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Five more Manitoba healthcare workers test positive for COVID-19 – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
Five Manitoba healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19 in the span of a week.

The latest numbers from the Manitoba government’s surveillance data, from Sept. 6 to 12, shows that a total of 88 healthcare workers have contracted the disease since the beginning of the pandemic. This is an increase of five healthcare workers compared to the week before.

Of these 88 workers, 74 have recovered from COVID-19 and gone back to work.

According to the data, which monitors the intensity, characteristics, transmission and geographic spread of the disease, 29 of these workers are healthcare aids, 23 are nurses, nine are physicians or physicians in training, five are social/support workers, four are medical clerks and 18 fall into a combined category.

The majority of the 88 workers – 64 per cent – contracted the disease through close contact with a known case, about 13 per cent got it from travel, and for the rest of the cases, the source is unknown.

The province is reporting that a total of 20 pregnant Manitobans have gotten COVID-19, which is an increase of two pregnant cases from the week before.

During the week of Sept. 6 to 12, there were three more COVID-19 outbreaks in Manitoba, bringing the total number since the start of the pandemic to 20 outbreaks. Of these three new outbreaks, two were at long-term care facilities and one was at a school.

Over the span of this week, the province saw a decrease in terms of the number of confirmed cases and the volume of people going for tests. There were 108 lab-confirmed cases, which is down from 128 in the week before, and an average of 1,300 people were tested each day, down from 1,500 the previous week.

But, the province saw an increase in its test positivity rate, moving from 1.2 per cent last week to 1.4 per cent this week.

Of the 108 new cases during this week, 63 per cent were from Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, 14 per cent were from the Prairie Mountain Health Authority, and 13 per cent were in the Southern Health – Santé Sud Regional Health Authority. The Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority also accounted for about 10 per cent of cases.

The province is reporting that 57 per cent of the 108 cases were contracted through close contacts to known cases, and two per cent were from travel.

Of all of Manitoba’s cases, nearly 63 per cent contracted the disease from close contact with a known case. For more than 16 per cent, the cause is unknown, and approximately 15 per cent got it from travel.

For more than 5 per cent of cases, the source is still being investigated.

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Asymptomatic testing no longer available to Albertans without known exposure to COVID-19 – Edmonton Journal

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Article content continued

With 3,203 active cases, Hinshaw said right now the province is at a critical point.

“We’re in a danger zone where the coming weeks will really tell that story about whether we are able collectively to bend that curve downwards by following all of that guidance that’s already out there, that’s up online,” Hinshaw said.

“Or if we start to tip the wrong way, and start to see our hospitals fill up, and impair our ability to do elective surgeries, impair our ability to offer services that our health-care system needs to be able to offer to others that are not COVID related. So we’re not yet again at that point where our system is not able to cope. But we are getting closer.”

Hinshaw continues to be concerned by the high number of cases of COVID-19 in the Edmonton Zone where additional voluntary measures to prevent spread of the virus were implemented almost two weeks ago. There are currently 1,607 active cases in the zone that includes the City of Edmonton and surrounding municipalities, or about 50 per cent of the province’s active cases. Over the last 24 hours, 147 new cases were identified in the region.

The City of Edmonton has 1,318 active cases or 129 per 100,000 people.

“There is some good news in Edmonton,” Hinshaw said. “The rate of growth has started to slow somewhat and the R-value (reproductive rate) in Edmonton has come down from 1.35 to 1.17.

“This is a good start but the bad news is anytime the R-value remains above one, the number of cases is still growing. We need to bring this value below one to reduce the burden on our health system.”

COVID-19 in schools

About eight per cent of schools across the province have one case of COVID-19 or have an outbreak of two or more cases, Hinshaw said, with 512 confirmed cases currently in these schools.

Ninety-six schools have an outbreak with 26 of those on the province’s watch list after five or more cases have been identified.

In Edmonton, J. J. Bowlen School declared an outbreak after a second case was confirmed on Monday.

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Alberta pauses asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 – rdnewsnow.com

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By Chris Brown

results taking too long, Hinshaw says

Oct 20, 2020 5:47 PM

Saying that test results are not getting back to Albertans quick enough, the province’s top doctor has announced a “significant” change to testing that she called a critical step to improving COVID-19 control in the province.

“Effectively immediately we will be pressing pause on all asymptomatic testing in those who have no known exposure,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Tuesday. “This is an important and necessary step that will help us reduce testing wait times, get results to Albertans and limit the spread.”

With cold and flu symptoms mirroring COVID-19 symptoms, labs became overwhelmed in the past few weeks by the increase in tests.

Hinshaw said even with a September shift to only doing asymptomatic testing among priority groups, wait times for results have not decreased as much as they need to in order to use lab test information to prevent spread in an optimal way.

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49 cases of COVID linked to Calgary wedding, 'aggressive' contact tracing underway – CTV Toronto

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CALGARY —
Health officials are continuing to do “aggressive contact tracing” after 49 cases of COVID-19 were linked to a large wedding held in Calgary earlier this month.

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said during Tuesday’s regular update that 49 of 63 people who attended the event have since been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“We cannot comment on specifics about individual cases due to patient confidentiality,” said Tom McMillan, assistant director of communications for Alberta Health.  

“There are currently 49 cases linked to this outbreak, all of which are active. Aggressive contact tracing is underway to identify anyone who may have been exposed and ensure they are isolating and tested.

“AHS is working closely with the organizers and those who have contracted the virus. Anyone at risk is being contacted directly by AHS.”

The wedding was attended by a number of people from different households.

“At this time, it is not clear what specific factors led to the level of exposure that has occurred. The public health investigation is currently underway,” said McMillan.

There have been several outbreaks reported in Calgary in recent weeks linked to social gatherings.

And officials are reminding Albertans that gatherings like wedding receptions or informal get-togethers at homes or community spaces carry an increased risk of transmission.

“It is important that nobody attend if they are feeling ill with even mild symptoms, or if they are awaiting test results,” said McMillan.

“It is also important that organizers of social gatherings do everything possible to comply with the public health guidance in place, including ensuring that there is enough space for physical distancing between cohorts, follow gathering size restrictions, and avoiding sharing food and utensils.”

There are a number of outbreaks ongoing in the city, the most serious being at Foothills hospital where 47 patients and 39 staff members have tested positive, and 12 deaths have been linked to the virus.

On Monday, the province reported Alberta added 898 cases of the coronavirus over the weekend, a tally that increased the province’s confirmed infection count to 3,138 – a pandemic high.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, is scheduled to give a regular update on COVID-19 in the province at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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