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Henry urges close contacts of COVID-19 cases to 'stay away from others' – Coast Reporter

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VICTORIA — British Columbia is likely in for a “rough ride” in the coming days before the calming effects of COVID-19 restrictions kick in, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday. 

Henry said 11,608 people have been identified as close contacts of recent COVID-19 cases and she emphasized the importance of self-isolation among those exposed during the 14-day incubation period. 

Most people show symptoms five to seven days after exposure, so a proportion of those close contacts will fall ill each day, she said. 

“The things we do today will prevent that next generation of cases,” she said during a COVID-19 briefing.

“We’re looking to be in a rough ride for the next few days and those people who have had close contact with somebody who has been ill — we need to stay away from others, we need to stay safe.”

British Columbia recorded 832 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 100,880 since the pandemic began. 

There are 296 people in hospital and five more people have died, pushing the death toll to 1,463.

Sweeping new restrictions introduced this week amid surging cases include bans on indoor dining, fitness classes and faith gatherings.

The province continues to move through its age-based vaccine distribution list, however, it has paused a program offering shots to front-line workers while awaiting further information about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. 

“We’re going to need to regroup and we will come back early next week as soon as we have more information to determine how we will move forward with that program,” Henry said. 

As of Thursday, people 72 and older, Indigenous people 18 and over, and individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable and have a letter identifying them as such, can book their appointments. 

Pharmacies on the Lower Mainland overwhelmed with booking requests this week are receiving more doses of the AstraZeneca to administer to people between the ages of 55 and 65. New pharmacies have also been added to the distribution list.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province received 188,800 new doses Thursday, with more to come next week. 

New supply is being distributed to an additional 375 community pharmacy locations in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions, bringing the total number of pharmacies offering vaccine appointments to 488, the BC Pharmacy Association says in a release.

The government announced this week that AstraZeneca would not be offered to those under 55 amid concerns about rare blood clots among younger people and expiring supply. 

Labour Minister Harry Bains also announced new legal protections Thursday for workers to take time off to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The changes allow part-time and full-time workers to take as much time as needed to travel and receive the vaccine or to take a dependent family member to get their shot, though no specific time has been set out. 

Major unions welcomed the change while urging the government to go further and ensure that employees don’t lose pay for the work they miss while getting their vaccine.

“While job-protected leave is crucial, many workers can’t afford to take that time off if it means losing wages,” Sussanne Skidmore, the BC Federation of Labour’s secretary-treasurer, said in a statement. 

There are 90 new confirmed cases that are variants of concern for a total of 2,643. Of the total cases, 192 are active. 

One of the most contagious variants, B.1.1.7, has a competitive advantage and is replacing the original virus as the dominant strain, Henry said.

“There is an inevitable replacement of variants,” she said. 

However, a large cluster involving the P1 variant first identified in Brazil has been contained in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, she said. A small number of cases had spread beyond Whistler but she said they are being watched closely. 

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

The Canadian Press

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Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids? – Delta-Optimist

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Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids?

Experts say there’s no strong evidence that it makes children and teens sicker than earlier versions of the virus, although delta has led to a surge in infections among kids because it’s more contagious.

Delta’s ability to spread more easily makes it more of a risk to children and underscores the need for masks in schools and vaccinations for those who are old enough, said Dr. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Weekly infection rates among U.S. children earlier this month topped 250,000, surpassing the wintertime peak, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association. Since the pandemic began, more than 5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19.

The delta variant has been identified in at least 180 countries, according to the World Health Organization. In many of them, the spike in infections has also meant an increase in hospitalizations in young children and teens.

In the U.S., the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 was less than 2 per 100,000 children in late August and early September — similar to the peak last winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the portion of kids hospitalized with severe disease hasn’t changed significantly.

The sheer numbers can make it seem like children are getting sicker with the delta variant, but experts say that does not appear to be the case. Most infected kids have mild infections or no symptoms and do not need to be hospitalized.

COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide protection against delta. Among children 12 and older — who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations — the weekly hospitalization rate in July was 10 times higher for the unvaccinated than those who have had the shots, CDC data show.

