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AI can detect COVID-19 by listening to your coughs – Engadget

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It’s easy to be worried when you cough these days — is it COVID-19, or are you just clearing your throat? You might get a clearer answer soon. MIT researchers have developed AI that can recognize forced coughing from people who have COVID-19, even if they’re otherwise asymptomatic. The trick was to develop a slew of neural networks that can distinguish subtle changes indicative of the novel coronavirus’ effects.

One neural network detects sounds associated with vocal strength. Another listens for emotional states that reflect a neurological decline, such as increased frustration or a “flat affect.” A third network, meanwhile, gauges changes in respiratory performance. Throw in an algorithm that checks for muscular degradation (that is, weaker coughs) and it provides a more complete picture of someone’s health.

The AI is highly accurate in early tests. After the team trained its model on tens of thousands of cough and dialog samples, the technology recognized 98.5 percent of coughs from people with confirmed COVID-19 cases. It identified 100 percent of people who were ostensibly asymptomatic, too.

There are clear limits. The technology isn’t meant to diagnose symptomatic people, as they might have other conditions that produce similar behavior. And while it’s quite capable, you wouldn’t want to use this for a definitive verdict on whether or not you’re infected.

This isn’t a theoretical exercise, though. The scientists are developing a “user-friendly” app that could be used as a prescreening tool for the virus. You might only have to cough into your phone each day to determine if it’s safe for you to head outside. The researchers even suggest this could put an end to pandemics if the tool was always listening in the background, although that’s a big “if” when it would likely raise privacy issues.

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Ontario reports 1,708 new COVID-19 cases, 24 more deaths – CBC.ca

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Ontario reported another 1,708 cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths due to COVID-19 on Sunday. 

The new cases include 503 in Peel Region, 463 in Toronto and 185 in York Region. There are 1,443 more cases marked as resolved. 

The Ontario health ministry says another 53,959 tests were completed in the last 24 hours. Labs are reporting that 3.7 per cent of the tests processed are positive.

Public health officials said this week that they hope to build capacity in the system for up to 100,000 tests daily.

Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were:

  • Ottawa: 79.
  • Durham Region: 73.
  • Waterloo: 63.
  • Hamilton: 60.
  • Windsor-Essex: 37.
  • Halton: 31.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 30.
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 30.
  • Niagara Region: 28.
  • Middlesex-London: 20.
  • Thunder Bay: 19.
  • Southwestern: 17.
  • Eastern Ontario: 10.
  • Brant County: 10.

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)

The seven-day average for the number of new cases reported per day has reached a new high of 1,548, the highest it has been since the pandemic began. 

There are also 586 people in hospital, nine fewer than on Saturday. However, Saturday’s hospitalization data saw an increase of 54 over a single day. Those hospitalizations are also nearly double what they were a month ago. 

There are 155 people in intensive care units as of Sunday and 99 of those individuals are on a ventilator, the same number as Saturday.

The number of deaths in Ontario since the pandemic began has reached 3,648. A total of 503 of those deaths occurred this month.

Of Sunday’s deaths, one person was in his or her 50s, four people were in their 60s, three people were in their 70s and there were 10 people in their 80s and six in their 90s, respectively. 

11 infections linked to Vaughan sports centre

York Region Public Health says that 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been linked to indoor soccer games at a Vaughan sports centre in mid-November.

The public health region issued a notice on Sunday to alert the public about a cluster of confirmed cases that emerged after a group of 20 to 25 people played soccer at the TRIO Sportplex and Event Centre, 601 Cityview Blvd., on Nov. 11 and Nov. 15. 

“While the group wore masks during play, masks were not worn in the change rooms,” the public notice said.

Everyone who played soccer over both days are considered high-risk and have been told to isolate for 14 days. 

York Region was moved to the province’s red control zone on Nov. 16, which prohibits the playing or practising of team sports except for training. 

New regions moving into more restrictive zones Monday

On Friday, Ontario announced that five more regions would be moved into more restrictive zones on Monday at 12:01 a.m.

They include:

  • Red-Control
    • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
  • Orange-Restrict
    • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.
  • Yellow-Protect
    • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.
    • Lambton Public Health.
    • Northwestern Health Unit.

