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B.C.’s top doctor is reminding you to keep your gatherings small this Halloween – News 1130

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SURREY (NEWS 1130) – While B.C.’s top doctor is giving the thumbs up to trick-or-treating this weekend, it’s a different story when it comes to parties.

“No Halloween parties this weekend,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said during her COVID-19 update on Thursday. “This Halloween weekend we need to celebrate in new ways. We need to keep our groups small.”

It comes days after she issued a new provincial health order, limiting gatherings at homes to no more than the people living there plus six others in their “safe bubble.”

“This is because many of the things we do at parties and celebrations, things like talking and hugging and eating and drinking together indoors are much, much riskier. Particularly now.”

But Henry said if you plan to get together with people in your safe six this weekend, it should maybe be at a restaurant instead of someone’s home.

“It does prevent transmission of this virus. There are some very clear reasons for this. First, for most of us, our homes do not have the space for everybody to keep that safe distance that we need right now. Second, our homes don’t have those layers of protection that we have built in to other places to slow the spread of COVID-19,” she explained.

“We don’t use such things as plexi-glass barriers and one-way pathways in our homes, which naturally means that we will be closer to each other.”

Unlike at the grocery store or a school, we’re also more likely to forget about precautions at home because we’re more familiar and comfortable with our setting, Henry added.

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“Many of the new cases we have today are directly linked to gatherings — in our homes and elsewhere — that are now resulting in community transmission of COVID-19 across the province. But this has been particularly the case in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Health region.”

People in the Fraser Health region are being asked to skip out on gatherings, even small ones, altogether this weekend.

“Even small gatherings can be risky right now,” Fraser Health Authority President Dr. Victoria Lee said Thursday. “At this crucial time, we’re asking people who reside in the Fraser Health region to take a pause and reconsider as our social interactions outside of our households.”

The Fraser Health region has seen the majority of COVID-19 cases in the province.

When it comes to trick-or-treating, Henry said that should be kept small too.

“It can be done safely, outside, with small groups. Making sure that we give the others the space to stay safe and also importantly to respect those homes that are choosing not to participate this year.”

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Ottawa Public Health removes two deaths from pandemic death toll; 1 new death, 46 new cases reported – Newstalk 1010 (iHeartRadio)

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Ottawa Public Health is reporting a decline in the number of COVID-19 deaths in the capital after an investigation showed a link to COVID-19 could not be proven in two cases.

In a statement on its COVID-19 dashboard, OPH said, “Following case investigation, two deaths could not be confirmed to be related to COVID-19. As such, these deaths were removed from the dashboard.

However, OPH notes that since Friday’s update, an additional person has died.

“Since the previous refresh, however, one additional person with confirmed COVID-19 has passed away,” OPH said. “Thus, the total change in deaths since the previous refresh is -1.”

The city’s death toll from COVID-19 now stands at 372 residents.

OPH reported 46 new people with COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, bringing the city’s pandemic total to 8,379 cases. 

In the past seven days, Nov. 22 to 28 inclusive, OPH has reported an average of 34.3 new cases of COVID-19 per day. In the previous seven days, Nov. 15 to 21 inclusive, OPH reported an average of 42.1 new cases of COVID-19 per day.

Across Ontario, more than 1,800 new cases of COVID-19 were reported for a second straight day, Health Minister Christine Elliott said, with 1,822 new cases.

On Friday, a record-breaking 1,855 infections were logged across the province.

A majority of the new cases reported on Saturday were from the locked down regions of Toronto and Peel.

Twenty-nine new COVID-19 deaths have also been reported across Ontario.

HOSPITALIZATIONS IN OTTAWA

The number of people in Ottawa hospitals with COVID-19 complications fell slightly on Saturday to 20, from 21 on Friday.

There are three people in the intenstive care unit.

Of the people in hospital, three are in their 60s (two in the ICU), six are in their 70s, seven are in their 80s (one in the ICU), and four are 90 or older.

ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA

The number of people with active cases of COVID-19 in the city climbed back above 300 on Saturday after three days below that figure.

OPH reports 309 active cases in Ottawa in its latest update, 16 more than what was reported on Friday.

Thirty-one additional recoveries have been added to the dashboard, bringing the city’s number of resolved cases to 7,698. 

The number of active cases of COVID-19 is the number of total laboratory-confirmed cases minus the numbers of resolved cases and deaths. A case is considered resolved 14 days after known symptom onset or positive test result.

