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COVID-19 Hospitalizations Holding Steady In NB – 91.9 The Bend



The number of people in hospital due to COVID-19 is holding steady across New Brunswick.

Provincial health officials reported on Sunday, there are 79 people in hospital, which is down from 80 on Saturday,

The number of patients in intensive care is now at 16 compared to 17 on Saturday.

The province is also reporting another virus-related death, which brings the total to 172.

Officials did not release details on their age or which region of the province they are from.

On Sunday, based on PCR testing, officials reported 201 new COVID-19 cases and 165 recoveries.

Breaking cases down by region, there are:

  • 72 in the Moncton region
  • 56 in the Saint John region
  • 25 in the Bathurst region
  • 18 in the Fredericton region
  • 16 in the Edmundston region
  • 13 in the Miramichi region
  • 1 in the Campbellton region

There are 7,933 known active cases in the province, based on PCR testing. That includes 3,176 active cases in the Saint John area and 2,152 are in the Moncton region.

As of today, 90.8 per cent of eligible residents have one dose of a vaccine, 83.1 per cent are fully vaccinated, and 25.4 per cent have a booster dose.

The rate of new cases is 29.8 per 100,000 for the fully vaccinated, 8.8 per 100,000 for the partially vaccinated, and 10 per 100,000 for the unvaccinated.

Of those currently in hospital, the rate is 8.7 per 100,000 for the fully vaccinated, 5.3 per 100,000 for the partially vaccinated, and 22 per 100,000 for the unvaccinated.

Among those in the ICU, the rates are 1.3 per 100,000 for the fully vaccinated, 0 per 100,000 for the partially vaccinated, and 8 per 100,000 for the unvaccinated.

For all of the details, visit the GNB COVID-19 Dashboard.

With files from Brad Perry and Tim Herd

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Health officials in Prince Edward Island report 231 new cases of COVID-19 – The Record (New Westminster)



CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Prince Edward Island are reporting 231 new cases of COVID-19 today, including new infections at two long-term care facilities.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says there has been an average of 215 new cases per day over the last week.

There are 1,934 active reported cases on the Island.  

Morrison says there are seven people hospitalized with the disease, including one in intensive care.  

The outbreak at the Atlantic Baptist Long Term Care Facility has six new cases, for a total of 25, while the Garden Home Long Term Care Facility has two new cases, for a total of 15.  

Morrison says there are also five new cases, for a total of 15, among people who regularly access shelters and outreach services in Charlottetown.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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Woman living with multiple sclerosis for 20 years says latest research offers hope for answers –



The news that the Epstein-Barr virus plays a role in triggering multiple sclerosis has brought “reassurance” to Allison Markin, who has been living with the condition for two decades. 

“It potentially answers the question that I’ve had for almost 20 years: Why did I get MS? [And] how did I get it?” said Markin, who lives in Penticton, B.C. 

“When you are diagnosed with any illness … you wonder, what did I do? Did I do something wrong? Did I eat something wrong? Did I hurt myself?” she told The Current’s Matt Galloway. 

Markin was diagnosed with MS in 2003, a potentially disabling disease where immune system cells attack the protective coating on nerve fibres. She’s heard many theories about what triggers the condition — including a suggestion, offered by a naturopath when she was first diagnosed, that a nerve was damaged when she had a wisdom tooth removed.

But last week, Harvard University researchers presented a large-scale study that they say provides compelling evidence of a causal association between MS and Epstein-Barr (EBV). This type of herpes virus is widespread in humans, but the researchers say their findings strongly suggest it sets some people on the path to developing MS.

If it was a virus and that’s no fault of mine or anybody else’s, that gives me a little bit of comfort, frankly– Allison Markin

Markin had Epstein-Barr 10 years before her MS diagnosis.

“If it was a virus and that’s no fault of mine or anybody else’s, that gives me a little bit of comfort, quite frankly,” Markin said.

The Harvard study accessed blood samples stored from more than 10 million people in the U.S. military, taken between 1993 and 2013. Recruits who did not show signs of previous EBV infection were tracked, with a subsequent comparison between those who later developed MS, and those who did not. 

Only one of 801 MS patients did not show evidence of prior EBV infection, and researchers said they found no evidence that other viral infections played a role.

The link between EBV and MS has long been suspected among researchers, but Toronto physician Dr. Jiwon Oh said the Harvard research puts that speculation to rest. 

“Because of the size of this study and how long that these people were followed over time, this has given us really strong evidence showing that there likely is a causal link,” said Oh, medical director of the Barlo Multiple Sclerosis Program at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Dr. Jiwon Oh is medical director of the Barlo Multiple Sclerosis Program at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. (Oliver Walters/CBC)

But while EBV affects almost 90 per cent of the human population, the infection does not mean a patient will definitely develop MS. Figures from the MS Society of Canada suggest an estimated 90,000 Canadians are living with the disease, or one in every 400 people.

“It’s probably a combination of many things, including genetics, as well as potentially other environmental factors that all come together with having had an Epstein-Barr virus [infection],” Oh said.

