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Abbotsford mom who gave birth in a coma due to COVID-19 discharged from hospital – News 1130

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ABBOTSFORD — A mother who had an emergency C-section in Abbotsford while in a coma due to complications from COVID-19 returned home to her family in time for Christmas.

Gillian McIntosh was in her third trimester when she went to hospital with COVID-19 symptoms in November.

RELATED: Abbotsford mom who gave birth in a coma due to COVID-19 is awake, meets son

The 37-year-old was placed in an induced coma and was on a ventilator for a month due to complications from the virus

Her family says in a statement that the mother of two was discharged from hospital on Christmas Eve.

McIntosh thanked those who supported her family during her health scare.

She says in the statement that it was a surreal experience to wake up from a coma and find out she had given birth, particularly when her last memory is of going to hospital.

Her family says that doctors do not yet know how long it will take for McIntosh’s lungs to return to a healthy state.

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The barriers facing rural health-care workers looking for a COVID-19 vaccine – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
With Manitoba’s only vaccine supersites set up in its two largest cities, rural health-care staff must use sick days or vacation time if they want to get the vaccine during work hours.

The union representing some of these workers worries the long trip is pulling priority staff away from the front lines.

All eligible health-care staff in Manitoba who want to roll up their sleeves and get a COVID-19 vaccine have two options – travel to the immunization supersite at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, or travel to the immunization supersite at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.

While one other supersite is being planned for Thompson, the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU) said there are not enough options.

It said currently health-care staff who are eligible have to make the trip to these two supersites, which could take more than a day in some cases.

Michelle Gawronsky, the president of the MGEU, told CTV News the province needs to remember Manitoba extends beyond the perimeters of Brandon, Thompson and Winnipeg.

“Number one, I don’t understand why we are forcing healthcare workers to actually leave the job for any period of time,” she said. “The employer is taking them out of the workplace, out of the care that is needed for those in the facilities to be able to get the vaccine.”

For the health-care workers who don’t want to miss at least a day’s pay, they are required to use their sick days or vacation days for the trip.

“We encourage eligible staff to arrange their vaccine appointment outside of work hours, however, staff can use sick time, vacation or other accrued time if they are required to go during a planned or scheduled shift,” a spokesperson for the Southern Health-Santé Sud region told CTV News.

The Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority takes a similar approach. A spokesperson for the region said staff have been advised to make vaccination appointments outside their regular working hours, but if that is not possible they can use medical appointment time or banked time for the trip.

“This doesn’t make much sense to me, because these are those front line health-care heroes – the nurses and health-care professionals – that we want to get the vaccine so that they can take care of us and our loved ones should we get sick,” Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew said on Tuesday.

“The government should be removing every possible barrier for these health-care folks to get the vaccine.”

CTV News reached out to the province for comment and was directed to contact the regional health authorities. CTV News has reached out to Manitoba’s other rural health authorities for comment.

Gawronsky said she would like to see the province provide more opportunities for eligible health-care staff to get the vaccine in their communities.

“Let’s be proactive in a way that is going to ensure that as many people get vaccinated as we possibly can, and let’s flatten that curve the best way that we can.” 

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'It is totally irresponsible': union calls out Manitoba's health-care restructuring amid the pandemic – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
Manitoba is planning to move forward with the second wave of restructuring its health-care system, which includes shifting the management of the Cadham Provincial Laboratory and other health-care facilities – a move critics say is irresponsible during a pandemic.

The province began its restructuring of the health-care system in 2018, shifting responsibility for a number of health-care sectors to Shared Health.

On Wednesday, the province said it would move into its next phase of that transition, giving the responsibility of Cadham Provincial Laboratory, Selkirk Mental Health Centre, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, dental and oral health, emergency medical services, and other health-care-related sectors to Shared Health.

The province said about 1,600 employees may be affected by the move, which will begin no earlier than May 2021.

In a news release, the province said the transition is being planned to be as “simple and non-disruptive as possible,” though the union representing about 1,100 of the impacted employees is not so sure.

Michelle Gawronsky, the president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU), said this is not the time for large-scale changes.

“I think it is totally irresponsible of this government to be going down this path, putting services, putting the people providing the services, in an unknown right now,” Gawronsky said.

“Our members, these folks, right now are concentrated on getting us through COVID, and that to me should be the government’s very first priority – is getting Manitobans to the other side of the COVID pandemic. Not disrupting health-care in any way shape or form.”

Gawronsky said the union has received little information about the shift. She said they were told of the plan to move forward Wednesday morning, hours before the province released the news publicly.

