As the number of COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia rises, Premier Stephen McNeil is reminding people to be vigilant about public health protocols.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority reported three new cases of coronavirus in the province Sunday.
The new cases are all in the Central zone and are under investigation, the health authority said in a news release.
Four new cases were reported Saturday, also in the Central zone. Two are related to travel outside the Atlantic bubble, and the other two are close contacts of previously reported cases.
The province now has 20 active cases. Public health issued notices on the weekend about at least 11 potential exposures.
In the release, McNeil said he is “concerned” about the increase in the number of cases and public exposure advisories.
“We cannot become complacent about this virus,” the premier said.
“That means we all must continue to follow public health protocols, including social distancing, wearing a mask, proper hand hygiene and limiting social contacts.”
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, said contact tracing and testing are important components of public health during the pandemic.
“As positive cases are investigated, public health may learn a person spent time in community settings, like a restaurant, while infectious or potentially infectious,” Strang said in the release.
“If they are unsure that all contacts have been found, they use a public exposure notice to ensure everyone that may have been a close contact is aware and monitoring their health or getting tested if directed.”
McNeil and Strang are scheduled to hold another COVID-19 briefing Monday at 3 p.m.
Also on the weekend, Nova Scotia public health advised of potential exposure to COVID-19 at eight locations in Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford and updated the timeline for another potential exposure announced earlier.
Weekend news releases from public health say there were potential exposures at the following locations:
- All Nations Full Gospel Church, worshipping at Saint Andrew’s United Church, 6036 Coburg Rd., Halifax, Oct. 25 at 6:00 p.m.
- Montana’s BBQ and Bar, 196B Chain Lake Dr., Halifax), Oct. 25 between 6:00 p.m. and closing.
- Gahan House, 5239 Sackville St., Halifax, Nov. 4 between 7:45 p.m. and 11:45 p.m.
- Halifax Transit Route 59 from the Portland terminal to the Alderney terminal in Dartmouth, Nov. 4 between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
- Braemar Atlantic Superstore, 9 Braemar Dr., Dartmouth, Nov. 3 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
- Fit4Less Bedford, 1658 Bedford Highway, Nov. 3 between 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.
- Canada Games Centre, 26 Thomas Raddall Dr., Halifax, Nov. 2 between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. In a notice posted on its Facebook page, the centre said that the infected person visited the its fitness centre between 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., and followed centre protocols,” including wearing a mask to and from the Fitness Centre, wiping down equipment, and social distancing while exercising.”
- BMO Soccer Centre, 210 Thomas Raddall Dr., Halifax, Nov. 1 between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Public health says anyone who was at the church or Montana’s at the specified times should immediately contact 811 to arrange for COVID-19 testing, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or not.
Anyone who was at the other locations at the specified times is asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
Visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to do a self-assessment if in the past 48 hours, you have had or you are currently experiencing:
- fever (i.e. chills/sweats) or cough (new or worsening)
or two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):
- sore throat
- runny nose/ nasal congestion
- shortness of breath
Call 811 if you cannot access the online self-assessment or wish to speak with a nurse about your symptoms.
In addition, public health is updating the timeline for potential exposure to the coronavirus at The Bitter End Martini Bar and Restaurant, 1572 Argyle St., Halifax, on Nov. 2. This exposure, previously announced Thursday, has been extended to include all patrons and staff who attended the establishment between 9 p.m. and closing. Anyone who was at the bar at that time should contact 811 right away to arrange for COVID-19 testing, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or not.
The health authority’s labs completed 722 Nova Scotia tests Saturday. Nova Scotia has had 116,870 negative test results, 1,128 positive COVID-19 cases, 65 deaths and 1,043 resolved cases. No one is currently in hospital. Cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.
New Brunswick reported one new case Sunday and has 24 active cases, while Newfoundland and Labrador had one new case and has seven active cases. Prince Edward Island had no new cases on the weekend and has two active cases.
