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How B.C. health leaders will be living their lives as restrictions ease – The Tri-City News

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When provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had a couple of friends over for a glass of wine in the front yard of her Victoria home on Sunday afternoon, it wasn’t a typical long-weekend get-together.

“It was a bit awkward and strange and a little bit anxiety provoking not having socialized for several months,” Henry said.

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She washed her hands, poured the wine, placed the clean glasses on a serving tray, and set the platter down for friends sitting two metres apart.

There was also hand sanitizer on the tray — which has become the new table centrepiece during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When her two friends left, as when they arrived, there were no hugs “which we wanted to do,” said Henry, in a phone interview.

The Times Colonist spoke with three health leaders on Monday about what they are personally planning to do as businesses open and social circles broaden under Phase Two of the B.C. Restart Plan that kicks off today.

B.C. Nurses’ Union president Christine Soresen, in Kamloops, will stick to take-out and patio restaurants for now; infectious disease and critical care specialist Dr. David Forrest, in Nanaimo, is wary of any enclosed space where people aren’t wearing masks, so indoor restaurants aren’t first on list to-do list; Henry is excited to return to her favourite eatery.

Phase Two is an experiment for both businesses and patrons, Henry said. “For many, the transition brings anticipation but it also, for many, brings further apprehension and anxiety as schools and businesses look to open once again. We are still learning the new ways of social interactions and doing things we’ve never had to do before and that in itself can create anxiety and concern.”

The idea is to keep to small enough groups to deprive the virus a chance of taking off again, Henry said. “It’s not going to be back to normal, it’s going to be back to something that’s really unusual and different for us.”

Next time Henry has her friends over, she will consider setting out individually portioned snacks, she said. “It’s really about being mindful and cleaning your hands regularly.”

As for restaurants opening this week, Henry is eager: “I’m really looking forward to going to a restaurant.” Her favourites tend to be smaller venues. “Outside is clearly safer but if I’m with one other person in my bubble I’m happy to sit inside and I will be looking again to make sure there’s the right spacing.”

Restaurants are required to operate at 50% of capacity, serve parties no bigger than six people, keep different parties at least two metres apart, and record contact information of at least one guest from each party and keep it for up to 30 days for contact tracing in the event of an outbreak.

To keep fit and maintain a balance in her busy life, Henry runs and does yoga.

Henry has been asking her yoga studio to hold classes in a park. “I’d be more inclined to do outdoor yoga right now.” As for her gym, she is going to continue to take their online classes. “I think it’s going to be a bit of a mixture right now. I find it really convenient to have a session with a trainer virtually.”

If people maintain their distance, Henry believes going to a department store or clothing and shoe shops will be fine.

Forrest, the infectious disease expert, has no plans to step inside a shopping mall or a gym any time soon but he’s less concerned about going to a barber, provided there’s proper physical distancing, low numbers of people and wearing of masks.

“Any place where there’s going to be crowding in an enclosed space will be a concern to me if not everyone is wearing a mask and because it’s not mandated and because I’ve seen people less interested in wearing masks recently I’m more concerned,” said Forrest. He emphasized that masks are not a replacement for physical distancing, but are a necessary adjunct.

Particularly difficult are establishments such as restaurants where it’s not practical to constantly wear a mask, said Forrest.

With renewed confidence among Islanders stemming from the low number of reported cases, Forrest said COVID-19 “will almost certainly” be re-introduced here. Rather than venturing out to more businesses and broadening social circles, Forrest said: “I’m actually a little bit more anxious now doing things like going to the grocery store and going out because the sense I have is that people have let their guard down a bit.”

Sorensen, the nurses’ union president, said she will continue ordering take-out food, she’s curious about an outdoor patio opening up across the street from her Kamloops condominium, and she has a hair appointment booked for June 3 — but she’ll hold off visiting a department store for “a little bit.”

“We’ll be looking for places that offer take-out and outside dining,” said Sorensen, who is sharing a condominium with her mother, 76, a retired nurse, and eldest son, 25, who returned from work in London, England. because of the pandemic.

“I’d prefer not to enter into a restaurant and stay in and be seated in a restaurant, and rather sort through this next month or so of the re-openings just to see how we manage,” said Sorensen.

Priorities start with a dental appointment for a cleaning and checkup and “next on my list is absolutely going to be my hairdresser,” said Sorensen. Her hairdresser opens June 1. Sorensen has been cutting her own hair. “She’s going to help me fix up my trim.”

