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COVID-19 in B.C.: Almost 2000 new cases; third doses; mandatory healthcare vaccinations; 35 flights; and more – The Georgia Straight

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Both active and hospitalized cases slightly decreased, remaining roughly level with September 10.

In addition, active cases decreased in all health regions, except for Island Health. 

Of concern though, there were nine deaths and there’s a new healthcare outbreak. 

At an in-person briefing today, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made some announcements about vaccinations regarding healthcare workers as well as immunocompromised people.

The B.C. Vaccine Card is now in effect.

As of today (September 13), proof of one dose of vaccine is required in order to enter a list of social and recreational events and settings, such as restaurants, nightlife, movie theatres, concerts, art and sports events, gyms, and more.

Henry also said that Interior Health restrictions for the outbreak in the Central Okanagan will be revised to incorporate the vaccine card.

Last week, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) started recommending a third dose for severely immunocompromised people last week, as they may not have responded adequately to the previous two doses, Henry explained.

Henry said they have identified 300,000 people in B.C. who have medical conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 (these people were prioritized to receive previous vaccinations).

Within this group are 15,000 people who are severely immunocompromised who will receive invitations for their third dose. Henry said this group includes:

  • organ transplant recipients;
  • those receiving treatment for hematologic cancers and lymphoma;
  • those taking anti-CD20 medications or B-cell-depleting agents, which suppress immune systems;
  • people born with severe primary immuno-deficiencies;
  • bone marrow or stem cell transplant recipients.

She said this third dose is limited to those who receive invitations to do so.

Henry also said that there are 120,000 people who are moderately immunocompromised—she explained that they are still reviewing data and will provide an update for this second group later this month or in October.

A third immunocompromised group, she said, is the majority, who have a strong immune response to the vaccine.

Regarding vaccinations for healthcare workers, immunizations were previously mandatory only for healthcare workers in longterm care facilities.

Today, Henry announced she will issue a new order to make vaccinations a condition of employment for all workers at healthcare facilities across B.C., effective as of October 26.

She said those healthcare workers who choose to remain unimmunized will be put on leave without pay.

The B.C. Health Ministry stated that today’s total and new case numbers are provisional due to a delayed data refresh.

So for now, the B.C. Health Ministry is reporting 1,984 new COVID-19 cases from the past three time periods.

  • September 10 to 11: 823 new cases;
  • September 11 to 12: 641 new cases;
  • September 12 to 13: 520 new cases.

Currently, there are 5,825 active cases, which is a decrease of 25 cases.  

Today, 278 individuals are in hospital (three fewer than September 10) and 139 of those patients are in intensive care units (four fewer than September 10).

B.C. Health Minister said that 121 of ICU patients today are unvaccinated people. He added that of the 38 of those patients who are under 50 years of age, 37 of them are unvaccinated.

The new and active cases include:

  • 609 new cases in Fraser Health, with 1,711 total active cases (39 fewer cases than September 10);
  • 542 new cases in Interior Health, with 1,618 total active cases (210 fewer cases);
  • 319 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, with 945 total active cases (seven fewer cases);
  • 294 new cases in Northern Health, with 931 total active cases (149 fewer cases);
  • 220 new cases in Island Health, with 607 total active cases (68 more cases);
  • no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada, with 13 total active cases (same number as yesterday).

Over the weekend, nine deaths were reported.  

The new deaths include:

  • three people in Fraser Health;
  • three people in Interior Health;
  • two people in Island Health;
  • one person in Vancouver Coastal Health.

The overall total number of fatalities is now at 1,865 people who have died of COVID-19-related reasons.

With 2,051 recoveries since yesterday, a cumulative total of 167,078 people who tested positive have now recovered.

During the pandemic, B.C. has reported a cumulative total of 175,142 cases.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix
Province of British Columbia

Since December, B.C. has administered 7,618,453 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines.

As of today, 85.8 percent (3,978,624) of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose and 78.4 percent (3,632,547) received their second dose.

