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7 in hospital as P.E.I. announces more cases, recoveries of COVID-19 –



There are seven people on P.E.I. in hospital — including one in the Intensive Care Unit — being treated for COVID-19, the Chief Public Health Office said in a news release Monday.

 Dr. Heather Morrison announced 231 new cases of COVID-19 and 378 new recoveries as of 8 a.m.

COVID-19 testing clinics at Charlottetown and Slemon Park reached capacity and stopped taking new arrivals as of 2 p.m. The clinics will reopen Tuesday at 8 a.m.

As well, the mobile testing clinic will move from Montague to the O’Leary hospital on Tuesday due to increased demand in western P.E.I. It will also be on site in O’Leary on Wednesday and Friday. It will be in Montague on Thursday. 

It will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.

The CPHO also provided an update on the outbreaks across P.E.I.

  • Atlantic Baptist long-term care facility: Six new cases, 25 total.
  • Garden Home long-term care facility: Two new cases, 15 total.
  • Miscouche Villa community care facility: No new cases, nine total.
  • Early learning and childcare centres: 16 centres with cases, 10 are fully open, three are open with reduced or modified capacity and three are closed.
  • Shelters and outreach services: Five new cases, 15 total, among individuals who regularly access shelters and outreach services in Charlottetown.
  • Provincial Correctional Centre: No new cases.

Cindy Campbell, health-care manager of Miscouche Villa, said there is only one active case at the home and they are hoping that person will be fully recovered soon.

Residents ‘pretty co-operative’

She said the cases in the facility were mild, with residents having runny noses and being more tired than usual. 

“A lot of the residents that I have here are mental-health [patients] and they run from ages 23 to 86 and it is really hard to deal with that kind of a crowd in the age group,” she said.

“I figured that I would have trouble isolating and wearing the masks and, you know, the distancing, but a lot of them were pretty co-operative, we did really well.”

The outbreaks have caused staff at some long-term care facilities to go into isolation, and the P.E.I. government’s plan to address staffing shortages caused some concerns recently. 

Over the weekend, the province reached out to workers in various government departments, including P.E.I. school staff, asking if any would be available to help at long-term care homes. 

Karen Jackson, president of P.E.I.’s Union of Public Sector Employees, which represents many long-term care home workers, questioned what work people with no training or experience will be qualified to do. 

“I, as a health-care worker myself, would be fairly uncomfortable with having someone come in with no training,” she said.

“There’s lots of safety issues … like with transfers, lifting, repositioning patients, feeding patients that have difficulty swallowing. There’s just a lot of risk factors. Our members are professionals. They’ve been trained professionally to do this, and it’s not something you learn overnight.”

About 50 answered call to help

P.E.I.’s health minister on Monday told CBC News no one will be asked to do any work that goes beyond their qualifications. 

He said so far about 50 people have offered to help. Half that many have actually been hired to work so far, most of them substitute teachers and nursing students from UPEI.

P.E.I’s Official Opposition has questioned why government isn’t asking the military for assistance at long-term care homes, as other provinces have done to help deal with worker shortages throughout the pandemic 

Health P.E.I. said as of Jan. 12, 95.9 per cent of eligible Island residents age 12 years and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 92.6 per cent are fully vaccinated with two doses.

More than 56 per cent of children age 5-11 years have received their first dose.

There are currently 1,934 active cases of COVID-19 and there have been 4,401 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Over the last seven days there have been an average of 215 cases per day.

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U.S. CDC publishes guidelines on monkeypox vaccine – Financial Post



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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday published recommendations by its group of independent experts on a smallpox vaccine that limit its use to only people who work closely with viruses such as monkeypox.

The Jynneos vaccine, made by Bavarian Nordic, will be available for certain healthcare workers and laboratory personnel at a time when monkeypox infections has spread in Europe, United States and beyond.

The vaccine was approved in the United States in 2019 to prevent smallpox and monkeypox in high risk adults aged 18 and older.

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CDC officials earlier this week said they were in the process of releasing some doses of the Jynneos vaccine for people in contact with known monkeypox patients.

Officials said there were over 100 million doses of an older smallpox vaccine called ACAM2000, made by Emergent BioSolutions , which has significant side effects.

Monkeypox is a mild viral infection that is endemic in certain parts of Africa, but the recent outbreak in countries where the virus doesn’t usually spread has raised concerns.

So far, there are about 300 confirmed or suspected cases in around 20 countries where the virus was not previously circulating. The World Health Organization has called for quick action from countries to contain the Monkeypox spread.

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The CDC said its experts’ recommendations are meant for clinical laboratory personnel performing diagnostic tests for orthopoxviruses such as smallpox and monkeypox, laboratory people doing research on the viruses and healthcare workers who administer the ACAM2000 vaccine or care for patients infected with orthopoxviruses.

The publication of the vote by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which took place in November last year, formalizes the recommendations.

