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COVID-19 update for Oct. 30: Now is not the time for parties or large gatherings, say health officials – Standard Freeholder

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Health officials are reminding people to make the Halloween weekend safe for everyone by maintaining safe physical distances from one another.

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Oct. 30, 2020.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on Oct. 30:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 14,381 (2,390 active)
• New cases since Oct. 29: 272
• Hospitalized cases: 78
• Intensive care: 25
• COVID-19 related deaths: 263 (1 new)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 6,003
• Recovered: 11,670
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 26

IN-DEPTH: COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

3 p.m. – Health officials report 272 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death

The province reported another 272 cases of COVID-19 on Friday and one additional death, bringing the total number of people who have died to 263.

There are 2,390 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 6,003 people are under public health monitoring after being exposed to a known case.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced this week that gatherings are now limited to people in an immediate household, plus their so-called “safe six”’ guests.

The B.C. government says it will increase surveillance this weekend as the new order came into effect.

In a joint statement, Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are reminding people to make the Halloween weekend safe for everyone by maintaining safe physical distances from one another.

They say this is also not the time for large gatherings in homes as the number of cases of COVID-19 spikes.

— The Canadian Press

12:30 – Port of Vancouver says it supports federal extension on cruise ship ban

Transport Canada has extended a ban on cruise ships to the end of February as the country continues to  grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the third time the federal agency has imposed a ban on visiting cruise ships, after the federal government extended the ban at the end of May, sinking Vancouver’s lucrative summer cruise ship season.

Port of Vancouver spokesperson Arpen Rana said Friday that Vancouver’s cruise season begins in April and concludes in October, so they can’t speculate on the revenue impact for 2021 but said the port supports the decision.

“As a Canada Port Authority, we support and follow the direction of Transport Canada regarding the recently announced extension of measures pertaining to cruise ships,” said Rana.

“We are actively engaged in discussions with the cruise industry and tourism partners to support the industry under these challenging conditions.”

Rana did not say when the port expected the ban to lift, or whether it might be extended into the spring, but said the agency is working with the Association of Canadian Port Authorities Cruise Committee to resume safe cruises sometime next year.

The committee is made up of all port authorities with cruise terminals in Canada.

Given that the extension ends before the season kicks into gear in May, it does not change much in terms of anticipated revenue lost, said Sabrina Tey, a spokesperson for Tourism Vancouver.

The ban has taken a heavy toll this year on Vancouver’s tourism industry, however, as an estimated 1.3 million cruise ship passengers on 310 ships were scheduled to make port in Vancouver in 2020 before the pandemic hit.

Each ship translates into $3 million in tourism spending.

11:30 a.m. – To report Halloween parties in Vancouver call 311

Vancouver residents are being reminded ahead of Halloween that reports of large gatherings or parties, which are not allowed under a new COVID-19 rules, should be reported to 311 and not 911.

This follows an order this week from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry limiting gatherings in private residences to the household members plus six others within the household’s bubble. B.C.’s cases  have been going up, with more than 200 cases reported a day for more than a week.

Health officials have said most of the new cases are in the Fraser Health Authority, and are linked to social gatherings such as weddings, celebrations of life, and holidays.

Vancouver police said they are asking residents to keep 911 lines free for emergencies and to call 311 if there is a large gathering. The VPD has issued two tickets on the order, one to a host of a party and the other to an individual for failure to comply.

Meantime, in the last month the city of Vancouver has received hundreds of complaints on 311 about the pandemic, including 130 complaints of too many people being inside a business, 120 calls about house parties, 61 complaints about gatherings exceeding 50 people.

Thirty-three callers complained about people promoting parties or gatherings, three were upset about banquet halls being open, and 16 called to complain about people not adhering to social distancing measures.

There were also 160 other pandemic-related calls. Of those 49 had to do with too many people gathering together.

For more on this, read How do I have a Safe Halloween?

12 a.m. –  Even small gatherings can kill during a pandemic, say health officials

Health officials shared a sobering story during Thursday’s COVID-19 update, meant to drive home the tragedy that could be prevented when people adhere health orders and guidelines.

“It is something that reminds us of how important the measures that we need to take right now can be in protective lives,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, who said Thursday that B.C. is “in a danger zone.”

