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Freedom for Those Who Are Vaccinated: Manitoba Brings Back Some COVID-19 Rules – ChrisD.ca

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By Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

Dr. Brent Roussin

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba chief public health officer, speaks during the province’s COVID-19 update at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg Wednesday, December 16, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG — Fully vaccinated people will be able to return to the dance floor as Manitoba brings back COVID-19 public health orders that allow certain activities only for those who have received two shots.

The province announced that restaurants, bars, bingo halls, sporting venues and movie theatres must require people to show a vaccine passport starting next Friday.

Dancing was banned at bars and weddings more than a year ago under measures put in place to try to curb devastating second and third waves of the pandemic. Even as restrictions loosened earlier this month, dancing was still not allowed.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, said people with proof of vaccination will finally be able to boogie, as long as they are masked.

“This is the benefit of this system,” he said Friday.

“We can have the vast majority of adult Manitobans taking part in activities without restrictions, except the requirement to be vaccinated.”

Health Minister Audrey Gordon said proof of vaccination is an important step to keep children safe as they head back to school next month, since those under 12 are not eligible to be vaccinated.

“We want to ensure they are protected and they are safe,” Gordon said.

Children who aren’t eligible to be immunized will be able to participate in activities if they are with a fully vaccinated adult.

More than 81 per cent of eligible Manitobans have had at least one dose and more than 76 per cent have had both. Gordon said that leaves about 406,000 in the province who have not been vaccinated. Of those, about 230,000 are children under 12.

The province previously announced it was bringing back a mask mandate for indoor public places, including schools, starting Saturday.

As well, all front-line provincial employees who work with vulnerable populations must be fully vaccinated or get regular testing.

Not every member of the Progressive Conservative government is supportive of public health’s new direction. Tory members of the legislature James Teitsma and Josh Guenter both posted on social media that the measures go too far.

In comments about the health orders, Teitsma referenced human rights violations, including residential schools, forced sterilizations and internment camps.

“One thing these human rights violations have in common: they were popular and favoured by the public.”

Guenter, in a letter to Premier Brian Pallister, wrote that the vaccine mandate “sledgehammer” won’t work in his southeastern Manitoba constituency and that it is creating two classes of people.

The government’s decisionwas applauded by some businesses and restaurants that have been significantly affected by public health orders throughout the pandemic.

Loren Remillard, president of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, said immediate and strong measures had to be taken or there would probably be another round of restrictions or closures

“Such a scenario would be absolutely devastating to business and our community,” Remillard said in a news release.

A fourth wave of the pandemic has emerged in other areas of Canada. In Manitoba, there have been low daily case counts. There were 31 new infections reported Friday and the five-day test positivity rate was 2.8 per cent.

Roussin has said Manitoba will inevitably be affected by the fast-spreading Delta variant.

The province brought in a vaccine passport, or proof of immunization card, in early June. But, as restrictions were loosened, it was no longer required for many activities or to enter most businesses.

Earlier this week, Quebec and British Columbia announced they will issue a similar passport for people who want to take part in events or go to restaurants. Those provinces are facing increasing infections.

B.C.’s government said there has already been a significant increase in vaccine registrations and bookings for first doses since its announcement.

Roussin said he hopes to see a similar reaction in Manitoba.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said given the passports were distributed months ago, the renewed measure has come in late.

CP - The Canadian Press

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Coronavirus cases in Quebec rise by 821 with three new deaths and two more hospitalizations – CTV News Montreal

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MONTREAL —
Quebec reported Saturday that 821 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the province, bringing the overall number of infections to 402,283.

Of the new infections, 609 people were unvaccinated when they received their positive result, 49 received one dose of vaccine more than two weeks prior, and 163 were double-vaxxed more than a week before the test. 

Hospitalizations rose by two bringing the total number of people receiving care in the province’s hospitals to 264. The ministry reports that 36 people checked in for care, and 34 were discharged. Of the 36, 28 were unvaccinated, two received one vaccine dose more than 14 days prior and six got both jabs more than a week before entering the hospital. 

There are 89 people in intensive care wards, which is six fewer than on Friday.

