Connect with us

Health

Canada approves first HIV self-test in long-awaited move to reduce screening barriers – Airdrie Today

Published

 on


Federal regulators have approved the first HIV self-test in Canada in a long-awaited move that experts have called critical to reaching people who don’t know they have the virus.

Health Canada granted a medical device licence on Monday to a one-minute, finger-prick blood test manufactured by Richmond, B.C.-based bioLytical Laboratories.

Canada follows dozens of other countries in greenlighting the technology, which has been endorsed by the World Health Organization as a tool to reduce the number of people with undiagnosed HIV.

The principal investigator of a study that was submitted to regulators as part of their review says the approval of HIV self-testing could “open incredible doors” to increasing access to life-extending treatments and preventing the spread of infection in Canada.

Dr. Sean Rourke, a scientist with the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, says he’s working with community organizations across the country to launch a telehealth program in January that will distribute 60,000 self-tests and connect people with care.

Rourke says the need for self-testing has become even more important as a recent survey of roughly 300 front-line providers suggests the COVID-19 crisis has cut access to clinical HIV testing services nearly in half.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

What Canada's hardest-hit provinces can learn from those that handled COVID-19 best – CBC.ca

Published

 on


When epidemiologist Susan Kirkland opened a Halifax newspaper on Saturday, she was stunned. 

“Three protest rallies planned,” the Chronicle Herald headline read, in part.

“Oh, no,” the head of public health and epidemiology at Dalhousie University thought to herself. “Please don’t be anti-vaxxers or anti-maskers.”

As Kirkland read further, she realized they weren’t related to the pandemic at all. 

One was a rally for alleged victims of a pediatric dentist, a second to demand reparations for former residents of Africville and the third was an anti-war protest about an upcoming security conference. 

“Oh,” she said with relief. “Phew.” 

Critical juncture for Atlantic bubble

The situation in the Atlantic bubble has been like night and day from the rest of Canada. 

The four Atlantic provinces have managed to control the spread of COVID-19 through tight border restrictions, strict isolation of travellers and comprehensive tracing of outbreaks. 

But Kirkland says much of the credit also belongs at an individual level. 

“I do feel like the response from the public in the Atlantic region is different than other parts of the country,” she told CBC News. 

“I think there’s also a certain amount of pride that we have been able to maintain the bubble, and I don’t think that people want to see it change.”

Visitors explore Peggy’s Cove, N.S., on July 4. When the Atlantic bubble is operating, people in the four Atlantic provinces can move around the region without self-isolating. People from outside Atlantic Canada must self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

But it has changed, put on hiatus with the news Monday that Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador were pulling out of the bubble due to rising COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. 

Nova Scotia reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, its most in a single day since April 23. 

“I am worried. I think that we’re on the brink and at a very, very critical juncture,” Kirkland said. “This is the point where we either make it or break it. We’ll keep numbers low or they will, like everywhere else, just begin to escalate and skyrocket.

“The window is narrowing — but we still have the potential to get it under control.”

‘Squandered’ sacrifices in Alberta

Elsewhere in the country, people are facing a much different situation. 

Alberta is seeing COVID-19 cases skyrocket at an unprecedented rate, rising to more than 1,500 per day and even outpacing provinces such as Ontario despite only having a third of the population. 

“I’ve been worried for many weeks now,” said Dr. Leyla Asadi, an infectious diseases physician in Edmonton. “I don’t know what the next two weeks will bring.” 

Asadi says the situation in Alberta isn’t a result of individuals not following public health guidelines necessarily, but instead reflects that the province has been a victim of its own success. 

A man wears a mask in downtown Calgary on Oct. 30. On Nov. 14, Alberta broke 1,000 daily new cases of COVID-19 for the first time. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

When COVID-19 cases dropped to relatively low numbers in the summer, there was a reluctance to act on the part of the provincial government. 

“We had great success and maybe that resulted in our leadership questioning the models and, because crisis was averted, perhaps they thought that the models just weren’t accurate,” she said. 

