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COVID-19 spread shifts to seniors as outbreaks rise in long-term care homes: Tam – iNFOnews

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Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam looks at a slide projected on a screen during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

October 10, 2020 – 9:00 PM

Canada’s chief public health officer says the spread of COVID-19 is shifting towards seniors, adding to the mounting signs suggesting a second wave could hit just as hard as the first.

In a statement Saturday, Dr. Theresa Tam said that while the summer saw cases concentrated in the 20 to 39 age range, infection rates are now accelerating in older populations.

Reports of outbreaks in long-term care centres and retirement homes have been rising in recent weeks, but seem to be more contained than the eruption of cases that overwhelmed several facilities in April and May, said Tam.

It’s a troubling trend given the heightened health risks the virus poses to older Canadians, said Tam, warning that we’ve already seen how spread in care homes can have deadly consequences.

“We all have a shared responsibility to help protect those at highest risk,” Tam said in a statement. “When spread of COVID-19 is kept to low levels in the community this decreases the risk of exposure for older Canadians.”

Meanwhile, some of the hardest-hit provinces are scrambling to prevent such a worst-case scenario by introducing new restrictions to rein in the surge in regional hot spots.

Ontario reported 809 new cases on Saturday, including 358 in Toronto, 123 in the Peel Region and 94 in Ottawa.

The numbers come on the first day of the province’s new measures to curb the consistent climb of cases in those areas, including closing gyms, movie theatres and casinos and suspending indoor dining at bars and restaurants.

The government also reported seven new deaths related to the virus. In total, 213 people are hospitalized in Ontario because of COVID-19; 47 people are in intensive care and 29 are on ventilators.

The picture wasn’t any prettier in Quebec, which reported another 1,097 new cases on Saturday — the sixth day out of the last seven that the province surpassed 1,000 new cases.

Quebec also reported 14 additional deaths. Hospitalizations rose by 11 to 444, and six more people were in intensive care, for a total of 73.

In response, the province was set to expand restrictions in nearly all the regions along the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City on Saturday night.

Bars, restaurant dining rooms and gyms in so-called “red zones” must be closed, sports are limited and private citizens are not allowed to gather in private homes with anyone outside their household, with few exceptions.

In Manitoba, health officials reported two more deaths from COVID-19, as well as 97 new cases.

The province said in its daily pandemic update on Saturday that two women in Winnipeg — one in her 80s and another in her 90s — had died since the last update on Friday.

Public health officials also reminded people that residents of personal care homes are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, and that any visits over the Thanksgiving weekend should be planned with caution.

Even the Atlantic bubble seems to have been perforated by the pandemic’s second wave.

There were 20 new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick on Saturday, bringing the province’s total number of active cases to 57.

The province’s chief medical officer of health said 12 of the new cases are in the Moncton region and seven are in the Campbellton region. Both regions remain in the “orange” level of restrictions under the province’s COVID-19 plan.

Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia each reported three new cases on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 10, 2020.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2020

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020

The Canadian Press

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Stuck in a food rut? Why you need break out of it – The Globe and Mail

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Try cruciferous vegetables (for example, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy), which offer phytochemicals with anti-cancer properties.

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Eating the same go-to meals week after week is easy and convenient. It saves time on meal planning and it makes calorie tracking a breeze.

Sticking to a limited menu can get boring, though, which can prompt you to seek out extra snacks and treats. Worse, it can undermine your nutrient intake, and possibly your health.

The good news: adding new foods to your meal plan can combat menu fatigue and provide vitamins, minerals and protective phytochemicals your diet might be missing.

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Why variety matters

A varied diet, long considered a key component of healthy eating, means eating foods across all food groups. It also means diversifying your choices within food groups.

Researchers define a diverse diet as one that includes at least five food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and proteins.

Studies have tied greater dietary diversity to a lower risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, depression and anxiety. It may also have cognitive benefits for older adults.

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables has been found to be especially important maintaining heart health.

A varied diet is good for your gut, too. Including a mix of foods that contain probiotic bacteria, fermentable fibres and polyphenols helps maintain a diverse community of beneficial gut microbes.

If you eat similar meals day in and day out, consider the following suggestions to infuse more variety – and nutrients – in your diet, food group by food group.

Vegetables

Try cruciferous vegetables (for example, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy), which offer phytochemicals with anti-cancer properties. Enjoy them cooked or raw added to salads.

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Include bright-orange vegetables, packed with beta-carotene, in your regular diet (such as carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash). Beta-carotene supports a healthy immune system and is thought to protect against cardiovascular disease.

Add interest to meals by varying how you prepare vegetables. Sauté chopped Swiss chard, spinach or kale, for example, with garlic and chili flakes. Or, roast carrots and parsnips with a spice blend such as curry powder, harissa or ras el hanout (my favourite).

Fruit

Berries are an exceptional source of brain-friendly flavonoids called anthocyanins.

