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Alberta medical experts call for mandatory COVID-19 restrictions based on hospitalization numbers

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Two Alberta medical experts say the province should bring in mandatory restrictions to combat rising COVID-19 cases and the high number of people being treated for the illness in hospitals.

With 3,203 active cases and 116 people in hospital, including 16 in ICU beds, there’s enough evidence that voluntary restrictions are not working, said Leyla Asadi, an infectious disease specialist in Edmonton.

“If our metric is increasing hospitalizations, which we’re definitely seeing, then we are responding to transitions that occurred several weeks ago,” Asadi said. “So I think that those factors definitely suggest that we need to be looking at mandatory restrictions.”

A potential second wave of COVID-19 could become a tsunami based on the current number of cases, said Dr. Tehseen Ladha, a pediatrician and assistant professor at the University of Alberta, who also wants to see mandatory measures introduced.

“This is a time that requires some rules and regulations in order to keep us safe,” Ladha said. “And that simply hasn’t happened. I’m really hopeful it will happen soon, because things are snowballing. And they’re going so fast that even if restrictions are put in place now, things are still going to peak very high.”

On Tuesday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said hospitalization rates don’t meet the thresholds that would trigger mandatory restrictions.

“Putting in mandatory restrictions, again, is something that we absolutely have on that list of things to do if we start to see our health-care system being impacted beyond what it can achieve,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

“We have seen an increase in our hospitalizations, and in the past few days we have had more people in hospital with COVID than we ever have before. So while we have not met that trigger, it is critical that we all work together.”

Hinshaw introduced voluntary measures on Oct. 8, nearly two weeks ago. Since then cases have continued to increase, as have hospitalizations.

Asadi would like to see gatherings restricted to 10 people, and wants to limit restaurants to 50 per cent of their capacity, along with a curfew on alcohol sales or a temporary closure of bars.

She said Albertans would be understanding if restrictions were introduced for a limited time to help decrease the number of cases in the province, as happened back in April.

“Huge sacrifices were being made at the time, and nobody wants to go back to that level of stringency,” Asadi said. “But I think Alberta and its institutions have shown that they’re more than able to respond appropriately, like the lab has ramped up its testing dramatically. They’ve hired a lot more contact tracers.

“And I also think that the sooner we act, the less strict we may need to be in the long run.”

Ladha said economic concerns and civil liberties may be reasons for not introducing mandatory restrictions, but she worries things will get worse if no further action is taken.

“If some restrictions aren’t put into place right now, the impact on the economy long term, if we have to return to a full lockdown, will be much, much more damaging than if we are able to put in no more minimal restrictions on a rolling basis to keep things under control.”

‘A matter of debate’

Hinshaw said it’s a matter of debate whether mandatory measures should be introduced now versus waiting for hospitalization metrics to be reached.

“There are always risks and benefits,” she said. “If we were to put in place mandatory measures right now, we would be putting them in place before we knew if we were able to turn that tide without the mandatory measures.

“We know that restrictions have an impact on other aspects of people’s health. And if we don’t need to use mandatory restrictions, then that would be the ideal scenario where we can get through this with people’s collective efforts and mitigate the impact on all those other determinants of health that we know are so important.”

Source: – CBC.ca

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Coronavirus: 19 deaths, 354 new cases in Manitoba Saturday | CTV News – CTV News

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WINNIPEG —
In Manitoba’s deadliest day, health officials are reporting 19 new COVID-19 deaths and 354 new cases of the disease.

Announced in the province’s daily COVID-19 bulletin on Saturday, all of the deaths except one are from Winnipeg.

The deaths from Winnipeg not linked to senior facilities include a woman in her 20s, a man in his 60s, two women in their 70s, a man in his 70s, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 90s.

Three deaths, a man in his 70s, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 90s are linked to the outbreak at St. Norbert Personal Care Home.

Another three deaths, a man in his 70s, a woman in her 90s and a man in his 90s, are linked to the outbreak at Park Manor Care Home.

Health officials also said a woman in her 90s and a woman in her 100s, both linked to the outbreak at Holy Family Home, died of COVID-19.

A woman in her 70s inked to the outbreak at Oakview Place personal care home and a man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home also died of the virus.

The only death outside of the Winnipeg region was a woman in her 60s from the Northern health region linked to the outbreak at The Pas Hospital Acute Care.

The number of deaths in the province related to COVID-19 rises to 381.

Along with the 19 deaths, 354 cases of the virus were announced.

Of the new cases, 235 are in Winnipeg, which has a five-day test positivity rate of 14.1 per cent.

The total number of cases in Manitoba since early March is 18,423.

The province currently has 9,115 active cases, and 8,927 people have recovered from the virus.

The current provincial five-day test positivity rate now sits at 13.1 per cent.

There are 349 people in hospital with COVID-19, down slightly from Friday, with 51 patients in intensive care.

On Friday, 2,981 tests were performed, bringing the total to 369,154 since early February.

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Six new cases of COVID-19, province reports – HalifaxToday.ca

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NEWS RELEASE
COVID-19/HEALTH/WELLNESS
*************************

As of today, Dec. 5, Nova Scotia has 95 active cases of COVID-19. Six new cases are being reported today. 

