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Federal government has plans on how to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine and who gets it first – Sarnia Observer



The advisory committee recommended those over 70 be first in line for the vaccine, followed by health care professionals and then essential workers

OTTAWA  – Ending COVID-19’s assault on Canada will require an effective vaccine and the government has already decided who will get it first and is looking to set up a massive logistics operation to deliver it across the country.

Earlier this week, the arm’s length National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended elderly people, specifically those over 70, be first in line for the vaccine, followed by health care professionals and then essential workers like police, firefighters and grocery store employees.

It also suggests making sure the vaccine is available early to people in close quarter facilities, like meat-packing facilities, prisons and homeless shelters where the virus has been able to spread quickly.

In a statement this week, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said she was confident that Canadians will understand that some people have to be at the front of the line.

“Throughout this pandemic, we have seen people come together to protect those most at risk,” she said. “We know Canadians will understand the need to prioritize some groups during the early weeks of COVID-19 vaccine roll-out until there is enough vaccine for everyone who wants it.”

The advisory committee also recommended the government take into account how quickly and where the virus is spreading when the vaccines become available and whether some vaccine candidates may be more effective in certain populations.

Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease specialist in Hamilton, Ont., said given their mortality rates to the virus, putting the elderly first makes sense.

“If you’re gonna put bang for the buck, for the people that are gonna deal with the brunt of the disease that need an intervention now, it’s going to be that,” he said.


He said vaccinating everyone in long-term care homes for example won’t solve the problem, but it will be a major benefit to the people living there.

“Anything is better than nothing and if you roll it out correctly, even a small supply can have very profound implications for a locked-off population,” he said.

The advisory committee also recommends considering potentially targeting people with specific conditions, like obesity and heart disease, for early vaccination, but says there is still a need for more evidence before settling on a policy like that.

Chagla said they know that older, obese people often do poorly with the virus, but it is not universal.

“We still don’t know why one 50-year-old who’s obese goes to the ICU and the other 50 year old doesn’t,” he said.

He said one thing that could be worth considering as a vaccine rolls out is targeting people that have been identified as potential superspreaders. He said early research has shown most infected people spread the virus in a limited fashion, while others spread it aggressively, so called superspreaders.

Our anticipated delivery schedules are in line with the EU, Japan, Australia, and other jurisdictions

He said prioritizing those people might do a lot to bring down overall cases.

“if you prioritize that group, even though it seems counterintuitive, because they’re the healthiest? Would you get a significant amount more of community control.”

Through one-off deals and the government involvement in the COVAX facility, an international partnership, Canada potentially has access to a dozen vaccine candidates, but no vaccine has so far cleared clinical trials.

The logistical challenge of shipping millions of doses of vaccine are also on the government’s mind and companies have until Monday to respond to a tender for the project with the government planning to award a contract before the end of the month.

Monday’s deadline is for companies to indicate how they will meet the government’s demands, with further negotiations on price to come if the firms can prove they can actually do the job.

The scale of the project is immense with more than 300 million potential vaccine doses set to be sent to the provinces and territories beginning as soon as January and running well into 2022. The rollout of the flu vaccine this month in Ontario has led to shortages as more people than normal seek a shot.

Some of the vaccines will be delivered to Canada, while others have to be picked up from pharmaceutical companies in Europe. The government wants the winning bidder to have warehouse space all over the country, enough to be able to quickly move the vaccine to places where it is needed.

The government said it is confident Canadians will be getting deliveries on the same timeline as our allies provided the vaccines meet Health Canada’s approval.

“Canada’s proactive approach to securing access to a diversity of COVID-19 vaccine candidates has put us in a strong position, with first deliveries on track to arrive during the beginning of 2021,” said Procurement Minister Anita Anand in a statement. “Our anticipated delivery schedules are in line with the EU, Japan, Australia, and other jurisdictions.”

Canada potentially has access to a dozen vaccine candidates, but no vaccine has so far cleared clinical trials.

Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

All of the vaccine candidates have to be kept cold adding another layer of complexity to the process. Up to 20 million doses of one Pfizer’s vaccine candidate for example have to be kept below -80C, while the company is handling distribution of that vaccine the government is arranging regular deliveries of dry ice to keep it cold.

Another 56 million doses of vaccine will have to be kept frozen at around -20C and then an additional 200 million doses need to be kept between 2C and 8C. The government is looking for the winning bidder to be able to provide refrigerated warehouses and a detailed inventory tracking system to handle it all.

Prashant Yadav, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and an expert on health care logistics, said the challenge of distributing the COVID-19 vaccine will be unlike anything governments have had to deal with.

“It is like setting up Amazon Prime type of daily delivery capabilities nationwide, but not over a four-year planning horizon,” he said.

Proposal documents show the government is looking to have a contract with one entity to handle the full process, leaving the potential for companies to team up into consortiums.

A briefing for the project was attended by airlines like WestJet and Air Canada, shipping firms like FedEx and Purolator and pharmacies like Shoppers Drug Mart. The government wants whoever wins the bid to be ready to go by Dec. 15. and to have systems in place to track deliveries.

Yadav said it will be difficult for a single company to have the tools and expertise for the whole process and he suspects companies will work together.

“Those are the kinds of mixes and matches that need to happen and the combinations of how people will come together to offer the best solution.”

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Canada public health officials urge reduced contacts as COVID cases continue to rise – Kamloops This Week



The federal government says it’s extending a slew of travel restrictions and rules meant to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic into the new year as case counts continue their steady rise across the country.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu say the rules, first imposed near the beginning of the global outbreak, will now be in effect until Jan. 21, 2021 for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States.

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The ministers say restrictions for visitors crossing the border from the U.S. are currently in place until Dec. 21, but may be extended.

Among the rules is a requirement for anyone entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry into Canada.

But the ministers also say they’re looking to make it possible for “high-performance, amateur sporting organizations” to hold major international events on Canadian soil.

They say the successful applicants would need to present a public health plan as well as show they’ve secured the support of provincial and territorial governments and health authorities.

The announcement comes as COVID-19 case counts continued to mount, though at levels slightly below the record-setting daily tallies seen in several regions in recent weeks.

Public health officials in Quebec are reporting 1,395 new cases in the past 24 hours, while Ontario is reporting 1,708 new infections.

The provincial totals since the pandemic began now stand at 141,038 and 114,746, respectively.

Cases are also rising steadily in Atlantic Canada, with New Brunswick reporting 14 new diagnoses on Sunday and Newfoundland and Labrador recording four additional infections.

Public health officials in Nova Scotia logged 10 new cases, all in the province’s central zone, which includes Halifax.

Authorities in Manitoba reported 365 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and 11 new deaths — almost all of which were linked to outbreaks in care homes.

The case count in Nunavut also rose by 13.

Canada’s top public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the highest rate of infection is among people aged 80 and over, while more outbreaks are happening in long-term care homes.

Both Quebec and Manitoba are reporting new, significant outbreaks at such facilities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.

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Coronavirus: Hamilton reports 61 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death – Global News



After hitting new daily highs with COVID-19 cases over three days, Hamilton’s new cases on Sunday were lower compared to the two previous days.

The city reported 61 new positive tests on Sunday which puts active cases up to 503 as of Nov. 29.

Public health also reported another death, a 70-year-old woman from the community died on Nov 27.

The city has had 84 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began.

Read more:
Ontario reports 1,708 new coronavirus cases, 24 deaths

Hamilton has 19 active outbreaks involving a total of 306 people as of Nov. 29 at:

  • Six long-term care homes — Alexander Place, Baywoods Place, Chartwell Willowgrove, Hamilton Continuing Care, Idlewyld Manor, and St. Joseph’s Villa (south tower).
  • Three retirement homes — First Place Hamilton, Grace Villa, and The Village at Wentworth Heights
  • Five workplaces  —  Rainbow Cleaning, Golden Auto Service, Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd., Red Hill Orthodontics, and Universal Precision Technology
  • One school — Rehoboth Christian School — Copetown.

