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Chief Public Health Officer calls for 'collective effort' against COVID-19 – The Queens County Citizen

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Victoria Ahorn, The Canadian Press

October 17, 2020 Saturday 3:41 PM EDT

Last Updated, October 17, 2020 5:00 PM EDT

TORONTO – Canada’s chief public health official on Saturday called for a “collective effort” to address the Kovid-19 epidemic.

Dr. Theresa Tom released a statement saying the confusion over appropriate public health measures is understandable given the fact that the epidemic plays differently in different states and territories.

But she stressed that Canadians should “keep the number of our personal close relationships low” and adhere to public health practices.

“There are no quick fixes and COVID-19 is not going away, so the focus is on balancing the health, social and economic consequences of sustaining the response to the end of the public health epidemic,” Tom said in a news release Saturday.

“Certainly, our response requires a collective effort. Everyone’s actions are important.”

Canada climbed the 200,000 mark for COVID-19 cases, with 196,324 cases reported nationwide on Saturday.

There were also 9,746 deaths related to the virus in Canada.

The Manitoba government announced on Friday that it was imposing increased COVID-19 sanctions on Winnipeg, while the Ontario government plans to do the same in the York region north of Toronto.

The Ontario government said restrictions restricting visitors to long-term care homes in the area also went into effect Saturday.

Manitoba on Saturday reported 85 new COVID-19 cases, for a total of 3,258, 1,572 recovered and 38 fatal.

As cases there increase, the province is imposing new sanctions on the Winnipeg area, which began Monday and will continue for two weeks.

New regulations in Winnipeg limit public meetings to five and state that beverage rooms, bingo halls and casinos must be closed. Meanwhile, restaurants, lounges, retail stores, museums and libraries will be limited to half capacity.

In Ontario, it is Reported 805 new cases of COVID-19 And 10 new deaths related to the virus Saturday, another Toronto area public health unit imposed strict restrictions on local long-term care homes.

A new ban is in place in the York region, which faces a rising trend in COVID-19 cases, except for those in need of visitors and caregivers.

From Monday, York area It will also join the other three COVID-19 hotspots in the province to return to the revised Phase 2 of the Pandemic Protocol for 28 days.

Toronto, the Peel Region and Ottawa were placed within similar limits amid rising cases a week ago.

Modified Stage 2 includes the closure of gyms and movie theaters, the banning of indoor meals in restaurants or bars, and the cap on open houses at 10 people inside the house and 25 people in the open space.

Ontario now has a total of 63,713 COVID-19 cases, of which 54,686 cases have been resolved and 3,041 deaths.

Quebec continues to post the highest number of new COVID-19 diagnoses in the country, reporting 1,279 new cases on Saturday.

With schools and some businesses open with different policies across the country, the situation is “complicated” and challenging for individuals, families and public health officials, Tom said.

But she must remember that every person we encounter “brings a whole network of contacts with them.”

“So, as much as you can, I urge you to minimize contact with people outside of your consistent, loyal intimate contacts,” Tom said.

“I especially urge you to avoid these encounters in crowded and enclosed settings with limited ventilation. It is very difficult to keep them apart, but it can make us stronger, more resilient and sustain public health efforts in the fall and winter.”

This report of the Canadian Press was first published on October 17, 2020.

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Coronavirus: Manitoba reports record-breaking 543 new cases, 7 additional deaths | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca

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Manitoba’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Brent Roussin on Monday reported a record-breaking 543 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and seven additional deaths. It is the highest single-day increase the province has seen since the pandemic began, breaking the previous record of 494 cases announced Nov. 15.

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N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 15 new cases reported Monday, and another death – CBC.ca

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Public Health is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and another death.

Eleven of the new cases are in the Saint John region (Zone 2), three are in the Moncton region (Zone 1) and one in the Fredericton region (Zone 3), Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference.

All 15 of the cases have been “identified and are isolating,” Russell said.

Seven people in New Brunswick have now died of the disease since the pandemic started. Russell did not say where the latest death occurred.

She urged residents to “please, wear a mask” and keep their close contacts low.

“We must all remain vigilant, there has never been a time when the risk was zero,” she said.

Enforcement of rules, and frustration with non-compliance

Premier Blaine Higgs said Monday that police and peace offers were enforcing compliance with the single-household bubble, mask-wearing, physical distancing and other rules in the orange zones on the weekend.

Thirty tickets were issued, he said, and at least one business in southeastern New Brunswick has been shut down after not following guidelines “for some time.”

Higgs also singled out for criticism those who are deliberately ignoring the rules.

“It is disappointing to hear that some people have not been giving their real names and contact information” when at businesses, he said.

“You’re not ‘beating the system,’ ” he later added. “You’re jeopardizing the health and welfare of maybe your neighbour, maybe your grandparents, maybe your parents.”

Atlantic bubble bursts

The Atlantic bubble has come to an end for now.

Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I announced Monday that they were leaving the bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region.

New Brunswick isn’t following suit, although Premier Blaine Higgs is asking people to be cautious about travel outside the province.

Higgs said during Monday’s news conference that he spoke with the P,E.I and Newfoundland and Labrador premiers Sunday night and the decision to leave the bubble was a “shared decision.” He expects it will be “a two-week closure.”

New Brunswick tightened restrictions in Moncton and Saint John last week as cases rose, and the province reported its highest ever single-day case count on Saturday with 23 new cases. As of Sunday, the province had a total of 77 active cases. 

