The Canadian Press
LONDON — Researchers in Scotland say its COVID-19 vaccination program has led to a sharp drop in hospitalizations. Scientists from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Strathclyde and Public Health Scotland found that the Pfizer vaccine reduced hospital admissions by as much as 85% and the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot cut admissions by up to 94%. The findings were based on a comparison of data from people who had received their first dose of vaccine and those who had not received an inoculation. The data was gathered between Dec. 8 and Feb. 15, a period during which 21% of Scotland’s population received their first shot. “These results are very encouraging and have given us great reasons to be optimistic for the future,’’ said Professor Aziz Sheikh, director of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute. “We now have national evidence — across an entire country — that vaccination provides protection against COVID-19 hospitalizations.” THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: — Researchers in Scotland say its COVID-19 vaccination program has caused hospitalizations to plummet — Russia’s vaccine rollout picks up speed, but experts say the campaign is still moving slowly — Elementary schools and kindergartens reopen in over half of Germany’s 16 states — Every Democratic vote is needed on $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, but minimum wage and other issues will force choices — Portugal finds 7 cases of coronavirus variant first identified in Brazil — Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is laying out a road map for lifting lockdown — but millions of people in the U.K. longing for a haircut or a meal in a restaurant still face a long wait. Johnson is set to announce a plan Monday to ease restrictions incrementally, starting by reopening schools in England on March 8. People will be allowed to meet one friend or relative for a chat or picnic outdoors from the same day. Three weeks later, people will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to six. But restaurants, pubs, gyms and hairdressers are likely to remain closed until at least April. The government says progress will depend on vaccines proving effective, infection rates remaining low and no new virus variants emerging that throw the plans into disarray. Britain has had Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, with more than 120,000 deaths. Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government’s plan for easing restrictions was “steady as she goes.” ___ LISBON, Portugal — Portugal is the latest European Union country to detect a COVID-19 variant first identified in Manaus, Brazil. Portuguese health authorities said late Sunday they had detected seven cases of the variant, warning that it is highly contagious and may be able to infect people who previously have had COVID-19. More than 150,000 Brazilians live in Portugal. The two countries have close cultural and economic ties. Portugal was for several weeks last month the world’s worst-affected country in the pandemic, with the highest number of new daily cases and deaths, but a lockdown since Jan. 15 has eased the pressure on the public health service. The European Centre for Disease Control says Portugal’s 14-day case notification rate per 100,000 people is 590. That makes it the fourth highest in the 30 countries monitored by the EU agency. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths fell from 2.35 deaths per 100,000 people on Feb. 7 to 0.90 deaths per 100,000 people on Feb. 21, according to Johns Hopkins University. ___ BERLIN — Elementary schools and kindergartens in more than half of Germany’s 16 states reopened Monday after two months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes despite growing signs that the decline in case numbers in Germany is flattening out again and even rising in some areas. Germany’s education minister, Anja Karliczek, has defended the decision to reopen schools, saying younger children in particular benefit from learning together in groups. Karliczek told German news agency dpa that schools should use “all available means to prevent virus transmission” and expressed confidence that state education officials — who are in charge of school matters in Germany — would consider infection numbers when deciding where to reopen. Germany’s disease control agency say there were 4,369 newly confirmed cases and 62 deaths in the past day, though Monday’s numbers are often low due to reporting delays over the weekend. Education unions have called for teachers and kindergarten workers to be moved into a higher priority group for vaccinations, an idea that government officials have said they will consider. ___ COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan fast bowler Lahiru Kumara has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of a cricket tour of the West Indies, Sri Lanka Cricket said Monday. He was tested positive during pre-departure tests of the squad and was isolated. Kumara is the third member of the team to test positive for COVID-19. Coach Mickey Arthur and batsman Lahiru Thirimanne earlier tested positive, throwing the tour in doubt. However, the team was expected to depart for Antigua as