There are also outbreaks at four other locations including Hamilton Police Services-Records Department, Rygiel Supports for Community Living, CONNECT Communities and St. Joseph’s Healthcare-CTU Charlton.

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Read more:
St. Joe’s investigating COVID-19 outbreak at Hamilton long-term care home

The outbreak at Chartwell Willowgrove involves 86 total cases since the outbreak began, including 56 residents, 28 staff members and two other people connected to the home.

Hamilton Continuing Care’s outbreak, now being managed by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, is at 46 cases tied to 28 residents, 17 staff and one other person.

Baywoods Place and Grace Villa have reported more than 30 cases each since their outbreaks began.

The city has 3,111 total cases since the pandemic began. Twenty-five people with COVID-19 are now in hospital requiring specialized care.

Health officials say there have been 553 positive coronavirus cases in Hamilton in the last 10 days.

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Hamilton is in the “red-control” level of the province’s new COVID-19 response framework as of Sunday.

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Halton Region reports 32 new COVID-19 cases, one death at LTC

Halton region reported 32 new COVID cases on Sunday. The region now has 722 active cases as of Nov. 29, with Oakville accounting for 237 and Burlington accounting for 124 cases.

The latest death revealed on Sunday was from the Wyndham Manor LTC outbreak in Oakville. The facility’s outbreak involves 56 residents, 15 staff members and nine deaths.

The region now has 63 deaths tied to the coronavirus.

Halton has 21 outbreaks involving 216 people at six long-term care homes (Allendale in Milton, Wellington Park Care in Burlington and Chartwell Waterford, Post Inn Village, West Oak Village and Wyndham Manor, all in Oakville), two retirement homes (Amica Georgetown as well as Sunrise in Burlington), and one hospital (acute medicine unit of Joeseph Brant Hospital in Burlington).

Read more:
Burlington’s mayor asks residents of locked down areas to stay in their regions

The region has one active outbreak at a school which involves four cases at Alfajrul Bassem Academy, a private Islamic elementary.

Halton has 3,630 total COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

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Halton Region is in the red-control level of the province’s new COVID-19 response framework as of Sunday.

Niagara Region reports 25 new COVID-19 cases

Niagara public health reported 25 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. There are 202 active cases as of Nov 28.

The region has 16 active outbreaks connected with the coronavirus in the community.

Read more:
Ontario could see 6,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-December, modelling suggests

There are seven institutional outbreaks at two retirement homes (The Meadows of Dorchester in Niagara Falls, and Garden City Manor in St. Catharines) and six long-term care homes (Millennium Trail Manor and Bella Senior Care Residence in Niagara Falls, Gilmore Lodge in Fort Erie, as well as Woodlands of Sunset and Rapelje Lodge in Welland).

The region has 83 virus-related deaths and 2,128 total positive cases since the pandemic began.

Read more:
A look at what has gone wrong in Ontario long-term care amid the coronavirus pandemic

Niagara Region is in the orange-restrict level of the province’s new COVID-19 response framework as of Sunday.

Haldimand-Norfolk reports five new COVID-19 cases

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) reported five new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. The region has had 654 lab-confirmed positive cases since the pandemic began.

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The region has just one institutional outbreak as of Sunday at Dover Cliffs LTC in Port Dover with a staff member testing positive for the coronavirus. No residents have tested positive.

There are 44 active cases as of Nov. 29.

Read more:
‘Delays and confusion in decision-making’ impacted Ontario’s COVID-19 response: AG

Both counties have had 32 combined COVID-19-connected deaths since the pandemic began.

Haldimand-Norfolk is in the yellow-protect level of the province’s new COVID-19 response framework as of Sunday.

However, Queen’s Park will be downgrading the region into the orange-restrict level effective on Monday.

