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COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. hit 10-week low – Vancouver Is Awesome

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The number of people in B.C. with serious enough infections to be hospitalized due to the COVID-19 virus has fallen to a 10-week low, according to new data the province released February 3.

Thanks to 16 fewer people in hospital, compared with yesterday, there are now 278 people in that situation, which is the lowest number since November 23, when there were 277 people in hospital. Of those now in hospitals, 80 are in intensive care units. That is down by two from yesterday. 

Another 16 people died from the virus overnight. That is twice as many as yesterday, and it raises the province’s death toll from the virus to 1,234, since the first death was recorded in the province on March 9, 2020.

With 414 new infections, there have been a total of 68,780 cases of COVID-19 in the province since the first case was detected on January 28, 2020. More than 89.6% of those people, or 61,643, are listed as having recovered because they have had two consecutive negative tests. 

There are 4,426 people who are actively battling infections. The data fails to account for 1,477 people, out of the 68,780 total who are listed as having been infected, and health officials have told Glacier Media that the most likely reason for this is the individuals left the province without updating authorities on their status. 

Those officials are closely monitoring 7,049 people for symptoms because those people are known to have been in contact with infected individuals. 

Heathcare workers jabbed 1,694 more arms with vaccine in the past day, with the majority, or 1,320 of those doses, being second doses for the recipients. Both vaccines now being given in the province – the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine – require two doses to be most effective.

The breakdown of where the 414 new cases are located is as follows:
• 108 people in Vancouver Coastal Health (26.1%);
• 182 people in Fraser Health (44%);
• 26 in Island Health (6.2%);
• 63 in Interior Health (15.2%);
• 34 in Northern Health (8.2%) and
• one new infection in a person who lives outside Canada.

“Public health teams have conducted a full investigation at Garibaldi High school,” provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement. 

“Testing has confirmed the original person did have the B.1.1.7 variant of concern [sometimes referred to as the U.K. variant.] They have since recovered and there is no longer an exposure risk. Eighty-one students and eight educators were also tested and all are negative.”

Henry and Dix said that rapid testing at the school indicated one positive case, which was later confirmed as a false positive through the subsequent, more reliable, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

One new outbreak is at Burnaby General Hospital, meaning that there are now nine B.C. hospitals identified as having active COVID-19 outbreaks. They are:
• Burnaby General Hospital in Buranby;
• Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake;
• Mount St. Joseph’s Hospital in Vancouver;
• Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in Nanaimo;
• Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster;
• Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops;
• St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver;
• Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey; and
• University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George.

COVID-19 outbreaks remain at 24 seniors’ care homes, assisted-living facilities and retirement residences across the province. 

The three active outbreaks at seniors’ living facilities in Vancouver Coastal Health are at:
• Hilltop House in Squamish,
• Minoru Residence in Richmond; and
• Holy Family long-term care centre in Vancouver.

There are 12 active outbreaks at seniors’ living facilities in Fraser Health. They are at:
• Bradley Centre in Chilliwack;
• Concord By the Sea in White Rock;
• CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey;
• Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Moody;
• Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
• Glenwood Seniors Community in Agassiz;
• Hilton Villa Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Madison Care Centre in Coquitlam;
• Royal City Manor in New Westminster;
• St. Michael’s Centre Extended Care in Burnaby; and
• Suncreek Village in Surrey.

The two active outbreaks at a seniors’ living facilities in Northern Health are at Jubilee Lodge in Prince George, and Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert.

The six active outbreaks at seniors’ living facilities in Interior Health are at:
• Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre in Kamloops;
• Creekside Landing in Vernon;
• Heritage Square in Vernon;
• Noric House in Vernon;
• Sunnybank Retirement Home in Oliver; and
• Westsyde Care Residences in Kamloops.

The only outbreak at a seniors’ facility in Island Health is at Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

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Quebec health officials confirm 25 monkeypox cases now in province – Global News

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Quebec public health officials are reporting a total of 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province as of Thursday.

Dr. Luc Boileau, interim public health director in the province, described it as a “serious outbreak” of the virus. Officials are investigating several more suspected cases.

“We had about 20 to 30 suspected cases under investigation so far,” Boileau said.

