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No wasted doses: Health officials making plans to ensure no vaccine tossed away – Airdrie Today

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Some health officials say they are making plans to ensure not a single drop of COVID-19 vaccine is wasted. 

Many regions have created standby lists of health-care workers in hospitals near vaccination clinics, so those workers can be called for any spare doses that need to be administered fast.

“We don’t want any wastage of such a scarce resource like this,” Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, said Thursday.

About 900 front-line health workers in Manitoba were to be vaccinated by the end of Friday.

Across the country, some 30,000 people are getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at 14 different sites as part of the largest mass vaccination effort in Canadian history.

Each region has varying plans to deliver their limited doses of the difficult-to-handle vaccine to high-risk recipients. 

And time is of the essence. Once the vaccine is thawed and prepared, it must be used within five days. 

“We absolutely don’t want any wasted doses,” Roussin said.

He said if someone does not show up for an appointment, front-line staff from a nearby hospital are brought in for the shot.

There have been a few cases this week in Ontario where people who were scheduled for vaccinations were unable to get them, said Ana Fernandes, a public affairs adviser for the University Health Network. 

The Ontario government has prioritized people working in long-term care homes in its COVID-19 vaccination pilot sites and there are strict criteria for who can take it. 

Fernandes said officials have created a list of people who work in emergency rooms, intensive care departments and COVID-19 units in nearby hospitals. Twice a day, if there are unused doses, calls are made to people on the list.

Lessons from these pilot sites are important, she added, so no vaccination opportunities are lost as distribution ramps up.

Another 200,000 doses are expected in Canada next week, bound for 70 distribution sites. 

Health Canada has said vials may contain a bit more than the five doses they are supposed to have. If possible, clinic staff can draw an additional dose or maybe even two. But mixing from vials is not recommended as it could result in cross-contamination, loss of sterility or improper dosing.

“The bottom line is don’t throw it away,” Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said Friday.

She said staff who are giving vaccinations should check to see if there’s enough vaccine for an extra dose in each vial.

She added that if people forget to show up for their vaccination appointments, including for the required second dose, they should still get the shots another time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2020.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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Health officials in Ontario investigating whether second COVID-19 care home outbreak is linked to U.K. variant – The Globe and Mail

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Paramedics transport a person from Roberta Place, a long term seniors care facility which is the site of a coronavirus disease outbreak in Barrie, Ont. on Jan. 18, 2021.

CARLOS OSORIO/Reuters

The U.K. variant of COVID-19 behind a devastating outbreak at a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., is also being investigated as the possible source of infections at a second facility in the region.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit announced on Sunday that it has received another laboratory-confirmed case for the highly contagious variant first detected in the United Kingdom. This individual was in close contact with a person who is part of a COVID-19 outbreak at Bradford Valley Care Community, Charles Gardner, Simcoe Muskoka’s medical officer of health, told reporters.

“So just to be clear, we only have the one laboratory confirmation today with regards to this situation,” Dr. Gardner said, adding that the health unit is pursuing further testing to determine whether anyone who lives or works at the Bradford Valley long-term care home has the variant known as UK B 1.1.7.

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A total of six residents and three staff members at Bradford Valley have tested positive for COVID-19.

U.K. variant of COVID-19 at Barrie, Ont. long-term care home infects all but two residents

The individual who has tested positive for the U.K. variant is also connected to a retail outlet that provides curbside service where two positive cases of the virus have been confirmed. “We are investigating that as another point of contact in the community,” Dr. Gardner said.

The outbreak of the virus at the Bradford long-term care home began on Jan. 14 and is well under control at this time, he said in a statement.

However, he added, “the possibility of this being due to the U.K. variant needs to be assessed and managed, given its increased transmissibility.”

The 230-bed home is owned by Sienna Senior Living, one of Canada’s largest operators of for-profit long-term care homes.

“We are being extremely vigilant in our monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and are taking all of the necessary steps to protect the safety of our residents and team members,” Sienna’s chief medical officer Andrea Moser said in the statement.

The latest development follows the announcement on Saturday that a genome sequencing test identified the U.K. variant in six COVID-19 samples taken from Roberta Place, a long-term care home in Barrie where a devastating outbreak has infected all but two residents and killed 40 as of Sunday. An essential caregiver has also died of COVID-19 and 86 staff have tested positive.

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Health unit probing second possible UK variant outbreak in region – OrilliaMatters

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NEWS RELEASE
SIMCOE MUSKOKA DISTRICT HEALTH UNIT
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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) was informed late yesterday by Public Health Ontario Laboratory of an additional individual with the United Kingdom (UK) variant of COVID-19 within the region.