Disease is like a ‘part-time job’

Markin said her MS affects her vision, and brings numbness in her hands. It also leaves some of her muscles weak, and affects her ability to walk.

But the symptoms vary day to day, so each morning she does a “systems check,” to figure out how much she’ll be able to do that day.

“It’s been part of my identity for 20 years, and it’s easier for me to think of it as a part-time job,” she said.

“I live with it, I manage it and I continue with my life.”

The Epstein-Barr virus, which infects most people at some point in their life, as seen through an electron microscope. Researchers have linked the virus to the later development of multiple sclerosis. (Linda Bartlett/National Cancer Institute)

That involves “figuring out what helps me, what makes me feel better, what may trigger inflammation,” she said. She also consults with her health-care team about what treatments are available “to manage my symptoms better than the day before.”

Oh said the Harvard study’s findings probably won’t have an immediate impact on existing treatments for MS, but she doesn’t want people to think the research won’t contribute in the long run. 

It may be used to help draw support for additional studies, she said, as well as “fuel, number one, the development of an EBV vaccine.”

Some research to develop Epstein-Barr vaccines is already underway, including a small study just started by Moderna.

Oh thinks the research will speed up the vaccine development time frame, but warned that “good science and good therapeutics take time” — possibly “many, many years.”

Markin said the idea that we will one day be able to stop people from developing MS is “very exciting.”

“But the hope for me is that someone who might be going through symptoms — today, tomorrow, next year — will get better answers than I did when I was first diagnosed,” she said.

Written by Padraig Moran, with files from the Associated Press. Produced by Julie Crysler, Matt Meuse and Ryan Chatterjee. 

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7 in hospital as P.E.I. announces more cases, recoveries of COVID-19 –



There are seven people on P.E.I. in hospital — including one in the Intensive Care Unit — being treated for COVID-19, the Chief Public Health Office said in a news release Monday.

 Dr. Heather Morrison announced 231 new cases of COVID-19 and 378 new recoveries as of 8 a.m.

COVID-19 testing clinics at Charlottetown and Slemon Park reached capacity and stopped taking new arrivals as of 2 p.m. The clinics will reopen Tuesday at 8 a.m.

As well, the mobile testing clinic will move from Montague to the O’Leary hospital on Tuesday due to increased demand in western P.E.I. It will also be on site in O’Leary on Wednesday and Friday. It will be in Montague on Thursday. 

It will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.

The CPHO also provided an update on the outbreaks across P.E.I.

  • Atlantic Baptist long-term care facility: Six new cases, 25 total.
  • Garden Home long-term care facility: Two new cases, 15 total.
  • Miscouche Villa community care facility: No new cases, nine total.
  • Early learning and childcare centres: 16 centres with cases, 10 are fully open, three are open with reduced or modified capacity and three are closed.
  • Shelters and outreach services: Five new cases, 15 total, among individuals who regularly access shelters and outreach services in Charlottetown.
  • Provincial Correctional Centre: No new cases.

Cindy Campbell, health-care manager of Miscouche Villa, said there is only one active case at the home and they are hoping that person will be fully recovered soon.

Residents ‘pretty co-operative’

She said the cases in the facility were mild, with residents having runny noses and being more tired than usual. 

“A lot of the residents that I have here are mental-health [patients] and they run from ages 23 to 86 and it is really hard to deal with that kind of a crowd in the age group,” she said.

“I figured that I would have trouble isolating and wearing the masks and, you know, the distancing, but a lot of them were pretty co-operative, we did really well.”

The outbreaks have caused staff at some long-term care facilities to go into isolation, and the P.E.I. government’s plan to address staffing shortages caused some concerns recently. 

Over the weekend, the province reached out to workers in various government departments, including P.E.I. school staff, asking if any would be available to help at long-term care homes. 

Karen Jackson, president of P.E.I.’s Union of Public Sector Employees, which represents many long-term care home workers, questioned what work people with no training or experience will be qualified to do. 

“I, as a health-care worker myself, would be fairly uncomfortable with having someone come in with no training,” she said.

“There’s lots of safety issues … like with transfers, lifting, repositioning patients, feeding patients that have difficulty swallowing. There’s just a lot of risk factors. Our members are professionals. They’ve been trained professionally to do this, and it’s not something you learn overnight.”

About 50 answered call to help

P.E.I.’s health minister on Monday told CBC News no one will be asked to do any work that goes beyond their qualifications. 

He said so far about 50 people have offered to help. Half that many have actually been hired to work so far, most of them substitute teachers and nursing students from UPEI.

P.E.I’s Official Opposition has questioned why government isn’t asking the military for assistance at long-term care homes, as other provinces have done to help deal with worker shortages throughout the pandemic 

Health P.E.I. said as of Jan. 12, 95.9 per cent of eligible Island residents age 12 years and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 92.6 per cent are fully vaccinated with two doses.

More than 56 per cent of children age 5-11 years have received their first dose.

There are currently 1,934 active cases of COVID-19 and there have been 4,401 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Over the last seven days there have been an average of 215 cases per day.

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