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Coronavirus: BC officials still struggling to stop rapid transmission, spread as numbers soar – PrinceGeorgeMatters.com

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B.C.’s COVID-19 curve continues to bend the wrong way.

A day after B.C. recorded more than 1,000 cases in a single-day count for the first time in the pandemic, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry appeared on camera this afternoon (April 1) and said 832 more tests came back positive for the virus during the past 24 hours for a new grand total of 100,880. 

Of those infections, Northern Health added 39, which brings the authority total to 6,043 since March 14, 2020. 

There have been five new COVID-linked deaths, which raises the province’s toll to 1,463.

There are currently 296 people in hospital, 79 of which are admitted in ICU or critical care.

As health authorities are continuing to struggle to contain rapid spread and transmission, Prince George is also seeing rising case counts.

According to the latest Geographic Distribution of COVID-19 by Local Health Area of Case Residence, the northern capital’s region recorded 58 cases between March 21-27, 2021. 

A week earlier, from March 14-20, 2021, the area saw 39 cases counted. 

Prince Rupert continues to see high numbers, but caseloads have dropped to under 100, the latest data shows, with the region tallying 80 cases.

Peace River South has seen a sharp increase during the past seven-day reporting period with 92 cases, while Peace River North saw 17. 

In education, up-to-date list of northern B.C. schools marked for a COVID-19 exposure, and listed with a self-monitoring period, is as follows:

  • Duchess Park Secondary (SD57) – March 16-17, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 31, 2021
  • Heather Park Elementary – March 17-19, 2021
    • Self-monitoring periods ends April 2, 2021
  • D.P. Todd Secondary (SD57) – March 18-19, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends April 2, 2021
  • Telkwa Elementary (SD54) – March 1-5, 8-11, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 25, 2021
  • Muheim Memorial Elementary (SD54) – March 1-5, 8-1, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 25, 2021
  • Walnut Park Elementary (SD54) – March 1-5, 8-11, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 25, 2021
  • Smithers Secondary (SD54) – March 1-5, 8-11, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 25, 2021
  • Moberly Lake Elementary (SD59) – March 8-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • Conrad Elementary School (SD52) – March 11-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • St. Joseph’s School (Independent) – March 1-5, 8, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 25, 2021
  • Spruceland Traditional Elementary (SD57) – March 12, 15-19, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends April 2, 2021
  • St. Joseph’s School – Smithers (Independent) – March 1-5, 8-11, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 25, 2021
  • Valemount Secondary (SD57) – March 12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • Conrad Elementary School (SD82) – March 8-9, 11, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 25, 2021
  • DP Todd Secondary (SD57) – March 12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • Chief Matthews School (Independent) – March 11-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • Notre Dame School (SD59) – March 8-9, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 24, 2021
  • College Heights Secondary (SD57) – March 15-17, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 31, 2021
  • Heather Park Elementary (SD57) – March 10, 11-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • Notre Dame School (SD59) – March 8-9, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 23, 2021
  • Ecole Roosevelt Park Community School (SD52) – March 10-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • Lax Kxeen Elementary (SD52) – March 10-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021 
  • Pacific Coast School (SD52) – March 10-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring ends March 26, 2021
  • Caledonia Secondary (SD82) – March 5, 8-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • Kildala Elementary (SD82) – March 12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • Cassie Hall Elementary (SD82) – March 10-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring periods ends March 26, 2021
  • William Konkin Elementary (SD91) – March 10-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • Mount Elizabeth Secondary (SD82) – March 10-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • Hazelton Secondary (SD82) – March 11, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 25, 2021
  • Ecole Roosevelt Park Community School (SD52) – March 9-11, 2021
    • Sel-monitoring period ends March 25, 2021
  • Charles Hays Secondary – March 8, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 22, 2021
  • Charles Hays Secondary (SD52) – March 10-12, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 26, 2021
  • Kildala Elementary (SD82) – March 11, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 25, 2021
  • Chief Matthews School (Independent) – March 8, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 22, 2021
  • Valemount Elementary (SD57) – March 8-9, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 23, 2021
  • College Heights Secondary (SD57) – March 8-9, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 22, 2021
  • Caledonia Secondary (SD82) – March 8-9, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 23, 2021
  • Lax Kxeen Elementary (SD52) – March 8, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 22, 2021
  • Prince Rupert Middle (SD52) – March 8-10, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 24, 2021
  • Conrad Elementary (SD52) – March 8-9, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 22, 2021
  • Skeena Middle (SD82) – March 1-5, 8, 2021
    • Self-monitoring periods ends March 22, 2021
  • Dawson Creek Secondary – South Peace campus (SD59) – March 5, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 19, 2021
  • Kildala Elementary (SD82) – March 8, 2021
    • Self-monitoring period ends March 22, 2021

Northern Health’s school-exposure section explains the following:

  • Contact tracing is initiated to determine how the individual was infected and who they were in close contact with
  • We identify and notify close contacts who may be at an increased risk, and advise them to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days
  • Only Public Health can determine who is a close contact
    • Learning groups, friends or other connections may not be determined to be a close contact
  • Public Health staff works closely with the school and school district throughout the case and contact management process to maintain close communication with the school community

More to come…

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Exclusive-Canada’s Ontario to expand use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine as epidemic rages

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By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian province of Ontario will begin offering AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday to people turning 40 or older this year, according to a government source.

