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Baby among positive COVID-19 cases at Vancouver hospital's newborn ICU – CTV News

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VANCOUVER —
Health officials say fewer than 10 people have tested positive for COVID-19 following an outbreak at a neonatal intensive care unit in downtown Vancouver, but one of them is a newborn infant.

B.C.’s provincial health officer says the baby at St. Paul’s Hospital has no symptoms of the virus at this time and the other confirmed cases are all mild.

“Some infants can have more severe illness. There’s not been any severe illness in B.C. or in Canada that we’re aware of and most young children, even infants, even infants in the intensive care unit, do very well with this,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.

An investigation is underway by Vancouver Coastal Health and St. Paul’s Hospital into how the virus got into the NICU. A number of other patients and staff are now isolated and are being closely monitored for symptoms as public health experts conduct detailed contact tracing to figure out who else may have been exposed.

“The maternity unit remains fully operational and a backup, separate NICU, neoonatal intensive care unit, has been set up at St Paul’s so that infants and families can continue to safely receive the care they need,” said Henry.

Unit now, parents in the NICU had been able to spend time with their infants without masks, but that policy is changing. Henry described the unit, in one of the province’s oldest hospitals, as an open-concept style where the bassinets were open but more than six feet apart from each other.

Home births growing in popularity

The idea of giving birth in a hospital during a pandemic has been a difficult one for expectant mothers to grapple with, and some are opting to avoid institutionalized medical settings.

“We don’t have any official data to report on but we certainly can say that more and more families are considering the option of home birth,” said Midwives Association of BC interim president Lehe Spiegelman. “My advice would certainly be discuss your options with your healthcare provider. Home birth is a safe option in B.C. for low-risk families.”

With more than 300 midwives offering pre- and post-natal care in the province, Spiegelman says they’ve become well-versed in enhanced safety protocols and PPE usage with inside and outside hospital settings.

“Aside from home births, midwives are able to keep our patients out of acute care setting by providing more home visits, discharging patients earlier from the hospital so that even patients who do plan a hospital birth, midwives can support relieving some of the pressures on the healthcare system by keeping patients out of the hospital and out of acute care settings and out of high exposure setting for patients,” she said, adding that slightly fewer than a quarter of all births in the province are attended by a midwife.

Expectant mothers already anxious

Pregnancy can be an exciting and fulfilling time, but it’s also a stressful and difficult time for many people, and the roller-coaster of emotions associated with the closures and limitations and warnings of a pandemic has even experienced mothers feeling anxious.

“This outbreak is exactly what I’ve been afraid of this whole time,” said Port Coquitlam mother Alex Turner, who is pregnant with her third child. “We likely now won’t have a NICU stay anymore. We were worried that we might have some complications that might take us into the NICU at (B.C. Women’s Hospital). Our goal is to be in the hospital for as little time as possible.”

When CTV News asked Henry whether she worried that even more patients could be reluctant to see doctors considering the outbreak at the NICU, she calmly reassured pregnant people they would be welcomed and well cared for.

“It is absolutely safe to go into the hospital for your pregnancy, for your delivery, for the care that you need and we will continue to make sure — particularly all of our obstetrics units around the province have been working very carefully to make sure — we screen people appropriately and we keep people away,” said Henry. “It is unfortunately why we limit people who are going in with moms who are giving birth, so we don’t have more people who might increase the risk in those units.”

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'Really easy to feel alone': Ontario university students struggle with online learning during COVID – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Students are giving online learning a failing grade, according to a new poll released this week.

The poll of 2,700 people was commissioned by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). It suggests that 62 per cent of students and 76 per cent of faculty and academic librarians believe online learning has had a negative impact on education quality.

Jasmine Normand is in her first year of law school at the University of Ottawa.

“My anxiety is way worse, just because of the pressure of doing school,” said Normand. “On average I am doing 50 hours of school a week… on top of being a mom of three.”

She says say it is hard to follow online lectures.

“Everyone is in this situation and most of us are struggling and I am one of those. Often I am overwhelmed and I don’t want to do it anything. But I have to keep pushing.”

Students like Gwynn MacIntosh, a third year student at Carleton University, say it is isolating, tough to get clarification or ask questions in class. McIntosh says, “It is lonely. It is just me in my room. I am missing out on the back and forth, and the dialogue between students, for an anthropology student, it is really important.”

The survey found that financial security, care demands, and work-life balance are significant stress points.

Gillian Phillips is a professor in the English department at Nipissing University and past president with OCUFA. She says loss of human connection and lack of support is affecting how students learn.

“We all accept that it is better to be still going to classes online that no classes at all, we are glad we can step into this gap, but in the long term, this is a real wake up call for politicians and universities,” said Phillips.

 “Online education across the board is not the way to go, the majority of students and faculty do not thrive in the online world, and that is because education is a human process, it is process that happens through dialogue and interaction.”

 Students say more mental health support, and technical support, as well as accommodations for struggling students would help during online learning.

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Potential exposure to COVID-19 reported at various locations in Halifax – Global News

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Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of potential exposure to COVID-19 at six locations across Halifax on Thursday.

Nova Scotia Health Public Health is asking that anyone who visited or worked at the following locations on the specified date and time to immediately self-isolate and contact 811 to arrange for COVID-19 testing, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms.

READ MORE: Spike in COVID-19 cases renews parent concerns about keeping Halifax-area schools open

  • Stillwell (1672 Barrington St, Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 6 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4.
  • Bearly’s House of Blues and Ribs (1269 Barrington St, Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 8:30 p.m. and 2 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4.
  • Highwayman (1673 Barrington St, Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 7:30 p.m. and 12 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 5.
  • Gahan House (5239 Sackville St, Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 5.
  • Princess Nails (1475 Bedford Highway, Bedford) on Nov. 21 between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. It is anticipated anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the above date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 5.
  • Boston Pizza Dartmouth Crossing (111 Shubie Dr, Dartmouth) on Nov. 20 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and Nov. 22 between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 6.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

According to N.S. Health, all potential exposure notifications are now listed here: http://www.nshealth.ca/covid-exposures.

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Simcoe Manor outbreak declared over according to the health unit – 104.1 The Dock (iHeartRadio)

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The outbreak at Simcoe Manor in Beeton has been declared over, according to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s website.

The two-month-long outbreak at the long-term care home saw more than 70 people test positive for the coronavirus – 43 residents and 32 staff – while ten residents succumbed to the infection since September 29.

The outbreak at the Allandale Station Retirement Residence has also been declared over, however, outbreaks remain in place at both Sunset Manor in Collingwood and Holland Gardens Retirement Residence in Bradford.

Meanwhile, 14 more people tested positive in the city of Barrie as the SMDHU reported 30 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 with the region inching closer to 2,000 total cases.

Thursday’s numbers from the health unit show the region now stands at 1,983 cases – 153 since Monday – with new infections in New Tecumseth (6), Bradford (3), and Springwater (2).

Innisfil, Tiny, Collingwood, and Essa are all reporting one new case, while one case is still pending.

Meanwhile, the province is reporting an uptick in cases, confirming 1,478 more people have tested positive for the virus, up from 1,373 on Wednesday.

Ontario also processed more than 47,000 COVID-19 tests over the last day, with about 53,000 swabs still under investigation.

With files from CTV News Toronto.

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