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B.C. officials report 1,158 new COVID-19 cases, 21 deaths over 3 days – Yahoo News Canada

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Local Journalism Initiative

‘Like an iceberg’

Family violence, intimate partner violence, dating violence, domestic abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, elder abuse — it goes by many names, and has a deep and lasting impact on many in our region. “Domestic violence happens within a home or with partners that are in a family type relationship,” said Danya O’Malley, executive director of P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention Services in Charlottetown. “It’s any act that harms, or is meant to intimidate or coerce someone in some way.” It can include verbal, physical, emotional, or financial abuse. It can look like one romantic partner abusing the other; a parent or adult abusing a child; an adult abusing an elder family member. Domestic violence also includes dating violence and violence in a roommate situation. “People often think, ‘Well, physical abuse — that’s the worst of the worst’. But when you talk to victims that have a number of different types of violence, they often cite the emotional abuse as the worst. It leaves very deep scars. They say things like, ‘That is the voice I hear in my head’,” said O’Malley. Statistics show women, female-identifying and gender-diverse individuals are at increased risk of physical violence such as assault, assault with a weapon, or homicide. Men also suffer in abusive relationships, but the violence they face tends to be emotional or verbal. Many men don’t report it, perhaps because they feel what they’re experiencing is not really abuse, said O’Malley. “The barriers to men speaking out are so varied and tightly bound that we really have no idea how many male victims of violence there are,” said O’Malley. Violence prevention organizations around Atlantic Canada have noticed a shift during the COVID-19 pandemic as public health measures keep everyone close to home. “It has impacted on people’s emotional and mental health in feeling isolated,” said Sandra McKellar, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre in St. John’s. Healthy activities, like joining a friend for a cup of tea, have become more difficult. “If you don’t have those supports, those ways of coping, it becomes much more difficult,” said McKellar. She’s seen an increase in both new and repeat callers to crisis and information lines and reminds everyone that — even during a global pandemic — “you can get support, you can be validated, you can be believed.” The early months of the pandemic were particularly difficult, said O’Malley. “It was very hard — very, very hard — for people to be able to reach out during that really critical period in March to July,” she said. “Clients just didn’t have the time to talk to (outreach workers). They might need to, but not be able to, because of lack of privacy, and sometimes quite a dangerous lack of privacy if they’re still living with their abuser . … It’s really scary and upsetting to think about — and we’ve gotten off pretty lightly here, pandemic-wise, we haven’t had widespread lockdowns at all really since the summer.” O’Malley said abuse builds over time. “That’s why people often get in very deep into relationships that are abusive — because early on, the red flags are so tiny and so easy to rationalize, justify and minimize in light of this also really awesome, happy new relationship. You then get into a lot of intimacy and emotional closeness and attachment and things begin to escalate and get worse over time,“she said. “I imagine the pandemic sort of moved along some unhealthy relationships into some pretty scary situations.” McKellar said it’s important to remember that most abuse happens behind closed doors. “It’s not that someone who is an abuser looks like it. That’s a myth that we have. They can look like everybody else,” said McKellar. For friends or family, an abusive relationship might mean changes to someone’s confidence, or freedom to make plans, said McKellar. Victims will work hard to conceal an abusive situation, but sometimes clues will leak out, said O’Malley. “Oftentimes the little bit of dysfunction that we see is like an iceberg. People often experience so much shame about the relationship and the way that the relationship is unhealthy,” said O’Malley. “Often, the little bit that you get to see is often only the very tip of the problem and what happens behind closed doors can sometimes be just mind-blowing, because on the surface everything seems fine.” From the sidelines, leaving an abusive relationship may seem like the logical solution, but it’s not a simple matter of packing a bag and heading out the door. Many victims are dependent on the abuser financially or for a place to live. Women can be underemployed or have long gaps in their resumé due to having children, which can make it difficult to re-enter the workforce. Victims can fear the partner having unsupervised access to their children, and believe that if they stay, they’ll be able to act as a buffer. Shiva Nourpanah, provincial co-ordinator for Transition House Association of Nova Scotia in Bedford, said many victims stay because the fear of the unknown is worse than the fear of the known. “They feel they can handle an abusive partner, but they can’t handle the system, they don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s very complex, there’s multiple systems that become engaged once a woman makes that decision to leave, and that in itself can be quite daunting,” said Nourpanah. Police and courts may become involved if there are criminal charges; social services may be activated if there are children; the victim may need to apply for income supports or other programs, arrange school or childcare or find transportation – all of which can become obstacles for people looking to leave an abusive situation. Adding to an already intense transition, the majority of domestic homicides happen after separation, said O’Malley. “Just recently separated from a relationship is the most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship. Things can spiral and become deadly,” she said. What causes a person to choose violence? There’s an expression, said O’Malley: “hurt people hurt people.” “We know that a lot of abusers have trauma history as well,” she said, adding not everyone who has a trauma history goes on to be abusive. Structural issues like poverty, precarious housing, and unemployment can put pressure on a household, Nourpanah said, but at the end of the day, violence is an individual choice. “There’s a delicate interplay of individual and structural factors that both need addressing,” said Nourpanah. The issues are complex. On P.E.I., O’Malley and her team use the term family violence to emphasize the lasting impact on children. “Violence is a learned behaviour, and that behaviour was generally learned in childhood,” said O’Malley. “They’ve learned that violent behaviour, they’ve learned to control another individual and to impose their will on another person and to use feelings to manipulate that other person and so they are not able to be any other way, in spite of the fact that they may be very much don’t want to be this way. “When you start to scratch the surface of people who abuse, you often find an absolute well of pain and shame and self-loathing. … When you start unlocking that, you start undoing abuse.” “Violence is a learned behaviour, and that behaviour was generally learned in childhood.” Dayna O’Malley Organizations in P.E.I., Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador each have a 24-7 phone line staffed by people with trauma training. New Brunswick has several services that can be reached individually or by calling 211 for help. The phone numbers are for anyone looking for help in their own situation or for advice on how to help a friend. “People often think a lot of things about what might rule them out of our services,” said O’Malley, adding she’s heard people say things like, ‘I don’t know if I can stay there, though, he never hits me,’ or ‘What if I’m taking up something that could go to somebody else’?” Each province has said there are enough services to help those who call. ————————————————————————————————– Spiritual violence – Keeping you away from your faith community. Sexual violence – Taking unwanted sexual photos, coercing sex, forced sexual activity, calling you sexually derogatory names, criticizing you sexually, any sexual act which is not based on mutual consent constitutes sexual abuse. Threats – Threatening to ‘disappear’ with children, report you to social services, to commit suicide, to harm you, your children, or loved ones. Emotional abuse – Using critical, insulting, or humiliating remarks to wear you down into acceptance, undermining your self-esteem, insisting on taking you to and picking you up from work, checking up on you, accusing you of unfaithfulness, finding fault with your friends/family, humiliating you either in private or in company, criticizing your interests, opinions or beliefs, blaming you for their failures or abuse. Financial abuse – Preventing you from getting or keeping a job, denying you sufficient housekeeping money, denying access to finances, demanding your paycheques, spending money allocated to bills/groceries on themselves. Physical abuse – Hitting, throwing things, using restraints, reckless driving. • Pushing for commitment immediately • History of abuse • Strong belief in traditional gender roles • Possessiveness • Jealousy • Keeping you away from friends or family with words or actions Alison Jenkins, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Journal-Pioneer

