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COVID-19 detected in wastewater samples in Deer Lake, says Health Department – CBC.ca

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Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Health says it has detected COVID-19 in wastewater samples in Deer Lake. (Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press)

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Health is advising residents of Deer Lake who have any COVID-19 symptoms to get tested for the disease, after it was detected during wastewater testing.

While the result is not a cause for alarm, said the department in a media release Tuesday, it indicates the coronavirus is in the area. 

According to the Health Department, collecting wastewater samples helps serve as an “early warning system” for detecting the virus in a community.

The wastewater-testing program in the Newfoundland and Labrador has been using regular surveillance for COVID-19 since Feb. 15, said the department.

“This form of surveillance has been found to uncover trends of COVID-19 in the community four to 10 days earlier than clinical data would by detecting the presence of the virus in asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic populations,” reads the release.

According to the department, 216 wastewater samples have been collected from St. John’s, Paradise, Conception Bay South, Gander, Torbay, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Clarenville, Deer Lake, Corner Brook, Stephenville, Labrador City and Wabush to date.

Of those samples, four have tested positive for COVID-19.

The samples are analyzed by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg at no cost to the province. 

Further, public health is also advising travellers who came through the Deer Lake airport between Nov. 19 and Nov. 22 to arrange for testing, if they are symptomatic.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald is scheduled to hold a media briefing on Wednesday at 2 p.m. NT to deliver the province’s latest COVID-19 update.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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P.E.I. reports another COVID-19 death; 9 people in hospital – CBC.ca

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P.E.I. has announced announced another death related to COVID-19, raising the province’s total to six.

The person was over age 80, according to a release from the Chief Public Health Office on Sunday. No further details were released about the death.

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 increased to nine as of early Sunday. One person is in intensive care.

Four other people in hospital for other reasons have also tested positive for the virus.

The province has declared a new outbreak at the Summerset Manor long-term care facility in Summerside. 

There are currently six long-term care facilities, two community care facilities, 19 early learning and child-care centres and five other congregate settings with outbreaks:

  • Andrews of Park West.
  • Atlantic Baptist.
  • Beach Grove Home.
  • Clinton View Lodge.
  • Garden Home.
  • Summerset Manor.
  • Bevan Lodge.
  • Miscouche Villa.
  • Nineteen early learning and child-care centres. Five open, six closed and eight operating at reduced capacity.
  • Population that accesses shelter and outreach services in Charlottetown.
  • Prince County Correctional Centre.
  • Provincial Addictions Treatment Facility.
  • Provincial Correctional Centre.
  • St. Eleanor’s House.

There are 209 new cases and 214 recoveries in Sunday’s update. On average, 279 cases per day have been reported over the last week.

P.E.I. has 2,484 active cases and there have been 6,125 cases since the pandemic began.

Hundreds of vaccination appointments are still available this week, according to the release, including dedicated appointments for children.

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New Brunswick reports two additional deaths related to COVID-19 Sunday – CTV News Atlantic

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Health officials in New Brunswick said Sunday that a person in their 80s in the Moncton region and a person in their 70s in the Bathurst region have died as a result of COVID-19.

HOSPITALIZATIONS

In a news release Sunday, public health reported there are a total of 126 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province. Ten people are currently in intensive care.

Of those currently hospitalized, 74 were admitted for reasons other than COVID-19.

Of those in hospital, 101 are 60 or over, and six people are on a ventilator. Public health said Sunday that three people 19 and under are currently hospitalized.

The province said the rate of people hospitalized and in ICU continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated and those who are over six months from their second dose.

PARENTS ENCOURAGED TO CHILDREN VACCINATED

Officials are urging parents and guardians to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for their child’s first or second dose if they have not yet done so.

Children aged five to 11 who have already received their first dose of the vaccine are eligible to receive their second dose once eight weeks have passed since their first dose.

“Children are expected to return to in-person school by the end of the month and will benefit greatly from vaccination,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health in a news release Sunday.

“I’m calling on all parents with kids in this age group to book an appointment now for their child’s first dose if they are not yet vaccinated, or for their second dose if they are eligible.”

BOOSTER SHOTS AVAILABLE

The New Brunswick government is encouraging those eligible for a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to book their appointment to help slow the spread of the virus.

