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34 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa; more than 1700 in Ontario – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Ottawa Public Health is reporting 34 additional people in Ottawa have tested positive for COVID-19 and one more person has died. 

The figure marks a slight increase from Monday’s report, when 29 new positive tests were reported.

Across Ontario, another 1,707 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and seven more people have died. Figures are highest in Toronto, where more than 700 new positive cases were reported. 

According to Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, there have been 8,521 total laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa since the pandemic began.

Ottawa’s death toll from the pandemic is now 375.

In the past seven days, Nov. 25 to Dec. 1 inclusive, OPH has reported an average of 41.4 new cases of COVID-19 per day. In the seven days previous, Nov. 18 to Nov. 24 inclusive, OPH reported an average of 37.6 new cases per day.

OPH says the rate per 100,000 popluation in the city over the past seven days is 26.8, down from 27.2 on Monday. The R(t) number — that is, the number of additional people an indivudual who has tested positive spreads the virus to — is estimated at 1.18 as of Nov. 30. A week prior, on Nov. 23, the estimated R(t) number was 0.87. 

“R(t) values greater than 1 indicate the virus is spreading faster and each case infects more than one contact, and less than 1 indicates the spread is slowing and the epidemic is coming under control,” OPH says.

TESTING

Ontario health officials say 34,640 COVID-19 tests were performed across Ontario on Monday and 34,046 people are still waiting for test results provincewide.

Updated local figures from the Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce are due this afternoon.

HOSPITALIZATIONS IN OTTAWA

The number of people in Ottawa hospitals with COVID-19 remained steady on Tuesday.

OPH says there are 24 people in hospitals in the city with COVID-19 and one person is in intensive care.

Of the people in hospital, one is in their 20s, one is in their 30s, one is in their 40s, three are in their 60s, seven are in their 70s, eight are in their 80s (one in the ICU) and three are 90 or older.

ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA

The number of people with known active infections of COVID-19 has risen to 351 from 344 on Monday.

OPH reported 26 additional recoveries on Tuesday, bringing the number of resolved cases in Ottawa to 7,794.

The number of active cases of COVID-19 is the number of total laboratory-confirmed cases minus the numbers of resolved cases and deaths. A case is considered resolved 14 days after known symptom onset or positive test result.

CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA BY AGE CATEGORY

Here is a breakdown of all known COVID-19 cases in Ottawa by age category:

  • 0-9 years old: Two new cases (581 cases total)
  • 10-19 years-old: Four new cases (986 cases total)
  • 20-29 years-old: 11 new cases (1,746 cases total)
  • 30-39 years-old: Six new cases (1,145 cases total)
  • 40-49 years-old: Four new cases (1,072 cases total)
  • 50-59 years-old: One new case (992 cases total)
  • 60-69-years-old: Two new cases (664 cases total)
  • 70-79 years-old: Two new cases (438 cases total)
  • 80-89 years-old: Two new cases (531 cases total)
  • 90+ years old: Zero new cases (366 cases total)

CASES OF COVID-19 AROUND THE REGION

According to provincial figures, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit reported seven new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

Six more people in the Hasting Prince Edward Public Health region have tested positive.

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health have added one new case.

The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit has two additional cases of COVID-19 in its region.

There are no new COVID-19 cases in the Renfrew County and District Health Unit’s area on Tuesday.

The Quebec government reports that 15 more people in the Outaouais region have tested positive for COVID-19 and one additional person has died.

INSTITUTIONAL OUTBREAKS

Ottawa Public Health is reporting COVID-19 outbreaks at 25 institutions in Ottawa, including long-term care homes, retirement homes, daycares, hospitals and schools.

One new outbreak was declared on Tuesday at the Carleton Lodge long-term care home.

There are five active community outbreaks: one linked to an unidentified community organization, one from an unspecified social event and three at unidentified workplaces in the city.

The schools and childcare spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. École élémentaire publique Gabrielle Roy
  2. Manordale Public School
  3. Ottawa Technical Secondary School

The long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and other spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. Alta Vista Manor
  2. Amica Westboro Park
  3. Association Intégration Sociale d’Ottawa – 21034
  4. Bearbrook Retirement Residence
  5. Bridlewood Trails Retirement Home
  6. Carleton Lodge long-term care home (NEW)
  7. Courtyards on Eagleson
  8. Couvent Mont-Saint-Joseph retirement home
  9. Extendicare Medex
  10. Extendicare New Orchard Lodge
  11. Extendicare Starwood
  12. Forest Hill long-term care home
  13. Garden Terrace long-term care home
  14. Montfort Hospital – 3C
  15. Park Place
  16. Peter D. Clark long-term care home
  17. Shelter – 20868
  18. St. Patrick’s Home
  19. The Glebe Centre
  20. The Ravines retirement home
  21. The Ottawa Hospital General Campus – 5E
  22. Waterford Retirement

A single laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member of a long-term care home, retirement home or shelter triggers an outbreak response, according to Ottawa Public Health. In childcare settings, a single confirmed, symptomatic case in a staff member, home daycare provider, or child triggers an outbreak.

