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Covid vaccine: First 'milestone' vaccine offers 90% protection – OODA Loop

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Global RiskNews Briefs

Pfizer and BioNTech have developed the first effective COVID-19 vaccine, boasting a success rate of 90% in the preliminary analysis. The vaccine has been tested on over 43,000 people spanning six different countries. No health concerns have been raised throughout the trial process. The companies are now seeking emergency approval to begin administering the vaccine by the end of the month.

The vaccine has been heavily sought after as countries struggle with overflowing hospitals and economic crises as a result of lockdown measures or lack thereof. There are a dozen different vaccine variants in the final stages of testing, however, this vaccine is the first to show concrete results. The vaccine trains the body to make antibodies and injects the virus’s genetic code in order to do so. The vaccine would require two doses, three weeks apart.

Read More: Covid vaccine: First ‘milestone’ vaccine offers 90% protection

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N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Some classes go online, testing sites boosted as five new cases reported – CBC.ca

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Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, directly addressed the youth of New Brunswick at Tuesday’s news conference, urging them to do what they can do to reverse the trend of COVID-19.

“New Brunswickers under the age of 30 are contracting COVID-19 in growing numbers and passing it to others,” Russell said. “Children, teens and young adults are not immune to this disease,” and can pass it on to others who are more vulnerable.

Russell urged them to wear a mask in public, maintain physical distancing. “You can help return all zones to the yellow phase,” she said. 

Russell also announced five new cases on Tuesday, although Public Health originally reported six.

Three of the new cases are in the Saint John region (Zone 2), and include:

  • two people 19 and under; and
  • one individual 30 to 39.

Two cases are in the Moncton region (Zone 1), both cases are individuals age 20 to 29.

There are now 93 active cases in the province, with no one in hospital with the disease.

“There will be more cases,” Russell warned. “A record number of people across the province self-isolating … and the risk that our hospitals will be overwhelmed is high.”

Education Minister Dominic Cardy said classes at four schools in the Saint John and Moncton region will go online for two weeks next week. (File photo submitted by New Brunswick government)

Education Minister Dominic Cardy also spoke at the briefing.

Cardy said there are now seven schools in the Saint John and Fredericton regions that have been impacted and he understands parents are concerned, “but we have reason to be optimistic.” 

He said the province has learned from the earlier outbreak in the Campbellton region. 

“In the summer I was clear,” he said. “I said there would be more cases, and more deaths. This is not a surprise.”

He said officials took the summer to develop a plan, and thanks to the work of contact tracers across the province, and residents, New Brunswick was able to push COVID-19 back.

But Cardy noted a handful of classes in Zone 2 and 3 will be learning from home “in the coming week or two,” including Hampton Middle School and Lakefield Elementary School in Zone 2, and Centreville school and Montgomery school in Zone 3.

There will be remote IT services to assist parents if there are technical issues, said Cardy, who provided this number: 1-833-453-1140. 

Lakefield Elementary School in Quispamsis has confirmed its first case of COVID-19. (Candace Patterson)

Quispamsis school reports case of COVID-19

An elementary school in the Quispamsis area is the latest New Brunswick school to report a case of COVID-19.  

An email was sent out to parents at Lakefield Elementary School on Monday.

This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at New Brunswick schools to six since last week, and 11 since the school year began.

The email to Lakefield parents says the kindergarten to Grade 5 school is working with Public Health to identify students and school personnel who might have come into contact with the coronavirus.

“Public health officials will contact you if your child has been in close contact with the confirmed case and will tell you if your child needs to self-isolate,” the email said. 

“If you are not contacted by Public Health officials, your child can continue to attend school.”

LISTEN | Education Minister Dominic Cardy talks about how he’s prepared to switch system to online learning at a moment’s notice

Information Morning – Fredericton14:42Covid-19 exposures in schools

Education Minister Dominic Cardy joined us to talk about going to school in the orange phase, and the COVID-19 cases and exposures in our schools. 14:42

The email went on to say that further details will not be released, in order to protect the confidentiality of students and employees.

Education Minister Dominic Cardy said Monday that schools will move to online learning right away if there are any risks to students or if the number of cases increases. 

