Two Coquitlam elementary schools are back under Fraser Health investigation after being flagged for COVID-19 exposures.
Smiling Creek, which had previousnly reported exposures Oct. 15 and 16 has been flagged for another on Nov. 2; and Mundy Road elementary, which reported its first exposure Oct. 8 and its second exposures Oct. 16, 20, 21 and 22, has now been flagged for a third time for an exposure on Oct. 29.
Fraser Health has yet to update its portal in the case of the latest Mundy Road elementary, however, SD43 has flagged the exposure on its Facebook page and copies of the “early notification letter” have been shared by parents on a crowd-sourced school exposure page.
There have been 34 exposures across 27 SD43 facilities since the start of the school year. Nine of those are under active investigation.
Neither Fraser Health nor School District 43 release information on the nature of the exposures, including whether a student, visitor or staff member is involved in the contact tracing investigation.
According to Fraser Health, a school “exposure” indicates a single person with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection attended school during their infectious period.
A school “cluster,” on the other hand, indicates possible school-based transmission with two or more lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 attending school while infectious.
Finally, an “outbreak” at a school means “multiple individuals with lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection” and that “transmission is likely widespread.”
Of the more than two dozen exposure events across Tri-City schools, none have been linked to a cluster or outbreak. Earlier this week, Fraser Health deputy medical health officer Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin told the Tri-City News the numbers reflect circulation of the virus in the community.
On Friday, Nov. 6, for example, a record-breaking new 589 cases were reported, of which 68% came from Fraser Health, which stretches form Boston Bar to Burnaby and includes such urban centres at the Tri-Cities, Surrey and Langley.
Still, the exposure numbers haven’t resulted in changes to school protocols.
“We have no plans to close our schools,” Brodkin said, adding: “I want to remind everyone that schools are relatively safe places in the scheme of things.
“Transmission is less likely to take place in the school setting than in other settings, and there are good public safety plans in place, which have helped to keep the students and their families and the teachers safe.”
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has scheduled an unusual Saturday afternoon update on the status of the pandemic.
Fraser Health school exposures:
Map by Gary McKenna/Tri-City News
Record number in intensive care as Manitoba announces 320 new COVID-19 cases on Friday – CBC.ca
There are now more COVID-19 patients in Manitoba’s hospitals and intensive care units than ever before, the province’s top doctor says, after a week in which the number of people in hospital with the illness went up almost every day.
That trend continued on Friday, when Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced 361 people hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 357 on Thursday.
The record 55 intensive care patients with COVID-19 — 43 of whom are on ventilators — make up just under half of Manitoba’s critical care patients, Shared Health Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said at the conference.
“I cannot emphasize enough the impact that these COVID numbers are having on our staff throughout the system,” Siragusa said. “They are tired, they are fatigued, they are stressed by the changes and the intensity that is upon them.”
The province’s critical care program is now working at 161 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity, she said.
Projections released Friday suggest sweeping restrictions in Manitoba have barely kept the province from its worst-case scenario for daily COVID-19 cases, which assumes few restrictions and poor compliance in the province.
“It’s a scary thought to think about what would happen if we didn’t have the restrictions and if Manitobans weren’t doing their part,” Siragusa said.
Manitoba also announced on Friday that another 320 people have contracted COVID-19 and nine more have died.
The province’s latest coronavirus-linked deaths include a woman in her 50s from the Interlake-Eastern health region and four people linked to care home outbreaks across Manitoba, Roussin said.
There are now 134 intensive care spaces in Manitoba after a new 14-bed COVID-19 unit was added at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre Thursday night, Siragusa said.
Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is up slightly to 13.4 per cent, Roussin said. In Winnipeg, that rate dipped to 14. 6 per cent.
Two previously announced COVID-19 cases were removed from the province’s totals because of a data correction, Roussin said, bringing Manitoba’s total case tally to 18,069.
Of those, 8,535 are considered recovered from COVID-19, while 9,172 are still deemed active, though Roussin has previously said that number is inflated because of a data entry backlog.
An outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at the Brandon Correctional Centre, which has been moved to the critical red level on the pandemic response system, Roussin said.
The deaths announced Friday, which bring the province’s total to 362, include two women in their 90s linked to Brandon’s Fairview Personal Care Home, Roussin said. The most recent deaths also include two other people linked to outbreaks in Winnipeg: a woman in her 80s linked to Lions Manor Senior Housing and a man in his 90s linked to Holy Family Home.
