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New case ends Huron-Perth's 20-day streak without a new coronavirus diagnosis – Stony Plain Reporter

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Maitland Manor. (File photo)

Almost three weeks with no new COVID-19 cases. Almost.

After not seeing a single new case of the virus in the Huron Perth Public Health area since May 1, health officials are reporting a tick in the positive column, marking the region’s 50th case.

The new case, reported May 20 at Maitland Manor in Goderich, also snaps a six-day streak of having no active reported cases in either Huron or Perth counties. It’s still only the 13th documented case in Huron County.

“I think some of the things that might be protective in Huron-Perth is that we are not an urban centre, we do have lower density than a city might contend with,” said Miriam Klassen, Huron-Perth’s medical officer of health.

While experts and health officials agree population density does play a role in the lower rates in the region, with rural communities generally more spread out, it’s not the sole reason the area has managed to fend off a massive wave of COVID-19 cases.

Klassen said the health unit has been able to conduct thorough contact tracing swiftly, and that pre-existing partnerships formed in the region under a single Ontario Health Team have expedited efficient communication.

She also said there is a strong response from the community in abiding by public health guidelines such as social distancing.

“People did heed the response and the direction from the health unit,” said Huron County warden Jim Ginn. “Because we have an older population, that’s maybe part of the reason why they took it to heart in more of our areas.”

As of Thursday, Huron-Perth Public Health has had 37.2  cases per 100,000 people, far off from the provincial average of 162.7.

By comparison, the Middlesex-London Health Unit sits at 92 cases per 100,000, with Sarnia-Lambton at 178.7, Chatham-Kent at 133.6 and Windsor-Essex at 189.3.

Southwestern Public Health, which covers Central Elgin and Oxford, is sitting at 30.3, making them the 7th lowest of the province’s 36 health units.

These numbers likely will rise in the coming weeks as testing for those with mild symptoms increases, meaning that more less-severe cases of COVID-19 will be detected.

But beyond embracing social distancing and a dispersed population, there’s still one thing that’s likely been on the side of both Huron-Perth Public Health and Southwestern Public Health: luck.

“In terms of which health units had initial feeding of imported cases, it often comes down to a bit of luck,” said Susan Bondy, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

According to Bondy, some regions, for whatever reason, were fortunate in that they didn’t import a significant number of cases after March break travel.

Meanwhile, border cities such as Sarnia and Windsor have been particularly hard-hit with COVID-19 cases.

“There’s no proof that there’s anything special about Huron-Perth that they won’t get a case. It’s all about movement,” Bondy said. “They are a two-hour car ride away from an imported case.”

Public health officials in both the Huron-Perth and Southwestern regions worry the low case counts in their areas could trigger complacency among residents and are urging citizens to stay vigilant even as the province reopens.

“I actually am quite concerned at the moment. I think people still hope and possibly think that this COVID pandemic can be turned off like a light switch,” said Joyce Locke, Southwestern Public Health’s medical officer of health. “That’s far from the truth.”

She said as more businesses open up, individuals should follow the recent recommendation from both the federal and provincial governments to wear a non-medical face mask in indoor settings where physical distancing is challenging.

Fatigue with physical distancing measures, especially as summer rolls around, is a genuine possibility. This time of year tends to bring about more travel, with day-trippers leaving bigger cities for quick getaways to rural areas, parks or beaches.

That, coupled with the relatively low COVID-19 numbers in these rural regions, and folks could get the wrong impression that the risk has disappeared, Locke said.

That’s why she feels a regional approach to further reopening the province isn’t a good idea.

“That would only let us take our guard down more and be more at risk for something happening,” Locke said. “I think to assume that we’re not as bad would only set us up for becoming as bad.”

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Quebec health officials confirm 25 monkeypox cases now in province – Global News

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Quebec public health officials are reporting a total of 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province as of Thursday.

Dr. Luc Boileau, interim public health director in the province, described it as a “serious outbreak” of the virus. Officials are investigating several more suspected cases.

“We had about 20 to 30 suspected cases under investigation so far,” Boileau said.

The province will also begin administering the Imvamune vaccine to close contacts of confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox as soon as Friday. A single dose will be provided within four days of exposure to the virus.

