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Health officials identify locations of two Westman COVID-19 cases – Brandon Sun

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Manitoba public health officials confirmed Friday that exposure to COVID-19 may have occurred at Asian Spices of Brandon from a case that was identified Thursday.

When contacted Thursday by The Brandon Sun, a spokesperson for the province would not confirm that any cases occurred at the store on 10th Street.

“Public Health is not able to identify any individuals, as that could result in the release of personal health information,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to the Sun Thursday. “It is a long-standing practice that public health does not identify individuals for this reason. In areas with small populations and a small number of cases, there is a greater opportunity for the identification of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.

“If a public health risks is assessed and it is deemed necessary to protect the health of others, information is released.”

The front door of the store was locked Thursday when the Sun stopped by; however, there were no signs indicating why.

In a news release Friday, health officials said people who were in the Brandon spice store July 22 and July 23 may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Public health officials also confirmed Friday that potential exposure to the virus may have occurred at Blazers Mini Mart in Minnedosa on July 25.

The Minnedosa case is one of six health officials identified Friday.

The Sun reported on Friday that the store on Main Street was closed due to potential exposure to COVID-19.

A post Thursday on the What’s Happening, Minnedosa!!! Facebook group site said one of the owners of Blazers Mini Mart tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and had worked the morning shift on July 25.

Health officials said Friday two of the new cases occurred in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

Six people are currently in hospital being treated for the virus, five of them in intensive care.

There 70 active cases and 337 individuals have recovered from COVID-19.

An additional 1,073 laboratory tests were completed on Thursday, bringing the total number of tests completed since early February to 88,621.

» brobertson@brandonsun.com

 

 

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30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll – Columbia Valley Pioneer

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Nearly one-third of British Columbians would take a “wait and see” approach to a COVID-19 vaccine, a poll from the Angus Reid Institute suggests.

The poll, released Tuesday (Aug. 4), took an overall look at how Canadians feel about a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 117,000 people and killed nearly 9,000 across the country. Quebec and Ontario have been hardest hit by the virus, with Alberta seeing recent spikes in cases and B.C. reaching 3,641 cases.

Pollsters found that 30 per cent of British Columbians would wait to see how the vaccine worked, or what its side effects were, before getting the shot. That number was similar Canada-wide at 32 per cent, with Ontario and the Atlantic provinces the most likely to wait at 35 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively, and Quebecers the least likely to wait at 29 per cent. Alberta was equal to B.C. at 30 per cent.

British Columbians were the most likely to get the vaccine right away at 52 per cent, above the country’s average at 46 per cent. Residents of Saskatchewan were the least likely to get the vaccine immediately at 33 per cent, with Alberta next at 41 per cent.

About 61 per cent of Canadians overall said they would be concerned about side effects from a vaccine, while 23 per cent each said they would be concerned about getting infected from taking it, its effectiveness or that COVID-19 is not as serious as people say it is.

Canadians who voted Conservative in 2019 were by far the most likely to think the outbreak was not as serious as others say, at 43 per cent compared to eight per cent for Liberal voters and five per cent for NDP.

Across the country, 14 per cent said they won’t get the vaccine when it becomes available, with Alberta and Saskatchewan least likely to get it at 22 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. Men were less likely than women to agree to the vaccine, and men between 35 and 54 years old were the least likely overall at 21 per cent.

Health officials worldwide largely believe a vaccine could begin to be distributed as early as January 2021, although according to a Russian state news agency, the country said it will begin a national vaccination campaign in October.

Elsewhere, frontrunner Moderna began phase three trials at the end of July, while several other vaccines made by China and by Britain’s Oxford University, based on different vaccine technologies, began smaller final-stage tests in Brazil and other hard-hit countries earlier this month.

Poll results came from an online survey of 1,519 Canadian adults between July 23 and 24, 2020.

READ MORE: Canada urged to avoid ‘vaccine nationalism’ in race for COVID-19 cure

– With files from The Associated Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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COVID-19 roundup: Canada signs vaccine deals with Pfizer and Moderna, earmarks $78 million for virus R&D – The Logic

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This article is a preview of The Logic’s Daily Briefing newsletter, sent every weekday. Sign up for a free trial.

It’s day 148 since Canada’s 100th coronavirus case. The number of cases is 118,038 as of publication time, up 246 since yesterday—a 13 per cent decrease from the seven-day prior average of 284 new cases. At its peak on May 3, the seven-day average was 1,603 new cases a day. 

Over the last week, one person has died every 80 seconds from COVID-19 in the United States, and the pace at which those 7,486 people died seems to be accelerating.

The federal government announced $78 million for COVID-19 research and development on Wednesday, including $59 million for vaccine clinical trials and $19 million for broader research related to the virus. 

The lion’s share of the vaccine funding—$56 million from the federal Strategic Innovation Fund—will go to Variation Biotechnologies (VBI), an Ottawa-based wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. firm VBI Vaccines, for clinical testing of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The funding for VBI comes from the $600 million previously announced to support COVID-19-related clinical trials and Canada’s bio-manufacturing sector. Another $3 million will go to Nova Scotia-based IMV to help fund clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate. 

The government announced the funding on the advice of the newly appointed COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, also revealed Wednesday. The group, formed to advise on treatments, is led by Dalhousie University professor Joanne Langley and J. Mark Lievonen, a former Canadian executive for pharmaceutical giant Sanofi. 

The announcements came the same day Procurement Minister Anita Anand confirmed that the government signed deals with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna to secure millions of doses of their COVID-19 vaccine candidates when they’re ready to deploy them. Both Moderna and Pfizer, which is developing its vaccine with German biotech firm BioNTech, are in the third and final phases of clinical trials and claim they could have “emergency” vaccines ready as early as this fall. Vaccines also need Health Canada approval before being used in Canada.

