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B.C. clamps down on COVID-19 enforcement with fines for party hosts, guests – TimminsToday

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VANCOUVER — Property owners and organizers can be fined $2,000 for hosting events found in violation of public health orders in British Columbia under stronger enforcement measures announced Friday.

The fines can be levied for hosting a gathering in excess of 50 people, failing to keep the contact information of everyone who attends an event, or inviting more than five guests into a vacation rental property, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth told a news conference.

A party with fewer than 50 people is not necessarily legal, he added, since all other public health measures must still be followed.

“Police have their discretion, but if you have 38 people crammed into a kitchen and, you know, there’s no social distancing (taking) place, then clearly that’s in violation of the order and the owner would be subject to a $2,000 ticket,” he said.

Farnworth said “problematic” guests may also face $200 tickets for behaviour that could include refusing to leave when directed or disregarding COVID-19 safety plans at restaurants and other businesses.

The province is enlisting liquor, cannabis and gaming inspectors, as well as conservation officers and WorkSafeBC investigators, to help issue the tickets for the duration of the pandemic.

It’s also working with local governments to revoke business and liquor licences where violations occur, said Farnworth.

“The province is building a comprehensive and integrated compliance and enforcement regime to put a halt to bad actors in all corners of B.C.,” he said.

B.C. is taking stronger action because the behaviour of a small minority of “selfish individuals” is putting vulnerable people at risk across the province, Farnworth said.

“We can’t let the bad decisions made by a few erode the progress that we have made together.”

Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson said Thursday the majority of the latest cases of COVID-19 are still being detected in younger adults.

Vancouver Coastal Health has launched a campaign in response to that trend, which includes tips for visiting restaurants, spending time with friends, playing recreational sports, heading to the beach, going on road trips and practising safe sex during the pandemic.

In a release on Friday, the health authority’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Patricia Daly, said the reopening of restaurants and bars, where many young adults work, has contributed to the rise.

But, she said, partying is another factor.

“We’re seeing transmission take place in nightclubs in particular, but also at bars and restaurants, while boating and in other indoor social settings,” Daly said in a statement.

“It’s the way people act and interact in these settings that’s problematic: sharing food and drinks, speaking loudly and in close proximity if there’s background noise, and not social distancing among strangers, especially if they’ve been drinking alcohol.”

BC Ferries and TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s transportation network, are also taking further action to stop the spread of COVID-19. Starting Monday, non-medical masks or face coverings will be mandatory for passengers on both transit services.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 21, 2020.

Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press



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Ontario pediatricians warn 'crisis looming' unless more kids get flu vaccine this year – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ontario’s pediatricians are calling for a province-wide strategy for immunizing more young kids against the flu as the province prepares to deal with flu season and a rising tide of COVID-19 infections at once.

In an online petition by the pediatrics section of the Ontario Medical Association, the doctors say a number of steps are needed so that flu season does not compound the uptick in COVID-19 cases expected this fall and winter.

The petition points out that more than 1,000 children are hospitalized with influenza every flu season in Canada.

“COVID19 remains a growing and unpredictable threat.  Not only do we want to prevent our children from getting sick with the flu, we also must prevent them from making others around them sick,” the petition states.

The doctors say that several factors will make it more challenging to administer the vaccine to kids this season, including unprecedented interest among parents for the flu vaccine, COVID-19 and flu co-circulating in the community, and a decreased capacity to administer vaccinations due to health guidelines and limited resources in place because of the pandemic.

“Right now, Public Health seems to expect the status quo from years past, when individual doctor’s offices and scattered flu clinics gave flu vaccines,” the petition states. “But this year, there is a dramatically decreased capacity to administer flu vaccines in these settings.”

In order to significantly reduce the circulation of influenza among children this season, the doctors say the province needs to see uptake of the flu vaccine rise significantly above the usual 30 to 35% of the population.

To meet that goal, they are calling on the Ontario government to create a province-wide strategy for immunizing kids, especially those aged six months to four years of age who normally get their flu vaccine from their doctor.

The doctors point out that there is some urgency to the task as it usually takes the vaccine two weeks to build immunity in those who receive it.

In a statement in late August, the Ontario Medical Association urged parents to make sure their kids were up to date with their vaccinations. The OMA said then that doctors had seen “a dramatic decrease” in the number of parents bringing their children for routine vaccinations, in part because they didn’t realize they could during the pandemic.

The OMA told CP24 Monday that it is engaged in ongoing discussions with the provincial government about vaccinations and a host of other issues.

In an interview with CP24.com, OMA President Dr. Samantha Hill said she expects to see a plan around flu vaccination from the province shortly, but in the meantime the uncertainty is an added source of stress for doctors.