Sorensen said when shopping in a grocery or hardware store she’s looking for places that make hand sanitizers available, have good physical distancing, dividers or barriers at cashier stands, and safety guidelines posted.

“Right now I think smaller businesses and outdoor access is very important for me — and fresh airflow I think is a good idea. Eventually we will all have to adapt and figure out how to enter larger businesses or big box stores or shopping malls and to do so safely.”

Sorensen socializes with neighbours and friends on her front lawn keeping a physical distance. “I think that’s what we’ll continue to do until, you know, we get the go ahead from Dr. Bonnie Henry to move forward into the next phase; we’ll do this cautiously and carefully.”

Henry said as we move forward we need to take a deep breath and continue to be “cautious everywhere.”

Just as we’ve adjusted to going to grocery stores under this new normal, we’ll learn to integrate more venues and safe contacts into our daily lives, she said.

“It will be a little anxiety provoking the first time we go to a restaurant and we’re sitting there, and it’s like OK,” said Henry.

The virus remains in the community but health officials have a good handle on where it is, Henry said. Phase 2 will bring a slight increase in cases but it should be manageable and traceable, she added. “So I’ll definitely be going to restaurants but with a small group. … We just need to take it slowly.”

charnett@timescolonist.com

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Rare Cases of Monkeypox Diagnosed in Britain | Health | thesuburban.com – The Suburban Newspaper

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TUESDAY, May 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Four men in England have been infected with a “rare and unusual” monkeypox virus.

Investigators from the U.K. Health Security Agency are investigating the cases and whether there is any connection between the men, according to the Associated Press. None of the individuals had traveled to the African countries where the virus is endemic. Three of the men are in London, and one is in Northeast England.

Three earlier cases were announced last week. In those cases, two of the patients lived in the same household. The third person had previously traveled to Nigeria, one of the countries where the virus is endemic in animals. Most people who get monkeypox recover quickly, within several weeks. The virus has symptoms that include fever, muscle ache, chills, and fatigue. A rash similar to that found in chickenpox and smallpox can form on the face and genitals in more severe cases.

The latest four cases all happen to be in men who identify as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men. However, monkeypox does not easily spread between people, and it is not known to be transmitted sexually. In Western and Central Africa, the virus is typically spread by touching or being bitten by an infected wild animal. However, it could be spread among people with extremely close contact, the British health officials said.

“The evidence suggests that there may be transmission of the monkeypox virus in the community, spread by close contact,” said Susan Hopkins, M.D., chief medical advisor for the U.K. Health Security Agency, the AP reported. “We are particularly urging men who are gay or bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.”

Public health officials consider the risk to the general population to be low. They are working with hospitals and international partners to determine if there is a similar rise in cases in other places. This includes tracing people who had contacts with the monkeypox cases, including airline passengers, the AP said. Doctors who see patients with unexplained rashes should seek advice from a specialist, public health officials said.

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Long COVID: Half of patients hospitalised have at least one symptom two years on – Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin

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Long COVID: Half of patients hospitalised have at least one symptom two years on

Two years on, half of a group of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, still have at least one lingering symptom, according to a study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. The study followed 1192 participants in Wuhan infected with SARS-CoV-2 during the first phase of the pandemic in 2020.

While physical and mental health generally improved over time, the study found that COVID-19 patients still tend to have poorer health and quality of life than the general population. This is especially the case for participants with long COVID, who typically still have at least one symptom including fatigue, shortness of breath and sleep difficulties two years after initially falling ill.1

The long-term health impacts of COVID-19 have remained largely unknown, as the longest follow-up studies to date have spanned around one year.2 The lack of pre-COVID-19 health status baselines and comparisons with the general population in most studies has also made it difficult to determine how well patients with COVID-19 have recovered.

Lead author Professor Bin Cao, of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, China, said, “Our findings indicate that for a certain proportion of hospitalised COVID-19 survivors, while they may have cleared the initial infection, more than two years is needed to recover fully from COVID-19. Ongoing follow-up of COVID-19 survivors, particularly those with symptoms of long COVID, is essential to understand the longer course of the illness, as is further exploration of the benefits of rehabilitation programs for recovery. There is a clear need to provide continued support to a significant proportion of people who’ve had COVID-19, and to understand how vaccines, emerging treatments and variants affect long-term health outcomes.”3

The authors of the new study sought to analyse the long-term health outcomes of hospitalised COVID-19 survivors, as well as specific health impacts of long COVID. They evaluated the health of 1192 participants with acute COVID-19 treated at Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan, China, between 7 January and 29 May 2020, at six months, 12 months and two years.

