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7 residents dead at Scarborough long-term care home battling COVID-19 outbreak –



Seven residents have died at a Scarborough, Ont., long-term care home in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak, while 136 other residents and 66 staff members have tested positive for the virus, said the company that owns and operates the facility.

Sienna Senior Living said on its website that the current outbreak at Rockcliffe Care Community, 3015 Lawrence Avenue E., west of McCowan Road, began on Nov. 2. The home has 204 beds. It confirmed the deaths and latest case numbers in an email on Saturday.

“We are grateful to our partners and team members who are working very hard to protect the health of our residents during the second wave of the pandemic. The safety of everyone in our residences is our highest priority as the province experiences unprecedented rates of COVID-19,” Nadia Daniell-Colarossi, manager of media relations for Sienna, said in the email.

Daniell-Colarossi provided no details of the deaths, but expressed condolences to relatives.

The home is working with Toronto Public Health, Scarborough Health Network and Sienna’s physician experts, Dr. Andrea Moser, chief medical officer, and Dr. Allison McGeer, chief infection prevention and control consultant, to respond to the outbreak, Daniell-Colarossi  said.

Measures to reduce further spread of the virus at Rockcliffe include:

  • Full contact and droplet precautions throughout the building.
  • Residents must remain in their rooms, including for meals.
  • Residents may only leave Rockcliffe for essential medical appointments.
  • Group programming is paused until further notice.
  • Only essential caregivers are permitted in the residence.
  • Team members are working in cohorts so they only provide care to a specific group of residents.

“Many lessons were taken from the beginning of the pandemic and in preparing for this second wave, our focus was to enhance our expertise, grow our personal protective equipment (PPE) supply, reinforce our infection prevention and control practices, invest in our residences, support the frontlines, and strengthen communications with residents and families,” Daniell-Colarossi said.

She said staff members are communicating with families through virtual town halls, telephone, email and newsletter updates to keep them up-to-date about measures being implemented to control the outbreak.

The home is located across the street from Scarborough General Hospital.

“Rockcliffe opened its doors in 1972 and, because of the cultural diversity of the 204 residents, is often referred to as Sienna’s very own ‘United Nations,'” its website said.

WATCH | How long-term care homes are battling the second wave of COVID-19: 

Long-term care homes are battling this second wave of COVID-19 — which is proving difficult. Ninety-three long-term care homes across Ontario are reporting outbreaks with hundreds of residents infected with the virus. Ali Chiasson has more. 2:35

Dr. Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health for Toronto Public Health (TPH), said in an email on Saturday that the public health unit was notified of the first case at Rockcliffe Care Community on Oct. 30.

She said TPH took action immediately to make sure “outbreak measures” were put in place to protect residents and staff. The public health unit is continuing to investigate.

To prevent further spread of COVID-19 at the facility, TPH has worked with the long-term care home to implement the following:

  • Ensure twice a day screening of residents and staff remains in place to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and to identify new infections as early as possible.  
  • Implement physical distancing measures and cancel all group activities.
  • Enhancing cleaning, particularly for frequently touched surfaces.
  • Work to make sure that personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to be used appropriately to minimize health risks. 
  • Restrict staff from working on more than one unit within the facility.

“TPH works with all institutions when cases are identified to ensure that prevention measures are in place to prevent further virus spread and assesses the potential for ongoing risk of transmission to staff and vulnerable residents in these settings,” Dubey said. 

She said all cases and their close contacts are also told to go into isolation for 14 days.

Signs direct scheduled visitors at the rear of Rockcliffe Care Community. The long-term care home is one of 100 in Ontario and one of 26 in Toronto with an active COVID-19 outbreak as of Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (Michael Charles Cole/CBC)

“We are very concerned about all COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care homes (LTCH), and their potentially devastating impact on our parents, our grandparents and our loved ones,” she said.  

“We know that any infectious disease can spread easier and faster in congregate settings, but LTCHs are especially concerning for COVID-19 because these residents are generally older, more vulnerable to infection due to compromised immune systems, or chronic health conditions.”

Vulnerable people at risk when virus spreads, doctor says

Earlier this week, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, had warned that the city must take more steps to prevent people, including those in long-term care homes, from getting sick and dying due to COVID-19. Community transmission can lead to further spread in institutions, she said.

