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Health officials in Ontario investigating whether second COVID-19 care home outbreak is linked to U.K. variant

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Paramedics transport a person from Roberta Place, a long term seniors care facility which is the site of a coronavirus disease outbreak in Barrie, Ont. on Jan. 18, 2021.

CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

The U.K. variant of COVID-19 behind a devastating outbreak at a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., is also being investigated as the possible source of infections at a second facility in the region.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit announced on Sunday that it has received another laboratory-confirmed case for the highly contagious variant first detected in the United Kingdom. This individual was in close contact with a person who is part of a COVID-19 outbreak at Bradford Valley Care Community, Charles Gardner, Simcoe Muskoka’s medical officer of health, told reporters.

“So just to be clear, we only have the one laboratory confirmation today with regards to this situation,” Dr. Gardner said, adding that the health unit is pursuing further testing to determine whether anyone who lives or works at the Bradford Valley long-term care home has the variant known as UK B 1.1.7.

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A total of six residents and three staff members at Bradford Valley have tested positive for COVID-19.

U.K. variant of COVID-19 at Barrie, Ont. long-term care home infects all but two residents

The individual who has tested positive for the U.K. variant is also connected to a retail outlet that provides curbside service where two positive cases of the virus have been confirmed. “We are investigating that as another point of contact in the community,” Dr. Gardner said.

The outbreak of the virus at the Bradford long-term care home began on Jan. 14 and is well under control at this time, he said in a statement.

However, he added, “the possibility of this being due to the U.K. variant needs to be assessed and managed, given its increased transmissibility.”

The 230-bed home is owned by Sienna Senior Living, one of Canada’s largest operators of for-profit long-term care homes.

“We are being extremely vigilant in our monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and are taking all of the necessary steps to protect the safety of our residents and team members,” Sienna’s chief medical officer Andrea Moser said in the statement.

The latest development follows the announcement on Saturday that a genome sequencing test identified the U.K. variant in six COVID-19 samples taken from Roberta Place, a long-term care home in Barrie where a devastating outbreak has infected all but two residents and killed 40 as of Sunday. An essential caregiver has also died of COVID-19 and 86 staff have tested positive.

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Quebec to start monkeypox vaccination of contacts as officials confirm 25 cases

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MONTREAL — Quebec’s interim public health director says the province could start vaccinating people against monkeypox as soon as Friday.

Dr. Luc Boileau says there are now 25 confirmed cases of the disease in the province and about 30 suspected cases are under investigation.

He says the province has received supplies of smallpox vaccine from the federal government, and it will be administered to people who have been in close contact with confirmed cases of the disease.

Dr. Caroline Quach, the chair of Quebec’s immunization committee, says the vaccine has been shown to prevent monkeypox in animal studies if it is administered within four days of an exposure and can reduce severity if it is administered up to 14 days after an exposure.

She says the disease is transmitted only through prolonged close contact.

Boileau says the majority of cases are in adult men who have been in sexual contact with people who have the disease, and there has been one case in a person under 18.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

 

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Monkeypox Warnings Ignored; Dominant COVID Strain Emerges; Better Paxlovid Access – Medpage Today

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Warning signs of the current monkeypox outbreak may have been ignored. (STAT)

The CDC issued a monkeypox travel alert encouraging “enhanced precautions” after cases were reported in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Roche announced it has developed three PCR test kits to detect the monkeypox virus.

The U.S. has a new dominant COVID-19 strain — BA.2.12.1 — a highly contagious sublineage of the BA.2 omicron subvariant that now accounts for 57.9% of all cases, according to CDC estimates.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, as well as Lt. Gov.Denny Heck, both tested positive for COVID-19, as did U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). (Seattle Times, The Hill)

As of Thursday at 8:00 a.m. EDT, the unofficial U.S. COVID toll was 83,697,199 cases and 1,004,558 deaths, increases of 218,146 and 913, respectively, compared with this time Wednesday morning.

