Public health officials declared a COVID-19 outbreak on the weekend at the Haldimand-Norfolk REACH Child Care Centre at McKinnon Park Secondary School in Caledonia.
The health unit says a child tested positive for the novel coronavirus and that the agency is awaiting further test results from those who recently worked and attended the facility.
The infected child is not currently attending the centre. Close contacts have been identified and are now self-isolating, according to Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.
Under a “public health management” plan, only those who attended the affected class have been told to stay home. Children in other classes are being allowed to resume activities at the care centre.
Haldimand-Norfolk reports four new COVID-19 cases
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The region has a total of 479 lab-confirmed, positive cases.
Officials say 423 of those patients have since recovered.
The region has 32 COVID-19-connected deaths, with 27 among residents at Anson Place Care Centre, a nursing home in Hagersville.
There are currently 24 active cases in the region.
Niagara Region reports one new COVID-19 case
Niagara public health reported one new COVID-19 case on Monday. The region has 938 total cases as of Aug. 31.
The region has 21 active cases and two outbreaks, including an institutional outbreak at the Garrison Place Retirement home in Fort Erie, declared on Thursday.
Sixty-four people with COVID-19 have died in Niagara since the pandemic began.
Brant County reports no new COVID-19 cases
Brant County’s health unit reported no new COVID-19 cases on Monday.
The region still has 161 confirmed cases as of Aug. 31, with its last reported case coming on Sunday.
Since the pandemic began, five deaths have been connected to the new coronavirus.
There are no reported outbreaks and the county has seven active COVID-19 cases.
Hamilton has 67 active COVID-19 cases
Hamilton public health says about 61 per cent of its new coronavirus cases in the last 10 days have come from people under the age of 30.
On Friday, the agency reported that 32 per cent of its 31 recent cases came from residents aged 10 to 19.
The city has 67 active cases of the virus, with roughly 52 per cent (16) of new cases in the last 10 days still under investigation with no source of the spread yet confirmed.
Since the pandemic began, Hamilton has had a total of 980 confirmed cases, which includes 45 deaths.
The city has no current institutional outbreaks as of Aug. 28.
Halton Region reports three new COVID-19 cases
On Friday, Halton public health reported three new COVID-19 cases, with two in Milton and the other in Oakville.
As of Aug. 28, the region has 29 active cases and a total of 971 cases since the pandemic began.
The region still has 25 deaths tied to COVID-19 as of Friday and no current institutional outbreaks.
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Toronto ties four COVID cases to local club – Caledon Enterprise
Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July – Powell River Peak
VANCOUVER — Health care workers in Canada made up about 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections as of late July, a figure that was higher than the global average.
In a report released earlier this month, the Canadian Institute for Health Information said 19.4 per cent of those who tested positive for the virus as of July 23 were health-care workers. Twelve health care workers, nine from Ontario and three from Quebec, died from COVID-19, it said.
The World Health Organization said in July that health-care workers made up 10 per cent of global COVID-19 infections.
A national federation of nurses’ unions blames the infection rate on a slow response to the pandemic, a shortage of labour and a lack of personal protective equipment.
Mahi Etminan, a registered oncology nurse who was working at a hospital in Vancouver in mid-March, says she doesn’t know how she was infected by COVID-19.
“It could have been anywhere in the hospital,” she said.
“In March, we weren’t required to really wear any masks or anything.”
Etminan said she has tested negative for the virus twice but still feels the after-effects of her illness. She tires easily, has lost her sense of taste — even salt — and is losing chunks of her hair.
She agrees with the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions that proper precautions weren’t put in place to deal with COVID-19.
“I think we were behind in putting a proper protocol in place,” Etminan said.
Linda Silas, president of the 200,000-member nurses’ federation, said Canadian hospitals approached COVID-19 based on the findings of a 2003 Ontario government commission into SARS.
“I thought we were ready,” Silas said in an interview.
“And then mid-March, early March, we realized how unready we were. And that’s one of the reasons that we have one of the highest levels of health-care workers getting infected.”
She said with the routes of transmission for the virus being uncertain — and later research showing it was possible the virus could be airborne — it was critical that health care workers get full protection.
The Ontario government convened the commission to investigate the origin, spread and response to SARS. One of the key recommendations of the report was improving the safety of health-care workers.
Ontario Health Ministry spokesman David Jensen said lessons learned from SARS have been implemented, including giving more powers to the chief medical officer of health to issue directives to workers and organizations.
The province recommends health-care workers use appropriate precautions when conducting clinical assessments, testing and caring for patients who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, he said.
The approach to the novel coronavirus was taken on a precautionary basis because little information was available about its transmission and clinical severity, Jensen said in an email response to questions.
“The majority of cases are linked to person-to-person transmission through close direct contact with someone who has COVID-19. There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through the airborne route.”
The World Health Organization acknowledged in July the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions.
