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Coronavirus: STARS adjusts but course stays same in Saskatchewan – Global News

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Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) has made adjustments as it continues to fly critically ill and injured patients in Saskatchewan amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The air ambulance service’s director of provincial operations, Cindy Seidl, says they have flown COVID-19-positive individuals.

Read more:
Saskatoon paramedics asking all patients to wear surgical masks

“I don’t have the exact number in front of me of COVID-positive patients, but we certainly have transported patients that are COVID positive,” she said.

“STARS does scene calls, which is an extension of 911, so they could be a scene call but more often with those type of patients … they’re (in) rural hospital with symptoms and they kind of deteriorate and need to be transplanted into tertiary care in either Saskatoon or Regina.”

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Seidl, who is also a flight nurse, said the virus has changed the way STARS flight crews provide emergency medical transportation.

“One of the things that has changed for us with the pandemic is our use of PPE (personal protective equipment). So pretty much every mission requires a gown, gloves, mask and shield in order to protect ourselves and the patient,” she said.

In the event that a patient is unconscious, Seidl said the answer is always the same.

“Patients that are unconscious and we can’t actually screen them, they would screen (COVID-19) positive. So a patient that is unconscious and we can’t ask them the proper question to see if they’ve had any symptoms, we would consider them to be positive,” Seidl explained.

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“So we would (then use) … personal protective equipment and then if they were on a ventilator, that’s a closed circuit. We would be fine. And if not, we would put a mask on them as well.”

Read more:
Saskatchewan police conducting coronavirus self-isolation check-ins

Seidl said STARS typically flies an average of about 850 missions annually in the province, has roughly 75 employees and staffs two helicopters 24/7 with a backup aircraft ready.

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“STARS first launched in Saskatchewan April 30, 2012, out of our Regina base and then the Saskatoon base started up Oct. 15, 2012,” Seidl said.

“We’re so fortunate to be here and to be part of the health-care system here in Saskatchewan. So many of our residents live (rurally) and now they have access to timely critical care transport right at the scene of their accident or emergency.”

“STARS is just one link in the chain of survival but as the system and local resources become more taxed and some of these patients that we are transporting are quite critically ill, it certainly, we are able to provide support to that community, to the patients and to those families and transport them into tertiary care in a timely and safe fashion.”

Read more:
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Seidl added that COVID-19 has presents a financial challenge for the non-profit organization.

“Fifty per cent of our operating budget is supplied by the provincial government and we’re very grateful for that. And the other 50 per cent we need to do through fundraising activities,” she said.

“Many of these have been cancelled due to the restrictions put on by COVID. So certainly we’re looking for new and innovative ways to raise funds.

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“We’ve got our outdoor concert coming up on Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Turvey Centre in Regina. So basically, people will come, they’ll park in their cars and they’ll watch the concerts… so that’s kind of a new and fun way event that we’ve launched here in the province.”

STARS also operates from bases in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie and Winnipeg.






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Singing Moose Jaw paramedic has message on mental health


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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health – Goldstream News Gazette

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Alberta Health says 49 active COVID-19 cases have been linked to a wedding in Calgary earlier this month.

The health agency says the wedding had a large number of Albertans from different households.

Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan says aggressive contact tracing is underway to identify anyone who may have been exposed to make sure they are isolating and getting tested.

He did not say how many people attended the wedding and says specifics about individual cases cannot be disclosed because of patient confidentiality.

COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the province say a maximum of 100 people can attend outdoor and indoor seated events, such as wedding ceremonies, funeral services, movie theatres, indoor arts and culture performances.

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings.

“This is a reminder to all Albertans that this virus is still here and any social gathering carries a risk of exposure,” he said in an email Tuesday.

“It is important that nobody attend if they are feeling ill with even mild symptoms, or if they are awaiting test results.”

He says it is also important that organizers do everything possible to comply with the public health guidance in place, including having enough space for physical distancing between cohorts, following gathering size restrictions and avoiding sharing food and utensils.

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Calgary COVID outbreak of at least 49 active cases linked to recent wedding: officials – The Province

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CALGARY — Alberta Health says 49 active COVID-19 cases have been linked to a wedding in Calgary earlier this month.

The health agency says the wedding had a large number of Albertans from different households.

Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan says aggressive contact tracing is underway to identify anyone who may have been exposed to make sure they are isolating and getting tested.

He did not say how many people attended the wedding and says specifics about individual cases cannot be disclosed because of patient confidentiality.

COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the province say a maximum of 100 people can attend outdoor and indoor seated events, such as wedding ceremonies, funeral services, movie theatres, indoor arts and culture performances.

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings.

“This is a reminder to all Albertans that this virus is still here and any social gathering carries a risk of exposure,” he said in an email Tuesday.

“It is important that nobody attend if they are feeling ill with even mild symptoms, or if they are awaiting test results.”

He says it is also important that organizers do everything possible to comply with the public health guidance in place, including having enough space for physical distancing between cohorts, following gathering size restrictions and avoiding sharing food and utensils.

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Public health urging flu shots amid pandemic – The Sudbury Star

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It’s more important than ever to get a flu shot this year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, say public health officials.

“We definitely want people to get the flu shot this year,” said Lambton medical officer of health Dr. Sudit Ranade. “There are early indications that it may offer additional protection against COVID-19.”

The degree of that protection isn’t clear, he said, “but even if it’s a little bit, it’s probably worth taking this year.”

There’s “very preliminary research” in countries that have already had COVID-19 outbreaks during their winter flu seasons that shows flu shots had an effect on the severity of COVID-19 and disease mortality, he said.

Why also isn’t clear, he said.

“It’s possible it just revs up your immune system a little bit and prepares it to handle all kinds of respiratory diseases, but that’s just speculation.”

Bookings for flu shot clinic appointments via the health unit in Lambton began Oct. 20. People are asked to visit lambtonpublichealth.ca/flu-shot or call 519-383-8331.

Flu shots are also given at pharmacies and via primary-care providers.

The shot, recommended for anyone six months or older, is also helpful to reduce the prevalence of sickness in the community and to keep people from crowding hospital emergency rooms, Ranade said.

Bluewater Health generally plans for a “surge” of patients in winter months.

“The flu vaccine is proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu,” said health unit supervisor Crystal Palleschi in a statement.

“During a pandemic, it’s important to reduce the strain on the health-care system from other infections, so we have the capacity to respond to COVID-19.”

COVID-19 and influenza spread similarly – through coughing, sneezing or touching infected surfaces, health officials said.

People 65 years and older, under five years old, with chronic health conditions, pregnant and living in care facilities are more vulnerable to flu and COVID-related complications, health officials said, urging anyone in close contact with people in those groups to get a flu shot.

Proper handwashing, covering coughs with tissues or sleeves, keeping surfaces clean, and staying home if sick are also important measures to help stop the spread of both viruses, officials said.

“This is one of those years where flu shots are kind of like toilet paper and hair dye – everybody is going to want one,” said Ranade, cautioning people they may have to wait.

“So it’s important to stay patient and recognize that getting your flu shot this year is important, but whether you get it this week, next week, or the week after is not materially different to your risk.”

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