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COVID-19 case took two weeks to identify – The Brandon Sun

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A parent whose child had to isolate for 10 days after a COVID-19 test then learned, this past weekend, a case was announced in their child’s school cohort.

The case is from two weeks ago — an entire incubation period.

“Manitoba Public Health officials advised Betty Gibson School on November 13, 2020, of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the grade 3/4 class on November 4th, November 5th, and November 6th when they may have been infectious,” according to the letter signed by Dr. Marc Casavant, superintendent of the Brandon School Division.

That letter is dated Nov. 15.

A second letter, also dated Nov. 15, advises of a “confirmed case of COVID-19 on one of the buses that serve the school on November 4th, November 5th, and November 6th when the case may have been infectious.”

Dr. Linda Ross, the chair of the BSD’s board of trustees, said she believes the two letters refer to the same case.

“You’d have to ask public heath why it takes 10 days,” she said.

“We were advised by public health on Nov. 13, and then we acted on that accordingly. I know that they’re swamped. I know that they need more people, they need more help with contact tracing and all of that. I’m not making excuses for them, but I feel bad for them. I know that they’re working in a very, very difficult situation.”

However, Ross did say it’s concerning that so much time elapsed.

Both letters state, in bold: The infection was not believed to be acquired at school.

That being said, what are parents to do?

“I’m not in a position really to give advice,” Ross said.

“All I can say is what they have been told to do in the letter that came from the school, and also the information that public health provided. People have been advised, if they feel the need, to contact public health, and they will give them directions on self-isolating and so on, and they may or may not recommend testing depending on exposure.”

When asked about the long lag in reporting time, Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said he could not speak to the specific incident.

“There’s no doubt our goal is that people who are symptomatic and going for tests are going to self-isolate, pending results. If we do find a positive case, that was infectious during school, we’re going to notify the cohort. The fastest we can do that the better. We are working on ways to do that.”

Roussin added that, for the most part, contact tracing has dramatically increased in capacity.

“We do hear of these type of scenarios, and they could be outliers. I’ve mentioned there could be other explanations, too, for a delay,” he said.

“If there was a delay in testing. If a person was still staying at home and waited quite a bit of time before they were tested, then we searched back to when their symptoms started, and then that was where we’ll do the contact tracing.”

He did emphasize public health is trying to identify cases quickly, and isolate them, as well as inform contacts.

Another reporter asked how the government’s decision to keep schools open can be justified.

“We look at the importance. We keep the critical things open, and just how important it is to keep the kids in schools … So much benefit to families, to children, their education, their development,” Roussin said.

“We haven’t seen a lot of transmission within the schools. We’ve seen a lot of cases. And so it’s been tested, for sure. We see a lot of cases identified within schools. But, despite that, we’re not seeing a lot of transmission. Now, in saying that, we’re always looking forward to seeing whether we have to make any changes to it. So nothing’s ever been off the table. We’re going to keep everyone safe. That’s the reason why we haven’t made that move at this point.”

Nevertheless, Ross is concerned.

“Not just in these circumstances. But I know that the health-care facilities and health-care services are swamped. And as a result of that, there is this delay between when test results are confirmed and when the information gets delivered. That’s a concern. It’s not just a concern to the school board. It’s a public health concern that that much time goes by.”

Ross also said that it’s the province that calls the shots regarding whether schools remain open or whether they close.

“Those are not local decisions,” she said.

“We take our lead from public health and Manitoba Education.”

» mletourneau@brandonsun.com

» Michele LeTourneau covers Indigenous matters for The Brandon Sun under the Local Journalism Initiative, a federally funded program that supports the creation of original civic journalism.

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COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says, amid rising numbers – NiagaraFallsReview.ca

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Canada remains on a troubling path for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue to mount, the country’s top doctor said Saturday.

The most recent infection rates indicate Canada is on track to hit as many as 10,000 new cases a day by next month, Dr. Theresa Tam said.

“If we continue on the current pace, our longer range models continue to forecast significant increases in daily case counts and estimate that there could be up to 10,000 cases reported daily by mid-December,” Tam said in a written statement.

“Right now, we have a window of opportunity to act collectively together with public health authorities to bring the infection rate down to a safer trajectory.”

Canada is currently recording caseloads at about half that level, with the most recent seven-day average standing at 5,335 between Nov. 20 and Nov. 26.

