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Curfew to go into effect in Quebec amid soaring COVID-19 case numbers across Canada – Sudbury.com

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COVID-19 numbers continued to soar in many parts of Canada on Saturday as a long-standing pandemic hot spot imposed the country’s strictest public health measures to date. 

Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced earlier in the week that Quebecers would have to stay home from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for at least one month in an effort to prevent people from gathering in defiance of public health guidelines.  

The provincewide curfew took effect on Saturday evening and will be in effect until at least Feb. 8. The new rules apply to everyone except essential workers, people walking their dogs and those on a short list of other exceptions, with violators facing fines of up to $6,000.

In a Facebook message, Legault said the province’s hospitals were approaching a “tipping point” that would see all but the most urgent treatments delayed. 

He said the curfew would help stop “even the smallest” gatherings.

“It’s the sum of all these little infringements of the rules that feed the virus,” he wrote. 

As the curfew took effect on Saturday evening, police lined the streets of Montreal’s Plateau district and quickly broke up a small protest there. 

The province broke the 3,000-case mark for the first time Saturday, joining Ontario, which has recorded such numbers for weeks. 

Quebec has logged 226,233 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, and has counted 8,647 deaths. 

Ontario, meanwhile, has seen 211,837 cases — though more are currently active in that province than Quebec — and just shy of 5,000 deaths. 

This week Ontario delayed the return to in-person classes in parts of the province to slow the spread of the virus, prompting the education minister to announce Saturday that more workers would be eligible for free child-care.

Stephen Lecce said RCMP officers, custodial and clerical education workers and postal staff would be among the expanded list of essential workers deemed eligible for the measure designed to help parents who need to work while their children attend classes remotely until at least Jan. 25.

His announcement came moments after the province recorded 3,443 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, along with 40 related deaths.

Farther east, New Brunswick also reported one of the highest single-day increases since the onset of the pandemic, with 30 new cases of COVID-19 spread across the province. 

Alberta, meanwhile, logged another 989 cases of the virus on Saturday, plus 31 deaths. More than 800 people were hospitalized in that province. 

Manitoba counted 203 new cases on Saturday, while Saskatchewan recorded 332. Each province reported seven new deaths. 

As of Saturday evening, the Public Health Agency of Canada’s national case tally stood at 652,473 since the onset of the pandemic. More than 83,000 remain active, and 16,833 people had died. 

Canada’s chief public health officer issued a statement Saturday saying the virus was continuing to gain steam.

“With the current momentum of the epidemic and continued high rates of infection in many areas of the country, rapid accumulation of cases will continue until we can make significant progress in interrupting spread,” Dr. Theresa Tam wrote.

She urged Canadians to keep following public health advice to limit the spread of COVID-19 while the vaccination effort ramps up.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 9, 2021.

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press

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Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply – Terrace Standard – Terrace Standard

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The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is supporting B.C.’s decision to delay the second doses of COVID-19 vaccines by up to four months.

“NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first,” the committee said in a decision published Wednesday (March 3).

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada; Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the newly approved AstroZeneca vaccine.

B.C. announced the decision to delay the second booster shot for four months on Monday, which health officials said could mean that all adults in the province could have their first dose by July.

READ MORE: Most B.C. adults could get their first COVID vaccine shot by July: health officials

Both provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and NACI said that its rationale was based on both the current available vaccine supply and data from other countries.

A study published by the University of Cambridge in the U.K., which has not yet been peer-reviewed, suggests that a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can reduce the number of asymptomatic COVID-19 infections by 75 per cent.

In Israel, researchers studied the effects of a single dose of the same vaccine and published their findings in The Lancet medical journal, concluding that it was 85 per cent effective against symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

Also in The Lancet, a U.K. study found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 81 per cent effective when its second dose is given three months after the first, compared with 55 per cent efficacy after six weeks.

The national advisory committee noted that since the COVID-19 vaccines are still new, its unknown how long the protection of one or both doses lasts for.

“Experience with other multi-dose vaccines after a single dose suggests persistent protection could last for six months or longer in adolescents and adults,” NACI said in its statement. “Longer-term follow-up of clinical trial participants and those receiving vaccination in public programs will assist in determining the duration of protection following both one and two doses of vaccination.”

The national advisory committee added that it’s unknown how a delayed booster shot regime will affect the spread of variants of concern, including the U.K. and South African ones. However, NACI notes that there is “currently no evidence that an extended interval between doses will either increase or decrease the emergence of variants of concern.”

The committee noted that all three currently approved vaccines have shown “promising early result” against the U.K. variant B.1.1.7.

