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5 more deaths, 118 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Monday –



Five more Manitobans have died and there are 118 new reported cases of COVID-19 on Monday, public health officials say.

The latest deaths are a woman in her 30s, a woman in her 60s and three women in their 90s, all from the Winnipeg health region.

Two of the deaths were linked to Winnipeg outbreaks: one of the women in her 90s was linked to an outbreak at River Ridge II Retirement Residence, and another woman her in 90s was linked to an outbreak at Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home.

A total of 688 Manitobans have now died from COVID-19.

Of the new cases announced Monday, 80 are in Winnipeg. There are 19 in the Southern Health region, seven in the Prairie Mountain Health region, five in the Northern Health Region and seven in the Interlake-Eastern health region.

The five-day test positivity rate is 10.7 per cent provincially and 11.8 per cent in Winnipeg.

The news conference comes as Manitoba’s current public health orders are due to expire on Friday. Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, gave the update for the first time since before the winter holidays.

It’s too early to say if rules will be relaxed, he said.

“We’re starting to see our case numbers coming down, and while our restrictions are due for review, we need to ensure that this is not the time that we relax our efforts against this virus,” he said.

“Our test positivity rates are still quite high, the hospitalization and ICU numbers are still high, and it’s also too early to know what the effects of what gathering over the holidays may have had on our numbers.”

Vaccine super site open

The current rules, which include a ban on indoor social gatherings with people from different households, also forbid the sale of non-essential items in stores, and order the closure of places of worship, gyms, theatres and other businesses. Under the rules, restaurants may only offer take-out and delivery.

Premier Brian Pallister suggested last week the province will likely ease some restrictions within the first three months of the new year, but didn’t indicate when that will happen or which rules may be lifted.

Manitoba’s daily case count, test-positivity rates and hospitalization numbers for COVID-19 have decreased somewhat in recent weeks. Test numbers were also lower over the holidays. A total of 1,275 tests were completed on Sunday, Roussin said.

There are currently 245 people in hospital with active COVID-19, as well as 95 people in hospital with COVID-19 who are no longer considered infectious, said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health.

There are a total of 113 people in Manitoba ICUs — 157 per cent of normal, pre-COVID capacity — including 35 people with active COVID-19 and six people with COVID-19 who are no longer considered infectious, she said.

A total of 65 people are on ventilators in Manitoba, Siragusa said, including 30 who have COVID-19.

Also on Monday, Manitoba officially opened its COVID-19 vaccination super site at the RBC Convention Centre in downtown Winnipeg.

More than 4,100 health-care workers had appointments to receive their first dose of the vaccine this week, and 2,000 slots remained available as of Sunday evening, the province said in a news release.

Appointments are available to health-care workers dealing directly with patients in critical care units and COVID-19 immunization clinics or testing sites. Health-care workers who work with patients at long-term or acute care facilities and who were born by Dec. 31, 1975, are also eligible.

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Online sign-ups complicate vaccine rollout for older people – Burnaby Now



DENVER — Howard Jones, who’s 83, was on the phone for three to four hours every day trying to sign up for a coronavirus vaccine.

Jones, who lives alone in Colorado Springs, doesn’t have the internet, and that’s made it much more difficult for him to make an appointment. It took him about a week. He said the confusion has added to his anxiety about catching what could be a life-threatening disease at his age.

“It has been hell,” Jones said. “I’m 83 and to not have the use of a computer is just terrible.”

As states across the U.S. roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to people 65 and older, senior citizens are scrambling to figure out how to sign up to get their shots. Many states and counties ask people to make appointments online, but glitchy websites, overwhelmed phone lines and a patchwork of fast-changing rules are bedeviling older people who are often less tech-savvy, may live far from vaccination sites and are more likely to not have internet access at all, especially people of colour and those who are poor.

Nearly 9.5 million seniors, or 16.5% of U.S. adults 65 and older, lack internet access, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Access is worse for seniors of colour: more than 25% of Black people, about 21% of Hispanic people and over 28% of Native Americans 65 and older have no way to get online. That’s compared with 15.5% of white seniors.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. Rebecca Parish has been dismayed by the bureaucratic process and continued calls for help from seniors. One of her patients, who’s 83, called her in tears, unable to navigate the online appointment system at Rite Aid. A 92-year-old woman called her before dawn this week after reading about her in a newspaper, telling her, “I’ll do anything to get this vaccine.”

So Parish took things into her own hands. She reached out to Contra Costa County and acquired 500 doses to vaccinate people this weekend at a middle school in Lafayette, California. She’s working with nonprofits to identify seniors who don’t live in nursing homes and risk falling through the cracks. All her appointments have been claimed, but she’ll start taking them again once more doses are available.

Some health officials have been trying to find other solutions to ease the confusion and help senior citizens sign up, just as the Trump administration urged states this week to make the nation’s 57.6 million seniors eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Some places have found simple ideas work. In Morgantown, West Virginia, county health officials used a large road construction sign to list the phone number for seniors to call for an appointment. Others are considering partnering with community groups or setting up mobile clinics for harder-to-reach populations.

