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COVID-19 vaccination bookings slowing for those aged 5-11 in Waterloo Region – Global News

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In just two weeks, Waterloo Region has provided a first dose of COVID-19 vaccinations to 14,425 kids between the ages of five and 11 in the area, according to Vickie Murray, who is leading the vaccination efforts in the area.

She says that means that 30.34 per cent of the approximately 48,000 children in that age group have now had a dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more:

Ontario reports 1,453 new COVID cases, 11 more deaths

But Murray says the first rush of families booking appointments for their kids is beginning to wane.

“I think we were very successful, reaching 30 per cent in two weeks,” she said.

“And I will be honest that children’s doses, children’s vaccine appointments are slowing down in the clinics.”

The director of pharmacy for both of Kitchener’s major hospitals could not say for sure why that was happening but she did offer her thoughts.


Click to play video: 'The New Reality: COVID-19 Long Haulers and Research'



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The New Reality: COVID-19 Long Haulers and Research


The New Reality: COVID-19 Long Haulers and Research

“Some of it, I think, is whenever you implement something new, there’s always a bit of a bell curve of how quickly people come out,” Murray told reporters Friday morning.

“And so I think when you look on that curve, we have surpassed the eager adopter numbers, right, with our 30 per cent.”

She said that the next wave of those seeking vaccinations will require a little more time to show up.

“So now we’re into more of the maintenance phase where people aren’t maybe going to be rushing out because they’re busy and they’re going to fit it into their day,” Murray said.

“They’re going to make sure they have put the time and energy into finding out the information in the education they need before they book appointments.”

She said they will eventually head to a clinic, doctor or pharmacy to get the shot and is hoping the holiday season will open up the time to get the vaccinations done.

Read more:

Ontario government planning changes to proof of COVID vaccination system, sources say

“People are very, very busy right now and I’m very hopeful that when school goes out … we’re going to see a bit of an increase in appointments,” Murray said, noting that many activities such as dance class would be on break, which could open up free time.

She also pointed out that some of the reluctance may stem from the fact the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was just approved.

“And I do hear from people that despite our best efforts to get the word out there and to share information that there’s people who still need more information or aren’t aware of the ways that they can get the vaccine,” Murray said.

The woman heading the region’s vaccination effort says the goal for vaccinating kids is the same as everyone else: 90 per cent.

Is it a reasonable goal that we’re going to reach?” she asked. “I don’t know. I’m still going to reach for it. Thirty per cent in two weeks feels like a really good start.”

This weekend, the region had an Every Dose Counts event scheduled for the Pinebush Clinic with the focus to get 6,000 kids vaccinated but it is far from full.

Murray said there were still 850 appointments available for the event over the weekend.

Because of the lack of demand, the region opened up the clinic for those who are working in health care or over the age of 70 to receive their third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“So we want to make sure our capacities are running as full as we can, which is why we have opened it up to third doses,” she said.

“And it’s a balancing act because it is a priority to get first doses into people, but it’s also important to get those third doses as well.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada’s Omicron wave may have peaked; hospitals still under strain

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Canada is seeing early signs that a wave of infections caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may have peaked, but hospitals are still under intense strain, chief public health officer Theresa Tam said on Friday.

Tam made her remarks days after the provinces of Ontario and Quebec – which together account for around 61% of Canada’s population of 38.5 million – said they were more optimistic about their ability to deal with coronavirus infections.

“There are early indications that infections may have peaked at the national level,” Tam said, noting daily case counts had dropped 28% compared to the previous week.

“However, daily hospital and intensive care unit numbers are still rising steeply, and many hospitals across Canada are under intense strain,” she said in a news briefing.

Over the past week, an average of more than 10,000 people with COVID-19 were being treated in hospitals every day, surpassing peak daily numbers for all previous waves, she said.

Although politicians at all levels have repeatedly urged Canadians to get inoculated against the virus, Tam said 6.5 million people in the country were still not fully vaccinated.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Ismail Shakil in BengaluruEditing by Paul Simao)

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BC Centre for Disease Control apologizes for isolation guidance flip flops – Globalnews.ca

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The BC Centre of Disease Control is apologizing after making multiple changes to COVID-19 isolation guidelines over the past few days.

