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Niagara has second confirmed case of COVID-19

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Niagara has its second confirmed case of COVID-19.

A 55-year-old woman, who had recently traveled to Egypt, tested positive for the novel coronavirus at Niagara Health’s St. Catharines site, according to Niagara Region Public Health.

Acting medical officer of health Dr. Mustafa Hirji said the patient is recovering at home in self-isolation. She is said to have only interacted with a family member during the time she may have been contagious and it’s believed she has not exposed anyone in the community.


“Her family member is isolated,” he said, adding they are being monitored for symptoms. He said isolation at home is preferred  when possible because not only is it significantly more comfortable for the patient, it also helps to conserve health care resources at hospitals.

To protect the privacy of the patient, Niagara Region Public Health is not revealing where in Niagara they reside, indicating only that the woman is a resident of Niagara.

Hirji said the patient reached out to her family physician after exhibiting symptoms and arrangements were made so she could get tested and return home, as a way to minimize her exposure to other members of the public. He said this is what people who are exhibiting symptoms should do – reach out to health care providers before visiting – to help minimize the spread.

All protocols were followed by health care providers, said Niagara Public Health, resulting in no exposure to them nor other patients.

“As we continue to see growing COVID-19 cases around the world, we expect to continue to see travel-related cases in Niagara,” said Dr. Mustafa Hirji, medical officer of health (acting), Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services. “However, we are not seeing any local circulation of the virus, and so our risk remains low. Everyone should feel comfortable continuing with their daily activities.”

This is the second confirmed case in Niagara. On Tuesday, an 84-year-old St. Catharines man was transferred to the hospital on another matter and tested positive for COVID-19 late Thursday.

While it’s not believed he travelled abroad, he is said to have had contact with a family member who had recently travelled. That family member is still waiting to be tested, said Hirji.

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Saskatchewan Health Authority released health system readiness model for COVID-19 – Assiniboia Times

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The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) released their health system readiness model on Wednesday during a presentation covering varied outcomes for different levels of the COVID-19 outbreak in Saskatchewan.

The presentation used three separate variable models of different varieties to show the impact the outbreak could have on Saskatchewan’s healthcare system. The SHA said the dynamic modelling is not a prediction, it provides a range of ‘what if’ scenarios to guide planning going forward.

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The modelling scenarios were based on our best knowledge at this time and will continue to be updated with Saskatchewan data. For all three scenarios, the key variable used to predict numbers were a high range, meaning one person could infect up to four people with the virus, a mid range where one person could infect 2.76 and a low range where one could infect 2.4.

According to the SHA, in a high-range estimate, 4,265 COVID-19 patients are required in acute care. Of those hospitalized, 1,280 COVID-19 patients will be in the ICU with 90-95 per cent requiring ventilation.

On the low side, the SHA presentation said at peak, 390 patients are in an acute care simultaneously. Of those hospitalized, 120 patients will be in the ICU with 90-95 per cent requiring ventilation.

According to the SHA’s presentation, on the high end of the model, the province could see up to 408,000 total cases with 215 ICU admissions daily and a cumulative total of 8,370 deaths. On the low end, there’s 153,000 total cases with 20 ICU admissions daily and up to 3,075 deaths.

The SHA believed the current demand for daily ICU across Saskatchewan would be 57 beds with 98 total capacity. For acute care, there might be a daily demand of 1,396 with a total capacity of 2,433.

The SHA’s model reported an estimated total of 890 ICU patients at peak across the province. The model added the co-ordinated provincial approach for critical care patients from rural and north Saskatchewan to be admitted to urban sites when local ICU capacity was exceeded.

In addition, the SHA currently has 450 ventilators available to meet COVID-19 model demands for low and mid-range scenarios. The planned capacity ventilator requirement of 860 created a gap of 410, but the SHA added there are confirmed orders for 200 with 100 expected n the next two to three weeks.

The SHA said they are basing their response to COVID-19 on a strategy of contain, delay, mitigate and population health promotion. Their desired goal is to promote health, prevent disease and ensure healthcare services remain available. The SHA also said their key strategies for public health were to increase testing, identify cases early, expand contact tracing and enforce chief medical health officer orders.

