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Most Canadians have hybrid COVID-19 immunity. Could it prevent a fall wave?



After more than three years of COVID-19, most people in Canada have developed immunity against the virus through a mix of infection and vaccination, data shows.

By March 2023, more than 75 per cent of the population had immunity because of a COVID-19 infection, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) Monday. 

Researchers at the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force looked at blood samples of thousands of Canadians of all ages collected between March 2020 and March 2023 and found that the Omicron variant led to a rapid rise in infection-induced antibodies last year.


During the Omicron waves, the rates of infection-acquired immunity appeared to be highest among younger Canadians, the CMAJ research showed.

“Data up to March 2023 indicate that most people in Canada had acquired antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 through natural infection and vaccination,” the authors said in the peer-reviewed study.

The research sheds new light on the impact of the highly transmissible Omicron variant — which was first detected in Canada in December 2021 — which caused many Canadians to get infected for the first time with COVID-19.

The study also said most people in the country had been vaccinated by the time the Omicron variant surged in Canada – and that coupled with an uptick in cases ushered in “an era of hybrid immunity” that potentially could protect against infection for months.

Despite the high vaccine coverage, the hybrid immunity from vaccines and previous infections was not enough to slow the spread of Omicron, the CMAJ study stated.

“I think the big message out of this is that vaccination is hugely important still,” said Gerald Evans, an infectious diseases specialist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

“We had vaccine immunity prior to the Omicron surge in … most of the people who were at high risk, of course, which are older people and people with underlying conditions,” he told Global News.

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) released fall booster guidance last month, recommending a dose of the new formulation of the COVID-19 vaccine for the authorized age groups.

NACI says all Canadians aged five years and up should get a COVID-19 booster in the fall if it has been at least six months since their last vaccine dose or infection, whichever is later.

Evans estimates about one in four Canadians likely have still not had COVID-19, but they’re probably protected by vaccination, he said.

Hybrid immunity – from both vaccination and prior infection – does confer some added benefits, Evans said, especially as new variants emerge.

“We’re not seeing anywhere near the number of COVID cases we saw even last summer when we actually had a bit of a summer surge,” he said.

“So this is telling us that right now, at least, this hybrid immunity that we have is doing a good job at protecting us a lot.”

However, the authors of the CMAJ study did warn about the potential for waning antibody levels and new variants that may escape immunity.

A fast-spreading COVID-19 subvariant of Omicron is now circulating in Canada and globally.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified EG.5 as a “variant of interest.”

Experts in Canada are warning about another surge in COVID-19 cases in the fall as schools reopen, the weather cools and people spend more time indoors.

“We will see a rise in cases, perhaps a surge, but I don’t think we’re going to see a wave of cases, at least at this point, unless something changes,” Evans said.


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The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life




Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.

That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.

What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?

Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.

Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.


Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations

As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.

Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:

  1. Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
  2. Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
  3. Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.

Determining a Fair Payment Plan

Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.

Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.

Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers

When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:

  • Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
  • Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
  • Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
  • Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.


Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.

Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.

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Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home



THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.

The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.

No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.

Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.




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Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister



Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.

Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.

“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”


Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.

“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.

LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.

“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.

The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.

LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.

On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.

“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.

LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.

“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.

She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.

Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.

LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.

“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.

–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News



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