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Alberta confirms 643 new cases of COVID-19, 12 new deaths

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EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – Alberta has confirmed 643 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths linked to the virus.

Of the 12 new deaths, five were from the Edmonton Zone, three were from the Calgary Zone, three were from the Central Zone, and one was from the North Zone.

All 12 of the deaths had additional health issues.

There have now been 1,512 deaths linked to the virus in Alberta.

Currently, there are 9,987 active cases in the province, 691 of which are in hospital and 115 in ICU.

A total of 97,785 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

The province’s positivity rate sits at 4.9 per cent.

Source: – 660 News

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COVID-19 vaccine now available to general public in Manitoba, starting with those 95 and older – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
Manitobans 95 and older are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.

Dr. Joss Reimer, the medical lead of the Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said Wednesday she is very excited to announce the news.

The Vaccination Implementation Task Force is sticking with its plan to start with the oldest people first. First Nations people 75 and older are also now eligible to book appointments.

The number to call is 1-844-626-8222.

To book an appointment you will need your Manitoba Health card number.

A family member or caregiver will also be able to book on behalf of someone else and one support worker will be allowed to attend the appointment.

The province requests the support person be family or a designated support person.

Reimer said the province is aware that the phone line could be busy and therefore 2,000 lines have been opened up.

“There are more than 270 trained agents taking calls,” Reimer.

She said the wait time is low right now, but if it does increase a call-back option is available for people.

“At the same time, we are asking Manitobans to have patience,” she said.

“If the wait time does go up and you’re struggling to get through, please try again. We’re certainly optimistic that that won’t happen.”

Reimer said when people first call they will hear an automated message, which will determine if they are eligible or not.

Once they are determined to be eligible, they will speak with one of the agents to book an appointment. Both first and second dose appointments will be booked at the same time.

The province has also asked that the consent form be printed and filled out beforehand.

Depending on vaccine supply, the province will incrementally decrease the age of eligibility for the general public to book vaccination appointments.

All personal care home residents are expected to get their second dose by the end of this week.

Vaccinations at congregate living facilities are also underway, according to Reimer.

She said with all these people receiving the vaccine. including the start of the general public, this will help greatly in lowering the spread of COVID-19.

The province is also piloting an online booking system for appointments.

The online process will feature a virtual waiting area if there are a lot of people booking online. People will be able to create their own account and Manitobans will be required to complete an eligibility questionnaire. They will also be able to select their appointment date and time, however, a second appointment will be determined automatically.

When the appointment has been booked each person will receive a confirmation email.

EXPANDING CAPACITY

More information was also provided about the province expanding its capacity.

The supersite in Winnipeg will be able to handle more than 6,000 appointments a day by mid-March.

“That doesn’t mean we will be providing 6,000 doses per day but that does mean we could if we have the supply available,” Reimer said.

The Selkirk site location will be at the former Selkirk District General Hospital at 100 Easton Dr. It is expected to open in early March, and more details are to come on the Morden-Winkler site, which is scheduled to open in the middle of March.

Reimer also addressed some potential changes that are being reviewed right now in regards to the vaccine.

She said there have been calls for the province to provide only one dose of the vaccine instead of two. She said this is being reviewed throughout the country.

“The data is starting to come in and we’ve seen some studies from some other countries that show some reassuring numbers,” Reimer said. “As we’ve said all along, we will shift our approach, if the evidence shows us that that’s the best direction to go.”

She added that Pfizer is looking at how its vaccine is currently being stored and possibly storing it at less cold temperatures.

“(Pfizer has) applied for approval with the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, to be stored in regular freezer temperatures,” Reimer said.

“They have not yet applied in Canada to Health Canada to make that change. And so once more information is available, and approvals are in place, Manitoba can also change our approach.”

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'We are not quite there': B.C. still not ready to ease restrictions, health officials say – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
Rising COVID-19 case numbers and an increasing test-positivity rate have quashed any hope of B.C. easing province-wide restrictions at the end of February.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry broke the news at her coronavirus briefing on Thursday, revealing that several of the key metrics officials monitor to determine the severity of the pandemic have taken a turn for the worse.

“We are continuing to watch these indicators and when we have confidence that they are slowing in a sustained way, that is when we’ll be able to ease restrictions,” Henry said. “But we are not quite there yet.”

B.C.’s rolling seven-day average for new cases recently topped 500 for the first time since mid-January, after decreasing to 407 just last week. Henry said the number of COVID-19 tests coming back positive has also “crept up” to 6.7 per cent, with the Fraser Health and Northern Health regions at 8 per cent and 11.5 per cent, respectively.

The province’s COVID-19 reproductive number, which is an average of how many additional infections are generated by each new case, has also surpassed one.

“What that means is that there’s potential for rapid growth if we’re not careful,” Henry said.

“This tells us that every person, on average, who’s infected is spreading to more than one other person. This is something we need to watch.”

Earlier this month, health officials announced an indefinite extension of the province-wide ban on social gatherings and events, citing, in part, growing concerns around the spread of COVID-19 variants.

At the time, Henry indicated the tough-but-temporary restrictions could be relaxed at the end of February, but only if B.C. could successfully manage its caseload.

“We’re all keen to get to that point where we can safely spend time with more of our family and our friends, when we can travel, at least within B.C., and resume some of those things that we have all put on hold for these long winter months,” Henry said Thursday.

The provincial health officer said the government is now “looking ahead into March” for when some of those restrictions might be eased, including the ban on in-person religious services.

B.C.’s number of active cases has also increased since restrictions were extended at the beginning of the month, though hospitalizations have dropped from 253 down to 228.

There are also fewer deaths being recorded on average, and the number of outbreaks in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities has been steadily dropping. Health officials have credited that development to the widespread vaccination of seniors in care.

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456 new COVID-19 cases in BC, 2 deaths – Parksville Qualicum Beach News – Parksville Qualicum Beach News

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There are 237 British Columbians battling COVID-19 in hospital, as the province recorded 456 new infections and two further deaths.

In a joint statement Wednesday (Feb. 23), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said 64 of those in hospital are in intensive care.

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C. A total of 1,338 people have died.

About 4,668 of those infections remain active, a vast majority recovering in self-isolation at home.

To date, 230,875 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. – 62,608 of which are second doses.

Henry and Dix recognized Pink Shirt Day, calling on British Columbians “to remind ourselves about the importance of compassion and kindness in the face” of the pandemic and all the challenges faced.

“Kindness is staying away from friends and family, it is offering thanks to the store clerk who reminds us to follow their safety plan, it is offering a smile – even behind our masks and assuming the best of everyone around us.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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