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Ontario reports 1,265 new COVID cases Monday – SooToday

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Public Health Ontario has reported 1,265 new cases of COVID-19 today. 

Today’s report includes 1,700 new recoveries, and 33 new deaths, eight were residents at long-term care homes.

The deaths reported today include one person between 20 and 39 years old, five people between 40 and 59 years old, 12 people between the ages of 60 and 79 years old, and 15 people over the age of 80.

The province has reported 62 new hospitalizations since yesterday, and 19 new admissions of COVID-19 patients to intensive care units.

The Feb. 8 update provided by the province’s public health agency also reported the following data:

  • 14,331 active cases, which is down from 14,799 yesterday
  • 901 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario, down from 926 reported yesterday. Public Health Ontario noted more than 10 per cent of hospitals in Ontario do not report to the daily bed census on weekends, which could impact the hospitalization numbers.
  • There are 335 COVID patients in intensive care units (even with yesterday) and 226 COVID patients on ventilators (down from 233 yesterday).
  • The province reported 28,303 tests were processed yesterday resulting in a 4.4 per cent positivity rate.
  • Another 10,693 tests are still under investigation and/or being processed. To date, 10 million tests have been completed.
  • Of the 1,265 new cases reported today, 421 are from Toronto, 256 cases are from Peel, 130 are from York Region, and 43 are from Simcoe-Muskoka
  • There are 223 active outbreaks at long-term care homes, 116 at retirement homes and 71 at hospitals. 
  • Of the cases reported today there are 188 people under 19 years old, 457 people between 20 and 39 years old, 348 people between 40 and 59 years old, 203 people between 60 and 79 years old, and 68 cases people over the age of 80. 

Variant of concern

  • The province has reported 219 lab-confirmed cases of the UK variant strain of COVID-19 (B.1.1.7). 
  • The province has reported one case of B.1.351 (also known as the South African variant).
  • According to Public Health Ontario, there are delays between specimen collection and the testing required to confirm a variant of concern. As such, the reports can change and can differ from past case counts publicly reported.

Vaccine update for Feb. 8:

  • There were 6,987 doses of vaccines against COVID-19 administered on Feb 7, up from 6,518 on Feb. 6.
  • As of 8 p.m. on Feb. 7, the province reported 386,171 doses of vaccine against COVID-19 have been administered.
  • In total, 106,163 people have been fully vaccinated, having received two doses of vaccine, which are to be given a few weeks apart.

Public Health Ontario has confirmed 279,472 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and reported 258,603 recoveries and 6,538 deaths, of which 3,740 were individuals living in long-term care homes.

The cumulative average incidence rate in the province is 1,880.1 cases per 100,000 people in Ontario.

The weekly incidence rate in Ontario is 70.9 cases per 100,000 people from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, which is a decrease of 19.7 per cent compared to Jan. 23 to Jan. 29 when the average weekly incidence rate was 88.3 cases per 100,000 people.

In Northern Ontario, the breakdown of Public Health Ontario data is:

  • Algoma Public Health: 181 cases, rate of 158.2 per 100,000 people. The health unit has reported 184 cases. There are 28 known active cases. The weekly incidence rate is 12.2 cases per 100,000.
  • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit: 196 cases, rate of 151.1 per 100,000 people. The health unit has reported 210 cases. There are 19 known active cases. The weekly incidence rate is 4.6 cases per 100,000.
  • Porcupine Health Unit: 294 cases, rate of 352.3 per 100,000 people. There are 53 known active cases. The weekly incidence rate is 31.2 cases per 100,000.
  • Public Health Sudbury and Districts: 550 cases, rate of 276.3 per 100,000 people. The health unit has reported 535 cases. There are 47 known active cases. The weekly incidence rate is 12.1 cases per 100,000. There are two confirmed variant of concern (VOC) cases, both are the UK (B.1.1.7) strain.
  • Timiskaming Health Unit: 90 cases, rate of 275.3 per 100,000 people. The health unit has reported 91 cases. There is one known active case. The weekly incidence rate is 6.1 cases per 100,000.
  • Northwestern Health Unit: 278 cases, rate of 317.1 per 100,000 people. There are 10 known active cases. The weekly incidence rate is 9.1 cases per 100,000.
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit: 1,062 cases, rate of 708.2 per 100,000 people. The health unit has reported 1,060 cases. There are 112 known active cases. The weekly incidence rate is 56 cases per 100,000.

The Ontario government has declared a state of emergency, the second since the start of the pandemic, and a stay-at-home order is in effect until at least Feb. 9, 2021. There are additional measures in place for the shutdown, all of which can be found in this provincial breakdown.