“If action is not taken we can expect to see even more cases of COVID-19, which means more illness and more death. These infections could easily spread further through the health care system, to the long-term care system, to schools and to workplaces,” De Villa said on Tuesday.

“To everyone in Toronto, I want to warn you in the plainest possible terms that COVID-19 is out there at levels we have not seen before. You should assume it is everywhere and that without proper precautions and protections, you are at risk of infection,” she continued. 

“We can’t guarantee what the course of illness looks like. We can’t predict what the long-term effects might be. People recover from it who you wouldn’t expect to live through it. And people you’d think would come through it can die instead.”

The home is located across the street from Scarborough General Hospital. (Michael Charles Cole/CBC)

Home inspected due to complaints, critical incidents

Rockcliffe Care Community is one of 100 long-term care homes in Ontario and one of 26 in Toronto with an active COVID-19 outbreak as of Saturday.

Inspectors with the Ontario long-term care ministry inspected the home due to complaints and critical incidents on July 21, Feb. 21, Jan. 20 and Jan. 7 this year.

Toronto has had a cumulative total of 34,222 COVID-19 cases as of Friday at 2 p.m., with 28,450 marked as recovered, A total of 1,448 people have died of the virus in Toronto, while 164 are currently in hospital.

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Record number in intensive care as Manitoba announces 320 new COVID-19 cases on Friday –



There are now more COVID-19 patients in Manitoba’s hospitals and intensive care units than ever before, the province’s top doctor says, after a week in which the number of people in hospital with the illness went up almost every day. 

That trend continued on Friday, when Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced 361 people hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 357 on Thursday.

The record 55 intensive care patients with COVID-19 — 43 of whom are on ventilators — make up just under half of Manitoba’s critical care patients, Shared Health Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said at the conference.

“I cannot emphasize enough the impact that these COVID numbers are having on our staff throughout the system,” Siragusa said. “They are tired, they are fatigued, they are stressed by the changes and the intensity that is upon them.”

The province’s critical care program is now working at 161 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity, she said.

Projections released Friday suggest sweeping restrictions in Manitoba have barely kept the province from its worst-case scenario for daily COVID-19 cases, which assumes few restrictions and poor compliance in the province.

“It’s a scary thought to think about what would happen if we didn’t have the restrictions and if Manitobans weren’t doing their part,” Siragusa said.

Manitoba also announced on Friday that another 320 people have contracted COVID-19 and nine more have died.

The province’s latest coronavirus-linked deaths include a woman in her 50s from the Interlake-Eastern health region and four people linked to care home outbreaks across Manitoba, Roussin said.

There are now 134 intensive care spaces in Manitoba after a new 14-bed COVID-19 unit was added at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre Thursday night, Siragusa said.

Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is up slightly to 13.4 per cent, Roussin said. In Winnipeg, that rate dipped to 14. 6 per cent.

Two previously announced COVID-19 cases were removed from the province’s totals because of a data correction, Roussin said, bringing Manitoba’s total case tally to 18,069.

Of those, 8,535 are considered recovered from COVID-19, while 9,172 are still deemed active, though Roussin has previously said that number is inflated because of a data entry backlog.

An outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at the Brandon Correctional Centre, which has been moved to the critical red level on the pandemic response system, Roussin said.

The deaths announced Friday, which bring the province’s total to 362, include two women in their 90s linked to Brandon’s Fairview Personal Care Home, Roussin said. The most recent deaths also include two other people linked to outbreaks in Winnipeg: a woman in her 80s linked to Lions Manor Senior Housing and a man in his 90s linked to Holy Family Home.

The deaths of two Winnipeg men (in their 60s and 90s) and two people in the Southern Health region (a man in his 70s and a woman in her 80s) were also announced Friday.

Most of the cases announced Friday (200) are in the Winnipeg health region, with another 54 in the Southern Health region, Roussin said. The remaining cases are spread out through the Northern Health region (30), the Prairie Mountain Health region (20) and the Interlake-Eastern health region (16).

Possible exposures to COVID-19 are listed by region on the province’s website.

There were 2,706 more COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba on Thursday, bringing the total completed in the province since early February to 365,707.

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B.C. COVID-19 vaccine plan: Who gets priority and what is the schedule? – Global News



B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said she is hoping to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine in the province in the first week of January.