scheduled later Monday. Health authorities said on Monday that they have decided to purchase 10 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZenica vaccine from neighbouring India. It is the only vaccine currently approved by the regulatory body in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is currently administering 500,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZenica vaccine donated by India. Sri Lanka has reported 79,999 COVID-19 patients, including 445 deaths. ___ WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will mark 500,000 U.S. lives lost from COVID-19 with a moment of silence and candle-lighting ceremony at the White House. The nation is expected to pass the grim milestone on Monday, just over a year after the first confirmed U.S. fatality of the pandemic. The White House said Biden will deliver remarks at sunset to honour those who lost their lives. He will be joined by first lady Jill Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. They will participate in the moment of silence and lighting ceremony. Biden has made a point of recognizing the lives lost from the coronavirus. His first event upon arriving in Washington for his inauguration a month ago was to deliver remarks at a COVID-19 memorial ceremony. ___ WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand will remove remaining coronavirus restrictions from Auckland on Monday after an outbreak discovered in the largest city fades. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said more than 72,000 tests had found no evidence the virus was spreading in the community. Auckland was placed into a three-day lockdown this month after a mother, father and daughter tested positive. Another five contacts later tested positive. After the lockdown ended, Auckland continued to have restrictions including on gatherings. The source of the outbreak remains unclear, although authorities continue to investigate whether there is a connection between infected airline passengers and the mother, who works at a company which cleans laundry for airlines. New Zealand has an elimination strategy with the coronavirus and has managed to stamp out its spread in the community. ___ LOS ANGELES — California’s death toll during the coronavirus pandemic has topped 49,000, even as the rates of new infections and hospitalizations continue to plummet across the state. California reported another 408 deaths Sunday, bringing the total since the outbreak began to 49,105 — the highest in the nation. Health officials said Sunday that the number of patients in California hospitals with COVID-19 has slipped below 7,000, a drop of more than a third over two weeks. The 6,760 new confirmed cases reported Sunday are more than 85% below the mid-December peak of about 54,000 in one day. Total cases are approaching 3.45 million. The positivity rate for people being tested has been falling for weeks, which means fewer people will end up in hospitals. ___ CODOGNO, Italy — Italians are marking one year since their country was shocked to discover it had the first known locally transmitted COVID-19 case in the West. With church services Sunday and wreath-laying ceremonies, including in small northern towns which were the first to be hard-hit by the pandemic, citizens paid tribute to the dead. Italy has a confirmed death toll from the virus of 95,500. While the first wave of infections largely engulfed Lombardy and other northern regions, a second wave, starting in fall 2020, has raced throughout Italy, which so far has registered some 2.8 million cases. The first locally transmitted case was discovered in a 38-year-old patient in a hospital in Codogno, Lombardy. That patient survived. But in the northeastern town of Vo, which registered the nation’s first known death on Feb. 21, 2020, officials unveiled a memorial plaque at a tree-planting ceremony. ___ WASHINGTON — The White House says about a third of the coronavirus vaccine doses delayed by this week’s winter weather have been delivered this weekend. Press secretary Jen Psaki says the administration has been working with shippers and states to close the roughly 6 million dose backlog created this week as power outages closed some vaccination centres and icy weather stranded some vaccine in shipping hubs. Psaki says the administration is making sure those catch-up doses out to vaccination centres “as soon as they can handle them.” Speaking to ABC’s “This Week,” Psaki says, “We’ve been able to get about 2 million of those 6 million doses out,” adding, “We expect to rapidly catch up this week.” The Associated Press
COVID-19 in Ottawa: Fast Facts for Aug. 1, 2021 – CTV Edmonton
Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.
- Pfizer and Moderna vaccines now available at all Ottawa vaccination clinics
- Ottawa sees single-digit COVID-19 case numbers on Saturday
- Gee-Gees student-athletes must receive COVID-19 vaccine to compete on teams this season, uOttawa says
COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health data):
- New COVID-19 cases: Four new cases on Saturday
- Total COVID-19 cases: 27,815
- COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 4.0
- Positivity rate in Ottawa: 0.5 per cent (seven day average)
- Reproduction Number: 1.12 (seven day average)
Who should get a test?
