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N.B COVID-19 roundup: Campbellton ER to reopen this week –



Campbellton Regional Hospital will soon reopen its emergency department, which it shut down for a week in another  closure related to the COVID-19 outbreak in the region. 

In a news release Monday, the Vitalité Health Network said the emergency department will reopen at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. 

Elective surgeries and non-urgent outpatient care and services will resume June 29.

If the Campbellton region moves into the next phase of the province’s COVID-19 recovery plan, patient visits might also be permitted by next Monday.

“Temporary service closures and interruptions are necessary to ensure the safety of Campbellton Regional Hospital personnel and patients due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the facility,” the news release said. “The Network is making every effort to be able to restore a more normal operation at the Campbellton Regional Hospital.”

There are currently 25 active cases of COVID-19 in the Campbellton region, some involving health-care workers.

In a status report, Vitalité said mass testing of employees has been underway since June 13.

“Strict infection prevention and control measures” have also been in place.

The report repeated Vitalité’s earlier assertion that staff have enough personal protective equipment, including N95 masks, for their work while COVID patients are in the hospital.

This comes after three front-line care-givers who have worked on the COVID-19 unit told CBC News last week that they didn’t feel save under current PPE protocols, especially one that only allows the use of N95 masks for procedures that produce airborne droplets.

Masks, but not N95 masks, are to be worn at all times at the hospital. 

Flights resume at Saint John Airport

Saint John Airport officials are worried passengers from outside New Brunswick will be turned away by border patrols as Air Canada resumes flights from Montreal to the Port City.

One daily flight arrived at the Saint John Airport shortly before 3:30 p.m. and was to depart at 4:30 p.m. Border patrol officers with the province are questioning travellers arriving at the airport. 

“Obviously, you have to have a legitimate reason … on why you’re coming into New Brunswick, and if those are met, than you should be OK to come in,” said Jacques Fournier, director of commercial development at the Saint John Airport. 

“If they’re not, there’s always a chance they could get turned away.” 

He said the plane is a 78-seat aircraft, which has been upgraded from the 50-seat commercial aircraft originally planned. 

An Air Canada flight from Montreal has arrived at the Saint John Airport on Monday afternoon. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

“Obviously, the demand is a little more than we thought.”

But Fournier said some seats won’t be used, so passengers can keep their distance from each other on the plane.

“I would have to say the aircraft will be pretty busy today.”

Flights at all three of New Brunswick’s largest airports have been reduced since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, and service in Saint John was suspended altogether.

Saint John Airport staff have also taken steps to make sure passengers can physically distance themselves from one another, including when they’re lining up to get on a plane.

People permitted to come into the province are still required to self-isolate for two weeks, with the exception of New Brunswick residents working who have been working outside the province.

Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, said there are two peace officers and two screeners at each airport during hours of operation.

“Some people still need to travel and want to travel,” said Fournier. “I believe we will still see people with cottages here in New Brunswick coming in.”

Additional flights to Toronto and Montreal from Saint John will start on July 1.

“It’s been a while since we’ve seen commercial traffic coming back into the Saint John Airport,” Fournier said. “So it is very exciting.”

More flights added to Moncton offerings

Toronto and Montreal flights that were previously suspended to and from the Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport, also resumed Monday. They include one daily flight to Toronto and Montreal until June 30.

In July, flights to each city will operate twice a day, but exceptions could apply, said Julie Pondant, a spokesperson for the airport.  

Halifax and Ottawa flights are suspended until Sept. 7.

WestJet currently operates three days a week to Toronto from the Moncton airport.

Swoop Airlines has postponed service to the Moncton airport. 

The Fredericton International Airport has two daily Air Canada flights to Montreal and three WestJet flights per week to Toronto. 

 “The airport has been open continuously, with both Air Canada and WestJet continuing to serve YFC, although on a reduced schedule,” said Kate O’Rourke, a spokesperson for the Fredericton International Airport. 

Porter and Sunwing have both suspended operations until the end of July at New Brunswick airports.