Under provincial guidelines, a COVID-19 outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before or after school care).  

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Calgary company begins clinical trials for Canadian-made COVID vaccine candidate – HalifaxToday.ca

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A prospective COVID-19 vaccine touted as a made-in-Canada response has begun human clinical trials in Toronto, and the company says it’s already preparing a followup that will target more infectious variants.

Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says if all goes well, it could start manufacturing millions of doses of its first prospective vaccine by the end of the year, guaranteeing a Canadian stockpile that wouldn’t be subject to global supply pressures or competition.

That’s if the formulation proves safe and effective, of course. 

Among the challenges of developing a vaccine amid a raging pandemic is the uncertainty of how more infectious variants now emerging will complicate the COVID battle. 

Even if successful, by the time Providence Therapeutics releases its vaccine hopeful, much of the country could be in the throes of a more infectious virus that does not respond to this formulation, said company CEO Brad Sorenson. 

“We don’t believe that this is going to be resolved by a single vaccine,” said Sorenson, whose biotech also produces a personalized mRNA-based vaccine against cancer.

It’s a challenge now facing Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have each said its products appear to respond well to the variant initially identified in the United Kingdom, and to a lesser degree, the variant first detected in South Africa.

Moderna said earlier this week it plans to test two booster vaccines aimed at the variant associated with South Africa.

Sorenson said Providence is already internally testing a vaccine candidate that targets the variants, and he hoped to begin clinical trials by the end of the year.

“We believe that there’s going to be a need to be in a position of readiness to be able to respond as these variants are coming up, and to be able to make sure that we have that capacity.”

That doesn’t mean Providence is changing production runs just yet. 

Sorenson said the immediate focus is to establish the safety and efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine, dubbed PTX-COVID19-B and designed in the early days of the pandemic last March.

It uses messenger RNA technology and focuses on the spike protein located on the surface of a coronavirus that initiates infection, similar to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna products.

The trial involves 60 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 25 who will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected in February. 

The subjects are divided into four groups of 15, three of which will get three different doses. The fourth group gets a placebo.

Sorenson said immediate pandemic efforts should be focused on the novel coronavirus currently devastating many parts of the country.

“It’s a matter of capacity. Right now these variants are there, they’re concerning, and we’re keeping a close eye on it, but that’s not predominantly what the needs of the population are,” said Sorenson.

“Right now the needs of the population are still tied to the primary spike protein virus that’s out there and is ravaging around the world.”

Sorenson said his next vaccine candidate takes a broader approach by attempting to elicit a T-cell response, thereby creating a longer-term vaccine “and cover what we believe would be a lot more variants.”

“We have to prove it out, but we believe that if we are successful that it will allow for a much more durable immunity and a much broader immunity.”

The other goal is to prepare for large-scale manufacturing in Calgary, if all goes well with the trials and approval process.

Sorenson said doses for the Phase 1 trial are being made in Toronto, but the plan is to commercially manufacture the completed vaccine through a contract with the Calgary-based Northern RNA Inc.

That won’t be up and running by the end of the year, Sorenson allowed, so the short-term plan is to send raw materials made in Canada to a plant in the United States that would make the commercial product.

Eventually, the whole process would be completed in Canada, he said.

“We’re building the entire chain within Canada, so we’re not going to run into a problem where this particular input into the vaccine is unavailable,” he said.

Much of this also depends on financial support from the federal government, Sorenson added.

While the National Research Council of Canada has backed Phase 1 trials, Sorenson said he’s awaiting word on further support. He’d also like Ottawa to back Providence’s efforts to address the new COVID variants.

“They’ve already recognized the importance of mRNA technology. What they don’t realize is the power of mRNA technology to be responsive to these challenges that are coming up,” he said.

“Hopefully the politicians and the people that cut the cheques and write the policies that give direction to the bureaucrats will hear that and we’ll start seeing a more concerted approach that looks at a fuller picture.”

Pending regulatory approval, Sorenson said a larger, international Phase 2 trial may start in May with seniors, younger subjects and pregnant people, followed by an even broader Phase 3 trial.

The Providence project is just one of several Canadian efforts underway to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The biopharmaceutical company Medicago, based in Quebec City, began clinical trials on its plant-based candidate last July. If successful, the company has said manufacturing would take place in Durham, N.C., until it can complete a large-scale manufacturing facility set for Quebec City.

And last month, Health Canada gave the green light to the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan to launch its Phase 1 clinical vaccine trial.

Infectious disease expert Jason Kindrachuk, who works with VIDO but is not involved with its vaccine candidate, said a varied vaccine strategy will be key to controlling the pandemic. 