On Tuesday, the BC CDC posted guidance reducing the isolation requirement for all COVID-19 test positive cases to five days no matter the vaccination status.

Then, less than 24 hours later, it updated the guidance to require unvaccinated adults to isolate for ten days following a COVID-positive test.

Read more:

COVID-19: B.C. reports 13 new deaths as hospitalizations near 900

But at the same time the guidelines changed for any one 17 years old and younger. That demographic only needs to isolate for five days, no matter vaccine status, following a positive test.


Click to play video: 'BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts'



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BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts


BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts

In all of these cases, the isolation time will be longer if there are still COVID symptoms.

The BC CDC also waived all isolation requirements for close contacts.

None of this information was included in a press release or public briefing.

“We apologize for the web posting and changes that occurred yesterday,” a statement from the BC CDC said.

“We understand the significant interest in these testing and isolation guidelines, which is why we updated the website immediately with clarifications made yesterday. We recognize this approach led to confusion.”


Click to play video: 'BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts'



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BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts


BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts

The BC CDC said it acknowledges the frustration people are feeling about the pandemic and the need people have for clear communication on changes impacting their lives.

“We will strive to ensure there is a better change management process for future changes,” the statement reads.

“These changes are a step toward enabling British Columbians to self-manage their illness and will help guide their actions to limit the spread of illness in our communities.”

Read more:

BC CDC flip flops on isolation requirements for unvaccinated COVID-19-positive people

On the issue of the new guidelines, the CDC said public health guidance always strives to strike a balance between preventing infection and limiting the harms caused by preventing people from participation in societal activities like working, going to school and socializing.

Public health officials have stated frequently the highly-transmissible Omicron variant has changed the COVID situation in the province.


Click to play video: 'BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts'



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BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts


BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts

The province has struggled with providing access to COVID testing and the contact tracing has entirely broken down amid the arrival of the Omicron variant.

“The guidance and how we manage the situation is changing rapidly and we always intend to provide the public with the most up-to-date information as quickly as possible,” the CDC said in the statement.

Read more:

BC CDC flip flops on isolation requirements for unvaccinated COVID-19-positive people

“We expect further changes to the guidance in the weeks to come and commit to keeping British Columbians informed.”

Here is a summary of the key changes from the CDC:

  • If you have mild symptoms and do not need a COVID-19 test, stay home until you feel well enough to return to your regular activities.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 and you are under 18 or a fully vaccinated adult you must self-isolate at home for five days AND until your symptoms improve and you no longer have a fever. In this case avoid non-essential visits to high-risk settings for an additional five days.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 and you are 18 years of age or older and not fully vaccinated you must self-isolate at home for 10 days AND until your symptoms improve and you no longer have a fever.
  • Close contacts do not need to self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status, but should self-monitor.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Take 2 steps and call me in the morning: Exercise as a prescription for depression – CBC.ca

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Judy Mulloy’s voice breaks and her eyes well up with tears as she describes how a simple walk in the park and chair yoga has helped her through the pandemic.

“Oh, it’s a happy cry, I assure you,” she said. “My life has changed around. It’s no longer a thing of sadness.”

Mulloy, 56, first turned to physical activity years ago to manage her depression. She says staying active in her hometown of Nelson, B.C., hasn’t eliminated her need for a daily antidepressant. 

“But the thing that can boost my mood is to go for a walk. Go for a swim. Do some exercise,” she said.

That tonic began to dry up when the first COVID-19 lockdown hit in 2020 and gyms and recreation centres were shuttered. Mulloy responded to a social media post looking for volunteers for a study that replaced facilities and classes with a commercially available app. 

“I’ve not looked back. It’s been amazing,” she said.

Judy Mulloy of Nelson, B.C., was one of over 300 participants in the UBC study, which found exercise has a measurable effect on mood. (Judy Mulloy)

Anxiety, depression increased in pandemic

The study was conceived by Eli Puterman, an assistant professor at the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Puterman says he was moved by surveys such as the poll done for Mental Health Research Canada in early 2020, which suggested anxiety levels had quadrupled and depression levels doubled during the pandemic.

“People were suffering. So, we wanted to see whether we can support people,” Puterman said. 