How much is too much information in a pandemic?

There’s a fine balance between saying too much and not enough during a public health crisis, an associate professor of public policy at the University of British Columbia says.

“Feeling the information is consistent and trustworthy will really help with compliance, so it’s completely crucial,” said Heidi Tworek, who is also the co-author of Democratic Health Communications during COVID-19: A Rapid Response, which has been featured in the New York Times, Financial Times, CNN and elsewhere.

Tworek spoke to Information Morning Fredericton on Tuesday. 

When a crisis emerges, she said people tend to have a lot of anxiety and want as much information as possible.

“At the same time, we have to recognize there is a limit to information authorities may be able reveal,” she said.

New Brunswick Public Health has been cautious about how much information it makes available to the public, withholding all details except the health zones where cases have turned up, the ages of the people who tested positive, and whether their cases are travel-related or under investigation.

Although some of her counterparts have used data to show how the disease has spread through a particular area, Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, has said she will share only what she’s decided the public needs to hear.

Heidi Tworek, an assistant professor in international history and public policy at University of British Columbia, says governments and public health agencies have to be more effective at communicating to the public because disinformation will spread faster than facts. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

There are seven zones in New Brunswick. 

However, Zone 3, the Fredericton and River Valley area and the largest zone in the province, contains more than 20 communities.

Tworek said that if New Brunswick Public Health got too specific about where cases are, people in other areas might let their guards down, causing the virus to spread.

“We need to figure out the balance how specific to get … while at the same time trying not to reveal so much, for example, we’re stigmatizing certain people,” she said, citing what happened during the early years of AIDS and HIV which caused some stigmatization around gay people.  

Russell has also avoided answering questions on other issues related to COVID-19 during the COVID news conferences that have happened on and off since the outbreak started in March.

But there isn’t a magic formula, Tworek said.

She said countries around the world have taken different approaches to releasing public health information, partly because they have different laws about privacy, she said. 

Some countries are also more transparent. When the respiratory virus first broke out, authorities in Taiwan made a point of being transparent with the public, telling the public it didn’t have enough masks to go around and those that were available were needed for health-care workers. 

Vehicles lined up to get back into New Brunswick from Prince Edward Island when the Atlantic bubble was still intact this past summer. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC News)

However, countries like Canada have different degrees of disclosure depending on where a person lives. And some members of the public might have more trust in public health authorities than others. 

She said the most important objective is for public health officials to build trust with the people they’re communicating with. And they can do this by explaining how and why they’re making certain decisions.

“It’s a very tricky balance.” 

Saint John mayor asks public to stay calm

Saint John Mayor Don Darling says he’s never been happier to have the flu.

Darling received a negative COVID test result Monday. But it’s been a roller-coaster experience.

“I am following the rules.,” he told Information Morning Saint John on Tuesday. “I’m masked and I’ve never washed my hands more in my life. 

“There’s a fear, there’s a shame. I didn’t know if folks were going to show up with tiki torches outside my home.”

He has been self-isolating since Friday after experiencing several COVID symptoms, including aches, trouble breathing, a cough and fever. 

The Saint John region was recently sent back to the orange phase because of the recent spike in cases.

There are currently 43 active COVID cases in the Saint John region

Darling is reminding residents to stay patient and calm. 

“We’ve seen it in our community, folks speculating and hunting down those that have COVID,” he said. “Those that have COVID are human beings.”

The hospitality industry has been “barely hanging on,” throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the vice- president of Restaurants Canada in Atlantic Canada says. 

Bars, restaurants should be shut down, Saint John bartender says 

A Saint John bartender says the government should temporarily shut down bars and restaurants in order to control the local COVID-19 outbreak.

Liv Wagg, 26, has been off work and self-isolating since last Thursday, after a possible COVID exposure notice at her workplace.

It’s been a stressful week, said Wagg, and every bartender she knows is on edge.

Wagg said she normally enjoys going to work and she thinks it’s nice for people to be able to socialize in bars, but she doesn’t agree bars should be open right now.

“I don’t think they should be,” she said. “I think we should be seeing a little bit more leadership from the government.”

Wagg said bar owners are taking precautions and following the rules, but a closure order would be a more clearcut way to reduce the spread. 

