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Alberta’s chief medical officer advises against smoking and vaping in battle against COVID-19 – Global News

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Alberta’s chief medical officer of health is recommending Albertans who smoke or vape take measures to quit the habits to decrease the impact of a coronavirus infection.

“What we’ve seen in other jurisdictions is that there does seem to be a link to things like smoking or vaping and having a more severe outcome after a COVID-19 infection,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Monday.

Read more:
Should e-cigarettes be banned amid coronavirus? Why some U.S. lawmakers are pushing for it

A Stanford University study found those who vaped were five times more likely to be diagnosed with the novel coronavirus than non-users. The study caused some United States lawmakers to try to temporarily ban the sale of e-cigarettes until more research could be done on their effects.

“It’s a good reminder for those who are interested in cutting down or quitting those activities to look at the supports that are available like the Alberta Quits help line,” Hinshaw said.

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1:47
Alberta aims to bring vaping rules in line with tobacco laws


Alberta aims to bring vaping rules in line with tobacco laws

2016 study found “ample evidence” that cigarette smoke weakens the defensive function of the immune system. One from 2017 found that even social or occasional smoking can cause immense damage to a person’s body, leading to problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and hypertension.

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There is “conclusive evidence that smoking is associated with an increased risk of respiratory viral infection,” according to the results of the Surgeon General’s 2014 report.

Read more:
Quitting smoking could help protect against coronavirus, experts say

Hinshaw said her message was focused particularly on Alberta’s youth.

“Obviously this is more for those who are teens who are vaping or smoke. This is a great opportunity to think about supports that are available for them to quit, to reduce the chances of a more severe outcome should they become infected,” Hinshaw said.

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In a 2018-19 survey, the federal government said 34 per cent of students in grades 7-12 said they’d tried vaping. Despite it being illegal to sell e-cigarettes to kids in Canada, 54 per cent of youth respondents said it would be “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get an e-cigarette with nicotine if they wanted one.






2:08
Alberta seeing increase in COVID-19 cases linked to gatherings


Alberta seeing increase in COVID-19 cases linked to gatherings

— With files from Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Second COVID-19 case in a Simcoe County school confirmed in Barrie – BarrieToday

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Simcoe County’s second case of COVID-19 in a school has been confirmed – this time at St. John Vianney Catholic School in Barrie.

The case marks the first for a school in the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board.

“There is an individual at that school who has tested positive,” said Donna Lorenz, communications specialist with the SMCDSB.

The school board declined to comment on whether the infected person was a student, teacher or staff member, citing privacy concerns.

“We’re taking direction completely from the health unit. So, today the whole student body was notified by a letter. A separate letter was also sent to all the kids’ (parents) who were in that class, and the (Simcoe Muskoka District) Health Unit was to reach out to the parents and guardians of those students by phone this afternoon,” said Lorenz.

Lorenz said that as of Friday, this is the only case of COVID-19 in any schools in the Catholic board of which they have been made aware.

“Because it’s our first case, we’ve been super careful to work hand-in-hand with the health unit to make sure we handle this in the way they’ve identified is the most appropriate,” said Lorenz.

People in the affected class have been asked by the Catholic board to stay home and quarantine for 14 days, and the classroom has been closed. The school itself will remain open for all other classes.

“It’s under an abundance of caution. The risk is minimal but the safety of our students is always our top priority,” she said.

The county’s first case of COVID-19 in a school was reported earlier this week, in a teacher at Twin Lakes Secondary School in Orillia.

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COVID-19: Etches says 'second wave' has begun but can be controlled; City readying more test centres, mayor says – Ottawa Citizen

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Article content continued

Watson said he’s been told by health officials that up to 90 per cent of people in the lines have no symptoms.

Watson said Ottawa Public Health has stepped up to help, but the primary responsibility for testing is with the hospital network.

“To their credit now, and I’ve talked to all four hospital presidents, they understand the urgency and frustration and they have to get this problem fixed.”

While the city remains in an emergency situation, Watson said there’s no need for logistical assistance from the military as there are no additional sites yet to set up testing facilities.

Meanwhile, two schools in Ottawa will be visited by mobile COVID-19 testing sites this weekend, with tests made available only for staff and students with symptoms or those at the school who’ve been identified as high-risk contacts of a confirmed case and haven’t yet been tested.

One of the pop-up sites appears to be Collège catholique Franco-Ouest, a French Catholic high school in Nepean where the province has reported three cases of COVID-19 among students.

The second site, for staff and students at De La Salle High School, has been set up at Jules Morin Park and will also operate Friday through Sunday, according to an OPH notice to families. Two people associated with De La Salle, including one staff member, have tested positive for COVID-19 according to provincial data.

In a statement to this newspaper, Ontario Health explained that three mobile testing teams have been deployed to Ottawa “to targeted areas with known prevalence,” including some schools where students have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Ottawa Public Health is supporting these teams by working with the schools and families to determine who might need a test at the schools. It’s important that the public do not seek out these pop-ups as they have a limited capacity and are focused on targeting the school population.”

The location of these mobile teams “could change in the coming days and weeks depending on need; they may continue to target schools or other specific centres with known prevalence – or they may set up near an assessment centre that’s experiencing very high volumes in order to better support a broader population.”

Ontario Health will be working with local partners to “identify new places that might benefit from these teams,” the statement noted.

The third team appears to have set up Friday at the Heron Road care clinic to add additional testing capacity at this location.

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One-hour British DnaNudge COVID-19 test is accurate, study finds – Reuters UK

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LONDON (Reuters) – A British COVID-19 test known as DnaNudge that gives results in just over an hour and which requires no laboratory was accurate in almost all cases, an academic review in the Lancet has found.

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Faster testing could allow more people to return to work or permit testing on entry to hospital, thus slowing a second spike in coronavirus infections.

The new test, based on the design of a DNA test developed by a professor at Imperial College London, received approval for clinical use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) at the end of April after successful trials.

In a study in The Lancet Microbe, the test was found to have an average sensitivity – the ability to correctly identify those with COVID-19 – of 94.4% and a specificity – correctly identifying those without the disease – of 100%.

“These results suggest that the CovidNudge test, which can be performed at a patient’s bedside without the need to handle any sample material, has comparable accuracy to standard laboratory testing,” Professor Graham Cooke, lead author of the study from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London, said.

The Lancet paper described the test, which requires one nostril swab, as “a sensitive, specific, and rapid point of care test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 without laboratory handling or sample pre-processing”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC radio that Britain was rolling out the tests across hospitals.

“The critical thing in terms of usefulness is that the machine doesn’t need to be in a lab – it is about the size of a shoebox – therefore you can put one, say, in an A&E (accident and emergency) department and they can know whether people coming in have got the coronavirus or not,” Hancock said.

Hancock said the machines could also be deployed at other locations such as schools.

Each box can run one test at a time so could process about 16 tests per day, said a spokeswoman for the company that produces the tests.

For the text of the Lancet paper: here

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton and Gareth Jones

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