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Isolated Abbotsford doctor issues desperate plea for the public to take drastic COVID-19 action – Maple Ridge News

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Dr. Brian Driedger.

An Abbotsford doctor is pleading with Canadians and his fellow Fraser Valley residents to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously.

Dr. Brian Driedger, a member of Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s maternity ward, self-isolated in his home on March 18 after working a 24-hour shift at the hospital. He says if the public doesn’t follow the government’s warnings, hospital capacity, healthcare workers and their families will be put at risk.

In a series of Facebook posts – which have shared by well-over 2,400 times – he describes the situation at the hospital, and the tenacity of his fellow healthcare workers.

“The COVID onslaught is here in our hospital… This is a battle in a war that is just beginning,” Driedger said. “Today I was fighting back tears in my office as I communicated with two of our true heroes – ICU nurses who are on the front line… They both have little ones on the way, as well as little ones at home. They are the soldiers in the first wave, running out front into battle facing a hail of deadly bullets.”

After returning home to self-isolate after his full-day shift, Driedger said he was disturbed from seeing restaurants and businesses open, and people walking around the city, acting as they normally would.

“Please look at the numbers. We are in a state of emergency now, and we all need to act,” he said. “Please, please, please take this virus seriously. We should not wait for the government to tell us to shutter all non-essential businesses, and should lock ourselves down at home in isolation if we are able.

The province has “precious few” ventilators which will be needed by the increasing number of COVID-19 patients in the next two weeks, according to Driedger.

“The time for drastic action is now. Do not be lulled into complacency by the seeming calm right now,” he said. “Take every precaution possible immediately for the sake of yourselves, your family, our patients, and our country and tell all of your loved ones to go into isolation as they now are in Italy and France.”

Driedger said his decision to self-isolate was not taken lightly, but he did so for the safety of his family. He says there are many others in the health-care field who are having to make this difficult choice.

“There is a whole cohort of ER and ICU nurses, docs, RTs, unit clerks, and cleaning staff that are now are facing a living hell… They are moms, dads, sons and daughters.” he said. “It is brutal for those with young kids. For the sake of these families, please immediately take action.

“It is our one and only chance now to slow this pandemic.”

RELATED: Pregnant in a pandemic: Expectant B.C. moms change birth plans due to COVID-19

RELATED: Fraser Health limits hospital visitors to slow spread of COVID-19


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@abbynews.com

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New cat virus found at B.C. SPCA prompts science journal publication – Times Colonist

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VANCOUVER — The outbreak of a fast-spreading disease at the SPCA’s animal centre in Vancouver has led to the discovery of a new feline virus that affected 43 cats in B.C.

It started when eight cats fell ill on a single day in 2018 with symptoms like a human stomach flu, but Dr. Emilia Gordon, the senior manager of animal health, says they became concerned when tests came back negative for parasites.

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Gordon says in a news release they knew within days that they were dealing with a virus or bacteria they hadn’t faced before.

Outbreak tracing found two cats in the Quesnel shelter introduced the illness to Vancouver’s facility, where it spread rapidly before being detected.

A research team at the University of California, San Francisco found the new species of parvovirus, which isn’t related to COVID-19, and those findings were recently published in the science journal Viruses.

Gordon says the high rate of recovery was due to a quick response and stringent control measures, although two of the 43 cats that were ill were euthanized because of other medical problems.

“As soon as we understood we were dealing with something unusual, our first goal was to stop the outbreak so more cats wouldn’t get sick,” Gordon says. “Our second goal was to try to get answers for our teams, for the cats, and for other shelters and veterinarians facing unexplained gastrointestinal outbreaks in cats under their care.”

She says being part of the discovery of the new virus was very exciting, however data from a single outbreak isn’t enough to be certain the virus can cause disease and more research will need to be done.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2019.

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2 B.C. long-term care homes get extra help to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks – CBC.ca

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Specialized health teams have been sent to fight COVID-19 outbreaks at two Metro Vancouver long-term care homes.

The Fraser Health Authority appointed a pandemic response director on Thursday at Langley Lodge, where more than 20 people have died from the virus in recent weeks.

It also sent extra staff to Nicola Lodge in Port Coquitlam after one resident tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19, said Dr. Martin Lavoie, Fraser Health’s chief medical health officer. The resident was placed in isolation at the lodge, he said.

“Over the past several weeks, we’ve been supporting and offering guidance to Langley Lodge in different ways,” Lavoie said at a news conference.

“Today, we’re taking further action and we have appointed our own director of pandemic response to provide oversight of the COVID-19 response at Langley Lodge and also to further support the facility leadership and staff.”

Dr. Martin Lavoie, Fraser Health’s chief medical health officer, said the COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge has been difficult to control. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The lodge website says it is a not-for-profit registered charity run by the Langley Care Society.

It says the lodge in Langley provides long-term care for adults who can no longer live safely or independently at home because of their health-care needs. The lodge includes 121 funded spaces and 14 private pay spaces.

An official at the lodge referred questions about the COVID-19 outbreak to Fraser Health on Thursday.

Lavoie said the COVID-19 outbreak at the lodge has been difficult to control.

“It is our hope that these additional measures will support the site in controlling this complex outbreak,” he said. “We’re taking all the necessary steps to minimize the exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.”

Lavoie said extra nurses and staff are being called in, along with infection control specialists who will use a specialized ultraviolet germ sterilization machine.

As of Wednesday, the Health Ministry said 111 people who have died from COVID-19 in the province were connected to long-term care facilities, assisted-living homes or acute-care hospitals. A total of 162 people have died from the virus.

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Research on new cat virus discovered at B.C. SPCA published in scientific journal – CBC.ca

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The outbreak of a fast-spreading disease at the SPCA’s animal centre in Vancouver has led to the discovery of a new feline virus that affected 43 cats in B.C.

It started when eight cats fell ill on a single day in 2018 with symptoms like a human stomach flu, but Dr. Emilia Gordon, the senior manager of animal health, says they became concerned when tests came back negative for parasites.

Gordon says in a news release they knew within days that they were dealing with a virus or bacteria they hadn’t faced before.

Outbreak tracing found two cats in the Quesnel shelter introduced the illness to Vancouver’s facility, where it spread rapidly before being detected.

The exterior the B.C. SPCA’s Vancouver location, as seen in 2019. A research team from the University of California San Francisco found a new virus in some cats in the SPCA’s care. (Google Streetview)

A research team at the University of California San Francisco found the new species of parvovirus, which isn’t related to COVID-19, and those findings were recently published in the science journal Viruses.

Gordon says the high rate of recovery was due to a quick response and stringent control measures, although two of the 43 cats that were ill were euthanized because of other medical problems.

“As soon as we understood we were dealing with something unusual, our first goal was to stop the outbreak so more cats wouldn’t get sick,” Gordon says. “Our second goal was to try to get answers for our teams, for the cats, and for other shelters and veterinarians facing unexplained gastrointestinal outbreaks in cats under their care.”

She says being part of the discovery of the new virus was very exciting, however data from a single outbreak isn’t enough to be certain the virus can cause disease and more research will need to be done.

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