With a new list of businesses given the green light to re-open Monday, Porcupine Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Lianne Catton cautions people it doesn’t mean a return to business as usual.
Tomorrow, garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery, lawn care and landscaping businesses, and automatic and self-serve car washes are permitted to re-open. Additional essential contruction projects are also allowed to go ahead, car dealers can open by appointment only, and golf courses and marinas can start prepping for the upcoming season.
“We want to recognize and remind everyone that this does not mean return to business as usual. In fact we will continue to work with all communities, business owners and community members to ensure that the precautions necessary are in place to reduce potential spread as we cautiously see some changes in return to certain activities,” said Catton in today’s health round table for local updates on the pandemic.
For the third-straight day, the Porcupine Health Unit reported no new cases in the area. It is currenty following 10 known active cases.
There have been 60 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region. Of those, 46 are resolved and four people have died.
A new COVID-related death was reported in Timmins this week. It was a man in his 80s who was identified in the outbreak investigation at Timmins and District Hospital.
This past week, only two new cases of the virus were confirmed locally. The week prior, there were nine positive tests, and in the weeks before that there were about 10 new local cases per week.
“Any day without having to announce a positive case or without having to announce a tragic outcome is definitely a positive sign and a positive day in our minds at the Porcupine Health Unit and I think for all of our community,” Catton said.
“However, we must always take these days with caution and so while it’s always positive news, and I think it’s always a good sign that we’re heading in the right direction and we’re seeing people doing the important measures necessary to reduce the spread, we also need to recognize that we will still see more cases.”
As provinces announce their re-opening strategies, New Brunswick is reporting all 118 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.
There, they created the notion of a double bubble, allowing two households to link to allow people to interact with others.
“I think it’s some time away from predicting exactly what changes we may see with respect with our abilities to visit with others at this point in time and likewise I think it will take a little more time to determine exactly where we are on the curve. It is cautiously optimistic, but at the same time I cannot caution enough that it doesn’t mean we can let our guard down. We have to absolutely stay the course at this point in time,” she said.
Timmins Mayor George Pirie said it’s an important week in the city for COVID-19.
“We are expecting the results of hundreds of tests as we make our way through this week, so we’ll be awaiting them anxiously,” he said.
He’s encouraged by New Brunswick with all the cases being resolved.
“And I know we can do that here. I know that we can do that here because we have a very motivated community, the community is on-board with this, they’re following all the rules and regulations associated with proper handling of COVID-19,” he said.
With some businesses re-opening, he’s likening it to a graduation day.
“We’ve been at school now with this disease for a couple of months and as we open up the economy it will be graduation day. Have we learned our lesson? Remember everyone out there now is the author of their own destiny, as they always have been, but as the economy opens then these are the test dates and I’m positive we can do it,” he said.
There are COVID-19 Assessment centres in Timmins, Cochrane, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Smooth Rock Falls, Hearst and Hornepayne. They are by appointment only and you must be referred by your primary healthcare provider or the health unit.
The health unit is doing expanded testing on people with milder symptoms for a limited time.
The expanded list of symptoms includes cough, fever, and difficulty breathing as well as sore throat/hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, loss of smell or taste, fatigue, muscle aches, runny nose, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and nausea or vomiting.
Safety officers heading to Manitoba beaches amid COVID-19, no new cases reported Thursday – Globalnews.ca
Health officials say safety officers are being deployed to three popular Manitoba beaches to make sure beach-goers are staying safe while enjoying the sun amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The safety officers will be patrolling the beaches in Birds Hill, Winnipeg Beach, and Grand Beach Provincial Parks starting Thursday, the province said in a release.
The news comes as health officials reported no new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba Thursday, leaving the province’s total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable cases at 298.
While provincial parks and beaches are open to the public, health officials are warning those heading into the great outdoors physical distancing rules remain in place, and beach-goers should keep at least four metres of separation between each group’s towels and blanket on the beach.
They also recommend bringing your own life jackets and personal flotation devices as the province’s life-jacket loaner program has been suspended to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The province says there are currently seven active cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba and no one is in hospital or intensive care because of the virus.
To date 284 people have recovered from COVID-19, the province says.
There have been 46,701 tests for the virus completed across the province since early February, health officials say, with 899 done on Wednesday.
Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba seeing ‘historically low’ wait times, health officials say
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
COVID-19 study linking hydroxychloroquine, death risk retracted from medical journal – Global News
Three of the authors of an influential article that found hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of death in COVID-19 patients retracted the study on Thursday, citing concerns about the quality of the data behind it.
The anti-malarial drug has been controversial in part due to support from U.S. President Donald Trump, as well as implications of the study published in British medical journal the Lancet last month.
The three authors said Surgisphere, the company that provided the data, would not transfer the full dataset for an independent review and that they “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”
The fourth author of the study, Dr. Sapan Desai, the CEO of Surgisphere, declined to comment on the retraction.