“Right now we have more questions than answers,” she said. “They say the devil is in the details always, so until we actually have the details of exactly what the government has planned here, we don’t know what the outcome is going to be in the long run.”

The province said there will be no impact on the day-to-day duties of the health-care workers impacted by the transition during the notice period. It said there will be no impact on the accessibility of health services for Manitobans.

“We are grateful for the ongoing commitment of all health-care workers to the pandemic response and to the many health services that Manitobans continue to rely upon and access during this unprecedented time,” Manitoba’s Minister of Health and Seniors Care Heather Stefanson said in a news release.

“This preparation work is necessary to ensure a seamless transition when we are ready and able to safely do so without impacting Manitoba’s pandemic response.”

Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew said he believes the province’s decision to move forward with the transition will cause confusion during the pandemic response.

“The government shouldn’t be using the pandemic as cover to try and sneak through significant changes to the health-care system that they had planned long before COVID was ever top of mind for any of us,” Kinew said.

The province said it will now begin discussions with union representatives, something Gawronsky said can’t happen until the province provides more information.

“It is unfortunate the government chose to make this announcement without having details ready to be able to give to Manitobans, to be able to give to these people that right now – quite frankly – are dealing with COVID,” she said.

“We are ready to sit down when the time is appropriate and we have all the answers to our questions. That is when we are able to sit down to ensure that services Manitobans rely on are not going to be hindered or hurt in any way here.”

The province said the final decisions on the transitions will be made in the coming months.

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Minister Stefanson referred CTV News back to a provincial news release.

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Tests identify COVID-19 ‘variant of concern’ at fast-growing Barrie LTC outbreak – Toronto Star

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Preliminary testing has confirmed that at least six COVID-19 cases at a Barrie long-term-care home are due to a “variant of concern” of the virus that causes the illness.

The fast-moving outbreak at Roberta Place Long Term Care, which began on Jan. 8, has now spread to most of the building’s 130 residents as well as 69 staff and two visitors. Nineteen people have died so far, and five residents and one staff member are in hospital.

On Wednesday, health officials said testing by the Public Health Ontario laboratory identified a variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in six samples. It will be another three or four days before genetic sequencing is complete, at which point health officials will know which variant is present. In recent weeks, experts have warned about the arrival of strains from the U.K., South Africa and Brazil.

“It’s very likely that it’s one of those strains,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, the medical officer of health for the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit. The rapid progression of cases indicates “a very high attack rate,” he said.

All three variants are thought to be more transmissible than the existing virus. The U.K. version, the most-studied so far, has been found about 50 per cent more contagious.

Officials say they don’t know at this point how the outbreak began, or if it’s connected to a visitor.

One visitor had close contact with an individual who had travelled out of country, Gardner said, but not to the U.K., South Africa or Brazil. That close contact is now also a case, he said.

Residents of long-term-care homes are allowed to designate two people as “essential” visitors, typically family members, who may come into the home to help with care. Both confirmed visitor cases are in that category, Gardner said.

Gardner said he’s concerned about the risk of the variant spreading in the community. The speed of the outbreak “speaks to the caution that staff that go into this facility have to exercise with infection control practices,” he said.

“We certainly need to work hard to provide the care needed to the residents and to bring (the outbreak) under control,” said Gardner. “But we also need to exercise caution that it doesn’t spread out into the community as well. Hence the importance of the infection control that’s practised by everyone who goes into the facility.”

Patients from the home have been admitted to Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie, and Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital has provided a director to manage the outbreak.

The home is also set to receive help from the Canadian Red Cross this week and the corporation that manages the home, Jarlette Health Services, has redirected staff to the facility, Gardner said.

In a statement, Ontario Minister of Long Term Care, Merrilee Fullerton said the outbreak underscored the need for people to stay home to stop the spread of the virus.

“It is also a stark reminder of the need for greater vigilance at our borders with incoming travellers,” she said.

Fullerton is not the only politician worried about incoming cases of COVID from other countries.

On Monday, Quebec Premier François Legault demanded that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ban all non-essential travel into and out of the country because of vaccine delays and rising case counts.

The federal government has said it is keeping a close watch on variants from other countries and Trudeau has hinted that Ottawa “can impose new restrictions without advance notice at any time” on travellers, the Canadian Press reported.

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The UK variant, referred to as B.117, was first identified in December. Genetic sequencing showed that it was responsible for cases as early as September, before quickly becoming the dominant strain in that country.

Last week, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said the risk of the U.K. variant was a driving factor behind the province’s new stay-at-home order.

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