In response to increased demand for COVID-19 assessment and testing across the region, Fraser Health has expanded access to these services, and is planning further enhancements over the coming days and weeks to help ensure people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can quickly receive a COVID-19 assessment and test if they need one.
“The strength of British Columbia’s COVID-19 response has been our ability to adapt and respond quickly to changing needs as the pandemic continues in our province,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “By extending hours of service and adding new locations, we are helping ensure that assessment and testing is broadly available to people experiencing symptoms, when they need it.”
In response to increased demand for COVID-19 assessment and testing, Fraser Health has:
- Established new, extended operating hours of 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays at the Delta assessment and testing centre to increase access to assessment and testing.
- Established greeters at the Langley and Burnaby assessment and testing centres to manage the lines and ensure only people with symptoms are there to be assessed and possibly tested.
- Increased staffing levels at the Burnaby assessment and testing centre, and increased access for assessment and testing by establishing new, extended operating hours of noon to 8:30 p.m., seven days a week.
- Expanded the days of operation at the Chilliwack assessment and testing centre to include 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays to increase access to assessment and testing.
- Established traffic control at the Langley assessment and testing centre to help streamline access to assessment and testing.
- Established a testing-only lane at the Surrey-Whalley Urgent and Primary Care Centre for people who have been directed by medical practitioners to receive a test without first receiving an assessment. This testing-only lane will help streamline access to testing at this location.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have ensured assessment and testing is available to every person in our region who needs it. We closely monitor volumes and are responding to what we are seeing across our region,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health president and CEO. “To respond to an increased demand for testing, we are expanding services where they are needed to support people with quick access to assessment and testing, and ensure we are minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our communities.”
In the coming days and weeks Fraser Health will increase our testing capacity by:
- Opening an additional two drive-through lanes at the Burnaby assessment and testing centre to increase access to assessment and testing.
- Increasing staffing levels at the Langley assessment and testing centre, and establishing new, extended hours of operation of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. These new operating hours are expected to be in place in the coming weeks.
- Establishing new, extended hours of operation at the Abbotsford assessment and testing centre of 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., seven days a week. These new operating hours are expected to be in place in the coming weeks.
- Standardizing the service delivery model and data collection across all sites, to increase efficiency and help us identify where further enhancements need to be made.
- Establishing new, temporary high-volume assessment and testing centres in Surrey and the Fraser Northwest area to expand access to assessment and testing services in these areas where we have seen a substantially increased need.
- Centralizing pre-booking and pre-registration for COVID-19 assessment and testing to support people in having more streamlined, efficient access. This new model is currently in development, and will provide people with telephone and online access to book appointments and access user-friendly information about assessment and testing centre wait times.
Fraser Health has established 10 COVID-19 assessment and testing centres, which are operated in partnership with local Divisions of Family Practice. These centres provide in-clinic assessment and testing, as well as drive-up assessment and testing in some locations. The 10 assessment and testing centres are located in Burnaby, Surrey, Delta, White Rock, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Langley, Mission, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack.
People living in the Fraser Health region can find information about assessment and testing centres by visiting https://www.fraserhealth.ca/.
Number of COVID-19 cases in schools on the rise in Quebec – Global News
Two Lower Canada College (LCC) teachers have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the school.
The college located in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough sent a letter to parents with the news Thursday.
“In order to limit the possibility of further transmission in the school and after consulting with Public Health, teachers and staff who were in close contact with these teachers have been asked to be tested for COVID-19 and will remain at home for a period of 14 days following their exposure,” the letter read in part.
According to the school’s headmaster Christopher Shannon, no student was exposed. Shannon says teachers are in full personal protective equipment when they are with students and maintain a two-metre distance at all times.
Lower Canada College is just one of 489 schools that have reported cases of the virus in Quebec so far, according to numbers released by the province on Friday.
It brings the total of cases in schools to 1,163 of which 722 are currently active.
Olivier Drouin, a Montreal-based parent who decided to track COVID-19 cases in schools on a website he created, says he’s alarmed about the increase in cases lately.
Drouin believes it’s time for the government to take more measures in schools.
“I am worried and I would like at least — if the schools are going to stay open — that we introduce maybe mandatory masks in schools, or a little bit more of social distancing, or online learning,” Drouin said. “But [that] doesn’t seem the way the government is going right now.”
Coronavirus: Parents worried over differing protocols in Quebec schools
Health officials insist schools are not a problem.
“There are a lot of cases because there are a lot of schools and schools are a reflection of what’s going on in the community,” said Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s public health director.
“There’s going to be small outbreaks under control. If they are not in control then we can go to other steps.”
