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Eight new cases of COVID-19 announced, including B.C.'s first case of community transmission – Vancouver Sun

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The eight new cases bring the province’s total number of COVID-19 cases up to 21.


A sign announcing the temporary closure of University Canada West in Vancouver, after a student was quarantined over fear of a Covid-19 infection.


Jason Payne / PNG

Eight new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. were announced on Thursday, including B.C.’s first known case of so-called community transmission.

That case is a woman in her 50s, who lives in the Fraser Health Region. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said the woman was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus that emerged in China, after visiting a doctor for what she thought was the flu.

The woman has not travelled recently and has had no close contacts with any recent travellers. Authorities are now tracing the woman’s activities to try to determine where she may have been exposed to the virus.

Henry said this particular case was the most concerning, as it suggests additional cases in the community that have not been detected.

“We need to find out the source of her infection,” said Henry. “There’s likely at least one other person out there who’s either had this disease or has this disease and we need to find them and find their contacts, so we can stop any further transmission.”

The new cases bring the province’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 21; at least 13 of those cases are linked to travel in Iran.

Six of the cases announced on Thursday were linked to Iran.


British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C, Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

JONATHAN HAYWARD /

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Two men and two women with the illness are linked to the household of a man previously announced as having COVID-19, a Vancouver man in his 60s who recently returned from visiting Iran. The men, in their 20s and 30s, and the women, in their 50s and 60s, had been in quarantine because of that link when their symptoms developed and remain in isolation.

Two other cases, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s, live in the same house and had recently returned from Iran.

The other announced on Thursday is a Seattle woman in her 50s visiting family in the Fraser Health region who tested positive for COVID-19 while in B.C.

Henry cautioned the public about upcoming spring break plans, advising families to have a “low tolerance” for travel this year and encouraging people to consider staying home.

“We reiterate that this is globally challenging and changing on a day-by-day basis and people really have to make an assessment of their own risk and their tolerance for being caught up in something like a quarantine that we’re seeing,” said Henry.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said this week was B.C.’s “busiest week of testing” and that updates on test numbers would be announced Friday.

None of the new cases have required hospitalization, Henry said. Each is currently being treated at home.

Related

On Wednesday, health officials said a woman in her 80s was in critical condition at Vancouver General Hospital’s intensive care unit after contracting COVID-19 while travelling through India and Hong Kong. Henry said the woman’s condition was unchanged on Thursday.

The new cases were shared the same day a private university and an arts and design school in the same building in Vancouver announced they had closed to disinfect the classrooms following a presumptive case of COVID-19.

Henry also confirmed a case linked to a private post-secondary school, University Canada West.

The school said Thursday that two students are in quarantine. A student now believed to have COVID-19 was in contact with her father, who tested positive for COVID-19 after a trip overseas. The other student in quarantine is the potentially infected student’s roommate.


A closed sign at University Canada West in Vancouver, BC, Thursday, March 5, 2020.

Jason Payne /

PNG

The archdiocese of Vancouver, meanwhile, issued a letter Thursday to all parishes to have congregants bow instead of shaking hands at the sign of peace during church services to reduce any risk of passing on COVID-19.

Until now, individual priests could decide on their own whether to suggest an alternative to handshakes.

“These changes come following the most recent advice of the provincial health officer and minister of health,” spokeswoman Melissa Godbout said in a statement.

The World Health Organization urged governments around the world on Thursday to pull out “all the stops” to halt the spread of COVID-19, which has claimed more than 3,300 lives, including 11 people in the U.S.

With files from Tiffany Crawford, Harrison Mooney and The Canadian Press

sip@postmedia.com

READ MORE: COVID 19: Everything you need to know


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Some in B.C. cross U.S. border for their next COVID-19 vaccine – Global News

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Global News Hour at 6 BC

There is evidence of the lengths some British Columbians will go to get a second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — crossing the border to Point Roberts, WA for a shot. The movement comes thanks to the different approach to the fourth shot south of the border. Catherine Urquhart reports.

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Unknown hepatitis in children: Will it become a pandemic too? – CGTN

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03:56

The number of cases of a mysterious acute hepatitis in children continues to increase worldwide, with most cases occurring in Europe. As of May 10, 348 suspected cases had been reported in at least 20 countries. Information and data have pointed to an adenovirus called adenovirus-41 (HAdV-41) as the possible culprit. Does it have anything to do with COVID? Will it become a pandemic? How do we protect ourselves from it?

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Study tracks hospital readmission risk for COVID-19 patients in Alberta, Ontario – CBC.ca

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A new study offers a closer look at possible factors that may lead to some hospitalized COVID-19 patients being readmitted within a month of discharge.