Bar and restaurant staff have felt “weird” about working since the mandatory mask order came into effect, she said.

That’s partly because it’s hard to get patrons to follow the rules, said Wagg.

Customers often absent-mindedly pull down their masks to talk to her. And she has to remind them to put them back on.

“People forget and they’re like, ‘Oh, I can’t talk with this thing in my mouth.'”

Premier Blaine Higgs announced Monday that New Brunswick will not be making changes to the Atlantic bubble, despite Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador temporarily pulling out. 1:45

It happens so often, she said, it’s “almost comical,” except for the threat it currently presents to public health.

It puts bartenders in a difficult position, said Wagg, to expect them to catch and confront people who put fake names down for contract tracing or come in with people who are not members of their bubble, as the premier said during Monday’s news conference.

“I feel like it’s going to be really, really difficult to execute,” said Wagg.

When the bar is busy, she said, there isn’t time to double check names.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, says there hasn’t been evidence of community spread in the province, but there are still 13 active COVID-19 cases under investigation. 1:22

And often young bar patrons will have IDs that show their parents’ address, not their student accommodations. 

Wagg would also like to see the government make COVID testing more available to bar and restaurant staff. Nova Scotia has just done that. And it’s been recommended by epidemiologist Colin Furness based on what’s been learned from the way the disease has spread in Ontario. Chief medical officer Dr. Jennifer Russell said Monday that she’d consider it.

“I think that’s a really good idea,” Wagg said. “Anyone working in customer service really should be able to have more access to testing right now.”

Wagg said she hasn’t even tried to get a COVID test because she’s heard from other bar staff that she won’t get one because she doesn’t have symptoms.

89 active cases of COVID-19

Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. announced Monday that they were leaving the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region.

New Brunswick isn’t following suit, although Premier Blaine Higgs is asking people to be cautious about travel outside the province.

New Brunswick Public Health reported 15 new cases on Monday, and one death, a person in their 80s in the Saint John region.

Eleven of the new cases are in the Saint John region (Zone 2), three are in the Moncton region (Zone 1) and one in the Fredericton region (Zone 3), Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, said at Monday’s news conference.

All 15 of the new cases have been “identified and are isolating,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health at a news briefing Monday. 

As of Monday, the province had a total of 89 active cases.

Seven people in New Brunswick have died of the disease since the pandemic started.

Moncton and Saint John have both been pushed back to the orange phase of recovery, while the rest of the province has stayed at the less restrictive yellow phase.

Potential public exposure warnings for Saint John, Moncton

New Brunswick Public Health has released the following possible exposure to COVID-19 warnings for locations in Moncton and Saint John, including gyms, stores, bars, restaurants and on flights.

Anyone who visited the following businesses during the identified times should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

Anyone who develops any COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and take the self-assessment online to schedule a test.

Saint John area

  • Rothesay Route 1 Big Stop Restaurant on Nov. 14 between 12:45 p.m. and 2 p.m. (2870 Route 1, Rothesay).
     
  • Pub Down Under on Nov. 14, between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (400 Main St., Saint John)
     
  • Fish & Brew on Nov. 14 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. (800 Fairville Blvd., Saint John)
     
  • Cora Breakfast and Lunch on Nov. 16 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. (39 King St., Saint John).
     
  • Goodlife Fitness McAllister Place on Nov. 16 between noon and 1 p.m. and on Nov. 18 between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (519 Westmorland Rd., Saint John).
     
  • NBCC Grandview campus on Nov. 16, 17, and 18 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (950 Grandview Ave., Saint John).
     
  • Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio on Nov. 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. (47 Clark Rd., Rothesay)
  • Let’s Hummus at 44 Water St. between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

  • Eighty-Three Bar Arcade at 43 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m.

  • Callie’s Pub at 2 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m.

  • O’Leary’s Pub at 46 Princess St. on Nov. 14 between midnight and 2 a.m.

  • Five and Dime Bar at 34 Grannan St. on Nov. 14, between 12:30 to 2:30 a.m

  • Freddie’s Pizza at 27 Charlotte St. on Nov. 14, between 2:30 to 3 a.m.

