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Health unit probes whether COVID-19 variant behind 2nd Ontario long-term care home outbreak – CBC.ca

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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is investigating whether an outbreak at a long-term care home in the town of Bradford West Gwillimbury is due to the variant first detected in the United Kingdom.

At a news conference on Sunday, the health unit said a person linked to the Bradford Valley Care Community has tested positive for the variant. This person has had close contact with another person who is a part of the outbreak at that home, it said.

Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said the Public Health Ontario Laboratory told the health unit about the positive case late Saturday.

“Given this situation, we are working together in partnership with the residence to implement additional measures to contain the spread while pursuing the necessary tests to determine if it is the U.K. variant of COVID-19 that is the cause of this outbreak,” Gardner said in a new release.

The health unit said it is investigating “all other connections” to the person who tested positive. Gardner said the person worked in a retail setting in Simcoe County that offered curbside pickup, and two COVID-19 cases are linked to this setting.

The news comes after the health unit said the variant is behind a deadly outbreak at Roberta Place Long Term Care in Barrie, Ont., on Saturday. Genome sequencing on six COVID-19 samples from the home have been identified as the highly contagious variant.

An outbreak at Roberta Place, first declared on Jan. 8, has resulted in the deaths of 40 residents and one essential caregiver as of Sunday.

There are 127 resident and 86 staff cases of COVID-19 at Roberta Place. Six residents are also in hospital with COVID-19. 

The body of a deceased resident of Roberta Place Long Term Care in Barrie, Ont., is removed on Jan. 18. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The outbreak at Bradford Valley Care Community, meanwhile, was declared on Jan. 14. As of Sunday, six residents out of 230 and three staff out of 260 have tested positive for COVID-19.

The health unit said more testing will be done to determine whether the outbreak is due to the variant. It added that the outbreak is “well under control at this time with a relatively low case count,” but the possibility that it may be due to the variant must be assessed and managed. 

Dr. Andrea Moser, chief medical officer for Sienna Senior Living, which owns and operates the facility, said in a news release on Sunday that staff members at the home are working to contain the outbreak.

“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,” Moser said.

“We are working proactively with public health and community partners, as fighting the virus will require everyone’s expertise and teamwork.”  

Staff at home implementing measures to control outbreak

Moser said case and contact measures are being undertaken, including:

  • Extending the length of isolation for cases and close contacts.
  • More readily identifying close contacts.
  • Quarantining all household contacts of confirmed or probable cases as quickly as possible.

The health unit said its staff vaccinated most of the residents in Bradford Valley Care Community on Jan. 15 as a protective measure against COVID-19. 

As of Jan. 16, all residents of long-term care homes in Simcoe Muskoka have been offered their first dose of immunization against COVID-19, the health unit added.

Moser said about 60 per cent of staff members and 96 per cent of residents at Bradford Valley Care Community have received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“We appreciate all the efforts from our partners in the community with the rollout of the vaccine and will continue working closely with them as additional doses are available for deployment,” she said.

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COVID-19 in Ottawa: Fast Facts for March 2, 2021 – CTV News Ottawa

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OTTAWA —
Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.

Fast Facts:

  • The City of Ottawa is now accepting appointments for COVID-19 vaccines for certain residents.
  • COVID-19 trends in Ottawa remained steady in the “orange” zone on Monday.
  • More than 50,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far in Ottawa.
  • Outaouais residents 80 and older can start booking vaccine appointments today.
  • We get a look inside the Queensway Carleton Hospital’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health data):

  • New COVID-19 cases: 65 new cases on Monday.
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 14,770
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 35.0
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 1.7 per cent (Feb. 21 to Feb. 27)
  • Reproduction Number: 0.99 (seven day average)

Testing:

Who should get a test?

Ottawa Public Health says there are five reasons to seek testing for COVID-19:

  • You are showing COVID-19 symptoms. OR
  • You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app. OR
  • You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health. OR
  • You are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care. OR
  • You have traveled to the U.K., or have come into contact with someone who recently traveled to the U.K., please go get tested immediately (even if you have no symptoms).

Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:

There are several sites for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa. To book an appointment, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx

  • The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • COVID-19 Drive-thru assessment centre at National Arts Centre: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • The Heron Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Vaccine eligibility screening tool:

To check and see if you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Ottawa, click here

COVID-19 screening tool:

The COVID-19 screening tool for students heading back to in-person classes can be found here.

Symptoms:

Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath

Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallowing, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, new or unexplained runny nose or nasal congestion

Less common symptoms: unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, headache, delirium, chills, red/inflamed eyes, croup

Ottawa residents in several high-priority neighbourhoods who are 80 and older or who are adult recipients of chronic home care can now book an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

the City of Ottawa launched its new booking system Monday afternoon. Residents of the Emerald Woods, Heatherington, Ledbury, Heron Gate, Ridgemont, Riverview, and Sawmill Creek neighbourhoods are currently eligible. You must have been born in or before 1941 and provide proof that you live in one of the areas to book an appointment. There will be no walk-in vaccinations as all shots will be administered by appointment only.

Shots will be delivered at one of three pop-up neighbourhood clinics. The date and time of your vaccination will depend on when you book.

COVID-19 vaccine

Ottawa Public Health says 65 more people in Ottawa have tested positive for COVID-19 and one more person has died.

According to Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, there have been 14,770 total laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa since the pandemic began and 440 residents have died.

The number of peoiple with known active cases of COVID-19 rose slightly in Monday’s report and there is one more person in hospital with COVID-19. Weekly cases per capita are up again after a slight dip on Sunday, but the testing positivity rate has declined. The estimated reproduction number held steady at just under 1.

