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Manitoba health order update includes mix of new rules, officials fear ICU, hospitalization surges – The Reminder

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Some changes are coming to Manitoba’s public health orders, ahead of what public health officials worry may be a fall surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations in some areas.

The province announced the changes Oct. 1, along with a move to “orange” on the province’s pandemic response system. The new health orders will take effect Oct. 5.

For people who are fully vaccinated, or for children ineligible to receive vaccine doses, the new orders won’t change much. Most of the new changes mention restrictions specifically for people who are eligible to be vaccinated, but who are not. Health officials, including provincial health minister Audrey Gordon and Manitoba chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin, have said that while cases are low for the more than 80 per cent of eligible Manitobans who are fully vaccinated, about 400,000 people – most of whom are children under age 12 who cannot yet get COVID-19 vaccines – are unvaccinated and at a much higher risk.

“Case counts and hospitalizations are rising everywhere in Canada and we must be proactive in protecting our health care system and ensure we have hospital beds available to continue to provide care for patients in need,” said Gordon.

“As of Wednesday, people who are not fully vaccinated accounted for 75 per cent of new COVID-19 cases, 79 per cent of those admitted to hospital and 100 per cent of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions. Data also shows that hospital admissions related to COVID-19 have increased by 26 per cent in the past week with COVID-19 related admissions to ICU increasing by 17 per cent during that same period,” reads the provincial health order announcement.

“New public health orders will allow fully vaccinated Manitobans to continue to enjoy as much freedom and as few restrictions as possible. Unvaccinated individuals who are eligible to be vaccinated will now be more restricted in their activities,” said Roussin.

Indoor gathering limits have been lifted in Manitoba, in both public and private settings. for fully vaccinated people and kids under 12 years old. That changes if someone who can receive a vaccine dose but isn’t fully vaccinated shows up – in that case, group sizes are capped at 25 people or 25 per cent capacity in public spaces, whichever is lower. For private indoor meet-ups with at least one non-fully vaccinated adult, guests are limited to only a host household and a guest household.

Outdoor public gathering rules have changed as well, going from up to 500 people in outdoor public spaces to up to 50 people in what health officials describe as “uncontrolled” public spaces – in essence, a place where not all people are guaranteed to be fully vaccinated if eligible. Household gatherings outside are now capped at 10 people outdoors if an eligible but not fully vaccinated person is at the location, even if they live there – those gathering limits are also dropped for fully vaccinated people and for kids.

Retail facilities in four of Manitoba’s five health regions, including the Northern Health Region (NHR), can now reopen to full capacity. The only straggler is the Southern Health-Sante Sud region, where a high amount of Manitoba’s recent COVID-19 cases have been found and where the vaccine uptake rate is by far the lowest in Manitoba. Retail locations there will only be able to open to 50 per cent capacity.

“If we look at the estimated time for case numbers to double, in the southern region, it could take less than three weeks if everything remains the same. That could mean that region could see 93 cases per day in under three weeks. That alone could put the province’s hospital system at risk,” said Roussin, who said admissions to southern hospitals with COVID-19 had gone up by 17 per cent in the past week.

“A significant number of COVID-19 admissions were not tested prior to arrival in ICU. This says two-thirds of all admissions to the ICU this week were first diagnosed with COVID-19 upon admission to hospital. This tells us that non-COVID-19 care will be significantly affected by surges in COVID-19 activity, hospitalization and especially the demands made on ICUs. This is why we need to take action now, to continue to be proactive to protect Manitobans and our health care system. Any new public health orders need to reflect the increased risk to and from unvaccinated Manitobans.”

Retail locations across Manitoba still have to require mask use indoors, with physical distancing when possible.

No other changes are in store for restaurants, gyms, casinos and gaming facilities, museums, libraries, sporting events, movie theatres, personal services, outdoor sports and recreation, overnight camps or workplaces. Many of those settings will continue to be fully open for fully vaccinated people, with mask use still mandated in several areas.