  • Big Tide Brewing Company at 47 Princess St. on Nov. 16, between 12:30 to 2 p.m.

  • Java Moose at 84 Prince William St. Nov. 16, between 2 to 2:30 p.m.

  • Rocky’s Sports Bar at 7 Market Square on Nov. 13, between 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Potential public exposure was also reported on Nov. 14 between 10:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.

Moncton 

  • RD Maclean Co. Ltd. on Nov. 16, 17 and 18 at 200 St. George St., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  
  • GoodLife Fitness on Nov. 21 at 555 Dieppe Blvd, Dieppe, between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.  
  • Fit 4 Less at 165 Main St. on Nov. 6-12, at various times between 5 p.m. and midnight. Full list on Public Health website. 

  • GoodLife Fitness at Moncton Junction Village Gym on Nov. 6, between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Potential public exposure was also reported on Nov. 9, between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

  • Aldo Shoes at Moncton Champlain Mall on Nov. 6-10 at various times between 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • CEPS Louis-J. Robichaud fitness room at 40 Antonine-Maillet Ave. on Nov. 6, 9, 10 and 12 at various times in the evening from 5:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

  • Tandoori Zaika Cuisine and Bar at 196 Robinson St. on Nov. 8, between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.

  • Keg Steakhouse and Bar at 576 Main St. on Nov. 17, between 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

  • Flights into Moncton:

  • Air Canada Flight 8954 on Nov. 15 from Winnipeg to Toronto, arrived at 8:16 p.m.

  • Air Canada Flight 8918 on Nov. 15 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:43 p.m.

  • Air Canada Flight 0992 on Nov. 7 from Mexico City to Toronto, arrived at 7:20 p.m.

  • Air Canada Flight 8918 on Nov. 7 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:43 p.m.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online

Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included:

  • A fever above 38 C.

  • A new cough or worsening chronic cough.

  • Sore throat.

  • Runny nose.

  • Headache.

  • New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.

  • Difficulty breathing.

In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with one of those symptoms should:

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More COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba linked to hospital and care home outbreaks – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
The province has reported 12 more Manitobans have died of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, many of which are linked to outbreaks at hospitals and care homes.

For more than a month straight, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, has listed off a growing list of Manitobans who have died of COVID-19 every single day.

Tuesday saw that grim trend continue, as Roussin reported the deaths of 12 more people.

These deaths include:

  • A man in his 60s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at St. Boniface Hospital, Unit E6;
  • A man in his 60s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at Health Science Centre unit A4;
  • A woman in her 60s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at St. Norbert personal care home;
  • A woman in her 60s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • Two men in their 70s from Southern Heath–Santé Sud health region;
  • A woman in her 70s from the Northern health region;
  • A man in his 80s from the Southern Heath–Santé Sud health region and linked to the outbreak at the Villa Youville personal care home;
  • A man in his 80s from the Southern Heath–Santé Sud health region and linked to the outbreak at Oakview Manor;
  • A man in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at Parkview Place;
  • A man in his 90s from the Prairie Mountain Health region and linked to the outbreak at the Fairview Personal Care Home; and
  • A woman in her 90s from the Southern Heath–Santé Sud health region and linked to the outbreak at the Rest Haven Nursing Home.

Roussin said the province defines COVID-19 deaths as someone who has died and has tested positive for COVID-19 unless health officials can clearly say it was not responsible for the death.

“If COVID-19 was at all related to it, then we would consider that a COVID-related death,” Roussin said.

He said, as an example, if someone died in a car crash and had tested positive for COVID-19 – it would not be counted as a COVID-19 death.

Since March, 248 people have died of COVID-19 in Manitoba.

ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 MAY BE LOWER THAN RECOVERIES, ROUSSIN SAYS

These cases bring Manitoba’s total number of cases to 14,558 since March, though the province removed five cases from the total on Tuesday due to a data correction.

The province also reported 280 more people have recovered from COVID-19 as of Tuesday, which brings Manitoba’s total recoveries to 5,633.

The province reported the number of active cases is 8,677, but Roussin said the actual number of active cases might be much lower.

He said if the number excludes those in hospital and accounts for unreported recoveries – which are considered 10 days after symptom onset – then the number of active cases would be 3,363 active cases.

