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Frontline essential workers and the elderly next in line for COVID-19 vaccinations in US – The Verge

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Frontline essential workers and people 75 years of age and older in the United States should get COVID-19 vaccines in the next wave of immunizations, an independent committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended. That group includes about 49 million people.

After those groups are vaccinated, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) said doses should go to people between 65 and 74 years old, people between 16 and 65 years old with underlying health conditions, and other essential workers not in groups considered frontline.

Vaccines will be in limited supply through at least the next few months. The CDC expects that there should be doses available to vaccinate 20 million people in December, 30 million people in January, and 50 million people in February. “In this setting, difficult choices have to be made,” Kathleen Dooling, medical officer at the CDC, said in a presentation to the ACIP.

States and local jurisdictions ultimately make the final decisions around the distribution and prioritization of vaccinations, but the CDC recommendations help shape their approaches.

The first phase of vaccinations are going to health care workers and long term care facility residents. Those groups started to get vaccinated last week, and over 500,000 people in the US have been vaccinated so far.

The ACIP balanced two main goals to make recommendations for the second wave of vaccinations: preventing death and disease and preserving societal function. Older adults over 75 have the highest risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Frontline essential workers — which the committee says includes firefighters, teachers, grocery store workers, manufacturing workers, and others — are unable to work from home and often have to interact with the public, putting them at risk of exposure to the virus. Keeping those groups healthy will help keep key services running.

“This approach mitigates health inequities as racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately represented in many essential industries,” Dooling said.

The third group the committee says should be vaccinated includes essential workers like people working in food service, construction, transportation, wastewater, and media. People between 65 and 74 are also at high risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, as are younger people with underlying health conditions like cardiac disease or diabetes.

While the CDC has a list of workplaces that it considers frontline and essential, different states will set those designations in different ways. Various interest groups are lobbying states to include their workers in early vaccination groups — Uber, for example, asked states to prioritize its drivers.

Distributing vaccines to the second and third wave of priority groups will be difficult. It’s hard to determine eligibility, for example, and reaching essential workers (who may not be able to take time off of work, or may live in rural areas) is a challenge. Committee members stressed the importance of adequate funding for vaccine distribution. Money was funneled into vaccine development, which led to the overwhelmingly effective final products. Local health departments need the same level of investment in vaccination programs. The vaccines are Cadillacs, Jeffrey Duchin, a health officer in King County, Washington, said during the meeting. “But they’ve come with empty gas tanks,” he said.

Over 200,000 people are being diagnosed with COVID-19 in the US each day, and over 2,500 people are dying from the disease every day.

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Saskatchewan plans to create coronavirus vaccine TV ads – Global News

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Saskatchewan is reporting another 290 new cases of COVID-19 as it looks to create TV ads to encourage vaccinations.

Health officials said Monday there were 210 people in hospital, with 30 patients receiving intensive care.

Read more:
World on brink of ‘catastrophic moral failure’ with vaccine nationalism, WHO says

Four more residents, all 60 or older, also died from the virus.

Saskatchewan has recently had the highest rate of active cases per 100,000 population in Canada. And the regions of Saskatoon, North Battleford, Prince Albert and Regina are where many of the active infections are located.

Officials said more than 22,000 vaccine shots have gone into the arms of doctors and nurses working directly with COVID-19 patients, as well as staff and residents in long-term care homes and some seniors.

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“Saskatchewan has significantly picked up the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in recent days. Over 10,500 shots have been administered in the past four days,” Premier Scott Moe said in a tweet.

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To encourage vaccinations, documents posted on the government’s procurement website show the Ministry of Health is shopping for a production company to shoot some TV ads next month.

“To get back to the things we love to do, and re-connect with family and friends, people need to get vaccinated. These spots will be used to raise public awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated,” the documents read.

Read more:
Immune but infectious: Can someone vaccinated against COVID-19 still spread the virus?

Last week, the province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said he would recommend that the Saskatchewan Party government implement stricter public-health restrictions if he keeps seeing 300 or more infections reported daily.

The current public-health order prohibits household guests, as well as restricts business capacity and worship services. It is set to expire next Friday.

“The government and Dr. Shahab are continuously monitoring the case numbers and have not ruled out adjustments before that time,” Julie Leggott, Moe’s press secretary, said in a statement.






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COVID-19 restrictions extended in Saskatchewan until Jan. 29


COVID-19 restrictions extended in Saskatchewan until Jan. 29

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Coronavirus: Regina police, SHA looking into maskless dance video – Global News

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Police and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) are looking into a video circulating on social media that shows people dancing without masks at a Regina bar and restaurant.

