Symptoms of influenza and COVID-19 share a number of similarities
When it comes to a possible “twindemic” – the arrival of flu season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – “all you can do is expect the worst, plan for the worst, and hope for the best.”
Dr. Jim Chirico, medical officer of health with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, says there are “so many unknowns” about what this year’s flu season will look like.
The flu season in the southern hemisphere, which can provide indications of what will happen in the northern hemisphere, was very mild this year, but Canadians can’t take that as a true indicator of what will happen here.
“Was it mild because of the COVID-19 measures that were in place?” Chirico asks. “We don’t know. We don’t know how severe it might be.”
The flu normally starts to be felt in this region in the late fall, running until January. Canada has been weathering the COVID-19 pandemic since March, and there are no signs it will let up anytime soon. In fact, the number of cases across the country have been climbing over the past week.
Having two pandemics at the same time, Chirico says, can put more pressure on the health system as symptoms of influenza and COVID-19 share a number of similarities. That means the number of people seeking testing for COVID-19 could increase as the seasonal flu takes hold.
The flu, he says, affects children more, it appears, than COVID-19 does, but elderly residents are particularly susceptible to both.
Chirico advocates everyone possible get the flu vaccine when it arrives in the region. It helps reduce the possibility of contracting the flu and may reduce the severity of influenza, although it does not offer 100 per cent protection from contracting it.
“It protects not only you but those around you,” Chirico says. If we can reduce the number of flu cases, it will reduce the pressure on the health-care system.”
The health unit, he says, is working with primary health-care providers and pharmacies to make sure as many people who want the flu vaccine can get it. The health unit will be providing vaccination clinics, while the vaccine will also be available at doctors offices and at pharmacies.
Chirico notes that when the H1N1 flu was prevalent some years ago, the health unit was able to conduct “mass immunization clinics.
“So we have that experience” to fall back on and to prepare for the eventuality that it might be necessary again, he says.
“We do have plans in place to do that.”
“I really do believe those efforts will pay off. The same recommendations for COVID-19 will prevent the flu, as well.”
Those measures include wearing face masks, social distancing, regular washing or sanitizing of hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based rub, sneezing or coughing into your arm, not touching your eyes, nose or mouth, staying home if you feel unwell and, if you develop a fever, cough and difficulty breathing to seek medical attention.
‘Done very well’
“People have been very mindful” of following those measures, he says, and the North Bay-Parry Sound area has “done very, very well.
“I do believe all the efforts to reduce the impact of COVID will do as well with the flu because they are transmitted in the same way,” he says.
The region has reported a total of 39 positive COVID-19 cases since the middle of March. Thirty-seven of those cases have been resolved and one person is in self-isolation. One person has died of COVID-19 in the region.
Chirico also notes that there was “a very reduced number of cases” of influenza last year, compared to the previous four or five years.
The area has reported between 126 and 298 cases annually with “very little mortality” over those years, he says, although the number of total cases “is obviously likely more” because most people who get the flu don’t go for treatment.
According to JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, both influenza and COVID-19 can present with fever, chills, headache, cough, fatigue and myalgias – muscle aches and pain, which can involve ligaments, tendons and fascia, the soft tissues that connect muscles, bones and organs.
Influenza differs in that it also generally features nasal congestion and sore throat, while COVID-19 can include shortness of breath and loss of the senses of taste and smell.
There are five COVID-19 assessment centres in the region. Appointments must be booked in advance.
The centres are located at:
• Hopital de Mattawa Hospital. Book an appointment by calling 705-744-5511 ext. 0
• North Bay Regional Health Centre. Book an appointment by calling 705-474-8600 ext 4110
• West Nipissing COVID-19 Assessment Centre, 219 O’Hara St., Sturgeon Falls. Book an appointment by calling 705-580-2186
• 75 Ann Street, Bracebridge. Book an appointment by calling 1-888-383-7009
• West Parry Sound COVID-19 Assessment Centre at 70 Joseph St., Parry Sound, Unit 105-106. Book an appointment by calling 705-746-4540 ext 5030
16 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Grande Prairie – My Grande Prairie Now
16 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the City of Grande Prairie. However, the active case number remains at 49, as Alberta Health Services says 16 recoveries were also reported over the weekend.
The County of Grande Prairie has seen four additional cases of the virus reported over the last three days. The new total in the County is seven active cases to go along with 65 recoveries.
Elsewhere across the Peace Country, three new cases of COVID-19 are being reported in the MD of Spirit River, which now has a total of five active cases. Meanwhile, a single new cases was added in Clear Hills County, which has a total of four active cases.
Across Alberta, 898 new cases, including 311 on Friday, 231 on Saturday, and 356 on Sunday, were reported as of October 18th from just over 41,000 tests. 117 people remain hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 18 of them requiring the ICU. Four new deaths have also been reported, two in the Calgary zone, one in the Central zone, and one in the South zone. 292 Albertans have now died as a result of COVID-19.
