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How Canada could learn lessons from Europe's 2nd wave of COVID-19 – CBC.ca

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The resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Europe and the introduction of new lockdowns to prevent health systems from being overwhelmed could be instructive for Canada.

France closed bars and restaurants on Friday, while Germany will do the same on Monday, as infections on the continent passed 10 million. Anyone leaving their home in Paris needs signed documentation. In Germany, people are urged to avoid unnecessary travel.

“Given the very dynamic situation in all of Europe, we need to equally reduce contact in almost all European countries,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn told journalists on Friday after chairing a video conference of European Union health ministers.

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides echoed the call.

“We need to pull through this, where needed, with restrictions on everyday life to break the chain of transmission,” she told the video conference.

Health officials are imposing tougher restrictions on business and social life to prevent public health systems from cracking under the pressure of too many cases of COVID-19 at once.

WATCH | Lockdowns resume in France:

With COVID-19 growing out of control in much of Europe, France announced a renewed lockdown after cases spiked to over 40,000 per day, while Germany moved to shut down restaurants, bars and theatres to regain control over the pandemic. 2:01

CBC News asked experts whether Canada could find itself in the same boat several weeks from now.

Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease specialist at Sinai Health System and University Health Network in Toronto, said the answer is yes if Canada continues down its current path of handling COVID-19 cases.

“It’s not too dissimilar to how they’ve been handling it in Europe,” Morris said. “I think if we do continue on a similar path to how the Europeans have gone, we’re going to end up in the same situation, perhaps one to two months down the road.”

He said Europe and North America followed a “hammer and dance” approach to COVID-19: hammering the virus with lockdowns, then reopening and dancing around trying to maintain low levels of transmission.

Asian countries, such as Japan and South Korea, adopted a different approach of aggressively testing, tracing and isolating cases, Morris said.

“What they’ve tried to do is not only beat it down a first time, but really not ever let COVID re-emerge to any degree after that initial hammer.”

Similar trajectories not set in stone

Dr. Zain Chagla, an associate professor in the department of medicine at McMaster University and an infectious disease physician in Hamilton, agreed that Canada is headed toward a similar trajectory as Europe.

But he cautioned that such international comparisons are difficult to make given the unique aspects of each country that aren’t necessarily reflected in the case counts, such as the age and density of the population, as well as ease of travel.

As a way to help persuade Canadians to reduce their contacts, health officials need to let people know more about transmission in their community without invading privacy, says Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician in Hamilton. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

“It’s a scenario, but it’s not necessarily our future,” Chagla said of applying the European experience here.

But he said Europe’s experience of COVID fatigue does offer an important lesson.

“You’re getting less and less public buy-in, and it’s much more important to get that communication out there and to get the public as a stakeholder,” he said.

Canadian achievements

Chagla said that greater transparency — such as showing chains of transmission of people without invading their privacy — could help persuade Canadians to reduce their contacts, as Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, requested on Friday.

Dr. Peter Juni, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, is watching how the pandemic plays out in Canada as well as in his home country, Switzerland.

A deserted Place de la Concorde in Paris is seen on the first day of the second national lockdown in France. Europe and North America took similar approaches to controlling the pandemic, an infectious disease physician says. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Juni referred to the example of a yodelling concert in rural Switzerland that likely became a superspreading event. He suggested that if Canadian officials tell people how many chains of transmission were traced to a single event, such as a funeral, it could help convey how quickly and easily the virus can spread under certain circumstances.

Canadians could then better gauge what’s a high-risk setting, such as closed, poorly ventilated places that are crowded with close-range conversations.

“I think it’s important now just to say we actually achieved a lot,” Juni said of the spring, summer and fall. “We can continue with that.”

Juni said that while the winter will be a long one, he’s observed that Canadian culture is rooted in rule following and resilience that could help people weather the COVID-19 storm.

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Some Northern COVID-19 patients transferred to Island Health – My PG Now

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Northern Health is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 activity and hospitalizations.

As part of the provincial response, some patients have been transferred to other locations, the health authority explained.

Recently, two patients have been transferred from Northern Health to Island Health facilities, however, more detailed information on where those patients were originally from is not available.

Provincial transfer protocols are in place to support patients, and those protocols include strict COVID-19 health and safety measures.

“We can’t predict precisely what referral or transfer patterns may look like – especially for individual patients or locations; those decisions would be based on the care needs of a patient, and available hospital (inpatient and staffing) capacity in any given area at the time,” said spokesperson Eryn Collins in a statement.

Collins says not all patients in critical care units are COVID patients, either.