“I think everyone, including the government is pretty aligned on the fact that this year is a special year when it comes to the flu. We’re all on the same wavelength, that it’s going to be essential to get as many people vaccinated as possible, and especially to make sure the most vulnerable are vaccinated appropriately,” Hill said. “The challenges with that, of course this year, are numerous compared to the normal, numerous challenges.”

Hill said that while the medical system is being stretched to its limits, all stakeholders should be able to agree on and work together to make sure that more people get vaccinated this year than in previous years.

“This is the year you know, if you’ve never had a flu vaccine before, this is the year you’re going to want to have it,” she said. “We don’t know what it looks like if you get the flu and COVID back-to-back. We don’t we don’t know what it looks like if you get them both at the same. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t look pretty.”

She said that while health care professionals want to be there for their patients and communities, the system “quite frankly, is stretched to the max.”

“Physicians are working all out, nurses are working all out. Everyone has stepped up and done what they can. But you can’t you can’t give 110 per cent for three years. It doesn’t work.

“While everyone’s committed and everyone is here for their patients and here for their communities, we need to know the plan and we need to know that there is support to enact the plan.”

Hill said the flu vaccine normally becomes available in mid-October and doctors would like to know in advance how the province will ensure greater uptake of vaccination this year.

She said a number of ideas have been floated this year to expand vaccinations, including mobile clinics, parking lot vaccination centres, greater use of pharmacies, as well as private clinics.

“The concern is about making sure that this is done in a way that best utilizes the resources available, and covers as much of the population as possible,” Hill said. “Like I said, if there was ever a year this is the year where you want to have your best uptake.”

She stressed that in addition to vaccinations, other infection-prevention measures such as distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing will also reduce the spread of infection if practiced widely.

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CDC changes, then retracts, web posting on how virus spreads – Airdrie Today

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NEW YORK — The top U.S. public health agency stirred confusion by posting — and then taking down — an apparent change in its position on how easily the coronavirus can spread from person to person through the air.

But officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say their position has not really changed and that the post last week on the agency’s website was an error that has been taken down.

It was “an honest mistake” that happened when a draft update was posted before going through a full editing and approval process, said Dr. Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases.

The post suggested that the agency believes the virus can hang in the air and spread over an extended distance. But the agency continues to believe larger and heavier droplets that come from coughing or sneezing are the primary means of transmission, Butler said.

Most CDC guidance about social distancing is built around that idea, saying that about 6 feet is a safe buffer between people who are not wearing masks.

In interviews, CDC officials have acknowledged growing evidence that the virus can sometimes be transmitted on even smaller, aerosolized particles or droplets that spread over a wider area. Certain case clusters have been tied to events in which the virus appeared to have spread through the air in, for example, a choir practice. But such incidents did not appear to be common.

Public health experts urge people to wear masks, which can stop or reduce contact with both larger droplets and aerosolized particles.

But for months, agency officials said little about aerosolized particles. So when the CDC quietly posted an update Friday that discussed the particles in more detail, the agency’s position appeared to have changed. The post said the virus can remain suspended in the air and drift more than 6 feet. It also emphasized the importance of indoor ventilation and seemed to describe the coronavirus as the kind of germ that can spread widely through the air.

The post caused widespread discussion in public health circles because of its implications. It could mean, for example, that hospitals might have to place infected people in rooms that are specially designed to prevent air from flowing to other parts of the hospital.

But the CDC is not advising any changes in how far people stay away from each other, how they are housed at hospitals or other measures, Butler said.

The CDC has come under attack for past revisions of guidance during the pandemic, some of which were driven by political pressure by the Trump administration.

Butler said there was no external political pressure behind the change in this instance. “This was an internal issue,. And we’re working hard to address it and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

In a statement released Monday, the CDC said the revisions to the “How COVID-19 Spreads” page happened “without appropriate in-house technical review.”

“We are reviewing our process and tightening criteria for review of all guidance and updates before they are posted to the CDC website,” the statement said.

At least one expert said the episode could further chip away at public confidence in the CDC.

“The consistent inconsistency in this administration’s guidance on COVID-19 has severely compromised the nation’s trust in our public health agencies,” said Dr. Howard Koh, a Harvard University public health professor who was a high-ranking official in the Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration.

“To rectify the latest challenge, the CDC must acknowledge that growing scientific evidence indicates the importance of airborne transmission through aerosols, making mask wearing even more critical as we head into the difficult fall and winter season,” Koh said in a statement.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press

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CDC Now Warns COVID Can Be Spread This Way – Yahoo Canada Shine On

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The CDC updated its guidance about how you could catch COVID-19, saying the disease can be transmitted by aerosols that hang in the air. That means you’ll want to avoid poorly-ventilated indoor spaces where people are doing the following things—read on, and to protect your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.” data-reactid=”12″>The CDC updated its guidance about how you could catch COVID-19, saying the disease can be transmitted by aerosols that hang in the air. That means you’ll want to avoid poorly-ventilated indoor spaces where people are doing the following things—read on, and to protect your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.