 
COVID-19 Cases in Ottawa

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CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA BY AGE CATEGORY 

Here is a breakdown of all known COVID-19 cases in Ottawa by age category:

  • 0-9 years old: Five new cases (565 cases total)
  • 10-19 years-old: Eight new cases (967 cases total)
  • 20-29 years-old: Five new cases (1,711 cases total)
  • 30-39 years-old: Five new cases (1,120 cases total)
  • 40-49 years-old: Five new cases (1,060 cases total)
  • 50-59 years-old: Seven new cases (981 cases total)
  • 60-69-years-old: Three new cases (652 cases total)
  • 70-79 years-old: Two new cases (430 cases total)
  • 80-89 years-old: Two new cases (527 cases total)
  • 90+ years old: Zero new cases (365 cases total)

The age of one person who has tested positive for COVID-19 is presently unknown.

CASES OF COVID-19 AROUND THE REGION

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s (EOHU) region climbed into the double digits on Saturday, according to provincial figures.

The province reports 13 more people in the EOHU have tested positive for COVID-19.

In the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health region, which is moving to the “Yellow-Protect” zone under the provincial framework, reported three new cases.

There are five new cases in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health’s region.

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit has added one new case.

No new cases were reported in the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit on Saturday.

INSTITUTIONAL OUTBREAKS

Ottawa Public Health is reporting COVID-19 outbreaks at 27 institutions in Ottawa, including long-term care homes, retirement homes, daycares, hospitals and schools.

New outbreaks were declared at Gabrielle Roy French public school, an Association Intégration Sociale d’Ottawa (AISO) location, the Garden Terrace long-term care home and the Ravines retirement home.

Outbreaks have ended at the Esther By Child Care Centre, St. Bernard School, St. Stephen Elementary School, an unspecified residential program and the Montfort Long-term Care Centre.

There are two open community outbreaks involving unspecified social events.

The schools and childcare spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. Cedarview Middle School
  2. École élémentaire catholique Terre-Des-Jeunes
  3. École élémentaire publique Gabrielle Roy (NEW)
  4. Manordale Public School
  5. Ottawa Technical Secondary School

The long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and other spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. Alta Vista Manor
  2. Amica Westboro Park
  3. Association Intégration Sociale d’Ottawa – 21034 (NEW)
  4. Beacon Heights retirement home
  5. Bearbrook Retirement Residence
  6. Bridlewood Trails Retirement Home
  7. Carlingview Manor
  8. Courtyards on Eagleson
  9. Extendicare Medex
  10. Extendicare New Orchard Lodge
  11. Extendicare Starwood
  12. Forest Hill long-term care home
  13. Garden Terrace long-term care home (NEW)
  14. Park Place
  15. Peter D. Clark long-term care home 
  16. Shelter – 20868
  17. St. Patrick’s Home
  18. Stirling Park Retirement Home
  19. The Glebe Centre
  20. The Ravines retirement home (NEW)
  21. The Ottawa Hospital Rehab Centre – Special Rehab – Ward B
  22. Waterford Retirement

A single laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member of a long-term care home, retirement home or shelter triggers an outbreak response, according to Ottawa Public Health. In childcare settings, a single confirmed, symptomatic case in a staff member, home daycare provider, or child triggers an outbreak.

Under provincial guidelines, a COVID-19 outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before or after school care).   

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People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer – Pipestone Flyer

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OTTAWA — As the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise across Canada, the infection rate in Ottawa has been going in the other direction for weeks, putting the city on the right track to flatten the curve of the pandemic once again.

The city’s chief medical officer, Dr. Vera Etches, said much of the credit goes to the people who live here, who have been wearing masks — in some cases, such as on public transit, forced to do so earlier than others across Canada — and staying at home.

There was a time in early October when Ottawa, despite its initial success flattening the curve in the spring, experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases that saw the city have double the number of cases seen in Toronto and Peel Region at that time. Now the number of new cases is once again much lower than in those areas.

There were 55 new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa on Friday, which represents a bigger daily jump from earlier in the week but still puts the city at 5.89 new cases per 100,000 people. Toronto, meanwhile, reported 18.08 new cases per 100,000 people on Friday and in Peel Region it was 37.42 new cases per 100,000.

“It’s really thanks to the people in Ottawa, and thanks to the employers and others who are doing their part to make it possible,” Etches told a news conference this week, adding that people increased their distance from others, wore masks and stayed home when they were sick.

