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A look at what provinces and territories have said about COVID-19 vaccine plans – Preeceville Progress

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The federal government is laying plans for the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, inking contracts with seven potential manufacturers and saying six million doses could arrive in the country in the first quarter of 2021. The most recent development from Ottawa came Friday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tapped former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead the national distribution effort. But various provinces have started spelling out their plans as well. Here’s a look at what they’ve said so far:

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Nova Scotia

The province’s chief medical officer of health says he will release a detailed plan for the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once Ottawa shares more information.

Dr. Robert Strang said Friday there is no certainty yet about the availability of a vaccine, but expressed hopes an initial supply will trickle into Nova Scotia early in the new year.

Strang said a detailed provincial plan, to be released once the federal government has shared more specifics on its end, will include tight control of the supply and clear rules dictating who can be first in line for immunization.

He said he’s waiting for more federal guidance on issues ranging from priority groups to transportation and storage logistics.

Quebec

The province will be ready to start rolling out its vaccine plan as of Jan. 1, say senior politicians.

Premier Francois Legault said Thursday that public health officials have already settled on the list of priority vaccine recipients, but did not release details.

Legault said the province is also working to put the necessary infrastructure in place to support a vaccine rollout. That includes obtaining fridges capable of maintaining the extremely low temperatures needed by one of the most promising potential vaccine options, currently in development through pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

Quebec has also tasked assistant deputy health minister Jerome Gagnon, and former provincial public health director Dr. Richard Masse to oversee the province’s vaccination effort.

Ontario

Premier Doug Ford is among those leaders calling on Ottawa to provide more clarity as officials scramble to develop a provincewide vaccination strategy.

Early speculation on the number of doses the province could receive was put to rest earlier this week when federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said such details were still in the works.

But Ford has forged ahead, naming former chief of national defence Gen. Rick Hillier to oversee the province’s vaccine rollout.

Hillier said on Friday he hopes to have a plan developed by year’s end, while Ford urged Ottawa to provide detailed information on potential vaccine delivery.

“We need a clear line of sight into the timelines of the shipments,” Ford said.

Alberta

The province’s top medical official has said she expects to receive 680,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year, a figure not yet confirmed by the federal government.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw has also said a number of hurdles and unknowns remain as the province works to devise its vaccination scheme.

“These (vaccine) numbers, of course, depend on many factors,” Hinshaw said on Nov. 18. “They depend on the final pieces of the trials that are underway going well. They depend on ensuring that the safety and the effectiveness of the early vaccines can be assured. All of those checks and balances must be cleared.”

On Friday, Hinshaw said the province is working with Ottawa to get vaccine, but it is “a bit of a moving target” on when vaccines might be available.

“But our goal is that whenever vaccine is available, we will be ready to start immunizing individuals on that highest priority list.”

British Columbia

Provincial health officials announced on Wednesday that a vaccine strategy for the province is already in the works.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s top doctor, said Dr. Ross Brown of Vancouver Coastal Health will join the group working to organize the logistics around the distribution of vaccines.

Henry said front-line workers as well as those in long-term care homes will likely have priority for vaccinations.

She cautioned that while the province has contracts with vaccine makers, there can be challenges with offshore manufacturing.

“It’s very much focused on who is most at risk and how do we protect them best,” Henry said. “There’s a lot of discussion that needs to happen.”

Henry said the province hopes to have vaccines in hand by January.

Yukon

Premier Sandy Silver told the legislature on Wednesday that the territory has been in discussions with various levels of government on a vaccine rollout plan.

He said the goal will be to provide vaccines to elderly people and health-care providers.

Silver said rural and remote communities should also get priority status in northern regions, a fact he said he’s emphasized with federal authorities.

The premier said he has joined the other provincial and territorial leaders in pushing for a national strategy to distribute the vaccine.

“How confusing would it be for 13 different strategies right across the nation?” he said.

Silver said the Pfizer vaccine could cause logistical problems for remote communities because of its cold-storage requirements, but those issues may not apply to other vaccines under development.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.

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Orillia hospital to temporarily lead Roberta Place nursing home in controlling COVID-19 outbreak – Global News

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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has issued an order that will allow Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital to temporarily lead Barrie, Ont.’s Roberta Place long-term care home in controlling a COVID-19 outbreak that has left nine dead.

According to the local health unit, 63 residents and 53 staff members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Testing is also being done to determine if the COVID-19 U.K. variant played a part in the Roberta Place outbreak.

Read more:
More than 100 COVID-19 cases, 9 deaths reported at Barrie long-term care home

“This outbreak unfortunately has spread very rapidly and affected a large number of the residents and staff,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s medical officer of health.

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“The leadership of OSMH, together with a number of other agencies and organizations, is necessary to bring it under control.”

Moving forward, Orillia, Ont.’s hospital will temporarily provide leadership support to Roberta Place by working with other local organizations that have been helping to control the outbreak, including the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, County of Simcoe and Georgian College.

Read more:
Six-week vaccine pilot project to kick off Monday at Metro Toronto Convention Centre

These organizations have been helping to make sure that staffing, training, equipment and supplies are in place so that Roberta Place can continue to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“For the past week, we have had the support of a dedicated human resources team, who have worked diligently to secure the highest quality staff to offset possible gaps at our home,” Stephanie Barber, the community relations coordinator at Roberta Place, said in a statement Sunday.






