New Brunswick officials announced 20 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, bringing the province to 57 active cases.
The new cases include 12 in the Moncton region (Zone 1), seven cases in the Campbellton region (Zone 5) and one case in the Fredericton region (Zone 3).
Three people are in hospital. One is in intensive care.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer, said nine of these cases are related to the outbreak at the Manoir Notre-Dame in Moncton.
“This is not the start of the holiday weekend that any of us were hoping for,” she said.
Single-day high for New Brunswick
The 20 new cases is a single-day high for the province since the start of the pandemic, surpassing 15 new cases on Wednesday.
The new Moncton region cases are an individual between 20 and 29, two people between 60 and 69, two people between 70 and 79, four people between 80 and 89 and three people over 90.
Three of those cases remain under investigation while the others are linked to the special care home.
In the Campbellton region, the new cases announced are an individual under 19, an individual between 20 and 29, an individual between 30 and 39, an individual between 50 and 59, two people between 60 and 69 and an individual between 70 and 79. Those cases are connected to a regional outbreak and remain under investigation.
The new case in the Fredericton area is an individual between 50 and 59 and related to travel outside of the Atlantic bubble.
Public Health says all the new cases are self-isolating.
Case at Dalhousie elementary school
Education Minister Dominic Cardy said a second case in a New Brunswick school since the start of the pandemic has been confirmed. That case is at Académie Notre-Dame, an elementary school in Dalhousie, which remains open under strict guidance from Public Health.
The first case in a school was confirmed on Thursday at Sugarloaf High School in Campbellton. That school will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a prior decision to help students adapt to online learning.
Cardy said mask use will now be required — both indoors and outdoors — for all students in grades K-12 at schools in Campbellton and Moncton health regions.
Exceptions will be made for physical education, and while students are eating or working alone quietly at their desk. Those with medical reasons will also be exempt.
All school sports and extracurricular activities are now cancelled.
“This is a time which I think we all hoped would not reach us here in New Brunswick, after a long summer where we had a respite from a disease that’s ravaging the world,” Cardy said.
He would not say how many people at the two schools are self-isolating, citing privacy reasons.
Rising cases in Moncton, Campbellton regions
The spike in cases follows the decision Friday to force two regions back to the orange recovery phase in response to community transmission of COVID-19.
The changes for the Moncton region and the Campbellton region took effect at midnight.
That was following an outbreak at the Manoir Notre-Dame involving 19 people, while Sugarloaf High School confirmed a positive case.
Public Health said there is no indication of a link between the Moncton outbreak and 13 cases in the Campbellton region, but contact tracing is ongoing.
Russell said the source of the outbreak in the Manoir Notre-Dame is “associated with travel,” while the source of the Campbellton cases is under investigation. At least one case is travel-related.
She asked New Brunswickers to reduce their close contacts to allow for quicker contact tracing, now that the province has risen to 57 active cases.
“That is very, very hard to stay ahead of,” Russell said. “So we really need your help to keep that number low.”
The Igloo Beverage Room in Moncton posted on Facebook Friday that one of its employees has tested positive for COVID-19. The pub and restaurant said it has closed and the individual was a kitchen employee not directly involved in food preparation.
The new cases Saturday bring the province to 258 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 199 recovered. The province conducted 908 tests on Friday for a total of 84,081 tests since March.
Orange zone restrictions
Face masks are now mandatory in most outdoor and indoor public places in the Campbellton and Moncton regions, Russell said Saturday.
The change is a further tightening of the province’s decision to make masks mandatory in most indoor public spaces that began Thursday.
Premier Blaine Higgs said Friday that residents in the two affected regions will need to stay within two-household bubbles in their orange zone. But he said bubbles can extend to include immediate family and caregivers.
Outdoor gatherings must be limited to 10 people or fewer, while some indoor events, including weddings, funerals and religious services are permitted with 10 or fewer.
Food, retail, and beverage businesses can continue to operate under COVID-19 operational plans, but “close contact personal services,” such as barbers and hair stylists, must close.
Gyms, fitness facilities and recreational centres, casinos, amusement centres, bingo halls, arcades, cinemas and large live performance venues will also have to close.
The province daycares and schools from kindergarten to Grade 12 can remain open under strict guidance.
Russell said the two regions will remain in orange until case numbers decrease.
The rest of New Brunswick remains under the yellow recovery phase.
Russell advised New Brunswickers to avoid all non-essential travel in and out of the Campbellton and Moncton regions.
“We know there are students at post-secondary institutions in those zones who want to go home for Thanksgiving dinner this weekend,” she said. “We are asking you and everyone not to travel in or out of those zones at this time.”
Health services reduced
The Vitalité Health Network has scaled back services at the Campbellton Regional Hospital as a “precautionary measure.”
