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Ontario lifting capacity limits on theatres, spectator sports venues Saturday – AM800 (iHeartRadio)

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Ontario is allowing cinemas, theatres, spectator sports venues and several other spaces where proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to open at full capacity.

The government says it’s making the changes based on high vaccination levels, stable public health indicators and the vaccine certificate requirements that took effect last month.

Concert venues, meeting and event spaces, horse racing and car racing tracks are also among the venues permitted to open to 100 per cent capacity as of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.

The province says there has been a “limited number of outbreaks” in those settings and other public health measures will remain in place.

Outdoor settings where normal maximum capacity is 20,000 people or more can now open fully but they must ask people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Capacity limits will remain in place for all other settings.

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COVID-19 vaccines not linked to pregnancy loss; mixing vaccines may confer greater protection

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The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that have yet to be certified by peer review.

COVID-19 vaccines not linked with pregnancy loss

Two studies in major medical journals add to evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are safe before and during pregnancy. One study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, tracked nearly 18,500 pregnant women in Norway, including about 4,500 who had miscarriages. Researchers found no link between COVID-19 vaccines and risk of first-trimester miscarriage, regardless of whether the vaccines were from Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech, or AstraZeneca. Overall, the women with miscarriages were 9% less likely to have been vaccinated, according to the researchers’ calculations. In a separate study published on Thursday in The Lancet, researchers tracked 107 women who became pregnant while participating in trials of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. Seventy-two of the women had received the vaccine while the others got a placebo. AstraZeneca’s vaccine had no effect on the odds of safely carrying the pregnancy to term, the researchers reported. “It is important that pregnant women are vaccinated since they have a higher risk of hospitalizations and COVID-19-complications, and their infants are at higher risk of being born too early,” the authors of the Norwegian study wrote. “Also, vaccination during pregnancy is likely to provide protection to the newborn infant against COVID-19 infection in the first months after birth.”

Vaccine combinations with different technologies may be best

Healthcare workers in France who got a first shot of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and then the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for their second shot showed stronger immune responses than those who had received two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, in a recent study. Combining different technologies is known to boost immune responses to other viruses, and the current study suggests it may be true for the coronavirus as well. Both vaccines in the study deliver instructions that teach cells in the body to make a piece of protein that resembles the spike on the coronavirus and that triggers an immune response. But they do it in very different ways. Both protocols provided “safe and efficient” protection, said Vincent Legros of Universite de Lyon in France, coauthor of a report published on Thursday in Nature. But combining the AstraZeneca shot with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine “conferred even better protection” than two doses of Pfizer’s shot, including against the Delta variant, Legros said. The two technologies combined induced an antibody response of better quality, with more neutralizing antibodies that could block the virus, and more cells that have been “trained” by the vaccine to have increased defense potential, he said. Combination vaccination “is safe and may provide interesting options… for clinicians to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Legros concluded.

Cognitive problems seen in middle-aged COVID-19 survivors

A “substantial proportion” of middle-aged COVID-19 survivors with no previous dementia had cognitive problems more than half a year after diagnosis, researchers have found. They looked at 740 people who ranged in age from 38 to 59. About half were white, and 63% were female. On tests of thinking skills, 20% had trouble converting short-term memories to long-term memories, 18% had trouble processing information rapidly, and 16% had trouble with skills needed for planning, focusing attention, remembering instructions, and juggling multiple tasks. The average time from diagnosis was 7.6 months. About one-in-four patients had been hospitalized, but most of them were not critically ill. “We can’t exactly say that the cognitive issues were lasting because we can’t determine when they began,” said Dr. Jacqueline Becker of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who co-led the study published on Friday in JAMA Network Open. “But we can say that our cohort had higher than anticipated frequency of cognitive impairment” given that they were relatively young and healthy, Becker said.

Data support use of Pfizer vaccine in children and teens

The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine showed 90.7% efficacy against the coronavirus in a trial of children ages 5 to 11, the U.S. drugmaker said on Friday in briefing documents submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but not formally published. The children were given two shots of a 10-microgram dose of the vaccine – a third of the strength given to people 12 and older. The study was not primarily designed to measure efficacy against the virus. Instead, it compared the amount of neutralizing antibodies induced by the vaccine in the children to the response of recipients in their adult trial. Pfizer and BioNTech said the vaccine induced a robust immune response in the children. Outside advisers to the FDA are scheduled to meet on Tuesday to vote on whether to recommend authorization of the vaccine for that age group. A separate study from Israel conducted while the Delta variant was prevalent and published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, compared nearly 95,000 12- to -18-year-olds who had received Pfizer’s vaccine with an equal number of adolescents who had not been vaccinated. The results show the vaccine “was highly effective in the first few weeks after vaccination against both documented infection and symptomatic COVID-19 with the Delta variant” in this age group, the research team reported.

Click for a Reuters graphic https://tmsnrt.rs/3c7R3Bl on vaccines in development.

