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Dynacare says to expect longer hours, estimated wait times at new Manitoba coronavirus test sites – Global News

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As long lines at testing sites and days-long waits for results continue to plague Manitoba’s COVID-19 testing efforts, the private lab company tasked with helping to relieve some of the pressure is revealing details about its plans for more testing sites.

This week, the province announced it has contracted Dynacare to open and operate several new testing sites across the province. The initial plans would see testing capacity increased by 1,400 tests a day with the ability to eventually increase to 2,600 more, the province said.

Read more:
42 new coronavirus cases in Manitoba Wednesday, mostly in Winnipeg

Dynacare’s Winnipeg-based chief scientific officer, Dr. Jenisa Naidoo said Wednesday the company — which has already been processing tests alongside the Cadham Provincial Laboratory — eventually aims to be able to report test results in a 24-hour timeframe.

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However, she said there’s a backlog of testing they’ll have to get through first.






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Manitoba still working on getting COVID-19 contact tracing app


Manitoba still working on getting COVID-19 contact tracing app

“There’s been a higher demand — the volumes of tests have gone up significantly in the last few weeks or the last month,” Naidoo told 680 CJOB.

Currently, Naidoo said the company is getting results out within 24 and 48 hours.

But she hopes that will change as the new sites open, including two in Winnipeg and one in Brandon, which go into operation in the coming weeks.

Read more:
4 ‘supersites’ to replace 26 Dynacare diagnostic labs in Winnipeg

On Tuesday, the province said Dynacare may also have a mobile site open in Winnipeg as early as Sept. 28.

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The mobile site  — essentially a clinic on wheels — will be able to quickly head to areas of need or hotspots around the province, Naidoo explained.






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COVID-19 testing lines


COVID-19 testing lines

Further sites — including both walk-ins and drive-thru locations — in Winnipeg and others in Winkler, Portage la Prairie, and Dauphin are also planned, she added.

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Naidoo couldn’t yet say where exactly the new sites will be located, but she stressed Dynacare’s COVID-19 testing will not be done at the company’s current lab facilities in Winnipeg.

She said Dynacare plans to have many of the new testing sites open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Read more:
Winnipeg long-term care home reports Manitoba’s 19th coronavirus death

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“The hours of operation will vary from region to region, but in Winnipeg we’re hoping to actually have longer hours and extended hours at these COVID assessment centres,” she said.

Naidoo said each of Dynacare’s COVID-19 testing sites will be able to give an estimated wait time for those who come in for testing, and the company plans to update their website with expected wait times for each site as well.

Winnipeg testing sites hit capacity

Over the last week, some of Winnipeg’s testing sites have reached capacity by mid-afternoon, forcing staff to turn away those still waiting in line for testing.

That’s led to grumbling on social media about both the long lines at sites and the long wait for results after being told by health officials to socially isolate until getting news of a negative test.

There’s also reports of long wait times for callers to Health Links, as calls come in from those with questions about COVID-19 and other issues, and others anxious to get their test results.

Read more:
COVID-19 test sites in Winnipeg reach capacity Tuesday and Wednesday

A spokesperson from Shared Health said Wednesday Health Links is seeing higher than normal call volumes. It’s something that’s “being monitored closely with consideration being given to how current wait times may be addressed,” they said in an emailed statement.

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As for test result wait times Shared Health said the average timeline from a sample being taken to the result being available is currently two to three days, although some additional time may be added for transportation, depending on where the test is taken.

“Test result turnaround times across the province have remained stable even with the increased volume,” a provincial spokesperson said.






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COVID-19 testing sites swamped


COVID-19 testing sites swamped

“Positive COVID-19 test results are communicated immediately by public health and the process of rigorous contact tracing begins at that point.”

Negative test results are made available for Manitobans with a Manitoba Health card online, and the spokesperson said only those who are not able to access the results after five business days, or those without Manitoba Health cards should call Health Links for the results.

Read more:
Coronavirus: Record number of tests forces Winnipeg site to redirect patients

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Meanwhile Shared Health says while no Manitobans are necessarily being prioritized for faster testing, samples from health-care workers are being marked “in order to minimize their turnaround at the lab wherever possible.”