AstraZeneca says late-stage trials of its COVID-19 vaccine were 'highly effective' in preventing disease – CBC.ca
AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed that its COVID-19 vaccine with Oxford University was up to 90 per cent effective in preventing disease. The vaccine is one of several that Canada has preordered.
The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine, AstraZeneca said.
The trial looked at two different dosing regimens. A half dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month apart was 90 per cent effective. A second regimen using two full doses one month apart was 62 per cent effective. The combined results showed an average efficacy rate of 70 per cent.
“These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives,” Prof. Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial, said in a statement. “Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90 per cent effective.”
AstraZeneca is the third major drug company to report late-stage results for its potential COVID-19 vaccine as public health officials around the world anxiously wait for vaccines that will end the pandemic that has killed almost 1.4 million people. Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna last week reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing their vaccines were almost 95 per cent effective.
Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries. All three vaccines must be approved by regulators before they can be widely distributed.
“The Oxford vaccine can be stored in the fridge, as opposed to the freezer like the other two vaccines, which means it is a more practical solution for use worldwide,” said Peter Horby, professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health at Oxford.
The results come as COVID-19 infection rates are rising in most U.S. states and in many countries, including Canada, amid a resurgence of the virus, which is once again prompting governments to shut down businesses and restrict social gatherings around the world. England is still in the middle of a four-week lockdown that has closed all non-essential shops, while in the U.S., the government’s top health agency has recommended that Americans not travel to visit family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday this week.
AstraZeneca said it will immediately apply for early approval of the vaccine where possible, and it will seek an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization so it can make the vaccine available in low-income countries.
The vaccine uses a weakened version of a common cold virus that is combined with genetic material for the characteristic spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19. After vaccination, the spike protein primes the immune system to attack the virus if it later infects the body.
Incredibly exciting news the Oxford vaccine has proved so effective in trials. There are still further safety checks ahead, but these are fantastic results. <br><br>Well done to our brilliant scientists at <a href=”https://twitter.com/UniofOxford?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@UniofOxford</a> & <a href=”https://twitter.com/AstraZeneca?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@AstraZeneca</a>, and all who volunteered in the trials. <a href=”https://t.co/84o8TKhQga”>https://t.co/84o8TKhQga</a>
The vaccine can be transported under “normal refrigerated conditions” of 2 C to 8 C, AstraZeneca said. By comparison, Pfizer plans to distribute its vaccine using specially designed “thermal shippers” that use dry ice to maintain temperatures of minus -70 C.
Smaller dose may reduce costs
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said the finding that a smaller initial dose is more effective than a larger one is good news because it may reduce costs and mean more people can be vaccinated.
“The report that an initial half-dose is better than a full dose seems counterintuitive for those of us thinking of vaccines as normal drugs. With drugs, we expect that higher doses have bigger effects, and more side-effects,” he said. “But the immune system does not work like that.”
WATCH | Who would get a COVID-19 vaccine first and when?
Dr. Christopher Labos, a cardiologist in Montreal trained in epidemiology, said vaccines do not have to be perfect or prevent every case of COVID-19.
“The point is to drastically reduce the caseload, to drastically reduce the number of new infections so that we don’t have these outbreaks, so we don’t have the hospital systems overwhelmed,” Labos said Monday on CBC News Network.
“That’s the main take-home message from a lot of these vaccines. Not only do they prevent cases but they seem to prevent serious cases of COVID-19.”
Labos said he suspects because the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines need to be stored at low temperatures, they are probably going to be reserved for institutions, while the Oxford/AstraZeneca one might be rolled out in the community.
The results reported Monday come from trials in the U.K. and Brazil that involved 23,000 people. Late-stage trials are also underway in the U.S., Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America, with further trials planned for other European and Asian countries.
AstraZeneca reported two pauses in the Phase 3 clinical trial of its vaccine candidate, AZD1222. “No serious safety events related to the vaccine have been confirmed,” the company said in a release.
AstraZeneca has been ramping up manufacturing capacity, so it can supply hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine starting in January, chief executive Pascal Soriot said earlier this month.