Canada had been lagging other countries in vaccine preorders, raising concerns Canadians would have to wait longer than others for immunity once treatments were available. Wednesday’s announcements signal a push to diversify potential treatment sources in preparation for “mass vaccination,” and ensuring “Canadians are at the front of the line when a vaccine becomes available,” said Anand. The minister would not say how many doses the government has ordered so far or how much it’s spending on the vaccines, citing ongoing negotiations with multiple suppliers. 

Drinking from the firehose:

  • Canada saw 88,187 business closures in April, up 126 per cent year over year, while new-firm creation dropped 18 per cent to 32,803, according to new data from Statistics Canada. The numbers of companies starting and stopping in any given month are typically quite similar.
  • The Council of Canadian Innovators is calling for Ottawa to extend the Innovation Assistance Program, the National Research Council-administered measure for firms that don’t qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, until December. The business lobby group also wants the funding focused on firms with “a proven track-record of R&D expenditure and IP generation.”
  • Canada’s merchandise trade deficit hit $3.2 billion in June, up from $1.3 billion the previous month, as imports grew faster than exports. Both remain more than a tenth below February levels.
  • BigCommerce raised US$216 million in its Nasdaq IPO. Shares jumped as much as 292 per cent in the first day of trading, as investors piled into Shopify’s smaller competitor amid a pandemic-induced online-shopping boom.
  • New York City will set up “checkpoints” as part of an effort to enforce a quarantine for travellers from other parts of the U.S. Meanwhile, Chicago, the most populous city in the Midwest, has announced that public school students will start the school year learning from home.  
  • Uber employees can continue to work remotely until July 2021, and the company will pay for up to US$500 in home-office setup costs.
  • English football club Arsenal is laying off 55 staff, citing the loss of commercial and matchday revenue during the pandemic. U.S. billionaire Stanley Kroenke owns the team, which recently qualified for a lucrative European competition.

Green shoots: The Calgary Zoo is worried about procuring the right kind of bamboo to feed Er Shun and Da Mao, after experiencing delays getting the permits to send the giant pandas to China, in part because of COVID-19 quarantine rules.

***

Our reporting team is working tirelessly around the clock to deliver the very latest information on the COVID-19 crisis. If you like our journalism, please consider subscribing. You can get a subscription today for more than $100 off your first year.

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Canada signs deals with Pfizer, Moderna to get doses of COVID-19 vaccines – CityNews Toronto

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Canada now has deals in place with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and U.S.-based biotech firm Moderna to secure millions of doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccines, in case either of the candidates is approved for wide-scale use.

But Procurement Minister Anita Anand will not yet say how much Canada is spending or how many doses of either vaccine candidate Canada will get because she says Canada is in talks with other domestic and international firms to secure doses of their experimental vaccines as well.

“The information we can reveal at the current time regarding doses in particular is being kept confidential because we are taking a prudent approach to the negotiations while we are engaged with other suppliers,” she said Wednesday at a news conference in Toronto.

She said there will be firm orders with multiple suppliers and options to purchase more should further doses be needed. After a company pronounces a vaccine safe and effective, Health Canada must approve it for use here before it can be used. Anand said once that happens, she anticipates delivery of approved vaccines in 2021.

“As the situation evolves and as the number of suppliers becomes more firm for Canada we can isolate precisely how many doses we might need,” Anand said.

Watch the full announcement below.

Last month Public Services and Procurement Canada issued bids to supply 75 million syringes and other vaccine administration supplies like alcohol swabs and bandages, to be delivered by the end of October. The goal is to have enough supplies to give every Canadian two doses of a vaccine.

“These agreements with Moderna and Pfizer are indicative of our aggressive approach to secure access to vaccine candidates now so that Canadians are at the front of a line when a vaccine becomes available,” Anand said. “These vaccine candidates are very promising and we all look forward to the day when restrictions can be lifted entirely.”

Both Pfizer and Moderna began Phase 3 clinical trials of their vaccine candidates in the last week, which are large-scale tests to determine how well the vaccines work. Both of these vaccine candidates use something called messenger RNA (mRNA) to try to provoke an immune response to COVID-19.

They are among about two dozen COVID-19 vaccine candidates in clinical trials around the world. Dozens more are in earlier stages of development.

Both Pfizer and Moderna are part of the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed program to facilitate the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines quickly.

Pfizer said July 22 that it has a US$1.95-billion agreement to supply 100 million doses to the U.S. government, with an option for 500 million more.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a conference call Wednesday that small amounts of Moderna’s vaccine have been priced between US$32 and US$37 a dose, but that the price would be lower for big orders.

Pfizer also said it expects it can produce 100 million doses of its vaccine by the end of December, and another 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

Last month both Pfizer and Moderna reported positive results from smaller trials. Moderna’s vaccine was tested on 45 healthy adults between 18 and 55 years old in a Phase 1 trial in May and June, and reported a strong immune response in all people, with mild or moderate side effects such as fatigue, fever and body aches.

The Phase 3 trials will both test the vaccines on 30,000 people, and results are expected in the fall.

Anand and Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains stressed they are looking for both domestic and international vaccine solutions for COVID-19. Bains announced a $56-million contribution to Variation Biotechnologies Inc. to support clinical trials of its vaccine candidate.

Bains also said Ottawa hasn’t yet decided whether it will make getting a vaccine mandatory.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam warned Tuesday against expecting a vaccine to provide a quick end to the pandemic, saying they provide hope but likely no silver bullet for the novel coronavirus.

Anand echoed that sentiment, urging Canadians to continue to practice physical distancing, wash their hands and wear masks in public to prevent the spread of the virus while waiting for a vaccine.

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