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Drug overdoses kill 6 in Regina over 36 hours –



Regina police say at least seven people have had drug overdoses, six of them fatal, since Canada Day.

Regina police say they got a call about the first OD, which turned out to be fatal, just after midnight on July 1.

By Thursday afternoon, the total was seven overdoses, six of them fatal.

Police said the type of drugs are not known yet while toxicology tests are being done, but it’s believed that opioids like fentanyl are involved.

They believe at least four of the deaths may be connected, because they happened around the same few city blocks.

Since the start of 2020, the Regina Police Service has seen a steep increase in overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal. Police, EMS and other emergency services have been called to 450 overdoses so far in 2020.

“Quite frankly, it’s the increased prevalence of fentanyl in our community — the ability for people to buy fentanyl and access it,” Deputy Police Chief Dean Rae said. “That’s what’s creating a lot of our a lot of our overdoses at this point.”

Police have administered naloxone — commonly known as the brand name Narcan — 35 times. Police say 23 deaths are confirmed to be drug-related so far this year, with another 16 deaths possibly related but unconfirmed. 

To those struggling with a drug addiction, police are asking them to seek medical help and supports to mitigate self-harm and become healthy again. 

Police are also asking people to watch for signs of an overdose and call 911 in an emergency. 

The signs of an opioid overdose can include:

  • Difficulty walking/talking/staying awake.
  • Blue lips or nails.
  • Very small pupils.
  • Cold and clammy skin.
  • Dizziness and confusion.
  • Extreme drowsiness.
  • Choking, gurgling or snoring sounds.
  • Slow, weak or no breathing.
  • Inability to wake up, even when shaken or shouted at. 

Police remind users the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects anyone who is experiencing, or present during, an overdose from being charged with possession because they called 911. 

People concerned about experiencing or witnessing a drug overdose can receive a take-home naloxone kit. The kits can be used to bring a person back during an overdose. 

Police are asking anyone with information to phone the Regina Police Service at 306-777-6500 or anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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UK study finds new Covid-19 rapid test that gives result within 90 minutes – Deccan Herald



A new small-boxed Covid-19 rapid test device, which gives results within 90 minutes, has been found to have a high level of accuracy and produced very few false negatives and no false positives in a UK study.

The Lab-in-Cartridge tests can be performed in cartridges smaller than a mobile phone and do not require a laboratory.

The study, led by Imperial College London scientists and published in ‘The Lancet Microbe’ this week, involved high-speed tests on 386 National Health Service (NHS) staff and patients and were found to have over 94 per cent sensitivity and 100 per cent specificity.

“These results suggest the test, which can be performed at a patient’s bedside without the need to handle any sample material, has comparable accuracy to standard laboratory testing,” said Professor Graham Cooke, lead author of the study from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London.

“Many tests involve a trade-off between speed and accuracy, but this test manages to achieve both. Developing an effective bedside test in under three months has been an incredible collaboration between teams of engineers, clinicians and virologists,” he said.

The test is currently being used successfully across eight London hospitals, and due to be rolled out at a national level in the UK as data continues to be gathered from the testing device for continual assessment.

Imperial College London said the UK government recently placed an order for 5.8 million of the testing kits.

To perform the test, a paediatric-sized nose swab from a patient is inserted into the device, which then looks for traces of genetic material belonging to the SARS-CoV-2 or novel coronavirus, which causes the infection.

A result is available within 90 minutes, compared to conventional Covid-19 testing which delivers a result in 24 hours.

According to the research team, the test is now being developed for assessing simultaneously Flu-A, Flu-B, and RSV as well as Covid-19.

The device, produced by Imperial’s London-based start-up DnaNudge, was used on 280 NHS staff members with suspected Covid-19, 15 patients in Accidents and Emergency (A&E) with suspected Covid-19, and 91 hospital in-patients — some of who were not displaying Covid-19 symptoms.

The percentage of those found to be positive for Covid-19 during the study at the peak of the pandemic was 18 per cent.

The results showed 67 samples tested positive on the CovidNudge test, compared with 71 positive results against a range of NHS standard laboratory machines, which represents the value of 94 per cent sensitivity.

“The DnaNudge test was developed as a lab-free, on-the-spot consumer service that can be delivered at scale, so we clearly believe it offers very significant potential in terms of mass population testing during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Regius Professor Chris Toumazou, CEO and co-founder of DnaNudge and founder of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London.

“The platform is well suited to testing in primary care and community settings with potential for use in non-healthcare settings such as care homes, schools, transport hubs, offices, and, to help bring the arts back, in theatres and venues. However, further studies of real-world effectiveness in non-clinical settings would be required prior to widespread deployment,” he said.

The research team, which included scientists and clinicians from Imperial and a number of NHS hospital trusts, assessed sensitivity and specificity.

Sensitivity is a measure of how well a test gives a positive result for people who have the disease, and is an indication of how likely a test will produce false-negative results.