Booster doses are available to everyone 18 and older, as long as five months have passed since their second dose.

To date, 62.3 per cent of the eligible population of people 50 and older have received their booster dose.

Appointments can be booked online at vaccination clinics offered through the Vitalité and Horizon health networks.

Many pharmacies across the province are also offering vaccine clinics. Appointments can be made by contacting a participating pharmacy directly.

Those unable to book an appointment online, or who otherwise need assistance booking through a health authority clinic or pharmacy, may call 1-833-437-1424.

Since Jan. 10, more than 44,000 appointments have been booked for booster doses of an mRNA vaccine.

LEVEL 3 RESTRICTIONS

New Brunswick is currently in Level 3 phase of the winter plan to manage COVID-19.

Premier Blaine Higgs said Friday that vaccinating more children against COVID-19 and ensuring more adults receive their booster dose over the next week will help New Brunswick return to Level 2 of the winter plan on Jan. 30 at 11:59 p.m.

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COVID-19: Tools to combat Omicron remain unchanged as province shifts pandemic strategy, expert says – Vancouver Sun

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Wear a mask and distance in indoor public spaces, wash your hands often and stay home if you’re sick. Ventilation of indoor spaces is also important.

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B.C. has changed its strategy on how it will manage COVID-19, shortening isolation times, tightening eligibility for testing and doing away with contact tracing.

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The changes are taking place as the rapidly transmissible Omicron variant has exploded in B.C., but with evidence that it causes less severe illness in most people and a belief that the latest wave peaked earlier in January.

The changes have caused some confusion.

Dr. Brian Conway, president and medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, say, however, that in the face of these changes, the tools to provide protection from infection have changed little.

Wear a mask and distance in indoor public spaces, wash your hands often and stay home if you’re sick. Ventilation of indoor spaces is also important.

If you’re not vaccinated for COVID, get vaccinated.

“I think the vaccination piece is going to continue to be key,” says Conway.

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While vaccination rates are high in B.C., there are still several hundred thousand people who have chosen not get vaccinated, noted Conway.

And there are blank spots, he said.

As part of the work the infectious disease centre does, it canvassed a single room occupancy hotel in the Downtown Eastside where it found that 30 of 100 residents hadn’t been vaccinated even though health authorities believed they had very good coverage.

More than 10.3 million jabs have been delivered in the province, with 90 per cent of those 12 and older fully vaccinated with two doses.

“It’s a tremendous success but what we need is 15 million,” said Conway.

On Friday, in the province’s latest COVID briefing, provincial health officials noted that they continue to see a decrease and slowdown in coronavirus cases and “tentatively” a slowing down in hospital admissions.

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However, officials noted that cases and hospitalizations remain high relative to previous levels during the pandemic.

A similar scenario is playing out in other provinces in Canada, including Ontario, and in some countries such as South Africa and the U.K.

B.C. modelling presented earlier this month showed hospitalizations dropping off to a handful of cases a day by mid-February.

As a result of Omicron, the province has made a number of changes in how it will manage the pandemic. Those include dropping contract tracing because of the variant’s shorter incubation period, dispensing with testing to anyone with symptoms and reducing to five the number of days people who have COVID should isolate unless symptoms persist.

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Only those who are in high-risk groups — such as those 70-years-or-older or people who have compromised immune systems — are priority candidates for testing, provincial health officials have explained.

The latest data available shows Omicron  accounts for more than 96 per cent of cases, overtaking the previous Delta variant.

“I absolutely recognize this is a shift, and it means we have to change our way of thinking that we have been working on so intently together for the last two years,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s health officer.

COVID will now be managed much more like other respiratory illnesses such as the flu or even the common cold, said Henry.

Conway noted COVID hasn’t yet moved from the pandemic stage to an endemic illness were transmission level is lower, predictable and doesn’t overwhelm the health-care system.

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There may be a better idea of when the endemic level might happen by the summer, said Conway.

He cautioned, however, that the worldwide vaccination rate is nowhere near where it needs to be to prevent new variants from emerging.

In Africa, most of the countries have rates of less than 20 per cent for at least one dose of vaccine. In India, for example, only about half of the population is fully vaccinated.

Conway said that this reality underscores the need for those who aren’t vaccinated in B.C. to do so.

ghoekstra@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordon_hoekstra


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