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'Around the clock': Experts weigh in on speeding up Canada's vaccination rollout – CTV News

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TORONTO —
News that Canada is behind other countries in their COVID-19 vaccination rollout schemes – while in a critical point in the pandemic – has experts worried the country won’t meet the September 2021vaccination goal set by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The vast geography of the country, including remote communities where the logistics of flying in healthcare is complicated –as well as tricky storage requirements of the Pfizer vaccine, were initially pointed out as roadblocks to the rollout.

But with the arrival of Moderna’s easier-to-store vaccine, and Health Canada reviewing more vaccine products on the horizon, experts say governments need to shift focus.

“I think there was a lot of attention given to getting vaccines into the freezers, but not enough attention from freezer to arm,” biostatician Ryan Imgrund, who works with Ottawa Public Health, said in an email to CTV News.ca Wednesday.

“They were so worried about the cold storage requirement that they seemingly forgot that the vaccine needs to come out and actually get in to people,” he said.

It was a sentiment echoed by the Dean of health sciences at Queens University and former federal minister of health Dr. Jane Philpott.

“We need to empty those freezers… there’s no point in pacing ourselves on this,” Philpott said on CTV’s News Channel Wednesday. “That’s what really is going to turn this pandemic around, is getting people the vaccine protection they need.”

The federal government released 500,000 doses of both the Pfizer and Modern vaccines back in December, but the actual distribution and rollout of the inoculations is at the discretion of provinces and territories.

Ontario’s stunted rollout

Ontario has been criticised repeatedly for its vaccination initiatives having trouble getting off the ground, as the province surpassed 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

The Ontario Liberal party called for the military to be used to step up Ontario’s vaccination phases Wednesday, after Premier Doug Ford’s government took some significant heat for shuttering vaccination stations during the Christmas holidays.

“I am urging the premier to request immediate assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) who are well-positioned to provide important logistical leadership and support,” Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said in a statement.

Ret. Gen. Rick Hillier, who was tapped by Ford to lead Ontario’s vaccination rollout, admitted that halting vaccinations over the holidays was a mistake, and that the taskforce’s initial scheme of holding back the 35,000 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine also slowed them down.

Hillier rebutted claims that vaccines were languishing in freezers on CTV News Ottawa’s Morning Live show Wednesday – instead claiming that the issue was one of supply chains.

“Yesterday, we vaccinated more than 10,000 people in the province of Ontario, we will do the same and more again today. We are at the point now where we will start running out of vaccines as the people who need the second shot [of the Pfizer vaccine] start coming back,” he said.  

Hillier said the vaccine taskforce plans to administer 55,000 doses of 161 long-term care homes in the regions of Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex by Jan. 21.

There has been no deadline set for the rest of the province.

Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches announced on Twitter Tuesday that they would begin vaccinating people outside of the Ottawa Hospital – which had been the central distribution hub – and directly into long-term care homes.

Ontario’s Minister of Health Christine Elliot said Wednesday that 60,000 vaccines have been administered in Ontario so far.

In a statement emailed to CTV News.ca Wednesday, the Ontario Ministry of Health said that the province’s vaccine rollout is “well underway” and that it remains committed to administering them “as safely and efficiently as possible.”

“We have received 95,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine so far, that are currently being administered at 19 hospitals – soon to be expanded to 28 – continuing until the end of March 2021,” the statement reads.

The Ministry of Health also noted in its statement that Ontario recently received 53,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine which will “be used for vaccinations at long-term care homes and retirement homes.”

“We continue to ask all Ontarians to remain vigilant and continue following public health measures.”

The sense of urgency is a good sign, Philpott says.

“I’m pleased to see that over the last 24-48 hours the pace is definitely picking up across the country,” she said. “Ontario is seeing almost a doubling of the rate of vaccines getting out of freezers and into arms, and we need to continue doing that.”

Philpott says she is hopeful that a “significant number” of vaccines will be arriving this week and next week to pick up the pace.

