B.C. and Alberta have become the latest provinces in Canada to investigate cases of an unusual syndrome in children, which doctors around the world are studying to see if there’s a definitive link to COVID-19.
The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Montreal’s Sainte-Justine Hospital are each examining 20 possible cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.
Earlier this week, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health announced doctors are looking into one suspected case in the province, while British Columbia said it is investigating half a dozen cases.
“Because there isn’t really a definitive, one specific test that says, ‘yes, you have multisystem inflammatory syndrome’ or ‘you don’t,’ I don’t think that the cases themselves are 100 per cent clearly defined from children who might have some other type of infection,” said Dr. Jeremy Friedman, the associate chief of pediatrics at SickKids.
“It might take a little bit of time to really be absolutely certain about how many cases that are being investigated are actually truly related to COVID.”
Friedman’s team at the Toronto hospital have also been in contact with the study at Sainte-Justine run by Marie-Paule Morin, a pediatric rheumatologist.
This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C. The agency’s case definition includes current or recent COVID-19 infection or exposure to the virus, a fever of at least 38 C for at least 24 hours, severe illness requiring hospitalization, inflammatory markers in blood tests, and evidence of problems affecting at least two organs that could include the heart, kidneys, lungs, skin or nervous system.
The CDC said some children may have symptoms resembling Kawasaki disease, a rare condition that can cause swelling and heart problems.
In other parts of the world, the illness is also called Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome (PIMS).
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said Wednesday that while little is known about MIS-C, ”it seems to be more something that happens as a result of (a child’s) immune system going into overdrive after an infection and causing this inflammatory response in multiple organs.”
Hinshaw gave little information about the province’s first suspected case, other to say that the child is stable in hospital.
In Toronto, Friedman said one of the 20 children had to be admitted to an intensive care unit. All have responded well to treatment and have gone home.
There have been no reported deaths linked to MIS-C in Canada, but some children have died from the illness in New York, France and the United Kingdom.
Friedman said it is “highly suspicious” that there seems to be an increase in children presenting MIS-C symptoms about a month after the peak in the number of COVID-19 infections in their communities.
“That seems to be a consistent time that people are seeing this uptick,” he said.
But Friedman noted that none of the children at SickKids tested positive for an active coronavirus infection. His team has blood samples from each child that will then be tested for COVID-19 antibodies.
Although Health Canada has recently approved two serological tests, Friedman said he is waiting to hear from provincial experts on which one is most accurate.
The Canadian Paediatric Society recently published MIS-C guidelines for clinicians and caregivers and is tracking and studying the illness nationwide.
“This syndrome is still very new, and scientists and doctors are learning about it in real time,” the society said in an email Friday.
“The CPSP study will provide essential, timely information about how children are being affected, which children are at highest risk, and will enable us to adjust best practices for prevention and care based on evidence.”
Friedman said parents should be vigilant about signs of MIS-C, but they shouldn’t be alarmed since the numbers are low and the condition is treatable.
“This is definitely going to add to what we know about COVID and hopefully some aspects of what we learn will inform the development of vaccines,” he said.
“It’s quite reassuring to know that we can all learn from each other and that is happens in a pretty rapid sequence.”
Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press
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Quebec reports 79 new cases, eight additional deaths linked to COVID-19 – Brandon Sun
MONTREAL – Quebec reported eight additional deaths due to COVID-19 on Sunday as health officials south of Montreal probed a cluster of positive cases stemming from a local bar.
The province, the hardest hit in Canada by COVID-19, has reported 5,574 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, but only one of those reported on Sunday was classified as a new death.
Authorities said the other seven deaths occurred before June 27.
The province also reported 79 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 55,863.
On Saturday, the province had crept up over 100 daily cases for the first time since June 20.
The number of hospitalizations and intensive-care cases decreased slightly for a total of 371 and 26 patients, respectively.
As the province has gradually reopened sectors, health authorities have said they’ve been keeping watch for outbreaks, like one on Montreal’s South Shore where health officials warned of COVID-19 cases stemming from people who went to a bar in Brossard, Que.
