Symptoms of influenza and COVID-19 share a number of similarities
Health officials say they are looking into an outbreak of COVID-19 at a mushroom farm in Vaughan.
York Region Public Health says the “workplace cluster” involves 30 workers at Ravine Mushroom Farm.
The agency says it has determined the risk of transmitting the virus to the general public is low.
It is also following up with those who have come in close contact with the infected workers.
The public health agency says it has inspected the facility to review and reinforce infection prevention and control measures.
It says it has also reaffirmed the importance of not having employees work when they are sick.
COVID-19 case identified at Winnipeg daycare – CBC.ca
Public health officials are warning that a confirmed case of COVID-19 is connected to the Munroe Early Childhood Education Centre in Winnipeg’s Elmwood neighbourhood.
A person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus was in the Chalmers Avenue daycare on Monday in the morning and afternoon, according to a letter sent to parents from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority on Saturday.
“Be assured that public health investigations begin within 24 hours of a confirmed laboratory test to identify individuals who may have been exposed,” the letter said.
The centre immediately closed off areas that may have been used by the infected person after it was informed of the positive test result. Those areas won’t be used until they have been thoroughly cleaned.
All close contacts in the same room as the person who tested positive are being told to self-isolate for 14 days, but public health officials will contact those people directly.
Officials aren’t providing the name or any identifying information about the person who tested positive.
Parents are asked to monitor their kids for COVID-19 symptoms and isolate them at any sign of illness; those who show symptoms should be tested for the coronavirus.
The centre will remain open to all other children and staff.
Health unit prepares for possible ‘twindemic’
When it comes to a possible “twindemic” – the arrival of flu season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – “all you can do is expect the worst, plan for the worst, and hope for the best.”
Dr. Jim Chirico, medical officer of health with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, says there are “so many unknowns” about what this year’s flu season will look like.
The flu season in the southern hemisphere, which can provide indications of what will happen in the northern hemisphere, was very mild this year, but Canadians can’t take that as a true indicator of what will happen here.
“Was it mild because of the COVID-19 measures that were in place?” Chirico asks. “We don’t know. We don’t know how severe it might be.”
The flu normally starts to be felt in this region in the late fall, running until January. Canada has been weathering the COVID-19 pandemic since March, and there are no signs it will let up anytime soon. In fact, the number of cases across the country have been climbing over the past week.
Having two pandemics at the same time, Chirico says, can put more pressure on the health system as symptoms of influenza and COVID-19 share a number of similarities. That means the number of people seeking testing for COVID-19 could increase as the seasonal flu takes hold.
The flu, he says, affects children more, it appears, than COVID-19 does, but elderly residents are particularly susceptible to both.
Chirico advocates everyone possible get the flu vaccine when it arrives in the region. It helps reduce the possibility of contracting the flu and may reduce the severity of influenza, although it does not offer 100 per cent protection from contracting it.
“It protects not only you but those around you,” Chirico says. If we can reduce the number of flu cases, it will reduce the pressure on the health-care system.”
The health unit, he says, is working with primary health-care providers and pharmacies to make sure as many people who want the flu vaccine can get it. The health unit will be providing vaccination clinics, while the vaccine will also be available at doctors offices and at pharmacies.
Chirico notes that when the H1N1 flu was prevalent some years ago, the health unit was able to conduct “mass immunization clinics.
“So we have that experience” to fall back on and to prepare for the eventuality that it might be necessary again, he says.
“We do have plans in place to do that.”
“I really do believe those efforts will pay off. The same recommendations for COVID-19 will prevent the flu, as well.”
Those measures include wearing face masks, social distancing, regular washing or sanitizing of hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based rub, sneezing or coughing into your arm, not touching your eyes, nose or mouth, staying home if you feel unwell and, if you develop a fever, cough and difficulty breathing to seek medical attention.
‘Done very well’
“People have been very mindful” of following those measures, he says, and the North Bay-Parry Sound area has “done very, very well.
“I do believe all the efforts to reduce the impact of COVID will do as well with the flu because they are transmitted in the same way,” he says.
The region has reported a total of 39 positive COVID-19 cases since the middle of March. Thirty-seven of those cases have been resolved and one person is in self-isolation. One person has died of COVID-19 in the region.
Chirico also notes that there was “a very reduced number of cases” of influenza last year, compared to the previous four or five years.
The area has reported between 126 and 298 cases annually with “very little mortality” over those years, he says, although the number of total cases “is obviously likely more” because most people who get the flu don’t go for treatment.
According to JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, both influenza and COVID-19 can present with fever, chills, headache, cough, fatigue and myalgias – muscle aches and pain, which can involve ligaments, tendons and fascia, the soft tissues that connect muscles, bones and organs.
Influenza differs in that it also generally features nasal congestion and sore throat, while COVID-19 can include shortness of breath and loss of the senses of taste and smell.
There are five COVID-19 assessment centres in the region. Appointments must be booked in advance.
The centres are located at:
• Hopital de Mattawa Hospital. Book an appointment by calling 705-744-5511 ext. 0
• North Bay Regional Health Centre. Book an appointment by calling 705-474-8600 ext 4110
• West Nipissing COVID-19 Assessment Centre, 219 O’Hara St., Sturgeon Falls. Book an appointment by calling 705-580-2186
• 75 Ann Street, Bracebridge. Book an appointment by calling 1-888-383-7009
• West Parry Sound COVID-19 Assessment Centre at 70 Joseph St., Parry Sound, Unit 105-106. Book an appointment by calling 705-746-4540 ext 5030
Rapid 90-minute Covid-19 test shown to be highly accurate – Daijiworld.com
London, Sep 18 (IANS): Researchers have created a 90-minute high speed Covid-19 test which does not require a laboratory and can be performed in cartridges smaller than a mobile phone with high accuracy.
The study, published in the journal The Lancet Microbe, revealed that the Lab-in-Cartridge rapid testing device, which can be performed at a patient’s bedside, was shown to have over 94 per cent sensitivity and 100 per cent specificity,
It means that it had a high level of accuracy and produced very few false negatives and no false positives.
To perform the test, a paediatric-sized nose swab from a patient is inserted into the device, which then looks for traces of genetic material belonging to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19.
A result is available within 90 minutes, compared to conventional Covid-19 testing which delivers a result in 24 hours.
“These results suggest the test, which can be performed at a patient’s bedside without the need to handle any sample material, has comparable accuracy to standard laboratory testing,” said study researcher Graham Cooke from the Kings College London in the UK.
According to the study, the device was used on 280 NHS staff members with suspected Covid-19, 15 patients in accident & emergency department with suspected Covid-19, and 91 hospital in-patients.
The samples from all individuals in the study were analysed on both the rapid-testing device, called the CovidNudge test, and standard hospital laboratory equipment – and then the results compared.
The research team assessed sensitivity and specificity.
Sensitivity is a measure of how well a test gives a positive result for people who have disease, and is an indication of how likely a test will produce false negative results.
Specificity, on the other hand, is a measure of a test’s ability to give a negative result for people who don’t have the disease, and is an indication of the likelihood of false positive results.
The percentage of those found to be positive for Covid-19 was 18 per cent.
The results showed 67 samples tested positive on the CovidNudge test, compared with 71 positive results against a range of standard laboratory machines, which represents the value of 94 per cent sensitivity.
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