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N.S. reports three new COVID-19 cases Wednesday; 21 active infections remain – CTV News Atlantic

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HALIFAX —
Health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

All of the new cases are in the Central zone. One is a close contact with a previously reported case, while two are under investigation.

Two of the province’s previously reported cases are now recovered, with the active cases increasing to 21.

TOP DOCTOR CONCERNED CASES COULD RISE

Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, says he is concerned about community transmission after seeing several cases this week with no clear link to travel or another case.

“Many of those testing positive for COVID-19 recently have been socializing more with a broad range of close contacts,” said Strang. “The good news is that people are, by in large, respecting the limits and they are not gathering in large groups, but they are socializing frequently with different groups of people.”

Strang says, based on this information, the province does expect to see more positive COVID-19 cases in the coming days. He is reminding all Nova Scotians to be cautious and to remember to follow public health measures.

“We need to continue to be cautious. I recognize that COVID fatigue is real. We’ve been at this for almost a year, but as tired as everyone is, public health measures are as important now as they were last March and April,” said Strang.

“So, enjoy your friends, go out to dinner, and socialize in other ways, but I am just asking people that, even if you’re living within what’s required in the public health regulations, you need to go further to slow down your social activities. Spread out the frequency, keep your social groups, ideally, to a single social group no more than 10 and keep it consistent.”

STRANG ASKS TWO AREAS OF PROVINCE TO GET TESTED

Strang says the province identified 93 close contacts to a cluster reported in the Central zone last week that also had connections to Beaver Bank-Monarch Drive Elementary School, in Beaver Bank, N.S. He says of the close contacts, 89 have received negative test results. The province is still working to identify four close contacts to the cluster.

“So, that’s good news to share, that a cluster that does not appear to have spread further from that,” said Strang.

As a result of an increase in general community testing in the Lower Sackville/Beaver Bank area, an additional positive case has been identified, which remains under investigation.

Strang says due to the concerns surrounding the possibility of undetected community transmission, they are increasing the testing capacity and access to testing in two parts of the province.

“In Lower Sackville and Beaver Bank we are in the process of establishing a primary assessment centre… and in the communities between Wolfville and Berwick, because we have some other cases in there that we’re working to determine how they may be linked and we have concerns that it might be some undetected community spread.”

The province’s top doctor says they are asking anyone in the two areas to get tested, even if they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms.

“So, specifically focused testing in geographical areas is what we’ve done previously when we’ve detected concerning signs. We’re doing that again and it’s important. It’s what helped us robustly to deal with the Halifax outbreak, it’s what’s going to help us out right now. So, we ask people in those areas to take advantage and go get tested in the next few days.”

FIRST COVID-19 VACCINATION CLINIC IN FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITY

The first COVID-19 prototype clinic focusing on First Nations Communities took place at Millbrook First Nation on Wednesday.

“These clinics will start for those who are aged 55 and older, as well as other people that identified as important knowledge and language keepers in those communities,” said Strang.

Strang says the decision to start vaccinating at the age 55 was made to recognize that Indigenous communities, due to the impacts of systemic racism, may experience “disproportionate consequences.”

“It also recognizes that elders in the community play a very important role as holders of the language and knowledge keepers in their communities,” said Strang.

Elder Patsy Paul-Martin was the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Millbrook First Nation on Wednesday. She says she feels privileged.

“I was excited. I feel protected,” said Paul-Martin.

Strang says the province is also working with African Nova Scotian communities, which they plan to have their first prototype clinic ready for at the end of March.

“We’re working closely with the community leaders to develop this prototype, and from there we will expand these clinics to other African Nova Scotian communities, and support access to community vaccine clinics, as well as working with community leaders to address the vaccine mistrust,” said Strang.

NOVA SCOTIANS OVER 80 TO BE VACCINATED SOON

Strang says beginning March 1, Nova Scotians over the age of 80 will be able to start booking their COVID-19 vaccine appointments. He says letters to people in that age group who hold an MSI card have been mailed out, which provide information on how to book an appointment.