In addition, 86.4 percent (3,737,364) of all eligible adults have received their first dose and 79.3 percent (3,428,060) received their second dose.

From September 3 to 9, unvaccinated people accounted for 77.8 percent of cases and from August 27 to September 9, they accounted for 86.2 percent of hospitalizations.

Out of a total of 4,779 COVID-19 cases from September 3 to 9, there were:

  • 3,305 unvaccinated people (69.2 percent);
  • 411 partially vaccinated people (8.6 percent);
  • 1,063 fully vaccinated people (22.2 percent).

Out of a total of 348 hospitalized cases from August 27 to September 9, there were:

  • 282 unvaccinated people (81 percent);
  • 18 partially vaccinated people (5.2 percent);
  • 48 fully vaccinated previous (13.8 percent).

For cases per 100,000 population (after adjusting for age) from September 3 to 9, there were:

  • 306.3 unvaccinated people;
  • 92.9 partially vaccinated people;
  • 27.4 fully vaccinated people.

For cases hospitalized per 100,000 population (after adjusting for age) from August 27 to September 9:

  • 38.4 unvaccinated people;
  • 7 partially vaccinated people;
  • 1.1 fully vaccinated people.

Outbreaks and exposures

None of the five health regions declared any new community outbreaks, and didn’t list any new business closures or public exposure events.

Interior Health has declared a new healthcare outbreak at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail.

Currently, there are 24 active outbreaks, including:

  • longterm care: Northcrest Care Centre, Menno Home (Fraser Health); Arbutus Care Centre, Brock Fahrni, Louis Brier Home and Hospital, Opal by Element (Vancouver Coastal Health); Village at Mill Creek, Cottonwoods Care Centre, Brookhaven Care Centre, Spring Valley Care Centre, Kamloops Seniors Village, Hillside Village, The Hamlets at Westsyde, Joseph Creek Care Village (Interior Health); Sunset Lodge (Island Health); and Jubilee Lodge (Northern Health);
  • acute care: Chilliwack General Hospital (Fraser Health); Fort St. John Hospital (Northern Health); and Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (Interior Health);
  • assisted or independent living: Nicola Meadows, David Lloyd Jones, Sun Pointe Village, Hardy View Lodge and Rose Woods Village (Interior Health).

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added the following 35 flights to its lists of potential public exposures:

  • August 28: Flair 400, Vancouver to Calgary;
  • August 29: Air Canada 221, Calgary to Vancouver;
  • August 30: Air Canada 308, Vancouver to Montreal;
  • August 31: Air Canada/Jazz 8111, Denver to Vancouver;
  • August 31: Flair 401, Calgary to Vancouver;
  • September 1: Alaska Airlines 176, Juneau to Vancouver;
  • September 1: Alaska Airlines 176, Vancouver to Seattle;
  • September 1: WestJet3298, Prince George to Vancouver;
  • September 2: Air Canada/Jazz 8485, Edmonton to Vancouver;
  • September 2: Air Canada 129, Toronto to Vancouver;
  • September 3: Flair 447, Edmonton to Kelowna;
  • September 4: Air Canada 997, Mexico City to Vancouver;
  • September 4: WestJet707, Toronto to Vancouver;
  • September 5: Turkish 75, Istanbul to Vancouver;
  • September 5: WestJet 173, Edmonton to Vancouver;
  • September 5: Pacific Coastal Airlines 701, Vancouver to Campbell River;
  • September 5: WestJet 173, Edmonton to Vancouver;
  • September 6: Air Canada 292, Vancouver to Winnipeg;
  • September 6: Air Canada/Jazz 8229, Phoenix to Vancouver;
  • September 6: WestJet 543, Montreal to Vancouver;
  • September 6: WestJet 1789, Las Vegas to Vancouver;
  • September 6: WestJet 3106, Terrace to Vancouver;
  • September 6: WestJet 3330, Vancouver to Kelowna;
  • September 6: Air Canada 245, Edmonton to Vancouver;
  • September 6: Air Canada 289, Terrace to Vancouver;
  • September 6: Flair 8201, Montreal to Vancouver;
  • September 6: Flair 8604, Edmonton to Abbotsford;
  • September 6: WestJet280, Kelowna to Calgary;
  • September 8: Air Canada 123, Toronto to Vancouver;
  • September 8: Air Canada/Jazz 8544, Vancouver to Winnipeg;
  • September 8: Lufthansa 492, Frankfurt to Vancouver;
  • September 8: North Cariboo 1541, Terrace to Vancouver;
  • September 8: Air Canada 127, Toronto to Vancouver;
  • September 9: Lufthansa 492, Frankfurt to Vancouver;
  • September 9: WestJet3314, Kamloops to Calgary.