No new cases of COVID-19 Monday

Public Health announced no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. 

There are currently 27 active cases of the respiratory virus in the province, according to the province. 

Out of the 164 cases of COVID-19 in the province, 135 people have recovered.

There have been two deaths at the Manoir de la Vallée this month, a long–term care home in Zone 5, the Campbellton region.

Two patients are currently hospitalized and one is in an intensive care unit at the Campbellton Regional Hospital.

As of today, 40,663 tests have been conducted.

Horizon Health patients allowed to have visitors 

Patients at Horizon Health Network can welcome one healthy visitor at a time, the health network said in a news release Monday.

Visitors can see patients between 2 and 8 p.m. each day for a maximum of one hour. Visitors must be 12 or older and cannot bring pets into the hospital.

Under the new guidelines, all visitors to Horizon centres must:

  • Be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 upon entry.
  • Always wear a community mask during their visit.
  • Maintain physical distancing and clean their hands frequently during visits.
  • Limit their interactions with staff, and other patients and visitors.
  • Leave the patient’s room when staff are conducting procedures.

At any time, staff can restrict the number of visitors in an area or the length of visits to ensure guidelines are adhered to.

Critical care, intensive care and neonatal intensive care patients can have one visitor at a time. Visitors are limited to close family members only. The length of these visits is determined by staff on the unit and how busy things are. 

Palliative care patients can have two visitors at a time and visiting hours can be adjusted. Palliative care patients receiving end-of-life care may also have one additional visitor for pastoral or spiritual care, to provide comfort to the patient, family and loved ones.

Patients visiting emergency departments and ambulatory care who require assistance may have one support person only. No other visitors permitted. Pediatric patients may have one support person, who must be a parent or caregiver.

“Visitors who expect their loved ones to be discharged from hospital in the near future — within one week — are asked to consider waiting for their loved one to be discharged to visit,” the news release said. 

Fredericton’s Beaverbrook Art Gallery to stay closed 

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is staying closed because of COVID-19, but it won’t be quiet for long.

The gallery in Fredericton is set to start renovations and the building of a new pavilion soon, with the aim of reopening sometime late next year.

The work wasn’t meant to close the gallery down, but the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that plan.

Although art galleries and museums are allowed to open under the province’s recovery plan, Tom Smart, the gallery’s director, said the accessible entrance could not work with physical distancing.

There were concerns about the safety of visitors and staff, he said.

“You might think that with the big galleries that there would be room but there isn’t,” said Smart.

“So we are taking the opportunity of this COVID to accelerate a construction schedule to build a fully accessible pavilion entrance in our front door.”

In February, the city approved the gallery’s plan to build an addition to the front of its Queen Street building.

The $6 million upgrade will see the gallery move closer to the road, more exhibition space and an upgraded entrance.

Saint John Airport staff have taken steps to make sure passengers can physically distance themselves from one another. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

But Smart said now that visitors aren’t an issue, the gallery will look to do even more renovations, including doing work on the roof and back wall.

“We want to take the opportunity to really refresh the facility, make it safe, make it sound so that the collection doesn’t have water pouring in on it,” said Smart. 

“We hope that when this is all over there’ll be a vastly improved new gallery that will really help with developing and stimulating and growing the city and province.”

While the summer closure will certainly affect tourists and local art lovers, Smart said, the gallery plans to still offer some programming online, which it has done throughout the pandemic, and outdoors at the gallery site.

“The sculpture park is going to be opening in a few weeks and that will also really create a cultural area down in that part of the city for people to enjoy,” said Smart.

Campbellton region could enter yellow phase by Friday

New Brunswick moved into the next phase of its COVID-19 recovery plan Friday, with the exception of Zone 5.

The Campbellton region, the site of an outbreak provincial officials have linked to a medical professional who travelled to Quebec and didn’t self-isolate, remains at the stricter orange level.