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Medical Officer of Health gives monkeypox update – North Bay News – BayToday.ca

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The local medical officer of health for the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is urging calm when it comes to the monkeypox outbreak that has reached Canada.

The multi-country outbreak of monkeypox — a rare disease that comes from the same family of viruses that causes smallpox — has been active since early May.

As of Wednesday, a total of 219 confirmed cases have been reported worldwide. Most of the cases have been detected in young men, who self-identify as men who have sex with men (MSM). Of those, there are 118 confirmed cases reported from 12 EU/EEA Member States.

According to Dr. Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton (UK), “Monkeypox, as the name suggests, was first found in laboratory monkeys in the late 1950s. However, scientists aren’t sure if monkeys are the main animal reservoirs (carriers of the virus), so the name may be a bit of a misnomer. The latest thinking is that the main reservoir is probably smaller animals, such as rodents.”

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) observes this is the first time chains of monkeypox transmission have been reported in Europe without known epidemiological links to West or Central Africa.

There are 16 confirmed cases in Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, all in Quebec. 

Although the “risk posed by monkeypox is low, nearly everyone in Canada is susceptible because routine vaccination against smallpox ended decades ago,” PHAC officials said late last week in this CP report stating Canada is considering using a reserve of smallpox vaccine for monkeypox cases.

“Let’s look at the risk and put it into perspective,” says Dr. Jim Chirico following Wednesday’s Board of Health meeting. “The overall risk to the general public is very, very low.”

