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Limited availability for COVID-19 tests in Windsor just after the holidays – CBC.ca

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Availability for a COVID-19 test in Windsor is slim, just after the holidays. 

The Windsor Regional Hospital COVID-19 assessment centre — which is by appointment only — had very limited slots for the week, as of early Tuesday afternoon

The hospital’s Paediatric Urgent Medical Assessment youth clinic at the Met campus had two slots available Tuesday with more on Wednesday of this week as of Tuesday morning. 

“Demand is high for tests and resources are stretched right now,” said director of communications, Steve Erwin, adding the hospital can only increase testing availability so much.   

“The hospital is waiting to see if this week if there will be any changes from the province around who can be tested or who can’t.”

The Medical Laboratories of Windsor which provides free symptomatic COVID-19 testing by appointment, showed a wait time of until Sunday as of Tuesday morning for its Windsor location. There is some availability for walk-ins.

Vice-president of operations, Jennifer Yee, said they are expanding slots across their locations to meet the demand. Capacity will increase by 35 per cent on weekdays and approximately 40 per cent on weekends.

Medical Laboratories of Windsor vice-president of operations, Jennifer Yee, said staffing shortages due to the holidays are also creating a challenge when it comes to opening more testing appointments. (CBC )

“We’re seeing a lot of concerned patients,” Yee told CBC News on Tuesday. “We’re fully booked, all our appointments are being snatched up right away … I think there’s just such a big concern out there.”

Yee explained some patients are worried they may have contracted the virus over the holidays, or due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant. 

“Every appointment that we have has been taken, and we’re also dealing with [human resources] issues,” said Yee, explaining staff shortages are also due to the holidays. 

Medical Laboratories has locations in Windsor, Lasalle and Leamington and Tecumseh offering symptomatic COVID-19 testing free of charge. 

Local data on hold while Ontario sees 8,825 new cases Tuesday

The province reported another 8,825 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said as of Tuesday there are 491 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and 187 of them are in intensive care units. 

Elliott shared the figures on Twitter Tuesday but government websites did not publish updated numbers of virus-related deaths or patients on ventilators because of the statutory holiday. Health experts warn that the real number of COVID-19 cases is likely to be much higher as a number of hospitals and centres have reached testing limits.

The Ministry of Health will be updating its website on Wednesday to include all COVID-19 data that had not been reported since Dec. 24.

Samjoe James receives a COVID-19 test in this file photo. Officials in Windsor say they’re seeing a spike in demand for testing. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Meanwhile, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit also put a pause on its daily updates until Wednesday, due to the holiday.

Last Thursday, the health unit reported 105 new cases and another death due to COVID-19. There had been two cases of the Omicron variant reported in the region at that point in time.

That was the final data released by public health until Dec. 29, when the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) will hold a COVID-19 media briefing. 

Erie Shores HealthCare in Leamington has no testing slots until the weekend, as of Tuesday morning for the general population. Paedeatric testing slots are still available for Thursday.

Tests are also being offered for asymptomatic individuals at pharmacies, and the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre will be providing tests for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people, and their families, in Windsor.

More information about Windsor-Essex County Health Unit vaccine clinics can be found on the agency’s website.

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Change to shorter isolation period part of managing COVID 19 in B.C.: top doctor – Vancouver Sun

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Dr. Bonnie Henry says unvaccinated adults who test positive are at risk of having longer-lasting and more severe illness and must isolate for 10 days but those who are vaccinated should isolate for five days.

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VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s top doctor says the current wave of COVID-19 is causing less severe illness and that calls for a shift to shorter periods of isolation in order to minimize societal disruptions.

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Dr. Bonnie Henry says unvaccinated adults who test positive are at risk of having longer-lasting and more severe illness and must isolate for 10 days but those who are vaccinated should isolate for five days.

She says children are at much lower risk of severe illness and are able to clear an infection faster, so five days’ isolation is also suitable for them, with mounting evidence showing they need to interact with others as part of their social development.

Henry says testing is not needed for most people who have symptoms and are likely to have a mild illness but those who are immunocompromised and over 70 could end up with more serious illness and likely need a test.

She says vaccination remains the best protection for everyone, especially for vulnerable groups, but anyone with symptoms should stay home until they feel better, the same as with other respiratory illnesses like the flu.