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Coronavirus: Ontario projections show long-term care deaths could reach up to 2,600 deaths by Valentine’s Day


Coronavirus: Ontario projections show long-term care deaths could reach up to 2,600 deaths by Valentine’s Day

“Team members from many of our other long-term care homes, along with our regional operations team, have been deployed to further support the home.”

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The Canadian Red Cross has also been deployed to support Roberta Place in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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“The situation at Roberta Place is tragic and heartbreaking to all of us in Barrie,” local mayor Jeff Lehman said on Twitter Monday.

“Yesterday, in speaking with public health and others involved in the response, I know a major effort is underway to provide staff and support to Roberta Place.”

At this point, Lehman said the best thing people can do is “stop community spread” so it doesn’t reach long-term care.

The COVID-19 outbreak at Roberta Place was declared on Jan. 8. As of Monday, the local health unit says all residents and staff have been tested for the virus.

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According to the local health unit, 71 residents who weren’t sick and a number of other staff at Roberta Place received the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday through a mobile immunization unit.

Staff and essential caregivers at long-term care homes in Simcoe County and Muskoka have been receiving their COVID-19 vaccine doses at Barrie’s immunization clinic since it opened on Dec. 22, 2020.

Over the last several weeks, COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Simcoe Muskoka, with seniors age 80-plus having the highest infection rate.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Ontario to complete long-term care home vaccinations in high-risk zones in upcoming weeks'



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Coronavirus: Ontario to complete long-term care home vaccinations in high-risk zones in upcoming weeks


Coronavirus: Ontario to complete long-term care home vaccinations in high-risk zones in upcoming weeks

— With files from Global News’ Ryan Rocca

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Ontario and Quebec report one-day drop in number of new COVID-19 cases – Kamsack Times

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MONTREAL — Some provincial authorities saw encouraging signs in the fight against COVID-19 on Monday, even as experts warned that it’s too soon to draw conclusions from the data and urged Canadians not to relax their efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

Officials in both Quebec and Manitoba noted that case numbers have dropped slightly in recent days and suggested that their populations’ efforts to control the virus could be paying off.

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Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said case numbers in his province appeared to be dipping.

“We’re definitely not out of the woods,” he told a news conference as the province reported 118 cases.

“We certainly still have a long way to go before we can return to normal.”

Roussin said the province is looking at easing some restrictions in the coming days, but that any changes would be gradual.

Quebec reported 1,634 new COVID-19 cases, which included about 200 from the previous day that weren’t noted because of a delay.

The province had broken the 3,000-case mark in early January and has a seven-day rolling average of more than 1,900 cases a day.

Health Minister Christian Dube noted on Twitter that the Quebec City region in particular had seen a decline in the number of new infections recently, which he saw as a sign that “the sacrifices that we’re asking of Quebecers are bearing fruit.” However, he asked Quebecers to continue their efforts in order to reduce the number of hospitalizations, which rose Monday after three straight days of decline.

Universite de Montreal public health professor Benoit Masse said it will take another week or two to know whether the downward trend will be sustained and to gauge the impact of the recently imposed curfew. He said the province should know more by Feb. 8, when curfew restrictions are set to lift.

Ontario also reported its lowest number of COVID-19 cases since early January, with 2,578 new infections, but the province completed a little more than 40,000 tests Sunday, compared with more than 60,000 the day before.

Nova Scotia also reported no new cases for the second time this month.

The news was less positive in New Brunswick, where the Edmundston region entered the province’s highest pandemic-alert level, ushering in new restrictions on businesses in the region after a record-breaking number of new cases on Sunday.

The province reported 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday after Sunday’s all-time high of 36.

Ontario announced that a new hospital set to open in Vaughan, Ont. would be used to relieve a capacity crunch because of rising COVID-19 admissions. Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott said the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital would add 35 new critical care beds and 150 medical beds to the province’s bed capacity.

Hospital capacity has been a concern in many provinces, with doctors in Ontario and Quebec being told to prepare for the possibility of implementing protocols to decide which patients get access to life-saving care in the case of extreme intensive care unit overcrowding.

Nationally, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are still increasing, according to Canada’s chief public health officer.

Dr. Theresa Tam noted that hospitalizations tend to lag one or more weeks behind a surge in cases.

“These impacts affect everyone, as the health-care workforce and health system bear a heavy strain, important elective medical procedures are delayed or postponed, adding to pre-existing backlogs,” she wrote in a statement.

She said an average of 4,705 COVID-19 patients a day were being treated in Canadian hospitals during the last seven days, including an average of 875 in ICUs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021

— With files from Steve Lambert, Shawn Jeffords and Sidhartha Banerjee

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Ontario and Quebec report one-day drop in number of new COVID-19 cases – Toronto Star

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MONTREAL – Ontario and Quebec each reported a significant drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases today, but an expert warns it’s too soon to draw conclusions from the data.

Quebec reported 1,634 new COVID-19 cases, which included about 200 from the previous day that weren’t noted because of a delay.

The province had broken the 3,000-case mark in early January and has a seven-day rolling average of more than 1,900 cases a day.

But Universite de Montreal public health professor Benoit Masse says it will take another week or two to know whether the downward trend will be sustained and to gauge the impact of the recently imposed curfew.

Ontario also reported its lowest number of COVID-19 cases since early January, with 2,578 new infections.

But Health Minister Christine Elliott noted on Twitter that the province completed a little more than 40,000 tests Sunday, compared with more than 60,000 the day before.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021

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