Ottawa Public Health is reporting a milestone in the city’s efforts to vaccinate residents against COVID-19.

As of Monday, 50,508 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Ottawa. That includes first and second shots to residents, as well as some sixth doses pulled from five-dose vials by vaccination teams.

Clinics and vaccination teams administered 1,383 shots just this past weekend.

To date, Ottawa has received 53,820 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 8,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Both vaccines require two doses to be fully effective.

COVID-19 vaccine

The vaccination campaign across the river is ramping up, with the CISSS de l’Outaouais saying residents 80 and older can book vaccine appointments as of today.

Vaccine appointments were made available for Outaouais residents 85 and older starting last Thursday. 

The CISSS de l’Outaouais is urging residents to check the Quebec government’s COVID-19 vaccine portal for more information. 

Palais des Congres de Gatineau

When vaccine supply arrives and public health officials give the go-ahead, the Queensway Carleton Hospital says its vaccination clinic is ready to go.

Once it’s up and running, about 500 people per day will be able to get vaccinated at this clinic, one of several in the city. That number will increase to up to 1,000 per day when vaccine supply increases.

People will be able to access the clinic through a separate entrance without having to walk through the hospital.

QCH vaccine clinic

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B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday – Abbotsford News

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B.C.’s top officials are scheduled to unveil how the province’s mass vaccination plan will roll out at a press conference Monday (March 1).

Present at the press conference will be Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and and Dr. Penny Ballem, the executive lead of the B.C. immunization rollout team.

It will be the province’s first vaccination plan update since Health Canada approved the AstraZeneca vaccine last week, which could speed up immunization efforts due to its easier storage requirements. The newest two-dose shot can be stored and transported at fridge temperatures, not the ultra-cold storage required for Pfizer or the freezer storage required for Moderna.

Currently, all of B.C.’s long-term care residents and staff have been offered the shot during phase one, with 90 per cent of each group having gotten their first dose. About half of both groups have received their second dose.

According to the province’s current posted vaccination plan, seniors 80 years of age and older living in the community, Indigenous seniors 65 years and up, vulnerable populations in congregate living settings and health-care staff who haven’t yet received a vaccine are next on the list.

Those vaccinations are scheduled to be wrapped up by the end of March, with mass immunizations beginning in April. Those will start at age 79 and move downwards in five year increments. By June, all people 60 years of age and older, as well as younger people deemed “clinically extremely vulnerable” are scheduled to have received at least their first dose. According to the province, front line essential workers aged 18 to 64 may get their shot in April, May or June if additional vaccines are available.

The last group, people between the ages of 18 and 59, are scheduled to get their vaccines between July and the end of September, with older individuals first in line.

As of Friday, B.C. has administered 252,373 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.

READ MORE: Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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Canadian Press NewsAlert: B.C. to offer second dose of COVID vaccine after 4 months – WellandTribune.ca

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VICTORIA – British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months as it ramps up its age-based immunization plan to free up doses so all residents could get their initial shot by July.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday the change is based on the “miraculous” protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

She said the National Advisory Committee on Immunization is expected to issue a statement to align with B.C.’s decision, which is also based on similar data from Quebec and countries including Israel and the United Kingdom.

Starting Monday, health authorities will contact residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors’ supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff.

Seniors aged 90 and up can call a central number to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over.

People 80 and up will have a chance to book their time-slot on March 22. Those between 60 and 79 as well as people 16 and up who are medically vulnerable are expected to get their shots starting in mid-April by registering for an appointment online.

Henry said first responders and essential workers, including teachers, may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, with the first shipment expected to arrive in B.C. next week.

“We’ve had a number of places in communities around the province where we’ve had outbreaks. We can think about things like poultry workers (and) people who work in some of our mail distribution centres,” she said.

While people will be able to choose whether they want the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine or wait their turn for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, Henry said people should go with what is available first.

Premier John Horgan urged people to continue taking precautions — such as wearing masks, practising physical distancing and staying home when sick — aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 as vaccines become available.

“We have months to go and I want British Columbians to take the good news we’re hearing today with the joy that it deserves. But we need to remind ourselves not just today, but next week and next month, that we have a long way to go,” he said.

Some 275,681 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., of which 83,777 were second doses.

Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading the province’s vaccination plan, said about 400,000 morepeople are expected to be vaccinated by early April but that number could rise because 70,000 more first doses will be available by stretching out the time before second doses are administered.

Ballem said it’s important for people to call for an appointment only when it is their turn, or when the person they’re calling for is eligible for vaccination in order to prevent call centres from being overwhelmed as has happened in other jurisdictions.

Information that will be required includes a birth date, personal health number and a postal code to connect people to the right health authority, she said, adding that an online booking system will be operating by mid-April.

“That, in and of itself, is a major, major step forward in our vaccination program,” she said of the system that will also help track real-time vaccine effectiveness.

B.C. reported 1,428 new COVID-19 cases from Saturday to Monday, for a total of 80,672 cases in the province since the pandemic began.

There are 4,464 people with active cases in B.C., of whom 236 are hospitalized and 65 are in intensive care.

Forty-two new cases are variants of concern, for a total of 158 cases. The majority — 137 cases — are the strain first identified in the United Kingdom, while 21 are the variant first found in South Africa.

There have been eight new deaths linked to COVID-19, for a total of 1,363 fatalities connected to the virus in B.C.

The province reported four new health-care facility outbreaks at Glacier View Lodge, Chilliwack General Hospital, Royal Columbian Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital.

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Several outbreaks were also declared over, including one at St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver.

— By Camille Bains in Vancouver

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

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