The observational study published in the Lancet on May 22 looked at 96,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, some treated with the decades-old malaria drug. It claimed that those treated with hydroxychloroquine or the related chloroquine had higher risk of death and heart rhythm problems than patients who were not given the medicines.
WHO halts hydroxychloroquine clinical trials
Several clinical trials were put on hold after the study was published. The World Health Organization, which paused hydroxychloroquine trials after The Lancet study was released, said on Wednesday it was ready to resume trials.
Many scientists voiced concern about the study. Nearly 150 doctors signed an open letter to the Lancet last week calling the article’s conclusions into question and asking to make public the peer review comments that preceded publication.
“I did not do enough to ensure that the data source was appropriate for this use,” the study’s lead author, Harvard Medical School Professor Mandeep Mehra, said in a statement. “For that, and for all the disruptions – both directly and indirectly – I am truly sorry.”
Surgisphere was not immediately available for comment.
The Lancet in a statement said, “there are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study.”
© 2020 Reuters
N.B. to welcome Canadians with immediate family, property in province – CBC.ca
New Brunswick plans to open its borders to Canadians who have immediate family in the province or who own property, starting June 19, provided they self-isolate for 14 days, Premier Blaine Higgs announced Thursday.
Cabinet and the all-party COVD-19 committee have also deemed attending funerals in New Brunswick essential travel, he told reporters during a news conference in Fredericton.
The decision to loosen restrictions comes the same day New Brunswick had its first COVID-19-related death and a new confirmed case — both linked to a long-term care facility in the Campbellton region, where there is an outbreak.
Daniel Ouellette, 84, who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville last week, died Thursday morning at the Campbellton Regional Hospital.
Four other elderly residents and four employees have also tested positive for the respiratory disease, including the latest case, a health-care worker in their 20s.
They are among a cluster of 15 active cases now in the Campbellton region, also known as Zone 5.
Higgs said he, like all New Brunswickers, received the news “with a heavy heart” and offered his condolences.
But the rest of the province will move forward with the next phase of the yellow level of the COVID-19 recovery plan tomorrow, as scheduled, he said. The Campbellton region will remain under the stricter orange phase.
“We are grieving today, but we are also moving forward today,” said Higgs, describing it as a “combination of sadness and hope.”
Officials have linked the outbreak that started May 21 to a medical professional who travelled to Quebec for personal reasons and returned to work without self-isolating for the required 14 days.
Dr. Jean Robert Ngola told Radio-Canada’s program La Matinale on Tuesday he’s not sure whether he picked up the coronavirus during the trip to Quebec or from a patient he saw in his office on May 19 who later tested positive.
Ngola, who has been suspended and is under investigation by the RCMP, said he made an overnight return trip to Quebec to pick up his four-year-old daughter because her mother had to travel to Africa for her own father’s funeral.
He drove straight there and back with no stops and had no contact with anyone, he said, and none of his family members had any COVID-19 symptoms at the time.
He did not self-isolate upon returning, he said. He went to work at the Campbellton Regional Hospital the next day.
“Maybe it was an error in judgment,” said Ngola, pointing out that workers, including nurses who live in Quebec, cross the border each day with no isolation required.
Minister defends northern border crossing
The province’s public safety minister is defending a border crossing that residents of a small village near Campbellton fear is letting in too many people from out of the province.
On Tuesday, Tide Head Mayor Randy Hunter said there were more vehicles with Quebec licence plates in the area than there should be considering COVID-19 restrictions and that the province is giving the wrong impression about how much traffic there is at the crossing.
“The premier’s reporting and the news is reporting perhaps 60 to 70 cars a day, well that is not factual,” said Hunter.
“I know people that work for public safety there and the average [number of cars] on that bridge is about 200 a day.”
The checkpoint is located on the New Brunswick side of the border, a short distance from the bridge to Matapédia, Que.
But Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart said there was a bit missing in that interpretation.
There are about 200 vehicles making that crossing every day, but only 65 of them would be private vehicles.
“Approximately 65 [private vehicles] the other day and then 130 commercial. So you’re looking at approximately 200 all together,” said Urquhart.
Urquhart said public safety officers are the ones that determine whether someone can come into the province or not, but that commercial vehicles are checked to make sure they’re actually making deliveries.
Urquhart said he’s convinced there isn’t a security issue at the border, and while he would love to send more public safety officers up there, they’re needed elsewhere.
“If I had a lot more people I could put them all over the province,” said Urquhart.
“You have to work with all you have.”
What to do if you have symptoms
People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment on the government website at gnb.ca.
Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: a fever above 38 C, a new cough or worsening chronic cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, new onset of fatigue, new onset of muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with two of those symptoms are asked to:
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