“Vaccines are not necessarily a one-size-fits-all and maybe with this pandemic, people are getting a greater appreciation for some of the logistical hurdles of trying to transport vaccines. Cold chain storage is not something most people knew about or thought about prior to COVID and everybody in the community now I think has heard about it,” said Kindrachuk, a visiting scientist from the University of Manitoba and Canada Research Chair.

“This is something that, in regards to vaccine development, we really have to put a lot of thought into as a research community because of the fact that we have to make vaccines that are accessible for the communities that are ultimately going to be treated with them.”

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott acknowledged Tuesday that appetite was strong for a homegrown answer but noted Providence was still a considerable ways from offering a viable option.

“First it has to go through the appropriate approval process, go through Health Canada to make sure that it’s going to be satisfactory and safe and efficacious,” said Elliott.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021.

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

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COVID-19: What you need to know for January 27 – TVO

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This article was last updated on Wednesday at 10:32 a.m.

  • According to data as of January 25, there are 745 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 83,474 since the pandemic began; six of them are in hospital. In total, six people have died.
  • Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), said data from Public Health Ontario suggests that the COVID-19 variant is now present in the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, formerly known as Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene, reports CBC. Further testing is still required to confirm if the variant is one first detected in the United Kingdom.

  • Canada Post has said that customers “should expect delays with their parcels” as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak at a facility in Mississauga, reports CP24. In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Canada Post said that they are aware of 224 positive cases at their Gateway facility since January 1, including a dozen that have come to light over the last 24 hours.

  • 22 support staff at Beverly School, a public school in Toronto’s downtown that serves students with developmental and physical disabilities, are refusing to work for a second consecutive day due to concerns about their safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reports CTV News. The Toronto District School Board has confirmed that there have been a total of five positive COVID-19 cases at Beverly School, one involving a student, one involving a staff member and three involving bus drivers.

  • Starting next month, Toronto will close its outdoor skating rinks to out-of-towners, reports the Toronto Star.The city’s park, forestry and recreation division said Tuesday that it had received “a number of complaints” to its customer service phone lines over the holidays about non-Torontonians making skate reservations online.
  • On Tuesday, Hamilton recorded eight new COVID deaths and a record-high 53 active outbreaks, reports the Hamilton Spectator. Of the city’s 53 outbreaks, more than half are in retirement homes, long-term-care homes and hospitals, six are in workplaces, four are in shelters and two are in daycares.

  • In reponse to reporting by the Hamilton Spectator on the tragic conditions workers at the Grave Villa long-term-care home, APANS Health Services, which operates the home has said, “the safety of our residents, staff and family members is paramount and these statements are deeply concerning,” said CEO Mary Raithby to the newspaper. Workers at the home sent letters and emails to their local MPP’s detailing conditions at the home, which has become the site of Hamilton’s deadliest outbreak.

  • Hospitals in Hamilton won’t say how many staff go vaccinated sooner than they should have. As the Hamilton Spectator reports, staff were able to evaluate which priority group they fell into, thus determining when they would get their first dose. Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare both say most staff registered correctly, but would not confirm how many people did not. The paper also reports that Hamilton’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, could not say on Monday how many staff or residents are left to vaccinate in long-term care homes, or how many people in Hamilton have been vaccinated overall. She said that while staff know who has been vaccinated, Ontario’s system does not allow for a breakdown of the numbers.
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    China, India's COVID-19 vaccinations to stretch to late 2022 – study – The Guardian

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    SINGAPORE (Reuters) – COVID-19 vaccination programmes in China and India will stretch until late 2022 due to the sheer size of their population, and more than 85 poor countries will not have widespread access to vaccines before 2023, a study showed on Wednesday.

    While rapid development of vaccines has raised hopes for an end to the year-long pandemic, concerns over unequal distribution have also mounted due to production problems and large bilateral deals between wealthy countries and drug makers.

    U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that the United States aims to secure an additional 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech and Moderna Inc by summer.

    In Europe, the European Commission is setting up a proposal to restrict COVID-19 vaccine exports amid frustration over delays in deliveries of AstraZeneca’s vaccine and other supply problems.

    “Most developing countries will not have widespread access to the shots before 2023 at the earliest,” Agathe Demarais, director of the Economist Intelligence Unit, the research division of the Economist Group, said in its study.

    “Some of these countries—particularly poorer ones with a young demographic profile—may well lose the motivation to distribute vaccines, especially if the disease has spread widely or if the associated costs prove too high.”

    Most countries in Africa are unlikely to get widespread vaccination coverage until early 2023, while many Asian countries will have broad access to vaccines by late 2022.

    The report said vaccine deliveries to poor countries by global vaccine sharing scheme COVAX, backed by the World Health Organization, may be slow due to delays in delivery to wealthy nations first and poor infrastructure in the developing world.

    COVAX said 1.8 billion doses would be supplied to 92 poorer countries in 2021 and that would correspond to approximately 27% coverage of populations in those countries.

    (Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Michael Perry)

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