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COVID-19 outbreak among healthcare workers at Abbotsford hospital 'very concerning': union – CTV News



The president of the B.C. Nurses’ Union says she’s very concerned about a COVID-19 outbreak at Abbotsford Regional Hospital that has sickened six health-care workers, including four nurses.

Two patients have also tested positive for COVID-19, according to Fraser Health.

“We are investigating with Fraser Health and Worksafe(BC) why such a large number of health-care workers have been infected at this site — this is very concerning for us,” Christine Sorensen, president of the B.C. Nurses’ Union, told CTV News Vancouver.

Sorrensen said the union has been hearing concerns about difficulties in accessing personal protective equipment from nurses all over the province, including at Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

Personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, includes items like masks, gloves, protective gowns and face shields, and is vital for anyone working in close contact with people who may be carrying the virus.

But the global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic means that the items have been in short supply around the world.

“We will be following up closely with the health authority and WorksafeBC in regards to what personal protective equipment was available and how readily it was available,” Sorensen said.

Sorensen said she’s also concerned that the number of staff who came down with the illness will affect staffing levels at the hospital. The nurses who contracted COVID-19 worked in critical care, an area where there is a “desperate need” for nurses right now and where there is shortage, Sorensen said.

In a statement emailed to CTV News, Jacqueline Blackwell, director of public affairs for Fraser Health, said there is “no evidence of any PPE break during patient care that has led to this outbreak.”

Blackwell said all staff were wearing PPE and “taking all appropriate precautions while in care areas.” Abbotsford Regional Hospital does not have a shortage of PPE, according to Fraser Health.

“Preliminary results of our investigation show that vigilance is required in non-patient care areas,” Blackwell said. “Enhanced strategies have been implemented to reduce risks in these areas.”

WIth files from CTV News Vancouver’s Alissa Thibault.

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Tips to Help You Keep Your Dog Mentally Stimulated



While many pet parents know the importance of giving their dogs physical stimulation, they don’t realize that dogs, like human beings, need mental stimulation too. Various studies suggest that bored dogs can feel depressed, stressed, and apathetic.

Some milder symptoms of a dog lacking mental stimulation include whining, excessive chewing, barking, digging holes, and destroying furniture. More severe symptoms include obsessive-compulsive habits such as spinning, fly biting, self-biting, and incontinence. While managing a dog with this level of anxiety may seem challenging, there are ways to meaningfully improve their behavior through mental stimulation.

Interactive Playtime

Although dogs love playing with toys like frisbees, chew toys, rope toys, and balls, there are more interactive toys available that are designed for mental exercise. Usually, these toys reward smart behavior by dispensing yummy treats.

You can use toys to play with your dog outdoors or indoors. However, a pet parent’s anxiety can come in the way of a dog’s mental stimulation. If you want to know how to keep a dog entertained at home without the stress of a clean-up, then use lightweight and waterproof bed covers that are machine washable and dryer safe. Products like these protect your bed or furniture while your dog enjoys activities that challenge its mind.


Creative Games

If your dog is bored with its interactive toys, you can offer mental stimulation by thinking outside the box. For example, you can let your dog work for its treats. Create an obstacle course in your yard with household objects such as boxes or buy some traffic cones. Leave treats at the end of the obstacle as a prize. Alternatively, play a cup game with your dog by putting a treat under one of three cups and then shifting them around.

Social Interaction

One of the best ways to mentally stimulate a bored dog is to let it play with other dogs, as long as you take some precautions.

  • Check first to make sure that the dogs they will be in contact with are vaccinated and dewormed
  • The dogs should be of similar size and age
  • Let them play in a neutral area to avoid territorial behaviour
  • Understand their body language and don’t force them to interact


Variety in Walking Routes

How often you walk your dog depends on its breed, age, physical needs, and your schedule. But, most dogs need between thirty minutes to 2 hours of activity every day. A daily walk is good for both you and your pet’s health. It also strengthens the bond between you and your dog.

However, walking the same route every day can be monotonous for both of you. It’s best to take a different route every day by walking around a different block, neighbourhood, or environment where your pet can be introduced to new sights, smells, and sounds. You can even plan a weekly schedule. One day, you can walk through the park and another you can go near a lake that’s accessible to you. Simply driving to a new location can also be mentally stimulating for your dog.

Taking the time to mentally stimulate your dog can be rewarding for you and your pet. All of these activities can strengthen the bond between the two of you and help improve your dog’s overall behavior.

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Published By Harry Miller

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New Brunswick doctor says he does not know where he picked up COVID-19 – CTV News



A New Brunswick doctor blamed by many, including the premier, for spreading COVID-19 in a growing cluster of new cases told Radio-Canada on Tuesday that he’s not sure how he picked up the virus.

Dr. Jean Robert Ngola said he recently travelled from Campbellton, N.B., to Quebec to pick up his four-year-old daughter because the girl’s mother had to attend a funeral in Africa.

Ngola admitted that upon his return from the overnight trip, he did not self-isolate for 14 days, but added he does not know if he caught the coronavirus on his travels or from a patient.

“Perhaps it was an error in judgment, but I did not go to Quebec to go to take the virus and come to give it to my patients,” Ngola told morning show La Matinale.

There are 13 active COVID-19 cases in the province that had just weeks ago seen all of its coronavirus cases recovered.

On Tuesday, the Public Health Department reported another COVID-19 case in an outbreak at Manoir de la Vallee, a care home in Altholville in the northern part of the province.

All of New Brunswick’s active cases are in the health region known as Zone 5, and all have been linked to a cluster in the Campbellton area.

