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BC adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases – Salmon Arm Observer

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The growing number of COVID-19 positive tests without the likely source identified is a key sign of rapid community spread that is outpacing the growth and reach of B.C.’s contact tracing teams.

Contact tracers have been hired, transferred and trained as quickly as possible to keep up with the current surge of novel coronavirus infections, particularly in the Fraser Health region where about 70 per cent of the new cases are being identified. Public health officials have also pleaded with people to cooperate when they are contacted about their movements in likely exposure situations.

The number of “unknown” sources has been running at about 20 to 25 per cent in Fraser Health, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said, and reorganizing the reporting system has helped as the case numbers have taken off in November. Specialized teams have been assigned for workplaces, schools and health care facilities, where people are exposed in the community and then go to work or school. And test results are now being transmitted by automated text message.

“I wouldn’t say we’re losing but we’re on the edge for sure,” Henry said at a briefing for reporters in Victoria Nov. 27. “Contact tracing is something where we need to spend time with people. We’ve automated some things including the automated response so people are now getting their test results, whether positive or negative, by text with information about what to do and how to start the process of determining who they had contact with so when they are contacted, that can speed it up and there’s an online form we’re putting in place for that as well.”

RELATED: B.C. sees deadliest day Wednesday, 13 deaths, 738 cases

RELATED: B.C. plans for COVID-19 vaccine rollout in early 2021

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the original goal of adding 500 contact tracers has been revised to 1,200, and retired health care staff are stepping up to help keep up with demand. The return of the province-wide essential-only travel advisory is showing up, as people limit their movements and social contacts in a bid to get infections down before the Christmas season.

“COVID-19 everywhere in the world, the second wave is incredibly tough, and regardless of the question of resources and on top of it, we need everyone to be all-in,” Dix said. “In the last week in terms of activity in the province we’ve seen a decline in ferry traffic and other things that show how committed people are.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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Mental Illness in Canada

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Mental illnesses affect 6.7 million Canadians annually—but how prepared are we as a country to support those who are suffering?

The million-dollar question has been presented.

Regardless of mental illness now becoming a much more talked about thing than before. There are still many people that tend to misunderstand mental illnesses. About 6.7 million Canadians suffer from metal illnesses and therefore this is something that the government should actively become a part of overtaking.

Let’s get the numbers in a much more understandable term. 1 out of every 5 Canadians is suffering form a metal health disorder. This means that they are diagnosed with some sort of mental condition that would be treatable under common circumstances. Which means that this does not includes people who did not or cannot go to a problem doctor.

Out of those diagnosed with mental illness annually, depression and bipolar disorder, substance abuse disorder or addiction, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and PTSD are among the most common.

In any given week, 500,000 Canadians aren’t able to work due to mental illness,”

says Hosseiny.

This is how serious this issue is and not to mention that by 2020 mental issues would be a leading cause of disability in most Canadian workplaces.

“an estimated $50 billion is lost annually through unemployment, absenteeism and presenteeism,”

This is clearly going to have not only a personal but an economical impact as well.

When it comes to mental illness, our public health system is still set up in a way that concentrates on treatment versus preventative measures.

“We’ve done a lot of great work to tackle the stigma and, as a result, people are coming out and having discussions [and seeking treatment],”

says Hosseiny.

“But the problem is that the system isn’t ready to respond to that.”

While many say Canada has universal health care, it’s really universal medical care as mental health and illness are still not treated in the same way as physical care.

The government would need to take proactive prevention measures that would allow them to limit

“We don’t wait until stage 4 to treat cancer, so why do we [wait so long] with mental illness?”

We have a great set of initiative by the recent government but then again due to a lack of funding on the projects and ideas things have seen a lag. Lagging on such matters can be dangerous as can leave people scared for life. They should be treated the same as people that are going through physical pain.

Though making sure services such as addiction counsel, psychologists and social workers are publicly funded would be a major leap in the right direction but there is still a lot of effort that is needed when it comes to educating people about these problems and actually take control of the matters and solving them for real.

Lack of funding for a developed economy seems like a joke. This needs to end and things need to take care of soon. With out proper mental health, people, children, workforce and every other aspect of life and economy could be severely and negatively be effected by this.

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Ontario inspectors find 36 stores violating COVID-19 rules during big-box safety blitz – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Safety inspectors found more than 30 businesses violating COVID-19 safety rules during a big-box blitz across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development said Sunday. 

The ministry said that inspectors visited 110 stores on Saturday and found 31 stores in violation of provincial orders, which is equal to about 70 per cent compliance. 

The government said 11 formal warnings and 11 tickets were issued on Saturday as a result of the blitz. 

Five additional stores were found violating health orders on Sunday, Labour Minister Monte McNaughton said.  He added that on Saturday there were five box-box corporations slapped with fines.

The ministry did not name the stores they said were found violating the orders.

Individuals found violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act can be fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned for as long as a year, while corporations can be fined up to $1.5 million per charge.

More than 34,000 COVID-19-related workplace inspections have happened since the beginning of the pandemic.

McNaughton has said inspectors are focusing on compliance with masking and physical distancing rules, as well as other health guidelines. He said they have the authority to temporarily shut down facilities found to be breaching the rules, and to disperse groups of more than five people.

The government said big-box stores would remain a key target during the provincewide safety blitz. The ministry issued a document late last week saying inspections would also involve workplaces which reported COVID-19 outbreaks and businesses focused on manufacturing, warehousing, distribution centres and food processing.

Premier Doug Ford, who has faced criticism for allowing big-box stores to remain open for on-site shopping while smaller businesses are restricted to curbside pickup or online sales, vowed this week to crack down on big lineups and other infractions at large retailers.

The weekend blitz comes days after the province enacted an order requiring residents to stay at home for all but essential purposes, such as shopping for groceries or accessing health care.

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Due to data issue, Quebec reports just 1,744 new COVID-19 cases – Montreal Gazette

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Quebec reported 1,744 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. The figure, which is the lowest daily tally reported in more than a month, has been attributed to a data transmission problem.

The health ministry said in a statement some laboratory data had been delayed, causing a dip in case numbers. The issue will be resolved during the day and the rest of the cases will be reported on Monday.

With Sunday’s incomplete figures, a total of 242,714 cases have now been confirmed in Quebec.

Additionally, the province announced 50 more deaths, eight of which occurred in the last 24 hours for which there is data.

At total of 9,055 deaths have now been attributed to the virus in Quebec.

The number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 decreased by 14 to 1,460. Of those patients, 215 are in intensive care — a drop of 12.

Quebec also announced that 8,838 vaccine doses were administered on Saturday.

A total of 146,694 doses have now been administered since the vaccination campaign began in late December.

Montreal was once again the region with the most new cases, reporting 754 new cases on Sunday.

This figure may be lower than the actual number of new cases due to the province’s aforementioned problem with laboratory data.

A total of 86,493 cases have been confirmed in the city since the pandemic began.

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