Premier Blaine Higgs announced New Brunswick’s next steps in the COVID-19 recovery plan. 3:20

Only two-household bubbles are permitted under the orange level.

In addition, non-regulated health professionals and businesses, such as acupuncturists and naturopaths, and personal services businesses, such as hair stylists and spas, can’t operate.

A rendering of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s exterior after its expansion. (Beaverbrook Art Gallery)

As long as there isn’t an increase in COVID-19 cases, Premier Blaine Higgs said the Campbellton region will be allowed to move into the yellow phase by Friday. 

For the rest of New Brunswick, all remaining businesses can open with appropriate distancing and sanitizing, and operational plans respecting Public Health guidelines. This includes casinos and amusement parks.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptom can take a self-assessment test on the government website at 

People with one of those symptoms are asked to:

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3 Reasons You Shouldn't Get Your Hopes Too High About COVID-19 Vaccines – Motley Fool



A safe and effective vaccine would be a shot in the arm for a world that’s grown weary of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that there’s a lot of work going on to produce just such a vaccine. At least 19 novel-coronavirus vaccine candidates are now in clinical testing, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Another 130 candidates are currently in preclinical trials.

But you shouldn’t get your hopes too high for COVID-19 vaccines. Here are three reasons why.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. The probability of success isn’t as great as you might think

Many Americans assume that regulatory approval of a vaccine is right around the corner. President Donald Trump even publicly suggested that a “vaccine solution” for COVID-19 will be available “long before the end of the year.” But these assumptions could be off-base.

WHO’s list of COVID-19 vaccines includes only one U.S.-made candidate in phase 2 testing. Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) recently announced that its late-stage study of COVID-19 vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 would be delayed. The biotech still hopes to begin the trial in July, however. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) and its partner, the University of Oxford, are already recruiting for participants in a phase 3 study for their COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

The probability of these or other vaccines being successful isn’t as great as you might think. Only around 24% of vaccines in phase 2 clinical testing go on to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration, according to a historical analysis conducted by biopharmaceutical trade group BIO. That percentage jumps to 74% for vaccines in phase 3 testing. But that’s still a 1-in-4 chance of failure.

2. COVID-19 vaccines might not be as effective as you expect

Even if one or more COVID-19 vaccines win FDA approval, they might not be as effective as you’d expect. Why? The bar isn’t all that high when it comes to efficacy.

Last week, the FDA issued guidelines for its review and approval process for COVID-19 vaccine candidates. To be considered effective, a vaccine only has to “prevent disease or decrease its severity in at least 50% of people who are vaccinated.”

This threshold isn’t unusual for the first vaccines against a virus for which no vaccines currently exist. However, it also means that there’s a real possibility that among those who receive a COVID-19 vaccine, nearly half won’t be effectively immunized against the novel coronavirus.

3. Many Americans will refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine

Michael Jordan once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” He was, of course, referring to basketball. However, the idea is also relevant to COVID-19 vaccines.

A survey conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in May found that only 49% of Americans said that they planned to get vaccinated if a vaccine against the novel coronavirus becomes available. That number isn’t too surprising, considering that it’s roughly in line with the percentage of American adults who get the flu vaccine.

It’s possible that more Americans would want to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, though. Another 31% of the survey respondents stated that they weren’t sure about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. However, if the percentage of Americans who refuse to be immunized isn’t high enough, even an effective vaccine won’t be enough to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

Still a big opportunity

The probabilities for approval, efficacy, and potential immunization rates don’t paint an encouraging picture. However, there’s still a chance that one or more COVID-19 vaccines that are highly effective will win regulatory approval and gain widespread public acceptance.

And there’s still a big opportunity for investors hoping that coronavirus-focused biotech stocks pay off in a huge way. For example, even though its shares have tripled so far this year, Moderna would almost certainly soar even higher if mRNA-1273 is successful in late-stage testing.

Any vaccine that’s safe and effective enough to secure approval will help in the fight against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines might not be the magic bullet that many hope for. But combined with new treatments and better testing, they could be part of an overall arsenal that enables the world to move past the pandemic and return to normal.