Nova Scotia reports no new cases of COVID-19; 6 active cases – CTV News Atlantic
Nova Scotia reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The total number of active cases in the province remains at six.
There is no longer anyone in hospital as a result of COVID-19.
Monday’s no new cases breaks a three day streak of new cases being reported. From Friday to Sunday, five new cases were reported, all in the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s central zone, and all related to travel outside of the Atlantic bubble.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 461 Nova Scotia tests on Sunday, with one new case identified.
To date, Nova Scotia has 105,189 negative test results.
There are 1,097 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, but 1,026 cases are considered resolved, and 65 people have died – leaving six active cases in the province.
There is no one in hospital as a result of COVID-19.
The province’s confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
Sixty-one per cent of cases are female and 39 per cent are male.
There are cases confirmed across the province, but most have been identified in the central zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The provincial government says cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama, the province’s electronic information system.
The numbers reflect where a person lives and not where their sample was collected.
- Western zone: 56 cases
- Central zone: 919 cases
- Northern zone: 68 cases
- Eastern zone: 54 cases
STATE OF EMERGENCY RENEWED UNTIL NOVEMBER
The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, has been extended to Nov 1, unless government terminates or extends it before then.
COVID ALERT APP NOW AVAILABLE
On Thursday, Nova Scotia Health announced that Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app is now available in the province.
The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
LIST OF SYMPTOMS
Anyone who experiences a fever or new or worsening cough, or two or more of the following new or worsening symptoms, is encouraged to take an online test or call 811 to determine if they need to be tested for COVID-19:
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
- runny nose/nasal congestion
SELF-ISOLATION AND MANDATORY MASKS
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.
Anyone who travels to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic region is required to self-isolate for 14 days and must fill out a self-declaration form before coming to the province.
However, the province has eased some self-isolation requirements for out-of-province rotational workers.
Residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are not required to self-isolate when travelling to Nova Scotia, but they must be prepared to provide proof of their place of residency at provincial borders.
Visitors from outside the Atlantic region who have already self-isolated in another Atlantic province for 14 days may travel to Nova Scotia without having to self-isolate again.
It is mandatory to wear a non-medical mask in most indoor public places in Nova Scotia.
Kenney won’t rule out further COVID-19 restrictions ‘if things get really out of control’ – Global News
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says there is a lot of pressure to introduce further restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the province. But implementing measures like a lockdown isn’t the way he wants to go.
While appearing on the Danielle Smith Show on 770 CHQR on Monday morning, Kenney said that while he cannot exclude the possibility of introducing new restrictions, the best way to go forward is to have Albertans exercise “personal responsibility.”
“I cannot exclude the possibility that, in the future, if things get really out of control, that we may have to introduce narrowly targeted measures to limit the spread,” he said.
“But our strong preference is to trust people to exercise personal responsibility.”
Alberta has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks — particularly in the Edmonton zone. On Friday, there were 2,836 active cases. Of those, 1,525 — or more than half — were in the Edmonton zone.
The numbers that concern Kenney more, however, are the death toll and the increase of people hospitalized or in intensive care units with COVID-19.
On Friday, there were 117 people in the hospital due to the novel coronavirus, with 11 of those in the ICU.
“We need to learn to live with COVID,” Kenney said.
“It’s going to continue to spread throughout our population until there is an effective vaccine and we don’t know when that will be.”
Formal restrictions unlikely in Alberta as transmission mostly happening outside business environment: Hinshaw
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, has said one of the reasons the number of hospitalizations has increased so much is because of the number of outbreaks in hospitals across the province.
As of Friday afternoon, there were 70 outbreaks listed by Alberta Health. Four of those outbreaks were in hospitals.
As for the death toll, 288 Albertans have died due to COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon.
Kenney’s comments about the possibility of further restrictions is a sharp change from comments at the beginning of September. At the time, active case numbers were returning to numbers not seen in Alberta since May.
When asked about it on Sept. 9, Kenney shot down the idea of further restrictions.
“Alberta’s belief is we’re not going to micromanage our way out of this. We’re only going to get through this if people exercise personal responsibility, and that’s what we call on Albertans to do,” Kenney said.
“We want to do everything we possibly can to avoid jerking around people — indiscriminately shutting down their businesses, their jobs and their livelihoods.”
The comments were echoed by Hinshaw who said at the time the evidence showed transmission is happening in social settings, not in businesses, so formal public health measures were not likely.
Voluntary health measures for the Edmonton zone were introduced on Oct. 8 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in that region.
Albertans living in that zone were asked to reduce private gatherings to no more than 15 people, be part of only three cohorts, and wear masks inside all businesses where distancing isn’t possible.
Hinshaw announces voluntary health measures for Edmonton zone amid spike in COVID-19 cases
Hinshaw said it takes one to two weeks between action and results, so she said the data should start to show this week whether those measures succeeded in slowing the spread.
— With a file from Allison Bench, Global News
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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