Cross Canada Snapshot

Manitoba opened up a “supersite” for vaccinations in the RBC Convention Centre to better facilitate their first phase of inoculations.

So far approximate 4,100 first-dose appointments have been made for Jan. 4 to 10, with 2,000 more available.

The province is hoping to vaccinate around 40,000 people by the end of January.

Quebec, which had its long-term care homes decimated by COVID-19, took the extra step of putting vaccine distribution centres inside of the homes in an effort to vaccinate residents.

Quebec announced late December that they would hold back on the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine in an effort to widen the round of first doses given out. The sudden change in logistics has prompted the threat of legal action from family members of seniors who are now missing out on their second shot.

Quebec’s Premier Francois Legault is also reportedly mulling over an overnight curfew – a first in Canada, if approved – to help get COVID-19 cases under control.

British Columbia also put vaccination distribution directly into long-term care homes, with 24,139 people vaccinated as of Sunday.

B.C expects approximately 792,000 doses of the Pfizer and Modern vaccines to be distributed through the end of March.

The province released their updated vaccination plan Monday – which targets populations like seniors living in the community who are at least 80 years old and Indigenous seniors who are at least 65.

Alberta says it has administered 26,269 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Jan. 4, very much under their initial goal of 29,000 people vaccinated by the end of 2020.

The province received approximately 46,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and said their continued rollout will depend on the available supply.

Nova Scotia is opening COVID-19 immunization clinics to help achieve its goal of vaccinating at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September.

The province received a combined 9,550 doses of Pfizer and Moderns vaccines and has been targeting healthcare workers in their Phase 1 rollout which runs from January to April 2021.

How can we fix it?

“A key to maximizing efficiency in these complex logistical operations is minimizing downtime or non-productive time,” said Director of the Centre for Healthcare Engineering at the University of Toronto Professor Timothy Chan, in an email to CTV News.ca Wednesday.

“Retail figured out long ago that inventory sitting on shelves costs them money. The same concept applies here, except now we’re talking lives.”

Chan also criticized the petering out of vaccinations around the holidays.

“COVID doesn’t take a holiday so neither should we,” he said.

Imgrund says Ontario’s initial vaccines should have gone to long-term care facilities immediately, and noted the government’s apparent lack of preparation.

“Vaccination schedules should be made weeks before the vaccine touches ground. You can always cancel appointments. But scheduling in new ones is always difficult,” he said.

Philpott also touched on the logistics.

“Everybody has a responsibility here,” she said. “We need to ramp up the mechanisms to make sure they are delivered as quickly as possible to the people who need them.”

Chan says that fixing the problem relies on accurately identifying the “key limiting factors” or “bottlenecks.”

“Is it a lack of healthcare workers to deliver the vaccines? Is it a lack of space at the vaccination sites? Is it a lack of coordination and leadership? Right now, the only limiting factor should be our vaccine supply,” he said.

Chan said some solutions lie for provinces opening “several large sites” similar to Manitoba’s super site, adding satellite vaccinate sites in long-term care homes and recruiting the healthcare workers who have been lining up the volunteer to administer them.

“Start a massive scheduling operation to just get people to these sites (or doses delivered to LTC homes) and start administering the vaccine around the clock if we need to,” he said.

For Ontario’s situation, Imgrund said that the province “eventually needs to get to 40,000 vaccinations per day” in order to vaccinate the entire population.

“Phase 1 is the most important phase when it comes to saving lies and reducing hospitalization…It is easier to ramp down in the future than ramp up,” he said.  

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Ford frustrated over vaccine delays as Ontario records 1,913 new COVID-19 cases – CBC.ca

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Premier Doug Ford expressed frustration at the news that Canada will not receive any new doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week, though the general overseeing Ontario’s vaccine rollout plan remains hopeful the distribution delay won’t impede plans to immunize the general population by early August.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Ford called the news that Canada will receive no new Pfizer vaccines next week “troubling” and “a massive concern.”

“Until vaccines are more widely available, please stay home, stay safe and save lives,” he said. 