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COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says

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Canada remains on a troubling path for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue to mount, the country’s top doctor said Saturday.

The most recent infection rates indicate Canada is on track to hit as many as 10,000 new cases a day by next month, Dr. Theresa Tam said.

“If we continue on the current pace, our longer range models continue to forecast significant increases in daily case counts and estimate that there could be up to 10,000 cases reported daily by mid-December,” Tam said in a written statement.

“Right now, we have a window of opportunity to act collectively together with public health authorities to bring the infection rate down to a safer trajectory.”

Canada is currently recording caseloads at about half that level, with the most recent seven-day average standing at 5,335 between Nov. 20 and Nov. 26.

Tam said Canada is also averaging 76 deaths a day and more than 2,100 people in hospital.

People 80 years and older are experiencing Canada’s highest COVID-19 death rate, and there are now more and larger outbreaks in long-term care facilities, hospitals, group living settings, Indigenous communities and remote areas, she said.

“Those developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies,” Tam said.

Her assessment came as case counts continued to soar in numerous provinces.

Quebec set a new single-day record with 1,480 new infections Saturday as the provincial death toll crossed the 7,000 threshold.

Alberta also broke its own record, reporting 1,731 new cases of the virus on Saturday. It also counted five new deaths.

Ontario logged case numbers just shy of Friday’s one-day record as it reported 1,822 new diagnoses in the past 24 hours.

Case numbers also jumped sharply in Manitoba, where officials recorded 487 new infections and 10 new deaths.

Among those who died was a boy under the age of 10, officials said, though they offered no other details.

Saskatchewan reported 197 COVID-19 cases and one death Saturday.

The province ordered the suspension of team sports earlier this week until Dec. 17 after confirmed COVID-19 cases among several minor and recreational hockey teams.

The Saskatchewan suspension applies to hockey and curling leagues and dance studios.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority posted notices Saturday of COVID-19 exposure risks at curling and recreation centres at Christopher Lake and Shellbrook. Those curling or socializing at either of the two facilities last month must self-isolate for 14 days, the health authority said.

In British Columbia, Fraser Health announced the closure of an elementary school in Surrey after confirming 16 COVID-19 cases.

Newton Elementary School will close for two weeks, said Fraser Health.

B.C. reported a daily record of 911 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province will update its numbers Monday.

People must continue to practise physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home as much as possible, said a newly appointed member of B.C. Premier John Horgan’s cabinet.

“I just think it’s important for us to be thoughtful and caring, but at the same time it’s critical that people follow the rules because it’s vital to be able to keep our schools open and keep as many of our business open as possible,” said Ravi Kahlon, whose ministry includes economic recovery.

Figures from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador show more modest increases of four and two cases, respectively.

Prince Edward Island reported two new COVID-19 cases, but they involved young males aged 10 and 19.

There were 14 new cases in Nova Scotia and five COVID-19 cases in Nunavut.

Tam redoubled her calls for Canadians to heed public health advice, limit their social interactions and practice physical distancing in a bid to bring surging case counts under control.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Source: GuelphToday

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New COVID-19 cases in Ottawa jump to highest number in two weeks

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OTTAWA —
Ottawa Public Health said Sunday that 79 more people in the city have tested positive for COVID-19, the highest figure reported in the city in more than two weeks. Two more people have died.

Ottawa has enjoyed several days of relatively low case counts in the latter half of November, dropping as low as 11 new cases on Nov. 17. This latest figure is the highest number of new cases in a single day since Nov. 12, when 91 new cases were reported.

Across Ontario, 1,708 new cases of COVID-19 and 24 new deaths were reported on Sunday.

Despite the jump in Ottawa’s figures, Peel Region and Toronto still account for the majority of Ontario’s COVID-19 infections.

According to Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, there have been 8,458 confirmed infections in Ottawa since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Two new deaths from COVID-19 were reported on Sunday, bringing the city’s death toll from the pandemic to 374 residents.

In the past seven days, Nov. 23 to 29 inclusive, OPH has reported an average of 40.9 new cases of COVID-19 per day. In the seven previous days, Nov. 16 to 22 inclusive, OPH reported an agerage of 38 new cases of COVID-19 per day.