The deaths of two Winnipeg men (in their 60s and 90s) and two people in the Southern Health region (a man in his 70s and a woman in her 80s) were also announced Friday.
Most of the cases announced Friday (200) are in the Winnipeg health region, with another 54 in the Southern Health region, Roussin said. The remaining cases are spread out through the Northern Health region (30), the Prairie Mountain Health region (20) and the Interlake-Eastern health region (16).
Possible exposures to COVID-19 are listed by region on the province’s website.
There were 2,706 more COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba on Thursday, bringing the total completed in the province since early February to 365,707.
B.C. COVID-19 vaccine plan: Who gets priority and what is the schedule? – Global News
Henry said Thursday there will only be enough for people in priority groups to start, including vulnerable seniors and health-care workers.
“We are planning to be able to put vaccines into arms, and the first week of January is what we’re planning for to make sure we are absolutely ready, by then at the very least,” Henry said.
She expects there will be two vaccines available to start — the Pfizer vaccine, which is under review right now by Health Canada, and the Moderna vaccine, which is currently in the process of obtaining notice of compliance in Canada.
Henry said it is expected that Canada will get about six million doses of the vaccine and those will be distributed across the country.
Federal government, provinces and Canadian Armed Forces ramp up COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan
The Canadian military has been brought in to help figure out how the vaccine is going to be distributed and administered and the deep freezers needed to store the vaccine are set to be plugged in and ready to use by Dec. 14.
However, it will be up to the provinces to decide who is at the front of the line.
“Our first priority is to make sure we are protecting those who are most at risk,” Henry said Thursday, namely “our seniors and elders in our communities and long-term care homes and in hospitals, here in B.C.”
“Once we have more vaccine available, we will be making it available to all of us in B.C. And that’s when we can get to that point of managing and controlling this pandemic.”
Henry added they are expecting more vaccine doses to be available by April, 2021, and that by Sept. 2021, everyone who wants a vaccine will have received one.
“So, we expect there will be a good lot of people who will be immunized by the summer and through the fall next year, but by the end of the year, anybody who wants vaccine in B.C. and in Canada should have it available to them and should be immunized,” Henry said.
More details on the rollout plan in B.C. are expected to be released next week.
British Columbians divided over mandatory vaccinations
It seems British Columbians are still divided at this time on whether or not they will get the vaccine when it becomes available.
Henry said Wednesday the province does not have a mandatory vaccine program and health officials do not expect COVID-19 immunizations to be mandatory.
Last week, polling done exclusively by Ipsos for Global News showed a drop in support for a mandatory vaccine since the beginning of the month, when it stood at 61 per cent.
That support now stands at 59 per cent, a total drop of 13 percentage points since May 2020.
As well, even though 59 per cent said they would support mandatory vaccination, more than 70 per cent also said they feel nervous about taking a vaccine that was created and rolled out so quickly.
Sixty-nine per cent cited the potential for long-term effects as a major concern.
Tackling vaccine hesitancy amid fight to end COVID-19
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Facebook to remove COVID-19 vaccine-related misinformation – StCatharinesStandard.ca
LONDON – Facebook said Thursday it will start removing false claims about COVID-19 vaccines, in its latest move to counter a tide of coronavirus-related online misinformation.
In the coming weeks, the social network will begin taking down any Facebook or Instagram posts with false information about the vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts.
The U.S. tech giant is taking action as the first COVID-19 vaccines are set to be rolled out. Britain this week became the first country to give emergency authorization for a vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, and innoculations could start within days. Regulators in the U.S., the European Union and Canada are also vetting vaccines.
Facebook said it’s applying a policy to remove virus misinformation that could lead to “imminent physical harm.“
Posts that fall afoul of the policy could include phoney claims about vaccine safety, efficacy, ingredients or side effects.
“For example, we will remove false claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips, or anything else that isn’t on the official vaccine ingredient list,“ the company said in a blog post.
Conspiracy theories about the vaccines that are already known to be false will also be removed.
Facebook has taken other steps to try to stop the spread of vaccine and coronavirus-related misinformation on its platform. From March to October, it has removed 12 million posts with coronavirus-related misinformation. The deleted posts include one by President Donald Trump with a link to a Fox News video of him saying children are “virtually immune” to the virus.
In October, the company banned ads discouraging vaccinations, though it made an exception for advocacy ads about government vaccine policies. The company has also promoted articles debunking COVID-19 misinformation on an information centre.
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