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Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine reduces transmission after one dose – UK study – Reuters

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LONDON (Reuters) – A single dose of Pfizer and BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine cuts the number of asymptomatic infections and could significantly reduce the risk of transmission of the virus, results of a UK study found on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Researchers analysed results from thousands of COVID-19 tests carried out each week as part of hospital screenings of healthcare staff in Cambridge, eastern England.

“Our findings show a dramatic reduction in the rate of positive screening tests among asymptomatic healthcare workers after a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,” said Nick Jones, an infectious diseases specialist at Cambridge University Hospital, who co-led the study.

After separating the test results from unvaccinated and vaccinated staff, Jones’ team found that 0.80% tests from unvaccinated healthcare workers were positive.

This compared with 0.37% of tests from staff less than 12 days post-vaccination – when the vaccine’s protective effect is not yet fully established – and 0.20% of tests from staff at 12 days or more post-vaccination.

The study and its results have yet to be independently peer-reviewed by other scientists, but were published online as a preprint on Friday.

This suggests a four-fold decrease in the risk of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection amongst healthcare workers who have been vaccinated for more than 12 days, and 75% protection, said Mike Weekes, an infectious disease specialist at Cambridge University’s department of medicine, who co-led the study.

The level of asymptomatic infection was also halved in those vaccinated for less than 12 days, he said.

Britain has been rolling out vaccinations with both the Pfizer COVID-19 shot and one from AstraZeneca since late December 2020.

“This is great news – the Pfizer vaccine not only provides protection against becoming ill from SARS-CoV-2, but also helps prevent infection, reducing the potential for the virus to be passed on to others,” Weeks said. “But we have to remember that the vaccine doesn’t give complete protection for everyone.”

Key real-world data published on Wednesday from Israel, which has conducted one of the world’s fastest rollouts of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, showed that two doses of the Pfizer shot cut symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94% across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much.

Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by David Goodman and Jane Merriman

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’We need this’: Getting COVID-19 vaccine to remote and urban Indigenous populations – Vanderhoof Omineca Express

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Chief Chris Moonias looked into a web camera as he prepared to get a COVID-19 vaccine just after precious doses arrived in his northern Ontario community.

“I’m coming to you live from Neskantaga First Nation community centre where our vaccines will be administered,” a jovial Moonias, wearing a blue disposable mask, said during a Facebook live video at the start of February.

Moonias was first to get the vaccine in the fly-in Oji-Cree First Nation on the shores of Attawapiskat Lake north of Thunder Bay.

The vaccine had arrived by plane earlier in the day after weeks of planning, and the chief’s video was part of a campaign to get community members on board.

Moonias said in an interview that he had done his own research, had spoken with medical professionals and wasn’t concerned about getting the shot.

About 88 per cent of eligible on-reserve members have since received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Second doses are to arrive Monday.

However, earlier this week, the reserve declared a state of emergency due to a COVID-19 outbreak, with some cases linked to the Thunder Bay District Jail.

Moonias said four off-reserve members in Thunder Bay, all under the age of 40 — including his nephew — have died. And he’s worried about the 200 other members who live off the reserve — almost the same number as those on the reserve — and when they’ll get inoculated.

“I even thought about flying my people up … to get the vaccine,” said Moonias, who added it’s unlikely to be an option because of cost.

Canada is in the midst of the largest vaccine rollout in its history. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Indigenous populations much harder and Ottawa says they are a priority for vaccinations.

The actual distribution remains complex and varied across the country.

Neskantaga is one of 31 fly-in First Nations included in Operation Remote Immunity, part of the first phase of Ontario’s vaccination rollout. The operation was developed with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Ornge, the province’s air ambulance service. The goal is to provide mass vaccinations by April 30 and it is having early successes.

There are challenges getting the vaccine to remote First Nations and questions about distribution for urban Indigenous populations.

The Assembly of First Nations says most Indigenous communities haven’t received sufficient supply to extend doses to their off-reserve members. The National Association of Friendship Centres says there is no national vaccination plan for urban Indigenous people.

There’s also concern there is no national plan to tackle decades of mistrust created by systemic racism and experimentation on Indigenous people.

There are many examples throughout Canadian history of scientists sponsored by the federal government or the government itself doing medical experiments on Indigenous people, including children, who were the subject of a tuberculosis vaccine trial in Saskatchewan that began in the 1930s.

Ontario New Democrat Sol Mamakwa, who represents the electoral district of Kiiwetinoong, said some constituents tell him they are scared to take the vaccine. They don’t trust it.

He has been travelling to communities to help promote it and received his first dose alongside members of Muskrat Dam Lake First Nation.

