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Ontario is in a COVID-19 second wave: Ford – Cambridge Times

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Of Monday’s cases, 344 were reported in Toronto, 104 cases in Peel Region, 89 in Ottawa and 56 in York Region.

The latest figures prompted Ontario’s hospitals to call on the government to reinstate restrictions in those regions.

The Ontario Hospital Association said the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa should move back to Stage Two of the province’s pandemic response, which saw restrictions on non-essential businesses like restaurants, gyms, and movie theatres.


Association President Anthony Dale said hospitals could become overwhelmed with patients if such action isn’t taken.

“We can no longer retain a false sense of security and belief that this will not happen to us,” he said in a statement. “At this rate, Ontario hospitals are facing a direct threat to their ability to continue to delivering the highest quality of care to Ontarians.”

The average acute care occupancy rate of Ontario’s hospitals is 89 per cent currently, Dale said, but some of the facilities are already at 100 per cent capacity.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province would prefer to not reinstate any Stage Two restrictions but is watching the situation in the GTA and Ottawa closely.

“If we have to tighten up even more we will … because it’s absolutely necessary to protect the health and safety of everyone in Ontario,” she said.

The government said Monday that 128 people are currently hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 29 in intensive care.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath urged the government to make investments needed to get ahead of the second wave.

“We shouldn’t need to slide back into Stage Two,” she said. “But this government is currently doing nothing to prevent that.”

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner asked Ford to outline the metrics that will trigger school closures and a return to Stage Two.

“People need reassurance that the premier is not asleep at the wheel right now, when his actions will determine the severity of the second wave,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Toronto’s medical officer of health said Monday that she is recommending residents limit contact with those they don’t live with.

She said the concept of having 10 people within your social circle, introduced by the province this spring, was sensible at the time but that has now changed since schools and businesses have reopened and case counts are up.

“In Toronto, we have to acknowledge that the extent of infection spread, and the nature of city life, means that the concept of … the social circle no longer reflects the circumstances in which we live,” she said.

De Villa is also recommending changes that would reduce the number of people permitted in bars and restaurants to a maximum of 75 patrons, down from 100. The number of people permitted at a table would also be lowered from 10 to six people.

She is also recommending bars and restaurants collect contact information from every patron and that music be no louder than normal conversation in the establishment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2020.

By Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

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Scientists find signs of waning antibody immunity to COVID-19 over time in England – CBC.ca

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Antibodies against the novel coronavirus declined rapidly in the population in England during the summer, according to a preprint posted on Tuesday, suggesting protection after infection may not be long-lasting and raising the prospect of waning immunity in the community.

Scientists at Imperial College London have tracked antibody levels in the population in England following the first wave of COVID-19 infections in March and April.

Their study found that antibody prevalence fell by a quarter, from six per cent of the population around the end of June to just 4.4 per cent in September. That raises the prospect of decreasing population immunity ahead of a second wave of infections in recent weeks that has forced local lockdowns and restrictions.

Although immunity to the novel coronavirus is a complex and murky area, and may be assisted by T cells as well as B cells, which can stimulate the quick production of antibodies following re-exposure to the virus, the researchers said the experience of other coronaviruses suggested immunity might not be enduring.

“We can see the antibodies and we can see them declining and we know that antibodies on their own are quite protective,” Wendy Barclay, head of the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London, told reporters.

“On the balance of evidence I would say, with what we know for other coronaviruses, it would look as if immunity declines away at the same rate as antibodies decline away, and that this is an indication of waning immunity at the population level.”

Those for whom COVID-19 was confirmed with a gold standard PCR test had a less pronounced decline in antibodies, compared to people who had been asymptomatic and unaware of their original infection.

There was no change in the levels of antibodies seen in health-care workers, possibly due to repeated exposure to the virus.

Vaccine may be more protective

The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed to flag flaws, backs up findings from similar surveys in Germany. The German researchers found the vast majority of people didn’t have COVID-19 antibodies, even in hotspots for the disease, and that antibodies might fade in those who do.

WATCH | The limits of pursuing herd immunity:

A group of international experts push back against the Great Barrington Declaration and its pursuit of COVID-19 herd immunity, calling it “a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.” 2:05

World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said that uncertainty over how long immunity would last, and the fact that most people had never had antibodies against the coronavirus in the first place, showed the need to break transmission chains.

“Acquiring this collective immunity just by letting the virus run through the population is not really an option,” he told a UN briefing in Geneva.

Imperial’s study was based on a survey of 365,000 randomly selected adults.

The rapid waning of antibodies did not necessarily have implications for the efficacy of vaccine candidates currently in clinical trials, Imperial’s Barclay said.

“A good vaccine may well be better than natural immunity,” she said.

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COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday – Lacombe Express – Lacombe Express

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Alberta confirmed 1,440 COVID-19 cases from over the weekend and seven additional deaths.