It said those most at risk from airborne spread are doctors and nurses who perform specialized procedures, such as inserting a breathing tube or putting patients on a ventilator.
Michael Brauer, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s school of population and public health, said COVID-19 doesn’t fit the traditional airborne model where viruses remain infectious over long distances and time periods.
“There’s been a little bit of an evolution in our understanding of the transmission,” he said, adding there was evidence as early as March that showed the virus can be transmitted via air.
While early on more attention was paid to surface transmission, it now seems as though the airborne route is more prominent, he said.
Health Canada spokeswoman Tammy Jarbeau said long-term care facilities and retirement homes were among the hardest hit during the peak of COVID-19 in the spring, likely affecting health-care workers.
The federal government is working with the Canadian Institute for Health Information to better understand the virus, including expanding case data for health-care workers.
The Quebec government said the high rate of community contamination in the province coupled with a labour shortage at the beginning of the pandemic affected health-care workers who were working in several long-term care homes to maintain essential services.
“In recent months, Quebec has gone through an unprecedented health crisis,” said Robert Maranda, a spokesman for the ministry of health and social services.
The plan to deal with COVID-19 was based mainly on the experience gleaned from the 2009 swine flu pandemic, he said.
“However, H1N1 influenza is not the same virus that we are currently fighting against,” Maranda said.
“A person with COVID-19 can transmit the virus without having any symptoms, which is not the case with the flu.”
But as more is known about the new coronavirus, he said the province’s response has changed, including no longer allowing health-care workers to work in different places.
Silas said the nurses’ federation has started an investigation led by a former senior adviser to the SARS commission into why Canada didn’t better protect health-care workers from COVID-19. The report is expected later this year.
The Public Health Agency has done a poor job of gathering data about health-care workers infected with COVID-19, she said, adding that the federation has relied on data collected by Statistics Canada.
“There’s this lack of information flowing,” Silas said.
Natalie Mohamed, a spokeswoman for the Public Health Agency, said 25 per cent of all reported cases were among people who describe themselves as working in health care and it has been collecting data from the provinces and territories since March.
Those who identify themselves as health-care workers include physicians, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, residential home workers, cleaners, janitorial staff and volunteers.
Some health-care workers may also be getting infected outside work, Mohamed said, although exposure data is incomplete.
The associate executive director of the Canadian Medical Protective Association, which provides advice and assistance in medical-legal matters to doctors, said it began fielding concerns from members about a lack of protective equipment when the virus started spreading.
Dr. Todd Watkins said the questions have shifted to how things will be handled in the future.
“Will there be a second wave and how am I going to respond to that? Is my clinic prepared for that? Will there be appropriate protective gear?”
Christine Nielsen, chief executive officer of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science, said the flow of information is affected by the fact the provinces and territories deliver health care and they could collect data differently.
“There’s room for improvement with how public health has responded,” she said. “Just the scale of the pandemic has really caught everyone off guard.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 19, 2020.
B.C. to publish a list of school COVID-19 exposures, outbreaks – Prince George Citizen
The B.C. government intends to publish online all COVID-19 school exposure and outbreak events.
The move follows the first of five health authorities to provide its own online list of exposures or outbreaks, a ministry spokesperson confirmed.
Fraser Health announced Wednesday a web page that will list all such events by school district.
The website does not provide any details of a so-called exposure and it’s not yet clear if more details will be provided for an outbreak and whether such details will be updated as cases are confirmed.
An exposure is when someone who attended the school tested positive for COVID-19 and does not mean the disease was transmitted. Only an outbreak notice is an indication public health authorities have determined transmission in a school setting.
Parents do not need to take action if there is an exposure event, unless contacted by a health official (contact tracer) or school official, states Fraser Health.
“We have a responsibility to be transparent, clear, and current in our communication to parents, teachers, and students about COVID-19 exposures in schools in our region, and the launch of our COVID-19 school exposures webpage provides us with an opportunity to do just that,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health president and CEO, via a media statement. “This new page is a tool for us to help keep the lines of communication open and give schools and families the resources they need to feel safe and reassured.”
Fraser Health oversees 11 school districts between Burnaby and Hope, including Delta and Surrey.
The list shows six exposure events, to date. One at Delta secondary school and five others in Surrey.
More details appear to be provided specifically to parents via the school districts, who are in cross communications with the health authority.
In a letter to parents Wednesday, Delta district superintendent Doug Sheppard noted a key point for families to remember is that Fraser Health will connect directly with any individuals who may have been exposed with further instructions via phone call or letter. If someone is contacted by Fraser Health, they’re asked to follow the health authority’s advice carefully.
Sheppard said the protocol in such circumstances includes:
- Fraser Health Authority will initiate contact tracing
- FHA will determine how the individual was infected and who they were in close contact with
- The heath authority will determine if close contacts will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days
- Only public health can determine who is a close contact.
With files from Delta-Optimist
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