Ottawa Public Health says you can get a COVID-19 test at an assessment centre, care clinic, or community testing site if any of the following apply to you:
- You are showing COVID-19 symptoms;
- You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
- You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health;
- You are a resident, a worker or a visitor to long-term care, retirement homes, homeless shelters or other congregate settings (for example: group homes, community supported living, disability-specific communities or congregate settings, short-term rehab, hospices and other shelters);
- You are a person who identifies as First Nations, Inuit or Métis;
- You are a person travelling to work in a remote First Nations, Inuit or Métis community;
- You received a preliminary positive result through rapid testing;
- You are a patient and/or their 1 accompanying escort travelling out of country for medical treatment;
- You are a farm worker;
- You are an educator who cannot access pharmacy-testing; or
- You are in a targeted testing group as outlined in guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Long-term care staff, caregivers, volunteers and visitors who are fully immunized against COVID-19 are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering or visiting a long-term care home.
Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:
There are several sites for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa. To book an appointment, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx
- The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- COVID-19 Drive-Thru Assessment Centre at 300 Coventry Road: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- North Grenville COVID-19 Assessment Centre (Kemptville) – 15 Campus Drive: Open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Centretown Community Health Centre: Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sandy Hill Community Health Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 pm.
- Somerset West Community Health Centre: Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday
COVID-19 screening tool:
The COVID-19 screening tool for summer camp children and staff. All campers and staff must complete the COVID-19 School and Childcare screening tool daily.
Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath
Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, new or unexplained runny nose or nasal congestion
Less common symptoms: unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, headache, delirium, chills, red/inflamed eyes, croup
The city of Ottawa says it has an “ample supply” of both Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines available if you want to get your COVID-19 vaccine this weekend.
Residents 12 and older are invited to walk-in to Ottawa’s four vaccination clinics to receive a first dose or a second dose of the vaccine.
“Certainly, we’ve done really, really well,” said Anthony Di Monte, Ottawa’s general manager of emergency and protective services.
“We’re seeing a slowing down, that’s why we’re shutting down some of our clinics but we’re leaving four open and anybody who hasn’t had a first dose or wants a second dose can just walk in without an appointment. We have both Moderna and Pfizer available, so I’d encourage anybody please come and get vaccinated.”
Ottawa is currently operating four community clinics. You can drop in between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to get a vaccine at the following locations:
- Eva James Community Centre
- Nepean Sportsplex
- Orleans YMCA
- Ottawa City Hall
Ottawa Public Health reported four new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, one day after the capital saw a double-digit case increase for the first time in three weeks.
No new deaths were reported.
Since the first case of COVID-19 in Ottawa in March 2020, there have been 27,815 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 593 deaths.
In Ottawa, the five new cases comes one day after Ottawa saw double-digit single day COVID-19 case numbers for the first time since July 4. There were 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and eight new cases on Thursday.
University of Ottawa student-athletes must provide proof they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today to be eligible for the upcoming season..
The university has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for all Gee-Gees varsity sports for the 2021-22 season.
According to the vaccination policy on the Gee-Gees website, student-athletes are required to have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Aug. 1, 2021. Vaccination verification information will be required to be submitted as part of the annual medical pre-participation form that is submitted by a student-athlete.
All Gee-Gees student-athletes must receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1.
'It's nice to see everyone's faces again': N.B. no longer under mandatory order, despite concerns from experts – CTV News Atlantic
The Boyce Farmer’s Market, a Fredericton favourite, was a busy spot Saturday morning hours after New Brunswick’s mandatory order was lifted, and with it, all of the province’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Capacity limits no longer apply, and neither do mandatory masks. Many were embracing it.
“This is our happy place. We usually come all the time, and for the longest time it was just a weird, uncomfortable vibe,” said Tyler Wood.
“It’s just amazing to see everyone coming out, seeing the big crowds and seeing people hugging and smiling and just really enjoy the day. It’s just amazing to be back and feel normal.”
The end of the mandatory order also means anyone can visit the province, including Canadians who are unvaccinated. The border checks at the Quebec-New Brunswick border are no longer staffed by the department of public safety.
People can also choose to wear a mask.
Brian MacDonald decided to continue wearing one on his market visit “just to err on the side of caution.”
“I kind of have mixed feelings about New Brunswick opening up to the extent that it is with the Delta variant,” he said. “I hope that the masklessness isn’t a disaster.”
Experts are also expressing their concerns with the decision, warning that it will lead to an increase in cases.