The province will also begin administering the Imvamune vaccine to close contacts of confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox as soon as Friday. A single dose will be provided within four days of exposure to the virus.

Quebec’s Health Ministry said in a statement that a second dose of the vaccine could be administered, but only if the risk of exposure is “still present 28 days later” and “only following a decision by public health authorities.”

READ MORE: Mass vaccinations for monkeypox not needed, WHO official says

Boileau said the majority of confirmed cases in the province are tied mostly to men who have had sexual relations with other men. There has been one case in a person under 18.

Last week, Quebec recorded the first cases of the virus in the country. The first suspected cases were reported on May 12 in Montreal.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that comes from the same family of viruses that causes smallpox, which the World Health Organization declared eradicated around the globe in 1980.

The virus spreads through prolonged closed contact. It can cause fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and lesions.

— with files from Global News’ Dan Spector and the Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Quebec to start monkeypox vaccination of contacts as officials confirm 25 cases

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MONTREAL — Quebec’s interim public health director says the province could start vaccinating people against monkeypox as soon as Friday.

Dr. Luc Boileau says there are now 25 confirmed cases of the disease in the province and about 30 suspected cases are under investigation.

He says the province has received supplies of smallpox vaccine from the federal government, and it will be administered to people who have been in close contact with confirmed cases of the disease.

Dr. Caroline Quach, the chair of Quebec’s immunization committee, says the vaccine has been shown to prevent monkeypox in animal studies if it is administered within four days of an exposure and can reduce severity if it is administered up to 14 days after an exposure.

She says the disease is transmitted only through prolonged close contact.

Boileau says the majority of cases are in adult men who have been in sexual contact with people who have the disease, and there has been one case in a person under 18.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

 

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Monkeypox Warnings Ignored; Dominant COVID Strain Emerges; Better Paxlovid Access – Medpage Today

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Warning signs of the current monkeypox outbreak may have been ignored. (STAT)

The CDC issued a monkeypox travel alert encouraging “enhanced precautions” after cases were reported in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Roche announced it has developed three PCR test kits to detect the monkeypox virus.

The U.S. has a new dominant COVID-19 strain — BA.2.12.1 — a highly contagious sublineage of the BA.2 omicron subvariant that now accounts for 57.9% of all cases, according to CDC estimates.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, as well as Lt. Gov.Denny Heck, both tested positive for COVID-19, as did U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). (Seattle Times, The Hill)

As of Thursday at 8:00 a.m. EDT, the unofficial U.S. COVID toll was 83,697,199 cases and 1,004,558 deaths, increases of 218,146 and 913, respectively, compared with this time Wednesday morning.

The Biden Administration, projecting COVID infections will continue to spread during the summer travel season announced additional steps to make nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) more accessible. (ABC News)

The White House also reported the launch of the first federally-supported test-to-treat COVID site.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior leaders of the government are to blame for booze-filled parties that violated the country’s COVID-19 lockdown rules, according to an investigative report. (NPR)

A mouse study suggested that maraviroc (Selzentry), a FDA-approved drug used to treat HIV, may be able to reverse middle-aged memory loss. (Nature)

The University of California system will be paying nearly $700 million to women who said they were sexually abused by a UCLA gynecologist over the course of several decades. (AP)

The parents of a 4-year-old girl spoke out about her mysterious case of pediatric hepatitis that required a liver transplant, one of 180 similar cases under investigation in the U.S. (Today)

Teva Pharmaceuticals has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of one lot of anagrelide capsules, which are used to treat thrombocythemia secondary to myeloproliferative neoplasms, due to dissolution test failure during routine stability testing.

Servier announced the FDA approved ivosidenib (Tibsovo) in combination with azacitidine for certain patients with newly diagnosed IDH1-mutated acute myeloid leukemia.

A report from the American Medical Association shows that payers are not following the prior authorization reforms agreed to in 2018. (Fierce Healthcare)

The mass shooting in Buffalo earlier this month is a reminder that millions of Americans don’t have easy access to grocery stores. (NPR)

COVID-era misinformation is leading a wave of parents to reject ordinary childhood immunizations. (New York Times)

The FDA issued guidance spelling out rules for states that want to import certain prescription drugs from Canada.

  • Mike Bassett is a staff writer focusing on oncology and hematology. He is based in Massachusetts.

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