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COVID-19: Virus testing backlog in B.C. expected to be cleared by Tuesday – Vancouver Sun



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B.C.’s top doctor says the province is nearly caught up on its testing for the novel coronavirus, eliminating a backlog that had accumulated over the last seven to 10 days.

That means health officials have a good idea of what is happening in communities when it comes to the spread of COVID-19, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

On Monday, Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced 48 new confirmed cases of the virus, bringing the provincial total to 472. As of Saturday, 21,296 tests had been completed, up from 17,912 on Friday and 6,326 on March 13. Ontario had completed 28,506 tests as of Monday morning, and as of Sunday afternoon Washington State had tested 30,875 people.

Dix said the number of tests administered in B.C. has steadily increased since the end of February, and the province is now doing about 3,000 tests per day.

“We’ve done in the last couple of days, each day, a record number of tests,” he said, noting that number will continue to increase.

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New COVID-19 outbreak at Ottawa retirement home as cases hit 122 –



Ottawa public health officials have confirmed 16 new cases of COVID-19 in the city, including a second outbreak at a retirement home.

Dr. Vera Etches, the city’s medical officer of health, said in an update Sunday afternoon that Ottawa Public Health was investigating an outbreak of the respiratory illness at the Maplewood Retirement Community.

The Industrial Avenue retirement home is the second in the city to have a confirmed case of COVID-19, after a resident at the Promenade retirement home in Orléans fell ill last week.

All residents at the home are now in self-isolation, Etches said, and staff have been urged to wear masks when entering the building.

The new numbers announced Sunday bring the total of confirmed cases in the national capital to 122.

Three residents at the Almonte Country Haven, a retirement home in Almonte, Ont., have tested positive for COVID-19. (Patrick Louiseize/Radio-Canada)

Elsewhere in the region

Just outside the city, three residents at the Almonte Country Haven, a retirement home in Almonte, Ont., have also tested positive for COVID-19.

A post on the retirement home’s Facebook page said that staff had made the “difficult decision to isolate every resident to their room” to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Ontario’s health ministry was reporting 211 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 1,355.

In the Outaouais, meanwhile, public health officials also confirmed two new cases Sunday, bringing the total there to 28.

As of Sunday, Quebec had 2,840 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 22 deaths. 

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OPH investigating 16 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ottawa, bringing total to 122 –



Ottawa Public Health says it is investigation 122 positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city — that’s 16 new cases in total.  

The city health authority is also investigating two institutional outbreaks of the virus, one of which at Maplewood Retirement Community, OPH confirmed in a Sunday statement.

This is following the health authority’s announcement of 31 confirmed cases on Saturday.

According to Dr. Vera Etches, the retirement home has implemented outbreak management and OPH is connecting with close contacts.

“All residents have been notified and are in self-isolation,” Etches said in a statement. “Staff at the retirement home continue to be screened and have been instructed to wear personal protective equipment in the building, specifically wearing a mask when entering the building and following droplet/contact procedures in all resident rooms.”

Further details of individuals who have tested positive were not provided. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and every citizen must continue doing their part to keep themselves, their family members, their neighbours, co-workers and community members healthy and safe, and reduce the spread of the virus,” Etches added.

Etches urges everyone to continue to practicing physical distancing and to self-isolate if symptoms develop for 14 days or travel was involved. Those with the virus are also to continue their isolation 24 hours after symptoms have fully resolved. 

People are also encouraged to avoid visiting elderly friends or relatives unless the visit is essential. 

For more tips on how to stay safe, visit the OPH website. 

The total number of positive cases in Ontario is now at 1,355. 

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‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand – Red Deer Advocate



OTTAWA — Canadians have been coming forward in large numbers to donate blood after Canadian Blood Services warned of a possible shortage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blood donor clinics have extended their hours and put in place strict safety protocols for anyone giving blood.

“The response has been tremendous,” Dr. Isra Levy, the agency’s vice-president of medical affairs and innovation, said Friday.

“From our point of view, the numbers are very, very satisfying in the sense that we’re able to match demand with supply. We really need to keep up that altruism that has motivated donors to come in.”

Canadian Blood Services operates a national blood inventory that allows products to be regularly shifted around the country to meet hospital and patient needs.

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis.

Levy warned nearly two weeks ago that Canada was facing a critical blood shortage. Donations had dropped about 20 per cent because of concerns about the novel coronavirus.

Because of a suspension of elective surgeries, the demand for blood is also down about 15 per cent, Levy said Friday.

While things are going well now, he added, the concern is whether Canadians will continue to keep donating over the long run.

“We’re going to have this challenge for many weeks to come and the implication is we’re going to need our donors to really continue to show up,” Levy said.

“They need to think about things not about as an urgent and immediate need for blood, but as an ongoing, pressing concern that we have about a potential for a sudden drop in inventory.”

Calgary’s blood donor clinic had to reduce appointments last week because of long lineups and wait times.

Donors waited behind a red line outside the clinic while checking in. Inside, chairs were placed strategically in the waiting room and every other bed was used. Health workers wiped down every donor station thoroughly between patients.

Some donors recently took to social media to discuss the importance of giving.

“First real trip out of the house in a while to Canadian Blood Services. As a former recipient, I understand first hand the importance of donors,” wrote Katie Mitchell on Instagram.

“They have put great steps in place to have donors maintain social distancing requirements. So happy I wasn’t rejected.”

“My dad needs transfusions every three weeks so in addition to worrying about COVID-19, he’s concerned about blood supply shortages,” wrote Sara Jane O’Neill on Twitter.

“Please donate if you can.”

Levy said some donors in Ottawa have told him that they feel they’re able to make a difference when everything else in the world is out of their control.

“It’s a sense of contribution in an uncertain time,” he said.

“The people who are showing up at our donor collection centres, anecdotally, express a sense of satisfaction that they’re able to do something for the community beyond staying at home and finding ways to fill their time.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2020

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

The Canadian Press


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