Henry says COVID-19 is far from being an endemic illness so restrictions that are in place are needed to prevent more hospitalizations, though those numbers have been declining.

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Canada’s Omicron wave may have peaked; hospitals still under strain

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Canada is seeing early signs that a wave of infections caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may have peaked, but hospitals are still under intense strain, chief public health officer Theresa Tam said on Friday.

Tam made her remarks days after the provinces of Ontario and Quebec – which together account for around 61% of Canada’s population of 38.5 million – said they were more optimistic about their ability to deal with coronavirus infections.

“There are early indications that infections may have peaked at the national level,” Tam said, noting daily case counts had dropped 28% compared to the previous week.

“However, daily hospital and intensive care unit numbers are still rising steeply, and many hospitals across Canada are under intense strain,” she said in a news briefing.

Over the past week, an average of more than 10,000 people with COVID-19 were being treated in hospitals every day, surpassing peak daily numbers for all previous waves, she said.

Although politicians at all levels have repeatedly urged Canadians to get inoculated against the virus, Tam said 6.5 million people in the country were still not fully vaccinated.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Ismail Shakil in BengaluruEditing by Paul Simao)

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BC Centre for Disease Control apologizes for isolation guidance flip flops – Globalnews.ca

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The BC Centre of Disease Control is apologizing after making multiple changes to COVID-19 isolation guidelines over the past few days.

On Tuesday, the BC CDC posted guidance reducing the isolation requirement for all COVID-19 test positive cases to five days no matter the vaccination status.

Then, less than 24 hours later, it updated the guidance to require unvaccinated adults to isolate for ten days following a COVID-positive test.

Read more:

COVID-19: B.C. reports 13 new deaths as hospitalizations near 900

But at the same time the guidelines changed for any one 17 years old and younger. That demographic only needs to isolate for five days, no matter vaccine status, following a positive test.


Click to play video: 'BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts'



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BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts


BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts

In all of these cases, the isolation time will be longer if there are still COVID symptoms.

The BC CDC also waived all isolation requirements for close contacts.

None of this information was included in a press release or public briefing.

“We apologize for the web posting and changes that occurred yesterday,” a statement from the BC CDC said.

“We understand the significant interest in these testing and isolation guidelines, which is why we updated the website immediately with clarifications made yesterday. We recognize this approach led to confusion.”


Click to play video: 'BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts'



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BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts


BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts

The BC CDC said it acknowledges the frustration people are feeling about the pandemic and the need people have for clear communication on changes impacting their lives.

“We will strive to ensure there is a better change management process for future changes,” the statement reads.

“These changes are a step toward enabling British Columbians to self-manage their illness and will help guide their actions to limit the spread of illness in our communities.”

Read more:

BC CDC flip flops on isolation requirements for unvaccinated COVID-19-positive people

On the issue of the new guidelines, the CDC said public health guidance always strives to strike a balance between preventing infection and limiting the harms caused by preventing people from participation in societal activities like working, going to school and socializing.

Public health officials have stated frequently the highly-transmissible Omicron variant has changed the COVID situation in the province.


Click to play video: 'BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts'



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BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts


BC CDC adjusts isolation requirements for close contacts

The province has struggled with providing access to COVID testing and the contact tracing has entirely broken down amid the arrival of the Omicron variant.

“The guidance and how we manage the situation is changing rapidly and we always intend to provide the public with the most up-to-date information as quickly as possible,” the CDC said in the statement.

Read more:

BC CDC flip flops on isolation requirements for unvaccinated COVID-19-positive people

“We expect further changes to the guidance in the weeks to come and commit to keeping British Columbians informed.”

Here is a summary of the key changes from the CDC:

  • If you have mild symptoms and do not need a COVID-19 test, stay home until you feel well enough to return to your regular activities.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 and you are under 18 or a fully vaccinated adult you must self-isolate at home for five days AND until your symptoms improve and you no longer have a fever. In this case avoid non-essential visits to high-risk settings for an additional five days.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 and you are 18 years of age or older and not fully vaccinated you must self-isolate at home for 10 days AND until your symptoms improve and you no longer have a fever.
  • Close contacts do not need to self-isolate, regardless of vaccination status, but should self-monitor.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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