Employee tests positive at Stan Cassidy Centre

Horizon Health Network and New Brunswick Public Health are investigating a potential COVID-19 exposure at Horizon’s Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton.

As this is a high-risk situation, Horizon is declaring an outbreak at the Centre.

As of Monday morning, Horizon is restricting all visitors at the Centre and cancelling scheduled appointments until further notice after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

The employee is self-isolating, Horizon said in a statement.

Patients who were in contact with the employee when the employee may have been infectious had rapid testing for the respiratory virus Sunday.

 Horizon said all affected patients have been isolated. And all staff who were in contact have had COVID-19 testing. 

“As a precautionary measure, all other employees at the Centre will be tested for COVID-19.”

Effective Monday morning, all staff and physicians at the Centre will participate in active screening for COVID-19 symptoms.

Horizon Health said affected patients and families have also been notified.

Employee and 3 residents test positive for COVID-19 at Shannex

A Shannex official says the Parkland Saint John facility has activated its pandemic plan after one employee and three residents tested positive for COVID-19.

Clinical practice director and infection control specialist Lisa Snodgrass says all 371 residents and employees were tested.

And she’s been told those four were the only positive cases.

“We’re not sure how it got in,” she said. “But we are sure of what we can do to help prevent the spread and that’s what we’re focusing on right now.

Public health says the outbreak is at Tucker Hall.

Snodgrass says that’s a 90-bed licensed long-term care home on the Parkland Saint John campus.

Snodgrass said all residents are self-isolating as well as some employees – she declined to say how many.

Residents can normally move freely between the buildings, but under pandemic restrictions, she says most of the movement is limited to health care team members.

She says the investigation into cause of the outbreak is ongoing.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online

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, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.

  • Difficulty breathing.

In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with one of those symptoms should:

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Manitoba posts record 543 new cases of COVID-19 – CBC.ca

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Manitoba hit a new high for daily COVID-19 cases with 543 today — the first daily tally to top 500 — and seven more deaths, the daily bulletin says.

That puts Manitoba’s total cases so far above 14,000, meaning one in every 100 Manitobans has contracted the illness.

“It might be easier to just think of these as numbers, but these are Manitobans,” said Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin. “The list continues to grow and it’s very challenging to be reading every day.”

The majority of new cases — 368 of them — are in the Winnipeg Health region, which is a record. The previous high was 330 cases announced on Nov. 7.

The announcement comes about a week and a half after all of Manitoba went into code red, or critical, under the provincial pandemic response system.

Even more restrictions went into effect Friday, with gatherings no longer allowed inside homes, and no more sales of non-essential items in-store, following widespread closures of restaurants, bars and non-essential businesses.

4,700+ cases under code red

More than 4,700 new cases have emerged under code red, and Manitoba has struggled to alleviate the pressure facing hospitals. 

Roussin said one promising sign that those restrictions are working is the average number of contacts of people who test positive is beginning to trend down.

There were 118 new cases in the Southern Health region, just shy of the record for that area. There were 27 cases in the Northern Health Region, 21 in the Interlake-Eastern health region and 12 in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

The death toll rises to 236, with five of the new deaths in Winnipeg and two in the Southern Health region. The people who died were age 60 to 100. 

Nearly half of all reported deaths have emerged during code red, which came into effect Nov. 12.

The five-day provincial test positivity rate is 14 per cent in Manitoba, with a rate of 13.8 per cent in Winnipeg.

Record in hospital

A record 296 people are in hospital with the illness, with a record-tying 52 in intensive care.

Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said 96 of Manitoba’s 103 ICU beds are currently full, half of them with COVID-19 patients.

All but four days in the past month have seen record high numbers in hospital and the system is at or near capacity. Hospitals continue to add a few ICU beds every week, but Siragusa and Roussin have repeatedly stressed the demands facing the system can’t be sustained.

The surge has caused the province to postpone 901 non-urgent and elective surgeries in the past four weeks, she said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 552 health-care workers and first responders have tested positive, Siragusa said.

Nearly 111,000 hours of sick time were logged in the past two weeks, up slightly from the two weeks earlier, and that equates to about 6,900 eight-hour shifts, Siragusa said. Much of the sick time is linked to workers in Winnipeg who are sick or isolating at home.

Roussin also addressed reports of religious gatherings taking place over the weekend in violation of current public health orders. He stopped short of confirming where in the province these gatherings reportedly occurred but said enforcement officers are investigating.

“These orders are here to save lives,” Roussin said. “We can’t have in-person gatherings. It puts Manitobans at risk.”

Calls for help at care home

There are hundreds of cases tied to care home outbreaks — nearly 30 such outbreaks have occurred so far — and rising case numbers across the province.

Some private care homes are facing staffing shortages due to workers testing positive and have resorted to asking family members of residents to come help feed and monitor their loved ones.

Siragusa said Monday that among those helping out at care homes are staff from the Victoria General Hospital, who recently began pitching in at St. Norbert Personal Care Home.

“I just want to thank everyone who has stepped up during this period of incredible need,” she said. “It’s a reminder that we all need to stick together in this time.”

About a quarter of all deaths are linked to two Winnipeg care homes. About 90 per cent of all deaths have been people over age 60, though two 30-year-olds and a 20-year-old died last week.

Since March,14,087 people in Manitoba have tested positive; over 70 per cent of all cases to date have emerged in the past month.

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