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Latest: Some French health care workers suspended, no shot – North Shore News

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WASHINGTON — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t often make many headlines. Now the Labor Department agency has been tossed into the national debate over federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

President Joe Biden directed OSHA to write a rule forcing employers with at least 100 workers to require staff get vaccinated or produce weekly test results showing they are virus-free.

When Congress created OSHA 50 years ago to police workplace safety, 38 workers were dying on the job every day. Now that figure is closer to 15 — even though the American workforce has more than doubled. OSHA writes rules designed to protect workers from dangers such as toxic chemicals, rickety scaffolding and cave-ins at construction sites.

“The hazard in this case is the infectious worker,” says epidemiologist David Michaels, OSHA director in the Obama administration. “This rule will tell employers: You have to take steps to make sure potentially infectious workers don’t come into the workplace.”

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 650,000 Americans.

The rule will take effect in 29 states where OSHA has jurisdiction, according to a primer by the law firm Fisher Phillips. Other states such as California and North Carolina, with their own federally approved workplace safety agencies, will have up to 30 days to adopt equivalent measures.

“Most employers in my view should greet this with relief,” says Celine McNicholas, former special counsel at the National Labor Relations Board. “This gives them a roadmap of exactly what they need to do.”

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Small agency, big job: Biden tasks OSHA with vaccine mandate

— EXPLAINER: What are current COVID-19 guidelines for schools?

— World leaders must be vaccinated to speak at U.N. General Assembly meeting

— Long weekend holiday turns into 9-week lockdown for AP Vietnam reporter

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— See AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

ROME — Italian workers in both the public and private sectors must provide a health pass to access the workplace starting on Oct. 15.

That’s under a decree passed Thursday by Premier Mario Draghi’s broad-based coalition government. The Green Pass measures require proof of vaccination, a negative result on a recent rapid test or recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months.

Unions and right-wing parties are urging employers to provide free coronavirus tests to workers. Slovenia and Greece adopted similar measures this week.

Italy’s measures underscore the government’s determination that the nation won’t face another lockdown even as the numbers of new cases increase, mostly among the non-vaccinated.

The Green Pass requirement covers 14 million private sector workers and 3.4 million in state-supported jobs. Until now, only medical personnel needed to be vaccinated, while the Green Pass mandate was in place only for school employees.

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LONDON — The Scottish government has asked for military help to relieve long waits for ambulances and treatment.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense says it received a request and “we are working hard to identify where we can most effectively assist.”

Pressure on Scottish authorities grew after a 65-year-old Glasgow man died while waiting 40 hours for an ambulance. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon apologized “unreservedly to anyone that has suffered or is suffering unacceptably long waits.”

She says challenges to the emergency services were “mirrored in health services across the U.K. and indeed many parts of the world because of the realities of COVID.”

The military has been called in several times during the pandemic to bolster civilian health authorities. Scotland registered the highest per capital coronavirus rates in the U.K. in recent weeks, though the number of cases has started to level off.

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BEIJING — Chinese health officials say more than 1 billion people have been fully vaccinated in the world’s most populous country.

That represents 72% of its 1.4 billion people. A National Health Commission spokesperson says 2.16 billion doses have been administered and 1.01 billion people have been fully vaccinated.