“These are the things that actually can bring COVID down in a community.”

Etches said Ottawa Public Health emphasized the importance of wearing masks early on in the pandemic and in June, the city became the first in Canada to make them mandatory on public transit.

“Building a new behaviour, a new culture where you always have a mask with you when you go out, that’s been in place a little bit longer, that might have helped,” she said.

Meanwhile, employers in Ottawa, a city of just over one million people, enabled people to follow the advice of public health officials by allowing them to work from home, and stay home when they were sick, more than in other cities, she said.

Twenty-four per cent of workers in Ottawa work in public administration jobs, according to Ottawa Employment Hub, the local workplace planning board. Some 120,000 people in the National Capital Region, which includes nearby Gatineau, Que., work for the federal government, which has allowed most of its employees to work from home since March.

“The federal government is leading by example,” said Lavagnon Ika, a professor of project management at the University of Ottawa.

He said managers and directors at the government were often reluctant to allow people to work remotely before the pandemic, but that has changed. “Because of COVID-19, people have learned (how) to make it work,” he said

Ika said information technology companies in Ottawa have also been allowing their employees to work remotely because they already have the technology to do so and their employees are trained to use it.

“If you don’t have a centralized information system for all your teams, it’s not possible to work at a distance,” he said. “I’m talking about the video conferencing tools and artificial-intelligence assistance tools.”

He said some of the high-tech companies in Ottawa had employees working remotely and customers from all over the world before COVID-19, listing homegrown e-commerce giant Shopify as one of them. “They badly need remote work because of a geographical distribution of some of their team members and their clients,” Ika said.

The well-integrated health care system in eastern Ontario has also helped in responding to the pandemic efficiently, said Dr. Robert Cushman, the acting medical director of health for the Renfrew County and District Health Unit near Ottawa.

“What you’ve seen in Ottawa, for example, is there’s very close work between the hospitals, and the public health unit and the city, and this extends out into the peripheral areas,” said Cushman, who was Ottawa’s chief medical officer from 1996 to 2005.

”We’ve been working together on this since the beginning,” he said. “There’s a lot of cohesion.”

Having all the hospital labs working together through a regional association when it comes to testing COVID-19 is another factor, Cushman said, as efficient testing is key to aggressive and thorough tracing of how the novel coronavirus spreads through contacts.

“Is your lab turnaround time sufficiently short so that you can actually catch up and even get ahead of this?” he said, adding that it has been challenging to do this across Canada and even in the rest of Ontario. “If you’re waiting six days for a test, I mean, this virus can get into a second (or) a third generation.”

There were plenty of stories about long lineups at COVID-19 testing sites in Ottawa in September once children headed back to school, but that has also improved, including through the ability to book testing appointments online.

Cushman said he also believes people in Ottawa tend to trust the public health unit and health professionals, which leads to more people following their guidelines.

“There’s a community spirit here to do the right thing,” he said.

But Etches warned people in Ottawa not to relax too much as COVID-19 cases in the city decline. She was speaking Tuesday, when Ottawa reported 19 new cases. On Friday, there were 55 new COVID-19 cases reported.

“We think we’re on the right track, but it’s very tenuous,” said Etches, who is telling families to celebrate Christmas and other seasonal holidays with only people in their immediate households to avoid potential COVID-19 outbreaks.

“Ottawa Public Health has had the highest rate of COVID in early October and we can go back there again.”

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B.C. again sets record for number of new COVIC-19 cases and hospitalizations – North Shore News

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B.C. once again, on November 27, set a record for the number of new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period: 911.

The number had once been initially been reported to be higher – 941 on November 24 – but that figure was later revised to be only 706 because there had been a data error. The previous one-day record, after the data revisions, was 887 yesterday.

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With 14,336 people tested in the past 24 hours, the positive test rate was 6.35%.

Henry said that in future there will be more clarity over which tests are conducted by those whose tests are billed to the province’s Medical Services Plan (MSP), such as regular British Columbians who may have had some symptoms, and those whose tests are not billed to the MSP program. That latter group includes those in penitenturies, those who are tested for travel and those who are tested for work purposes. 

Including the 911 new infections, there have been 30,884 known COVID-19 cases since the first case was identified in the province on January 28.

There are also a record number of people in hospital: 301, or seven more than yesterday. Of those, 69 people – five more than yesterday – are in intensive care units.