Vaccinations will start being administered for this age group on March 8, with clinics being held at the IWK Health Centre, the Canada Games Complex Centre in Sydney, the NSCC Truro Campus in Truro, N.S., and the New Minas Baptist Church in New Minas, N.S.

Strang also announced six additional vaccination clinics that will be opening in Nova Scotia throughout the month of March.

Three of the new clinics that are scheduled to begin booking appointments on March 15 will be located at:

  • St. Francis University in Antigonish, N.S.
  • Halifax Forum in Halifax
  • NSCC Burridge Campus in Yarmouth, N.S.

Strang says the other three clinics, which are expected to begin on March 22, will be located at the NSCC Lunenburg Campus in Bridgewater, N.S., one in Amherst, N.S., and another one in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

N.S. CASE DATA

The Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,754 tests on Tuesday. The province has completed 320,346 tests since the pandemic began.

There have been 1,616 COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. Of those, 1,530 cases have recovered and 65 people have died due to the novel coronavirus.

There is one person in hospital because of COVID-19 and they are in the intensive care unit.

There are cases confirmed across the province, but most have been identified in the Central Zone, which contains the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The provincial government says cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama, the province’s electronic information system.

The numbers reflect where a person lives and not where their sample was collected.

  • Western Zone: 99 cases (4 active case)
  • Central Zone: 1,307 cases (15 active cases)
  • Northern Zone: 128 cases (0 active cases)
  • Eastern Zone: 82 cases (2 active cases)

The provincial state of emergency, which was first declared on March 22, 2020, has been extended to March 7, 2021.

VACCINE UPDATE

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 online dashboard now provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.

As of Wednesday, 29,237 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far. Of those, 17,579 were first doses and 11,658 were Nova Scotians receiving their second dose.

Of the vaccines administered 22,497 went to health care workers, and 3,160 were long-term care residents.

“We anticipate receiving 14,700 doses of vaccine, well, we are receiving them throughout this week, and our vaccine supply is expected to be steady with weekly shipments of at least 10,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine until the end of March,” said Strang. “Meaning that we are on target to meet the outcomes for the first 90 days of a vaccine strategy.”

NOVA SCOTIANS ENCOURAGED TO SEEK ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING

Public health is strongly encouraging Nova Scotians to seek asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, particularly if they have attended several social interactions, even with their own social circle.

COVID-19 tests can be booked through the provinces online self-assessment COVID-19 tool, or by calling 811.

People can also visit one of Nova Scotia’s many rapid pop-up testing sites that continue to operate throughout the province.

COVID ALERT APP

Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app is available in Nova Scotia.

The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

LIST OF SYMPTOMS

Anyone who experiences a fever or new or worsening cough, or two or more of the following new or worsening symptoms, is encouraged to take an online test or call 811 to determine if they need to be tested for COVID-19:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose/nasal congestion 

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EU regulator endorses use of Moderna's COVID-19 shot for children – Al Jazeera English

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European Medicines Agency gives all clear for vaccine to be used in children aged between 12 and 17.

The European Union’s medicines regulator has recommended authorising Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged between 12 and 17, marking the first time the shot has been approved for people under 18.

In a decision on Friday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said research in more than 3,700 children of 12 to 17 years of age showed that the shot produced a comparable antibody response to that seen in 18- to 25-year-olds.

Use of the vaccine, Spikevax, will be the same in adolescents as in people over 18, the EMA said.

Formal approval by the European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – is needed to start rolling out the vaccine for teenagers. The body typically follows EMA recommendations.

Until now, the vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech has been the only option for use in children as young as 12 in North America and the EU.

Vaccinating children has been considered important for reaching herd immunity and in light of the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Most children with COVID-19 develop only mild symptoms or none. Yet children remain at risk of becoming seriously ill and can spread the virus.

‘Benefits outweigh the risks’

Moderna said in May that its vaccine was found to be safe and effective in teenagers. Hundreds of millions of doses of the shot have already have been administered to adults.

The EMA said common side effects in teenagers after vaccination with Spikevax were similar to those seen in older people.

