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Flu hits peak season in Saskatchewan, five deaths so far – Regina Leader-Post

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There have been 1,050 confirmed flu cases in Saskatchewan so far, including 5 deaths, 30 outbreaks in long-term care facilities and 16 ICU admissions.


The province’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab updates the flu season and releases the season’s first flu surveillance report at the T.C. Douglas Building in Regina on Thursday, December 19, 2019.


TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post

Peak flu season has broken on Saskatchewan, with hundreds of confirmed cases and five deaths so far.

From the beginning of September to Jan. 11, there have been 1,050 confirmed flu cases in Saskatchewan. This includes 30 outbreaks in long-term care facilities and 16 admissions to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), said the province’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab on Friday.

Of the five deaths, three were seniors and two were adults. The majority of the ICU admissions were seniors, although one was a child under the age of five, said Shahab.

Currently the most common flu strain circulating is the A strain H3N2, which can impact people at any age but typically hits the elderly hardest. What is out of the ordinary this year is that a B strain is going around at the same time as the A strain, instead of only hitting in February or March as it usually does.

“It’s a bit unusual in that sense,” said Shahab, noting that the B strain can affect younger people more severely.

Canadian chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam recently stated that children across the country are more at risk of being hospitalized from the flu this year, but Shahab said Saskatchewan has not seen this yet.

“What we’re seeing is what we see typically at the peak of the flu (season),” he said. “The fact that more parents are taking their children to get vaccinated I think is going to have a protective effect.”

Saskatchewan brought in a record number of flu vaccines this year with 436,000 doses ordered, and Shahab said there was a 15 per cent increase in people getting their flu shot from last year.

Concerns of overcrowded ERs is also par for the course when the flu season hits its peak, said Shahab.

“Whenever it peaks, there’s always a bit of an added burden to ERs and to obviously ICU and medical floors, so we are seeing what we see every year,” he said.

For those wondering whether they have the flu or just a common cold, Shahab said most people can identify the exact hour they start showing flu symptoms because of its quick onset.

“It’s not like a cold. You suddenly get aches and pains in your body, maybe a pain in your throat, high fever and then the fever settles down in two or three days and you feel tired for up to a week,” he said.

“Usually you’ll recover by staying at home and drinking plenty of fluids.”

The peak season is expected to last another four to six weeks before transmission rates begin to slow down.

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lgiesbrecht@postmedia.com

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Eating disorder symptoms and self-harm linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic – Medical Xpress

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Timeline of ALSPAC assessments. NEET Not in education, employment or training. Gray text indicates the name of the ALSPAC questionnaire. Credit: DOI: 10.1186/s40337-021-00510-9

Young adults with previous self-harm or eating disorders reported higher levels of depression and anxiety during the pandemic, even when restrictions had eased, according to new research.

The study, led by the University of Bristol and funded by Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, Medical Research Council and Medical Research Foundation, has been published in the Journal of Eating Disorders. It looked at questionnaire information for 2,657 individuals from world-renowned health study Children of the 90s (also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers analyzed the relationship between previous reports of eating disorder symptoms and before the pandemic, and (symptoms of depression and anxiety) and mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study also assessed whether , such as more sleep, relaxation techniques, or visiting green space, could be linked to and wellbeing in young adults with and without previous eating disorder symptoms or self-harm.

Researchers studied questionnaire data from 2017, when the participants were then aged 25 years, as well as data taken during the pandemic in 2020.

At age 25, 32 percent of the 2,657 young adults reported at least one eating disorder , 9 percent reported self-harm, and 5.5 percent reported both an eating disorder symptom and self-harm in the last year.

During the pandemic, those with previously reported eating disorder symptoms and/or self-harm had more symptoms of depression and anxiety, and worse mental wellbeing, compared to individuals without previous symptoms. This remained the case after adjusting for their pre-pandemic levels of depression, anxiety and mental wellbeing.

Lifestyle changes appeared to have little effect on the increased risk for mental health problems in those with prior eating disorder symptoms or self-harm.