Some services have also been temporarily reduced at the St. Joseph Community Health Centre in Dalhousie and the Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent.
In the Moncton region, patients with non-urgent symptoms are asked to avoid visiting the emergency rooms at the Moncton Hospital or the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre.
The ERs in all affected hospitals remain open for those with urgent or critical care needs, according to Horizon and Vitalité.
Vitalité also announced an end to visits at the Campbellton Regional Hospital, the Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital and the Dumont centre.
here is an exception for the obstetrics, pediatrics and palliative care units, and for patients who will receive medical assistance in dying.
Horizon Health confirmed a staffing shortage at the Moncton Hospital as 16 ER nurses and a phlebotomist have been self-isolating since Thursday.
This is creating a “challenging staffing situation” and longer wait times are expected, Horizon said in a statement.
Vitalité also confirmed it has employees in self-isolation who are close contacts of cases or tested positive for COVID-19. There are 20 employees from the Campbellton region and five from the Moncton region in isolation.
Anyone exhibiting mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19 should complete the online self-assessment by visiting www.gnb.ca/coronavirus or call Tele-Care 811.
Public Health officials have asked anyone who has visited those Moncton locations between specific dates and times to self-monitor for symptoms and, if they have those symptoms, to call 811.
Those dates and times for Costco are: Oct. 1 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Oct. 2 from 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Oct. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For St.-Hubert restaurant: Oct. 3 from 11:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Oct. 4 from 11:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For McDonald’s on Morton Avenue in Moncton: Between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. from Sept. 28 to Oct. 5.
What to do if you have a symptom
People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test on the government website at gnb.ca.
Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: a fever above 38 C, a new cough or worsening chronic cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, new onset of fatigue, new onset of muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing.
In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with one of those symptoms are asked to:
German GDP saw 8.2% bounce-back in third quarter
BERLIN – The German economy bounced back strongly in the third quarter compared to the previous three months, when the country was hit by the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, according to official figures released Friday.
Germany’s Federal Statistical Office said the country’s gross domestic product grew by 8.2% from July to September compared to the second quarter.
Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the data was better than predicted and the government now expects a full-year decline in GDP of 5.5%, better than the government’s forecast in September of a 5.8% drop.
German GDP is expected to grow 0.4% in the fourth quarter, less than previously expected due to the recent upsurge in new COVID cases.
Altmaier said officials expect the economy to have recovered from the impact of the pandemic by 2022.
Source:- Toronto Star
Finding the Best Health Insurance
Canadian health insurance quotes can be easily accessed via the Internet. But having each provider’s rates isn’t the only thing you need to remember. Other essential considerations need to be considered to ensure that you get the best deal for the insurance policy that is most suitable for you and your family. The steps below are intended to help you get out of it.
- Decide how much of the deductible your finances can afford. The deductible is the annual payment to be charged by you for the total of all medical costs that you reported from your insurance provider throughout the year. Bear in mind that the higher the deductible, the lower the rate. Therefore, before receiving a Canadian health insurance quote, decide the premium amount your budget can pay for your annual health-related expenses.
- Check to see if you need extra coverage. Since the Canadian government’s standard health insurance coverage is minimal, you will want to include supplementary coverage in the health insurance package you consider, i.e., serious illness insurance, vision care, and other forms of coverage. Required disease insurance helps if you are unexpectedly afflicted with some serious or life-threatening conditions covered by the policy. Vision insurance provides a range of eye care programs. If you have decided which extra coverage is ideal for your situation, your Canadian health insurance quotes will better represent accurate prices.
- Determine whether getting coverage for a prescription drug is necessary. Coverage for prescription medications is provided under the Canadian basic insurance plans. However, you may be limited to a specified monthly amount. Hence, if you are required to take multiple prescription drugs whereby the government health plan does not sufficiently cover costs, you might want to consider getting additional prescription drug coverage.
- Consider how far and how safely you drive if you fly several times a year, whether, for business or personal reasons, you can take travel insurance into account while looking for Canadian health insurance quotes since simple policies do not usually protect individuals who travel more than a week at a time.
- Obtain multiple health insurance quotes every time. Without a doubt, getting health insurance quotes from a few insurance providers helps in your search for the cheapest yet most appropriate health insurance coverage out there. Fortunately, this task is made more accessible now that it can be readily done online. Fill out the online forms provided on the insurers’ websites you have selected, and you can get multiple quotes within minutes. Remember, if the information you provide is nearly precise, you will obtain relatively accurate quotes.
- Compare plans based on the coverage and not on the price. As thrift-minded consumers, we often tend to buy the first cheap health insurance plan we are offered. Now, this practice can initially save you money, but should a case of illness in the family occur, and you may be left with insubstantial coverage. So when you are checking out insurance plans, make sure you do not assess them merely on cost and the details of the coverage.