“Monkeypox (MPX) does not spread easily between people. Human-to-human transmission occurs through close contact with infectious material from skin lesions of an infected person, through respiratory droplets in prolonged face-to-face contact, and through fomites (such as contaminated clothes, towels or furniture). The predominance, in the current outbreak, of diagnosed human MPX cases is among men having sex with men (MSM), and the nature of the presenting lesions in some cases, suggests transmission occurred during sexual intercourse,” according to an ECDC risk assessment

The virus is spread through close contact between people, especially in the same household, including the sexual route, advises ECDC. Based on its epidemiological assessment, “the likelihood of MPX spreading in persons having multiple sexual partners in the EU/EEA is considered high.”

Being aware of the signs and symptoms is the most important part, says Chirico “but most cases are very mild and besides treatment for the symptoms, nothing else is usually required and most people do not end up in the hospital. It’s limited. In two to four weeks, it’s over.”

The monkeypox virus may cause severe disease in certain population groups, such as young children, pregnant women, and immunosuppressed persons.

“Although most cases in current outbreaks have presented with mild disease symptoms,” notes the ECDC risk assessment, “the likelihood of cases with severe morbidity cannot be accurately estimated yet. The overall risk is assessed as moderate for persons having multiple sexual partners (including some groups of MSM) and low for the broader population.”

Chirico advises local residents to “be aware of the signs and symptoms of monkeypox. Initially, they are similar to the flu, where you might have a headache, fever, chills, muscle aches, maybe back pain, and fatigue. You can also experience sweating and the other important thing to note are any lumps and bumps, like lymph nodes that are increasing.”

About one to three days following the onset of symptoms, a rash may appear — and it may appear on the face and go to the rest of the body. In about 75 per cent of the cases, it will be on the hands and feet, he says.

A personal risk assessment of monkeypox infection is also important, says Dr. Chirico. “Sexual contacts, possible exposure to an individual diagnosed with monkeypox or an individual that is symptomatic and awaiting lab confirmation.

“If you have signs and symptoms of monkeypox, immediately isolate and arrange to be tested by your primary health care provider. And, remain in isolation until the result of your test is known. If you do test positive for monkeypox, you do need to isolate until the lesions resolve, meaning the scabs have fallen off and new skin is present.

“If you are a contact of an individual with monkeypox, you can self-monitor for symptoms for 21 days and seek medical care or testing if the symptoms present but you don’t need to quarantine if you don’t have any symptoms as a contact.”

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Montreal sauna suspected origin of Canada’s monkeypox outbreak: doctors – Global News

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Monkeypox cases in Canada are suspected to have originated from a local sauna in Montreal, doctors have told Global News.

The country’s first two cases were reported by Quebec public health officials on May 19.

Dr. Robert Pilarski, a general physician in Montreal, who treated one of those patients last week, said the individual likely got the virus from a sauna he recently visited.

“He actually got it from G.I. Joe. So this is the suspected epicentre of the epidemic,” Pilarski told Global News.

Read more:

Quebec to start vaccinating monkeypox contacts, confirms 25 cases

Another doctor, who did not wish to be identified, also said the source of Montreal’s monkeypox outbreak was Sauna G.I. Joe.

Government officials have so far stayed clear of confirming the origin of monkeypox in Canada due to concerns of privacy and stigmatization.

“As it was the case with COVID-19, we never confirm publicly outbreaks for both privacy and identification matters,” Jean Nicolas Aubé, a spokesperson for Montreal public health, told Global News in an emailed response.

“Rest assured that we always intervene directly with businesses or settings where an outbreak occurs or where our investigation could lead us,” Aube added.


Click to play video: 'Quebec confirms 25 cases of monkeypox, plans to administer vaccine'



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Quebec confirms 25 cases of monkeypox, plans to administer vaccine


Quebec confirms 25 cases of monkeypox, plans to administer vaccine

Despite multiple attempts and inquiries from Global News about health regulations and tracing measures, there was no response from Sauna G.I. Joe by the time of publication.

Recent cases of monkeypox around the world have researchers scrambling to find out how the virus is spreading in countries that typically don’t see it.

Monkeypox, a rare zoonotic infectious disease, is usually found in certain parts of Africa, where it is endemic.

Read more:

More monkeypox surveillance needed, WHO tells member countries

What started out as a small cluster of cases in Quebec is now being called a “serious outbreak” of the virus by provincial health officials.

As of Thursday, 25 cases have been confirmed in the province and about 20 to 30 suspected cases are under investigation.

The majority of confirmed cases in the province are tied to men aged between 20 and 30 years, who have had sexual relations with other men. There has been one case in a person under 18.

Monkeypox is not considered a sexually-transmitted infection, but the virus can survive on surfaces such as bedding and is transmitted through prolonged close contact.

“It’s not sexual activity as such that transmits it. It’s skin-to-skin contact that transmits it as far as we know at this moment,” said Dr. Michael Libman, a tropical disease expert and professor of medicine and infectious disease at McGill University.


Click to play video: 'Scientists trying to identify origins of Monkeypox cases detected in Canada'



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Scientists trying to identify origins of Monkeypox cases detected in Canada


Scientists trying to identify origins of Monkeypox cases detected in Canada

Stigmatization and transparency

Cases of monkeypox started emerging in Europe earlier this month.

Montreal public health said it had alerted physicians about a week before the first cases were confirmed. It also contacted “local actors” and communicated advice on hand hygiene and environmental cleaning procedures, Aubé said.

According to social media posts, Sauna G.I. Joe hosted a sex party on May 19, the same day Canada confirmed its first cases of monkeypox.

Read more:

Monkeypox likely spread through sex at 2 raves in Europe, expert suggests

During a press conference on Thursday, Quebec public health officials said they do not think it’s necessary to single out locations over fears of “stigmatization,” adding that there are now measures in place.

“The enemy is the virus, not the people affected,” said Dr. Luc Boileau, Quebec’s interim public health.

However, experts stress that there should be greater transparency and omitting key public health information can be problematic.


Click to play video: 'Monkeypox is not a sexually-transmitted infection, WHO says'



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Monkeypox is not a sexually-transmitted infection, WHO says


Monkeypox is not a sexually-transmitted infection, WHO says

David Brennan, research chair in gay and bisexual men’s health at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN), believes not disclosing information can have a negative impact on the community.

Hiding information could be interpreted as “men having sex with men is bad,” said Brennan.

There needs to be a culture shift and harm-reduction approach as has been the case in the past with sexually-transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS, added Nolan Hill, gay men’s health specialist at the Center for Sexuality in Calgary, Alta.

“I think it really does speak to this broader culture where we’re uncomfortable with the idea of sex and we’re uncomfortable talking about sex,” he said.


Click to play video: 'What is monkeypox and how is it transmitted?'



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What is monkeypox and how is it transmitted?


What is monkeypox and how is it transmitted?

Outside of Quebec, only one other case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Toronto.

On Saturday, Toronto Public Health (TPH) identified two locations connected to possible cases of monkeypox: Axis Club and Woody’s bar.

Kerry Bowman, a professor of bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto, said these details matter, especially when it comes to higher risk settings.

“I would argue it is important to identify where it is coming from because if you don’t then people are not in a position to protect themselves,” he said.

Read more:

Physical distancing recommended amid monkeypox spread in Canada, Njoo says

However, disclosing that information comes with the “added responsibility” of not feeding into any prejudice, Bowman added.

Federal public health officials are working to finalize and release guidance on case identification, contact tracing, isolation as well as infection prevention and control.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says this updated guidance will be released in the next few days.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said Thursday mass vaccinations are not yet needed, but people can avoid infection by maintaining physical distance, masking and hand hygiene.


Click to play video: 'Monkeypox: 26 confirmed cases in Quebec, Ontario, officials recommend physical distancing'



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Monkeypox: 26 confirmed cases in Quebec, Ontario, officials recommend physical distancing


Monkeypox: 26 confirmed cases in Quebec, Ontario, officials recommend physical distancing

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Quebec health officials confirm 25 monkeypox cases now in province – Global News

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Quebec public health officials are reporting a total of 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province as of Thursday.

Dr. Luc Boileau, interim public health director in the province, described it as a “serious outbreak” of the virus. Officials are investigating several more suspected cases.

“We had about 20 to 30 suspected cases under investigation so far,” Boileau said.

The province will also begin administering the Imvamune vaccine to close contacts of confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox as soon as Friday. A single dose will be provided within four days of exposure to the virus.

Quebec’s Health Ministry said in a statement that a second dose of the vaccine could be administered, but only if the risk of exposure is “still present 28 days later” and “only following a decision by public health authorities.”

READ MORE: Mass vaccinations for monkeypox not needed, WHO official says

Boileau said the majority of confirmed cases in the province are tied mostly to men who have had sexual relations with other men. There has been one case in a person under 18.

Last week, Quebec recorded the first cases of the virus in the country. The first suspected cases were reported on May 12 in Montreal.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that comes from the same family of viruses that causes smallpox, which the World Health Organization declared eradicated around the globe in 1980.

The virus spreads through prolonged closed contact. It can cause fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and lesions.

— with files from Global News’ Dan Spector and the Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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