Henry said Thursday there will only be enough for people in priority groups to start, including vulnerable seniors and health-care workers.

Read more:
B.C. reports 694 new COVID-19 cases and double-digit deaths for 10th consecutive day

“We are planning to be able to put vaccines into arms, and the first week of January is what we’re planning for to make sure we are absolutely ready, by then at the very least,” Henry said.

She expects there will be two vaccines available to start — the Pfizer vaccine, which is under review right now by Health Canada, and the Moderna vaccine, which is currently in the process of obtaining notice of compliance in Canada.

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Henry said it is expected that Canada will get about six million doses of the vaccine and those will be distributed across the country.

Federal government, provinces and Canadian Armed Forces ramp up COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan

Federal government, provinces and Canadian Armed Forces ramp up COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan

The Canadian military has been brought in to help figure out how the vaccine is going to be distributed and administered and the deep freezers needed to store the vaccine are set to be plugged in and ready to use by Dec. 14.

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However, it will be up to the provinces to decide who is at the front of the line.

“Our first priority is to make sure we are protecting those who are most at risk,” Henry said Thursday, namely “our seniors and elders in our communities and long-term care homes and in hospitals, here in B.C.”

“Once we have more vaccine available, we will be making it available to all of us in B.C. And that’s when we can get to that point of managing and controlling this pandemic.”

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Read more:
Support for mandatory coronavirus vaccine keeps falling even as cases spike: Ipsos

Henry added they are expecting more vaccine doses to be available by April, 2021, and that by Sept. 2021, everyone who wants a vaccine will have received one.

“So, we expect there will be a good lot of people who will be immunized by the summer and through the fall next year, but by the end of the year, anybody who wants vaccine in B.C. and in Canada should have it available to them and should be immunized,” Henry said.

More details on the rollout plan in B.C. are expected to be released next week.

Click to play video 'British Columbians divided over mandatory vaccinations'

British Columbians divided over mandatory vaccinations

British Columbians divided over mandatory vaccinations

It seems British Columbians are still divided at this time on whether or not they will get the vaccine when it becomes available.

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Henry said Wednesday the province does not have a mandatory vaccine program and health officials do not expect COVID-19 immunizations to be mandatory.

Last week, polling done exclusively by Ipsos for Global News showed a drop in support for a mandatory vaccine since the beginning of the month, when it stood at 61 per cent.

That support now stands at 59 per cent, a total drop of 13 percentage points since May 2020.

Read more:
A coronavirus vaccine is almost ready. But will you take it?

As well, even though 59 per cent said they would support mandatory vaccination, more than 70 per cent also said they feel nervous about taking a vaccine that was created and rolled out so quickly.

Sixty-nine per cent cited the potential for long-term effects as a major concern.

Click to play video 'Tackling vaccine hesitancy amid fight to end COVID-19'

Tackling vaccine hesitancy amid fight to end COVID-19

Tackling vaccine hesitancy amid fight to end COVID-19

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Facebook to remove COVID-19 vaccine-related misinformation –



LONDON – Facebook said Thursday it will start removing false claims about COVID-19 vaccines, in its latest move to counter a tide of coronavirus-related online misinformation.

In the coming weeks, the social network will begin taking down any Facebook or Instagram posts with false information about the vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts.

The U.S. tech giant is taking action as the first COVID-19 vaccines are set to be rolled out. Britain this week became the first country to give emergency authorization for a vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, and innoculations could start within days. Regulators in the U.S., the European Union and Canada are also vetting vaccines.

Facebook said it’s applying a policy to remove virus misinformation that could lead to “imminent physical harm.“

Posts that fall afoul of the policy could include phoney claims about vaccine safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects.

“For example, we will remove false claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips, or anything else that isn’t on the official vaccine ingredient list,“ the company said in a blog post.

Conspiracy theories about the vaccines that are already known to be false will also be removed.

Facebook has taken other steps to try to stop the spread of vaccine and coronavirus-related misinformation on its platform. From March to October, it has removed 12 million posts with coronavirus-related misinformation. The deleted posts include one by President Donald Trump with a link to a Fox News video of him saying children are “virtually immune” to the virus.

In October, the company banned ads discouraging vaccinations, though it made an exception for advocacy ads about government vaccine policies. The company has also promoted articles debunking COVID-19 misinformation on an information centre.

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