The spokesperson said samples from transport workers, educators, and child care providers are also being identified at testing sites, but only “for the purposes of tracking the presence of COVID-19 in Manitoba.”

Provincial data shows 1,703 tests for COVID-19 were completed Tuesday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February to 170,045.






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Are young people taking COVID-19 seriously?


Are young people taking COVID-19 seriously?

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Sobering COVID-19 milestones reached by hardest hit Canadian provinces – National Observer

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The Canadian provinces hardest hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic released sobering numbers on Sunday, with Quebec’s overall case count passing the 100,000 mark and Ontario registering more than 1,000 single-day cases for the first time since the start of the worldwide outbreak.

Despite registering comparable daily tallies, the two provinces long at the epicentre of Canada’s COVID-19 outbreak appeared to be on opposite trajectories.

Public health experts noted that Quebec’s long-standing high case counts appeared to be levelling off, while stressing the week ahead will be crucial to bring Ontario’s surging numbers back under control.

Quebec health officials reported 879 new cases, bringing the province’s total to 100,114 infections. The province also recorded 11 additional deaths attributed to the virus, for a total of 6,143.

“Comparing the past two weeks, we see that the number of cases is stable, but remains high,” Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter, urging people to make an effort to reduce transmission of the virus.

The province’s recent COVID-19 numbers are more encouraging than they were last month, however, said Helene Carabin, a professor at Universite de Montreal.

Carabin said Quebec’s COVID-19 reproduction number, which measures the virus’ ability to spread, is slowly creeping lower — a positive sign that indicates people are following public health guidelines.

“The population has clearly understood that in order to limit transmission, we have to be more careful,” she said in an interview.

“We’re going in the right direction, unlike what was the case in September. Now what it tells us is that probably we will continue to have to keep being very careful during the winter months for it not to creep up.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s top public health officer, said in a statement Sunday that a “resurgence” of COVID-19 continues across the country.

Tam said there is a concern that Canada has not yet seen the full impact of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, as hospitalizations and deaths generally lag behind case numbers.

Quebec’s COVID-19 cases leveling off but this week will be crucial to bring Ontario’s surging numbers back under control. #COVID-19 #Ontario #Quebec

Canada had 215,879 total cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, including 9,940 deaths.

Manitoba announced 161 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and the deaths of four people — two of which were related to an outbreak at a Winnipeg long-term care home where 17 people have now died.

Saskatchewan reported 60 new cases, down from its record-high of 78 that was set on Saturday, and no new deaths have been reported since Oct. 11.

Public health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case of COVID-19, while officials in New Brunswick reported two new infections and two additional deaths.

In Ontario, which recorded more than 1,000 new cases in a 24-hour period on Sunday for the first time since the pandemic took hold, at least one medical expert voiced concerns about the overall trend of the provincial figures.

The province reported 1,042 new COVID-19 cases, breaking the previous day’s single-day peak of 978 new infections. It also reported seven new deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

“Obviously no one wants to see 1,000 new cases per day,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist and researcher at Toronto General Hospital.

Bogoch said that while the cause of the recent spike is not entirely clear, the week ahead will offer a critical window for assessing the province’s progress in combatting the pandemic.

“Are we going to start to see a plateau in these numbers, reflective of a successful policy implementation in the hotspots in Ontario,” Bogoch asked, referring to major metropolitan regions where the bulk of the province’s latest cases have been concentrated.

“Or will we see a continuing growth in the number of new cases per day?”

Both Ontario and Quebec have reimposed restrictions over the past several weeks to try to contain the spread of the virus during the second wave of the pandemic.

Several regions of Quebec, including Montreal and Quebec City, were placed under the highest COVID-19 alert level, which forced the closure of bars and other public venues.

Quebecers in high-risk areas have also been told to avoid seeing anyone who does not live in their household.

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford has promised to provide an update on Monday on whether the Halton and Durham regions would join Toronto, Peel, Ottawa and York in “modified Stage 2” of the province’s economic reopening plan.

Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people in Stage 2 regions, and gyms, casinos, cinemas and other venues in those areas must also be closed.

Public health officials across Canada have urged people to be extra vigilant during the second wave of the pandemic, as colder weather pushes people indoors.

In her statement, Tam said influenza and other respiratory infections place an added strain on hospitals in the fall and winter months, making it even more important to heed preventative measures.

“Right now, doing the best thing to keep our family, friends and community safer means keeping safely apart,” she said.

On Sunday, 278 people were hospitalized in Ontario due to the virus, including 79 in intensive care. In Quebec, 551 hospitalizations were recorded, of which 97 were in intensive care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2020.

–with files from Holly McKenzie-Sutter in Toronto, Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton and Michael MacDonald in Halifax.

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Canadian Provinces Hardest Hit by COVID-19 Reach Sobering Milestones – ChrisD.ca

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By Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus Face Masks People wear face masks as they wait to enter a store in Montreal, Saturday, October 24, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

MONTREAL — The Canadian provinces hardest hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic released sobering numbers on Sunday, with Quebec’s overall case count passing the 100,000 mark and Ontario registering more than 1,000 single-day cases for the first time since the start of the worldwide outbreak.

Despite registering comparable daily tallies, the two provinces long at the epicentre of Canada’s COVID-19 outbreak appeared to be on opposite trajectories.

Public health experts noted that Quebec’s long-standing high case counts appeared to be levelling off, while stressing the week ahead will be crucial to bring Ontario’s surging numbers back under control.

Quebec health officials reported 879 new cases, bringing the province’s total to 100,114 infections. The province also recorded 11 additional deaths attributed to the virus, for a total of 6,143.

“Comparing the past two weeks, we see that the number of cases is stable, but remains high,” Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter, urging people to make an effort to reduce transmission of the virus.

The province’s recent COVID-19 numbers are more encouraging than they were last month, however, said Helene Carabin, a professor at Universite de Montreal.

Carabin said Quebec’s COVID-19 reproduction number, which measures the virus’ ability to spread, is slowly creeping lower — a positive sign that indicates people are following public health guidelines.

“The population has clearly understood that in order to limit transmission, we have to be more careful,” she said in an interview.

“We’re going in the right direction, unlike what was the case in September. Now what it tells us is that probably we will continue to have to keep being very careful during the winter months for it not to creep up.”

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s top public health officer, said in a statement Sunday that a “resurgence” of COVID-19 continues across the country.

Tam said there is a concern that Canada has not yet seen the full impact of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, as hospitalizations and deaths generally lag behind case numbers.

Canada had 215,879 total cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, including 9,940 deaths.

Manitoba announced 161 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and the deaths of four people — two of which were related to an outbreak at a Winnipeg long-term care home where 17 people have now died.

Saskatchewan reported 60 new cases, down from its record-high of 78 that was set on Saturday, and no new deaths have been reported since Oct. 11.

Public health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case of COVID-19, while officials in New Brunswick reported two new infections and two additional deaths.

In Ontario, which recorded more than 1,000 new cases in a 24-hour period on Sunday for the first time since the pandemic took hold, at least one medical expert voiced concerns about the overall trend of the provincial figures.

The province reported 1,042 new COVID-19 cases, breaking the previous day’s single-day peak of 978 new infections. It also reported seven new deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

“Obviously no one wants to see 1,000 new cases per day,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist and researcher at Toronto General Hospital.

Bogoch said that while the cause of the recent spike is not entirely clear, the week ahead will offer a critical window for assessing the province’s progress in combatting the pandemic.

“Are we going to start to see a plateau in these numbers, reflective of a successful policy implementation in the hotspots in Ontario,” Bogoch asked, referring to major metropolitan regions where the bulk of the province’s latest cases have been concentrated.

“Or will we see a continuing growth in the number of new cases per day?”

Both Ontario and Quebec have reimposed restrictions over the past several weeks to try to contain the spread of the virus during the second wave of the pandemic.