Lead author Dr. Naomi Warne, Senior Research Associate at the University’s Centre for Academic Mental Health, said: “Eating and self-harm are common and troubling mental health problems among . In the UK, approximately 1.25 million people are living with an eating disorder and almost 1 in 15 adults report self-harm.

“Our research has highlighted individuals with prior self-harm and eating disorder symptoms are key risk groups and further longitudinal research is needed to understand their ongoing mental health as well as risk and protective factors.

“Individuals with previous eating disorder symptoms and self-harm should be considered vulnerable to depression and anxiety throughout the pandemic and beyond. Funding for rapid and responsive service provision is essential to reduce the impact of the on those with mental health problems.”


Explore further

One in four adults with depression or anxiety lacked mental health support during pandemic


More information:
Naomi Warne et al, Disordered eating and self-harm as risk factors for poorer mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: a UK-based birth cohort study, Journal of Eating Disorders (2021). DOI: 10.1186/s40337-021-00510-9

Citation:
Eating disorder symptoms and self-harm linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic (2021, December 8)
retrieved 8 December 2021
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-12-disorder-symptoms-self-harm-linked-higher.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dec. 8 – CBC.ca

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Recent developments:

What’s the latest?

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 74 more COVID-19 cases on Wednesday — once again its most cases in a daily report since the end of September — and no deaths.

Pfizer and BioNTech are sharing preliminary findings that a three-shot course of their COVID-19 vaccine was able to neutralize the new omicron variant in a laboratory test, the first official statement from vaccine manufacturers on the likely efficacy of their shot against omicron.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office tells CBC details of its holiday COVID-19 testing blitz are coming next week.

Ottawa Public Health moved vaccine appointments from the Rideauview Community Centre to the Nepean Sportsplex today because of what police say was a suspicious package in the area. The building was quickly reopened and vaccinations will resume there tomorrow.

How many cases are there?

As of Wednesday, Ottawa has had 32,475 confirmed cases of COVID-19

There are 475 known active cases, while 31,382 cases are considered resolved and 618 people have died from the illness.

Public health officials have reported more than 61,200 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 58,800 cases now resolved. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 235 people with COVID-19 have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 223.

Akwesasne has had more than 1,150 residents test positive for COVID-19 and has reported 14 deaths between its northern and southern sections.

Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 45 cases and one death. Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg has had 43 cases, one death and is in the midst of an active outbreakPikwàkanagàn hasn’t had any cases.

What are the rules?

Eastern Ontario:

The province’s vaccine passport is required for people age 12 and up in many public places. It won’t be required for younger kids. People can prove their vaccine status with a paper document, a PDF file or a QR code.

There are no capacity restrictions for most places that require proof of vaccination, nor for outdoor organized events.

Private gathering limits are 25 people inside and 100 people outside.

The plan is to lift public health measures in stages until March 2022, with the next step paused as officials monitor some rising trends.

Half Moon Bay Public School in Barrhaven is closed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 linked to 17 student cases. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

Health officials say people should recommit to the fundamentals of getting vaccinated, testing and staying home when sick and limiting social contacts.

Local officials can change rules — for example, Renfrew County has done that for isolation, the Kingston and Belleville areas for school symptoms and the Kingston area for indoor gatherings.

Kingston’s medical officer of health and Akwesasne’s council are both asking residents to avoid in-person gatherings.

Western Quebec

Ten people are allowed to gather inside homes and 20 people outdoors — which increases to 50 if playing sports. The indoor gathering limit goes up to 20 people on Dec. 23.

There are no capacity limits for Quebec venues with assigned seats and restaurants.

A vaccine passport is in place for most people age 13 and up in many public spaces. It won’t apply to younger kids. People can use an app or show paper proof.

Other groups in the region are also coming out with their own COVID-19 vaccine policies, including for staff and visitors.

What can I do?

Prevention

COVID-19 primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine.

This means it is important to take precautions such as staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed —  keeping hands and surfaces clean and considering distancing from anyone you don’t live with.

Masks, preferably medical or surgical ones, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and recommended in crowded outdoor areas.

Skaters glide on the Rink of Dreams outside Ottawa City Hall on Dec. 3, 2021, the first day this season the rink was open. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

When and how long to self-isolate can vary in Quebec and Ontario and by vaccination status.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands and have supplies in case they need to isolate.

Scientists are working to find out how easily the new omicron coronavirus variant spreads, its severity and the performance of vaccines against it.

WATCH | Speculation omicron may be more transmissible and cause less severe disease: 

Omicron more transmissible but milder than delta variant, initial research suggests

16 hours ago

Duration 1:59

Initial evidence about the omicron variant seems to suggest that the strain is more transmissible but less severe than the delta variant. But scientists studying omicron caution that understanding the full threat of omicron will take more time. 1:59

Travel

Travellers more than 12 years and four months old must now be fully vaccinated to board a plane, train or marine vessel in Canada.

The U.S. requires everyone crossing a land, air or water border to be fully vaccinated. People flying there will need proof of a negative COVID test within a day of departure.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents no longer need proof of a test when returning from trips to the U.S. under 72 hours.

The hope is that other countries will accept provincial or territorial proof of vaccination.

People have to be fully vaccinated and pre-approved to enter Canada. Because of the omicron variant, air travellers from every country except the United States have to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and isolate until they get results.

There are further travel restrictions from a number of African countries because of omicron.

Vaccines

Vaccines curb the spread of all variants of COVID-19 and go a long way toward avoiding deaths and hospitalizations, without offering total protection.

Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada, with some age restrictions.

WATCH | More information on Canada’s first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine: 

The importance of Canada’s 1st home-grown COVID-19 vaccine

15 hours ago

Duration 4:52

Quebec company Medicago is getting ready to submit data about its COVID-19 vaccine for final regulatory approval, which is a significant step for the pandemic and Canada’s bio-pharmaceutical industry. 4:52

Health Canada has approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for children as young as five. Doses for kids age five to 11 will be given at least eight weeks apart in both local provinces.

Ontario’s next third shot expansion comes Monday morning for people in their 50s and 60s; Quebec expanded it in early December and plans to lower its age in January.

There have been more than 3.8 million COVID-19 first, second and third vaccine doses administered in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region, which has about 2.3 million residents.

Eastern Ontario

Ontario is vaccinating anyone born in 2016 and earlier.

People can look for provincial appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900.

Local health units have some flexibility, so check their websites for details. Many offer child-only clinics and doses on short notice as campaigns look to fill gaps in vaccine coverage and cover expanded eligibility.

Pharmacies and some family doctors offer vaccines through their own booking systems.

Western Quebec

Anyone who is five and older can get an appointment or visit a permanent or mobile walk-in clinic.

Clinics for children are in schools and kids will need written consent from a parent to be vaccinated there.

Siblings can be booked together in a single time slot and parents can check a box to signal if their child is nervous.

Symptoms and testing

COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, headache, vomiting and loss of taste or smell.

“Long-haul” symptoms can last for months. 

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help.

In eastern Ontario:

Ontario says to get tested by making an appointment at a clinic if you fit certain criteria. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours.

Select pharmacies test people with symptoms, along with certain people without symptoms.

Rapid and take-home tests are available in some places, including pharmacies and some child-care settings when risk is high. A positive test will trigger a follow-up.

Travellers who need a test have local options to pay for one.

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts.

People can make an appointment or see if they’re near a walk-in option online. They can also call 1-877-644-4545 with questions during hours the line is running.

Gargle tests are offered in some places instead of a swab.

Rapid COVID-19 tests are available in all Quebec daycarespreschools and elementary schools. The province has asked the federal government for millions more tests and hopes they can eventually be given out for free.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario.

Akwesasne has COVID-19 test and vaccine clinics, with information online or at 613-575-2341.

People in Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg can call the health centre at 819-449-5593 for a test or vaccine; email is another option for vaccine booking.

Tests are available in Pikwàkanagàn by calling 613-625-1175 and vaccines (including third doses) at 613-625-2259 extension 225 or by email.

Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and should watch the website for dedicated vaccine clinics.

Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.

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Kingston MOH says COVID-19 vaccines keeping region from locking down – Globalnews.ca

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As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the region, KFL&A Public Health’s medical officer of health joined Tuesday night’s city council meeting to give an update to the region.

At this point, he says lockdown measures are not on the horizon for the area.

“Our two main goals of pandemic response in the KFL&A region is to keep schools and workplaces open and maintain health-care capacity,” Dr. Piotr Oglaza told council.

Read more:

Kingston hospitals forced to transfer patients due to high levels of COVID-19

But, with the Kingston region reaching record-high COVID-19 rates, and the news of Kingston hospitals having to offload some patients due to high COVID-19 hospitalizations, many members of the community are wondering if further restrictions to curb the spread of the virus will follow.

Oglaza has long maintained that lockdown measures that worked before just won’t pass muster in the fourth wave. He says the major difference this time around is the region’s high vaccination rate. As of Tuesday, more than 82 per cent of the five and up population have two doses.

“Some of these broad measures that were saving us in the previous waves are not applicable to a situation where vast majority of the population are immunized and are also not going to address the patterns of spread that we see,” he said.

Oglaza maintains that the driving factor for the spread of the virus is household gatherings, which now account for more than half of local transmission of COVID-19.


Click to play video: 'Community reacts as COVID-19 cases rise in the Kingston region'



1:34
Community reacts as COVID-19 cases rise in the Kingston region


Community reacts as COVID-19 cases rise in the Kingston region – Dec 1, 2021

And while there are vaccinated individuals contracting the virus, Oglaza says, for the most part, those testing positive for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

What’s keeping the region from lockdown measures is science, Oglaza said, which has proven that vaccines work in protecting people from serious illness. He said those who are fully vaccinated are at far less risk of getting sick and transmitting the virus to others.

We have not seen a significant burden of infection and transmission coming from places where proof of vaccination is in effect,” he said.

But, despite recent moves from the health unit to limit private gatherings to 10 people and add extra screening at schools, the region is seeing unprecedented numbers.

KFL&A is currently third in the province in active cases per 100,000, behind only the Algoma and Sudbury health unit regions.

Councillors Ryan Boehme and Wayne Hill pressed the doctor on restrictions, asking if more should be done, but Oglaza maintained that widespread community lockdowns will do more harm than good.

“Are there other restrictions coming or are we basically talking about cancelling Christmas this year,” Boehme asked.

Oglaza said implementing a total lockdown like seen before, is not an option.

“Probably one of the most successful ways of of of stopping the chain of transmission is something that I don’t believe that anyone in this community is is is willing to accept. And we’ve seen that before. We’ve seen a stay at home order,” he said.

He said these orders adversely impact the most vulnerable populations in the region, and that many people with good jobs able to do remote work will still be able to work under stay-at-home orders.

“Others who rely on that in-person work cannot be working from home and they’re not going to be able to to really do well under these circumstances. They are disproportionately bearing the consequences of some of these very harsh measures,” he said.

He said any further restrictions would be tailored to target symptomatic people attending gatherings.


Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Ontario’s top doctor calls modelling projections, ICU admissions ‘disconcerting’'



1:53
COVID-19: Ontario’s top doctor calls modelling projections, ICU admissions ‘disconcerting’


COVID-19: Ontario’s top doctor calls modelling projections, ICU admissions ‘disconcerting’

“In the vast majority of all of these circumstances, there is a symptomatic person present in that social setting, that gathering, whether it’s an outbreak setting, workplace, school or household, the spread comes from an infected individual being present,” he said.

He said more information on masking and screening protocols will come in the next couple of days. But for now, the medical officer of health told those who are vaccinated to have faith in the protection associated with the vaccine, and urged those who are not to get their shots.

“Vaccines do work. They do show effectiveness and they do change the situation in this fourth wave compared to everything we’ve experienced so far,” he said.

“It is because of the vaccines that we can keep the workplaces and schools open.

Oglaza will be holding a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to answer further questions.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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