The news comes as the province recorded another 1,913 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with officials cautioning that Toronto Public Health — which consistently logs the most new infections each day — is “likely underreporting” its number of cases.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said the artificially low total of 550 new cases reported by the city was due to a “technical issue,” but did not provide any further details.

For reference, over the three previous days, Toronto Public Health logged 815, 1035 and 903 cases, respectively.

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

  • Peel Region: 346
  • York Region: 235
  • Durham Region: 82
  • Windsor-Essex: 81
  • Waterloo Region: 79
  • Middlesex-London: 73
  • Halton Region: 71
  • Hamilton: 63
  • Niagara Region: 52
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 48
  • Ottawa: 41
  • Huron-Perth: 37
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 31
  • Lambton: 28
  • Southwestern: 22
  • Eastern Ontario: 14
  • Chatham-Kent: 13

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health’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.)

Over 200K Ontarians vaccinated so far

At a technical briefing for media Tuesday morning, members of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution task force offered a rough breakdown of which groups of received a first dose of vaccine:

  • About 83,000 long-term care residents, staff and caregivers.
  • About 25,000 retirement home residents, staff and caregivers.
  • More than 99,000 health-care workers in other sectors.

With the more than 200,000 vaccines administered, Ontario has completed the first round of immunization at all long-term care homes in Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex — the four regions with the highest transmission rates of the virus. The first round of immunizations has also been administered at all long-term care homes in Ottawa, Durham and Simcoe-Muskoka. 

Still, Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton cautioned, “The rise of community spread during the second wave is posing a serious threat to our long-term care homes.”

The province aims to finish vaccinating those at all remaining long-term care homes by Feb. 15.

At Tuesday’s technical briefing, members of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution task force also addressed how the province is responding to Pfizer’s announcement last week that it was slowing down production of its vaccine, resulting in delivery delays for Canada.

WATCH | An exasperated Premier Ford appeals to incoming U.S. president for vaccines:

The impact in Ontario will vary week to week, officials said, with an 80 per cent reduction in the number of doses that were originally expected the week of Jan. 25; 55 per cent the week of Feb. 1; and 45 per cent the week of Feb. 8.

In turn, the province will reallocate its available doses of the Moderna vaccine to more regions, while also extending the interval between doses of the Pfizer vaccine in some situations to ensure that everyone who has had a first shot will have access to their second.

Residents and staff at long-term care and high-risk retirement homes who have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will receive a second dose in 21 to 27 days, the province says. All others who receive the Pfizer vaccine will receive their second dose between 21 and 42 days after the first.

For those who receive the Moderna vaccine, the 28-day schedule will remain in place. 

As for whether the province still expects to immunize the general population of Ontario by late July or early August, General Rick Hillier said that will come down to whether there are any further hiccups with vaccine availability, but that he remains optimistic. 

Just over 34K new tests processed

Meanwhile, Ontario’s network of labs processed just 34,531 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of 6.8 per cent. Testing levels often fall over weekends, but there is capacity in the system for more than 70,000 tests daily. 

The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 2,893, the lowest it has been since Jan. 4 this year.

For the seventh time in eight days, the numbers of cases reported resolved outpaced new infections. There are currently about 27,615 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health said there were 1,626 patients in hospitals with COVID-19. Of those, 400 were being treated in intensive care, the most at any point during the pandemic, and 292 required a ventilator to breathe.

Notably, a daily report generated by Critical Care Services Ontario and shared internally with hospitals puts the current number of ICU patients with COVID-19 at 418, with 303 still on ventilators.

Public health units also recorded 46 additional deaths of people with the illness, bringing the official toll to 5,479.

Twenty-nine of the further deaths were residents of long-term care. A total of 254, or just over 40 per cent, of long-term care facilities in Ontario were dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19.

The province said it administered another 14346 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, and that 224,134 people have been given a first dose. A total of 25,609 people in Ontario have gotten both shots.

