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Flu season has arrived, but more people are vaccinated – Regina Leader-Post

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Flu season is kicking into high gear in Saskatchewan, but already 330,000 people have gotten their flu shot.


Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab speaks to the media about the province’s publicly-funded immunization programs and the importance of children being immunized as they head back to school.


Don Healy / Regina Leader-Post

With a record number of vaccines in hand this year and flu season ramping up, Saskatchewan has seen a boost in how many people are getting their flu shot.

Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer, said 436,000 doses were ordered this year — up from 368,000 doses in 2018 — and already 330,000 of those vaccines have been used.

“That’s 15 per cent more than last year, so the flu vaccine uptake has been great,” said Shahab.

He attributed the higher uptake to last year’s early flu season sparking more interest and the increased ease of access people now have to the vaccine, with more than 350 pharmacies across the province offering it.

“Access has really improved over the last two, three years and that may be one factor, but also I think there’s more awareness that the flu vaccine is good for you and it’s good to protect others around you,” he said.

There were concerns in October about how shipping delays of the vaccine across Canada would impact Saskatchewan residents, but Shahab said the vaccines arrived “just in time” so that no clinics had to be rescheduled.

Flu season is now getting into full swing, with 183 lab-confirmed cases in the province since Sept. 1. Shahab said this is a normal amount of cases for this time of year and that the virus will likely peak over the next two or three weeks before winding down in mid-February. There have been no deaths and only one intensive care unit admission from the flu so far.

There have also been five flu outbreaks in long-term care facilities, which Shahab said is another indicator that flu season is picking up. A typical flu season sees between 60 and 80 outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

This year, the dominant strand is the H3N2 strain, whereas last year the dominant strand was H1N1. While it is too early to judge how effective the vaccine is this year, Shahab said vaccines typically don’t work quite as good against this year’s strain.

“Generally vaccines work better against the H1N1 strain and they are less effective against the H3N2 strain, especially if you’re older than 65 or (have) underlying risk factors, but having said that, they still have some effect in preventing serious illness or hospitalization,” he said.

Shahab reminded people to stay home from school or work if they have flu symptoms to prevent the sickness from spreading. Symptoms include a fever, aches and pains, a sore throat and being tired.

lgiesbrecht@postmedia.com

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51 new cases of COVID-19 announced in Manitoba on Sunday – CBC.ca

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There are 51 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Sunday, the province says in a news release, including 36 in the Winnipeg health region.

Another eight new cases are in the Interlake-Eastern Health region, and four are in the Southern Health region, the release says. Two new cases are in the Northern Health region and the remaining one is in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

More information will be released about the new cases if a risk to public health is identified.

There are 13 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province, the release says, including six in intensive care.

Five of those people, or a little over one-third, are attributed the Winnipeg health region, according to provincial data. Two of those people are in intensive care.

There are three people hospitalized with the illness are linked to the Prairie Mountain Health region (with two in intensive care) and three are attributed to the Southern Health region (with one in intensive care).

There is one person hospitalized with COVID-19 from the Northern Health region, and one person from the Interlake-Eastern health region is in intensive care.

Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the proportion of COVID-19 tests that come back positive — is down slightly to 2.2 per cent, the release says.

There are now 589 active cases of the illness in Manitoba, including 490 — or 83 per cent — in the Winnipeg health region, according to provincial data.

There have been 1,880 cases of COVID-19 detected in Manitoba, the release says; 1,272 have recovered and 19 have died.

Masks being distributed

Manitoba Families will give out more than 227,000 reusable masks to its clients, the release says. That will come out to two per every adult in a household, and for kids aged five to nine. Older kids will instead get masks through their school or child-care provider, the release says.

That distribution will start in Winnipeg and continue across Manitoba in the coming weeks.

Starting Monday, people in Winnipeg and 17 surrounding communities will have to wear masks in all public indoor spaces and cap gatherings at 10 as the region moves to the orange — or “restricted” — level under the province’s pandemic response system.

The new rules will stay for at least four weeks, Manitoba’s top doctor said, which is roughly two incubation periods of the illness.

That timeframe, announced by Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin on Friday, includes Thanksgiving. The holiday falls on Oct. 12 this year.

The province is still working to increase capacity and reduce wait times at sites in Winnipeg as demand for COVID-19 testing spiked in response to increasing cases in the region.

On Saturday, 2,200 COVID-19 tests were done in Manitoba. There have now been 178,067 tests completed in the province since early February, the release says.

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Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on Sept. 27 – Global News

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Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Sunday:

Ontario reports nearly 500 cases

Ontario reported 491 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 49,831.

It’s the biggest single-day increase in cases since May 2 when 511 were reported.

“Locally, there are 137 new cases in Toronto with 131 in Peel, 58 in Ottawa and 58 in York Region,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.

“Sixty-three per cent of today’s cases are in people under the age of 40.”

Elliott said more than 42,500 additional tests have been completed, which is among all-time highs.

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Around 600 people possibly exposed at Toronto bar

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Toronto Public Health says around 600 people may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus after three staff members at a bar tested positive.

Officials said the possible exposure period is from Sept. 13 to Sept. 22 at the Regulars Bar on King Street, near Bathurst Street.

All known close contacts of the individuals who tested positive have been contacted, officials said. Anyone not contacted is viewed as low risk.

People who attended the bar are being advised to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days since their last visit and if symptoms develop, self-isolate and get tested.

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Around 600 people possibly exposed after 3 employees at Toronto bar test positive

Toronto restaurant closed after employee tests positive

Reyna on King, a restaurant located near Parliament and King streets, is temporarily closed after an employee tested positive.

In a social media post, the restaurant said the employee last worked mid-week.

Neighbouring Reyna Bazaar is also closed for deep cleaning while employees are tested, the post said.

“Unfortunately, we have had to cancel all reservations for the next few days and will re-open as soon as we have the green light that our team has a clean bill of health and it is safe to re-open,” the restaurant said.

“We feel confident that this is a one-off incident as nobody else on the team was showing any symptoms and our health and safety procedures are very strict.”

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

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1 new COVID-19 death, 58 new cases in Ottawa – CBC.ca

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Ottawa Public Health is reporting 58 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and one new death.

The city’s death toll now stands at 281.  There have been 4,063 cases of COVID-19 recorded in the nation’s capital since the start of the pandemic — and of those, 3,207 are considered resolved, approximately 79 per cent. 

Unlike yesterday, the majority of Sunday’s 58 cases are in people over age 30. 

There are now 575 confirmed active cases in the city, up eight since yesterday and an increase of 90 since the same time last week.

There are also 39 ongoing outbreaks at city institutions like long-term care facilities, child-care centres and schools.

Ontario reports 491 new cases, highest since May

The reports from OPH don’t necessarily reflect how many people tested positive for COVID-19 on the day they’re made public; rather, they indicate the number of new cases OPH is notified of as of 2 p.m. the previous day.

Provincewide, another 491 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Sunday, the highest number since May 2, and two new deaths.

As of 10:30 a.m., there had been 2,839 deaths in Ontario from COVID-19, according to provincial figures.

In western Quebec, meanwhile, health officials have confirmed 14 new cases since yesterday.

The region has had 1,265 cases of COVID-19 and 34 deaths since the pandemic began.

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