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CDC abruptly removes guidance about airborne COVID-19 transmission, says update 'was posted in error' – CTV News

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday abruptly reverted to its previous guidance about how coronavirus is transmitted, removing language about airborne transmission it had posted just days earlier.

“A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website. CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted,” Jason McDonald, a CDC spokesman, said in a response emailed to CNN.

The guidance had been quietly updated on Friday, according to the CDC’s website. CNN was first to report the change on Sunday. The CDC responded to CNN just before noon on Monday to say it was reverting to the previous guidance.

Despite several studies that have shown the novel coronavirus can spread through small particles in the air, the CDC page now says that Covid-19 is thought to spread mainly between people in close contact — about 6 feet — and “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.” This is the same language it posted months ago.

In language posted Friday and now removed, CDC said Covid-19 most commonly spread between people who are in close contact with one another, and went on to say it’s known to spread “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes.”

These particles can cause infection when “inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs,” the agency said. “This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

“There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes),” the page said in the Friday update, which has since been removed. “In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.”

In the Friday update, the CDC had added new measures to protect yourself in others, including recommendations to use air purifiers to reduce airborne germs in indoors spaces and clear guidance to “stay at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible.” The updated CDC page had also changed language around asymptomatic transmission, shifting from saying “some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus” to saying “people who are infected but do not show symptoms can spread the virus to others.” That language has now been removed.

Also on Friday, CDC updated its coronavirus testing guidance to stress that anyone who has been in contact with an infected person should be tested for coronavirus. A controversial earlier update was not written by CDC scientists and posted online before it had undergone the normal scientific review process, two sources confirmed to CNN last week.

CNN reported last week that US Health and Human Services communications officials appointed by President Trump had recently pushed to change language of weekly science reports released by the CDC so as not to undermine Trump’s political message, according to a federal health official. Officials within HHS had defended the demand, saying the CDC fell under the agency’s umbrella and that all communications and public documents needed to be cleared at the top. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said last week “at no time has the scientific integrity” of these reports been compromised.

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Top doctor to update Albertans on COVID-19 pandemic as active cases peak – CTV News

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EDMONTON —
The chief medical officer of health will give a pandemic update Tuesday afternoon after active COVID-19 cases reached an all-time high in Alberta to start the week.

Alberta added 898 cases of the coronavirus over the weekend, a tally that increased the province’s confirmed infection count to 3,138 – a pandemic high.

The previous record was set on April 30 when Alberta had a reported 3,022 active cases.

The Edmonton zone still has the bulk of Alberta’s cases with 1,604, but the Calgary zone is experiencing a spike with 998 infections.

Alberta Health Services has reported more than 300 positive tests in a single day three times in October, including 356 cases on Sunday, though the province has never added more than 400 infections in one day during the pandemic.

Hospitals have 117 patients with COVID-19, including 18 people in intensive care.

The province has reported 22,673 cases and 292 deaths to date.

Watch Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s remarks at 3:30 p.m. live at CTVNewsEdmonton.ca.

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Appointments Needed This Year for Flu Shot Clinics – VOCM

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The public flu shot clinics begin tomorrow, but appointments are necessary this year because of the pandemic. No walk-ins will be permitted.

Appointments can be booked online using a new online tool: Health Myself.

Eastern Health

Central Health

Western Health

Labrador-Grenfell Health

People can also book an appointment by calling 709-273-3904 or toll-free 1-833-951-3904. Appointments have to be booked at least 24 hours in advance.

Stringent public health measures will be in place at the clinics; everyone will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and all must wear a mask.

A grant will be available to employers with over 100 employees who wish to hire a qualified health care provider to offer a workplace vaccination clinic. Flu vaccine and appropriate PPE will be provided to those employers.

The regional health authorities are working with the schools to offer the flu vaccine to students in grades 4-12.

Nearly 158,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador got the shot last year.