The announcement comes as China faces a new outbreak of the delta variant in the southeastern province of Fujian, where 200 cases have been confirmed in the past six days.

Authorities have locked down affected neighborhoods, closed schools and entertainment venues and restricted travel out of Fujian in an effort to keep the virus from spreading.

China has largely stopped the spread by imposing restrictions and mass testing whenever new cases are found. It also limits entry to the country and requires people who arrive to quarantine in a hotel for at least two weeks.

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NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he reached out to U.N. Secretary General António Guterres two weeks ago, letting him know the city’s vaccination requirements will apply to world leaders at next week’s General Assembly meeting.

The mayor says he understands the U.N. has its own rules and jurisdiction but it was important to have “continuity” of the city’s vaccination rules to protect the progress made against the coronavirus. He says Guterres has been cooperative and understanding.

De Blaiso also responded to objections from Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia about the requirement, saying, “If the Russian ambassador is against it, I’m for it.”

“I have no words for Vladimir Putin and everything else that’s come out of Russia but they’ve invalidated themselves in so many ways, including trying to disrupt our elections,” he said during a news conference.

Among Nebenzia’s objections is the city rule that only World Health Organization-approved vaccines will be accepted, which doesn’t include Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

Participants must show proof of vaccination to gain entry. The city will offer free, walk-in vaccinations — Johnson & Johnson’s single shot — and testing outside the U.N. during the meeting. It’s not immediately clear how the vaccination requirement will be enforced, but it will be up to the U.N.

Some 104 heads of state and government and 23 cabinet ministers plan to deliver speeches in person from the Assembly hall. Leaders of other nations will speak by video.

___

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas schools are experiencing a growing number of coronavirus outbreaks, and school-aged children are getting infected more frequently than any age group.

The state Department of Health and Environment’s latest data shows 63 active coronavirus clusters in schools across the state on Wednesday. Those clusters were responsible for 408 cases and one hospitalization.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the number of active clusters is up from 31 with 179 cases last week. Also, 34 of this week’s reported clusters are new.

The state’s data shows 450 new cases per 100,000 children ages 5 to 17 the week of Sept. 5.

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PARIS — About 3,000 French health care workers were suspended for not meeting this week’s deadline to get mandatory coronavirus vaccinations, the health minister said Thursday.

Most of those suspended work in support positions and were not medical staff, Health Minister Olivier Veran told RTL radio. The number suspended was lower than projected ahead of the Wednesday deadline.

A few dozen of France’s 2.7 million health care workers have quit their jobs because of the vaccine mandate, he says.

France ordered all health care workers to get vaccinated or be suspended without pay. Most French people support the measure. However, it prompted weeks of protests by a vocal minority against the vaccine mandate.

___

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho’s public health leaders have expanded health care rationing statewide amid a massive increase in the number of coronavirus patients requiring hospitalization.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare made the announcement Thursday. St. Luke’s Health System, Idaho’s largest hospital network, asked state health leaders to allow “crisis standards of care” on Wednesday because the increase in COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated has exhausted the state’s medical resources.

Crisis standards of care means that scarce resources, such as ICU beds, will be allotted to those patients most likely to survive. Kootenai Health in the city of Coeur d’Alene was the first hospital in the state to officially enter crisis standards of care last week.

Idaho is among the least vaccinated U.S. states, with only about 40% of its residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Only Wyoming and West Virginia have lower vaccination rates.

More than 1,300 new coronavirus cases were reported to the state on Wednesday, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The mostly rural state ranks 12th in the U.S. for cases per capita.

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MADRID — Spanish health authorities have approved an additional dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for residents of nursing homes and increased the availability for people with suppressed immune systems.

The new policy includes cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Spain had only previously authorized an additional dose for people with organ transplants and certain groups with suppressed immune systems.

Spain has fully vaccinated 75% of its population, with rates at 98% among those 70 years and up.