Brant County reports 10 new COVID-19 cases

Brant County’s health unit (BCHU) reported 10 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. The region now has 498 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

There are 69 active cases as of Nov. 29 with six people receiving hospital care.

Brant County also has 36 cases tied to four institutional outbreaks at a retirement home (Brucefield Manor in Mount Pleasant), a long-term care centre (Brierwood Gardens in Brantford), the surgical inpatient unit at Brantford General and Community Living Brant in Brantford.

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Read more:
‘Majority’ of Canadians should be vaccinated against coronavirus by September: Trudeau

The outbreak at Brucefield Manor involves 25 people, with five staff members and 20 residents testing positive for COVID-19.

Brant County is in the orange-restrict level of the province’s COVID-19 response framework as of Sunday.

The region has had five deaths tied to COVID-19.

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

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COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says, amid rising numbers – Terrace Standard



Canada remains on a troubling path for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue to mount, the country’s top doctor said Saturday.

The most recent infection rates indicate Canada is on track to hit as many as 10,000 new cases a day by next month, Dr. Theresa Tam said.

“If we continue on the current pace, our longer range models continue to forecast significant increases in daily case counts and estimate that there could be up to 10,000 cases reported daily by mid-December,” Tam said in a written statement.

“Right now, we have a window of opportunity to act collectively together with public health authorities to bring the infection rate down to a safer trajectory.”

Canada is currently recording caseloads at about half that level, with the most recent seven-day average standing at 5,335 between Nov. 20 and Nov. 26.

Tam said Canada is also averaging 76 deaths a day and more than 2,100 people in hospital.

People 80 years and older are experiencing Canada’s highest COVID-19 death rate, and there are now more and larger outbreaks in long-term care facilities, hospitals, group living settings, Indigenous communities and remote areas, she said.

“Those developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies,” Tam said.

Her assessment came as case counts continued to soar in numerous provinces.

Quebec set a new single-day record with 1,480 new infections Saturday as the provincial death toll crossed the 7,000 threshold.

Alberta also broke its own record, reporting 1,731 new cases of the virus on Saturday. It also counted five new deaths.

Ontario logged case numbers just shy of Friday’s one-day record as it reported 1,822 new diagnoses in the past 24 hours.

Case numbers also jumped sharply in Manitoba, where officials recorded 487 new infections and 10 new deaths.

Among those who died was a boy under the age of 10, officials said, though they offered no other details.

Saskatchewan reported 197 COVID-19 cases and one death Saturday.

The province ordered the suspension of team sports earlier this week until Dec. 17 after confirmed COVID-19 cases among several minor and recreational hockey teams.

The Saskatchewan suspension applies to hockey and curling leagues and dance studios.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority posted notices Saturday of COVID-19 exposure risks at curling and recreation centres at Christopher Lake and Shellbrook. Those curling or socializing at either of the two facilities last month must self-isolate for 14 days, the health authority said.

In British Columbia, Fraser Health announced the closure of an elementary school in Surrey after confirming 16 COVID-19 cases.

Newton Elementary School will close for two weeks, said Fraser Health.

B.C. reported a daily record of 911 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province will update its numbers Monday.

READ MORE: 911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

People must continue to practise physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home as much as possible, said a newly appointed member of B.C. Premier John Horgan’s cabinet.

“I just think it’s important for us to be thoughtful and caring, but at the same time it’s critical that people follow the rules because it’s vital to be able to keep our schools open and keep as many of our business open as possible,” said Ravi Kahlon, whose ministry includes economic recovery.

Figures from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador show more modest increases of four and two cases, respectively.

Prince Edward Island reported two new COVID-19 cases, but they involved young males aged 10 and 19.

There were 14 new cases in Nova Scotia and five COVID-19 cases in Nunavut.

Tam redoubled her calls for Canadians to heed public health advice, limit their social interactions and practice physical distancing in a bid to bring surging case counts under control.

The Canadian Press

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