His research team recruited over 300 people, gave them a free subscription to an exercise app and divided them into four randomized groups that either did yoga, high-intensity interval training, a combination of the two, or were relegated to a wait list.

Each week, participants completed a standard questionnaire that’s used in the diagnosis and treatment of depression. Using a scale of zero to three, people reported how often they experienced symptoms such as sleeplessness or feeling lonely. 

The results were reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine last fall. 

“Everyone dropped in their depression levels,” Puterman said.

WATCH | Judy Mulloy talks about the exercise benefits she experienced: 

‘Yes, I can do this’

20 hours ago

Duration 1:40

Judy Mulloy gets emotional explaining how exercise has helped her regain hope and change aspects of her life that were contributing to her depression. 1:40

While none of the participants were screened to determine whether they had been diagnosed as clinically depressed, of those who were active in the study, the ones who reported the most severe symptoms at the start showed the biggest improvement, Puterman said.

“I am surprised by how drastic of an effect it was,” he said.

Past studies show similar results

Puterman’s results are only the latest to link physical activity and mood. “There’s been enough studies,” said Vancouver psychiatrist Dr. Ron Remick.

Remick thinks physical activity can be as effective as some more common treatments for depression, such as psychotherapy or antidepressants. But while it’s true that research going back decades demonstrates the ability of exercise to measurably reduce symptoms of depression and stave off relapse, on its own, it may not be enough to treat severe depression, a complex disease that can have multiple causes. 

Dr. Ron Remick, medical director for the Mood Disorders Association of British Columbia, out for a daily walk in Vancouver. (Curt Petrovich/CBC)

Remick’s advocacy for movement as medicine comes from his own experience. Seven years ago, as medical director of the Mood Disorders Association of British Columbia he pioneered a weekly program of low-impact movement for his patients called Jump Step. 

It involved outdoor walks, floor exercises and cardio routines combined with a group medical visit. 

When the pandemic struck, the program went virtual. Participants were given the only equipment they’d need: a yoga mat and an exercise band. Jump Step now runs for eight weeks, four times a year. Its results have drawn attention from the B.C. government, which was interested in potentially implementing it provincewide.

“Much like our earlier research, it has continued to show that a significant number of people who do a program like this have significant improvement in their depressive symptoms,” Remick said.

‘A break from all of that chatter’

Michael Sarvari leads the weekly classes. Sarvari draws on his own experience as someone who wrestled with severe depression for most of his life until one day, he says, he crawled out of bed and convinced himself to do a pushup. The next day he tried two, and so on. 

Michael Sarvari leads an online exercise group of people dealing with depression during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Jump Step, a weekly program of low-impact movement created by Remick. (Curt Petrovich)

“When you’re depressed, your mind is so busy with negative thoughts and chatter,” Sarvari said. 

“When you kind of take yourself out of your mind and into your body doing physical things, you get a break from all of that chatter. It kind of creates that calm within yourself.”

Sarvari says it’s hard to overstate the benefits of basic, regular physical activity

“I could be homeless because I wasn’t able to support myself. I wasn’t able to work,” he said. “I would be in a very dark place and possibly not alive because I was suicidal for many years.” 

WATCH | Dr. Ron Remick outlines why a little movement goes a long way: 

30 minutes a day of moderate exercise can help

20 hours ago

Duration 0:50

Ron Remick, medical director for the Mood Disorders Association of British Columbia, explains how a small amount of moderate exercise can help tackle depression and reduce your risk of some diseases. 0:50

Researchers are hoping to ease that kind of personal suffering while acknowledging there’s a payoff for the wider public if they’re successful. A decade ago, the World Economic Forum and the Harvard School of Public Health forecast the global cost of mental health conditions by 2030 to be over $7 trillion a year. 

“Changes occur slowly in medicine even when the evidence is there for a long long time,” said Remick.

Unlike a pill, prescribing exercise has to be tailored to a patient’s abilities by doctors who know how to motivate people. 

Puterman says while there is ample evidence to support his broader findings, some research gaps remain. Most of the participants in his study were white and maintained their jobs during the pandemic. He plans to focus a future study on more diverse and vulnerable communities. 

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