- Opt to enlist the assistance of a third-party. Examining Canadian health insurance quotes can be tedious and time-consuming, but there is a way to expedite the process. A third-party firm can review the various insurance health plans you have investigated so that the task of meticulously examining and comparing the insurance coverage is simplified. Not only will it save you time, but it will also enable you to make informed decisions.
Bear in mind that the insurance quotes you obtain online may not be exact. For that reason, you must consult with a health insurance agent to get precise calculations for the coverage you want and, at the same time, get answers to all your insurance questions.
Next crop of COVID-19 vaccine developers take more traditional route – Reuters
CHICAGO/BERLIN (Reuters) – The handful of drugmakers dominating the global coronavirus vaccine race are pushing the boundaries of vaccine technology. The next crop under development feature more conventional, proven designs.
The world will need several different vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, given the sheer size of global need, variations in effects on different populations, and possible limits of effectiveness in the first crop.
Many leading candidates now in final-stage testing are based on new, largely unproven technology platforms designed to produce vaccines at speed.
They include messenger RNA (mRNA) technology used by Moderna Inc MRNA.O and Pfizer Inc PFE.N with partner BioNTech SE 22UAy.F, and inactivated cold virus platforms used by Oxford University/AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L, Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N and CanSino Biologics 6185.HK, whose vaccine has been approved for military use in China.
Merck & Co MRK.N in September started testing a COVID-19 vaccine based on a weakened measles virus that delivers genes from the new coronavirus into the body to stimulate an immune response to the coronavirus.
Of these, only the technology offered by J&J and CanSino that use cold viruses as vectors to deliver coronavirus genetic material have ever produced a licensed vaccine – for Ebola.
The next set of candidates – with late-stage trial results expected in the first half of 2021 – are heavily skewed toward approaches that have produced successful vaccines.
Conventional methods include using a killed or inactivated version of the pathogen that causes a disease to provoke an immune response, such as those used to make flu, polio and rabies vaccines.
Also more common are protein-based vaccines that use purified pieces of the virus to spur an immune response. Vaccines against whooping cough, or pertussis, and shingles employ this approach.
French drugmaker Sanofi SASY.PA is developing a protein-based COVID-19 vaccine employing the same approach it uses for its Flublok seasonal flu vaccine. Sanofi expects to start the final phase of testing in early December, with approval targeted in the first half of 2021.
While Novavax Inc NVAX.O has not yet produced a licensed vaccine, it is using similar purified protein technology and expects to start a late-stage U.S. trial involving 30,000 volunteers in late November.
“Those are more traditional approaches, so we can feel more comfortable that we have a lot of experience with them,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Offit also sees promise in some of the inactivated virus vaccines being developed by Chinese researchers, including Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG), one of the few first-crop developers using a traditional technique.
Other second-wave developers are making vaccines based on virus-like particles (VLPs), which mimic the structure of the coronavirus but contain no genetic material from it.
VLP vaccines can be produced in a variety of different types of cells, including mammal, bacterial, insect, yeast and plant cells. This approach has been used to develop vaccines for hepatitis B and human papillomavirus.
Quebec’s Medicago is testing a VLP COVID-19 vaccine grown in tobacco plants with the backing of tobacco company Philip Morris PM.N.
Medicago has yet to produce an approved vaccine, but has completed large-scale testing for a seasonal flu vaccine using this approach. It plans to begin mid-stage trials of its COVID-19 vaccine next month and aims to make up to 1 billion doses a year by 2023.
Others are looking at alternative delivery methods, such as the nasal spray vaccine being developed by a team at Xiamen University, Hong Kong University and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise, which is based on a modified flu virus.
The second crop, however, could face problems completing large studies if the current leaders bring their vaccines over the finish line in the coming months.
“If we get a super vaccine in December, from company x, which is on the market, it will be difficult to recruit participants into other studies,” said Peter Kremsner from the University Hospital in Tuebingen, Germany.
“Then everyone will say, if the vaccine exists, I will get vaccinated now with this vaccine. This will definitely prove a problem for recruitment,” added Kremsner, who is testing CureVac’s CVAC.O mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in early clinical trials with backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
On the flip side, it is easier and faster to prove efficacy when community spread of the virus is rampant as is happening again in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, a potential advantage for companies starting large-scale vaccine trials in the near future.
Reporting by Rocky Swift in Tokyo and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Additional reporting by Kate Kelland in London, Ludwig Burger, Caroline Copley in Berlin, Sangmi Cha in Seoul and Allison Martell in Toronto; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Miyoung Kim, Peter Henderson and Bill Berkrot
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