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How to protect yourself and others from infection as COVID-19 cases increase – The Chronicle Journal

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COVID-19 is now impacting the lives of Canadians on many levels and people across the country are seeking answers to numerous important questions they have about the novel coronavirus. Below is a summary:

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Health Canada says those who are infected with COVID-19 may have few, if any symptoms, or may not know they’re infected because symptoms of the novel coronavirus are similar to a cold or flu.

Those symptoms have included fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

Other symptoms can include fatigue, mucus production, muscle or joint pain, sore throat, headache and chills. COVID-19 can sometimes escalate to pneumonia.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 80 per cent of the people confirmed to have COVID-19 in this country have developed a cough, 56 per cent a fever, and 27 per cent have experienced shortness of breath.

Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. Health officials are still trying to determine whether the virus can be transmitted to others if someone is not showing symptoms. While experts believe this is possible, it’s considered to be rare.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE SYMPTOMS?

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, even if they’re mild, stay at home and follow local health authorities’ instructions to self-isolate.

If you feel sick and must visit a health-care professional, Health Canada says you should call ahead or tell them when you arrive that you have a respiratory illness. You may be asked to wear a mask while waiting for or receiving treatment to prevent the spread of the illness.

Tell them your symptoms and travel history and let them know whether you’ve had direct contact with animals or a sick person, especially if they’ve had symptoms.

HOW SICK WILL I GET?

Most people diagnosed with COVID-19 experience mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and the vast majority of those who contract the virus recover.

However, for some, especially older adults and those with pre-existing conditions, it can cause more severe illness, such as pneumonia. In some cases, it can be fatal.

As of March 23, six per cent of Canadian cases have required hospitalization, with two per cent of cases requiring admission to the ICU.

The World Health Organization has found that among patients in China, 80 per cent suffered mild cough and fever symptoms while 14 per cent suffered severe symptoms requiring treatment, including being placed on ventilators. A further one per cent lapsed into critical condition with symptoms that could include respiratory failure, septic shock and organ failure or dysfunction.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD BE TESTED FOR COVID-19?

The best way to determine if you should go to a testing centre is to call your doctor or local public health office.

Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam has said tests are prioritized for certain types of cases: travellers who have symptoms; those with severe respiratory illness, regardless of whether they’ve travelled; people in long-term care facilities with influenza-like illness; and hospital-related illness, including health-care workers who are sick.

She emphasized, however, clinicians at assessment centres that are opening up across the country still have the ability to make their own judgement on who gets tested.

Several provinces and the federal government have created online self-assessment tools that will advise you what to do.

WHAT ABOUT TRAVEL?

The government has closed the border with the U.S. for non-essential travel, and strongly advises Canadians to avoid travelling anywhere as many countries impose movement bans, quarantines, and airlines ground flights.

All Canadian travellers returning from abroad are told they must self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival, regardless of whether they show symptoms, and monitor their health.

HOW DO I SELF-ISOLATE?

Ideally, self-isolation means halting all contact with others, and setting up a space dedicated solely to the person being isolated.

Those who live with others should try to segregate parts of the home. Do not use common spaces at the same time; stay out of the kitchen; dedicate a separate washroom to that person if possible, and don’t share towels or toiletries. Clean spaces where that individual has been and do not touch surfaces that person has touched before cleaning.

Only leave the home if it’s absolutely necessary, such as to seek medical care.

If you have to interact with others, keep it brief. Try to maintain a safe distance and wear a mask, the agency says. Avoid people with chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults.

WHAT IS SOCIAL DISTANCING AND HOW CAN I PRACTISE IT?

Social distancing involves taking steps to increase the physical space between people to prevent the virus from spreading. Public health officials say this is key to reducing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials insist people stay home as much as possible, and those who must go out should stay two metres away from others.

Other tips include avoiding crowds and going to public places during off-peak hours. If you are sick, stay home.

WHAT HOUSEHOLD ITEMS SHOULD I HAVE IN CASE I NEED TO ISOLATE?

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu has suggested that people gather enough food and other essentials, such as medicines and toiletries to last them through a two-week quarantine if needed.

