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B.C. health officials say quick steps taken to help protect care homes – Prince George Citizen

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VICTORIA — The deaths of two more COVID-19 patients at long-term care homes in B.C. were mourned by provincial health officials Thursday, but they said lives may have been saved by the province’s quick response to the pandemic.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said measures to fight COVID-19 possibly contributed to holding the number of deaths to less than 100 at long-term care homes while other provinces recorded thousands of fatalities.

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“We don’t know the specific impact of the measures, but we know the large measures that have been taken have had positive effect,” Dix said at a news conference.

He said B.C. ensured workers were able to be employed at a single care home, personal protective equipment was made available to workers, special health teams were brought in at the first signs of COVID-19 and visits were restricted at the homes.

“I think that B.C., though, can be proud of its long-term care workers,” said Dix. “We’ve adopted from the beginning a team B.C. approach to how we deal with this issue. I am, of course, saddened that we’ve lost 93 people, residents who live in long-term care.”

B.C. reported nine new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the provincial total to 2,558 people diagnosed with the virus. The total number of COVID-19 deaths stood at 164 people and 2,153 people have recovered from the disease.

Henry said efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care homes is difficult but the province has been applying the many lessons it learned in an early outbreak at North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley Care Centre.

She said it was difficult to estimate how effective B.C.’s prevention measures were at the homes.

“We can only by analogy look at what happens in other places,” Henry said.

Thousands of residents at long-term care facilities in Quebec and Ontario have died of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, specialized health teams have been sent to fight COVID-19 outbreaks at two Metro Vancouver long-term care homes.

The Fraser Health Authority appointed a pandemic response director on Thursday at Langley Lodge, where more than 20 people have died from the virus in recent weeks.

It also sent extra staff to Nicola Lodge in Port Coquitlam after one resident tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19, said Dr. Martin Lavoie, Fraser Health’s chief medical health officer. The resident was placed in isolation at the lodge, he said.

“Over the past several weeks we’ve been supporting and offering guidance to Langley Lodge in different ways,” Lavoie said at a news conference.

“Today, we’re talking further action and we have appointed our own director of pandemic response to provide oversight of the COVID-19 response at Langley Lodge and also to further support the facility leadership and staff.”

The lodge website says it is a not-for-profit registered charity run by the Langley Care Society.

It says the lodge in Langley provides long-term care for adults who can no longer live safely or independently at home because of their health-care needs. The lodge includes 121 funded spaces and 14 private pay spaces.

An official at the lodge referred questions about the COVID-19 outbreak to Fraser Health.

Lavoie said the COVID-19 outbreak at the lodge has been difficult to control.

“It is our hope that these additional measures will support the site in controlling this complex outbreak,” he said. “We’re taking all the necessary steps to minimize the exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.”

Lavoie said extra nurses and staff are being called in along with infection control specialists who will use a specialized ultraviolet germ sterilization machine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2020.

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No new Manitoba cases, only four active remaining; Sask. sees five new cases – The Reminder

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Despite detecting no COVID-19 cases in the province for the ninth consecutive day, Manitoba officials aren’t planning a victory lap.

Manitoba chief provincial health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced the province is tracking four active cases of the virus during a July 9 testing update.

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“Manitobans need to expect to see cases. We need to prepare to see an increase in cases – higher than even in our first wave, possibly,” he said. 

“What we want is that we don’t stop our progress because we see some cases… We’re going to do whatever we can to not get back into an area where we were in March and April with the large shutdowns.”

Roussin said the population should expect a shift in advice from the province on mask use heading later in the summer, toward the cold and flu season this fall.

“Manitobans are going to get used to hearing more and more about mask use,” he said. 

“It’s probably going to become more and more of an approach we have here as we get closer to respiratory flu season. The big take-home message is that, for the most part, masks shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for other precautions that we have.”

Officials are preparing for an increase in flu vaccine demand during the fall and winter. In the aftermath of the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, demand for flu shots increased. Under one-third of Manitobans received a flu shot last year.

“We’re definitely going to see a respiratory virus season,” Roussin said. 

“We’re going to have to treat it as a COVID-19 virus season, because we’re not going to know whether COVID-19 has made a return or not until it’s over.”

Roussin said the province wasn’t looking at active case numbers as its main benchmark.

“The fact that we have [high testing] capacity and the fact that we have really no restrictions on who can get tested, those are the important things for me rather than day by day number,” he said.

Manitoba has performed over 68,000 tests since the outbreak began.

 

Saskatchewan

Once again, more cases of COVID-19 have been found in Saskatchewan.

Five new cases were reported in the province July 9 – one each in the far north and central regions and in Saskatoon with two found in southern Saskatchewan. Five people are in hospital, including one person in intensive care in Saskatoon. 

Forty-eight active cases are being tracked in Saskatchewan, including 32 in northern communities. Twenty-five of those cases are in the far north, the region that includes Creighton, Denare Beach and other Saskatchewan communities near Flin Flon. No cases have been reported from any northeast Saskatchewan community.

An increase in COVID-19 has been reported in Prince Albert by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), leading the group to provide an alert for people travelling through the city. Visitation at Victoria Hospital and at area long-term care homes has been restricted as a result.

Saskatchewan entered the next stage of its phase four reopening Thursday. According to the provincial Reopen Saskatchewan plan, bingo halls and casinos will be able to reopen as of July 9. Other public spaces, including indoor pools and rinks, arts, cultural centres like libraries and galleries, theatres, day camps, spray parks, outdoor pools and seasonal recreation areas, have been previously reopened.

The final portion of phase four, slated to include opening racetracks, rodeos, performances in restaurants and licensed establishments, car and trade shows and banquet and conference facilities, is planned to start July 16.

 

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Health officials report new COVID-19 case in New Brunswick related to travel – NiagaraFallsReview.ca

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FREDERICTON—Public health officials in New Brunswick are reporting one new case of COVID-19 today.

The new case involves a person in their 40s in the Fredericton area.

They say it is a travel-related case, and the individual is self-isolating.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says the number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 166, and 163 have recovered.

There have been two deaths, and there is one active case.

Russell says people are reminded to maintain physical distancing and public health guidelines for good hygiene.

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WHO says airborne transmission of coronavirus can occur during medical procedures – Financial Post

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus can occur during medical procedures that generate aerosols.

The agency said some outbreak reports related to indoor crowded spaces have suggested the possibility of aerosol transmission, combined with droplet transmission, such as during choir practice, in restaurants or in fitness classes. (https://bit.ly/2Ck7QBo)

The WHO on Tuesday acknowledged “emerging evidence” of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease spread. (Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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