Soriot said Monday that the Oxford vaccine’s simpler supply chain and AstraZeneca’s commitment to provide it on a non-profit basis during the pandemic mean it will be affordable and available to people around the world.
“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,” Soriot said.
Now that AstraZeneca has released its interim results, regulators must approve the vaccine before it can be widely distributed.
‘Great sense of relief’
Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, and the government says several million doses can be produced before the end of the year if it gains approval from the regulator. Canada has ordered 20 million doses, enough for 10 million people.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he felt “a great sense of relief” at the news of the AstraZeneca vaccine’s effectiveness.
He said just months ago, as the virus raged, “the idea that by November we would have three vaccines, all of which have got high effectiveness, I would have given my eye teeth for.”
Record number of new coronavirus cases reported in Ontario as lockdowns begin in Toronto, Peel – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Ontario is reporting a record number of new cases of COVID-19 just as Toronto and Peel enter a lockdown to control the rapid spread of the virus.
The Ministry of Health says that there were 1,589 new instances of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus confirmed on Sunday as we all as another 19 deaths, 11 of which involved residents of long-term care facilities.
It is a new record caseload for any single 24-hour period, just barely topping the previous high of 1,588 that was reported on Saturday. It also represent a more sizeable increase on the 1,487 new cases that were reported last Monday.
Meanwhile, the seven-day average of new cases increased again and now stands at 1,429. That, however, is still down from this point last week when it stood at 1,443.
The latest positive cases came on just 37,471 tests, repeating a trend that typically sees the province report fewer results at the beginning of the week due to a drop off in testing over the weekend.
The positivity percentage over the last 24 hours was 4.6 per cent. It is the highest that number has been since last Tuesday.
The vast majority of the new cases do continue to be clustered in Peel (535 cases), Toronto (336 new cases) and York (205 new cases) with those three regions accounting for more than two-thirds of all new infections.
But the transmission of the virus does seem to be accelerating in communities across Ontario, as officials have warned.
On Monday there were 83 new cases reported in Waterloo, as the region officially moved into the red zone in Ontario’s COVID-19 framework. There was also another 41 new cases in Durham, 53 in Halton and 61 in Hamilton.
“The main thing people can do now is please stay home,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told CP24 on Monday morning. “It matters less in the context of achieving the result which kind of stores are closed and not closed. It matters more whether people decide to follow the advice, which is if it is at all possible just stay home.”
Modelling had warned of higher case counts by now
Modelling released earlier this month had warned that Ontario could see about 2,000 to 2,500 cases a day by this point en-route to 3,500 to 6,500 daily cases by mid-December but it would appear that we have fallen off that pace somewhat.
There are, however, still alarming indicators that point to challenging days on the horizon.
There are now 156 COVID-19 patients receiving treatment in the ICU and some hospitals have already had to cancel some elective surgeries and procedures to accommodate the influx.
Deaths are also steadily increasing after lagging behind the rise in case counts for months.
Over the last seven days an average of 19 COVID patients have died each day, up slightly from this time last week when the seven-day average was 18.
If there is reason for optimism, it comes in the form of encouraging news on the vaccine development front.
On Monday morning AstraZeneca reported that its vaccine appeared to be up to 90 per cent effective in late-stage trials. Moderna Inc. and Pfizer have also reported that their vaccines are more than 90 per cent effective with the latter having recently applied for emergency use authorization from U.S. officials.
“With these vaccine studies it is great news and it is always OK to take a stop along the way and smell the roses and a have a small celebration but we have to stay the course,” infectious diseases expert Dr. Issac Bogoch told CP24 on Monday, prior to the release of the latest numbers. “Our masks, our distancing, our hand sanitization, getting vaccinated for the flu. Just continue to adhere to these public health measures and it is clear that things are going to get better and better and better but we are not there yet. So just double down, hold the fortress, continue to practice our public health measures and we will be ok. We really will.”
