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Antibody testing can shed light on COVID-19 immunity, says expert – News1130

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CALGARY (CITYNEWS) – Alberta has been a leader in testing when it comes to COVID-19, and now the province is taking another step forward.

The government of Alberta is committing $10 million to antibody testing, with the hopes of learning more about the virus.

Experts say the data collected could help us gain a larger understanding of COVID-19 immunity.

“The antibody test is where there is going to be a blood sample taken, and for now it means a poke, and send that off to the lab and see if you have antibodies,” said Dr. Jim Kellner of the Cumming School of Medicine.

“What that is measuring is not if you have an infection today, but have you had COVID-19 at some point in the past.”

A member of the Canadian COVID-19 immunity task force, Dr. Kellner is leading a study that investigates how children are responding to the virus.

“We’re going to test 1,000 children, some of whom have been diagnosed with COVID-19, some of whom have tested negative, and some of whom are healthy” said Kellner. “We’re going to test those children every six months over two years and look at the antibodies.”

Many people had chicken pox growing up, meaning our bodies created antibodies to fight off the disease, giving us immunity. Experts are trying to understand if COVID-19 immunity would work the same way, and how long it would last.

“Many infections are not like that,” said Kellner. “You’ll develop immunity but not for a lifetime. It might last for sometimes months or years, but it will often get away. But when we get vaccines, that’s what we’re looking to do is to provide that immunity.”

Experts say the antibody test is most accurate three weeks after someone has been infected with COVID-19.

“You’re not going to get an immunity passport saying you’re positive, therefore you’re protected, therefore you’re bullet proof,” said Kellner. “That immunity passport concept doesn’t exist anywhere.

“I wish it were that simple. It’s not that simple.”

Unlike the nasal test, antibody tests are not readily available to the public. The province of Alberta is instead focusing on testing people within specific study groups.

Antibody tests may soon be available, though, through a physician or pharmacist. Experts warn that these rapid tests may not yield the most accurate results.

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Interior Health provides two more COVID-19 exposure locations – Kelowna News – Castanet.net

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Interior Health (IH) has provided another two specific Kelowna locations where individuals may have been exposed to COVID-19 between June 25 and July 6, following the recent increase in local cases.  

Individuals who visited the following locations on the dates below may have been exposed to the virus: 

  • Cactus Club, 1370 Water St., from July 3-6
  • PACE Spin Studio, 1717 Harvey Ave., on July 2, 4-5 and 7-9 

IH is requesting those individuals closely self-monitor for virus symptoms and get tested if any symptoms show.

On Saturday, IH announced residents who visited Discovery Bay Resort from July 1-5 or Boyce Gyro Beach Lodge on July 1 may have come in contact with COVID-19. IH directed individuals who attended gatherings at Discovery Bay Resort or Boyce Gyro Beach Lodge on those dates to self-isolate and monitor themselves closely for symptoms. 

Castanet understands the individual/s who visited Discovery Bay Resort were not staying at the resort, but visiting a specific unit thought to have been on the second floor of the South building. 

In response, the resort has closed the pools until further guidance is obtained by IH and increased cleaning and sanitization practices.

IH confirmed public health contact tracing is underway, and individuals who may have been exposed are being contacted directly where possible. 

Testing is recommended for anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Other milder symptoms may include: runny nose, fatigue, body aches (muscles and joints aching), diarrhea, headache, sore throat, vomiting and red eyes.

IH reminds everyone of the importance of following COVID-19 precautions:

  • Stay home and avoid travel if you have symptoms, even mild ones.
  • Maintain physical distancing (two metres apart) and use masks when distancing is not possible.
  • Wash your hands regularly and do not touch your face.
  • Do not plan or attend gatherings of more than 50 people. Limit gatherings to out of doors whenever possible.

For more information, visit the website

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'Plate-shaming' is happening in Atlantic Canada as locals fear those from outside the 'bubble' – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Atlantic Canada’s reputation for being warm and welcoming has long been a source of pride.