The change will broaden access to vaccines as a third wave of infections threatens to overwhelm hospitals in Canada‘s most-populous province, and should make it easier to use doses that in some cases have been accumulating at pharmacies.

The change will be announced on Monday and go into effect across the province on Tuesday, according to the source. The vaccine has already been distributed to pharmacies but currently can only be given to people turning 55 or older this year.

Ontario announced new public health measures on Friday, promising checkpoints at provincial borders, new police powers and closing outdoor amenities, while leaving many workplaces open. The measures were widely criticized by doctors and public health experts, and the province quickly reopened playgrounds and modified the new police powers.

On March 29, Health Canada said it would review reports of serious blood clots and bleeding in a small number of people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries, and an independent panel called the National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI) recommended that it only be given to people 55 and older. All provinces followed that advice.

But NACI’s recommendations are not binding. Last week, Health Canada, the country’s drug regulator, said it had reviewed all available evidence and would not restrict the use of the vaccine, because its benefits outweigh its potential risks. Health Canada said at the time that NACI was reviewing its recommendations.

On Sunday, NACI’s chair told Reuters that the panel would make a new recommendation on Tuesday.

Health Canada said regulators in the UK had estimated the risk of clots to be very small, roughly four in a million people who receive the vaccine. It also said the complication was treatable. Two people have developed it in Canada, and both are recovering.

Several other countries have limited the use of the vaccine to older people. Denmark has withdrawn the shot, and Norway said on Thursday it would take more time to decide whether to resume use.

Ontario reported 4,250 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The Ontario Hospital Association said 59 patients were admitted to intensive care on Saturday, bringing the number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs to 737.

Health Canada says those who receive the vaccine should seek medical attention immediately if they experience shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent belly pain, neurological symptoms like severe headaches or blurred vision, or skin bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection.

 

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Diane Craft and Peter Cooney)

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Trudeau mobilizes federal workers to battle COVID-19 in Toronto and rest of Ontario

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday he would send federal healthcare workers to help Toronto and the province of Ontario battle a third wave of COVID-19 infections that has forced shutdowns of schools and businesses.

“We are mobilizing federal healthcare workers from across government departments to deploy on the front lines in Ontario and specifically the Greater Toronto area where the situation is most critical,” Trudeau said in a video posted on Twitter.

Other provinces, especially on the Atlantic coast, are working “to determine what human resources and equipment they could free up over the coming days,” Trudeau said, adding that the federal government would cover the costs of that help.

The government will also seek to boost rapid testing, especially for essential workers, Trudeau said.

The government of Ontario, Canada‘s most-populous province and industrial powerhouse, has moved schools online and announced more stringent public health measures on Friday, including shutting the provincial borders to non-essential travel.

On Saturday, federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair deployed two mobile health units to set up more hospital beds in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, and the prime minister said he stood ready to send the Red Cross to staff mobile vaccination clinics in Ontario if help is requested.

Canada‘s seven-day average of new infections was 8,669, the chief medical officer said on Sunday, a 26% increase compared with the previous seven days. Ontario reported 4,250 new cases on Sunday.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

More than 48 million doses are to be delivered by the end of June, which is enough for all of Canada‘s population of some 38 million to receive at least one shot, with a total of 100 million doses expected by the end of September.

 

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Canada has second case of rare blood clots after AstraZeneca vaccin

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(Reuters) – Canada on Saturday reported a second case of rare blood clots with low platelets after immunization with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in a week, while it said it still recommended the use of the shot.

The person who experienced the very rare event has been treated and is recovering, Canada‘s health ministry said in a statement, adding that the person lives in the province of Alberta.

Based on the evidence available, Canada still maintains that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the potential risks, the statement said.

Canada health authorities “will continue to monitor the use of all COVID-19 vaccines closely and examine and assess any new safety concerns,” the statement said.

Canada reported a first blood clotting associated with the vaccine on Tuesday, and a day later, after a review, health authorities said they would not restrict use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A separate advisory council had earlier recommended Canada stop offering the vaccine to people under 55. That panel is in the process of reviewing its advice.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign, but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

Amid a spiking third wave of infections, Ontario, Canada‘s most populous province, announced new public health restrictions on Friday, including closing the provinces borders to domestic travelers.

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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