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Health officials optimistic COVID-19 case growth will decline without having to shut down the economy again –



The province’s top doctor believes the COVID-19 reproductive number (R-number) – that’s the number of people one case will transmit the virus to – can be brought below one without the need to close things up like we saw in March

Dr. Bonnie Henry says one way to bring things under control is to ensure people are having ‘safe contacts’ with each other.

“We know now that we are travelling more, we’re going to work, we’re going to different settings, so we are having contacts with more people,” she said, noting the spike in cases is not unexpected.

“What we need to do is to have those as safe contacts, which means keeping our distance, making sure that we have our numbers small, and if people do get sick, making sure we can find them quickly.”

Henry says new modelling has shown that B.C. risks the possibility of having explosive growth in our COVID-19 outbreak if people are not careful. She says if you contract COVID-19, there’s nothing that can be done to stop you from getting sick.

“However, what we can do is prevent you from spreading it to the next generation or the people that you are close to. So during that incubation period, keeping you away from others so that if you do become ill, you won’t spread it to anybody else,” Henry said. “And that is how we get that reproductive number down again.”

“This is all connected to our ability to do contact tracing. There are hundreds of people who have been exposed over the last few weeks, and we are connecting with them. And we need your help to continue to do that.”

Henry did say previously that a daily increase of 25 cases or more is ‘above her comfort zone’, calling the recent spike a warning for people to keep things in balance.

Given the high number of COVID-19 cases in recent days in the province, Health Minister Adrian Dix noted there could be ‘adjustments’ made this week to health orders.

He says some adjustments are clearly needed especially in the Kelowna area after an outbreak there earlier this month.

“Working with the business community, working with the municipality in Kelowna, Mayor [Colin] Basran, working with the opposition MLA Norm Letnick, we’re all working together to communicate better,” he said.

“So we have there for example in delivering our message, a lot of social influencers who have been involved in putting out messages in the last few days.”

Dix adds we also need to double down in what we’ve been doing, and that includes washing our hands and physical distancing.

“We just have to I think recommit ourselves fundamentally to what we have learnt, which has worked. And we’ve seen it work. We produced a serology report through the BC CDC that showed how we flattened the curve, and people could see in that data their efforts, and so we have to continue to do that.”

“I think we are going to have to adjust, and adjust, and adjust throughout this pandemic, which I remind everybody is not going away. There is no cure and there is no vaccine. So we have to continue to make adjustments.”

Kamloops mayor urging people to comply with public health orders

Here in Kamloops, the reiterates the word from health officials to be mindful of our interactions during phase 3 of the provincial reopening plan.

“The public has to be prepared: if the phone call comes and you’ve been exposed, can you tell us who you’ve been in contact with, and where you have been in the past 10 to 14 days? If you can’t recall that, then you’ve probably seen too many people and been to too many places,” Christian noted.

“So that while we’re going to open the economy here, and I think businesses are really clamoring for that, we need to be very purposeful and very mindful and very cautious about the way that we do that. Myself and council really want to see things get back to normal as fast as everyone else.”

B.C. health officials have indicated that people who tested positive in recent days had a large number of contacts, somewhere in the range of 11-to-12 people on average.

– With files from Colton Davies

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Vaping injuries cause lingering problems for some youth, Canadian data suggests –



Canadian pediatricians are reporting numerous vaping-related injuries, with one third of cases involving ongoing health problems.

Interim data from the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program highlight the risks of vaping as well as non-medical cannabis use, particularly accidental ingestion of edibles.

A one-time survey of about 1,100 doctors found 88 cases of vaping illness or injury over a 12-month period, with one quarter of kids hospitalized.

Dr. Nicholas Chadi, a specialist in adolescent and addiction medicine at the University of Montreal, suspects this is just the “tip of the iceberg” since the numbers don’t include kids who turn to their family doctor or a nurse with vaping problems.

Chadi found it “very concerning” that about a third had ongoing issues and says vaping dangers should be raised with kids and teens as they prepare to return to school and reunite with friends.

“If we look at what might be happening in smaller cities where we have emergency room doctors who are not pediatricians receiving these kids, there are probably many, many more cases of these injuries happening in Canada,” says Chadi, also affiliated with Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre.

Children and youth most often suffered respiratory problems or nicotine toxicity, which can cause a very rapid heart rate, dizziness, headaches, or vomiting.

The data did not reveal what ongoing issues they suffered, but Chadi suspects they included cough or shortness of breath and possibly external wounds or burns that needed time to heal.

WATCH | Smoking or vaping may increase risk of a severe coronavirus infection:

There’s a growing body of research linking vaping, smoking cigarettes and cannabis to an increased risk of COVID-19 infection, serious illness, and death rates. 2:07

The survey also did not capture how many kids may be addicted to vaping products, something Chadi says he expects to examine in a two-year follow-up study.