But instead of hospitality, the pandemic is exposing a glimpse of hostility aimed at those who are assumed to be outsiders.

“Being from Halifax, growing up here all but eight years of my life, I really didn’t expect this,” resident Tony Mountenay told CTV News.

Tony and Debbie Mountenay chose to return to Nova Scotia during the pandemic because they were looking for a laid back retirement.

As required, they isolated after they arrived. But then they decided to go out and run errands.

“And we had three different incidents where people came up beside us, yelling at us, through the window, and when it first happened, we had to try to think, well what was that about?” Debbie said.

The answer was the licence plate on their truck — showing that they came from Ontario.

Visitors from beyond the “Atlantic bubble” have been vilified by locals fearing the virus could be imported.

Though relatively rare, there have been incidents of “plate-shaming.”

A woman from Quebec was told to go home while walking on a New Brunswick beach.

More than 15,000 Newfoundlanders signed a petition demanding their province not open the border to anyone.

Debbie said one woman who had harassed the couple had done so in front of her own children.

“She really shouldn’t have been doing that in my opinion,” she said. “Another man, you could tell he was out of control.”

The Atlantic bubble, which encompasses the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, is a concept that was introduced recently to allow easier travel between the Eastern provinces as the region reopens.

People from all across Canada are allowed to travel to any Atlantic province, but those outside of the Atlantic bubble must isolate for 14 days — as leaders in the region are quick to remind people.

“The Atlantic bubble is open today, [but] that does not apply to those who are from Ontario, Quebec or Western Canada,” Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said. “If you’re coming into our province, you’re required to self isolate as well.”

The Atlantic provinces have largely fared well during the pandemic compared to provinces such as Ontario or Quebec. Of the Atlantic provinces, Nova Scotia has had the most cases in total, at just over 1,000 — a far cry from Quebec’s 56,521 cumulative cases.

The stress for locals in the Atlantic provinces is that out-of-bubble visitors could lead to a second wave of the virus.

Only last week, a string of new cases in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were proven to be related to travel from outside of the bubble. One individual flew from the United States to Toronto, and then to Halifax. This case was then connected to cases in Prince Edward Island.

McNeil said on July 6 that he is frustrated with travellers who do not isolate for the 14 days after they arrive.

“We have worked hard together and sacrificed so much in this province to help flatten the curve only to have some people come into our province who think they’re above it all, who think that the rules don’t apply to them,” he said. “Guess what? They do.”

But the Mountenay’s experience in Nova Scotia suggests that the uncertainty over who has isolated and who has not has led to some rather un-neighbourly behaviour.

In response, the couple has come with a way to alert people they’re not a threat. A piece of paper that clearly states a person has completed isolation.

“I don’t want to get [COVID-19],” Debbie said. “And I don’t want to give it to anybody.”

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Quebec adds 114 new COVID-19 cases as Montreal health raises concerns about bars – National Post

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MONTREAL — Quebec reported 114 new COVID-19 infections Sunday as health officials in Montreal urged bar patrons and employees having frequented an establishment since July 1 to get tested.

With the new confirmed cases, the province has now had 56,521 cases of COVID-19.

The province also added seven further deaths linked to the virus for a total of 5,627.

Of those, three deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.

On Saturday, Montreal’s public health authority urged people and employees having frequented bars since Canada Day to get tested.

Authorities said there are investigations involving at least eight cases stemming from five Montreal bars, but feared that was but the tip of the iceberg.

Some Montreal bars took to their social media accounts to announce they’d had positive cases in their establishments.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante also called on citizens falling into the public health warning to get tested.

“The nice summer weather may be upon us, but the virus is far from gone,” she wrote on Twitter, urging people respect distancing and face-covering rules.

Quebec is to introduce mandatory masks on public transit beginning Monday, with a two-week grace period before users will be denied service as of July 27.

Montreal has also indicated it intends to bring in mandatory masks for enclosed public spaces as of that date.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 12, 2020.

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