But due to a smaller study size, the trial could not detect new uncommon side effects or estimate the risk of known ones such as myocarditis and pericarditis.

“The overall safety profile of Spikevax determined in adults was confirmed in the adolescent study; the CHMP (Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use) therefore considered that the benefits of Spikevax in children aged 12 to 17 outweigh the risks,” the EMA said.

Heart inflammation such as myocarditis and pericarditis has been listed by the EMA as a possible but rare side effect from use of mRNA vaccines such as Moderna’s and Pfizer’s in adults.

Spikevax is already being used in the EU for people over 18, and in the United States and Canada.

Moderna has also sought authorisation in the US and Canada for its use in adolescents.

But with global vaccine supplies still tight, much of the world still is struggling to immunise adults, let alone children.

Agencies including the World Health Organization have urged rich countries to donate their doses to the developing world – where fewer than 2 percent of people have been vaccinated – rather than moving on to inoculate their less vulnerable populations.

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Ontario reports 170 new COVID-19 cases, over 8.4 million fully vaccinated – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Ontario is reporting a slight decrease in new COVID-19 cases on Saturday from the previous day.

Officials marked 170 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, with three additional deaths.

The province reported 192 new cases on Friday and 185 on Thursday.

The seven-day rolling average now stands at 159, compared to 151 a week ago.

Provincial labs processed more than 19,131 test specimens, generating a positivity rate of at least 0.8 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.

The province’s COVID-19-related death toll stands at 9,311.

Another 150 people recovered from the disease yesterday, resulting in 1,424 active cases across the province.

Right now, there are 125 people in hospital with COVID-19 and 132 patients being treated in intensive care, according to the Ministry of Health.

The hospitalization data presented by the province has been skewed over the past several weeks, which may be explained by a delay in patient reporting.

Where are the new cases?

Officials are reporting 44 new cases in Toronto, 26 in Peel Region, 17 in Hamilton, 15 in the Region of Waterloo and 13 in Grey Bruce.

Update on COVID-19 variants of concern

The Ministry of Health is reporting 107 new cases of the Alpha variant Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to ​​145,255.

Officials reported 12 new cases of Delta variant, B.1.617.2 and the case total is now 3,897.

Four cases of the Beta variant, B.1.351 were also recorded. So far, there have been a total of 1,489 cases of the Beta variant reported in Ontario.

As for the Gamma variant, P.1, 10 new cases were recorded today. The total number of Gamma variants recorded in Ontario is now 5,140.

Vaccination update

The province said it administered 124,261 doses of COVID-19 vaccines Friday.

Throughout Ontario’s seven-month vaccination campaign, over 18.8 million needles have gone into arms.

As of Saturday, 8,480,761 people have received both doses and are considered to be fully vaccinated.

Backstory:

The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.

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New Brunswick to move to Green phase on July 30; reports three new COVID-19 cases Friday – CTV News Atlantic

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HALIFAX —
New Brunswick will move into the Green phase of its recovery plan on July 30, lifting all public health restrictions and opening the province to travel, Premier Blaine Higgs announced Friday.

“This morning, Cabinet and the all-party cabinet committee on COVID-19 agreed that New Brunswick’s mandatory order will not be renewed on July 30. This will lift all mandatory travel and public health restrictions that have been in place since the pandemic began,” said Higgs during Friday’s news update.

As of 11:59 p.m. on July 30, the following restrictions will be removed in the province.

  • Lift all mandatory travel and public health restrictions that have been in place over the course of the pandemic.
  • Lift all provincial border restrictions; provincial border checks will cease, and registration will no longer be required to enter New Brunswick from anywhere in Canada.
  • Lift all limits on gatherings and the number of people within facilities. Capacity limits in theatres, restaurants and stores will no longer be required.
  • End the requirement to wear face masks in public.

“We came to this decision because we have reached our goal of 75 per cent of our eligible population having received their first vaccine, and are now at 81 per cent,” said Higgs on Friday. “We know that there will be new cases, but thanks to the amount of people that are already vaccinated, we do not think that our health care system will be threatened.”