The Biden Administration, projecting COVID infections will continue to spread during the summer travel season announced additional steps to make nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) more accessible. (ABC News)

The White House also reported the launch of the first federally-supported test-to-treat COVID site.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior leaders of the government are to blame for booze-filled parties that violated the country’s COVID-19 lockdown rules, according to an investigative report. (NPR)

A mouse study suggested that maraviroc (Selzentry), a FDA-approved drug used to treat HIV, may be able to reverse middle-aged memory loss. (Nature)

The University of California system will be paying nearly $700 million to women who said they were sexually abused by a UCLA gynecologist over the course of several decades. (AP)

The parents of a 4-year-old girl spoke out about her mysterious case of pediatric hepatitis that required a liver transplant, one of 180 similar cases under investigation in the U.S. (Today)

Teva Pharmaceuticals has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of one lot of anagrelide capsules, which are used to treat thrombocythemia secondary to myeloproliferative neoplasms, due to dissolution test failure during routine stability testing.

Servier announced the FDA approved ivosidenib (Tibsovo) in combination with azacitidine for certain patients with newly diagnosed IDH1-mutated acute myeloid leukemia.

A report from the American Medical Association shows that payers are not following the prior authorization reforms agreed to in 2018. (Fierce Healthcare)

The mass shooting in Buffalo earlier this month is a reminder that millions of Americans don’t have easy access to grocery stores. (NPR)

COVID-era misinformation is leading a wave of parents to reject ordinary childhood immunizations. (New York Times)

The FDA issued guidance spelling out rules for states that want to import certain prescription drugs from Canada.

  • Mike Bassett is a staff writer focusing on oncology and hematology. He is based in Massachusetts.

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BC Cancer launches lung-screening program | BC Gov News – BC Gov News

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Warren Clarmont, provincial director, Indigenous Cancer Control, BC Cancer –

“Indigenous people are experiencing higher incidences of lung cancer when compared to other B.C. residents. The introduction of a provincewide lung-screening program will help reduce barriers to access for Indigenous people across B.C. We hope that with this new program, more lives will be saved through culturally safe and accessible screening for eligible First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.”

Sarah Roth, president and CEO, BC Cancer Foundation –

“This first-in-Canada provincewide lung cancer screening program would not be possible without our incredible community of donors. We are so proud to funnel their support, in partnership with the Province and BC Cancer, to help bring this life-saving prevention and early-detection tool to high-risk people across B.C., regardless of where they live. It is our deepest hope that it will change the game for the deadliest cancer in the province.”

Dr. Kim Nguyen Chi, chief medical officer, BC Cancer –

“BC Cancer’s new Lung Screening Program will help diagnose lung cancer at an early stage before people develop symptoms. Cancer screening for early detection is a key tool in the fight against cancer. Earlier detection of cancer means treatment that can be less invasive and have faster recovery and higher rates of cure.”

Dr. Craig Earle, CEO, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) –

“CPAC congratulates British Columbia and the BC Cancer team for acting quickly to implement a provincewide lung cancer screening program and supporting early diagnosis for people at high risk for this disease. Because of the solid evidence showing that lung cancer screening saves lives, implementing screening programs is a priority initiative in the Canadian strategy for cancer control. Co-creating these programs across the country with First Nations, Inuit, Métis and equity-deserving communities will help achieve the strategy’s vision of equitable access to high-quality, culturally safe cancer prevention and care for all people in Canada.”

Shannon McCrae, B.C.  lung-screening trial participant and lung cancer survivor –

“My best friend passed away from lung cancer, so I knew first-hand that lung cancer can be a silent killer. I was a smoker for over 20 years, so when I saw an ad about the BC Cancer lung-screening trial, I registered on the spot. I was shocked when the screening results came back positive even though I displayed no symptoms. The cancer was removed immediately after I was notified about my results. I can say with confidence and gratitude that early detection and the B.C. Lung Screening Pogram saved my life. I’d like to encourage all who qualify for the screening to enrol.”

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