READ MORE: COVID-19 wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

– with files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between COVID doses – ABC News

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TORONTO — A national panel of vaccine experts in Canada recommended Wednesday that provinces extend the interval between the two doses of a COVID-19 shot to four months to quickly inoculate more people amid a shortage of doses in Canada.

A number of provinces said they would do just that.

Second doses would begin to be administered in July as more shipments arrive, the panel said, noting that 55 million doses are expected to be delivered in July, August and September.

In comparison, the federal government previously said 38% of people would receive two doses by the end of June.

“They are making, I think, a reasonable calculation in a time of drug shortage,” said Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto and the medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Sinai-University Health Network. “It’s the right decision in my mind. Let me ask … A couple are given two vaccines. Do you give two to one, or give one each one dose? It’s a no brainer.”

The addition of the newly approved AstraZeneca vaccine to the country’s supply could mean almost all Canadians would get their first shot in that time frame.

“The vaccine effectiveness of the first dose will be monitored closely and the decision to delay the second dose will be continuously assessed based on surveillance and effectiveness data and post-implementation study designs,” the panel wrote.

“Effectiveness against variants of concern will also be monitored closely, and recommendations may need to be revised,” it said, adding there is currently no evidence that a longer interval will affect the emergence of the variants.

The updated guidance applies to all three of the vaccines currently approved for use in Canada.

Manitoba and Quebec also said Wednesday they will delay second doses. And Ontario’s health minister said it would Ontario to rapidly accelerate its vaccine rollout.

Earlier Wednesday, Trudeau said any change in public health guidance regarding the timing of the two doses could affect the speed of Canada’s vaccine rollout, as could the approval of more vaccines like Johnson and Johnson.

Canada’s provinces administer health care in the country so it’s ultimately up to the provinces.

Dr. Brad Wouters, executive vice-president of science and research at University Health Network, cast doubt on the recommendation. “Nobody in the world has been 4 months between doses. These are RNA vaccines never used before. We should use evidence to make decisions. Canada conducting a population experiment,” Wouters tweeted.

And Mona Nemer, the federal government’s Chief Science Advisor, also said this week that the plan amounts to a “population-level experiment” and that the data provided so far by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech is based on an interval of three to four weeks between doses.

But Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s provincial health officer, said the manufacturers structured their clinical trials that way to get the vaccines to market as quickly as possible, but said research in British Columbia, Quebec, Israel and the United Kingdom has shown that first doses are highly effective.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser for Health Canada, the country’s regulator, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in a time of limited supply they are starting to have greater comfort with the idea of waiting for the second dose after seeing real world data versus the strict interpretation of the clinical trials.

“In the real world we’re starting to see evidence from other countries that have delayed that second dose ‘Oh, it looks like they still have a really good effectiveness.’ We have lab studies that show it’s unlikely that immune response will drop off,” Sharma said.

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Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply – Maple Ridge News – Maple Ridge News

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The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is supporting B.C.’s decision to delay the second doses of COVID-19 vaccines by up to four months.

“NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first,” the committee said in a decision published Wednesday (March 3).

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada; Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and the newly approved AstroZeneca vaccine.

B.C. announced the decision to delay the second booster shot for four months on Monday, which health officials said could mean that all adults in the province could have their first dose by July.

READ MORE: Most B.C. adults could get their first COVID vaccine shot by July: health officials

Both provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and NACI said that its rationale was based on both the current available vaccine supply and data from other countries.

A study published by the University of Cambridge in the U.K., which has not yet been peer-reviewed, suggests that a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can reduce the number of asymptomatic COVID-19 infections by 75 per cent.

In Israel, researchers studied the effects of a single dose of the same vaccine and published their findings in The Lancet medical journal, concluding that it was 85 per cent effective against symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

Also in The Lancet, a U.K. study found that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 81 per cent effective when its second dose is given three months after the first, compared with 55 per cent efficacy after six weeks.

The national advisory committee noted that since the COVID-19 vaccines are still new, its unknown how long the protection of one or both doses lasts for.

“Experience with other multi-dose vaccines after a single dose suggests persistent protection could last for six months or longer in adolescents and adults,” NACI said in its statement. “Longer-term follow-up of clinical trial participants and those receiving vaccination in public programs will assist in determining the duration of protection following both one and two doses of vaccination.”

The national advisory committee added that it’s unknown how a delayed booster shot regime will affect the spread of variants of concern, including the U.K. and South African ones. However, NACI notes that there is “currently no evidence that an extended interval between doses will either increase or decrease the emergence of variants of concern.”

The committee noted that all three currently approved vaccines have shown “promising early result” against the U.K. variant B.1.1.7.

READ MORE: COVID-19 wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

– with files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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