Enjoy fruit that’s in season as well. Apples and pears are good sources of pectin, a prebiotic fibre that helps fuel the growth of good gut bacteria.

In the winter months, reach for citrus fruit to increase your intake of vitamin C and flavanones, a type of flavonoid shown to protect brain cells, strengthen blood vessels and reduce inflammation.

Whole grains

Expand your grain menu beyond bread. Add raw large-flake oats to smoothies or soak them overnight for an easy breakfast. Cook a batch of farro or freekeh, nutrient-rich whole grains high in fibre and protein, to add to grain bowls, green salads, roasted vegetables, chili and soups.

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Switch up oatmeal by making porridge with other grains such as quinoa, millet, teff or amaranth.

Proteins

Think beyond chicken, salmon and lean meat, as nutritious as they are. You’ll also get muscle-building protein from beans and lentils, along with lots of folate and fibre, which animal proteins lack.

Add a variety of beans to your next chili. Make hummus from chickpeas, white beans or black beans.

If your usual snack is a handful of almonds, vary it up to get different nutrient profiles. Try walnuts for omega-3s, pistachios for extra vitamin B6 or pumpkin seeds for extra magnesium.

To increase calcium, include protein from dairy or dairy alternatives such as pea milk or soy milk. There’s no reason why Greek yogurt can’t sub in for turkey at lunch.

Try kefir, a fermented milk beverage, which delivers protein, vitamins and minerals, and probiotic bacteria. Use it for overnight oats and smoothies or over granola.

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Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based private practice dietitian, is Director of Food and Nutrition at Medcan.

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COVID-19: New rules mandate medical masks for some spa, salon staff – London Free Press (Blogs)

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Article content continued

“As we learn more about the novel coronavirus, how it spreads and how it behaves, we are putting measures in place to protect the community and prevent the kind of outbreaks that have been seen in other parts of the province.”

The updated order, made under Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act, includes the following rules for personal service businesses:

  • Staff must wear a medical-grade face mask and face shield while performing services or procedures that require a client to remove their mask. The medical-grade mask can be a surgical mask and does not have to be a particle-blocking N95 respirator. The previous order banned all services requiring clients to remove their masks.
  • Business owners must inform all staff about the increased risk of COVID-19 exposure when they’re completing a procedure that requires a client to remove their mask. This item did not appear in the first order.
  • Multi-participant steam rooms, saunas or whirlpools must close. The previous order shuttered all steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools.
  • Baths, hot tubs, floating pools or sensory deprivation pods intended for one person are permitted. The first order had required these facilities to close unless administered by a regulated health professional.
  • Oxygen bars must close.
  • All staff must wear face masks on the job.

The new rules take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. There is no timeline on the duration of the public health order.

Failing to comply with the order can carry a fine of as much as $5,000 a day for individuals and $25,000 a day for businesses.

London and Middlesex County reported two new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, one in a person aged 20 to 29, the other in a person 80 or older.

The London-area has reported three deaths and 378 new COVID-19 cases since Sept. 1, including 230 cases this month. October’s case count is second only to April, the peak of the first wave.

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COVID-19 immunity wanes within weeks, U.K. study finds. Results suggest vaccine needed twice a year – National Post

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Article content continued

She added: “Seasonal coronaviruses that circulate every winter and cause common colds can reinfect people, after six to 12 months – and we suspect that the way that the body reacts to infection with this new coronavirus is rather similar to that.

“We don’t yet know what level of antibody is needed in a person’s blood to protect them from infection or reinfection from SARS-CoV-2, but of course that level is a crucial thing to begin to understand.”

Acquiring this collective immunity just by letting virus run through the population is not really an option

Tarik Jasarevic, spokesman for the World Health Organization

The findings suggested that even if a successful vaccine was developed, it might have to be administered as often as every six months, increasing the scale of the challenge ahead. However, researchers said vaccines could prove more powerful than natural immunity.

The study backs up findings from similar surveys in Germany which found the vast majority of people didn’t have COVID-19 antibodies, even in hotspots for the disease, and that antibodies might fade in those who do.

World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said that uncertainty over how long immunity would last and the fact most people had never had antibodies against the coronavirus in the first place showed the need to break transmission chains.

“Acquiring this collective immunity just by letting virus run through the population is not really an option,” he told a U.N. briefing in Geneva

Professor Graham Cooke, another Imperial infectious diseases expert, said: “The big picture here is that after the first wave, the great majority of the country still did not have evidence of protective immunity. So although we are seeing a decline in the proportion of people who are testing positive, we still have a great majority of people who are unlikely to have been exposed.

“So the need for a vaccine is still very large if you want to try and get a large level of protection in the population.”

Imperial’s study, based on a survey of 365,000 randomly selected adults, was released as a pre-print paper, and has not yet been peer-reviewed.

The rapid waning of antibodies did not necessarily have implications for the efficacy of vaccine candidates currently in clinical trials, Imperial’s Barclay said.

“A good vaccine may well be better than natural immunity,” she said.

With files from The Daily Telegraph

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