“We’ve squandered our sacrifices from the summer, and now we’re in a really tough place.”

Premier Jason Kenney declared a state of emergency in Alberta Tuesday and implemented new public health measures to address the rising COVID-19 case numbers across the province, but stopped short of a lockdown. 

Most indoor social gatherings are prohibited, while outdoor gatherings, weddings and funerals can have a maximum of 10 people. Masks are also mandatory in all indoor work places in Calgary and Edmonton, but not provincewide. 

Unlike Nova Scotia, which instituted mandatory mask mandates on July 24 — a day when it reported no new cases — Alberta has hesitated.

Alberta’s daily reported COVID-19 cases now rival Ontario’s for the highest in the country, even though it has a third of the population. The province’s resistance to restrictions may be crumbling, but Alberta’s top doctor says a surge in hospitalizations is inevitable as cases ‘snowball.’ 2:02

Asadi, who was part of a group of experts who penned a letter to provincial leaders last month calling on them to put in place stricter restrictions, said before Kenney’s announcement that masks are “low-hanging fruit.”

“Having masks mandated provincially, that’s not going to negatively impact the economy in any way,” she said. 

“If we act earlier then the measures can be more targeted and can be shorter in time. But now, I can’t see anything other than a strict lockdown getting us out of trouble — and it won’t even get us out of trouble.” 

Reluctance to act ‘early and hard’ reason for surge

COVID-19 is spiralling out of control in many parts of the country, with a record high 5,713 cases in a single day this week.

Ontario and Manitoba also announced all-time high numbers of new COVID-19 cases, and millions of Canadians were plunged back into strict lockdowns in different parts of the country.

In response, Canada’s chief public health officer said provinces and territories need to be more proactive — and act sooner rather than later.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam talks to The National’s Andrew Chang about the holiday season and getting to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. 6:31

It’s not only the number of cases that are worsening; it’s who is being infected.

“The other huge problem that we have now are the inequities associated with this pandemic,” said Dr. Allison McGeer, an infectious disease physician with Sinai Health System in Toronto.

“Part of the reason I think that we’re not paying as much attention as we should be to the harm is that the harm is not predominantly occurring to the people in power in our society.”

McGeer is watching the worsening outbreaks across Canada through the eyes of a microbiologist who has decades of experience in infection prevention and control.

“I’m a little bit worried about what’s going to happen in Alberta,” McGeer said. “I think we’ll be cancelling surgery again, probably in order to cope with the ICU load three or four weeks from now.”

Surgeries such as hip and knee replacements could be cancelled down the road, as it can take up to two weeks for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear.

Surgical oncologist Dr. Usmaan Hameed, centre, operates on a patient at North York General Hospital on May 26. Putting in measures sooner could help prevent surgeries from being cancelled. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

“The reason we’re having this surge is because we kept things open longer than we should have,” she said. 

“The more cases you have when you act, the longer it takes to slow down and regain control and the more trouble you’re in going forward. So if we had put in measures two weeks before we did, then we might not be cancelling surgery.”

McGeer also acknowledges that politicians in Canada can only re-introduce safety measures when their citizens are behind them.

“If politicians move and they don’t have the population with them, then it’s not going to work either.”

McGeer advocates for preventative measures such as testing, tracing and isolating individuals who test positive to keep COVID-19 case counts low.

“It’s very clear that if we had been able to start this outbreak early and hard with preventive measures, if we’d been able to do the contact tracing, if we’d been willing to put people up in hotels for quarantine, we might be where Newfoundland is now,” she said. “And that has huge rewards.”

Those tantalizing rewards could help reinvigorate Canadians outside the Atlantic provinces who face a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and the hospitalizations and deaths that could follow the holiday season. 

“I get how tired people are; I’m tired of it myself. But this is not about being tired,” McGeer said. “We just need to hold on until we can get vaccines, right? And they are coming.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Golden Links Lodge addresses concerns over group activities held prior to COVID outbreak – CTV News

Published

 on


WINNIPEG —
The COVID-19 outbreak at Golden Links Lodge in Winnipeg continues to grow, and now the care home is responding to questions about recreational activities that had been taking place inside the facility prior to the outbreak.