Arruda added that the virus is being brought into schools rather than it being a matter of schools driving the spread.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Toronto's top doctor orders closure of four businesses over concerns about transmission of COVID-19 – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, September 25, 2020 4:43PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 25, 2020 6:17PM EDT
Toronto’s top public health official has ordered the closure of four hospitality businesses that she says failed to take the necessary precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa says that the reasons behind the closure orders are specific to each business but generally point to an abdication of responsibility to help control the spread of COVID-19.
As an example, she said that investigators with Toronto Public Health found that one of the businesses served food buffet-style in direct contravention of provincial regulations.
Others, she said, pressured employees to work when they were ill and were “frequently uncooperative” with Toronto Public Health investigators as they attempted to trace cases of COVID-19.
De Villa also said that investigators found a “concerning link” among the businesses with many people who contracted COVID-19 having visited more than one of them. There were also instances in which staff members who tested positive for COVID-19 worked at more than one of the locations.
“These factors combined to create a significant risk to efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 so I am acting under my authority to close down these businesses,” de Villa said during a briefing at city hall on Friday afternoon. “These are not actions I take lightly but I act first in the interest s of public health and in these circumstances the action taken is the right action to protect your health.”
De Villa said that orders requiring the closure of all four businesses are currently being issued, at which point their names and locations will be released to the public.
She said that in order to reopen each business will have to satisfy the specific conditions spelled out in the closure orders.
Speaking with reporters alongside de Villa, Mayor John Tory said that her decision to use her powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to order the closure of the business is the sort of “tactical responses” that the city will have to take when it finds “specific hot spots contributing to the spread of COVID-19” going forward.
“The action that Dr. de Villa is taking today will close some businesses but they must close so the vast majority of businesses can stay open,” he said.
Chinese company says coronavirus vaccine ready by early 2021 – WellandTribune.ca
BEIJING – A Chinese pharmaceutical company said Thursday the coronavirus vaccine it is developing should be ready by early 2021 for distribution worldwide, including the United States.
Yin Weidong, the CEO of SinoVac, vowed to apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell CoronaVac in the United States if it passes its third and final round of testing in humans. Yin said he personally has been given the experimental vaccine.
“At the very beginning, our strategy was designed for China and for Wuhan. Soon after that in June and July we adjusted our strategy, that is to face the world,” Yin said, referring to the Chinese city were the virus first emerged.
“Our goal is to provide the vaccine to the world including the U.S., EU and others,” Yin said.
Stringent regulations in the U.S., European Union, Japan and Australia have historically blocked the sale of Chinese vaccines. But Yin said that could change.
SinoVac is developing one of China’s top four vaccine candidates along with state-owned SinoPharm, which has two in development, and military-affiliated private firm CanSino.
More than 24,000 people are participating in clinical trials of CoronaVac in Brazil, Turkey, and Indonesia, with additional trials scheduled for Bangladesh and possibly Chile, Yin said. SinoVac chose those countries because they all had serious outbreaks, large populations and limited research and development capacity, he said.
He spoke to reporters during a tour of a SinoVac plant south of Beijing. Built in a few months from scratch, the plant is designed to enable SinoVac to produce half a million vaccine doses a year. The bio-secure facility was already busy on Thursday filling tiny bottles with the vaccine and boxing them. The company projects it will be able to produce a few hundred million doses of the vaccine by February or March of next year.
SinoVac is also starting to test small doses of CoronaVac on children and the elderly in China after noticing rising numbers of cases globally among those two groups.
Yin said the company would prioritize distribution of the vaccine to countries hosting human trials of CoronaVac.
While the vaccine has not yet passed the phase 3 clinical trials, a globally accepted standard, SinoVac has already injected thousands of people in China under an emergency use provision.
Yin said he was one of the first to receive the experimental vaccine months ago along with researchers after phase one and two of human trials showed no serious adverse effects. He said that self-injecting showed his support for CoronaVac.
“This is kind of a tradition of our company,” Yin said, adding that he had done the same with a hepatitis vaccine under development.
Earlier this year, China permitted “emergency use” of vaccine candidates for at-risk populations like border personnel and medical workers if companies could show “good safety and good antibodies” from tests of about 1,000 people, Yin said.
SinoVac received that approval in June along with SinoPharm and CanSino, and was able to provide tens of thousands of doses of CoronaVac to Beijing’s municipal government, Yin said.
SinoVac employees qualified for emergency use of the vaccine because an outbreak inside the company would cripple its ability to develop a vaccine, he said. About 90% of the company’s staff have received it.
“We are confident that our research of the COVI-19 vaccines can meet the standards of the U.S. and EU countries,” Yin said.
___ Associated Press video producer Olivia Zhang contributed to this report.
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