the increasing active case numbers is it creates pressure on COVID-19 response including contact-tracing, said Hinshaw.
She said Alberta is also challenged between polarizing views on the virus: on one hand “we have to drive to zero cases” and on another “COVID is a mild illness for most so we should let it spread freely and pursue herd immunity.”
“COVID is a novel disease that is not just the flu,” Hinshaw said. “It has the ability to overwhelm our health system and weaken essential services if we let it do so.”
She encouraged Albertans to maintain respectful dialogue and to not let COVID-19 divide the province.
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