According to the latest numbers from the care home, there have been 53 cases among residents and 20 cases among care home staff.

The province said three people have died, leaving family members concerned about their loved ones.

On Nov. 15 Jordan Hanna found out his grandma tested positive for the disease.

“It’s a flood of fear,” said Hanna.

There have been more than 70 cases linked to Golden Links Lodge since an outbreak was declared on Nov. 11.

Photos posted on the Golden Links Facebook page on Nov. 6 show residents gathered inside the care home for a worship service. Three days later it showed them taking part in an exercise class. Activities Hanna feels are important but are too risky given the way the virus spreads.

“The seniors here are anywhere from 60 to 100 and they’re already stuck in one place for so long,” said Hanna. “It’s hard to deny them that entertainment or excitement or connection. So I think it has its place but definitely not right now.”

Provincial guidelines only say people in personal care homes who are isolating should not participate in group activities.

In an email to CTV News the care home’s CEO Marcy-Lynn Larner said there is no evidence any recreation activities have contributed to the outbreak.

Larner said contact tracing indicates the initial transmission is staff-related.

“Every attempt has always been made to ensure the well-being of our residents is always our priority while balancing meaningful stimulation and activity to our residents’ lives,” Larner said.

Like other long term care centres, the not-for-profit care home has been dealing with staffing shortages due to infections among workers.

Four City of Winnipeg paramedics and a district chief of operations responded to Golden Links last Thursday night as part of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s rapid response team. Full assessments were conducted on seven residents — one was taken to hospital.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service returned Friday, completed more assessments, and vowed to continue providing support when needed.

Emergency crews cleared the scene Friday night and have not been required to return, a WFPS spokesperson said Tuesday.

Hanna said it’s clear more help is needed and wants the military called in.

“So they can one, care for people — make sure that they’re attended to and also do what they did in Ontario and Quebec and start reviewing the best practices, how they’re handling things and provide a report,” said Hanna.

Last week Golden Links put out a call to families to help out with their loved ones at the care home.

Larner said a few families have been attending, while others enlisted support through an agency that provides companionship.

According to Larner, four residents are on what the care home describes as social leaves with their families.

Larner said staff have been working around the clock to care for residents who remain at Golden Links and promised to keep families updated. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

COVID-19 in B.C.: Over 900 new cases, 28 schools with new exposures, mask enforcement, and more – The Georgia Straight

Published

 on


Today’s new case count not only hit a new record but reflected one of the largest jumps upward.

The number of deaths remains high and case numbers increased in all other categories.

There are also two new healthcare outbreaks, exposure events at a pub and one store, and seven flights and 28 schools with new exposures.

B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has once again extended the provincial state of emergency to December 8.

In addition, Farnworth issued a ministerial order in alignment with B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s provincial health order announced on November 19 that masks must be worn in all public spaces.

All British Columbians who are 12 years or older must wear masks in settings including:

  • malls, shopping centres, coffee shops, and retail and grocery stores;
  • liquor and drug stores;
  • airports, city halls, libraries, community, and recreation centres;
  • restaurants, pubs, and bars;
  • places of public worship;
  • public transportation, in a taxi, or in ride-sharing vehicles;
  • common areas of office buildings, court houses, hospitals, and hotels;
  • common areas of sport and fitness centres, when not engaged in physical activity;
  • common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations.

Emergency Management BC anticipates further orders to enforce masks being worn in common areas of apartment buildings, condos, and workplaces.

Face shields aren’t considered a substitute for a mask, as there remains open space below the mouth.

Those who cannot wear a mask or who cannot put on or remove a mask without the assistance of others are exempt.

Masks can be removed temporarily to identify an individual wearing a mask, while consuming food or beverages, while participating in a sport or fitness activity in a sport facility, or while receiving a personal or health service that requires the mask to be removed.