“It does seem to be a little quick,” said Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist in Halifax.
“It is a bit of an experiment, not as much as Alberta, but a bit of an experiment that didn’t need to happen as quickly as it has. Do I anticipate a massive number of hospitalizations all of a sudden? No, but are there going to be some people who get sick and maybe very sick, who didn’t need to? That’s almost a certainty over the next number of weeks. I’m not certain that that’s okay at this point.”
But Premier Blaine Higgs says he’s confident and comfortable with the decision, even though the province hasn’t reached its 75 per cent vaccination target yet.
Higgs also said his government has made the vaccines very accessible, with mobile and after-hours clinics across the province.
“There are those that have no real reason to be unvaccinated and have chosen not to be, and yes, they’re at risk,” he said.
“They will continue to be at risk, so their fate is in their hands in that sense because the opportunity is there. There’s nothing more I can do. We don’t have a mandatory vaccination policy and I don’t see that coming anytime soon.”
Higgs said he’ll be using his own discretion on wearing a mask.
The end of the mandatory order also effectively stops the need for the all-party COVID-19 cabinet committee.
Since last March, the group saw New Brunswick’s four political parties sit at the same table, making pandemic-related decisions together.
Higgs said meetings could be scheduled if necessary in the future, but for now, no further meetings are planned.
Infectious disease expert calls N.B. plan to lift restrictions 'risky' – HalifaxToday.ca
As of midnight, COVID-19 restrictions will lift in New Brunswick, eliminating mask mandates, provincial border controls and gathering limits in that province.
However, a local infectious disease expert believes the move is coming too soon.
“Clearly we don’t have a lot of cases in the Atlantic right now, but we haven’t quite hit our vaccination targets yet,” said Dalhousie University’s Dr. Lisa Barrett.
“I don’t expect catastrophe, but do I think it’s necessary to get rid of all masks in all places all the time, and to open up with other measures at the same time? It’s probably a little more risky than I was expecting.”
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs had said pandemic restrictions would only lift when 75 per cent of the province’s eligible population had received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, however as of Friday, only 66.7 per cent of those 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
Barrett says mask requirements are a cheap and easy way to reduce transmission of the virus, and she doesn’t see the advantage of getting rid of them at this stage.
“This really isn’t just a common cold, there are a lot of people who have, even after a mild infection with COVID, some long term side effects,” she told NEWS 95.7 fill-in host Todd Veinotte.
Although Barrett isn’t necessarily expecting cases to surge out of control in our neighbouring province, she said removing restrictions could result in people unnecessarily contracting COVID-19, especially as the more transmissible Delta variant spreads throughout the country.
“We’re not at vaccine targets, vaccines aren’t perfect and we don’t know exactly what the virus does,” she explained. “I just think it’s a little fast, and don’t forget, these experiments, when they go wrong, they’re not cases, they’re people.”
“That means somebody else that’s out there is going to have potentially longer term effects from this or get severely ill,” Barrett added. “So if we have easy things that we can keep doing that still allow us to socialize, and still allow us to go out and still allow the economy to open, why would we get rid of them right away? I don’t understand that part.”
Nova Scotia tracks its vaccination rate differently than New Brunswick. While our neighbours calculate how much of their eligible population has received the shots, we keep count of how many in our overall population have been immunized. COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been approved for those under the age of 12.
As of July 30, 76 per cent of Nova Scotians have had one or more doses, while 62.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Our province’s chief medical officer of health has said more restrictions will be lifted here once 75 per cent of our entire population has had both doses of vaccine.
In Nova Scotia, there have been 4,200 cases from March 15 to July 27, 2021. Of those:
- 28 (0.7 per cent) were fully vaccinated
- 235 (5.6 per cent) were partially vaccinated
- 3,937 (93.7 per cent) were unvaccinated
There were 254 people hospitalized. Of those:
- 2 (0.8 per cent) were fully vaccinated
- 28 (11 per cent) were partially vaccinated
- 224 (88.2 per cent) were unvaccinated
Twenty-seven people died. Of those:
- 1 (3.7 per cent) was fully vaccinated
- 3 (11.1 per cent) were partially vaccinated
- 23 (85.2 per cent) were unvaccinated
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