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B.C. at a precipice to flatten COVID-19 curve, Henry says ahead of long weekend – The Chronicle Journal

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VANCOUVER – British Columbia is at a critical point when it comes to a potential surge of COVID-19 infections, B.C.’s provincial health officer warned on Thursday.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province still has the ability to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases currently being seen, but people need to follow public health protocols.

“We’re at that limit, we’re at that precipice if you will, where we need to take the actions to ensure that we can move forward into the fall and keep our curve low,” she said at a news conference.

Henry’s comments came during a presentation of COVID-19 modelling data, which shows residents are keeping their contacts at 60 to 70 per cent of normal in the lead up to a potential surge in cases.

She urged people to avoid activities that are considered high-risk, such as spending time with groups of people they may not know, particularly ahead of the Labour Day long weekend.

“Our well-being as a community, as a province, is about getting back to work, getting back into classrooms, keeping businesses going and staying healthy,” she said. “It’s not an either/or situation. What we do need to do is pause those activities that we know are a for high-risk to all of us.”

There’s no magic number in terms of personal interactions you may have, and people may need to make sacrifices in their lives to keep interactions low, Henry added.

B.C. announced 89 new cases of COVID-19 as well as one additional death, bringing the province’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 6,041 and 210 deaths.

The modelling data presented Thursday shows that people in two age groups — between 20 and 29, and 30 and 39 — continue to make up the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the province.

Henry’s warning comes after Premier John Horgan said earlier in the day that the B.C. government will continue to use a “carrot and stick” approach to encouraging people to follow COVID-19 safety measures.

“I believe that the goodwill of British Columbians will win out,” adding that people who disregard public health orders face “significant” fines.

“And we’ll continue with that method of carrot and stick until we get the types of outcomes all British Columbians want to see.”

Horgan said officials have been working “overtime” to remind the public that a global health pandemic is ongoing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2020.

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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.

Slideshow ( 3 images )

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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Nine deaths linked to COVID-19 at Ottawa long-term care home – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Nine residents of an Ottawa long-term care home have died due to COVID-19 in the most serious outbreak of novel coronavirus in Ottawa in months.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, West End Villa confirms that nine residents have passed away from complications related to COVID-19.

“As of (Friday), there have been 52 cases of COVID-19 among residents, and 26 cases among staff, including one agency employee,” said Kelly Keeler, Administrator at West End Villa.

“All employee who have testing positive are isolating at home. Three residents are being treated in hospital and four resident cases have been resolved.”

Keeler says West End Villa is working with Ottawa Public Health and will remain in “close contact” with family members.

Earlier this week, West End Villa said a second round of COVID-19 surveillance testing had been conducted to help ensure cohorting efforts are as effective as possible.

Ottawa Public Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at West End Villa on Aug. 30. 

The first novel coronavirus outbreak at West End Villa in May saw one staff member test positive for novel coronavirus. 

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