Henry said the latest death recorded was of a woman in her 80s who attended a small birthday party of less than 10 people in a private home.

Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO of Fraser Health hosted Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing in Surrey on Thursday.

B.C. saw 234 new cases and one death reported between Wednesday and Thursday, bringing the province’s total number of reported cases up to 14,109 since the start of the pandemic. There are are now 2,344 active cases of COVID-19.

Of those, 86 remain in hospital, of which 24 are in the intensive care unit.

There are 4,588 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 8,036 in Fraser Health, 256 in Vancouver Island, 734 in Interior Health, 464 in Northern Health and 89 who are non-B.C. residents.



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press

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What is the Delta variant of coronavirus with K417N mutation?

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 India said on Wednesday it has found around 40 cases of the Delta coronavirus variant carrying a mutation that appears to make it more transmissible, and advised states to increase testing.

Below is what we know about the variant.

WHAT IS DELTA PLUS?

The variant, called “Delta Plus” in India, was first reported in a Public Health England bulletin on June 11.

It is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant first detected in India and has acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N which is also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

Some scientists worry that the mutation, coupled with other existing features of the Delta variant, could make it more transmissible.

“The mutation K417N has been of interest as it is present in the Beta variant (B.1.351 lineage), which was reported to have immune evasion property,” India’s health ministry said in a statement.

Shahid Jameel, a top Indian virologist, said the K417N was known to reduce the effectiveness of a cocktail of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.

WHERE ALL IT HAS BEEN FOUND?

As of June 16 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/994839/Variants_of_Concern_VOC_Technical_Briefing_16.pdf, at least 197 cases has been found from 11 countries – Britain (36), Canada (1), India (8), Japan (15), Nepal (3), Poland (9), Portugal (22), Russia (1), Switzerland (18), Turkey (1), the United States (83).

India said on Wednesday around 40 cases of the variant have been observed in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, with “no significant increase in prevalence”. The earliest case in India is from a sample taken on April 5.

Britain said its first 5 cases were sequenced on April 26 and they were contacts of individuals who had travelled from, or transited through, Nepal and Turkey.

No deaths were reported among the UK and Indian cases.

WHAT ARE THE WORRIES?

Studies are ongoing in India and globally to test the effectiveness of vaccines against this mutation.

“WHO is tracking this variant as part of the Delta variant, as we are doing for other Variants of Concern with additional mutations,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement sent to Reuters.

“For the moment, this variant does not seem to be common, currently accounting for only a small fraction of the Delta sequences … Delta and other circulating Variants of Concern remain a higher public health risk as they have demonstrated increases in transmission,” it said.

But India’s health ministry warned that regions where it has been found “may need to enhance their public health response by focusing on surveillance, enhanced testing, quick contact-tracing and priority vaccination.”

There are worries Delta Plus would inflict another wave of infections on India after it emerged from the world’s worst surge in cases only recently.

“The mutation itself may not lead to a third wave in India – that also depends on COVID-appropriate behaviour, but it could be one of the reasons,” said Tarun Bhatnagar, a scientist with the state-run Indian Council for Medical Research.

(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar in Pune, Bhargav Acharya and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru and Alistair Smout in London; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Giles Elgood)

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Colon Cancer Rates Have Increased: How Can You Improve Your Gut Health?

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The majority of colon cancer cases are more common among older citizens. However, research has found that colorectal cancer rates have been rising in healthy people under 50. The rate has increased over the ten years. Medical professionals recommend screening from age 45. A colorectal screening test is done to ensure that the individual does not have any signs of cancer.

A study found that there has been a surge in colorectal cancer in younger generations and could become the dominant cause of cancer-related deaths by 2030. Since the risk is alarming, everyone needs to take their gut health seriously. Here are some things that people can do to improve their well-being.

Consider Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is a type of colon cleanse that treats digestive issues such as constipation and bloating. Chronic constipation can lead to colon cancer, so it is vital to deal with the issue before it worsens. Colon hydrotherapy is offered at a few places, including a wellness colonic clinic in Toronto where the staff is committed to providing solutions for their clients’ digestive health.