Four of the new cases are in Central Zone and two cases are in Eastern Zone. All are under investigation.

“As we get into the holiday season, weekends are usually filled with friends, family and shopping, but this year must be different,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “We need to limit our social contacts and non-essential travel, and follow all the other public health protocols. That is how we protect each other and slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 1,410 Nova Scotia tests on Dec. 4.

Yesterday there were 276 tests administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in Halifax. There were no positive test results identified at the site.

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 74,664 tests. There have been 275 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths. No one is currently in hospital. Cases range in age from under 10 to over 70. One hundred and eighty cases are now resolved. Cumulative cases may change as data is updated in Panorama.

“It is encouraging to see new case numbers go below the double-digits we have been seeing but it is too soon to relax now,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “We must remain diligent and continue to follow public health orders and advice so we can keep our citizens safe.”

Visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to do a self-assessment if in the past 48 hours you have had or you are currently experiencing:
— fever (i.e. chills/sweats) or cough (new or worsening) 

Or:
Two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):
— sore throat
— runny nose/nasal congestion
— headache
— shortness of breath/difficulty breathing

Call 811 if you cannot access the online self-assessment or wish to speak with a nurse about your symptoms.

When a new case of COVID-19 is confirmed, public health works to identify and test people who may have come in close contact with that person. Those individuals who have been confirmed are being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone who has travelled outside of Atlantic Canada must self-isolate for 14 days. As always, any Nova Scotian who develops symptoms of acute respiratory illness should limit their contact with others until they feel better. 

It remains important for Nova Scotians to strictly adhere to the public health order and directives – practise good hand washing and other hygiene steps, maintain a physical distance when and where required. Wearing a non-medical mask is mandatory in most indoor public places.

Rules concerning interprovincial travel within Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have changed. The premiers of all four Atlantic provinces are cautioning against non-essential travel into neighbouring provinces. Currently, all non-essential travel into Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador requires a 14-day self-isolation. All public health directives of each province must be followed. Under Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act order, visitors from outside Atlantic Canada must self-isolate for 14 days unless they completed their self-isolation in another Atlantic province.

Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .

Businesses and other organizations can find information to help them safely reopen at https://novascotia.ca/reopening-nova-scotia .

Quick Facts:
— testing numbers are updated daily at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
— a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and extended to Dec. 13
— online booking for COVID-19 testing appointments is available for Nova Scotians getting a test at all primary assessment centres or at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax 

Additional Resources:
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada information line 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)

For more information about COVID-19 testing and online booking, visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/symptoms-and-testing/

The COVID-19 self-assessment is at https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/

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Record 19 COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba Saturday, including woman in her 20s – CBC.ca

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A record 19 more people have died from COVID-19 in Manitoba, including a woman from the Winnipeg health region in her 20s.

The province also announced 354 new cases of the illness in a Saturday news release.

The total number of deaths related to the illness is now 381.

More than 240 COVID-19 deaths were reported in Manitoba in November, and there have now been 70 in the first five days of December alone. That includes 16 deaths — Manitoba’s previous one-day high — reported on Tuesday.

Over half of the deaths announced Saturday are related to outbreaks at Winnipeg personal care homes, including:

  • Three at Park Manor Care Home (a man in his 70s, a man in his 90s and a woman in her 90s).
  • Three at St. Norbert Personal Care Home (a man in his 70s, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 90s).
  • Two at Holy Family Home (a woman in her 90s and a woman over the age of 100).
  • A man in his 90s at Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home.
  • A woman in her 70s at Oakview Place Personal Care Home.

A woman in her 60s linked to the outbreak at The Pas Hospital acute care also died.

The woman in her 20s is the second-youngest person in Manitoba to die from the illness, after the death of a boy under the age of 10 last week.

Seven other people from the Winnipeg health region have died, including a man in his 50s, a man in his 60s, two women and a man in their 70s, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 90s.

Number in hospital drops

There are now 349 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 51 in intensive care. Those numbers are down from record highs on Friday of 361 in hospital and 55 in intensive care.

Of the new cases, 235 are in Winnipeg, 44 in the Southern Health region, 32 in the Interlake-Eastern health region, 31 in the Northern Health region and 12 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health Region.

Manitoba’s five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is 13.1 per cent provincially, down slightly from 13.4 per cent on Friday. In Winnipeg, the rate fell to 14.1 per cent from 14.6 per cent.

There are currently 9,115 active cases listed in the province, and 8,927 have recovered.

Two new COVID-19 outbreaks were also reported Saturday. The Milner Ridge Correctional Centre near Beausejour and Greendale Estate assisted living facility in Grunthal have both been moved to the critical, or red level of the province’s pandemic response system.

Previously declared outbreaks in the GA4 unit at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg and at Seymour Pacific Developments Ltd. in Brandon are now over.

Saturday’s update comes a day after the province released projections on Friday that suggest sweeping restrictions in Manitoba have barely kept the province from its worst-case scenario for daily COVID-19 cases, which assumes few restrictions and poor compliance in the province.

There were 320 new cases announced in the province on Friday.

The province also said Saturday that 2,981 tests were completed on Friday. That brings the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 369,154. 

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