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9 flights involving Vancouver airport added to BCCDC list of COVID-19 exposures

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VANCOUVER —
Seven more domestic flights and two international flights have been added to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s list of COVID-19 exposures.

All of the flights that had cases of COVID-19 on board either took off from or landed at Vancouver International Airport.

The seven domestic flights were:

  • Aug. 21 – Air Canada flight 8570 from Vancouver to Regina (rows 13 to 19)
  • Aug. 23 – Air Canada flight 8569 from Regina to Vancouver (rows not reported)
  • Aug. 24 – WestJet flight 165 from Edmonton to Vancouver (rows 3 to 9)
  • Aug. 26 – WestJet flight 164 from Vancouver to Edmonton (rows 19 to 25)
  • Aug. 30 – WestJet flight 709 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows not reported)
  • Aug. 31 – Air Canada flight 123 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows 31 to 37)
  • Sept. 1 – Air Canada flight 107 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows 35 to 41)

The two international flights were:

  • Aug. 31 – Air Canada flight 575 from Los Angeles to Vancouver (rows 15 to 21)
  • Sep. 1 – United Airlines flight U375 from San Francisco to Vancouver (rows 22 to 28)

The BCCDC asks anyone who was a passenger on any of the flights to self-monitor for symptoms of the coronavirus. Passengers who were seated in the listed rows are considered to be at higher risk due to their proximity to a now-confirmed case of COVID-19.

Anyone arriving in B.C. from another country is required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada. Those who were on the domestic flights added to the BCCDC’s list should self-isolate and seek testing for COVID-19 if they begin to develop symptoms.

B.C. health officials no longer directly contact people who were seated near a confirmed case of COVID-19 on a flight. Instead, the health authorities provide updates on flights with confirmed cases as they’re made aware of them and post them online.

Source: – CTV News Vancouver

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Atlantic bubble bursts as P.E.I., N.L. exit coronavirus pact – Global News

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The provincial governments of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador announced Monday morning that they are taking a break from the Atlantic bubble as COVID-19 cases rise in the region.

The two regions backed out after Nova Scotia and New Brunswick saw an increase in cases, reporting 44 and 77 active COVID-19 cases, respectively, as of Sunday.

Read more:
N.B. asks travellers from Halifax to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms

N.L. Premier Andrew Furey said the Atlantic bubble has been a source of pride for the region, but the situation has changed.

“I have made the tough decision to implement a circuit break,” Furey said.

“As your premier, as a physician and as a concerned father and citizen, I must do what I promised: protect the best interest of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

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As of Wednesday, all travellers from the Atlantic bubble to N.L. will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Non-essential travel will not be permitted.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Newfoundland and Labrador implements ‘circuit break’ from Atlantic bubble, suspends all non-essential travel'



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Coronavirus: Newfoundland and Labrador implements ‘circuit break’ from Atlantic bubble, suspends all non-essential travel


Coronavirus: Newfoundland and Labrador implements ‘circuit break’ from Atlantic bubble, suspends all non-essential travel

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King announced the province has made the same decision after talking to other Atlantic premiers over the weekend.

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As of Monday, the province is temporarily suspending all non-essential travel to and from P.E.I. for at least two weeks, King said.

King said he doesn’t think this is a step backward.

“I feel it is a proactive measure, a preventative step,” he said.

He said the decision is in the best interest of those in P.E.I., Canada’s smallest province.

“We have a health system that is strong, that is ready,” but King said the system has limitations. A COVID-19 outbreak may put pressure on the system, which could easily become overwhelmed.

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Read more:
8 new coronavirus cases reported in N.S., largest single-day increase since May

For the next two weeks, King said he will be monitoring the situation and then decide if this break needs to be extended.

In a Monday morning statement, the Nova Scotia government said the Atlantic premiers have discussed “the need for extra caution on non-essential travel in the region.”

“Some provinces may take additional measures,” the statement read.

The Atlantic bubble began in July, and this is the first time that a member has backed out.

More to come.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: New Brunswick breaks record for new COVID-19 case numbers'



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Coronavirus: New Brunswick breaks record for new COVID-19 case numbers


Coronavirus: New Brunswick breaks record for new COVID-19 case numbers

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Windsor's Frank W. Begley Public School reporting 37 confirmed COVID-19 cases – CTV News Windsor

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WINDSOR, ONT. —
A Windsor school has seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported on Monday there are 37 confirmed cases and two probable cases at Frank W. Begley Elementary School.

According to the province’s website, it is the largest outbreak in an Ontario school.

WECHU says 29 students and eight staff members have tested positive.The presumed index case is believed to be a staff member.

“They could be the one who spread it to the rest of the school,” says Ahmed. “It’s not to blame that index case, that this happened because they didn’t follow anything, but I think it’s just how we are trying to work through an outbreak investigation.”

Ahmed says they can’t pinpoint where the presumed index case acquired the virus. The earliest case was reported on Nov. 8.

The health unit declared an outbreak at the school on Tuesday and students and staff members were dismissed.