Other events, like fairs and festivals, will also see limits, being capped at 50 people unless COVID-19 protocols are put in place and public health officials approve higher attendance. Weddings and funerals will see the same rules, with one exception – a cap of 25 people or 25 per cent capacity if eligible people who aren’t fully vaccinated are present. The province also announced a different deadline for the rules on weddings and funerals to take effect – those orders will start Oct. 12 “to minimize disruption” to events already planned.

Capacity limits for churches and worship centres have been lifted for fully vaccinated people and for kids – once again, for eligible people who aren’t fully vaccinated, there are tighter limits. The limit for indoor religious services with eligible people who aren’t fully vaccinated is either one-third capacity or 25 people – whichever is larger – while outdoors, a limit of 50 people for “uncontrolled” spaces will be in effect. Drive-in church services can still go on without restrictions or capacity limits.

The other big change to health orders is a change to Manitoba’s patient transfer protocol. Once changes take effect, if Manitobans are admitted to a hospital, they will be told that they may be transferred to another hospital within the province if the hospital is hit with an influx of COVID-19 patients.

“Patients will receive information upon admission that a transfer to another location in the province is a potential possibility so they can prepare. Care teams will confirm the receiving site is able to meet their needs, may occur at the direction of their care team and does not require their consent,” reads the health order change.

“Patients and their families will be advised of the decision to transfer when it is made and will be provided with information related to the supports available to them at their receiving station.”

Once a patient is discharged, a hospital care team will coordinate with health workers in their hometown to move them home as safely as possible. The moves will only take place if a surge in hospitalizations makes beds no longer available at the patient’s home facility.

“All efforts will continue to be made to avoid hospitalization for patients who can be cared for at home, in the community or elsewhere with appropriate supports including virtual care and at home monitoring options. This will help maintain needed ICU capacity for COVID-19 patients,” reads the health order.

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Parents more hesitant to vaccinate kids than themselves, researcher says – Clearwater Times

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Jennifer Hubert jumped at the opportunity to get her COVID-19 vaccine, but she’s not looking forward to having to make the decision about whether to vaccinate her three-year-old son Jackson.

She recognizes the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, but said she also understands her son is at a much lower risk for serious illness than older adults.

“To me it’s not a clear benefit,” she said.

While many parents were overjoyed at the news that Health Canada is considering approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine for kids age five to 11 in Canada, parents like Hubert are feeling more trepidatious, and public health officials said they are going to have a much more nuanced conversation with parents about vaccination than they did with adults.

While 82 per cent of eligible Canadians aged 12 and up are already fully vaccinated, a recent survey by Angus Reid shows only 51 per cent of parents plan to immediately vaccinate their kids when a pediatric dose becomes available.

Of parents with children in the five to 11 year age range, 23 per cent said they would never give their kids a COVID-19 vaccine, 18 per cent said they would wait, and nine per cent said they weren’t sure, according to the survey of 5,011 Canadians between Sept. 29 and Oct. 3, which cannot be assigned a margin of error because online surveys are not considered random samples.

“Most of the research that I’ve seen sort of indicates that parents are more hesitant to vaccinate their kids against COVID than themselves,” said Kate Allan, a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases at the University of Toronto.

There are several reasons parents might pause, she said.

It’s true that children are at a much lower risk of serious outcomes associated with COVID-19, and there have been very rare incidents of mRNA vaccines like Pfizer or Moderna linked to cases of myocarditis, a swelling of the heart muscle.

As of Oct. 1, Health Canada has documented 859 cases associated with the vaccines, which mainly seem to affect people under 40 years old, and people who’ve developed the complication have typically been fine.

READ MORE: 51% of parents ready for COVID jab, as Pfizer asks for Health Canada OK to vaccinate kids

“I know it’s rare, I know it’s not deadly, but I also see the risk of severe symptoms from COVID as being rare and not deadly for Jackson,” Hubert said when asked about weighing up the risks and benefits of the vaccine.

But public health experts stress that some children do suffer from rare but serious impacts from COVID-19, which can also cause myocarditis as well as the little-understood impacts of the condition known as long COVID.