There are now 292 people in hospital due to the virus, including 47 people in intensive care.

MANITOBANS NEED TO BRING THE NUMBERS DOWN, TOP DOCTOR SAYS

“We all know we need to bring these numbers down,” Roussin said, adding the caseloads are straining the health-care system.

“It does require us to limit a lot of things we love to do, but right the message is really clear – we need to stay home as much as possible.”

Roussin said the more people stay home, the fewer contacts each case will have, which will lead to a drop in Manitoba’s surging cases.

He reported 476 new cases of COVID-19, which have pushed Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate to the highest it has ever been, reaching 14.2 per cent on Tuesday.

The majority of the cases are in the Winnipeg health region, which reported 257 cases of COVID-19 and has a test-positivity rate of 13.9 per cent.

The other cases reported on Tuesday include:

  • 37 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region;
  • 38 cases in the Northern health region;
  • 33 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region; and
  • 111 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region.

This is a developing story. More to come.

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Manitoba reports 476 new cases of COVID-19, 12 more deaths – CBC.ca

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There are 476 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths in Manitoba, the province says, bringing the death toll to 248.

“These are Manitobans who are missed and are loved,” said Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin. 

The number of patients in hospital due to the illness has declined slightly to 292, down from 296 yesterday. Active cases in intensive care are also down five to 47.

The five-day provincial test positivity rate ties the record of 14.2 per cent.

Five of the people who died were in the Southern Health region. One of the deaths is someone from the Northern Health Region, and another is from the Prairie Mountain Health region.

Five deaths were in the Winnipeg health region, including two linked to hospital outbreaks.

The province is bolstering its contact tracing capacity using an automated calling system that will expand current monitoring methods, Roussin said.

Previous positive cases will be asked about testing, isolation and other public health guidelines in a question-and-answer format that people can respond to using the phone keypad.

The initial rollout will be focused on checking in with people who tested positive and are at or near the end of their mandated isolation period. There are “a lot” of people that are beyond their incubation period but remain listed in the active case totals, he said, and this should help deal with that backlog.

Despite a slight decline in the number in hospital, Roussin said health-care workers remain overwhelmed by the consistent pressure from high case numbers and people in hospital.

“Our health-care system is being pushed to its capacity,” he said. “Our health-care system can’t sustain levels of cases like this much longer.”

More to come

Read a previous version of this story below:


Manitoba’s top doctor will share the latest update on COVID-19 numbers in the province today after records for daily cases and the number in hospital with the illness were set yesterday.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin is expected to hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. CT.

CBC News will live stream the briefing here and on CBC Gem, Facebook and Twitter.

At a morning news conference, Premier Brian Pallister said 95 tickets were issued last week to people violating current public health orders, as the province ramps up enforcement.

He also shared details about COVID-19 financial support programs for businesses forced to close during recent widespread restrictions.

Both Tuesday news conferences come after a record-breaking 546 cases were announced yesterday. 

Manitoba also reached another grim milestone on Monday, surpassing 14,000 total cases to date, meaning one in 100 Manitobans have contracted the virus.

The number of people in hospital with the illness also surged to a new high of 296, with a record-tying 52 in intensive care. Health officials continue to warn the system is strained and cannot sustain the continued pressures it is facing as cases mount and health-care workers are taken out of rotation due to exposures in hospital settings.

All three records occurred on the same day Roussin shared the first hint that provincewide code red restrictions under Manitoba’s pandemic response system may be working. The number of close contacts of positive cases has declined from about seven a month ago to closer to two more recently, he said.

The code red, or critical, level on the provincial pandemic scale was put in place nearly two weeks ago, ushering in a partial lockdown that closed places of worship, theatres, salons, gyms and a range of other non-essential businesses. 

More stringent restrictions came into effect on Friday, banning private indoor gatherings, with few exceptions, and restricting the sale of non-essential items at businesses permitted to remain open to in-store shopping.

As of yesterday, 236 people had died of COVID-19, with nearly half of those deaths reported this month.

Many of the deaths are linked to care home outbreaks — a quarter of all deaths are tied to two Winnipeg long-term care facilities.

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