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'Critical moment': COVID-19 cases force 2 Northwest Territories communities into lockdown – National | Globalnews.ca – Global News

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The Northwest Territories is mandating masks, banning gatherings and closing non-essential businesses in two communities where COVID-19 cases have been identified.

There was one confirmed case and 15 probable cases Monday in Fort Good Hope, a community of about 600 people. Colville Lake, where about 150 people live, had two confirmed cases. Another probable case was in Deline on the shore of Great Bear Lake. The communities are all in the Sahtu region of the territory’s northwest.

There were also four probable infections farther south in Yellowknife.

Read more:
‘A crime’: Police handling 4 residential school investigations across Canada

The 23 cases are “connected to travel or residence” in Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake, chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola said.

She said a hand games event that ran from Aug. 5 to Aug. 9 in Fort Good Hope is considered a “super-spreader event” that contributed to the cases.

Health Minister Julie Green said although the territory has dealt with outbreaks in the past, the N.W. T. is now at “a critical moment.”

“It’s quickly becoming a multi-community event and will likely place tremendous strain on our health system’s resources,” Green said. “This is a serious situation.”


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Northwest Territories weighs dropping Alberta education curriculum for B.C.’s: NDP


Northwest Territories weighs dropping Alberta education curriculum for B.C.’s: NDP – Mar 9, 2021

Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake are under a 10-day lockdown with specific rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents.

Unvaccinated people who were in either community on or after Aug. 5 must isolate for 10 days and get a COVID-19 test. Vaccinated people need to monitor for symptoms.

Kandola said there is a “high risk of a regional outbreak” connected to culture and travel in the region. “At this time, we are in testing and containment mode to stem further transmission.”

Rapid response teams are on the ground and all residents in the affected communities are asked to follow public health orders.

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“Because of the close connections, we consider everyone in Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake 1/8as 3/8 exposed to COVID-19,” Kandola said.

Although everyone exposed is at risk of developing COVID-19, unvaccinated people face a much higher risk, she added. She urged those who have not been immunized to get a shot immediately.

The cases are the first in the territory since an outbreak at a Yellowknife school in June.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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U.S. President Joe Biden receives COVID-19 booster shot following CDC backing – Global News

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U.S. President Joe Biden rolled up his shirt sleeve for a COVID-19 vaccine booster inoculation on Monday, hoping to provide a powerful example for Americans on the need to get the extra shot even as millions go without their first.

In getting the booster, Biden dismissed criticism that the United States should distribute more vaccines worldwide before allowing boosters at home.

“We are going to do our part,” he said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week backed an additional dose of the Pfizer Inc BioNTech vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older, adults with underlying medical conditions and adults in high-risk working and institutional settings.

Biden, 78, said his wife Jill would also get a booster shot soon.

Read more:
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine given full approval by U.S. regulators

While scientists are divided over the need for booster shots when so many people in the United States and other countries remain unvaccinated, Biden announced the push in August as part of an effort to shore up protection against the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Only people who received their last dose of Pfizer’s shot at least six months ago are eligible for another shot now, U.S. regulators said. The FDA has not yet considered Moderna’s application for boosters and Johnson & Johnson has not yet applied for one.


Click to play video: 'U.S. to donate half a billion additional Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines'



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U.S. to donate half a billion additional Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines


U.S. to donate half a billion additional Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines

U.S. officials have cited a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” that state, local and federal officials as well as private employers have tried to counter with mandates to get the shots or, in some cases, face repeated testing.

But the aggressive American push for boosters, before many poorer nations have been able to provide even a modicum of protection for their most vulnerable populations, has drawn the ire of the World Health Organization and some aid groups, which have called on the U.S. to pause third shots to free up supply for the global vaccination effort.

Read more:
U.S. will give COVID-19 vaccine boosters to all Americans amid Delta surge

Biden said last week that the U.S. was purchasing another 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine — for a total of 1 billion over the coming year — to donate to less well off nations.


Click to play video: 'U.S. FDA, CDC support Pfizer-BioNTech boosters for people high-risk or aged 65+'



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U.S. FDA, CDC support Pfizer-BioNTech boosters for people high-risk or aged 65+


U.S. FDA, CDC support Pfizer-BioNTech boosters for people high-risk or aged 65+

Vice President Kamala Harris, 56, received the Moderna vaccine, for which federal regulators have not yet authorized boosters — but they are expected to in the coming weeks. Regulators are also expecting data about the safety and efficacy of a booster for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot soon.

At least 2.66 million Americans have received booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine since mid-August, according to the CDC. About 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 through the Pfizer shot. U.S. regulators recommend getting the boosters at least six months after the second shot of the initial two-dose series.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Cuba launches commercial exports of COVID-19 vaccines – Vancouver Is Awesome

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HAVANA (AP) — Cuba has begun commercial exports of its homegrown COVID-19 vaccines, sending shipments of the three-dose Abdala vaccine to Vietnam and Venezuela.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel announced the arrival in Vietnam on his Twitter feed Sunday. The official Cubadebate news website said the shipment included 900,000 doses purchased by Hanoi and 150,000 more donated by Cuba.

Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Cuba last week and toured the laboratory that produces the vaccine, announcing an agreement to buy at least 5 million doses.

Cuba’s Center of Genetic Immunology and Biotechnology also announced that initial shipments of the Abdala shots were sent to Venezuela over the weekend.

That country’s vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, announced in June that Venezuela had agreed to buy $12 million worth of the Cuban vaccine, though officials have declined to say how many doses were involved.

Another Cuban-developed COVID-19 vaccine is being produced in Iran.

Cuba also hopes to extend exports of its locally developed vaccines, and last week asked the World Health Organization to approve them, which many countries require before importing vaccines.

Cuban scientists have said the vaccines are more than 90% effective against illness, though — like all vaccines — less so against mere infection.

Cuba plans to fully vaccinate 90% of its population by the end of November — a key step to reopening an economy heavily dependent on tourism.

Cuba´s director of epidemiology, Francisco Durán, said Monday that the country of some 11 million people has registered 860,799 infections with COVID-19 and 7,279 deaths during the pandemic.

Andrea Rodríguez, The Associated Press

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Canadian kids were at low risk of severe COVID-19 early in the pandemic, before Delta: study – Global News

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Severe cases of COVID-19 were very rare among Canadian children during the first waves of the pandemic, according to a new study by researchers who warn the findings should not be taken as a reason not to vaccinate youth.

The study was published Monday by the Canadian Medical Association Journal and looked at 264 reported cases of children hospitalized in Canada between March 25 and Dec. 31, 2020, before the more infectious Delta variant emerged.

Of those cases, 43 per cent had been hospitalized for another reason, such as a fracture, and it was only after they were admitted that the positive test came to light.

Read more:
COVID-19 hospitalizations among Canada’s children remain low despite Delta surge: experts

Nearly 34,000 Canadians of all ages were hospitalized during the same time frame.

“If you look at the numbers in total, that’s only 150 children hospitalized with COVID during the first two waves here in Canada,” said study co-lead author Dr. Fatima Kakkar of Montreal’s Ste-Justine Hospital.

“These are very small numbers, when you compare with what has happened in adults.”

The study was conducted before the emergence of the more infectious Delta variant, which now accounts for most COVID-19 infections in Canada.

The research also took place before COVID-19 vaccines were authorized for youth aged 12 and older. Of the cases studied, 77 involved kids aged 13 to 17. Pfizer has said it intends to seek authorization soon for a vaccine intended for kids aged five to 11.

Researchers originally believed that children may be at higher risk for severe disease, since this is typically seen with respiratory infection in the pediatric population.

Among the 150 children admitted directly because of the coronavirus, the most common symptoms were fever (70 per cent) and cough (34 per cent).


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COVID-19: the upward trend in cases among children


COVID-19: the upward trend in cases among children

Half had a severe form of the disease, with 21 per cent admitted to intensive care and 13 per cent needing respiratory or cardiac support.

Researchers add that more than three per cent of Canadian children — a high among all age groups in the country — have recently been shown to carry antibodies to COVID-19, indicating that they have been exposed to the virus.

But the relatively small number of pediatric admissions shows that children had less severe infections than adults, even though they were potentially infected more often, Kakkar said.

Overall, 39 per cent of children and youth hospitalized for COVID-19 had at least one co-morbidity and those with severe disease were more likely to have an underlying health condition including obesity, neurological or respiratory issues.

“We often talk about children who have comorbidities and who are sicker, (…) but 60 per cent had no comorbidity,” she said.

“They were healthy children who were hospitalized for the disease. On the other hand, when we look at the severity, the most severe cases were in children who had comorbidities, such as obesity, major neurodevelopmental disorders.”

READ MORE: Vaccinated and unvaccinated Canadians have very negative relationships: poll

Deaths of children infected with COVID-19 were also very rare, confirming the findings of other studies.

But even with the encouraging conclusions, parents should not take from it a false sense of security and not vaccinate their child, Kakkar said, given children in good health also ended up in hospital.

“We do not know, among these children who are in good health, which will be the sickest, and we know that when we have a severe disease, we have consequences,” Kakkar said.

“A child intubated in intensive care needs months of rehabilitation, and unfortunately we cannot predict which child will fall into this category.’

An unvaccinated child will also be more likely to continue the spread of the virus within their own family and friends.

She also noted the Delta variant is much more transmissible and currently wreaking havoc among unvaccinated adults.

“I do not want to discourage parents at all from having their child vaccinated,” she said.

“We really have to look at the total well-being of the child: what will allow them to have a normal life, to do activities, to play sports, to see friends? It’s vaccination.”

Still, Kakkar said the benefits of attending school and seeing friends are essential to development.

“There is a lot of anxiety among parents about the risk of COVID in children,” Kakkar said.

“It is important to reassure parents, it is not the same disease as in adults, (so) I hope that will allow the children to live a little more normal life.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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