The key strategies to further the SHA’s approach include expanding Healthline, delivering more services through virtual care models of which 750 clinicians are set up and expanding testing and assessment centres.

There are currently 38 SHA operated testing sites across the province, five assessment sites in operation with 21 planned to open in coming weeks.

 

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ICU beds main challenge in COVID-19 projections – The Telegram

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —

Peter Jackson

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The short-term outlook for COVID-19 spread in Newfoundland and Labrador looks promising under current health emergency measures.

But even the best-case long-term projections suggest a likely squeeze for intensive care unit (ICU) beds by the fall.

The projections were presented to reporters and to the public Wednesday by Dr. Proton Rahman, a clinical scientist with Eastern Health. The information was assembled through various local agencies with help from the University of Toronto and the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI).

Even with current emergency health measures, long-term modelling showed the province needing about 200 ICU beds at peak coronavirus levels in November. That’s three times what is currently available, although there would still be enough ventilators.

Overall bed capacity would not be exceeded in this scenario, but Rahman said ICU care depends primarily on the number of nurses and specialists available.

“It’s not just about beds,” he said. “With each individual bed there’s human resources involved, such as respiratory technicians, which is going to be critical to this. We really have to rethink, to some extent, how to deliver these services.”

A more dire scenario presented Wednesday, in which half the population got sick, showed catastrophic results, with not nearly enough beds, staff or ventilators to go around.

“We will simply not be able to cope without drastic changes, and even then it is unlikely we would be successful,” Health Minister Dr. John Haggie said during a later video address.

Insufficient data

Rahman warned that the CIHI models are likely “off a fair bit.”

“We’re looking well beyond the time frame that we have any certainty about.”

He said Newfoundland and Labrador is at least three weeks behind other provinces in terms of usable date.

In particular, while tragic in themselves, the fact there has only been two deaths so far makes it impossible to offer accurate projections of mortality rates.

He said the higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes in this province don’t bode well, since those underlying conditions increase the chance of severe symptoms or death.

But the virus can affect anyone.

“The experience that’s been reported in numerous states in America and also in Canada (is that) a lot of young, healthy people are actually ending up in the ICU. Most don’t, but it can happen to anyone,” Rahman said. “The people that we’re worried about the most are the old, the vulnerable, people with multiple medical conditions, but anyone can get in trouble and you really have to respect what this virus can do.”

Rahman said the Caul’s Funeral Home cluster — a mid-March exposure that accounts for 75 per cent of subsequent COVID-18 hospitalizations — also makes it difficult to interpret the province’s numbers with any accuracy.

Models are usually based on more evenly distributed infections.

Buying time

Rahman said emergency measures imposed by the province could buy time to accommodate demand ahead of the surge.

“The time is key in terms of the health care capacity to be able to manage large amounts of patients,” he said. “The other reason why time is important, if we’re looking at an 18-month to two-year time period, lots could happen in terms of maybe a potential therapy, something that’s been repurposed in terms of a drug coming into it, some antibodies that you can take or possibly a vaccine. You’re buying time for potentially a therapy and you’re also buying time in terms of our health care capacity to adapt to this.”

Rahman wouldn’t speculate on how long current health measures would be in place, especially if the peak doesn’t arrive until November.

But he cited a scenario posed by some experts in which individual measures could be lifted temporarily and re-imposed if the number of cases rises again.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald was not available for questions during the Wednesday evening briefing.

For now, Rahman said, it’s important to stay put.

“It just takes one small indiscretion to create a large increase,” he said.

“So, please, please follow the health guidelines put in place by Dr. Fitzgerald.”

With files from David Maher

Peter Jackson is a Local Initiative Reporter covering health care for The Telegram

peter.jackson@thetelegram.com

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U.S. CDC reports 374,329 coronavirus cases, 12,064 deaths – Financial Post

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday reported 374,329 cases of coronavirus, an increase of 43,438 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 3,154 to 12,064.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by a new coronavirus, as of 4 pm ET on April 6 compared to its count a day ago. (https://bit.ly/2IVY1JT)

The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states. (Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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