The Tap Brewhouse & Liquor Store posted a statement on Facebook this past weekend regarding a video recorded on its premise on Jan. 15.

Read more:
Regina police fine woman $2,800 for disobeying COVID-19 public health orders

“There were some young patrons not adhering to the COVID rules and guidelines. They were asked to leave, which they did in a timely manner,” read the statement attributed to The Tap ownership and management group.

“Unfortunately, they decided to dance their way out the door.

“We have strictly followed the guidelines implemented from day one of the pandemic and assure everyone this is a very isolated incident. Because of this incident, we have implemented more supervision & education in our business for the safety of our customers … we sincerely apologize to everyone.”

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Read more:
Coronavirus outbreak at Saskatoon restaurant was potential superspreader event: SHA

The Regina Police Service (RPS) said on Monday the matter is in the hands of the SHA, and is working in conjunction with them.

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“A number have asked if people will be ticketed under the Saskatchewan’s Public Health Act as a result of this video,” read a RPS statement.

“The short answer is: we do not know; it’s not concluded yet.

“One of the messages from us and (the provincial) government was that each case is evaluated on its own merits. Another theme was that the goal is compliance, not handing out fines (although that is one of the options available) … and the matter will be dealt with appropriately.”

Fines for not following Saskatchewan’s public health orders, in cases where negligence or misconduct have been found, may be $2,000 for individuals and $10,000 for corporations, plus a victim surcharge.

RPS have issued at least nine tickets under the public health orders brought into effect during the pandemic.


Click to play video 'COVID-19 restrictions extended in Saskatchewan until Jan. 29'



1:33
COVID-19 restrictions extended in Saskatchewan until Jan. 29


COVID-19 restrictions extended in Saskatchewan until Jan. 29

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Story continues below advertisement

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Quebec high school students back in classroom after month-long break – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press


Published Monday, January 18, 2021 10:32PM EST

MONTREAL – Quebec high school students returned to classrooms on Monday following a month-long, extended winter break imposed by the government to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The return of high schoolers came one week after primary schools reopened last Monday. High school students are required to wear procedural masks at all times inside school buildings, and the province is providing each student two masks per day.

Quebec is reopening schools despite imposing a provincewide curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. until at least Feb. 8. and despite ordering most businesses deemed non-essential closed.

Premier Francois Legault has said schools aren’t primary drivers of COVID-19 transmission and that the benefits to children of keeping them open outweigh the risks of contagion.

A recent study by a group of researchers, including some from the Universite de Montreal, indicated schools were, in fact, a significant vector of transmission. Government figures indicate that schools have accounted for about 22.5 per cent of all completed outbreaks in the province – second only to workplaces.

Monday’s return to class coincided with a sharp decrease in the number of reported COVID-19 infections. The province reported 1,634 new COVID-19 cases – including about 200 that were left out of Sunday’s tally due to a reporting delay. Quebec had been recently reporting more than 1,900 cases a day.

Benoit Masse, public health expert at the Universite de Montreal, said it’s too soon to know which way the numbers are trending.

“I would be very careful before we declare victory because I think everybody realized, especially in the last 10 days, that we are in a very, very difficult situation,” Masse said. “I think everybody is making their effort and following the rules.”

He said it’ll take another 10 days to two weeks to determine the epidemiological impact of reopening schools.

“We have to see for a week or two that the early trend that we’re seeing (currently) keeps going down and has an effect on hospitalizations,” Masse said in an interview Monday.

“It’s not going to be tomorrow . . . but we should be able to reach Feb. 8 and see whether we’re going to be in a good position,” he said, referring to the date when the curfew is scheduled to be lifted.

Despite a drop in new infections, authorities reported a rise in hospitalizations Monday after reporting decreases during the previous three days. The number of patients rose by 31, to 1,491, and the number of patients in intensive care rose by two, to 217.

“Before you see a reduction of hospitalizations, you have to see a reduction in the cases,” Masse said.

Quebec announced Monday it has vaccinated three-quarters of long-term care residents with a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

“Vaccination continues to give a first dose to the entire group,” Health Minister Christian Dube wrote on Twitter. Quebec administered 6,845 vaccine doses Sunday, for a total 153,539.

Vaccinations won’t help bring down Quebec numbers in the short term, but Masse said the protection will be needed should cases begin to rise in the spring.

Masse said it’s too early to say whether the curfew is having a direct impact on case numbers. On Monday, Quebec’s Public Security Department reported that 1,429 tickets had been handed out by Quebec police forces relating to the curfew between Jan. 11 and Jan. 17.

Montreal police said they handed out 353 curfew-related tickets and another 583 tickets for contravening public health rules.

Quebec has reported 244,348 infections and 9,087 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, with 215,325 people deemed recovered.

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

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