They say parents should consider the less tangible benefits of vaccination as well.

“It’s less of a conversation about a direct benefit to them, and more of a community benefit,” Allan said.

The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on children, depriving them of school, time with their peers, extracurriculars — and their mental health has suffered as a result, said Dr. Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health with Toronto Public Health.

“Not one child has been spared from this pandemic. I mean every single child has had to bear a sacrifice because of the pandemic in one way or the other,” Dubey said.

So far Pfizer-BioNtech is the only manufacturer to request approval for its pediatric COVID-19 vaccine and Health Canada is still reviewing the data.

The regulator has promised the review will be thorough, and the vaccine will only be approved for children if the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Policy-makers know they’re going to have to take parents’ concerns seriously as well.

On a recent tour of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Dr. Anne Pham-Huy, a pediatric infectious diseases physician.

“Vaccine confidence is going to be the most important part of it this time around,” Pham-Huy said, to which Trudeau agreed.

Dubey has published research on improving parents’ vaccine confidence when it comes to long-established inoculations like mumps and rubella.

While she offered several tips, they mainly come down to building trust. Her research focused on the role of family doctors, but she said during the pandemic anyone can be that trusted sounding board.

“It could be a faith leader, it could be an important family member or friend, someone who you trust, to help guide you to the right sources to make that decision,” she said.

With that in mind, several students from across North America launched a peer-to-peer education program called Students for Herd Immunity to allow kids to have those conversations among themselves.

The public health experts agree, the debate around vaccines has become polarized and open conversations will be the key to addressing parents’ concerns.

“I think one thing to say to parents is you don’t have to make your decision right away,” Dubey said. “I mean for those who are ready to make their decision, but it’s fine but if you have questions, seek the answers.”

Her only advice is to get those answers from a trusted source, and not social media.

READ MORE: Pfizer will ship millions of vaccine doses for kids as soon as it’s approved, Trudeau says

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


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Sask. to offer monoclonal antibodies to some COVID-19 patients – Flipboard

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Saskatchewan won’t impose more COVID-19 measures: Premier Scott Moe

The Toronto Star – The Canadian Press • 16h

REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he will not bring in additional COVID-19 measures because it ultimately takes away people’s personal …

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EOHU recommending flu shots for area residents, as winter approaches – The Review Newspaper

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As the fall and cooler weather arrive, they bring with them the start of flu season. According to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, the flu shot is the best protection against the flu, and with the presence of COVID-19 in the community, getting your flu shot is more important now than ever. The flu shot has been approved for use alongside COVID-19 vaccines and is a key step in keeping healthy this season.

“It’s especially important that people get their flu shot this year,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU). “Both COVID and the flu share symptoms and, despite their similarities, being fully vaccinated for COVID won’t protect you from the flu.”

“Getting the flu shot can help you stay healthy and reduce the pressure on health care centres.”

Getting the flu shot could also help reduce the demand on COVID-19 assessment centres. The fewer number of people who develop flu symptoms, the fewer who will need to get tested for COVID-19.

The flu shot is available at various locations throughout the five Eastern Counties and Cornwall, including through some healthcare providers, community health centres, participating pharmacies and by appointment at the EOHU for children ages 6 months to under 5 years, and their immediate family.

Appointments for children at the EOHU will be available as of November 1. Call to book your child’s appointment starting on October 25. Residents must bring a piece of identification to their appointment. To find out more about where you can get the flu shot, visit EOHU.ca.

Certain groups of people are at higher risk of complications from the flu and are strongly encouraged to get immunized. These include:

  • children 6 months to less than 5 years of age
  • people aged 65 and older
  • people with chronic medical conditions

If you live with or provide care to someone who falls under one of the groups listed above, or care for newborn infants and children under 6 months of age, it is also highly recommended that you get immunized. This simple step will help protect you and those around you.

For more information about the flu shot, visit EOHU.ca or call  613-933-1375 or 800-267-7120.

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