Anyone without a mask in an indoor public place or who refuses to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including directions to leave, or who responds with abusive or belligerent behaviour, may be subject to a $230 fine.

Between August 21 and November 20, 59 violation tickets were issued, including:

  • 25 $2,300 tickets to owners or organizers violating orders on gatherings and events;
  • nine $2,300 violation tickets for contravening the food and liquor serving order;
  • 25 $230 tickets to individuals who refused to comply with direction from law enforcement.

Since the pandemic began, B.C. police agencies have issued 64 violation tickets to individuals contravening the federal Quarantine Act, totalling $70,000.

B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth
Province of British Columbia

Henry announced that there are 941 new cases in B.C. today, which sets a new record. (The last record was on 762 new cases on November 18.)

By region, that includes:

  • 678 new cases in Fraser Health;
  • 174 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
  • 49 in Interior Health;
  • 29 in Northern Health;
  • 11 in Island Health;
  • no new people from outside Canada.

Today, there are now 7,732 active cases, which is an increase of 372 cases since yesterday.

Currently, there are 284 individuals are in hospital (seven more people since yesterday), with 61 of those patients in intensive care units (two more than yesterday).

Public health is monitoring 10,283 people (83 more people than yesterday).

Tragically, the number of new deaths remain high once again—there have been 10 new COVID-19-related deaths. The cumulative total fatalities is now at  358 people who have died during the pandemic.

A total of 19,605 people (69 percent) who tested positive have recovered.

During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a total of 28,348 cases in British Columbia. By region, that includes:

  • 17,724 new cases in Fraser Health;
  • 7,992 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
  • 1,356 in Interior Health;
  • 678 in Northern Health;
  • 505 in Island Health;
  • 93 people from outside Canada.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, with Dr. Bonnie Henry
Province of British Columbia

Fraser Health stated in a news release today that an outbreak in a medicine unit at Burnaby Hospital declared on November 10 has led to 55 patients testing positive and five people have died. In addition, 44 staff members who tested positive are under investigation to determine if they are connected to the outbreak.

A fire had broken out at the hospital in November 15, and Fraser Health stated that the response to fire is considered a contributing factor to the outbreak.

Meanwhile, there are two new health-care facility outbreaks:

  • Valleyhaven Care Home (45450 Menholm Road) in Chilliwack, where Fraser Health stated two staff members tested positive;
  • Little Mountain Place (330 East 36th Avenue) in Vancouver, where Vancouver Coastal Health imposed restrictions on November 22.

Outbreaks at Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge in Richmond and Agassiz Seniors Community in Agassiz have been declared over.

There aren’t any new community outbreaks.

Vancouver Coastal Health listed a public exposure event at a pub in Downtown Vancouver at the Morrissey at 1227 Granville Street from 6 to 11 p.m. on November 12 and 13. The pub has not posted any announcement about the exposure on its social media or website yet.

Loblaw announced that a staff member who last worked at the 7322 King George Boulevard location of Shoppers Drug Mart in Surrey on November 19 has since tested positive.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control posted these seven flights confirmed with COVID-19 to its lists:

  • November 14: WestJet 133, Calgary to Vancouver;
  • November 16: Swoop 109, Hamilton to Abbotsford;
  • November 18: Air Canada/Jazz 8075, Vancouver to Victoria;
  • November 18: Air Canada/Jazz 8247, Terrace to Vancouver;
  • November 19: Air Canada 123, Toronto to Vancouver;
  • November 19: Air Canada/Jazz 8081, Vancouver to Victoria;
  • November 19: United Airlines 5312, San Francisco to Vancouver.

For affected row information, visit the BCCDC website. 

Richard Bulpitt Elementary

Four regional health authorities added new exposure dates for 28 schools.

Vancouver Coastal Health didn’t add any new dates for its schools.

Island Health added one school: Randerson Ridge Elementary (6021 Nelson Road), which had a cluster from November 4 to 6 and 9 to 10, has added November 12 as an exposure date.