Another 11 people in B.C. have died from COVID-19 infections, bringing the province’s death toll from the virus to 395. Eight of those people were in the Fraser Health region while three of them were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

“The vast majority of these people were people in their 70s and 80s – our seniors, our elders, grandparents, family members.”Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said. “I know there are 11 additional families out there who are grieving today.”

There are a record 8,472 people actively fighting infections in B.C., and 10,430 people who health officials are monitoring for symptoms because they have had known exposure to identified cases. Of those infected, 21,304 have recovered.

The breakdown of where the new infections are located is as follows:
• 153 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 649 in Fraser Health;
• 27 in Island Health;
• 47 in Interior Health; and
• 35 in Northern Health.

Henry said that she is confident that Canada has contracts in place to ensure delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccines, when available and proven to be safe. 

“The importance of safety of these vaccine is is just paramount,” Henry said. “I know we have a very robust system, here in Canada, for ensuring that safety, and every lot has to be approved. So there are delays that can happen at many different levels, and we see this every year with our immunization programs.”

Henry said on November 25 that she hoped that there could be a roll-out of vaccines in B.C. in January.

There are a total of 59 outbreaks at healthcare facilities or seniors’ homes, which combine to involve 1,162 people: 719 residents and 434 staff.

New outbreaks at three seniors’ care homes have been identified, at:
• German Canadian Care Home in Vancouver;
• Villa Cathay Care Home in Vancouver; and
• Morgan Place Care Society in Surrey. 

The five ongoing active outbreaks at acute-care facilities, or hospitals, are at:
• Burnaby Hospital in Burnaby;
• Langley Memorial Hospital in Langley;
• Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver;
• Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge; and
• Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey.

There are 15 active outbreaks at seniors’ facilities in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, and they include:
• Arbutus Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Banfield Pavilion, in Vancouver;
• Revera Capilano Care Centre in West Vancouver;
• Columbus Residence in Vancouver;
• German Canadian Care Home in Vancouver;
• Holy Family Hospital in Vancouver;
• Little Mountain Place in Vancouver;
• Louis Brier Home & Hospital in Vancouver;
• Renfrew Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Ascot Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Arch Masonic Home long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Three Links Care Centre long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Villa Cathay Care Home in Vancouver;
• Windermere Care Centre in Vancouver; and
• Youville Residence in Vancouver.

The 33 outbreaks at seniors’ facilities in the ​Fraser Health region include:
• Agassiz Seniors Community in Agassiz;
• Agecare Harmony Court Estates in Burnaby;
• Agecare Court Estates in Burnaby;
• Al Hogg Pavilion in White Rock;
• Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Amica White Rock in White Rock
• Belvedere Care Centre in Coquitlam;
• Carelife Fleetwood in Surrey;
• Chartwell Langley Gardens in Langley;
• Cottage-Worthington Pavilion in Abbotsford;
• Fellburn Care Centre long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• Finnish Manor in Burnaby;
• Fort Langley Seniors Community in Fort Langley;
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
• Good Samaritan Delta View Care Center 2 long-term care facility in Delta;
• Harrison Pointe retirement home in Langley;
• Hawthorne Seniors Care Community long-term care in Port Coquitlam;
• Hawthorne Seniors Care Community assisted living in Port Coquitlam;
• Hollyrood Manor long-term care home in Maple Ridge;
• Jackman Manor in Langley Township;
• Kiwanis Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Laurel Place long-term care facility in Surrey;
• Menno Home in Abbotsford;
• Morgan Place Care Society in Surrey;
• Northcrest Care Centre in Delta;
• PICS Assisted Living in Surrey;
• Queen’s Park Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Sunset Manor in Chilliwack;
• Tabor Home in Abbotsford;
• The Residence at Clayton Heights in Surrey;
• The Residence in Mission;
• Valley Haven Care Home in Chilliwack; and
• White Rock Senior Village in White Rock.

There are two outbreaks at seniors’ homes in Northern Health: North Peace Seniors Housing Society buildings in Fort St. John, and Rotary Manor Dawson Creek in Dawson Creek.

Two outbreaks are at seniors’ living facilities in the Island Health region: Tsawaayuss-Rainbow Gardens in Port Alberni, and Discovery Care Centre in Campbell River.

The Interior Health region has two seniors’ facility outbreaks, at Orchard Manor in Kelowna and Sun Pointe Village in Kelowna.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom 

 

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