Both ACAM2000 and Jynneos are available for prevention of orthopoxvirus infections among at-risk people, the CDC said on Friday. (Reporting by Manas Mishra and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Shailesh Kuber)



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LGBTQ advocates fear monkeypox stigma could 'spread like a virus' – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



Advocates warn that stigma could pose a public health threat as a cluster of monkeypox cases stokes concern in the queer community.

Health authorities are investigating more than two dozen confirmed monkeypox cases in Canada as part of an unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease that seldom spreads outside Africa.

Twenty-five infections have been confirmed in Quebec and one in Ontario, the Public Health Agency of Canada said Thursday, predicting the tally will rise in coming days.

While everyone is susceptible to the virus, clusters of cases have been reported among men who have sex with men, officials say.

For some LGBTQ advocates, this raises the spectre of sexual stigmatization that saw gay and bisexual men scapegoated for the spread of HIV-AIDS in the 1980s. Others say the early detection of the monkeypox cases by sexual health clinics shows how the queer community has mobilized to dismantle shame and promote safe practices.

Canada’s deputy chief public health officer said he’s mindful of the potential for stigma and discrimination, reiterating that the virus’s spread isn’t limited to any specific group or sexual orientation.

The disease can be contracted through close contact with a sick person, including but not limited to sexual activity, Dr. Howard Njoo told a news conference Thursday. Scientists are still working to determine what’s driving cross-border transmission of the virus.

But as early signs suggest the virus is currently circulating in certain communities, authorities are working with partners on the ground to raise awareness among those at elevated risk of exposure, Njoo said.

Quebec officials said both transparency and sensitivity are needed to contain the outbreak and provide care to those infected.

“Stigmatization is really a big challenge in controlling this disease, so we’re trying to fight it,” Montreal public health official Dr. Genevieve Bergeron told reporters Thursday. “It’s important to understand that our enemy is the virus, it’s not the people who are affected.”

Aaron Purdie, executive director of the Health Initiative for Men in B.C., said he worries that the spread of stigma could present a greater threat than the disease itself, citing the lasting legacy of the panic and prejudice around HIV-AIDS in the early years of the epidemic.

“Stigma spreads like a virus,” Purdie said. “Yes, it’s treatable. Yes, it’s containable. But it spreads nonetheless.”

Beyond its corrosive societal harms, stigma can deter people from accessing testing and treatment, as they fear how a diagnosis could jeopardize their social standing, employment and safety, Purdie said.

These concerns are particularly potent among LGBTQ people given their long history of discrimination by the health-care system, said Purdie. That’s why it’s vital that public health agencies assist queer activists, educators and clinicians in leading the monkeypox response.

“We all hold trauma from our histories, and the reality is when something like monkeypox comes in, it scares people,” he said.

“We need to decrease the stigma. Because if we don’t, people aren’t able to fully express their identities, and … (that has the) downstream effect of making the community sicker.”

Dane Griffiths, director of the Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance of Ontario, said stigma thrives in silence, so one of the most effective strategies to combat it is to provide timely and accurate information without “shame or blame.”

The alliance is working to do just that by sharing the latest developments about the virus, encouraging people to pay attention to the risks and take steps to protect themselves.

Griffiths said obscuring the risk the virus poses to the queer community could prompt people to drop their guard.

“I wouldn’t want that to be an opportunity for the community to tune this out,” said Griffiths.

Instead, the queer community should be commended for helping authorities track the virus’s spread by getting tested at sexual health clinics in such high numbers, which could be a factor in why so many cases have been identified in men who have sex with men, Griffiths said.

“There are gay and bisexual men who have been showing up around the world at clinics and doctor’s offices and are being seen and therefore counted,” said Griffiths. “That’s a good thing, and it’s actually to be encouraged within our community.”

More than two years into the pandemic, University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman said he hopes people have realized infectious disease doesn’t discriminate on the basis of identity, so we don’t see a resurgence of the stigma and bigotry that pervaded our initial responses to both COVID-19 and HIV-AIDS.

“This is kind of a litmus test to see if we’ve moved on as a society, if we’re capable of looking at illness without … the cruelty of laying stigma on people,” said Bowman.

– with files from Jacob Serebrin in Montreal

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2022.

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Canada raids emergency stockpile to send medical equipment to Ukraine



OTTAWA — Canada has tapped into its own strategic stockpile of emergency medical supplies — stored for a national emergency — to help Ukraine.

It has donated over 375,000 items of medical equipment and medicines from Canada’s strategic stockpile since the invasion by Russia began.

This includes first aid and trauma kits, medicines and surgical instruments, as well as gloves, masks and gowns.

Canada’s health minister also helped push through an international resolution on rebuilding Ukraine’s besieged health-care system in Geneva this week.

Jean-Yves Duclos held bilateral talks to help get the votes required for the resolution, which Canada co-sponsored with Ukraine at the World Health Assembly meeting.

The Ukrainian motion, voted for by 88 countries to 12, with 43 abstentions, follows attacks on Ukraine’s health-care facilities and equipment, including ambulances, by Russian forces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2022.


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