Thirteen cases involved kids who drank e-liquids or other vaping substances. Half the time this was by accident, and was more common among toddlers and preschoolers.

But the other half of incidents were on purpose, and typically involved those age 15 and older, says Chadi.

Teens tend towards riskier behaviour because their brains are still developing, but Chadi notes their lungs are still maturing, too, making the impact of dicey decisions more serious.

Fragile lungs

“They might be using more of it, they might be trying to trick the device or play with it to make it stronger, to make it blow more aerosol or things like that, which will increase the risk of injury,” he says of other teen vaping habits.

“But we also know that the lungs of a teenager can be more fragile to certain chemicals because they’re still growing, they’re still developing.”

The survey data comes on the heels of a study led by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine that found youth aged 13 to 24 who vape were five to seven times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Chadi says those findings only point to an association between vaping and a COVID-19 diagnosis, noting the study also suggested young vapers were more likely to be tested for the virus.

He says that might be because respiratory symptoms common to vaping are similar to those of COVID-19, such as coughing.

When it came to cannabis-related injuries, the surveillance program found almost all of the 36 cases reported required hospitalization, with an average patient aged 9 to 10 years old.

Not all cases involved edibles, but a third of them involved kids younger than 12 who accidentally ate cannabis products.

Because edibles have only been legal since December 2019, researchers say it’s worth dedicating more time to examining the impact of legalization on kids.

Eight cases were teens who experienced hyperemesis syndrome — a condition that causes repeated and severe bouts of vomiting.

The Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program is a joint initiative of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society.

The two-year longitudinal study on cannabis is set to wrap in October. The two-year vaping study will begin this fall.

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‘A call out to Deadpool’: B.C. premier wants stars to help fight surge in younger coronavirus cases – Global News



Calling Ryan Reynolds and Seth Rogen: B.C. Premier John Horgan wants you.

At a Wednesday press conference announcing the hiring of 500 new contact tracers in the province, Horgan also called on some of B.C.’s best-known celebrities to use their influence to help get younger people on board with coronavirus precautions.

“This is a callout to Deadpool right now. Ryan, we need your help up here. Get in touch with us, my number’s on the internet,” Horgan said. “Seth Rogen, another outstanding British Columbian. We need to communicate with people who aren’t hearing us. The two of you alone could help us in that regard.”

Read more:
Coronavirus — 20-29 age group now leading B.C. in confirmed cases

The ask comes as B.C. grapples with a growing number of new cases of the virus, many of them in the younger demographic.

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About a third of new cases in July involved people aged between 20 and 29. A recent party in the Vancouver Coastal Health region led to about 400 people being quarantined and up to 46 cases of COVID-19.

Provincial government enlists ‘influencers’ in fight against coronavirus

Provincial government enlists ‘influencers’ in fight against coronavirus

As of Tuesday, about 42 per cent of B.C.’s cases involved people under the age of 39.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Data shows that younger adults have been less severely affected by the symptoms of the virus, but are just as capable of passing it on to others.

Read more:
Young people are causing COVID-19 spikes. But are they solely to blame?

“We’re working as hard as we can to enlist a number of prominent British Columbians and prominent Canadians to help get that message through to the demographic that clearly isn’t hearing our message,” said Horgan, adding that “other options” were also on the table.

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The province has already recruited social media influencers such as Jillian Harris to help spread the message following July’s outbreak in Kelowna linked largely to younger people.

Last month, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry did an “account takeover” on actor Olivia Munn’s Instagram.

And the province has launched a website dubbed Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Good Times Guide with information for young people about how to socialize safely during the pandemic.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Travel led to 18% of Waterloo region's COVID-19 cases in July –



Travel-related infections made up 18 per cent of the region’s new confirmed COVID-19 cases in July, public health says.

Dr. Ryan Van Meer, one of the region’s associate medical officers of health, said Tuesday 15 of 81 cases were related to out-of-country travel: seven of those were people who had travelled to the United States, five were people who travelled to India and one case each involved trips to the United Kingdom, Nicaragua and Pakistan.

So far in August there have been 25 new cases. Six of those are travel related, the region’s COVID-19 dashboard shows.

“This serves as an important reminder that travel outside of Canada continues to pose a risk,” Van Meer told regional councillors during a committee meeting Tuesday. He noted the federal government continues to advise against unessential travel outside of the country.

Public health officials said they do not record the reason why a person has visited another country, so it’s unknown if those who travelled did so for work, family commitments or a vacation.

Van Meer says the overall status of the novel coronavirus in the region “remains stable.”

The region reported 1,410 cases as of Wednesday morning, a rise of four cases since Tuesday. More than 58,200 tests have been done and 90 per cent of positive cases have been marked as resolved.

There are 28 active cases in the region with two people in hospital. The number of people who have died from COVID-19 since March remains at 119.

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