Assessments involved a six-minute walking test, laboratory tests and questionnaires on symptoms, mental health, health-related quality of life, if they had returned to work and healthcare use after discharge. The negative effects of long COVID on quality of life, exercise capacity, mental health and healthcare use were determined by comparing participants with and without long COVID symptoms. Health outcomes at two years were determined using an age-, sex- and comorbidities-matched control group of people in the general population with no history of COVID-19 infection.

Two years after initially falling ill, patients with COVID-19 are generally in poorer health than the general population, with 31% reporting fatigue or muscle weakness and 31% reporting sleep difficulties. The proportion of non-COVID-19 participants reporting these symptoms was 5% and 14%, respectively.

COVID-19 patients were also more likely to report a number of other symptoms including joint pain, palpitations, dizziness and headaches. In quality of life questionnaires, COVID-19 patients also more often reported pain or discomfort (23%) and anxiety or depression (12%) than non-COVID-19 participants (5% and 5%, respectively).

Around half of study participants had symptoms of long COVID at two years, and reported lower quality of life than those without long COVID. In mental health questionnaires, 35% reported pain or discomfort and 19% reported anxiety or depression. The proportion of COVID-19 patients without long COVID reporting these symptoms was 10% and 4% at two years, respectively. Long COVID participants also more often reported problems with their mobility (5%) or activity levels (4%) than those without long COVID (1% and 2%, respectively).

The authors acknowledged limitations to their study, such as moderate response rate; slightly increased proportion of participants who received oxygen; it was a single centre study from early in the pandemic.

References:

1. – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network – Royal College of General Practitioners. COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing the long-term effects of COVID-19. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng188
2. – Soriano – JB Murthy – S Marshall – JC Relan – P Diaz JV – on behalf of the WHO Clinical Case Definition Working Group on Post-COVID-19 Condition. A clinical case definition of post-COVID-19 condition by a Delphi consensus. Lancet Infect Dis. 2021; 22: e102-e107
3. – Huang L – Yao Q – Gu X – et al. 1-year outcomes in hospital survivors with COVID-19: a longitudinal cohort study. Lancet. 2021; 398: 747-758

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2SLGBTQ+ lobby group head speaks on the trauma of conversion therapy

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Although conversion therapy has now been outlawed in Canada, many are still victims causing them to go through a lot of trauma in the process.

According to Jordan Sullivan, Project Coordinator of Conversion Therapy Survivors Support and Survivors of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Change Efforts (SOGIECE), survivors of conversion therapy identify the need for a variety of supports including education and increased awareness about SOGIECE and conversion practices.

Also needed is access to affirming therapists experienced with SOGIECE, trauma (including religious trauma), safe spaces and networks, and access to affirming healthcare practitioners who are aware of conversion therapy or SOGIECE and equipped to support survivors.

“In January of 2021 when I was asked to be the project coordinator, I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure that my experience could be classified as SOGIECE or conversion therapy. I never attended a formalized conversion therapy program or camp run by a religious organization. Healthcare practitioners misdiagnosed me or refused me access to care.

In reality, I spent 27 years internalizing conversion therapy practices through prayer, the study of religious texts, disassociation from my body, and suppression or denial of my sexual and gender identities. I spent six years in counselling and change attempts using conversion therapy practices. I came out as a lesbian at age 33, and as a Trans man at age 51. I am now 61 and Queerly Heterosexual, but I spent decades of my life hiding in shame and fear and struggled with suicidal ideation until my mid-30s.

At times I wanted to crawl away and hide, be distracted by anything that silenced the emptiness, the pain, the wounds deep inside. I realized that in some ways, I am still more comfortable in shame, silence, and disassociation, than in any other way of being and living, but I was also filled with wonderment at the resiliency and courage of every single one of the participants.

However, many of us did not survive, choosing to end the pain and shame through suicide. Many of us are still victims in one way or another, still silenced by the shame, still afraid of being seen as we are. Still, many of us are survivors, and while it has not been an easy road, many of us are thrivers too,” said Jordan.

In addition, Jordan said conversion practices and programs are not easily defined or identified, and often capture only a fragment of pressures and messages that could be considered SOGIECE.

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