Of the 85,000 Spaniards who have lost their lives to the coronavirus, more than 20,500 were residing in nursing homes. An additional 10,500 deaths in nursing homes are suspected from COVID-19 due to symptoms, but people weren’t tested in time to confirm the cause.

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LONDON — Britain is giving coronavirus booster shots to people over age 50 and those 16 to 49 with underlying medical conditions.

The National Health Service says the first shots were administered Thursday to health care workers.

That means more than 30 million people are due to be given a booster at least six months after their second dose of vaccine. More than 81% of British adults have received two doses.

The decision to offer booster shots is not recommended by the World Health Organization, which has asked wealthy nations to delay giving them until every country has vaccinated at least 40% of their people. So far, only a few wealthy countries have recommended the use of boosters.

___

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe officials have told all government employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or they won’t be allowed to come to work.

It wasn’t clear what would happen to those who refused to be vaccinated. State-owned newspaper The Herald reported the government would adopt a policy where unvaccinated workers wouldn’t be paid.

The government is Zimbabwe’s biggest employer and has about 500,000 workers.

Zimbabwe is one of the leading African countries in terms of vaccinations. More than 12% of the southern African nation’s 15 million people are fully vaccinated. That compares to just 3.6% of people across the continent, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zimbabwe has received more than 11 million doses, mainly the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines. The southern African nation announced last month it was opening COVID-19 vaccinations to children ages 14 to 17.

___

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin says dozens of his staff have been infected with the coronavirus and he’ll continue his self-isolation because of the outbreak.

The Kremlin announced this week he was self-isolating after someone in his inner circle was infected. Putin tested negative for the coronavirus. He was previously fully vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V.

Putin said Thursday the infections were extensive and “now we have to observe the self-isolation regime for several days.” He was speaking by video link to a summit of the Russia-led Collective Treaty Security Organization.

Russia was the first country to roll out a coronavirus vaccine, but less than 30% of the country is fully vaccinated. The national coronavirus task force says there’s been about 7.2 million cases in the country of 145 million and 195,835 confirmed deaths.

___

BRUSSELS — The European Union says it will fund its new heath preparedness and rapid response agency to the tune of 30 billion euros ($35 billion) over the next six years.

The Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority was officially launched Thursday. The aim of HERA is to make sure the EU will be ready when the next crisis strikes.

The 27-nation bloc lagged the U.S. and Britain in vaccination rates because of distribution issues before regrouping and meeting its goal of having 70% of EU adults vaccinated this summer.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who first announced plans for such a medical response agency last year, said this week that the overall total until 2027 could reach 50 billion euros ($59 billion) by 2027.

___

LONDON — The World Health Organization’s Africa director says COVID-19 cases across the continent dropped 30% last week, but says it’s hardly reassuring given the dire shortage of vaccines.

WHO’s Dr. Matshidiso Moeti says only 3.6% of Africa’s population have been fully immunized, noting export bans and the hoarding of vaccines by rich countries has resulted in “a chokehold” on vaccine supplies to Africa. “As long as wealthy countries lock COVAX and the African Union out of the market, Africa will miss its vaccination goals,” Moeti said, referring to the U.N.-backed effort to share vaccines with other countries.

She says even if all planned vaccine shipments by COVAX and others arrive on the continent by the end of the year, Africa will still be at least 500 million doses short of African leaders’ initial target of vaccinating 60% of the population by the end of the year.

Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija, Chair of the African Vaccine Delivery Alliance, says some countries donated vaccines that were set to expire within about six weeks, making it difficult for African countries to immunize people before the doses expired.

___

The Associated Press





















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Goodbye Pfizer, hello Comirnaty: Top COVID-19 vaccines given brand names in Canada – CBC.ca

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Health Canada has approved brand names for Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines and announced the change on social media today.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has now been dubbed Comirnaty, which the company says represents a combination of the terms COVID-19, mRNA, community, and immunity.

The Moderna vaccine will go by SpikeVax and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria.