Three more people have died due to COVID-19, bringing that total to 11,321 since March 2020.

There are 508 active outbreaks in the province.

Quebec’s vaccination rate remains at 88 per cent for one dose of the eligible population and 82 per cent for both doses. 

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Spike in COVID-19 cases is pushing New Brunswick's health-care system to the limit – CTV News Atlantic

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MONCTON, N.B. —
New Brunswick’s jump in COVID-19 cases has overloaded the health-care system this week.

The Horizon Health Network is now looking to hire more staff across the province to help with the growing demand for testing and vaccinations.

The health network has seen an increased demand in testing as COVID-19 cases have soared over the last month.

“Two weeks ago, if you wanted a test, you could walk in or call and get it at almost anytime you wanted,” said Dr. Jeff Steeves with New Brunswick’s Medical Society.

But now, assessment centres are seeing long line ups and delays in testing.

Steeves wants people to get the jab and practice caution during this time to prevent overloading the system even more.

“Remember, we were running short even before COVID, so we’re trying to maintain that,” Steeves said. “Therefore, we can’t divert the staff like we did before, hence the call for new staff.”

Horizon Health’s vice-president said in a statement Friday that they are currently looking to recruit staff at vaccination clinics, assessment centres and school clinics in Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton.

“Given the recent rise in COVID activity in New Brunswick, and the increased demand for these services, we are hoping to replenish our pool of available clinicians and administrative support staff as we ramp up activity at these locations,” said Jean Daigle.

Since the province announced proof of vaccination requirements this week, public health has reported a significant jump in vaccination appointments.

On Wednesday, 1,700 appointments were booked, while yesterday there were 1,929.

Health officials say prior to Wednesday’s number, the recent average for vaccinations was 600 bookings per day. On Thursday, 600 additional vaccines had to be delivered to a clinic in Moncton.

“Things have picked up dramatically,” said Fredericton pharmacist Alistair Bursary, who says they’ve been busy taking calls from people looking to get their first or second dose.

“So, whereas we were doing perhaps 10 patients a day on average now we are probably going to hit 40-50 just at our pharmacy alone,” Bursary said.

While the demand for services continue to climb, those working on the frontlines hope to get the help they need sooner rather than later.

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Quebec reports 821 COVID-19 cases, three deaths – Winnipeg Free Press

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People line up at a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

MONTREAL – Quebec reported 821 new COVID-19 cases and three further deaths in its latest data on Saturday, as authorities expanded plans to use rapid tests in elementary schools to more regions of the province.

Health officials said hospitalizations increased by two to 264, while the number of patients in intensive care dropped by six to 89.

The province said about 80 per cent of new infections involve people who were not adequately vaccinated.

Quebec administered 19,662 vaccine doses on Friday and officials said 88 per cent of Quebecers aged 12 and older have received a first dose while 82 per cent have gotten both shots.

Health Minister Christian Dubé said in a tweet more than 1,000 of those doses went to health-care workers, with the province remaining firm on a plan to have all sector employees adequately vaccinated Oct. 15 or face reassignment or suspension without pay.

“It’s never too late to get the vaccine, it’s the best way to protect yourself and others,” Dubé wrote on Saturday.

The province conducted more than 32,000 tests on Friday and the positivity rate is 2.4 per cent.

Late Friday, Quebec’s Health Department said rapid testing in elementary schools will now extend to several administrative regions of the province where masking in classrooms is already mandatory.

In a statement, officials said the deployment will take a few weeks and include nearly 1,600 schools.

The provincial government came under criticism from opposition parties and school administrators on the rollout of the testing program.

The province appointed Daniel Paré, head of the vaccination campaign, to co-ordinate the deployment.

The Health Department said schools will have the tests and PPE needed to use the tests, reserved for students who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the day and training and protocols are being set up.

“They are a complementary tool to quickly detect cases and further protect students and school staff and ensure that young people continue to receive their education at school,” the department said.

The tests, which provide a result in 15 minutes, have been used in four neighbourhoods in Montreal and Laval since Monday.

Schools are expected to begin using the tests widely by the end of the month, when training of staff to use the tests is complete.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2021.

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