Cleansing your colon can help improve digestion, relieve constipation, reduce gas, rejuvenate skin, and increase energy. The process involves flushing the colon with a large volume of water. It can be beneficial to speak to the professionals at the clinic and discuss your concerns with them. They will educate you about the process and answer any concerns you may have. The treatment can seem overwhelming but can also be helpful for your gut health.

 

Consume Sensibly

Your food intake plays a significant role in your gut health. If you have gut problems, it may be worthwhile to speak to a doctor and change your diet. You should also consider finding out if you have any food intolerance. There may be trigger foods such as oil or dairy that could be causing discomfort.

Even if you do not have any problems with your food consumption, it is never wrong to watch what you eat. Foods with probiotics or high fibre content can be good for you. Eating the right foods can improve your overall health too.

Stay Hydrated

Water almost seems like a magical drink sometimes. From skin problems to digestive issues, it can improve many situations. Consuming a good amount of water every day can balance good bacteria in the gut and promote your health. Hydration can also help your organs function properly and improve cognitive function.

Say Goodbye to Extreme Stress

It can be challenging to bid farewell to stress forever. However, chronic high levels of stress can impact your abdomen and your overall health. There is a connection between the brain and gut, and stress can cause your stomach to become anxious.

Long-term stress can trigger several gut problems such as indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea. Look for ways to reduce stress levels so that your gut can remain healthy.

Some health problems are inevitable with age, but you can do your best to stay healthy and deal with any issues you face. Prepare yourself to fight any disease beforehand, and your body will thank you.

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Biden’s vaccine pledge ups pressure on rich countries to give more

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The United States on Thursday raised the pressure on other Group of Seven leaders to share their vaccine hoards to bring an end to the pandemic by pledging to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the world’s poorest countries.

The largest ever vaccine donation by a single country will cost the United States $3.5 billion but Washington expects no quid pro quo or favours for the gift, a senior Biden administration official told reporters.

U.S. President Joe Biden‘s move, on the eve of a summit of the world’s richest democracies, is likely to prompt other leaders to stump up more vaccines, though even vast numbers of vaccines would still not be enough to inoculate all of the world’s poor.

G7 leaders want to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022 to try to halt the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 3.9 million people and devastated the global economy.

A senior Biden administration official described the gesture as a “major step forward that will supercharge the global effort” with the aim of “bringing hope to every corner of the world.” “We really want to underscore that this is fundamentally about a singular objective of saving lives,” the official said, adding that Washington was not seeking favours in exchange for the doses.

Vaccination efforts so far are heavily correlated with wealth: the United States, Europe, Israel and Bahrain are far ahead of other countries. A total of 2.2 billion people have been vaccinated so far out of a world population of nearly 8 billion, based on Johns Hopkins University data.

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have agreed to supply the U.S. with the vaccines, delivering 200 million doses in 2021 and 300 million doses in the first half of 2022.

The shots, which will be produced at Pfizer’s U.S. sites, will be supplied at a not-for-profit price.

“Our partnership with the U.S. government will help bring hundreds of millions of doses of our vaccine to the poorest countries around the world as quickly as possible,” said Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla.

‘DROP IN THE BUCKET’

Anti-poverty campaign group Oxfam called for more to be done to increase global production of vaccines.

“Surely, these 500 million vaccine doses are welcome as they will help more than 250 million people, but that’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the need across the world,” said Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America’s vaccine lead.

“We need a transformation toward more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers worldwide can produce billions more low-cost doses on their own terms, without intellectual property constraints,” he said in a statement.

Another issue, especially in some poor countries, is the infrastructure for transporting the vaccines which often have to be stored at very cold temperatures.

Biden has also backed calls for a waiver of some vaccine intellectual property rights but there is no international consensus yet on how to proceed.

The new vaccine donations come on top of 80 million doses Washington has already pledged to donate by the end of June. There is also $2 billion in funding earmarked for the COVAX programme led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the White House said.

GAVI and the WHO welcomed the initiative.

Washington is also taking steps to support local production of COVID-19 vaccines in other countries, including through its Quad initiative with Japan, India and Australia.

(Reporting by Steve Holland in St. Ives, England, Andrea Shalal in Washington and Caroline Copley in Berlin; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Keith Weir;Editing by Leslie Adler, David Evans, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Giles Elgood and Jane Merriman)

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