This individual had close contact with a person who is also part of a COVID-19 outbreak at Bradford Valley Care Community, a long-term care home (LTCH) in Bradford West Gwillimbury. As such, SMDHU is currently investigating if this outbreak is also due to the UK variant of COVID-19.

“Given this situation, we are working together in partnership with the residence to implement additional measures to contain the spread while pursuing the necessary tests to determine if it is the UK variant of COVID-19 that is the cause of this outbreak,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU’s Medical Officer of Health.

SMDHU is investigating all other connections to the individual who tested positive for the UK variant, including a curbside-only retail setting.

The COVID-19 outbreak was declared at Bradford Valley Care Community on Jan. 14. As of Jan. 23, four residents out of 230, and three staff out of 260, have tested positive for COVID-19; further testing will be done to determine if this is the UK variant. While the outbreak is well under control at this time with a relatively low case count, the possibility of this being due to the UK variant needs to be assessed and managed, given its increased transmissibility.

“We are being extremely vigilant in our monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and are taking all of the necessary steps to protect the safety of our residents and team members, said Dr. Andrea Moser, Sienna Senior Living’s Chief Medical Officer. “We are working proactively with Public Health and community partners as fighting the virus will require everyone’s expertise and teamwork.”

The intensified case and contact measures being taken include extending the isolation duration for cases and close contacts, more readily identifying close contacts, and quarantining all household contacts of confirmed or probable cases as quickly as possible.

On Jan. 15, most of the residents in Bradford Valley Care Community were provided with vaccination by SMDHU staff as a protective measure against COVID-19.  As of Jan. 16, the residents of all the LTCHs in Simcoe Muskoka have been offered their first dose of immunization against COVID-19. Although many of the staff have received their first vaccination, steps are being taken to ensure that all of them will have access to the vaccine at this time.

“Approximately 60 per cent of team members and 96 per cent of residents at Bradford Valley have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine,” said Dr. Moser. “We appreciate all the efforts from our partners in the community with the rollout of the vaccine and will continue working closely with them as additional doses are available for deployment.”

People are reminded to continue to strictly follow public health measures to reduce and prevent transmission of the virus: wear a mask, physically distance from those outside your household, wash your hands frequently, leave your home only for essential reasons (in keeping with the provincial Stay at Home Order), and if you have symptoms self-isolate at home and get tested for COVID-19.”

For more information, visit SMDHU’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Immunization web page or call Health Connection to speak with a public health professional weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520). More information about the vaccine and immunization can also be found at ontario.ca.

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'Do not make plans,' warns Henry in plea to stem Family Day travel – Richmond News

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“We won’t be at a place where we can travel.”

That was Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s message Friday, Jan. 22, responding to questions over whether the province’s plan to vaccinate 4.3 million people by October would open up non-essential travel to British Columbians over the next several months.

“We know there are a lot of celebratory events coming up like Chinese New Year. We need those to remain low-key, virtual events this year,” she said.

Until at least the summer, Henry said travel should remain essential with a focus on staying local and “looking at experiencing what we have in B.C. for people in B.C.”

But on Thursday, Premier John Horgan rejected calls for a ban on interprovincial travel, after seeking a legal review on a potential border lockdown to stem the transmission of COVID-19.

Finding that much of the current interprovincial travel is work-related, and therefore essential, it cannot be restricted, Horgan stated in a written statement.

Current public health orders require masks in public indoor spaces and limit social gatherings to a single household or “core bubble” until at least Feb. 5 at midnight. They do not, however, restrict movement across the province.

“Public health officials tell us what is most important is for everyone to obey health orders, wherever they are, rather than imposing mobility rules,” he said. “Therefore, we will not be imposing travel restrictions at this time.”

On Friday, Horgan said his government would “be guided by the science.”

Pointing to his own affinity for attending lacrosse games as well as B.C.’s 150th anniversary since Confederation this summer, Horgan said, “We’re not making plans right now, and British Columbians shouldn’t be making plans right now.” 

“As we get more information, as the vaccination plan rolls out and we see the impact on case counts… we’ll be in a better position to make those decisions.” 

Horgan also said Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Herman is working on a plan to open up campgrounds across the province for the summer season.

As Henry put it: “Once we get to the summer, we’re probably going to be in a different position. Whether we’ll have access to international travel? That is not as sure.”

She added: “We know that there are billions of people who do not have access to vaccinations and that this virus is still creating great risks in many communities around the world.” 

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