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Airborne coronavirus spread: Five things to know – Al Jazeera English



More than seven months after the new coronavirus was first detected, scientists and health experts are still trying to get a better understanding of how it spreads and how to curb the COVID-19 respiratory disease it causes.

The coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission”, including direct contact with someone who has been infected, indirect contact with contaminated surfaces, droplets of saliva from coughing or discharge from the nose when sneezing, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Airborne transmission is also possible, but its effects and risks have recently sparked a scientific debate.

What is airborne transmission?

The WHO has long said the new coronavirus spreads mainly through small droplets released from the mouth and nose that fall from the air in a short period.

But some scientists and researchers are increasingly pointing out to evidence that the virus can also be transmitted by even smaller droplets called aerosols. Usually generated when people are shouting and singing, these remain suspended in the air for longer and can travel farther.

How is it different from droplet transmission?

The respiratory droplets sneezed or coughed out are larger in size – a diameter of five to 10 micrometres – and the range of exposure is one to two metres (three to six feet).

Aerosols, however, are less than five micrometres in diameter and travel beyond two metres from the infected individual.

“The new coronavirus can survive in both droplets and aerosol for up to three hours under experimental conditions, although this depends on temperature and humidity, ultraviolet light and even the presence of other types of particles in the air,” Stephanie Dancer, a consultant medical microbiologist in the UK, told Al Jazeera.

“Microscopic aerosols can project at least six metres in indoor environments, and possibly even further if dynamic air currents are operating. The distance depends upon how large the aerosol is.”

Animation: How does coronavirus behave?

How is COVID-19 spreading through the air?

As in droplet transmission, aerosols can be released in several ways including, breathing, talking, laughing, sneezing, coughing, singing and shouting.

“Breathing would not offer much projectile force, but shouting, singing, coughing and sneezing project aerosol through the air with a range of different velocities,” said Dancer.

“Even if one individual particle does not contain enough virus to cause infection, if you carry on breathing in these particles over time, you will acquire enough in your mouth, nose and respiratory tract to initiate infection.”

Airborne transmission can also occur in certain medical procedures that involve the patient generating aerosols, putting healthcare workers particularly at risk.

“Coronavirus can be spread by aerosol under special circumstances if using nebulisers, bronchoscopy, intubation, dental and other oral procedures using suction and lavage,” said Naheed Usmani, president of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA).

“This is particularly dangerous for healthcare workers who should only attempt these procedures wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE), including N95 masks,” she told Al Jazeera. 

Is airborne COVID-19 less contagious?

The extent to which the coronavirus can be spread by the aerosol route – as opposed to by larger droplets – remains disputed.

While the WHO has long maintained that the primary source of infection is through droplet transmission, it has acknowledged there was “emerging evidence” of airborne transmission.


“The possibility of airborne transmission in public settings – especially in very specific conditions, crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described, cannot be ruled out,” Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead for infection prevention and control, said in a news briefing this week.

This came after a group of 239 scientists from 32 countries and a variety of fields made the case in an open letter that there was a “real risk” of airborne transmission, especially in indoor, enclosed and crowded environments without proper ventilation.

Dancer, who was one of the signatories of the letter, said there is a lower risk of catching the virus the further you are from the source.

Jose-Luis Jimenez, a chemist at the University of Colorado, also told Al Jazeera the “virus loses infectivity over a period of an hour or so indoors”.

How can you protect yourself?

Wearing face masks properly and maintaining physical distancing are recommended at all times.

Experts also recommend avoiding crowded places, especially public transport and public buildings.

In closed spaces at schools, offices and hospitals, increasing proper ventilation with outdoor air by opening windows can also mitigate the risk of infection, Jimenez said.

“For spaces where ventilation cannot be increased, we recommend portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter air cleaners or possibly ultraviolet (UV) germicidal lights at the high end of need. We do not recommend other types of air cleaners.”