Some seniors may be waiting to hear from their doctor. But there are limits to using health care systems, pharmacies or primary care providers to reach underserved people who don’t have the internet, said Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers.

She said the two coronavirus vaccines available in the U.S. and their low-temperature requirements “don’t lend themselves to being sent out to rural areas.”

In McComb, Mississippi, where 77.5% of residents are Black and almost half the population lives below the poverty line, 71-year-old Mary Christian made an appointment online with her son’s help. But the only available sites are at least an hour away from she lives.

“I’m 71 years old, and my kids are not going to be happy for me driving 1 to 200 miles away to get a vaccine,” said Christian, who has diabetes.

Some medical systems, like UCHealth in Colorado, are trying to partner with community groups to get vaccines to underserved populations, like seniors.

Dr. Jean Kutner, chief medical officer of UCHealth University at Colorado Hospital, said she’s volunteering at a clinic hosted by a church that brings in the vaccine and helps build trust between health care workers and residents.

For now, UCHealth schedules appointments online, but Kutner said a COVID-19 hotline is in the works because of the volume of calls from seniors.

“Seniors are comfortable with the phone side of things, so that that’s not really a technological barrier for them,” said Gretchen Garofoli, an associate professor at West Virginia University’s School of Pharmacy.

But even a Colorado health provider setting up vaccine clinics for underserved communities, Salud Family Health Centers, said their phone lines can’t handle the volume of calls they’re receiving and encouraged people to go online.

When calling for an appointment is an option, finding a number is often only possible online.

That was the problem for Jones, the 83-year-old in Colorado. A retired service member, he considered reaching out to Veterans Affairs but couldn’t find a phone number.

He asked for help from a friend, who gave him several numbers. One led to Angela Cortez, head of communications for AARP in Colorado.

AARP has been flooded with calls from seniors like Jones who don’t have the internet and need help navigating the websites of health departments, care providers and vaccine sign-up forms, Cortez said.

“It’s not like you can show up somewhere and get vaccinated,” Cortez said. “And if you don’t have access to a computer, you’re at a disadvantage.”

Even Cortez had trouble as she tried to help Jones. She called numbers listed on the Colorado health department website and several Safeway stores after Jones heard friends were vaccinated there.

Eventually, Cortez was told to sign up online.

“I’m an employee of AARP, one; and two, I’m the communications director — I’m a trained journalist — and I have a computer, three, and I can’t even get through to anybody,” she said.

A friend was finally able to get Jones an appointment for Saturday. But he’s frustrated that he had “to go through side channels” instead of doing it himself.


Naishadham reported from Phoenix. Associated Press reporter Janie Har in San Francisco and data journalist Larry Fenn in New York contributed to this report. Nieberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.


This story has been corrected to show that there are 57.6 million seniors in the U.S., not 54 million, according to Census Bureau data.

Patty Nieberg And Suman Naishadham, The Associated Press

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Number of positive COVID-19 tests exceeds 60000 in British Columbia –



It was another day with more than 500 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C.

That has brought the provincial total to 60,117 since the virus was first detected in B.C. nearly a year ago.

The good news is the number of hospitalizations from the disease fell to 349 today, down from 362 on January 14. 

The number of those in intensive care is also down, falling from 74 to 68 in a single day.

Tragically, there have been another nine deaths from COVID-19, lifting B.C.’s total to 1,047 since the virus first arrived in the province.

“We have had one new health-care facility outbreak at Hilltop House,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement. “The outbreaks at Villa Cathay and Wingtat Game Bird Packers are now over.

“People throughout British Columbia are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”

B.C.’s is still registering fewer positive test results per 100,000 than some other provinces, according to data released by the federal government.

Henry and Dix reported that 260 of the 509 new cases were in the Fraser Health region. Another 101 were in Vancouver Coastal Health and 86 in the Interior Health regions.

The lowest daily totals were again reported in Northern Health (49) and Island Health (13).

So far, 75,914 people in B.C. have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We must never forget how far we have come by working together,” Henry and Dix said. “Over the past months, we have all made sacrifices for the health of our families and communities, and now more than ever we need to hold the line and stop transmission of COVID-19 as our vaccination program ramps up.”


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One of Canada's oldest seniors, at 110 years old, gets COVID-19 vaccine at Surrey care home – Surrey Now-Leader



JaHyung Lee, a resident at a Newton care home, received his COVID-19 vaccine at the age of 110.

Amenida Seniors Community said in a news release that residents at the facility received the first dose of their vaccines on Thursday (Jan. 14). JaHyung Lee is one of “Canada’s oldest senior” to be inoculated.

The second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be administered “in the coming weeks.”

“We are extremely lucky that we have received enough supplies to vaccinate all of our residents in care,” said Rosa Park, general manager at Amenida.

“As many of our seniors are elderly and require complex care, we can feel safer knowing that the virus won’t be spreading within our community.”

A reporter with the Now-Leader attended Lee’s 109th birthday in 2019. He was born on Aug. 27, 1910.

RELATED: 109th birthday party for ‘amazing’ Surrey man who still shops on his own and plays bingo, Sept. 23, 2019

Meantime, Fraser Health says it has completed 151 vaccine clinics for long-term care and assisted living in the health region.

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