However, Hajdu and other public officials, including Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot, are also urging people not to stockpile or hoard these items, insisting it’s not necessary.

The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 outbreak has led to many stores being cleared of items such as toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and certain non-perishable foods.

HOW ARE CANADIAN OFFICIALS RESPONDING TO COVID-19?

Public health officials are working hard to identify and contain cases of community transmission.

Many provincial governments are taking extraordinary measures such as prohibiting large gatherings, closing schools and shuttering restaurants, gyms and theatres.

Several provinces have declared states of public emergency in response to the pandemic.

WHERE CAN I FIND ADDITIONAL CREDIBLE INFORMATION?

Check government websites — federal, provincial and municipal — as well as the World Health Organization for the latest, credible information regarding the novel coronavirus.

For more information on an epidemiological summary in Canada visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html

WHERE CAN I FIND PROVINCIAL TESTING INFORMATION?

B.C.: 1-888-COVID-19 or healthlinkbc.ca

Alberta: alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans

Saskatchewan: saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus

Manitoba: 1-888-315-9527 or gov.mb.ca/covid19

Ontario: publichealthontario.ca/en/diseases-and-conditions/infectious-diseases/respiratory-diseases/novel-coronavirus

Quebec: 1-877-644-4545 or quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus

New Brunswick: gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/ocmoh/cdc/content/respiratory_diseases/coronavirus.html

Nova Scotia: novascotia.ca/coronavirus

Prince Edward Island: 1-800-958-6400 or princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/covid-19

Newfoundland and Labrador: gov.nl.ca/covid-19/

Yukon: yukon.ca/en/information-about-novel-coronavirus-yukoners

Northwest Territories: 1-833-378-8297 or hss.gov.nt.ca/en/services/coronavirus-disease-covid-19

Nunavut: gov.nu.ca/health/information/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

This report by The Canadian Press was published Mar. 24, 2020.

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UBC researchers claim find of COVID-19 trial drug – Bowen Island Undercurrent

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University of British Columbia researchers say they have found a trial drug that blocks the cellular door the virus uses to infect people with COVID-19.

“There is hope for this horrible outbreak,” said UBC Life Sciences Institute director Dr. Josef Penninger.

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Penninger said the drug might soon be ready for testing.

He said a global team’s work provides new insights into the  SARS-CoV-2 virus and its interactions on a cellular level, as well as how the virus can infect blood vessels and kidneys.

“We are hopeful our results have implications for the development of a novel drug for the treatment of this unprecedented outbreak,” he said.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said March 20 that Thailand , Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland will be involved in a multi-country clinical study for potential treatments for COVID-19, part of a rapid global search for drugs to treat COVID-19.

Penninger’s team’s findings were published in the science journal Cell Friday.

Penninger said the finding holds some promise for a treatment capable of stopping early infection of the novel coronavirus that, as of April 4, has affected more than 1.16 million people and claimed the lives of 62,491people worldwide.

The study has involved researchers from Vancouver, Toronto, Spain and Sweden.

Penninger explained that cell membrane-surface protein ACE2 plays a key role in the outbreak.

In earlier work, Penninger and colleagues at the University of Toronto and the Institute of Molecular Biology in Vienna identified ACE2 as the key receptor for SARS, the viral respiratory illness recognized as a global threat in 2003.

What the new finding means, Penninger  said, is that “the absence of a clinically proven antiviral therapy or a treatment specifically targeting the critical SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 on a molecular level has meant an empty arsenal for health care providers struggling to treat severe cases of COVID-19.”

“Our new study provides direct evidence that a drug – called APN01 (human recombinant soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 – hrsACE2) – soon to be tested in clinical trials by the European biotech company Apeiron Biologics, is useful as an antiviral therapy for COVID-19,” said University of Toronto Dr. Art Slutsky, also a scientist at Toronto’s Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science at St. Michael’s Hospital.

What the researchers found through cell cultures is that the drug inhibited the coronavirus load. Using engineered replicas of human blood vessel and kidneys  – “organoids” grown from human stem cells – the researchers demonstrated the virus can directly infect and duplicate itself in such tissues.

What can be drawn from that, they said, is key information on the disease’s development and that severe cases of COVID-19 can lead to with multi-organ failure and cardiovascular damage.

