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Multiple COVID-19 outbreaks at Royal Inland Hospital lead to surgery cancellations – Toronto Star



A quartet of concurrent COVID-19 outbreaks has led to the closure of six operating rooms at Royal Inland Hospital.

B.C.’s Health Minister Adrain Dix said three operating rooms remain open at RIH for emergency surgeries, urgent cancer surgeries and urgent C-sections while the outbreaks are ongoing.

“We will resume scheduled surgeries when it is again safe to do so,” Dix said.

He said the closures are meant to help manage the outbreaks, noting RIH is a busy hospital, currently at more than 110 per cent of its surgery bed capacity.

“It’s the reason these measures were put in place. They’re to protect staff, to protect patients and to maintain the highest quality of care,” Dix said.

Between Nov. 7 and Nov. 13, there were 82 postponed scheduled surgeries across Interior Health, which includes Kamloops, due to COVID-19, the vast majority of which were between RIH and Kelowna General Hospital, Dix said.

As of Nov. 17, the four COVID-19 outbreaks at RIH have led to 54 cases:

• Unit 5 South, a medical ward (declared on Nov. 2), has 28 cases: 20 patients and eight staff/other, with two deaths connected to the outbreak;

• Unit 7 North, a renal/cardiac ward (declared on Nov. 8) has five cases: four patients and one staff/other, with one death connected to the outbreak;

• Unit 6 South, a surgical ward (declared on Nov. 13), has 11 patient cases.

• Unit 5 North, a steak/rehab ward (declared on Nov. 13), has 10 cases: five patients and five staff/other.

The health authority had maintained throughout outbreaks at RIH that it is safe for people to visit patients.

However, that changed on Nov. 10 when Interior Health said only essential visitors for patients are permitted at Royal Inland Hospital.

Interior Health said all services continue to be available at RIH, adding that the hospital remains safe to visit for anyone needing emergency care.

Dix also noted that 150 patients and long-term care residents impacted by flooding around B.C., primarily in the Merritt area, were evacuated on Nov. 15. Interior Health evacuated the Nicola Valley Hospital and Merritt care homes due to flooding compromising that city’s water and wastewater-treatment systems.

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Dutch former queen Beatrix tests positive for COVID-19



Dutch former queen Beatrix, 83, has tested positive for COVID-19, the royal information service RVD said in a statement Saturday.

Princess Beatrix, as she has been known since her abdication in 2013, got tested after coming down with “mild cold symptoms”, the statement said.

“The princess is at home in isolation and adheres to the rules of life for people who have tested positive,” it added.

The Netherlands has been experiencing a record-breaking wave of COVID-19 cases that is threatening to overwhelm the country’s healthcare system.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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‘I was shocked’: Mother, child mistakenly given COVID-19 vaccine instead of flu shot – Comox Valley Record



A Manitoba mother says a routine appointment for her and her three-year-old to get flu shots ended in frustration and mixed messages after they were each mistakenly given an adult dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Jenna Bardarson is calling for policy changes at the province’s vaccination centres to make sure that doesn’t happen to another family.

The shots were administered on Nov. 24 at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.

Bardarson says that shortly after she and her daughter, Dali, got their shots, the health worker who had given them excused herself to speak with a supervisor. When the worker returned, she told them she had made a mistake and given them both the adult Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. My immediate concerns were, of course, would my daughter be OK and also who could I speak to about this,” Bardarson said in online social media messages Friday to The Canadian Press.

Once she got home, Bardarson made multiple calls to different departments with the regional medical authority, hoping to speak with someone about the error and her concerns, she said.

She said no one was able to provide her with the answers or information she needed. “The conversations with various Prairie Mountain Health members have been frustrating, to say the least.”

Bardarson said she already had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and was due for her booster shot next month. Her daughter is too young to be eligible.

Health Canada last month approved a pediatric version of the Pfizer shot for children ages five to 11, but it has not yet approved a vaccine for those under five.

Bardarson said she and her daughter had headaches and sore arms the following day. Her daughter had no appetite and was throwing up.

Manitoba Health confirmed the mistake in a statement and said staff from Prairie Mountain have reached out to the mother to discuss what happened as well as to provide an update on an investigation.

“Patient safety is a critical aspect of all health-care services in Manitoba. We are constantly reviewing our processes to ensure that our systems support our staff in preventing errors,” it said.

“In this case … our team reviewed the existing processes to make adjustments that would help avoid a similar error from occurring in the future.”

Bardarson said the health region has not provided her with updated information on the investigation and would not discuss any consequences the health worker may have faced.

Manitoba Health said no further action would be taken against the worker, because she immediately recognized the error and told a supervisor.

For Bardarson, that’s not enough.

“I by no means want her fired; however, there should be some sort of measures in place for harm reduction.”

Bardarson suggested taking away the worker’s injection privileges or enhanced supervision during vaccinations.

She said she would also like to see areas at vaccination centres separated by vaccine types, instead of having different vaccines offered in the same booth.

Manitoba Health could not say if others have been given a COVID-19 vaccine by mistake, but acknowledged that medication errors, although rare, do occur. It added that Bardarson was provided with information about the risks of the COVID-19 vaccine, which in this case it says are low.

Health Canada said it is not in charge of immunization monitoring and could not comment on whether similar mistakes have occurred in other parts of the country.

– Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press


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Two hippos in Belgian zoo test positive for COVID-19



Two hippos have tested positive for COVID-19 at Antwerp Zoo in Belgium in what could be the first reported cases in the species, zoo staff said.

Hippos Imani, aged 14, and 41-year-old Hermien have no symptoms apart from a runny nose, but the zoo said the pair had been put into quarantine as a precaution.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time in this species. Worldwide, this virus has been reported mainly in great apes and felines,” said the zoo’s vet, Francis Vercammen.

The coronavirus is thought to have jumped from an animal to a human, and it is proved to have passed from humans to animals.

Pets including cats, dogs and ferrets have become infected following contact with their owners, while in zoos, cases have been reported in animals such as big cats, otters, primates and hyenas.

The disease has also spread in mink farms and to wild animals, such as deer.

Antwerp Zoo is investigating the causes of the contagion. None of the zookeepers had recently shown COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive for the virus, the zoo said.


(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Helen Popper)

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