Health officials urged patrons who went to the Mile Public House restaurant in the Dix-30 commercial district on the evening of June 30 between 8 p.m. and closing to get tested.
The restaurant also urged patrons to isolate and get tested, noting in an online post that the outbreak involves five people from the same group, seated at the same table.
Dr. Julie Loslier, the regional public health director, said in a video published Sunday that it was a reminder to respect prevention instructions in all shops and public places.
“It would be a mistake to think that this establishment is more at risk or more dangerous than another. This is not at all the case,” Loslier said.
She noted the bar has already been disinfected and was only identified because of the public health investigation underway, but added this kind of transmission can occur in any business.
The restaurant management said on its Facebook page that all employees will be tested and those working that night have are self-isolating.
Loslier drew attention to the COVID-19 situation in the United States, where bars have been at the heart of some outbreaks.
“We have seen with our neighbours to the south that the situation with bars has given rise to outbreaks and more and more cases, especially among younger populations, and we would especially not want to have to go back,” she said.
Loslier said physical distancing seems to narrow with alcohol consumption, but the responsibility for following public health rules is a shared one between owners and customers.
Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s public health director, was in the region on Friday and warned citizens not to let their guard down and continue to practice physical distancing, hygiene measures and wearing masks when a two-metre distance can’t be kept.
Also Friday, the hospital in St-Jerome, Que., about 60 kilometres north of Montreal, announced it was suspending regular visits indefinitely and restricting access to its end-of-life, palliative and birthing units with authorization only after a novel coronavirus outbreak in the facility.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2020.
P.E.I. reports 2 new coronavirus cases on Sunday – Globalnews.ca
Prince Edward Island is reporting two additional cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the total number of active cases on the island to five.
The province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, has stressed that the five new cases are not seasonal residents of P.E.I. and all predate the newly established Atlantic bubble.
All are related to travel outside of the province, Morrison said at a briefing on Sunday.
On Saturday the province reported that one of the confirmed cases was an essential worker who travelled outside of Atlantic Canada.
The other two cases are a 20-year-old who travelled to Nova Scotia and then had contact with someone who had recently travelled to the United States, and a woman in her 20s who is a close contact of the 20-year-old.
The woman in her 20s is a worker at Whisperwood Villa in Charlottetown.
Morrison said 129 residents and 140 workers Whisperwood Villa were tested on Saturday. All results came back negative, she confirmed, although they will be re-tested later this week.
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Anyone who was a visitor to the long-term care facility on June 30 is being contacted in order to arrange for testing.
The two additional cases announced on Sunday are both men in their 20s.
They were close contacts of the 20-year-old man that tested positive on Saturday.
“At this point, there is no evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in our province,” said Morrison.
“The risk of community transmission of COVID-19 in our province remains low.”
She credited the team of contact tracers for the province’s swift response to the new cluster of cases.
Morrison added that 406 tests were completed on Saturday, a record number of tests for P.E.I. in a single day.
Sunday marked the third full day of the Atlantic travel bubble, which permits interprovincial travel between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador without self-isolation.
However, restrictions remain in place. You can learn what you need to do ahead of time for each province here.
P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said the new cases were not likely to bring an end to the newly established bubble.
Atlantic Canadian provinces lift restrictions, begin travel bubble
At the press update on Sunday, King said he had not talked to any of his fellow Atlantic premiers since the announcement of new cases on Saturday.
“As of right now, we will continue working on the situation here we have at hand,” said King.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Nine new confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Windsor-Essex – AM800 (iHeartRadio)
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported Sunday there are nine new cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex.
Of the nine new cases, two are from the agri-culture sector, four are community based and three are still being investigated.
There are now three long-term care or retirement homes experiencing an outbreak — Riverside Place, Devonshire Retirement Residence, and Extendicare Tecumseh. An outbreak at a retirement or long-term care facility is defined as one or more resident or staff confirmed cases.
Five workplaces are also in outbreak status, four in the agriculture sector and one in manufacturing. Three of the workplaces are in Leamington and two in Kingsville.
As of Sunday, there have been 1,665 confirmed cases in Windsor-Essex, including 995 people who have recovered.
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