Interior Health added one school: École Élémentaire Casorso Elementary School (3675 Casorso Road), which previously had exposures from November 5 to 6 and from November 9 to 10, had a new exposure on November 12.

Northern Health added one school: William Konkin Elementary School (9750 Carroll Street) in Burns Lake, with an exposure on November 16;

Fraser Health had 25 schools with new exposure dates.

In Abbotsford, two schools had new dates:

  • Rick Hansen Secondary (31150 Blueridge Drive)—which previously had exposures on October 6, 7, and 13; from October 14 to 16; on November 2; from November 3 and 4; from November 9 to 10—had a new exposure on November 17; 
  • St. John Brebeuf Regional Secondary (2747 Townline Road), which previously had exposures from October 27 to 29 and November 9 to 10, added November 16. 

In Burnaby, Moscrop Secondary (4433 Moscrop Street), which had previous exposures from November 3 to 4, had additional exposures from November 12 to 13.

In Coquitlam, Centennial Secondary (570 Poirier Street), which previously had exposures from October 15 to 16 and October 19 to 21, added November 13 and 17 as exposure dates.

In Chilliwack, G.W. Graham Secondary (45955 Thomas Road), which previously had exposures on October 23 and from October 26 to 29, had new exposures from November 16 to 18. 

Three schools in Langley had new dates:

  • Brookswood Secondary (20902 37a Avenue)—which previously had exposures on October 5, 13, 15, and 16—added November 10, 12, and 13; 
  • Peterson Road Elementary (23422 47th Avenue) had an exposure on November 16;
  • Richard Bulpitt Elementary (20965 77A Avenue) also added November 16.

Maple Ridge had one school: Thomas Haney Secondary (23000 116 Avenue), which had a previous exposure incident on October 26, had a new exposure on November 17. 

Hillcrest Elementary

In Surrey, 16 schools had new dates: 

  • Chimney Hill Elementary (14755 74 Avenue) had exposures on November 11, 13, 18, and 19;
  • City Central Learning Centre (13104 109 Avenue), which previously had an exposure incident on October 6, added November 18;
  • Ellendale Elementary (14525 110a Avenue) had an exposure on November 16;
  • Green Timbers Elementary (8824 144th Street)—which previously had exposure events on September 29 and from November 9 to 10—added November 16 to 18; 
  • Hillcrest Elementary (18599 65th Avenue) had an exposure from November 17 and 18;
  • Katzie Elementary (6887 194a Street), which previously had an exposure on November 9, added November 10, 12, and 13; 
  • Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary (6151 180 Street)—which previously had exposures from September 14 to 15, and on November 10 and 12—added November 16 to 17; 
  • Old Yale Road Elementary (10135 132nd Street) had exposures on November 10, 12, and 13;
  • École Panorama Ridge Secondary (13220 64 Avenue)—which previously had exposures on September 8 and 10; from September 30 to October 1; from October 6 to 9 and 13 to 15; from October 19 to 20; on November 3, 4, and 5—has added November 16; 
  • Princess Margaret Secondary (12870 72nd Avenue)—which previously had exposures on September 11; on October 12, 15, and 16; on October 26 and 29; from November 2 to 5; and on November 6—had an exposure on November 13; 
  • Semiahmoo Secondary (1785 148 Street), which previously had an exposure event from November 5 to 6, added November 10 and 12; 
  • Khalsa School Elementary Newton (6933 124th Street)—which previously had exposure events from September 22 to 25; from October 20 to 22; and from October 28 to 30—added  November 17 to 19;
  • Khalsa Secondary—Old Yale Road campus (10589 124th Street)—which had previous exposure events from September 9 and 10; September 30 to October 2; and from October 13 to 15—had new exposures from November 17 to 19; 
  • Pacific Academy (10238 168 Street), which had a previous exposure on November 9, added November 12, 13, 17, 18; and 19; 
  • Sikh Academy—Newton (12895 85 Avenue), which previously had an exposure on October 14, added November 16 and 17; 
  • St. Matthews Elementary (16065 88th Avenue) had exposures from November 16 to 18. 

More

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending