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Flu leaves a 4-year-old girl blind in Iowa

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A 4-year-old girl in Iowa nearly died and is now blind because of the flu, and her parents have a message: Get your child vaccinated.

“If I can stop one child from getting sick, that’s what I want to do,” said Amanda Phillips. “It’s terrible to see your child suffer like this.”

Jade DeLucia, who did not receive a flu shot this season, caught the flu a few days before Christmas and spent nearly two weeks in the intensive care unit at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

“She is lucky to be alive,” said one of her physicians, Dr. Theresa Czech. “She’s a little fighter. And I think she’s super lucky.”

Her parents, who’ve missed work to care for Jade and face medical bills, have started a GoFundMe page.

Every year, dozens of children die from the flu, and most of them had not received a flu shot, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thousands more children are hospitalized.

Many of those who becomes seriously ill or died were perfectly healthy before they contracted the flu.

Jade is one of them.

 

‘It’s a little bug’

On December 19, Phillips noticed that Jade wasn’t quite her usually bubbly self.

“She’d say, ‘Mom, I don’t feel good,’ and we’d cuddle on the couch,” Phillips remembers.

A few times over the next several days, Jade spiked a low-grade fever. Medicine brought it down easily, and she went back to playing with her older sister, Catalina.

“She was running around, having fun, eating normally, asking for snacks,” her mother remembers. “It was just — it’s a little bug, she’ll get over it.”

Phillips thinks back to those four days, December 19 through December 23, and wracks her brain for something that might have told her what was about to happen.

“There wasn’t any sign that would’ve told me that something was seriously wrong with her,” she said.

 

‘We have to go to the emergency room’

The night of December 23, while Phillips was working her shift as an assistant manager at a Dollar General store, Jade’s father, Stephen DeLucia, tucked Jade into bed.

The next morning, the family was ready to leave the house to spend Christmas Eve with Phillips’ parents. But Jade hadn’t yet woken up.

When her father went to check on her, Jade was lying in bed, unresponsive. And her body was burning hot.

“I yelled at him — I was like, ‘We have to go. We have to go to the emergency room. This isn’t right. Something’s not right with her,” Phillips said.

When they arrived at Covenant Medical Center, Jade’s body started shaking uncontrollably, and her eyes rolled to the back of her head.

She was having a seizure.

Doctors filled the room. They said Jade needed to be transferred to the children’s hospital at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, about 80 miles away. There was no time for an ambulance. She would have to be flown.

Her parents watched the helicopter take off.

“I didn’t think I was going to see her again at that point,” Phillips said. “I really didn’t. Just from looking at her, I really honestly didn’t think I was going to see her.”

 

Bad news on Christmas Day

On Christmas Day, Phillips and DeLucia found out flu had affected her brain.

Called encephalopathy, it’s a known complication of the flu, according to the CDC.

Doctors showed Jade’s parents the MRI results. Her brain was “lit up like a Christmas tree,” her mother remembers.

“They said she had significant brain damage. They said our child might not ever wake up, and if she did, she might not ever be the same,” she said.

Over the next few days, Jade remained almost completely unresponsive.

Czech, a pediatric neurologist, was brought in to consult on Jade’s case. On December 31, she told Jade’s parents her specific diagnosis: acute necrotizing encephalopathy, or ANE, a type of encephalopathy usually caused by a viral infection.

ANE is so rare there are few studies on how children fare. Czech found one study that looked at four children with ANE. Three of them died.

“It’s been 7 days. 7 days of it feeling like Jade was slipping away and that there was no hope. No hope of her ever coming back to us,” her mother wrote on Facebook that day. “All because of the flu.”

Czech prescribed steroids to calm the swelling in her brain.

And finally, Jade’s parents received some good news.

 

A New Year’s gift

CNN visited Jade’s family on January 1. Her family started the new year with a prayer.

“Heavenly father will you wrap your angels around Jade this morning and throughout the day and pray for healing today,” the prayer went.

Then, they visited Jade at the hospital — and her mother came out beaming.

What had seemed so unlikely had happened: Jade woke up.

“She’s got her eyes open. She’s looking around. We got a couple of hand squeezes! And then we got a smile!” she said.

Over the next few days, Jade kept getting better and better. Her breathing tube came out. She could sit up. She could eat — and specifically requested chocolate pudding.

“Jade said ‘Hi mommy’ and you guys I’m a mess,” Phillips wrote on Facebook on January 5.

But then Jade’s parents and doctors noticed something.

 

Flu causes blindness

When her mother put Jade’s favorite stuffed animal — a white unicorn — in front of her face, she didn’t look at it.

When she threw a little ball, she didn’t watch it as it went up in the air.

An ophthalmologist came in and examined Jade’s eyes. Everything looked fine.

The problem wasn’t with her eyes. It was with her brain, which had suffered because of the flu.

“It affected the part of her brain that perceives sight, and we don’t know if she’s going to get her vision back,” said Czech, Jade’s neurologist. “In about three to six months from now we’ll know. Whatever recovery she has at six months, that’s likely all she’s going to get.”

Jade might also have cognitive or developmental problems, such as learning disabilities, Czech added. She said that would be determined in the months and years to come.

But considering that Jade arrived at the hospital unresponsive on Christmas Eve, Czech is amazed at her progress.

“I think she’s doing fabulous,” she said.

 

Jade’s homecoming

Jade went home January 9.

One of the first things she did was touch her sister’s face and then pulled her close and cried.

Relieved to have her daughter back home, Phillips wants to get a message to other families about the flu shot.

Last March, when Jade’s sister had her annual well visit at the pediatrician, both girls received a flu shot. Phillips says she thought that shot was good for an entire year. She didn’t realize she needed to get the girls vaccinated again for the new 2019-2020 flu season.

Since the flu virus changes year to year, the vaccine also changes. Flu vaccines become available at the end of the summer, and the CDC recommends getting one by the end of October to protect against flu in the upcoming winter.

This year, the flu has been particularly tough on children. That’s because the predominant virus has been influenza B, which affects children more than adults. So far, 32 children in the United States have died from flu this season, 21 from the influenza B strain of the virus.

“We want parents to know they should get a flu shot every season,” Phillips said.

It’s true that the flu vaccine is only about 40-60% effective at preventing the flu, according to the CDC.

But that’s not the point, says Dr. Adam Ratner, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

What parents need to know is that a vaccine is very effective at preventing children from becoming so sick from flu that there are life-threatening complications, like Jade did.

A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced a child’s risk of being admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit by 74%. A 2017 study showed the vaccine also significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from the flu, according to the CDC.

“I’m less interested in whether the vaccine prevents all cases of runny noses and feeling cruddy and having to stay home from school because of the flu,” Ratner said. “That’s no fun, but you get the vaccine not so much to prevent that as to prevent the chances of having a horrible complication of the flu.”

Back in Iowa, Phillips and DeLucia are settling into their new normal with Jade, Phillips writing on Facebook on her daughter’s first night home: “My brave girl, who cannot see, but is loved by so many.”

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Dallas County reports 3,303 more coronavirus cases, 6 deaths; Tarrant County reports 1,305 new cases, 5 – The Dallas Morning News

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Updated at 3:34 p.m.: revised to include state data.

Dallas County on Sunday reported 3,303 more coronavirus cases and six COVID-19 deaths.

The latest fatalities were a woman in her 40s, a man in his 50s, a man in his 60s, a man in his 80s, and a man in his 90s, all of whom were Dallas residents and had been hospitalized. The sixth victim was a Mesquite man in his 50s who had been ill at a hospital. All six victims had underlying health problems, the county said.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, Sunday’s COVID-19 report included cases from Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.

“When you spread that out over the three days, it’s actually a lower number than we’ve been averaging for the last week and probably indicates less people getting tested as most testing facilities were closed Thursday and Friday,” Jenkins said.

Of the cases reported Sunday, 3,083 were confirmed and 220 were probable.

They raise the county’s total confirmed cases to 126,006 and probable cases to 12,090. The county has recorded 1,209 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 32 probable COVID-19 deaths.

The county announced it is counting only positive antigen tests (sometimes called rapid tests) as probable cases; a few antibody and “household” results were included previously.

Although other North Texas counties provide estimates for how many people have recovered from the virus, Dallas County officials do not report recoveries, noting that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not use that metric.

The county reported that during the Nov. 8-14 period, 1,282 school-age children tested positive for COVID-19.

More than two-thirds of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization so far have been in people under 65, and diabetes has been an underlying condition in about a third of all hospitalized patients, according to the county.

The county’s provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases for the latest reporting period, Nov. 8-14, was 1,405 — a rate of 53.3 daily new cases per 100,000 residents. The figure is calculated by the date of the COVID-19 test collection, according to the county.

Dallas County doesn’t provide a positivity rate for all COVID-19 tests conducted in the area; county health officials have said they don’t have an accurate count of how many tests are conducted each day. But as of the county’s most recent reporting period, 17% of people who showed up at hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms tested positive for the virus. That’s an increase from 16.8% the previous reporting period.

The county said Sunday that 20 active “clusters” of cases in homeless shelters and group homes have been reported in the last 30 days, totaling 167 reported coronavirus cases. One facility in the last week had 81 confirmed cases, the county said.

Over the last 30 days, there have been 818 COVID-19 cases reported from 90 long-term care facilities, the county said Sunday. Of the cases, 29 people have died and 48 have been hospitalized.

Of the county’s total confirmed COVID-19 deaths, about 23% are associated with long-term care facilities.

Statewide data

Across the state, 6,041 more cases and 48 COVID-19 deaths were reported Sunday. Of the 6,041 new cases, 163 are considered older cases by the state, including one in Ellis County and one in Kaufman County.

Texas has now reported 1,157,273 confirmed cases and 21,357 fatalities.

There are 8,634 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, including 2,375 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Of all hospitalizations in the 19-county hospital region that covers the Dallas-Fort Worth area, 15.6% are COVID-19 patients, according to the state’s data. Sunday was the third day the state crossed the 15% threshold set by Gov. Greg Abbott in an Oct. 7 executive order that states businesses must scale back from 75% to 50% capacity if they are in a region where more than 15% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients for seven days in a row.

The area first hit the 15% threshold Friday after several record-setting days.

The seven-day average positivity rate statewide, based on the date of test specimen collection, was 11.1% as of Saturday. State health officials said using data based on when people were tested provides the most accurate positivity rate.

The state also provides a positivity rate based on when lab results were reported to the state; that rate stood at 11.33% as of Saturday.

Officials previously calculated Texas’ coronavirus positivity rate by dividing the most recent seven days of new positive test results by the most recent seven days of total new test results. By that measure, the positivity rate is now 9.4%, according to the state dashboard.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services has said positivity rate data based on lab results and new cases probably will be phased out but is being provided for transparency and continuity purposes.

Tarrant County

Tarrant County reported 1,305 coronavirus cases and five new deaths Sunday.

The latest deaths include a man in his 90s and a man in his 70s from Fort Worth, a woman in her 80s and a man in his 70s from Arlington, and a man in his 60s with an unknown address. All had underlying health problems.

The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 97,294, including 86,052 confirmed cases, 11,242 probable cases and 68,950 recoveries. The death toll stands at 843.

Collin County

The state added 626 coronavirus cases in Collin County on Saturday, bringing the county’s total to 26,192. One new COVID-19 fatality also was reported, bringing the death toll to 253.

No details about the latest victim were available.

According to state data, the county has 3,295 active cases and has logged 22,897 recoveries.

COVID-19 hospitalizations total 276, according to the county’s dashboard.

Denton County

Denton County officials have said they will no longer report new coronavirus data on Sundays.

As of Saturday, the county had reported 23,276 cases, including 5,523 that were active and 17,605 that were recoveries. The death toll stood at 148.

Other counties

The Texas Department of State Health Services has taken over reporting for these other North Texas counties. In some counties, new data may not be reported every day.

The latest numbers are:

  • Rockwall County: 2,994 cases, 37 deaths.
  • Kaufman County: 4,900 cases, 80 deaths.
  • Ellis County: 6,898 cases, 115 deaths.
  • Johnson County: 5,407 cases, 105 deaths.

Having trouble seeing this map? Click here.

CORRECTION: This story originally included the wrong date range for which 1,282 children tested positive and the seven-day average of new and confirmed cases. The correct date range is Nov. 8-14.

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An unprecedented 46 people die of COVID-19 in B.C. over the weekend, health officials announce – CBC.ca

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The last three days have seen 46 people die of COVID-19 in B.C., as more than 2,000 new cases of the disease were confirmed, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Monday.

A total of 2,364 cases from over the weekend were added to the province’s total to date, which includes 277 historical cases that were previously missed because of a data reporting error in the Fraser Health region.

There are now a record number of 316 patients in hospital with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, including 75 in critical care, out of 8,855 active cases — also the highest total to date.

Henry noted that this weekend’s death toll is “the highest number we have ever had” as she paid an emotional tribute to those who have been lost and the family and friends they’ve left behind.

“We all feel your loss and we mourn with you,” she said.

She said the majority of those who died — about 80 per cent — were long-term care residents. The oldest was 103 years old.

To date, 441 people have died of the virus.

“These people have faces, have names, have stories. This tragedy is all of our tragedy,” Henry said. “If you are thinking it may be OK to bend the rules, please remember this virus takes lives. It is the lives closest to us that are most at risk when we take risks.”

There have been 33,238 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. There are now 10,139 people across the province in self-isolation because of contact with known cases of the virus.

Monday’s update includes five new outbreaks in the health-care system. Currently, there are 57 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living and five in hospitals.

‘Faith is not a building’

Henry spoke about the responsibility of all British Columbians to follow public health orders that currently prohibit all social gatherings of any size and all community and public events.

Those orders cover faith-based gatherings, including services in churches, synagogues, gurdwaras, mosques or temples, and Henry said the vast majority of faith leaders have done their part.

But this weekend, a church in Langley was fined $2,300 for defying Henry’s orders and holding in-person services.

“Faith is not a building,” Henry said Monday.  “It is not about Sunday mornings, it is about every day. It’s not about rights, it’s about community. It’s about responsibility to our fellow citizens.”

Despite marking yet another weekend setting grim records for this pandemic, Henry noted that there is light on the horizon with the promise of an effective vaccine in sight.

Until that happens, everyone needs to do their part to protect the most vulnerable people in their lives and communities, she said.

“We are facing a significant storm surge. We need to come together again,” Henry said. “If you are in doubt, remember you are not alone in your sacrifice. Most people are wearing masks. Most people are sticking to their households.”

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19 positive COVID-19 cases at East York elementary school | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca

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The Toronto District School Board has confirmed that there are 19 positive cases of COV19-19 linked to Thorncliffe Park Public School. The cases were detected days after the Ontario government launched a pilot project for voluntary COVID-19 testing of students and staff without symptoms in schools. Marianne Dimain reports.

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