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High vaccination rates decreasing COVID-19 cases in Indigenous communities

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OTTAWA — The number of active COVID-19 cases in First Nations communities has declined by 80 per cent since mid-January thanks to the high uptake of vaccines, says the top doctor at Indigenous Services Canada.

Dr. Tom Wong, the department’s chief medical officer of public health, says the number of active dropped from a peak of 4,875 in mid-January to just 860 as of March 30.

“It’s very encouraging to see that,” Wong said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“We are back to where (we were) in November … when we had that low number of active cases.”

According to Indigenous Services Canada, a total of 246,675 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in 612 First Nation, Inuit and territorial communities by the end of March.

While the number of new COVID-19 cases has been spiking elsewhere across the country, Wong said there’s been a downward trend in Indigenous communities because of vaccinations and public health measures.

More than 50 per cent of adults living in First Nations, Inuit and territorial communities have already received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine — four times higher than in the general adult population in Canada, he said.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said Wednesday that the vaccine uptake has been high, despite the complexities involved in delivering them to Indigenous communities.

“We are succeeding thanks to the continued collaboration and strong partnerships of Indigenous leaders,” he told a news conference.

Miller said more than 70 per cent of the population in the northern territories has already been vaccinated.

“Nunavut, in particular, has now received enough doses to vaccinate three quarters of their adults, and over 20,000 total vaccine doses have been administered.”

Miller said all eligible Indigenous adults should have received their first dose by June 30.

Wong said the high vaccination rates in First Nations communities are contributing to fewer outbreaks, although some are still occurring.

“We can’t be complacent. The reason why is that the variants of concern are much more transmissible,” he said.

“If we get complacent, then we’ll let our guard down (and) the variants of concern will rapidly spread.”

Miller stressed the low number of COVID-19 cases doesn’t mean people should ignore public health measures.

“A third wave is coming, and we must remain vigilant,” he said.

The B117 variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom is the dominant variant now spreading in Canada.

The Pfizer and  Moderna vaccines, both mRNA vaccines, are very effective against this variant, Wong said. He predicted the continued vaccine rollout should allow Canadians to get to a “new normal” this summer.

“We look forward to having enough people vaccinated, together with all of the public health measures, to be able to get to that stage in the coming months.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

Source: – CKOM News Talk Sports

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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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U.S. CDC advisers recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for 65 and older, high risk – CBC.ca

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An advisory panel at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and for some adults with underlying medical conditions.

The vote by the group on Thursday clears the way for a booster roll-out to begin as soon as this week for millions of people who had their second dose at least six months ago.

It also follows Wednesday’s emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine for seniors 65 and up and for certain adults at a high risk of severe COVID-19.

More to come

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