When a Person Sneezes

Ill man wearing grey sweater, yellow hat and spectacles, blowing nose and sneeze into tissue
Ill man wearing grey sweater, yellow hat and spectacles, blowing nose and sneeze into tissue

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The droplets can really get you when someone sneezes. National Geographic went to a lab at MIT and found scientist Lydia Bourouiba studying sneezes: "Slowed to 2,000 frames per second, video and images from her lab show that a fine mist of mucus and saliva can burst from a person’s mouth at nearly a hundred miles an hour and travel as far as 27 feet."” data-reactid=”25″>The droplets can really get you when someone sneezes. National Geographic went to a lab at MIT and found scientist Lydia Bourouiba studying sneezes: “Slowed to 2,000 frames per second, video and images from her lab show that a fine mist of mucus and saliva can burst from a person’s mouth at nearly a hundred miles an hour and travel as far as 27 feet.”

When a Person Sings

Male And Female Students Singing In Choir At Performing Arts SchoolMale And Female Students Singing In Choir At Performing Arts School
Male And Female Students Singing In Choir At Performing Arts School

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content=""Singing in a room for an extended period of time, in close contact with lots of people and no ventilation—that’s a recipe for disaster," Shelly Miller, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, told NPR. "In preliminary research published on July 13, Miller and her fellow researchers found that singers, as well as certain wind and brass instrumentalists, generate respiratory aerosols at high rates. In other words, they spew a lot of droplets into the air when they warble or blow."” data-reactid=”38″>“Singing in a room for an extended period of time, in close contact with lots of people and no ventilation—that’s a recipe for disaster,” Shelly Miller, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, told NPR. “In preliminary research published on July 13, Miller and her fellow researchers found that singers, as well as certain wind and brass instrumentalists, generate respiratory aerosols at high rates. In other words, they spew a lot of droplets into the air when they warble or blow.”

When a Person Talks

Two friends watching media content in a smart phoneTwo friends watching media content in a smart phone
Two friends watching media content in a smart phone
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Yes, just talking can spread COVID-19. "The act of speaking generates droplets that vary in size. Larger droplets pose less of a risk, since they ‘fall quickly to the ground,’ according to the researchers, but smaller ones can dehydrate and linger in the air, essentially acting like an aerosol," reports Health.com, relaying a correspondence published in the New England Journal of Medicine, by researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania "This ‘expand[s] the spatial extent of emitted infectious particles,’ the authors said."” data-reactid=”55″>Yes, just talking can spread COVID-19. “The act of speaking generates droplets that vary in size. Larger droplets pose less of a risk, since they ‘fall quickly to the ground,’ according to the researchers, but smaller ones can dehydrate and linger in the air, essentially acting like an aerosol,” reports Health.com, relaying a correspondence published in the New England Journal of Medicine, by researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania “This ‘expand[s] the spatial extent of emitted infectious particles,’ the authors said.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="RELATED: COVID Mistakes You Should Never Make” data-reactid=”56″>RELATED: COVID Mistakes You Should Never Make

When a Person Breathes

man relaxing after work breathing fresh air sitting at home office desk with laptopman relaxing after work breathing fresh air sitting at home office desk with laptop
man relaxing after work breathing fresh air sitting at home office desk with laptop

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="COVID-19 can be spread even when a person just breathes, says the CDC. A study from the United States National Academy of Sciences, Engineering&amp;Medicine confirmed it: "The study reported that even breathing or talking could possibly release tiny particles (Bioaerosols) carrying the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID 19," writes author Ramananda Ningthoujam. "The team explained that the virus can stay suspended in the air in the ultrafine mist that is produced when infected people exhale. They recommended wearing masks while going out in public places."” data-reactid=”69″>COVID-19 can be spread even when a person just breathes, says the CDC. A study from the United States National Academy of Sciences, Engineering&Medicine confirmed it: “The study reported that even breathing or talking could possibly release tiny particles (Bioaerosols) carrying the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID 19,” writes author Ramananda Ningthoujam. “The team explained that the virus can stay suspended in the air in the ultrafine mist that is produced when infected people exhale. They recommended wearing masks while going out in public places.”

When a Person Coughs

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content=""To help stop the spread of germs," says the CDC:” data-reactid=”78″>“To help stop the spread of germs,” says the CDC:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Throw used tissues in the trash
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss this essential list of 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”83″>And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss this essential list of 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus

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