Specificity, on the other hand, is a measure of a test’s ability to give a negative result for a people who don’t have the disease and is an indication of the likelihood of false-positive results.

“As an organisation, we are focused on using research and innovation to continuously drive improvements to care. Getting accurate results back to clinicians and their patients as quickly as possible makes a huge difference to how we safely manage clinical pathways and we are very much looking forward to rolling this out more widely,” said Dr Bob Klaber, director of strategy, research and innovation at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The device has been approved by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency and has also obtained a CE mark, enabling its additional use in non-clinical locations. The team explain each device is wi-fi enabled, allowing the test result to be securely sent to a hospital’s record system.

Testing for the study took place between April 10 and May 12 at three NHS sites: St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London; Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London and the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford.

It was supported by the National Institute for Health Research, Imperial Biomedical Research Centre.

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Area man succumbs to COVID-19, health unit confirms – OrilliaMatters



A man from New Tecumseth has died after being hospitalized with the coronavirus. 

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed the death today, and report he was a man over 80 who had been hospitalized at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket. His case was reported by the health unit on Sept. 8.

This is the 38th COVID-related death reported in the region since March. The last death in the region involved a Penetanguishene woman on Aug. 4.

The region’s health unit also confirmed 13 more cases of COVID-19 in Simcoe and Muskoka today. 

Eleven of today’s cases are in Simcoe County, with six new Barrie cases, two new Bradford West Gwillimbury cases, one in Innisfil, one in Orillia, and one in New Tecumseth. There are also two new cases in Muskoka. 

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has reported a “worrisome spike” in cases. It reported 13 new cases both today and on Monday, with the lowest daily case increase this week on Wednesday with eight new cases. 

There have been 55 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (as of Thursday) in Simcoe Muskoka for the week of Sept. 13. This is the second-highest number of new cases reported in a single week in the region during the entire pandemic.

Among the new Barrie cases today are two men between 35 and 44 years old, a man and two women between 45 and 64 years old, and a man between 18 and 34 years old. 

The Orillia case is a woman between 18 and 34. 

The two Bradford cases include a boy under 18 years old and a man between 18 and 34 years old. 

The new Innisfil case is a man between 18 and 34 years old and the new case in New Tecumseth is a woman between 35 and 44 years old. 

The new Muskoka cases include a Huntsville man between 35 and 44 and a Gravenhurst woman between 18 and 34.

The transmission source for all but two of the new cases reported today is listed as under investigation. The Bradford bo and one of the Barrie men (aged 35-44) are listed as close contact cases. 

There is currently one active outbreak at Leacock Retirement Lodge in Orillia. Read our story about there here.

Previous outbreaks declared at The Pines Long-Term Care Residence (Bracebridge) and at Roberta Place (Barrie) have been declared over. In those outbreaks, there was a single staff member at each facility who was infected with the coronavirus and one resident at The Pines tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has reported a total of 803 cases of COVID-19, with 685 of those now listed as recovered. There are two people hospitalized in Simcoe County with COVID-19 (one from Barrie and one from Bradford).

The health unit indicates there are 73 unrecovered cases in Simcoe County, including 51 in Barrie, nine in Bradford, two in New Tecumseth, three in Innisfil, three in Orillia, one in Collingwood, one in Wasaga Beach, one in Springwater, and one in Oro-Medonte.

There are two people hospitalized, one Bradford resident and one New Tecumseth resident.

Case breakdown by municipality for Simcoe County as of Sept. 18

MunicipalityTotal cases**RecoveriesDeathsIn HospitalLast case reportedIncidence rate*
Barrie28021514 Sept. 18187.5
Bradford W-G148126121Sept. 18344.4
New Tecumseth92882 Sept. 18222
Innisfil5855  Sept. 18142.4
Orillia22172 Sept. 1565.8
Collingwood1817  Sept. 1770.9
Wasaga Beach20181 Sept. 1782.6
Clearview981 July 2760.9
Springwater16141 Sept. 976.2
Midland1212  July 2466.9
Oro-Medonte1072 Sept. 1738.6
Adjala-Tosorontio99  June 1677.2
Essa20191 Aug. 1783.6
Ramara1313  Sept. 8125.2
Tiny77  Aug. 28not released
Tay99  July 2381.3
Penetanguishene981 Aug. 1992.9
Severn77  July 27not released

*Incidence rate is number of cases per 100,000 people in the local population.

**Total cases includes the number of cases currently recovering at home as well as any that have recovered, died, or are in hospital.