At roughly nine per cent, researchers say the readmission rate is similar to that seen for other ailments, but socio-economic factors and sex seem to play a bigger role in predicting which patients are most likely to suffer a downturn when sent home.

Research published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal looked at 46,412 adults hospitalized for COVID-19 in Alberta and Ontario during the first part of the pandemic. About 18 per cent — 8,496 patients — died in hospital between January 2020 and October 2021, which was higher than the norm for other respiratory tract infections.

Among those sent home, about nine per cent — 2,759 patients — returned to hospital within 30 days of leaving, while two per cent — 712 patients — died. The deaths include patients who returned to hospital.

The combined rate of readmission or death was similar in each province, at 9.9 per cent or 783 patients in Alberta, and 10.6 per cent or 2,390 patients in Ontario.

For those wondering if the patients were discharged too soon, the report found most spent less than a month in hospital and patients who stayed longer were actually readmitted at a slightly higher rate.

“We initially wondered, ‘Were people being sent home too early?’ … and there was no association between length of stay in hospital and readmission rates, which is reassuring,” co-author Dr. Finlay McAlister, a professor of general internal medicine at the University of Alberta, said from Edmonton.

“So it looked like clinicians were identifying the right patients to send home.”

Examining the peaks

Craig Jenne, an associate professor of microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Calgary who was not involved in the research, said the study suggests that the health-care system was able to withstand the pressures of the pandemic. 

“We’ve heard a lot about how severe this disease can be and there was always a little bit of fear that, because of health-care capacity, that people were perhaps rushed out of the system,” Jenne said. “There was a significant increase in loss of life but this wasn’t due to system processing of patients.

“Care was not sacrificed despite the really unprecedented pressure put on staff and systems during the peaks of those early waves.” 

The study also provides important insight on the power of vaccines in preventing severe outcomes, Jenne said.

Of all the patients admitted with COVID-19 in both provinces, 91 per cent in Alberta and 95 per cent in Ontario were unvaccinated, the study found.

The report found readmitted patients tended to be male, older, and have multiple comorbidities and previous hospital visits and admissions. They were also more likely to be discharged with home care or to a long-term care facility.

McAlister also found socio-economic status was a factor, noting that hospitals traditionally use a scoring system called LACE to predict outcomes by looking at length of stay, age, comorbidities and past emergency room visits, but “that wasn’t as good a predictor for post-COVID patients.”

“Including things like socio-economic status, male sex and where they were actually being discharged to were also big influences. It comes back to the whole message that we’re seeing over and over with COVID: that socio-economic deprivation seems to be even more important for COVID than for other medical conditions.”

McAlister said knowing this could help transition co-ordinators and family doctors decide which patients need extra help when they leave the hospital.

‘Deprivation’ indicators

On its own, LACE had only a modest ability to predict readmission or death but adding variables including the patient’s neighbourhood and sex improved accuracy by 12 per cent, adds supporting co-author Dr. Amol Verma, an internal medicine physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

The study did not tease out how much socio-economic status itself was a factor, but did look at postal codes associated with so-called “deprivation” indicators like lower education and income among residents.

Readmission was about the same regardless of neighbourhood, but patients from postal codes that scored high on the deprivation index were more likely to be admitted for COVID-19 to begin with, notes Verma.

Verma adds that relying on postal codes does have limitations in assessing socio-economic status since urban postal codes can have wide variation in their demographic. He also notes the study did not include patients without a postal code.

McAlister said about half of the patients returned because of breathing difficulties, which is the most common diagnosis for readmissions of any type.

He suspected many of those problems would have been difficult to prevent, suggesting “it may just be progression of the underlying disease.”

Looking at readmissions is just the tip of the iceberg.-Dr. Finlay McAlister-Dr. Finlay McAlister

It’s clear, however, that many people who appear to survive COVID are not able to fully put the illness behind them, he added.

“Looking at readmissions is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s some data from the [World Health Organization] that maybe half to two-thirds of individuals who have had COVID severe enough to be hospitalized end up with lung problems or heart problems afterwards, if you do detailed enough testing,” he said.

“If you give patients quality of life scores and symptom questionnaires, they’re reporting much more levels of disability than we’re picking up in analyses of hospitalizations or emergency room visits.”

The research period pre-dates the Omicron surge that appeared in late 2021 but McAlister said there’s no reason to suspect much difference among today’s patients.

He said that while Omicron outcomes have been shown to be less severe than the Delta variant, they are comparable to the wild type of the novel coronavirus that started the pandemic.

“If you’re unvaccinated and you catch Omicron it’s still not a walk in the park,” he said.

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