Tam said Canada is also averaging 76 deaths a day and more than 2,100 people in hospital.

People 80 years and older are experiencing Canada’s highest COVID-19 death rate, and there are now more and larger outbreaks in long-term care facilities, hospitals, group living settings, Indigenous communities and remote areas, she said.

“Those developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies,” Tam said.

Her assessment came as case counts continued to soar in numerous provinces.

Quebec set a new single-day record with 1,480 new infections Saturday as the provincial death toll crossed the 7,000 threshold.

Alberta also broke its own record, reporting 1,731 new cases of the virus on Saturday. It also counted five new deaths.

Ontario logged case numbers just shy of Friday’s one-day record as it reported 1,822 new diagnoses in the past 24 hours.

Case numbers also jumped sharply in Manitoba, where officials recorded 487 new infections and 10 new deaths.

Among those who died was a boy under the age of 10, officials said, though they offered no other details.

Saskatchewan reported 197 COVID-19 cases and one death Saturday.

The province ordered the suspension of team sports earlier this week until Dec. 17 after confirmed COVID-19 cases among several minor and recreational hockey teams.

The Saskatchewan suspension applies to hockey and curling leagues and dance studios.

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The Saskatchewan Health Authority posted notices Saturday of COVID-19 exposure risks at curling and recreation centres at Christopher Lake and Shellbrook. Those curling or socializing at either of the two facilities last month must self-isolate for 14 days, the health authority said.

In British Columbia, Fraser Health announced the closure of an elementary school in Surrey after confirming 16 COVID-19 cases.

Newton Elementary School will close for two weeks, said Fraser Health.

B.C. reported a daily record of 911 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province will update its numbers Monday.

People must continue to practise physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home as much as possible, said a newly appointed member of B.C. Premier John Horgan’s cabinet.

“I just think it’s important for us to be thoughtful and caring, but at the same time it’s critical that people follow the rules because it’s vital to be able to keep our schools open and keep as many of our business open as possible,” said Ravi Kahlon, whose ministry includes economic recovery.

Figures from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador show more modest increases of four and two cases, respectively.

Prince Edward Island reported two new COVID-19 cases, but they involved young males aged 10 and 19.

There were 14 new cases in Nova Scotia and five COVID-19 cases in Nunavut.

Tam redoubled her calls for Canadians to heed public health advice, limit their social interactions and practice physical distancing in a bid to bring surging case counts under control.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.

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COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says – CTV News

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Canada remains on a troubling path for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue to mount, the country’s top doctor said Saturday.

The most recent infection rates indicate Canada is on track to hit as many as 10,000 new cases a day by next month, Dr. Theresa Tam said.

“If we continue on the current pace, our longer range models continue to forecast significant increases in daily case counts and estimate that there could be up to 10,000 cases reported daily by mid-December,” Tam said in a written statement.

“Right now, we have a window of opportunity to act collectively together with public health authorities to bring the infection rate down to a safer trajectory.”

Canada is currently recording caseloads at about half that level, with the most recent seven-day average standing at 5,335 between Nov. 20 and Nov. 26.

Tam said Canada is also averaging 76 deaths a day and more than 2,100 people in hospital.

People 80 years and older are experiencing Canada’s highest COVID-19 death rate, and there are now more and larger outbreaks in long-term care facilities, hospitals, group living settings, Indigenous communities and remote areas, she said.

“Those developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies,” Tam said.

Her assessment came as case counts continued to soar in numerous provinces.

Quebec set a new single-day record with 1,480 new infections Saturday as the provincial death toll crossed the 7,000 threshold.

Alberta also broke its own record, reporting 1,731 new cases of the virus on Saturday. It also counted five new deaths.

Ontario logged case numbers just shy of Friday’s one-day record as it reported 1,822 new diagnoses in the past 24 hours.

Case numbers also jumped sharply in Manitoba, where officials recorded 487 new infections and 10 new deaths.

Among those who died was a boy under the age of 10, officials said, though they offered no other details.

Saskatchewan reported 197 COVID-19 cases and one death Saturday.

The province ordered the suspension of team sports earlier this week until Dec. 17 after confirmed COVID-19 cases among several minor and recreational hockey teams.

