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COVID-19: What you need to know for January 27 – TVO

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This article was last updated on Wednesday at 10:32 a.m.

  • According to data as of January 25, there are 745 new cases in Toronto, for a total of 83,474 since the pandemic began; six of them are in hospital. In total, six people have died.
  • Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), said data from Public Health Ontario suggests that the COVID-19 variant is now present in the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, formerly known as Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene, reports CBC. Further testing is still required to confirm if the variant is one first detected in the United Kingdom.

  • Canada Post has said that customers “should expect delays with their parcels” as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak at a facility in Mississauga, reports CP24. In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Canada Post said that they are aware of 224 positive cases at their Gateway facility since January 1, including a dozen that have come to light over the last 24 hours.

  • 22 support staff at Beverly School, a public school in Toronto’s downtown that serves students with developmental and physical disabilities, are refusing to work for a second consecutive day due to concerns about their safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reports CTV News. The Toronto District School Board has confirmed that there have been a total of five positive COVID-19 cases at Beverly School, one involving a student, one involving a staff member and three involving bus drivers.

  • Starting next month, Toronto will close its outdoor skating rinks to out-of-towners, reports the Toronto Star.The city’s park, forestry and recreation division said Tuesday that it had received “a number of complaints” to its customer service phone lines over the holidays about non-Torontonians making skate reservations online.
  • On Tuesday, Hamilton recorded eight new COVID deaths and a record-high 53 active outbreaks, reports the Hamilton Spectator. Of the city’s 53 outbreaks, more than half are in retirement homes, long-term-care homes and hospitals, six are in workplaces, four are in shelters and two are in daycares.

  • In reponse to reporting by the Hamilton Spectator on the tragic conditions workers at the Grave Villa long-term-care home, APANS Health Services, which operates the home has said, “the safety of our residents, staff and family members is paramount and these statements are deeply concerning,” said CEO Mary Raithby to the newspaper. Workers at the home sent letters and emails to their local MPP’s detailing conditions at the home, which has become the site of Hamilton’s deadliest outbreak.

  • Hospitals in Hamilton won’t say how many staff go vaccinated sooner than they should have. As the Hamilton Spectator reports, staff were able to evaluate which priority group they fell into, thus determining when they would get their first dose. Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare both say most staff registered correctly, but would not confirm how many people did not. The paper also reports that Hamilton’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, could not say on Monday how many staff or residents are left to vaccinate in long-term care homes, or how many people in Hamilton have been vaccinated overall. She said that while staff know who has been vaccinated, Ontario’s system does not allow for a breakdown of the numbers.
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    Quebec health officials confirm 25 monkeypox cases now in province – Global News

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    Quebec public health officials are reporting a total of 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province as of Thursday.

    Dr. Luc Boileau, interim public health director in the province, described it as a “serious outbreak” of the virus. Officials are investigating several more suspected cases.

    “We had about 20 to 30 suspected cases under investigation so far,” Boileau said.

    The province will also begin administering the Imvamune vaccine to close contacts of confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox as soon as Friday. A single dose will be provided within four days of exposure to the virus.

    Quebec’s Health Ministry said in a statement that a second dose of the vaccine could be administered, but only if the risk of exposure is “still present 28 days later” and “only following a decision by public health authorities.”

    READ MORE: Mass vaccinations for monkeypox not needed, WHO official says

    Boileau said the majority of confirmed cases in the province are tied mostly to men who have had sexual relations with other men. There has been one case in a person under 18.

    Last week, Quebec recorded the first cases of the virus in the country. The first suspected cases were reported on May 12 in Montreal.

    Monkeypox is a rare disease that comes from the same family of viruses that causes smallpox, which the World Health Organization declared eradicated around the globe in 1980.

    The virus spreads through prolonged closed contact. It can cause fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and lesions.

    — with files from Global News’ Dan Spector and the Canadian Press

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

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    Quebec to start monkeypox vaccination of contacts as officials confirm 25 cases

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    MONTREAL — Quebec’s interim public health director says the province could start vaccinating people against monkeypox as soon as Friday.

    Dr. Luc Boileau says there are now 25 confirmed cases of the disease in the province and about 30 suspected cases are under investigation.

    He says the province has received supplies of smallpox vaccine from the federal government, and it will be administered to people who have been in close contact with confirmed cases of the disease.

    Dr. Caroline Quach, the chair of Quebec’s immunization committee, says the vaccine has been shown to prevent monkeypox in animal studies if it is administered within four days of an exposure and can reduce severity if it is administered up to 14 days after an exposure.

    She says the disease is transmitted only through prolonged close contact.

    Boileau says the majority of cases are in adult men who have been in sexual contact with people who have the disease, and there has been one case in a person under 18.

    This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

     

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    Monkeypox Warnings Ignored; Dominant COVID Strain Emerges; Better Paxlovid Access – Medpage Today

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    Warning signs of the current monkeypox outbreak may have been ignored. (STAT)

    The CDC issued a monkeypox travel alert encouraging “enhanced precautions” after cases were reported in North America, Europe, and Australia.

    Roche announced it has developed three PCR test kits to detect the monkeypox virus.

    The U.S. has a new dominant COVID-19 strain — BA.2.12.1 — a highly contagious sublineage of the BA.2 omicron subvariant that now accounts for 57.9% of all cases, according to CDC estimates.

    Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, as well as Lt. Gov.Denny Heck, both tested positive for COVID-19, as did U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). (Seattle Times, The Hill)

    As of Thursday at 8:00 a.m. EDT, the unofficial U.S. COVID toll was 83,697,199 cases and 1,004,558 deaths, increases of 218,146 and 913, respectively, compared with this time Wednesday morning.

    The Biden Administration, projecting COVID infections will continue to spread during the summer travel season announced additional steps to make nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) more accessible. (ABC News)

    The White House also reported the launch of the first federally-supported test-to-treat COVID site.

    U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior leaders of the government are to blame for booze-filled parties that violated the country’s COVID-19 lockdown rules, according to an investigative report. (NPR)

    A mouse study suggested that maraviroc (Selzentry), a FDA-approved drug used to treat HIV, may be able to reverse middle-aged memory loss. (Nature)

    The University of California system will be paying nearly $700 million to women who said they were sexually abused by a UCLA gynecologist over the course of several decades. (AP)

    The parents of a 4-year-old girl spoke out about her mysterious case of pediatric hepatitis that required a liver transplant, one of 180 similar cases under investigation in the U.S. (Today)

    Teva Pharmaceuticals has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of one lot of anagrelide capsules, which are used to treat thrombocythemia secondary to myeloproliferative neoplasms, due to dissolution test failure during routine stability testing.

    Servier announced the FDA approved ivosidenib (Tibsovo) in combination with azacitidine for certain patients with newly diagnosed IDH1-mutated acute myeloid leukemia.

    A report from the American Medical Association shows that payers are not following the prior authorization reforms agreed to in 2018. (Fierce Healthcare)

    The mass shooting in Buffalo earlier this month is a reminder that millions of Americans don’t have easy access to grocery stores. (NPR)

    COVID-era misinformation is leading a wave of parents to reject ordinary childhood immunizations. (New York Times)

    The FDA issued guidance spelling out rules for states that want to import certain prescription drugs from Canada.

    • Mike Bassett is a staff writer focusing on oncology and hematology. He is based in Massachusetts.

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