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Public Health Agency of Canada president resigns as COVID-19 cases spike – Yahoo News Canada




Sorry to burst your COVID-19 ‘social bubble’ but even small gatherings are getting riskier

For months, Canadians have been bubbling up with other friends and family to socialize safely during the pandemic.But with COVID-19 case counts rising in many communities, kids back in schools and more people returning to work, many public health experts agree that what worked as a safe approach in the early days of the lockdown now comes with more risk.”I honestly think with the return to school right now, most people’s bubbles have burst,” says epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite. “You’re talking about large numbers of connections.”In Ontario, “social circles” allow you to see up to 10 people without the usual pandemic precautions in place as long as all of those family members, friends or neighbours make a pact to socialize only with each other, while in Alberta, the cap for your “cohort” is your household plus up to 15 other people.In B.C., the guidelines for a “bubble” are now to try and limit it to six people. Officials initially said the members of your immediate household can be “carefully expanded” to include outsiders, with the goal of limiting the number as much as possible — since these are people you’re allowed to kiss, hug, chat with and dine with, all without masks or distancing.WATCH | B.C. moves toward limiting bubbles to 6 people:It’s a concept being adopted in several countries around the world. And while it works well in principle, experts warn it may be harder to maintain at this point in the pandemic.Bubble makes sense in ‘theory'”As a theory, the bubble makes a lot of sense,” said Dr. Dominik Mertz, an associate professor in the division of infectious diseases at Hamilton’s McMaster University. “But there’s a lot of confusion from people over what it is.”He also added it can be tough to do safely, particularly if the bubble involves multiple households “who all have different risks.”Say you have two four-person households socializing without the usual pandemic precautions. On paper, it follows the current Ontario guidelines.But what if one person is back at work, leaving them exposed to dozens of colleagues? Or either family’s children are in school, where physical distancing and mask wearing might be a challenge?A small sphere of contacts can quickly expand to include everyone that each family member comes in contact with, which means the bubbling approach really isn’t “useful” anymore, according to Tuite, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.’It’s not going to work for all people’Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, agreed it’s not a “perfect model” at this point in the pandemic.”It would’ve worked better back when things were fully locked down,” he said, adding there’s still merit in bubbling with a few close friends or family if everyone is cautious.”I don’t want to remove any tools from the table,” he said. “If bubbling is working for some people, keep on doing it. But it’s not going to work for all people.”For instance, a supply teacher, with a social network of students and staff in various classrooms or even buildings, can’t realistically have a social bubble without any precautions, Deonandan said, while someone working from home might be able to do it more safely.WATCH | ‘Exponential’ growth in new cases in parts of Canada, says infectious disease specialist:For many people, losing their bubble could mean a long, lonely winter, made worse by mental health struggles or living alone.”We know there are benefits to having that human contact,” said Dr. Nitin Mohan, a physician epidemiologist and assistant professor at Western University in London, Ont. But when dropping temperatures push people indoors, where transmission risk is higher, and families start making plans to gather over the upcoming stretch of holidays, it could make adhering to the bubble principles even tougher. Bubble burst? Isolate for a while Mertz says Canadians should already be planning for upcoming gatherings like Thanksgiving.If outside-the-bubble family members want to celebrate together, find ways to do it safely, he says, by meeting outdoors and staying apart as much as possible. Otherwise, you’re blending several household bubbles together and upping the risk for everyone.And if you do throw caution to the wind for a turkey feast, there’s another approach: Isolate yourself as much as possible for two weeks after the gathering. “That would give us downtime, so in case someone got infected, you are not spreading it from that gathering into each individual bubble,” Mertz said.The various experts who spoke with CBC News acknowledged the challenges in sticking to even the safest bubbling plan, with peer pressure, slip-ups, and our innate desire for human connection all potential obstacles.For that reason, Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease specialist with the Sinai Health System and University Health Network in Toronto, stresses the onus shouldn’t just be on individuals to reduce transmission.From a system-wide perspective, he says, provincial governments need to ensure every piece of the pandemic plan is adequately resourced: testing capacity, contact tracing, personal protective equipment and hospital staff.”If you can’t test people who are symptomatic, then you can’t contact trace … and you can’t identify people who are about to become symptomatic and are unknowingly and unwittingly spreading the disease,” he said.Ontario gathering sizes reducedOntario officials say they’re working to increase testing capacity amid hours-long lineups in multiple cities, including Ottawa and Toronto.The province is also lowering the maximum size limit for private gatherings — things like backyard barbecues or dinner parties, with precautions in place among people in different social circles — in some regions.The new limits will be 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with hefty fines of $10,000 or more for organizers who flout the rules.Deonandan calls that the “single best policy intervention” for controlling the spread of COVID-19, given the growing body of research showing large gatherings can be hot spots for virus transmission.”Mask wearing, that’s important. Distancing, that’s important, too,” he said. “But time and time again we see explosions of cases in otherwise controlled areas … driven by these super-spreading events.”Even smaller gatherings can fuel the virus’s spread, like infections after a family outing documented in Toronto, and a 10-person cottage trip — which would still meet the province’s new rules — that led to 40 new cases in Ottawa.It’s not clear if anyone involved in those gatherings was bubbling together, and Mertz stresses in all situations, the same safety precautions apply.”Whether you continue with the bubble concept or not, it comes down to the less people gathering, the more time you can spend outside, the more you can spread out — the lower the risk.”

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