 

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Additional reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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B.C. doctors group calls on province to focus on COVID-19 aerosol transmission – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER –

A group of doctors in British Columbia is calling on the province to re-evaluate its approach to combating COVID-19.

The group, called Protect our Province B.C., is made up of a range of doctors and medical researchers, and held a panel discussion Wednesday highlighting how the virus is spread through aerosol transmission.

Dr. Victor Leung, an infectious disease physician and medical microbiologist, says the province and public health have been too slow to amend mandates to limit the spread of the virus.

He says the province should focus on improving air flow in buildings and continue strong mask mandates.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the province has made an “enormous” amount of information on the virus available to the public, while he defended provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s approach to the pandemic.

He says Henry is a world leader in pandemic management and she has always been committed to learning and adapting the province’s COVID-19 response.

“I encourage people to get involved in the debate, ours is a science-led strategy,” Dix said. “We continue to adapt, listen and learn and do better.”

B.C. reported 696 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the number of active cases to 4,888.

Six more people have died, lifting the death toll to 2,092.

Leung says many of the guidelines from the province are focused on battling a virus that is spread by droplets and touch, but those mandates don’t address the main mode of transmission for COVID-19: aerosols.

“This is an overly dispersed virus,” he says. “Not everyone will affect 10 people, one person might infect 80 people, while another may not infect anyone.”

He said learning about how the virus is spread and transmitted will also help in future pandemics.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2021.

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BC health officials report 715 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, October 21st – Victoria Buzz

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Dr. Bonnie Henry (Colin Smith Takes Pics)

The BC Ministry of Health reported 715 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, October 21st. 

There have been 200,249 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

New cases were reported in these health regions:

  • Vancouver Coastal Health: 60
  • Fraser Health: 285
  • Island Health: 61
  • Interior Health: 137
  • Northern Health: 172
  • Resident outside Canada: 0

There are currently 4,965 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.

192,819 people who tested positive have recovered.

There are now a total of 377 people in hospital due to COVID-19, 136 of whom are in critical care — ICU or acute care units.

4 new people have died from COVID-related causes, making the provincial death toll 2,096.

Data by Vaccination Status: 

From Oct. 13-19, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 66.4% of cases and from Oct. 6-19, they accounted for 76.2% of hospitalizations.

Past week cases (Oct. 13-19):

  • Total: 4,351
  • Not vaccinated: 2,561 (58.9%)
  • Partially vaccinated: 325 (7.5%)
  • Fully vaccinated: 1,465 (33.7%)

Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Oct. 6-19):

  • Total: 445
  • Not vaccinated: 314 (70.6%)
  • Partially vaccinated: 25 (5.6%)
  • Fully vaccinated: 106 (23.8%)

Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Oct. 13-19):

  • Not vaccinated: 308.7
  • Partially vaccinated: 95.6
  • Fully vaccinated: 34.5

Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Oct. 6-19):

  • Not vaccinated: 53.9
  • Partially vaccinated: 11.0
  • Fully vaccinated: 2.4

Outbreaks

There have been two new health-care facility outbreaks at Deni House (Interior Health) and Bulkley Valley District Hospital (Northern Health).

There are a total of 26 active outbreaks, including:

Long-Term Care: Willingdon Care Centre, Westminster House, Magnolia Gardens, Manoah Manor, Cherington Place, West Shore Laylum, Queens Park Care Centre, Heritage Village (Fraser Health), Amica Lions Gate (Vancouver Coastal Health), Cottonwoods Care Centre, Overlander, Village by the Station, Haven Hill Retirement Centre, Deni House (Interior Health) and Wrinch Memorial Hospital (Northern Health).

Acute Care: Mission Memorial Hospital (Fraser Health), University Hospital of Northern BC, GR Baker Memorial Hospital, Bulkley Valley District Hospital (Northern Health) and Tofino General Hospital (Island Health).

Assisted or Independent Living: Sunset Manor, Evergreen Manor, Menno Terrace West, The Emerald at Elim Village, Swedish Assisted Living Residence (Fraser Health) and Cooper Place (Vancouver Coastal Health).

Island Health:

Island Health reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region and 431 active cases.

Breakdown of cases on Vancouver Island:

  • South Vancouver Island  Active cases: 178 │Total Cases: 4274
  • Central Vancouver Island Active cases: 217 │ Total Cases: 4525
  • North Vancouver Island  Active cases: 36 │Total Cases: 1232

52 people remain in hospital with 24 in ICU. 

There were no new deaths reported in the Island Health region today, and a total of 84 deaths on Vancouver Island.

Vaccinations

As of Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, 89.4% of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 83.8% received their second dose.

In addition, 89.8% of all eligible adults in B.C. have received their first dose and 84.4% received their second dose.

To date, 8,103,896 (+15,582) doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in BC; 3,883,585 (+7,006) of which are second doses.

Some links include:

At the time of this publication, 243,159,888 cases of COVID-19 had been recorded worldwide. 4,942,780 have died, and 220,368,547 have recovered.

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