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PM warns Canada could impose new COVID-19 travel restrictions without notice – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Citing the evolving situation with the identified COVID-19 variants from other countries, the prime minister is strongly urging Canadians not to travel because federal travel rules could change very quickly.

In French, the prime minister implored anyone who has booked trips to cancel them, saying a vacation is not worth it given the uncertainty and chance of either contracting the virus or ending up stranded abroad.

He said the federal government is closely following the latest science on more transmissible strains, such as those from the U.K. and Brazil, and officials could impose new restrictions without advance notice at any time.

The government continues to advise against any non-essential travel, though that decision is left up to Canadians and no outright ban is in place. 

Canadian airlines and travel companies continue to offer vacation packages and flight deals to warmer destinations, with flights departing from Canada daily. 

Acknowledging that people have the right to travel, Trudeau said the government also has the ability to impose penalties for those endangering others’ health. 

Canada has had restrictions on international travellers entering the country since mid-March 2020, as well as a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for anyone who returns from an international location. 

In December, while some Canadians opted to vacation abroad, the federal government imposed new travel rules, including the requirement to show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a flight coming back into this country. As well, for a short period of time flights from the U.K. were banned with little notice, but have since resumed. 

Violating any of Canada’s international travel screening and self-isolation requirements can result in charges under the Quarantine Act, with maximum penalties of up to six months in jail or a fine of up to $75,000.

According to Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, in Canada there have been 23 confirmed cases of the variant first reported in the U.K., and two cases of the South African strain. Further, the Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting nearly 200 recent international flights that have landed in Canada with at least one COVID-19 positive passenger aboard. 

“Every vacation travel we postpone for a better time in the future, every outing or activity we avoid, shorten, or limit to essentials… helps to reduce spread of the virus,” Tam said Tuesday.  

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Get your hand on spray foam rigs for sale in Canada

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foam rigs

These days, many spray foam companies have their mobile services in different areas. These mobile vans or trailers are supposed to cover maximum clients on a day-to-day basis. There is a plenty of spray foam rig for sale in Canada that could be bought and reuse in homes and commercial buildings.

What are the uses of the spray foam rig?

There are plenty of uses of these spray foam rig for sale in Canada. As there are always options for spray foam insulation, spray foam roofing, and polyurea coatings are in homes. The spray foam rig trailers and vans can be slightly smaller than the commercial spray foam rig because commercial buildings need extensive roof work on a bigger level and buildings are also large than homes. Spray foam insulation is pretty common because it is considered energy-efficient way to fill the retrofitted extra spaces in your building. It even allows the limited air to go through the building to make the environment fresh.

What to do with a secondhand spray foam rig?

If you are looking to do some work, then spray foam rig for sale in Canada is really a great idea. It can be used to do quick spray foam insulation in homes and other buildings.

Where to get a spray foam in Canada?

If you are looking to buy a spray foam rig from your local areas, then consider Bolair Fluid Handling Systems. They have been in the business spray foam equipment for 30 years. They make every effort to offer the best to their clients. They are located in three different locations and have their contact numbers mentioned on the website. So, if you are looking for a new or secondhand spray foam rig, go to the company’s website and get what you want.

Benefits of using spray foam rigs

Here we will be discussing some important benefits of using spray foam insulation. So, have a look:

1- Use spray foam insulation for home support: Even the most perfect buildings have some gaps here and there in the ceiling and in between the walls. But what would one do to cover such a small gap? Well, for this, you can use spray foam. It is supposed to fill up space and give it a clean finish. Given the space or gap between the ceilings or walls, you have to do narrow yet deep cell spray to close these spaces. Once all of the spaces are filled with insulation, you can relax because there will be no more moisture.

2- Spray foam insulation is energy-efficient: There is this amazing benefit of using spray foam insulation and it is none other than saving energy. In simple words, having these foam insulations, your energy consumption will slow down as the heat and cold air tends to stay a bit longer on the inside because it doesn’t go inside a hole or something. You can literally save up to 30% from your utility bills whereas there are plenty more benefits of it.

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