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COVID-19 takes toll on physical health of young Canadians, scientists, school board find – CBC.ca

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Just five per cent of Canadian children met basic physical activity guidelines early on in the pandemic, which is why school phys-ed programs are now looking for alternatives to get students to work up a sweat in a safe fashion.

As a result of physical distancing measures and increased remote learning, children have had more sedentary time during the pandemic, and that has had implications for schools planning physical education.

The Toronto District School Board, for instance, has asked gym teachers to cancel fall fitness training after phys-ed instructors reported that students’ physical activity levels have been alarming so far.

“They’ve noticed that kids are out of breath immediately, so the lack of physical activity that’s taken place over the last seven months is showing,” said George Kourtis, who heads the TDSB’s phys-ed program.

Even so, educators say it’s imperative that kids get a workout of some sort. But that comes with challenges in a remote learning environment.

WATCH | Schools adjust as kids lacked exercise during lockdown:

At one point in the pandemic, only five per cent of Canadian children were meeting the minimum requirements for physical activity. Now, school phys-ed programs face new challenges in keeping kids moving without most team sports because of distancing requirements. 4:10

Jennifer Bell, a Grade 11 phys-ed teacher with TDSB’s virtual school, recently demonstrated lunges to a class by doing the movements toward her laptop screen. But the students had their cameras turned off, which makes the learning more difficult.

“How do we teach sports skills while you’re standing in your living room?” Bell said. “You don’t necessarily have another opponent or a partner to play a sport with. That’s where we’re trying to get creative.”

Physically distanced football

Getting creative includes activities like juggling to practise movement skills and having students regularly type in their 15-second heart rate measurements to show that their heart rate is increasing from the participation, Bell said.

Maryam Sabir, 14, is taking Grade 9 phys-ed in person in Toronto. Maryam said physical distancing rules put a new twist on learning to play football.

Sagier Abdul takes part in a football lesson at her Toronto high school earlier this month. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

“You had to stay six feet apart,” both horizontally and vertically, Maryam said. “You can’t really communicate with other people. It becomes harder to play in the game.”

Maryam said she enjoys being physically active. When the phys-ed class ends next month, she plans to continue to get a workout by playing basketball or soccer with friends.

Importance of movement

National health guidelines recommend that children and youth (aged 5-17 years) have high levels of physical activity, low levels of sedentary behaviour and sufficient sleep each day, including: 

  • An accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity (such as walking quickly enough to still be able to talk but not sing).
  • Nine to 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night for those aged five to 13 and eight to 10 hours per night for those aged 14 to 17, with consistent bed and wake-up times.
  • No more than two hours per day of recreational screen time.

Mark Tremblay, a senior scientist in obesity at the CHEO Research Institute in Ottawa, was part of a team that surveyed more than 1,400 parents of children and youth online nationally in April, about a month after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in Canada.

Prior to the pandemic, about 15 per cent of kids met Canada’s 24-hour guidelines for physical activity, sedentary time and sleep, said Tremblay.

Kids do a workout in the park in Coronado, Calif., in March. Public health messaging about staying home is important, but it doesn’t mean you have to stay inside, said one obesity researcher. (Gregory Bull/Associated Press)

He found that movement levels had plunged as low as three per cent during the early days of the restrictions.

“Almost no Canadian kids were practising the healthy living behaviours that are associated with health, and that puts them at increased risk, of course, of physical and mental health issues going forward,” Tremblay said, which “is not what public health officials want.”

The study, published this summer in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, suggested that the pandemic wasn’t entirely to blame. But certain factors could increase the likelihood of healthy movement behaviours outside of school, including:

  • Parental encouragement and support.
  • Parents playing actively with their children.
  • Dog ownership.

The lack of physical activity was also influenced by children’s living arrangements. Kids who spent more time active outdoors were more likely to live in a house as opposed to a 40-story apartment building downtown where families may not feel safe playing outside, Tremblay said.

Tremblay said the public health messaging about staying home is important, “but it doesn’t mean stay inside.”

The scientists plan to repeat their survey on kids’ physical activity levels in early November.

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