Several regions of Quebec, including Montreal and Quebec City, were placed under the highest COVID-19 alert level, which forced the closure of bars and other public venues.

Quebecers in high-risk areas have also been told to avoid seeing anyone who does not live in their household.

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford has promised to provide an update on Monday on whether the Halton and Durham regions would join Toronto, Peel, Ottawa and York in “modified Stage 2” of the province’s economic reopening plan.

Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people in Stage 2 regions, and gyms, casinos, cinemas and other venues in those areas must also be closed.

Public health officials across Canada have urged people to be extra vigilant during the second wave of the pandemic, as colder weather pushes people indoors.

In her statement, Tam said influenza and other respiratory infections place an added strain on hospitals in the fall and winter months, making it even more important to heed preventative measures.

“Right now, doing the best thing to keep our family, friends and community safer means keeping safely apart,” she said.

On Sunday, 278 people were hospitalized in Ontario due to the virus, including 79 in intensive care. In Quebec, 551 hospitalizations were recorded, of which 97 were in intensive care.

–with files from Holly McKenzie-Sutter in Toronto, Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton and Michael MacDonald in Halifax.

CP - The Canadian Press

CP - The Canadian Press

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October 25, 2020 – COVID-19 Update from Dr. Theresa Tam – Net Newsledger

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OTTAWA – COVID-19: In lieu of an in-person update to the media, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement Sunday:

“As the resurgence of COVID-19 activity continues in Canada, we are tracking a range of epidemiological indicators to monitor where the disease is most active, where it is spreading and how it is impacting the health of Canadians and public health, laboratory and healthcare capacity. The following is the latest summary on national numbers and trends, and the actions we all need to be taking to maintain COVID-19 at manageable levels across the country.

Since the first cases were reported in March 2020, there have been 213,959 cases of COVID-19, including 9,922 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. Though the cumulative number is high and continues to increase, it is important to remember that the vast majority of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19. This is why it is important for everyone to continue with individual precautions that will keep ourselves, our families and our communities safer.

At this time, there are 24,401 active cases across the country. The latest national-level data indicate daily averages of 2,488 new cases (Oct 16-22) and 74,719 people tested, with 3.1% testing positive (Oct 11-17). Outbreaks continue to contribute to COVID-19 spread in Canada. These vary in size from just a few cases to larger clusters occurring in a range of settings including long term care and assisted living facilities, schools, congregate living settings, industrial work settings and large social gatherings. Larger clusters tell us that closed and crowded settings and/or not sufficiently maintaining public health practises, such as physical distancing and mask wearing, can amplify spread of the virus.

While I know keeping physically apart is difficult, particularly when we want to mark life’s important moments like weddings and funerals, now is not the time for hosting large in-person gatherings. Right now, doing the best thing to keep our family, friends and community safer means keeping safely apart, connecting virtually, and finding safer ways to care and support each other.

The number of people experiencing severe illness continues to increase. Provincial and territorial data, indicate that an average of 1,010 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (Oct 16-22), including 209 of whom were being treated in intensive care units. During the same period, there were an average of 23 COVID-19-related deaths reported daily.

As hospitalisations and deaths tend to lag behind increased disease activity by one to several weeks, the concern is that we have yet to see the extent of severe impacts associated with the ongoing increase in COVID-19 disease activity. As well, influenza and respiratory infections typically increase during the Fall and Winter, placing increased demands on hospitals. This is why it is so important for people of all ages to maintain public health practises that keep respiratory infection rates low.

Canada needs a collective effort to sustain the public health response through to the end of the pandemic, while balancing the health, social and economic consequences. We can all do our part by keeping our number of in-person close contacts low and committing to proven effective public health practises; stay home/self-isolate if you have any symptoms, maintain physical distancing, wear a face mask as appropriate, and keep up with hand, cough and surface hygiene. Canadians can also go the extra mile by sharing credible information on COVID-19 risks and prevention practises and measures to reduce COVID-19 in communities and by downloading the COVID Alert app to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Read my backgrounder to access more COVID-19 Information and Resources on ways to reduce the risks and protect yourself and others.”

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