Across Northern Health there are 41 critical care beds, with an additional 23 ‘surge’ beds should the need arise, for a total of 64.

Currently, 24 of the 64 beds in the region are occupied.

There are also approximately 100 ventilators available, including transport ventilators.

However, Collins explains ventilator numbers fluctuate.

“All NH sites have transport ventilators; there is also a provincial supply of ventilators that can be deployed to areas of need. Finally, each of our hospitals has a pandemic plan, which includes identifying where patients would be cared for based on their care needs,” Collins added.

Breakdown by COVID-19 site as of November 30:

Northern Health (regionally): 41 base beds – 24 occupied, 17 unoccupied, 23 surge beds 23 unoccupied

Fort St. John Hospital: (5 ventilators, +4 transport) One of the four beds is occupied.

Mills Memorial Hospital, Terrace: (5 ventilators, +2 transport) Three of the nine beds are occupied.

University Hospital of Northern BC, Prince George: (20 ventilators, +4 transport) 15 of the 39 beds are occupied.

Other NH acute care facilities: (3 ventilators, +10 transport) Five of the 12 beds are occupied

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Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, BC doctor says – Keremeos Review

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Sports teams have continued to travel into or out of B.C. and COVID-19 infections have spread as a result, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

“We know there are many people who want to travel, who are coming here from other provinces for recreation and sport, and we know that there are sports teams in B.C. that have travelled to other provinces despite the restrictions that we’ve put in place,” Henry said at a pandemic briefing Dec. 2.

“For example, there’s a hockey team in the Interior that travelled to Alberta and has come back, and now there are dozens of people who are affected and it has spread in the community. We need to stop, right now, to protect our communities and our families and our health care workers.”

B.C.’s current advisory against all non-essential travel in or out of B.C. is set to expire on Monday, Dec. 7, and Premier John Horgan says Henry and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control team will determine by then if that will be extended. Wednesday’s result of 834 new cases and 12 additional deaths is a jump from earlier this week and suggests restrictions on travel and gatherings will likely continue.

RELATED: B.C. prepares immunization plan as vaccines approved

RELATED: B.C. tourism assistance coming soon, Horgan says

Henry noted that B.C.’s travel advisory is not an order and the province can’t effectively sort out what is non-essential travel.

“I cannot stop you by an order from getting into your car or going onto a plane,” she said. “But I’m asking in the strongest of terms for us to stay put.”

With the holiday season approaching, a visiting relative is not considered non-essential travel.

“Making an exception for yourself, your team or your recreational needs puts a crack in our wall, and we see that this virus can exploit that very easily at this time of year,” Henry said. “I do say, though, if you have a family member who is returning home for the holidays, then that is important and that is fine. But it is critical that when they come here, they need follow all of our orders and guidelines that we have in place. That means no socializing, no going outside the home and having parties and gatherings of any kind right now.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, BC doctor says – Revelstoke Review

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Sports teams have continued to travel into or out of B.C. and COVID-19 infections have spread as a result, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

“We know there are many people who want to travel, who are coming here from other provinces for recreation and sport, and we know that there are sports teams in B.C. that have travelled to other provinces despite the restrictions that we’ve put in place,” Henry said at a pandemic briefing Dec. 2.

“For example, there’s a hockey team in the Interior that travelled to Alberta and has come back, and now there are dozens of people who are affected and it has spread in the community. We need to stop, right now, to protect our communities and our families and our health care workers.”

B.C.’s current advisory against all non-essential travel in or out of B.C. is set to expire on Monday, Dec. 7, and Premier John Horgan says Henry and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control team will determine by then if that will be extended. Wednesday’s result of 834 new cases and 12 additional deaths is a jump from earlier this week and suggests restrictions on travel and gatherings will likely continue.

RELATED: B.C. prepares immunization plan as vaccines approved

RELATED: B.C. tourism assistance coming soon, Horgan says

Henry noted that B.C.’s travel advisory is not an order and the province can’t effectively sort out what is non-essential travel.

“I cannot stop you by an order from getting into your car or going onto a plane,” she said. “But I’m asking in the strongest of terms for us to stay put.”

With the holiday season approaching, a visiting relative is not considered non-essential travel.

“Making an exception for yourself, your team or your recreational needs puts a crack in our wall, and we see that this virus can exploit that very easily at this time of year,” Henry said. “I do say, though, if you have a family member who is returning home for the holidays, then that is important and that is fine. But it is critical that when they come here, they need follow all of our orders and guidelines that we have in place. That means no socializing, no going outside the home and having parties and gatherings of any kind right now.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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