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Flu season has arrived, but more people are vaccinated – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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


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

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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Mental Illness in Canada

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Mental illnesses affect 6.7 million Canadians annually—but how prepared are we as a country to support those who are suffering?

The million-dollar question has been presented.

Regardless of mental illness now becoming a much more talked about thing than before. There are still many people that tend to misunderstand mental illnesses. About 6.7 million Canadians suffer from metal illnesses and therefore this is something that the government should actively become a part of overtaking.

Let’s get the numbers in a much more understandable term. 1 out of every 5 Canadians is suffering form a metal health disorder. This means that they are diagnosed with some sort of mental condition that would be treatable under common circumstances. Which means that this does not includes people who did not or cannot go to a problem doctor.

Out of those diagnosed with mental illness annually, depression and bipolar disorder, substance abuse disorder or addiction, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and PTSD are among the most common.

In any given week, 500,000 Canadians aren’t able to work due to mental illness,”

says Hosseiny.

This is how serious this issue is and not to mention that by 2020 mental issues would be a leading cause of disability in most Canadian workplaces.

“an estimated $50 billion is lost annually through unemployment, absenteeism and presenteeism,”

This is clearly going to have not only a personal but an economical impact as well.

When it comes to mental illness, our public health system is still set up in a way that concentrates on treatment versus preventative measures.

“We’ve done a lot of great work to tackle the stigma and, as a result, people are coming out and having discussions [and seeking treatment],”

says Hosseiny.

“But the problem is that the system isn’t ready to respond to that.”

While many say Canada has universal health care, it’s really universal medical care as mental health and illness are still not treated in the same way as physical care.

The government would need to take proactive prevention measures that would allow them to limit

“We don’t wait until stage 4 to treat cancer, so why do we [wait so long] with mental illness?”

We have a great set of initiative by the recent government but then again due to a lack of funding on the projects and ideas things have seen a lag. Lagging on such matters can be dangerous as can leave people scared for life. They should be treated the same as people that are going through physical pain.

Though making sure services such as addiction counsel, psychologists and social workers are publicly funded would be a major leap in the right direction but there is still a lot of effort that is needed when it comes to educating people about these problems and actually take control of the matters and solving them for real.

Lack of funding for a developed economy seems like a joke. This needs to end and things need to take care of soon. With out proper mental health, people, children, workforce and every other aspect of life and economy could be severely and negatively be effected by this.

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Ontario inspectors find 36 stores violating COVID-19 rules during big-box safety blitz – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Safety inspectors found more than 30 businesses violating COVID-19 safety rules during a big-box blitz across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development said Sunday. 

The ministry said that inspectors visited 110 stores on Saturday and found 31 stores in violation of provincial orders, which is equal to about 70 per cent compliance. 

The government said 11 formal warnings and 11 tickets were issued on Saturday as a result of the blitz. 

Five additional stores were found violating health orders on Sunday, Labour Minister Monte McNaughton said.  He added that on Saturday there were five box-box corporations slapped with fines.

The ministry did not name the stores they said were found violating the orders.

Individuals found violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act can be fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned for as long as a year, while corporations can be fined up to $1.5 million per charge.

More than 34,000 COVID-19-related workplace inspections have happened since the beginning of the pandemic.

McNaughton has said inspectors are focusing on compliance with masking and physical distancing rules, as well as other health guidelines. He said they have the authority to temporarily shut down facilities found to be breaching the rules, and to disperse groups of more than five people.

The government said big-box stores would remain a key target during the provincewide safety blitz. The ministry issued a document late last week saying inspections would also involve workplaces which reported COVID-19 outbreaks and businesses focused on manufacturing, warehousing, distribution centres and food processing.

Premier Doug Ford, who has faced criticism for allowing big-box stores to remain open for on-site shopping while smaller businesses are restricted to curbside pickup or online sales, vowed this week to crack down on big lineups and other infractions at large retailers.

The weekend blitz comes days after the province enacted an order requiring residents to stay at home for all but essential purposes, such as shopping for groceries or accessing health care.

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Due to data issue, Quebec reports just 1,744 new COVID-19 cases – Montreal Gazette

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Quebec reported 1,744 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. The figure, which is the lowest daily tally reported in more than a month, has been attributed to a data transmission problem.

The health ministry said in a statement some laboratory data had been delayed, causing a dip in case numbers. The issue will be resolved during the day and the rest of the cases will be reported on Monday.

With Sunday’s incomplete figures, a total of 242,714 cases have now been confirmed in Quebec.

Additionally, the province announced 50 more deaths, eight of which occurred in the last 24 hours for which there is data.

At total of 9,055 deaths have now been attributed to the virus in Quebec.

The number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 decreased by 14 to 1,460. Of those patients, 215 are in intensive care — a drop of 12.

Quebec also announced that 8,838 vaccine doses were administered on Saturday.

A total of 146,694 doses have now been administered since the vaccination campaign began in late December.

Montreal was once again the region with the most new cases, reporting 754 new cases on Sunday.

This figure may be lower than the actual number of new cases due to the province’s aforementioned problem with laboratory data.

A total of 86,493 cases have been confirmed in the city since the pandemic began.

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