___

The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org. Read more here:

What can employers do if workers avoid COVID-19 vaccines?

Can I get ‘long COVID’ if I’m infected after vaccination?

Can kids be harmed wearing masks to protect against COVID?

Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press


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Data from 3 major hospital systems reveals how many COVID-19 patients are fully vaccinated – Bring Me The News

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While the COVID vaccines are shown to be effective albeit not bulletproof at preventing infection from the virus, their effectiveness at preventing hospitalization and death is much greater.

Four Minnesota healthcare institutions provided specific data that shows the percentage of hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are fully vaccinated, and how many are unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated.

Allina Health, which has 14 hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, reports that almost four out of five COVID-19 patients hospitalized through Sept. 20 were unvaccinated.

Its data show that of 176 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 20, 32 were in the ICU and 21 required a ventilator. Hospitalized patients who were fully vaccinated represented 22.7% of the total, and just 15.6% of the ICU cases and 9.5% of the cases with a ventilator. 

Credit: Allina Health

HealthPartners, which has nine hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, told Bring Me The News that it has cared for 338 COVID-19 patients in the past 30 days and 53 of them (15.7%) were fully vaccinated. 

“Of those 53 patients, only six required intensive care, two needed the support of a ventilator and nobody died. Year-to-date, 6.3% of hospitalized patients have been fully vaccinated,” a spokesperson from HealthPartners said. 

Sanford Health, which operates 22 regional hospitals, is reporting that 10.1% of all COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 21 were fully vaccinated. Only two of 45 in the ICU and one of 34 patients on a ventilator were fully vaxxed,

Hospitalizations (1)

Sanford Health

More of the same from CentraCare, which operates eight hospitals in the region. The latest data provided Thursday (it changes daily and even hourly) had six of 67 COVID-19 inpatients documented as fully vaccinated. 

COVID-19 Hospitalizations_9.23.2021

CentraCare

To recap, that’s four major hospital systems that are reporting between 9% and 22% of all COVID-19 patients being fully vaccinated, with even lower percentages of vaccinated patients in the ICU or on a ventilator. 

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be our best tool in stopping the spread of infection and preventing serious illness and death,” the HealthPartners spokesperson said.

Bring Me The News has requested vaccinated and unvaccinated ratios from other major providers, including Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Hennepin Healthcare and Essentia Health. 

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330 people are in BC hospitals with COVID-19 – MY PG NOW

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B.C. is reporting 832 new cases of COVID-19, 117 in Northern Health, 153 in Interior Health.

There are 5,697 active cases in the province, of those cases, 330 individuals are in hospital and 148 are in intensive care.

The north has 977 active cases, and the interior has 1,181.

87.3% of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a vaccine and 79.9% received their second dose.

The new/active cases include:

* 377 new cases in Fraser Health
* Total active cases: 1,932

* 114 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health
* Total active cases: 909

* 153 new cases in Interior Health
* Total active cases: 1,181

* 117 new cases in Northern Health
* Total active cases: 977

* 71 new cases in Island Health
* Total active cases: 654

* no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada
* Total active cases: 44

There were five new deaths reported, one was in Northern Health.

From Sept. 15-21, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 75.5% of cases and from Sept. 8-21, they accounted for 82.6% of hospitalizations.

Past week cases (Sept. 15-21) – Total 4,417

* Not vaccinated: 2,996 (67.8%)

* Partially vaccinated: 342 (7.7%)

* Fully vaccinated: 1,079 (24.4%)

Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Sept. 8-21) – Total 437

* Not vaccinated: 327 (74.8%)

* Partially vaccinated: 34 (7.8%)

* Fully vaccinated: 76 (17.4%)

Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 15-21)

* Not vaccinated: 289.0

* Partially vaccinated: 87.9

* Fully vaccinated: 27.0

Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 8-21)

* Not vaccinated: 46.5

* Partially vaccinated: 13.3

* Fully vaccinated: 1.8

After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 25.8 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated.

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