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COVID-19 kills second Sudbury resident (update) – The Sudbury Star



A resident of St. Joseph’s Villa has died of COVID-19.

John Lappa/Sudbury Star

A second Greater Sudburian has died from the coronavirus.

On Friday, a woman in her 80s who was a resident at St. Joseph’s Villa and had tested positive for the virus on April 21, died. An outbreak had been declared at the long-term care facility on April 19 after a staff member tested positive.

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts, said that out of respect during this difficult time, no further details will be provided.

“We extend our sincere condolences to the family members and friends affected by this loss,” she said. “We understand this news is difficult for all to hear, especially for those who have loved ones living in long-term care and retirement homes,” said Dr. Sutcliffe.

“We have to continue to do all that we can to prevent the spread of disease to protect older members in our community. I encourage people to reach out, check-in, and be there for one another, while maintaining physical distance.”

“On behalf of all of our staff, I want to extend our sincere condolences to the family,” said Jo-Anne Palkovits, president and chief executive officer at St, Joseph’s Health Centre, which operates the 128-bed St. Joseph’s Villa in Sudbury and also the 128-bed Villa St. Gabriel in Chelmsford, which is also a long-term care facility.

“I also want to acknowledge the efforts of our staff who themselves are devastated by this news. We continue to follow all necessary policies and procedures to provide safe care to our residents. Our community needs to continue to be kind and supportive to one another during these difficult times, while also ensuring we follow the advice of public health officials.”

Palkovits added the safety of residents and staff remains the No. 1 priority for St. Joseph’s Health Centre.

Strict physical distancing guidelines have been in effect at St. Joseph’s Villa since mid-March and residents continue to be isolated from one another in their own private rooms to prevent infection. They are also assessed for COVID-related symptoms three times a day.

Staff continues to wear the proper masks for the duration of their shift, and also wear eye protection, gloves, and gowns for direct care with all residents. Staff is also screened for symptoms at the beginning and end of each shift.

With these measures, along with visitor restrictions in effect since mid-March, risk of infection throughout the facility remains low.

Earlier this week, coronavirus outbreaks were also declared at Extendicare-York and Pioneer Manor after full testing of staff and residents turned up positive cases.

At Pioneer Manor, four staff and three residents all tested positive and were all asymptomatic (no symptoms). The three residents are in isolation in private rooms while the four staff members are at home self-isolating. Six of the positive tests were confirmed on Tuesday following a positive test with a male resident in his 70s on Sunday.

Over at Extendicare-York, a staff member tested positive for the virus on Tuesday and is now at home self-isolating.

On April 2, a Greater Sudbury man in his 70s died from COVID-19 after contracting the virus while travelling internationally.

As of Friday, the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the Greater Sudbury area stood at 58 (54 Greater Sudbury, two Sudbury District, and two Manitoulin Island) with 46 cases being resolved (44 recovered and two deaths).

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, a total of 3,827 coronavirus tests had been conducted locally, with 3,135 being negative and 634 pending.

Mayor Brian Bigger said in a statement Friday that, “I was very saddened to hear of our community’s second fatality from COVID-19, a resident of St. Joseph’s Villa. On behalf of council, I extend my condolences to her family and friends at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

“I again implore every resident of Greater Sudbury to take this virus seriously. Physical distancing is a must to protect us, and our loved ones, especially the older members of our community. We must be smart, stay at home and work together to get through this trying time. We are a strong community, let’s move forward together in the safest way possible.”

Twitter: @HaroldCarmichae

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City asking people to wear masks on buses, but not mandatory – GuelphToday



As the city prepares to allow more riders on Guelph Transit buses, it is asking riders to wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

They are not mandatory.

Free 30-minute Guelph Transit service will continue for the rest of June but the city says thta with more businesses reopening and more people heading back to work, Guelph Transit is preparing to resume fare collection and regular schedules later in the summer.

In a news release Friday morning, the city said the request is based advice from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

“According to health officials, wearing a homemade face covering/non-medical mask is not a substitute for physical distancing and hand washing. Wearing a mask has not been proven to protect the person wearing it, but it can help protect others around you,” the release said.

“As the buses get busy again, physical distancing may not always be possible. We’re asking riders to wear a non-medical mask or face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says Robin Gerus, general manager of Guelph Transit.

Guelph Transit is encouraging face coverings, not requiring them.