“Dismissing the entire school really helped us from a control perspective, so there was no ongoing spread,” says Ahmed.

He adds they are still trying to paint a picture of how the cases spread between cohorts.

Windsor Regional Hospital set up dedicated clinics for the school community to get tested.There are about 430 students and staff members at the school. The health unit says 283 students, 47 staff and 141 family members have been tested as a result of this initiative.

There is also an outbreak at W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School, where two students and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. The school is also closed.

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AstraZeneca says late-stage trials of its COVID-19 vaccine were 'highly effective' in preventing disease – CBC.ca

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AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed that its COVID-19 vaccine with Oxford University was up to 90 per cent effective in preventing disease. The vaccine is one of several that Canada has preordered.

The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine, AstraZeneca said.

The trial looked at two different dosing regimens. A half dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month apart was 90 per cent effective. A second regimen using two full doses one month apart was 62 per cent effective. The combined results showed an average efficacy rate of 70 per cent.

“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives,” Prof. Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial, said in a statement. “Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90 per cent effective.”

AstraZeneca is the third major drug company to report late-stage results for its potential COVID-19 vaccine as public health officials around the world anxiously wait for vaccines that will end the pandemic that has killed almost 1.4 million people. Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna last week reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing their vaccines were almost 95 per cent effective.

Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries. All three vaccines must be approved by regulators before they can be widely distributed.

“The Oxford vaccine can be stored in the fridge, as opposed to the freezer like the other two vaccines, which means it is a more practical solution for use worldwide,” said Peter Horby, professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health at Oxford.

The results come as COVID-19 infection rates are rising in most U.S. states and in many countries, including Canada, amid a resurgence of the virus, which is once again prompting governments to shut down businesses and restrict social gatherings around the world. England is still in the middle of a four-week lockdown that has closed all non-essential shops, while in the U.S., the government’s top health agency has recommended that Americans not travel to visit family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday this week.

AstraZeneca said it will immediately apply for early approval of the vaccine where possible, and it will seek an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization so it can make the vaccine available in low-income countries.

The vaccine uses a weakened version of a common cold virus that is combined with genetic material for the characteristic spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19. After vaccination, the spike protein primes the immune system to attack the virus if it later infects the body.

The vaccine can be transported under “normal refrigerated conditions” of 2 C to 8 C, AstraZeneca said. By comparison, Pfizer plans to distribute its vaccine using specially designed “thermal shippers” that use dry ice to maintain temperatures of minus -70 C.

Smaller dose may reduce costs

Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said the finding that a smaller initial dose is more effective than a larger one is good news because it may reduce costs and mean more people can be vaccinated.

“The report that an initial half-dose is better than a full dose seems counterintuitive for those of us thinking of vaccines as normal drugs. With drugs, we expect that higher doses have bigger effects, and more side-effects,” he said. “But the immune system does not work like that.”

WATCH | Who would get a COVID-19 vaccine first and when?

With several COVID-19 vaccines in development around the world, cost and efficacy are important. However, logistical considerations may be the deciding factor in what becomes available across Canada, according to epidemiologist Dr. Christopher Labos.   5:41

Dr. Christopher Labos, a cardiologist in Montreal trained in epidemiology, said vaccines do not have to be perfect or prevent every case of COVID-19.

“The point is to drastically reduce the caseload, to drastically reduce the number of new infections so that we don’t have these outbreaks, so we don’t have the hospital systems overwhelmed,” Labos said Monday on CBC News Network. 

“That’s the main take-home message from a lot of these vaccines. Not only do they prevent cases but they seem to prevent serious cases of COVID-19.”

Labos said he suspects because the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines need to be stored at low temperatures, they are probably going to be reserved for institutions, while the Oxford/AstraZeneca one might be rolled out in the community. 

The results reported Monday come from trials in the U.K. and Brazil that involved 23,000 people. Late-stage trials are also underway in the U.S., Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America, with further trials planned for other European and Asian countries.

AstraZeneca reported two pauses in the Phase 3 clinical trial of its vaccine candidate, AZD1222. “No serious safety events related to the vaccine have been confirmed,” the company said in a release. 

AstraZeneca has been ramping up manufacturing capacity, so it can supply hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine starting in January, chief executive Pascal Soriot said earlier this month.

Soriot said Monday that the Oxford vaccine’s simpler supply chain and AstraZeneca’s commitment to provide it on a non-profit basis during the pandemic mean it will be affordable and available to people around the world.

“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,” Soriot said.

Now that AstraZeneca has released its interim results, regulators must approve the vaccine before it can be widely distributed.

‘Great sense of relief’

Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, and the government says several million doses can be produced before the end of the year if it gains approval from the regulator. Canada has ordered 20 million doses, enough for 10 million people.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he felt “a great sense of relief” at the news of the AstraZeneca vaccine’s effectiveness.

He said just months ago, as the virus raged, “the idea that by November we would have three vaccines, all of which have got high effectiveness, I would have given my eye teeth for.”

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