Officials, including Premier Blaine Higgs, have said the cluster began when a health-care worker travelled to Quebec and returned to work at Campbellton Regional Hospital without self-isolating.

But Ngola told La Matinale that his COVID-19 diagnosis threw him, and he’s not sure how he was exposed. His daughter tested positive as well and both have been in quarantine since, but neither have had any symptoms.

The doctor, who is of Congolese descent, said he has been the victim of racist attacks online since public attention was directed to his case. His name and photo were shared on social media with racist comments describing him as “the bad doctor who went to get the virus to kill people here.”

Ngola told the radio program he took precautions when travelling and did not stop en route.

He continued working upon his return to Campbellton and left his daughter in the care of an essential service workers’ daycare centre.

On May 25, he was told that one of his patients had tested positive for COVID-19. He called the man, whom he’d seen May 19 for a prescription renewal, and stopped working right away.

Ngola said as a patient, he also has the right to confidentiality.

The Campbellton COVID-19 cluster has led to increased testing in the region, where the Vitalite health authority offered tests to anyone who asked from Friday through Sunday.

More than 3,300 were completed over the weekend and Zone 5 has moved back a step in the province’s reopening plan.

A Tuesday news release from the province’s Public Health Department said the newest positive case is a person their 80s linked to Manoir de la Vallee, where a worker tested positive last week.

Five residents have now tested positive for the virus and the regional director for Lokia Group, the company that owns the home, said Monday that two had been hospitalized.

The province said Tuesday that five people are in the hospital due to COVID-19, including one person in intensive care.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement that New Brunswickers should be patient as the province monitors the outbreak.

“We have 14 days ahead of us to see how things unfold,” Russell’s statement read. “In the meantime, I ask New Brunswickers to continue to demonstrate their compassion, kindness and patience throughout the province.”

At a news conference last week, Premier Blaine Higgs did not refer to Dr. Ngola by name, but criticized him as “irresponsible” and said the matter had been referred to the RCMP, potentially leading to charges for violating public health orders.

Days later, Higgs walked back his remarks slightly and appeared to acknowledge the outrage, telling people to leave investigation into any wrongdoing up to law enforcement and the person’s employer.

“I know people are upset, but we don’t want anyone taking matters into their own hands,” he said.

Campbellton Mayor Stephanie Anglehart-Paulin told The Canadian Press on Saturday that she was embarrassed by many of the comments on social media directed at the doctor, which she described as “pretty hateful and nasty.”

–by Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John’s, N.L., with files from Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2020.

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Two new COVID-19 outbreaks in B.C. offices – Burnaby Now



New COVID-19 outbreaks have been discovered in the past 24 hours at Abbotsford’s New World Technologies and Delta”s Maersk Distribution Canada, B.C.’s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said June 2.

She described both of these outbreaks as being in offices. Both workplaces have two cases, and public health teams are at both sites to investigate and determine which people may have had contact with the infected individuals.

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The new outbreaks come on what was otherwise a relatively good day, given that there were no new deaths in the last 24 hours, and a spate of outbreaks at seniors’ homes and at an acute-care ward at Abbotsford Regional Hospital are newly declared over. 

Henry said that outbreaks are declared over at North Vancouver’s Amica Edgemont Village, Vancouver’s Royal Arch Masonic Home, Maple Ridge’s Chartwell Willow Retirement Community, and Chilliwack’s Eden Care Centre. That means that no new cases have been discovered at those facilities in the past 28 days, or two incubation periods.

This leaves eight active outbreaks at seniors’ care facilities, all of which are long-term care residences. Two of those homes are in Vancouver Coastal Health, while six are in the Fraser Health region. No new cases of COVID-19 have been discovered at any of those homes in the past 24 hours. 

Health Minister Adrian Dix said that while the good news on fewer seniors’ home outbreaks and no new deaths is promising, the new outbreaks at businesses show that COVID-19 is alive and well in B.C. and “requires vigilance.”

B.C. recorded four new cases in the past 24 hours of the virus that has caused a global pandemic, and a total of 2,601 cases.

The breakdown of all COVID-19 infections by health region is:
• 904 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 1,311 in Fraser Health;
• 127 in Island Health;
• 195 in Interior Health; and
• 64 in Northern Health.

Of all of those who have been infected, 165 have died, 207 are battling illness and 2,229 have recovered.

Most of the 207 people with active illnesses are self-isolating at home, although 31 of them are in hospital, with eight of those in intensive care units. 

Dix shared other good news that was part of his weekly update on personal protective equipment. Two separate independent labs in the past week have confirmed lab test results done at the University of British Columbia that showed that respirators that B.C. has bought from a new manufacturer in China has exceeded necessary standards.

“This is excellent news for two reasons,” Dix said. “We have a significant inventory of this product – three million respirators in B.C.,  and now [we] are assured that the product is safe and effective for our healthcare workers. And, the availability of this equivalent product will reduce our reliance on the traditional 3M respirators that have been extremely difficult to procure due to global demand and supply-chain issues.”

The government has not yet introduced the equivalent respirators for use in the healthcare system because officials have wanted to take time first to communicate with workers about the new product, and to ensure that the respirators are tested to ensure that they fit all employees who may need to wear them, Dix said. 

“The significant boost of three million N95-equivalent respirators puts us in good stead as we ramp up our health system, catch up on scheduled surgery volumes and prepare our province for a potential second wave of COVID-19,” he said.

Overall, B.C. has acquired more than four million N-95 or equivalent respirators, about 4.5 million surgical masks, 27 million pairs of gloves, 1.3 million gowns and 1.25 million pieces of eye protection, including goggles and face shields.



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