“Clinical grade hrsACE2 also reduced the SARS-CoV-2 infection in these engineered human tissues,” they said.

 “Using organoids allows us to test in a very agile way treatments that are already being used for other diseases, or that are close to being validated,” said Prof. Núria Montserrat of the Institute for Bioengineering in Catalonia, Spain.

“In these moments in which time is short, human organoids save the time that we would spend to test a new drug in the human setting,” Montserrat said.

“The virus causing COVID-19 is a close sibling to the first SARS virus,” Penninger said. “Our previous work has helped to rapidly identify ACE2 as the entry gate for SARS-CoV-2, which explains a lot about the disease, he said.

“Now, we know that a soluble form of ACE2 could be indeed a very rational therapy that specifically targets the gate the virus must take to infect us.

The WHO team’s work, dubbed Solidarity, will test four different drugs or combinations – remdesivir, a combination of two drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir, the two drugs plus interferon beta, and chloroquine – and will compare their effectiveness to what is called standard of care – the regular support hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.

“This global problem requires urgent global solutions,” said WHO’s representative to Thailand, Daniel Kertesz. “The goal is to identify medicines that will save lives in the global battle to fight this virus.”

Research by Penninger’s team was supported in part by the Canadian federal government through emergency funding focused on accelerating the development, testing and implementation of measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

@jhainswo

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COVID-19 outbreak in Perth retirement residence, health unit confirms – OttawaMatters.com

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Infection control measures are now in place at Lanark Lifestyles, a retirement residence in Perth, after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, the staff member is at home under self-isolation. All other staff have been instructed to report any symptoms to public health immediately. 

Dr. Neel Chadha, who works at the residence, says there are no reports of residents or other staff members infected with the virus at this time. 

“The number of outbreaks in the last week in long-term care homes and retirement homes in the area serves as a reminder that we all need to follow the recommended actions to decrease the risk of spread of COVID-29 in the community,” Dr. Paula Stewart, medical officer of health, said in a statement. “This includes staying at home as much as possible and staying six feet, or two arms lengths away, from others when in public places to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

The Almonte Country Haven, a nursing home in Almonte, also declared an outbreak last week. Three residents of the home had tested positive for the virus. As a precaution, every resident has been isolated to their room to prevent further spread.

For more information, those concerned can call the Public Health Unit. 

As of Saturday morning, Ontario has 3,630 cases. The number of hospitalized patients sits at 506 and 196 patients are in ICU with COVID-19 (152 of which are on a ventilator). 

The Ontario government has also released further demographic details on its monitoring website. 

About 48 per cent of cases (or 1,755) involve men while just over 51 per cent (or 1,857) are women. 

The majority of cases are in the 40 to 59 age group (36 per cent, or 1,319 cases), followed by the 20 to 39 age group (about 28 per cent, or 1,025 cases).

To date, Ottawa Public Health reports 289 lab-confirmed cases in the city and three deaths. Of those, 13 per cent of cases have been hospitalized, six per cent of which ended up in intensive care. 

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RCMP charge 4 people, business for COVID-19 related violations – Global News

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RCMP have charged four people and a business for violating Nova Scotia’s emergency response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Nova Scotia has closed all non-essential businesses be closed to the public under the province’s emergency measures act and implemented physical distancing requirements in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia RCMP charge 4 people with violating province’s Health Protection Act

Police say that on April 1, three people were charged under section 23 (b) of the Emergency Management Act for failing to comply with a direction made under the Act.

At the same time, one business was charged under Section 71(1)(a) and one person was charged under Section 71(1)(b) of the Health Protection Act for failing to adhere to order contained in the Chief Medical Officer’s Public Health Order.

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The three people charged under the Emergency Management Act face a one of $697.50 each.






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New local initiative launched to help support local eats during COVID-19


New local initiative launched to help support local eats during COVID-19

Under the Health Protect Act, the business was fined $7,500 and the individual was fined $1,000.

The RCMP are continuing to remind Nova Scotians of the rules under the emergency measures act as they continue to enforce the directives that are supposed to help reduced the spread of COVID-19.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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