Pfizer and Moderna say the change marks the full approval of the vaccines by Health Canada, which were previously approved under an interim order that was set to expire today.

During the interim order, the vaccines didn’t go by their brand names, but now that new and more long-term data has been submitted and approved they will go by their permanent name.

“Health Canada’s approval of Comirnaty for individuals ages 12 and older affirms the vaccine’s safety and efficacy shown in longer term data submitted to Health Canada — and hopefully that licensure may improve vaccine confidence among Canadians,” Pfizer spokesperson Christina Antoniou wrote in a statement.

It’s the first time SpikeVax, until now known as the Moderna vaccine, has been fully approved anywhere in the world, Stephane Bancel, the company’s CEO, said in a press release Thursday.

Health Canada points out the vaccines themselves are not changing — only the names are.

Although the name change has been approved, Canada will still receive vials labelled Pfizer-BioNTech for the next several months.

The FDA approved new names in the United States earlier this summer, and the vaccines have been going by their brand names in the EU since the spring.

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Better mental health support needed for pregnant individuals during Covid-19 pandemic: Study – Hindustan Times

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Better mental health support needed for pregnant individuals during Covid-19 pandemic: Study(Unsplash)

Better mental health support needed for pregnant individuals during Covid-19 pandemic: Study

  • A new study finds that more mental health support is needed for pregnant people during the pandemic after it was found that nearly three-quarters of individuals who were pregnant during this time reported moderate to high levels of distress. 
ANI | , Toronto [canada]
UPDATED ON SEP 16, 2021 11:18 AM IST

A team of researchers suggested that more mental health support is needed for pregnant individuals after a survey found nearly three-quarters of individuals who had been pregnant during the pandemic reported moderate to high levels of distress, and one in five experienced depressive symptoms.

The findings of the study appeared in the journal titled ‘Canadian Family Physician’.

The researchers, led by clinicians at Unity Health Toronto, surveyed nearly 1,500 participants online – 87 per cent of whom were Canadian – who had been pregnant during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly 69 per cent of respondents reported moderate to high levels of distress and 20 per cent had depressive symptoms.

“The high levels of distress highlight the importance of considering mental health centrally in support for this population,” said Dr Tali Bogler, study lead author and family physician and chair of family medicine obstetrics at St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto.

“The findings also highlight the overall impact the pandemic has had on families in general and the downstream impact this will have,” added Dr Bogler.

A limitation of the study was that it did not have comparable data on distress levels among pregnant people prior to the pandemic. However, a population-based survey conducted in Japan before the pandemic found 28 to 32 per cent of pregnant people reported distress.

Researchers also sought to learn more about what the common sources of concern were for expectant parents during the pandemic. Participants were provided with a list of 27 concerns and asked to indicate their level of concern for each issue.

The top five concerns during pregnancy included: hospital policies regarding support persons in labour; not being able to introduce their baby to loved ones; getting sick from Covid-19 while pregnant; not being able to rely on family or friends after labour for support; and conflicting medical information on Covid-19 in pregnancy and newborns, especially early in the pandemic.

There were differences in the concerns of first-time and second/third-time parents. First-time parents were more concerned about the cancellation of in-person prenatal classes and hospital tours, whereas second/third-time parents were more concerned about the transmission of Covid-19 from older children in the home.

The authors said that family physicians are well placed to support perinatal mental health and can engage in screening practices and offer appropriate treatment, such as counselling, public health nursing, and psychiatric appointments. They also recommend hospitals better utilize technology to help address parents’ concerns by arranging more virtual check-ins and hospital tours and provide more online resources with evidence-based information on Covid-19 relevant to expectant and new parents.

ALSO READ: Pregnancy cravings out of control? Here’s what you MUST know to contain them

“Clinicians and hospital administrators need to explore innovative ways to increase perinatal support,” said Dr Bogler, who is also one of the leads of the Pandemic Pregnancy Guide, a virtual platform that provides medical information on pregnancy and Covid-19 and helps form a community for expecting parents during the pandemic. 

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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