Follow Saba Aziz on Twitter: @saba_aziz

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Essential workers during COVID-19 susceptible to 'moral injury' and PTSD, hospital says –



Health-care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are at risk of severe stress that could cause long-term psychological damage, the Centre of Excellence on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder says.

The centre at the Royal Ottawa Hospital has teamed up with the Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health to develop a guide for facilities including hospitals and peer-support organizations in an effort to reduce the impact on those susceptible to so-called moral injury, a type of PTSD.

It can result from dilemma on the job from witnessing or performing an action that goes against someone’s beliefs, similar to what has been documented in war veterans, the centre says.

Dr. Patrick Smith, CEO of the Canadian centre, said the guide applies to anyone doing essential work, including in long-term care homes and grocery stores.

“We will be working with hospitals, clinics, provinces, municipalities,” he said Tuesday. “Everyone who’s already finding themselves trying to support their health-care workers, their essential workers, will be supported to use this guide.”

Many medical associations across the country have for decades implemented wellness programs focusing on doctors practising self-care to prevent burnout from working long hours, for example.

However, Smith said the guide calls on organizations to put widespread preventative measures in place to support staff grappling to make the right decisions during an unprecedented work experience while fearing their jobs may put themselves and their families at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.

“They need to have the licence to put up their hands and say they are struggling,” he said.

“The obligation to protect essential workers falls on those in charge — the supervisors and administrators who may also be suffering moral stresses and dilemmas of their own as a result of sending workers into dangerous situations.”

Practise self-care

The guide, which is available online, calls on employers to take measure such as rotating staff between high- and low-stress roles, establishing policies to guide them through ethically tough decisions and promoting a supportive culture.

It also urges workers, including doctors, nurses, lab technicians and social workers, to practise self-care through proper nutrition, exercise and social connection and to seek professional help when needed.

Fardous Hosseiny, the Canadian centre’s vice-president of research and policy, said first responders could develop a “moral injury” leading them to question whether their actions were justified, for instance if they led to poor outcomes from having to cancel someone’s surgery.

“One doctor we talked to said he and his team turned a COVID-19 patient on his back who then quickly started breathing. But when they tried the same technique the next day on another patient, that person flatlined,” he said, suggesting physicians may have felt guilty about their abilities with a decision that contributed to someone’s death.

‘Space suits’ create barrier to human contact

Hosseiny noted that while doctors and nurses in Canada have not had to decide which patients get access to ventilators, for example, they have faced risks from a lack of personal protective equipment in some parts of the country early in the pandemic.

Moral injury is not yet clinically diagnosable but is generally considered to include an experience that caused people moral conflict, guilt, shame and loss of trust in themselves as well as depression, anger or moral conflict, he said.

Health-care workers of colour have faced additional issues amid systemic inequities in health care and growing national attention to racism, Hosseiny said, adding Ontario residents living in ethnically diverse areas have twice the risk of dying from COVID-19.

“Health-care workers of colour have reported stress because of identification with patients and the need to keep their frustration with health inequities to themselves.”

Sarah Beanlands, a nurse at a supervised consumption site in Ottawa, said many of the usual clients are no longer accessing the service because they don’t recognize staff behind head-to-toe personal protective gear and staff is concerned about the well-being of those at risk of overdose.

The Canadian health care system has changed forever because of COVID-19, especially its attempts to keep both patients and staff safe. CBC News recently got a first-hand look at those changes and heard from doctors and nurses about their new normal. 5:11 

WATCH  | Hospital’s new normal

“Space suits” of face shields, gowns, masks and gloves create barriers between workers and clients, who are required to wear a mask, as part of a service that relies on human contact and trust, Beanlands said.

Staff can’t offer some services that are no longer available in the community and many clients have refused to stay in shelters, she said, adding multiple changes during the pandemic have led to connections with vulnerable people being fractured.

“All of this causes moral anguish for my co-workers and me. It weighs on us heavily as we try to provide the best service under these new circumstances.”

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