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Coronavirus: Drive-through clinic to open Monday in downtown Montreal – Montreal Gazette

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The outdoor clinic at Place des Festivals, near Place des Arts, will make it possible to test between 2,000 and 2,500 people per day.

A drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic, with no appointment needed, will open Monday in the heart of downtown Montreal, the regional health authority announced Sunday morning.

Staffed by 200 health-care workers, the outdoor clinic at the Place des Festivals, near Place des Arts, will make it possible to test far more people, the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal announced at an outdoor news conference.

Tents will be set up for the outdoor clinic with the entrance at the corner of St-Urban St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The new test centre will be able to test between 2,000 and 2,500 people a day, compared with the capacity of between 600 and 800 at the existing by-appointment test centre at the former Hôtel-Dieu hospital, said Marie-france Coutu, a communications consultant with the health authority.

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The Hôtel Dieu clinic will be closed to the public and be used to test health-care workers under the Montreal CIUSSS.

“We want to increase the number of screenings we do,” said Caroline Dusablon, regional coordinator of emergency health measures.

Dusablon added that other walk-in clinics will be opened in other areas as and when they are needed in the coming days and weeks.

In order to get tested, people will be required to have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • having returned from a trip abroad in the last 14 days
  • a fever, cough or respiratory problems
  • contact with a person infected with COVID-19

People who come for testing are asked to bring their Medicare card, dress warmly and to come by car. Masks will be provided and people will have the opportunity to wash their hands as soon as they arrive.

“There will be 14 triage stations, 27 registration desks, with a lot that will be located in a large heated tent, 30 screening stations in a large heated tent and about 300 people will on site during the day of opening hours from  8 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” Coutu said.

People who don’t have a car are advised to take a taxi or ask someone to drive them. People who think they are at risk of COVID-19 are asked not to use public transit.

mscott@postmedia.com

Note to readers: We know the speed and volume of coronavirus-related news is overwhelming and a little frightening. To help with that, we will dedicate a Montreal Gazette reporter each day to devote their time to synthesizing the most important coronavirus-related news, especially as it relates to life in Montreal and Quebec. Follow their live updates from March 22 here. All our coronavirus-related news can always be found here: montrealgazette.com/tag/coronavirus

Sign up for our new email newsletter dedicated to local coronavirus coverage here: https://montrealgazette.com/coronavirusnews

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‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand – Red Deer Advocate

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OTTAWA — Canadians have been coming forward in large numbers to donate blood after Canadian Blood Services warned of a possible shortage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blood donor clinics have extended their hours and put in place strict safety protocols for anyone giving blood.

“The response has been tremendous,” Dr. Isra Levy, the agency’s vice-president of medical affairs and innovation, said Friday.

“From our point of view, the numbers are very, very satisfying in the sense that we’re able to match demand with supply. We really need to keep up that altruism that has motivated donors to come in.”

Canadian Blood Services operates a national blood inventory that allows products to be regularly shifted around the country to meet hospital and patient needs.

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis.

Levy warned nearly two weeks ago that Canada was facing a critical blood shortage. Donations had dropped about 20 per cent because of concerns about the novel coronavirus.

Because of a suspension of elective surgeries, the demand for blood is also down about 15 per cent, Levy said Friday.

While things are going well now, he added, the concern is whether Canadians will continue to keep donating over the long run.

“We’re going to have this challenge for many weeks to come and the implication is we’re going to need our donors to really continue to show up,” Levy said.

“They need to think about things not about as an urgent and immediate need for blood, but as an ongoing, pressing concern that we have about a potential for a sudden drop in inventory.”

Calgary’s blood donor clinic had to reduce appointments last week because of long lineups and wait times.

Donors waited behind a red line outside the clinic while checking in. Inside, chairs were placed strategically in the waiting room and every other bed was used. Health workers wiped down every donor station thoroughly between patients.

Some donors recently took to social media to discuss the importance of giving.

“First real trip out of the house in a while to Canadian Blood Services. As a former recipient, I understand first hand the importance of donors,” wrote Katie Mitchell on Instagram.

“They have put great steps in place to have donors maintain social distancing requirements. So happy I wasn’t rejected.”

“My dad needs transfusions every three weeks so in addition to worrying about COVID-19, he’s concerned about blood supply shortages,” wrote Sara Jane O’Neill on Twitter.

“Please donate if you can.”

Levy said some donors in Ottawa have told him that they feel they’re able to make a difference when everything else in the world is out of their control.

“It’s a sense of contribution in an uncertain time,” he said.

“The people who are showing up at our donor collection centres, anecdotally, express a sense of satisfaction that they’re able to do something for the community beyond staying at home and finding ways to fill their time.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2020

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

The Canadian Press

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8 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, bringing total to 72 – CBC.ca

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There are eight new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba, bringing the province’s total to 72.

Health officials made the announcement at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building Sunday morning.

Officials are looking into the new cases to determine where those people got the coronavirus and whether they could have passed it to anyone else.

One of the patients is in an intensive care unit, and another has been admitted to hospital, chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said.

He said two Manitobans have recovered from the virus so far.

The total number of deaths from the virus reported in Manitoba remains at one: a Winnipeg woman in her 60s, who died Friday after she was admitted to an intensive care unit in critical condition the previous week.

More than 7,000 tests for COVID-19 have been done in the province so far.

Roussin reiterated that the measures the province has taken under the Public Health Act will come into effect on Monday, including limiting public gatherings to 10 people and requiring retail businesses like grocery stores to make sure people are one to two metres apart.

These new measures bolster what was previously only a recommendation.

On Saturday, Manitoba saw its biggest jump in COVID-19 cases since the virus was first detected here, as health officials announced 25 new patients had been identified.

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Thunder Bay's third COVID-19 case is spouse of first – Tbnewswatch.com

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THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay’s third confirmed case of COVID-19 is the spouse of the city’s first case, which was announced Friday. At that time, the health unit considered the spouse a probable case. The couple returned from a week-long trip to Florida earlier this month. 

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit announced the new case Sunday, noting the couple had followed guidance to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to Canada. Medical Officer of Health Janet DeMille reiterated that, based on an investigation of the couple’s contacts since returning to the city and their period of infectiousness, there was little risk they had spread the virus.

“We look at how they travelled, who was with them, and the timelines of the travel,” DeMille said Sunday. “We’re still investigating the first case and following up.”

The health unit currently assumes a patient’s period of infectiousness can begin up to 48 hours before the onset of symptoms. That guideline was updated from a benchmark of 24 hours prior to symptoms earlier this week as health authorities learn more about the virus. DeMille said the couple’s return flight into Thunder Bay was not within that period.

The couple remain at home in self-isolation.

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