The Saskatchewan suspension applies to hockey and curling leagues and dance studios.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority posted notices Saturday of COVID-19 exposure risks at curling and recreation centres at Christopher Lake and Shellbrook. Those curling or socializing at either of the two facilities last month must self-isolate for 14 days, the health authority said.

In British Columbia, Fraser Health announced the closure of an elementary school in Surrey after confirming 16 COVID-19 cases.

Newton Elementary School will close for two weeks, said Fraser Health.

B.C. reported a daily record of 911 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province will update its numbers Monday.

People must continue to practise physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home as much as possible, said a newly appointed member of B.C. Premier John Horgan’s cabinet.

“I just think it’s important for us to be thoughtful and caring, but at the same time it’s critical that people follow the rules because it’s vital to be able to keep our schools open and keep as many of our business open as possible,” said Ravi Kahlon, whose ministry includes economic recovery.

Figures from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador show more modest increases of four and two cases, respectively.

Prince Edward Island reported two new COVID-19 cases, but they involved young males aged 10 and 19.

There were 14 new cases in Nova Scotia and five COVID-19 cases in Nunavut.

Tam redoubled her calls for Canadians to heed public health advice, limit their social interactions and practice physical distancing in a bid to bring surging case counts under control.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.

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'Everything is looking good' for COVID-19 vaccine, but steps remain: uOttawa infectious disease specialist – Newstalk 1010 (iHeartRadio)

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A University of Ottawa infectious disease specialist suggests the prime minister’s goal to vaccinate a majority of Canadians by next September “may be reasonable” given there are several COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Dr. Earl Brown says that while everything is looking good for a COVID-19 vaccine, Health Canada has not approved a vaccine for use in Canada yet.

As the premiers urge the federal government to provide timelines on when a COVID-19 vaccine will be available to the provinces, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his target is to immunize more than half of all Canadians by September, 2021.

“That may be optimistic, but that may be reasonable given that we’ve got three vaccine candidates,” said Dr. Brown, a former member of the H1N1 vaccine task group in Canada.

“The fact is there is no vaccine; a vaccine is a medicine, which is licenced for use in Canada on humans and it would have a drug number.  Nothing like that exists. Now, maybe it will in a week, two weeks, a month, a few weeks.”

During an interview on CTV News at Six with anchor Stefan Keyes, Dr. Brown said there are three very “promising” vaccine candidates, based on the press releases and published phase one and two trials.

“Everything is looking good, but you really have to know that you’ve got a vaccine that’s passed muster, and we don’t know that yet. So we can’t count our chickens before they hatch,” said Dr. Brown, noting officials are demanding timelines for delivery before the vaccine receives approval.

“You really want to know you’ve got something before you go committing yourself. Those are the realities of being careful before you move, and we’re doing the minimum care – which is it has to be passing Health Canada review and get approved.”

Health Canada says Canada’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be approved before Christmas. Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma said the review of the Pfizer vaccine candidate is the most advanced.

This week, the federal government suggested three million Canadians could receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March.

“If we can vaccinate three million health care workers, long-term care facility residents alone between now and the end of March, that’s a tremendous feat,” said Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, during an interview with CTV News Ottawa.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches told Newstalk 580 CFRA this week that the top priority for the COVID-19 vaccine in Ottawa when it arrives is preventing hospitalizations and deaths, especially in long-term care homes.

VACCINE PRODUCTION CAPACITY IN CANADA

Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters that Canada no longer has production capacity to produce life-saving vaccines.

Appearing on CTV’s Your Morning this week, Dr. Brown said Canadian administrations simply took their “eye off the ball” for vaccine production.

Keyes asked Brown if it’s too late for Canada to get back in the game for a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Well it’s too late on the short term for this pandemic, but we got to get back in to the game. We have to have a readiness to respond to a pandemic with a vaccine,” said Brown Saturday evening

“So our vaccine facilities have essentially dwindled in Canada and so we aren’t able to make a set of vaccine. We should be able to make enough vaccine to give everybody two shots –76 million doses thereabouts. So we should plan to be able to do that within a year with some standing facility.”

Brown adds it’s very tough to do anything financially with a vaccine facility.

“It’s very hard to sell a vaccine or make money on vaccines if that’s what you want to do in the meantime between pandemics.”

Brown says Canada will need to come up with a plan for the future.

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