“It’s becoming more common to wear a mask on public transit in other cities, but it’s new for Guelph. Some riders may not be aware of or understand the latest guidelines from health officials. Some may not have resources to purchase or make a mask, or they may have a medical reason for not wearing one,” added Gerus. Everyone is welcome to use Guelph Transit, and we’re asking people to protect and respect each other as ridership increases.”

Since March, Guelph Transit made the following adjustments to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • free 30-minute service allows passengers to avoid using the farebox and board from the rear door
  • plastic barrier between the driver and passengers
  • hand sanitizing stations and cleaning supplies for drivers
  • no more than 10 people per bus
  • blocked several seats to encourage physical distancing between passengers

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the City and Guelph Transit encourage riders to continue following the latest advice from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health:

  • wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer
  • stay at least two metres away from people you don’t live with
  • when you can’t maintain physical distancing, wear a non-medical mask or face covering

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WHO resumes hydroxychloroquine trial on Covid-19 patients – ITIJ



On May 25, WHO suspended the trial of the drug, which is usually used to treat malaria patients, after a study published in medical journal The Lancet found that Covid-19 hospitalised patients treated with hydroxychloroquine had a higher risk of death, as well as an increased frequency of irregular heartbeats, than those who weren’t treated with it. 

However, WHO officials have since asserted that there is no evidence that the drug reduces the mortality in these patients, and the study has since been retracted over data concerns. 

“The executive group received this recommendation and endorsed the continuation of all arms of solidarity trial including hydroxychloroquine,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference 3 June, adding that WHO planned to continue to monitor the safety of the therapeutics being tested in trials involving over 3,500 patients spanning over 35 countries. 

“WHO is committed to accelerating the development of effective therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics as part of our commitment to serving the world with science, solutions and solidarity,” Ghebreyesus said. 

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'Truly sorry': Scientists pull panned Lancet study of Trump-touted drug – National Post



NEW YORK/LONDON — An influential study that found hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of death in COVID-19 patients has been withdrawn a week after it led to major trials being halted, adding to confusion about a malaria drug championed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The Lancet medical journal pulled the study after three of its authors retracted it, citing concerns about the quality and veracity of data in it. The World Health Organization (WHO) will resume its hydroxychloroquine trials after pausing them in the wake of the study. Dozens of other trials have resumed or are in process.

The three authors said Surgisphere, the company that provided the data, would not transfer the dataset for an independent review and they “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”

The fourth author of the study, Dr. Sapan Desai, chief executive of Surgisphere, declined to comment on the retraction.

The Lancet said it “takes issues of scientific integrity extremely seriously” adding: “There are many outstanding questions about Surgisphere and the data that were allegedly included in this study.”

Another study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) that used Surgisphere data and shared the same lead author, Harvard Medical School Professor Mandeep Mehra, was retracted for the same reason.

The Lancet said reviews of Surgisphere’s research collaborations were urgently needed.

The race to understand and treat the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of research and peer-reviewed scientific journals are go-to sources of information for doctors, policymakers and lay people alike.

Chris Chambers, a professor of psychology and an expert at the UK Center for Open Science, said The Lancet and the NEJM – which he described as “ostensibly two of the world’s most prestigious medical journals” – should investigate how the studies got through peer review and editorial checks.

“The failure to resolve such basic concerns about the data” raises “serious questions about the standard of editing” and about the process of peer review, he said.

The Lancet did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The NEJM could not immediately be reached for comment.


The observational study published in The Lancet on May 22 said it looked at 96,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, some treated with the decades-old malaria drug. It claimed that those treated with hydroxychloroquine or the related chloroquine had higher risk of death and heart rhythm problems than patients who were not given the medicines.

“I did not do enough to ensure that the data source was appropriate for this use,” the study’s lead author, Professor Mehra, said in a statement. “For that, and for all the disruptions – both directly and indirectly – I am truly sorry.”

Many scientists voiced concern about the study, which had already been corrected last week because some location data was wrong. Nearly 150 doctors signed an open letter to The Lancet calling the article’s conclusions into question and asking to make public the peer review comments that preceded publication.

Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said the retraction decision was “correct” but still left unanswered the question about whether hydroxychloroquine is effective in COVID-19.

“It remains the case that the results from randomized trials are necessary to draw reliable conclusions,” he said. (Reporting by Michael Erman, Peter Henderson, Kate Kelland and Josephine Mason Editing by Leslie Adler, Tom Brown, Giles Elgood and Carmel Crimmins)

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