HOSPITALIZATIONS IN OTTAWA

The number of people in hospitals in Ottawa with COVID-19 complications increased slightly on Sunday, but the number of people in the ICU fell.

There are currently 22 people in hospital, up from 20 on Saturday. There is one person between the ages of 80 and 89 in intensive care.

Of the people in hospital, one is in their 30s, one is in their 40s, two are in their 60s, six are in their 70s, nine are in their 80s, and three are 90 or older.

ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA

The number of people with active infections of COVID-19 in Ottawa climbed on Sunday to 343 from 309 on Saturday.

OPH reported 43 new recoveries on Sunday, bringing the city’s total number of resolved cases to 7,741.

The number of active cases of COVID-19 is the number of total laboratory-confirmed cases minus the numbers of resolved cases and deaths. A case is considered resolved 14 days after known symptom onset or positive test result.

CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA BY AGE CATEGORY

Here is a breakdown of all known COVID-19 cases in Ottawa by age category:

  • 0-9 years old: 12 new cases (577 cases total)
  • 10-19 years-old: 10 new cases (977 cases total)
  • 20-29 years-old: 18 new cases (1,729 cases total)
  • 30-39 years-old: 15 new cases (1,135 cases total)
  • 40-49 years-old: Seven new cases (1,067 cases total)
  • 50-59 years-old: Six new cases (987 cases total)
  • 60-69-years-old: Five new cases (657 cases total)
  • 70-79 years-old: Five new cases (435 cases total)
  • 80-89 years-old: Two new cases (529 cases total)
  • 90+ years old: Zero new cases (365 cases total)

The age of one person who tested positive for COVID-19 that was previously unknown has been assigned.

TESTING

Ontario health officials say 53,959 COVID-19 tests were performed across the province on Saturday. 38,724 people are still waiting for test results across the province.

The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce does not provide testing figures on weekends. Their next update for local testing numbers will be Monday. In its most recent update on Friday, the taskforce said Ottawa’s positivity rate for the week of Nov. 20 to 26 was 1.3 per cent.

CASES OF COVID-19 AROUND THE REGION

According to provincial figures, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit added 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.

Five more people in the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health region have tested positive.

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health also reported five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.

Four new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit’s area.

There are no new cases of COVID-19 in the Renfrew County and District Health Unit on Sunday.

Thirty additional people in the Outaouais region of Quebec, which includes Gatineau, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to figures from the province of Quebec.

INSTITUTIONAL OUTBREAKS

Ottawa Public Health is reporting COVID-19 outbreaks at 24 institutions in Ottawa, including long-term care homes, retirement homes, daycares, hospitals and schools.

Outbreaks have ended at Cedarview Middle School, École élémentaire catholique Terre-Des-Jeunes, Beacon Heights retirement home, and the Stirling Park Retirement Home.

One new outbreak was declared at the 3C section of the Montfort Hospital.

There are four active community outbreaks: one linked to an unidentified community organization, two linked to unspecified social events, and one at an unidentified workplace.

The schools and childcare spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. École élémentaire publique Gabrielle Roy
  2. Manordale Public School
  3. Ottawa Technical Secondary School

The long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and other spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. Alta Vista Manor
  2. Amica Westboro Park
  3. Association Intégration Sociale d’Ottawa – 21034
  4. Bearbrook Retirement Residence
  5. Bridlewood Trails Retirement Home
  6. Carlingview Manor
  7. Courtyards on Eagleson
  8. Extendicare Medex
  9. Extendicare New Orchard Lodge
  10. Extendicare Starwood
  11. Forest Hill long-term care home
  12. Garden Terrace long-term care home
  13. Montfort Hospital – 3C (NEW)
  14. Park Place
  15. Peter D. Clark long-term care home
  16. Shelter – 20868
  17. St. Patrick’s Home
  18. The Glebe Centre
  19. The Ravines retirement home (NEW)
  20. The Ottawa Hospital Rehab Centre – Special Rehab – Ward B
  21. Waterford Retirement

A single laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member of a long-term care home, retirement home or shelter triggers an outbreak response, according to Ottawa Public Health. In childcare settings, a single confirmed, symptomatic case in a staff member, home daycare provider, or child triggers an outbreak.

Under provincial guidelines, a COVID-19 outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before or after school care).

Source: – CTV Edmonton

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