As of midnight on July 30, all provincial border restrictions will be lifted, provincial border checks will cease, and registration will no longer be required to visit New Brunswick from anywhere in Canada.

However, travellers will still be subject to Canada’s federal restrictions on International travel.

“We will be living with COVID-19, so we encourage New Brunswickers to continue to practise protective health measures such as hand-washing, coughing in your elbow, staying home when sick and wearing a mask if you so choose,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “This virus is still with us and we should all expect to see cases as normal travel returns. If you have symptoms, get tested.”

During Friday’s news update, Higgs and Russell emphasized that some facilities and businesses may choose to maintain their own policies on protective health measures, even after restrictions are lifted. 

“When we move to Green, not everyone will feel ready to jump back into life as if nothing happened. We all will have to adapt to this new environment in our own way,” said Higgs. “For some, the return to normal will be at a fast pace. Others may want to ease out of the safety measures we have been surrounded by for so long. There is no right way to do this. Everyone must do what feels best for them while remaining safe.”

THREE NEW CASES ANNOUNCED FRIDAY

New Brunswick is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, along with one recovery, as the active number of cases in the province rises to 10.

Two of the new cases were identified in the Saint John region (Zone 2), involving two people ages 19 and under, are both related to travel.

One new case was identified in the Fredericton region (Zone 3), involving an individual in their 20s, and remains under investigation.

New Brunswick has had 2,350 cumulative cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

In total, 2,293 people have recovered, and 46 people have died in the province from COVID-19.

There is currently no one hospitalized in New Brunswick due to COVID-19.

“We are approaching having one-million COVID-19 vaccines in the province, a very important milestone in our fight against the virus for our province and the country,” said Russell. “While we are well on our way to getting as many New Brunswick’s vaccinated as we can, we must remember that the COVID-19 virus still exists and can still spread. While case numbers have been low, we are still encouraging anyone having symptoms to make an appointment to get tested.”

On Thursday, 727 tests were conducted in the province. A total of 376,470 tests have been conducted since the beginning of the pandemic.

The number of cases is broken down by New Brunswick’s seven health zones:

  • Zone 1 – Moncton region: 490 confirmed cases (six active cases)
  • Zone 2 – Saint John region: 300 confirmed cases (two active cases)
  • Zone 3 – Fredericton region: 449 confirmed cases (two active cases)
  • Zone 4 – Edmundston region: 754 confirmed cases (no active cases)
  • Zone 5 – Campbellton region: 185 confirmed cases (no active cases)
  • Zone 6 – Bathurst region: 133 confirmed cases (no active cases)
  • Zone 7 – Miramichi region: 39 confirmed cases (no active cases)

THOUSANDS OF VACCINE APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE

In a release issued Tuesday, New Brunswick health officials say there are thousands of first and second dose Pfizer and Moderna appointments available at regional health authority clinics and participating pharmacies.

Vaccination clinics are taking place every day this week with appointments available in each region. New Brunswickers who have yet to be immunized with two doses of vaccine are encouraged to book an appointment through a participating pharmacy or at a Vitalité or Horizon health network clinic.

New Brunswick’s COVID-19 online dashboard provides an update on the amount of vaccines that have been administered to date.

As of Friday, 997,798 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in New Brunswick. The province says 81.2 per cent of the eligible population has received at least one dose, with 62.7 per cent now fully vaccinated.

All eligible New Brunswickers can book their second dose appointments if at least 28 days have passed since their first dose.

To receive their second dose, New Brunswickers are asked to bring a signed consent form, their Medicare card and a copy of the record of immunization provided after receiving their first dose.

Appointments for people who have not yet received their first dose continue to be available to all New Brunswickers aged 12 and older at regional health authority clinics and through participating pharmacies.

Public Health is also reminding New Brunswickers to keep a copy of their Record of Immunization form as their official proof of vaccination.

YELLOW LEVEL REMINDER

All of New Brunswick remains under the Yellow level of recovery under the province’s order, which will be lifted effective 11:59 p.m. July 30.

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