Quebec’s Health Ministry said in a statement that a second dose of the vaccine could be administered, but only if the risk of exposure is “still present 28 days later” and “only following a decision by public health authorities.”

READ MORE: Mass vaccinations for monkeypox not needed, WHO official says

Boileau said the majority of confirmed cases in the province are tied mostly to men who have had sexual relations with other men. There has been one case in a person under 18.

Last week, Quebec recorded the first cases of the virus in the country. The first suspected cases were reported on May 12 in Montreal.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that comes from the same family of viruses that causes smallpox, which the World Health Organization declared eradicated around the globe in 1980.

The virus spreads through prolonged closed contact. It can cause fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and lesions.

— with files from Global News’ Dan Spector and the Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Quebec to start monkeypox vaccination of contacts as officials confirm 25 cases

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MONTREAL — Quebec’s interim public health director says the province could start vaccinating people against monkeypox as soon as Friday.

Dr. Luc Boileau says there are now 25 confirmed cases of the disease in the province and about 30 suspected cases are under investigation.

He says the province has received supplies of smallpox vaccine from the federal government, and it will be administered to people who have been in close contact with confirmed cases of the disease.

Dr. Caroline Quach, the chair of Quebec’s immunization committee, says the vaccine has been shown to prevent monkeypox in animal studies if it is administered within four days of an exposure and can reduce severity if it is administered up to 14 days after an exposure.

She says the disease is transmitted only through prolonged close contact.

Boileau says the majority of cases are in adult men who have been in sexual contact with people who have the disease, and there has been one case in a person under 18.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

 

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Monkeypox Warnings Ignored; Dominant COVID Strain Emerges; Better Paxlovid Access – Medpage Today

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Warning signs of the current monkeypox outbreak may have been ignored. (STAT)

The CDC issued a monkeypox travel alert encouraging “enhanced precautions” after cases were reported in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Roche announced it has developed three PCR test kits to detect the monkeypox virus.

The U.S. has a new dominant COVID-19 strain — BA.2.12.1 — a highly contagious sublineage of the BA.2 omicron subvariant that now accounts for 57.9% of all cases, according to CDC estimates.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, as well as Lt. Gov.Denny Heck, both tested positive for COVID-19, as did U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). (Seattle Times, The Hill)

As of Thursday at 8:00 a.m. EDT, the unofficial U.S. COVID toll was 83,697,199 cases and 1,004,558 deaths, increases of 218,146 and 913, respectively, compared with this time Wednesday morning.

The Biden Administration, projecting COVID infections will continue to spread during the summer travel season announced additional steps to make nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) more accessible. (ABC News)

The White House also reported the launch of the first federally-supported test-to-treat COVID site.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior leaders of the government are to blame for booze-filled parties that violated the country’s COVID-19 lockdown rules, according to an investigative report. (NPR)

A mouse study suggested that maraviroc (Selzentry), a FDA-approved drug used to treat HIV, may be able to reverse middle-aged memory loss. (Nature)

The University of California system will be paying nearly $700 million to women who said they were sexually abused by a UCLA gynecologist over the course of several decades. (AP)

The parents of a 4-year-old girl spoke out about her mysterious case of pediatric hepatitis that required a liver transplant, one of 180 similar cases under investigation in the U.S. (Today)

Teva Pharmaceuticals has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of one lot of anagrelide capsules, which are used to treat thrombocythemia secondary to myeloproliferative neoplasms, due to dissolution test failure during routine stability testing.

Servier announced the FDA approved ivosidenib (Tibsovo) in combination with azacitidine for certain patients with newly diagnosed IDH1-mutated acute myeloid leukemia.

A report from the American Medical Association shows that payers are not following the prior authorization reforms agreed to in 2018. (Fierce Healthcare)

The mass shooting in Buffalo earlier this month is a reminder that millions of Americans don’t have easy access to grocery stores. (NPR)

COVID-era misinformation is leading a wave of parents to reject ordinary childhood immunizations. (New York Times)

The FDA issued guidance spelling out rules for states that want to import certain prescription drugs from Canada.

  • Mike Bassett is a staff writer focusing on oncology and hematology. He is based in Massachusetts.

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