Ontario reports record-high 1,589 new COVID-19 cases as Toronto, Peel lock down – CBC.ca
Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to hold a news conference beginning at 1 p.m. at Queen’s Park. Ford’s office says he will be joined by several cabinet members, including the minister of health.
You can watch it live in this story.
Ontario reported 1,589 more cases of COVID-19 on Monday, another single-day record as Toronto and Peel Region move into a second lockdown.
The new cases include 336 in Toronto, 535 in Peel and 205 in York Region. They drive the seven-day average up to 1,423 after six consecutive days of increases.
Other public health units that saw double-digit increases in today’s update were:
- Waterloo Region: 83
- Hamilton: 61
- Windsor: 56
- Halton Region: 53
- Durham Region: 41
- Ottawa: 40
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 30
- Simcoe Muskoka: 25
- Niagara Region: 24
- Brant County: 16
- Thunder Bay: 16
- Middlesex-London: 13
[Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary, which include data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.]
Sixty of the new infections were school-related, including 51 students and nine staff members. A total of 676, or about 14 per cent, of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly-funded schools have reported at least one case of COVID-19. Three schools are remain closed due to the illness.
The additional cases come as Ontario’s labs processed 37,471 test samples for the novel coronavirus, and 18,394 were added to the queue to be completed. The province reported an overall test positivity rate of 4.6 per cent.
There are currently 13,004 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 in the province, the most at any point since the outbreak began in late January.
Nineteen more people with COVID-19 have died, the province said, pushing the official death toll to 3,505. The additional deaths include a man in his 20s, the fifth person in their 20s to die with COVID-19 in Ontario. So far this month, 360 people with infections of the novel coronavirus have died provincewide.
Meanwhile, Toronto and Peel Region have entered the most restrictive tier of Ontario’s pandemic protection plan.
It means that for at least the next 28 days, non-essential retailers can only offer curbside pickup, while restaurants are closed to all but takeout and delivery orders.
Personal services have also been forced to close, but schools and child-care centres remain open.
Premier Doug Ford announced the move on Friday, but it didn’t come into effect until 12:01 a.m. today.
That gave residents of Toronto and Peel the chance to stock up over the weekend, and many did — flooding local malls, even as those facilities extended hours in an effort to prevent too many people from coming at once.
While Toronto and Peel face the strictest measures, other areas of the province are also seeing rules tighten.
Durham Region and Waterloo joined York Region in the red classification today. The rules limit restaurants, gyms and food courts to 10 indoor patrons with social distancing, with even tighter restrictions on private gatherings.
The areas around Huron, Perth, Simcoe, Muskoka, and Windsor-Essex have moved to the orange classification, which caps gatherings at staffed businesses to 50 people indoors, or four per table at restaurants.
NFL Week 11 Takeaways: Canada’s Claypool joins elite company with 10th TD – Sportsnet.ca
New Xiaomi Android 11 roadmap reveals that the Redmi Note 8 Pro and Redmi Note 8 duo may receive the update after all – Notebookcheck.net
Prairie Harm Reduction temporarily closing due to COVID-19 case – Global News
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
- Tech24 hours ago
Don't be duped by performance, Apple's M1 silicon is all about platform control – Android Authority
- Health23 hours ago
New Brunswick reports 6 new cases of COVID-19 – CBC.ca
- Business23 hours ago
Toronto, Peel Region set for 28-day lockdown: What’s open and closed – CityNews Toronto
- News18 hours ago
Canada Post calls in reinforcements to meet historic demand – CBC.ca
- Art21 hours ago
Art adrift: How a kayak and driftwood help this adventurer make beautiful art – CBC.ca
- Art23 hours ago
SAAG launching its Art Frenzy gala online tonight – Toronto Star
- Health17 hours ago
Alberta reports more COVID-19 cases on Sunday than any other province – CTV Edmonton
- Politics23 hours ago
Operation Warp Speed adviser concerned about vaccine skepticism 'exacerbated' by 'political context' – ABC News