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Manitoba 2019-20 flu vaccinations well below national average



The deaths of two young Manitobans who recently passed away from complications due to influenza has sparked a larger conversation about flu vaccinations in the province.

According to Manitoba Health, only 22 per cent of Manitobans were vaccinated for influenza this season, up from the 20 per cent vaccinated the previous year.

But health officials said that number isn’t good enough to prevent larger outbreaks within the population.

Health Canada said the goal is to hit an 80 per cent immunization rate to ward off the flu, however in 2018-19, only 42 per cent of Canadians got the shot.

“Influenza, also known as the flu, is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in Canada, averaging 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year,” the federal government states on its website.


Vaccination rates throughout Manitoba vary greatly.

Only 6.5 per cent of residents in Norway House got vaccinated this season, according to the province.

Within Winnipeg itself, the numbers are significantly higher. Assiniboine South saw the highest vaccination rates in the city at 31.5 per cent, whereas only 14.9 per cent of people living in Point Douglas got the vaccine.


Recently, a 24-year-old Morden woman and a 17-year-old Winnipeg high school student died from complications related to the flu.

Joanne Ens, the woman from Morden, started feeling flu-like symptoms on Jan. 1 that only got worse over the next few days.

She was eventually airlifted to St. Boniface Hospital before dying on Jan. 6.

“The doctors are certain it started as influenza B, and it is suspected she picked up another infection while fighting that,” her husband Dustin Ens said.

Dustin told Global News that Joanne had not received the flu shot and that he feels she would still be alive if she had got one.

Blaine Ruppenthal, a Grade 12 student at Kelvin High School, was rushed to St. Boniface Hospital on Jan. 7 after suffering a cardiac arrest twice. He was put into an induced coma and received hypothermic therapy but died Monday, according to the Winnipeg School Division.

Health Canada said the most commonly reported reason for receiving the vaccine was to prevent infection or avoid getting sick (45 per cent), while the most common reason for non-vaccination was the perception that the vaccine was not necessary (20 per cent).

Flu shots are free and are offered at most pharmacies, walk-in clinics and doctor’s offices.

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Owner of infected long-term care facility says COVID-19 outbreak was unavoidable –



The owner of the Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville, N.B., said his facility an outbreak of COVID-19 at his facility was unavoidable.

An employee in their 30s at the long-term care facility near Campbellton, N.B., tested positive for the virus last week. Since then, four residents at the facility have also tested positive. Three of the residents are in their 80s and one resident is in their 70s. 

“We knew COVID would start somewhere in our facilities, but we didn’t know exactly when it would start,” said Guy Tremblay, president and general director of Groupe Lokia, which owns the special care home for seniors.

About 100 people, including 57 residents, may have been exposed to the worker, who was contagious during three night shifts at the facility. 

All of the staff and residents at the facility have been tested, Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health said at a news conference on Sunday.   

Tremblay feels he did as much as he could to prevent the virus from entering his facility.

‘”All our staff have been prepared to prevent the spreading of COVID since the first week or second week of March,” he said. 

‘All the prevention, all the techniques we demonstrated to our employees was pretty much well-learned over the last two months.”

More than a third of staff at the long-term care facility are no longer working there. 

Ten of the 28 staff choose to leave the Manoir de la Vallée long-term care facility because of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“As soon as the staff learn that COVID is around, many of them are just scared about that.” 

Ambulance New Brunswick and Extra-Mural, the province’s home health-care program, are on site to provide additional help caring for residents at the facility.

Tremblay said he is happy the government chose to bring in help. 

“It’s not bad news for me really. It should be like that. We should work all together to face that situation.” 

Cecile Cassista, executive director for the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents Rights, is also pleased the government chose to ask for additional help.

Cecile Cassista of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights is worried about the senior population in Campbellton after the COVID-19 outbreak at a long-term health care facility in the region. (Wayne Chase Photography)

Cassista is “very upset” about the outbreak at the home, however. 

“This is about our aging population and our seniors,” she said. “I had the greatest fear when I heard of one person being infected and now we have it spreading throughout the home.”

There are 132 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of that, 120 have recovered since the pandemic beegan in March. 

The 12 active cases are all in the Campbellton region, or Zone 5. 

Three of the long-term care cases are in the hospital, including one patient in ICU.

A cluster of COVID-19 cases sprung up there after doctor who travelled to Quebec contracted the coronavirus and didn’t self-isolate when he returned to New Brunswick.

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SHA warns of possible COVID-19 transmission at North Battleford Walmart – News Talk 650 CKOM



A person who tested positive for COVID-19 visited the North Battleford Walmart on May 21.

In a release Sunday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Indigenous Services Canada said the individual was likely infectious at that time.

Public Health Officials are advising customers who were at the North Battleford Walmart on May 21 between noon and 2 p.m. to immediately self-isolate if you’ve had any symptoms of COVID-19, and call HealthLine 811.

All other customers who were at the business during the time period should self-monitor daily for symptoms of COVID-19 until June 5.

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No new COVID cases reported in N.S. –



There were no new cases of COVID-19 reported Sunday in Nova Scotia’s battle against the deadly virus.

As of Sunday, the province has confirmed 1,056 cases and 60 COVID-19 deaths, 53 of which have occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax.

The province has administered 41,944 negative tests. 

Confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90. Seven individuals are currently in hospital, two of those in intensive care, and 981 people have now recovered and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved. 

Cases have been identified in all parts of the province. A map and graphic presentation of the case data is available at .

The QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed 578 Nova Scotia tests Saturday.

As of Saturday, there were 14 active cases at Northwood, including 10 residents and four staff. Northwood is the only licensed long-term care home in Nova Scotia with active cases.

The expanded list of symptoms being screened includes fever (chills or sweats), cough or worsening of a previous cough, sore throat, headache, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sneezing, nasal congestion or runny nose, hoarse voice, diarrhea, unusual fatigue, loss of smell or taste and red, purple or blueish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers without clear cause.

Anyone experiencing one of those symptoms is asked to visit to determine if a further call to 811 for additional assessment is required.

Public health is working to identify and test people who may have come in close contact with the confirmed cases. Those individuals who have been confirmed are being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia must self-isolate for 14 days. As always, any Nova Scotian who develops symptoms of acute respiratory illness should limit their contact with others until they feel better.

It remains important for Nova Scotians to strictly adhere to the public health order and directives of practising good hand-washing and other hygiene steps, maintaining a physical distance of two metres from those not in your household or family household bubble and limiting planned gatherings of people outside your household or family household bubble to no more than 10.

Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at .

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