The cases are: 364 on Friday, 572 on Saturday and 504 on Sunday. The Saturday case number is another record for the province.

That’s identifying, on average, 480 COVID-19 cases over the weekend, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health.

She said one of the challenges is to find a balance between minimizing the risk of COVID-19 and minimizing the risk of harms of restrictions.

“This requires us to keep the spread of COVID-19 manageable. We’ve now crossed a tipping point and are losing the balance we’ve been seeking,” said Hinshaw.

The government imposed new temporary mandatory limits Monday – of 15 people – at most social gatherings for the City of Calgary and Edmonton.

In total, 118 people in Alberta are in hospitals with 16 in intensive care.

The total number of active cases in the province sat at 4,477 Monday afternoon up 826 from Friday’s 3,651.

The number of active cases in the central zone jumped to 162 from Friday’s 126. There are three people in hospital in the local zone with none in intensive care.

To date, there have been 953 COVID-19 cases confirmed in the local zone with 783 recoveries.

The deaths were in Edmonton and Calgary zones. The virus-death toll is at 307.

The City of Red Deer’s active cases sits at 39 up from Friday’s 31.

A letter was sent Monday to families alerting them of a positive case of the virus at Gateway Christian School in Red Deer.

On Monday, Red Deer’s Hunting Hills High School was on province’s watch list.

Red Deer County had 10 active cases Monday afternoon, two in Town of Sylvan Lake, six in Lacombe County, one in the City of Lacombe, 45 in Ponoka County, two in County of Wetaskiwin, and 11 in City of Wetaskiwin.

There were two active cases in the Town of Olds, three in Clearwater County, five in Kneehill County, four in Camrose County, six in City of Camrose and one in Town of Drumheller.

There are no active cases in Mountain View County, Starland County and County of Stettler.

One of the challenges of the increasing active case numbers is it creates pressure on COVID-19 response including contact-tracing, said Hinshaw.

She said Alberta is also challenged between polarizing views on the virus: on one hand “we have to drive to zero cases” and on another “COVID is a mild illness for most so we should let it spread freely and pursue herd immunity.”

“COVID is a novel disease that is not just the flu,” Hinshaw said. “It has the ability to overwhelm our health system and weaken essential services if we let it do so.”

She encouraged Albertans to maintain respectful dialogue and to not let COVID-19 divide the province.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

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COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday – Ponoka News – Ponoka News

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Alberta confirmed 1,440 COVID-19 cases from over the weekend and seven additional deaths.

The cases are: 364 on Friday, 572 on Saturday and 504 on Sunday. The Saturday case number is another record for the province.

That’s identifying, on average, 480 COVID-19 cases over the weekend, said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health.

She said one of the challenges is to find a balance between minimizing the risk of COVID-19 and minimizing the risk of harms of restrictions.

“This requires us to keep the spread of COVID-19 manageable. We’ve now crossed a tipping point and are losing the balance we’ve been seeking,” said Hinshaw.

The government imposed new temporary mandatory limits Monday – of 15 people – at most social gatherings for the City of Calgary and Edmonton.

In total, 118 people in Alberta are in hospitals with 16 in intensive care.

The total number of active cases in the province sat at 4,477 Monday afternoon up 826 from Friday’s 3,651.

The number of active cases in the central zone jumped to 162 from Friday’s 126. There are three people in hospital in the local zone with none in intensive care.

To date, there have been 953 COVID-19 cases confirmed in the local zone with 783 recoveries.

The deaths were in Edmonton and Calgary zones. The virus-death toll is at 307.

The City of Red Deer’s active cases sits at 39 up from Friday’s 31.

A letter was sent Monday to families alerting them of a positive case of the virus at Gateway Christian School in Red Deer.

On Monday, Red Deer’s Hunting Hills High School was on province’s watch list.

Red Deer County had 10 active cases Monday afternoon, two in Town of Sylvan Lake, six in Lacombe County, one in the City of Lacombe, 45 in Ponoka County, two in County of Wetaskiwin, and 11 in City of Wetaskiwin.

There were two active cases in the Town of Olds, three in Clearwater County, five in Kneehill County, four in Camrose County, six in City of Camrose and one in Town of Drumheller.

There are no active cases in Mountain View County, Starland County and County of Stettler.

One of the challenges of the increasing active case numbers is it creates pressure on COVID-19 response including contact-tracing, said Hinshaw.

She said Alberta is also challenged between polarizing views on the virus: on one hand “we have to drive to zero cases” and on another “COVID is a mild illness for most so we should let it spread freely and pursue herd immunity.”

“COVID is a novel disease that is not just the flu,” Hinshaw said. “It has the ability to overwhelm our health system and weaken essential services if we let it do so.”

She encouraged Albertans to maintain respectful dialogue and to not let COVID-19 divide the province.



mamta.lulla@reddeeradvocate.com

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