Community engagement has been key in vaccine uptake, Mamakwa said. Promotion begins weeks before vaccine teams arrive and includes radio campaigns, social media posts and live online question-and-answer sessions.

It’s about giving people information, he said.

“One of the only ways out of this pandemic is the vaccine,” said Wade Durham, Ornge’s chief operating officer, who added it’s key to have Indigenous people involved in vaccine planning.

Each First Nation in Operation Remote Immunity has a community member responsible for answering questions and setting up a vaccination site. Immunization teams are required to take cultural training and, when possible, include Indigenous medical professionals and language speakers.

Indigenous Services Canada said it is aware that a history of colonization and systemic racism has caused mistrust, so campaigns are being developed specifically for First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.

Michelle Driedger, a Metis professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba, said experience has shown that stakes are high when it comes to Indigenous communities.

During the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, the Public Health Agency of Canada prioritized vaccines by geography. A main lesson learned was to increase Indigenous representation at decision-making tables, she said.

At the time, Indigenous people were over-represented in hospitalizations and intensive care stays, as well as in deaths. Those living in remote and isolated communities experienced worse outcomes.

Driedger said the vaccine response is better now, but there is “rational skepticism.” There needs to be a transparent vaccination plan for Indigenous communities — no matter where they are, she said.

The Matawa First Nations tribal council said its four communities reachable by road are not getting the same vaccine access as its five fly-in ones, and more needs to be done.

Provincial officials have said that remote First Nations received priority for the vaccine rollout because of less access to on-site health care and increased health risks. Chief Rick Allen from Constance Lake First Nation has said the vaccine needs to go where the outbreaks are.

Back in Neskantaga, Moonias said he’ll do anything he can to protect anyone he can.

He continues to give updates about his vaccination. In another Facebook video posted soon after he received his shot, the chief gave a thumbs-up and said he had no pain or discomfort.

“We need this. We need to beat this virus.”

First Nations

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’We need this’: Getting COVID-19 vaccine to remote and urban Indigenous populations – Salmon Arm Observer

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Chief Chris Moonias looked into a web camera as he prepared to get a COVID-19 vaccine just after precious doses arrived in his northern Ontario community.

“I’m coming to you live from Neskantaga First Nation community centre where our vaccines will be administered,” a jovial Moonias, wearing a blue disposable mask, said during a Facebook live video at the start of February.

Moonias was first to get the vaccine in the fly-in Oji-Cree First Nation on the shores of Attawapiskat Lake north of Thunder Bay.

The vaccine had arrived by plane earlier in the day after weeks of planning, and the chief’s video was part of a campaign to get community members on board.

Moonias said in an interview that he had done his own research, had spoken with medical professionals and wasn’t concerned about getting the shot.

About 88 per cent of eligible on-reserve members have since received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Second doses are to arrive Monday.

However, earlier this week, the reserve declared a state of emergency due to a COVID-19 outbreak, with some cases linked to the Thunder Bay District Jail.

Moonias said four off-reserve members in Thunder Bay, all under the age of 40 — including his nephew — have died. And he’s worried about the 200 other members who live off the reserve — almost the same number as those on the reserve — and when they’ll get inoculated.

“I even thought about flying my people up … to get the vaccine,” said Moonias, who added it’s unlikely to be an option because of cost.

Canada is in the midst of the largest vaccine rollout in its history. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Indigenous populations much harder and Ottawa says they are a priority for vaccinations.

The actual distribution remains complex and varied across the country.

Neskantaga is one of 31 fly-in First Nations included in Operation Remote Immunity, part of the first phase of Ontario’s vaccination rollout. The operation was developed with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Ornge, the province’s air ambulance service. The goal is to provide mass vaccinations by April 30 and it is having early successes.

There are challenges getting the vaccine to remote First Nations and questions about distribution for urban Indigenous populations.

The Assembly of First Nations says most Indigenous communities haven’t received sufficient supply to extend doses to their off-reserve members. The National Association of Friendship Centres says there is no national vaccination plan for urban Indigenous people.

There’s also concern there is no national plan to tackle decades of mistrust created by systemic racism and experimentation on Indigenous people.

There are many examples throughout Canadian history of scientists sponsored by the federal government or the government itself doing medical experiments on Indigenous people, including children, who were the subject of a tuberculosis vaccine trial in Saskatchewan that began in the 1930s.

Ontario New Democrat Sol Mamakwa, who represents the electoral district of Kiiwetinoong, said some constituents tell him they are scared to take the vaccine. They don’t trust it.

He has been travelling to communities to help promote it and received his first dose alongside members of Muskrat Dam Lake First Nation.

Community engagement has been key in vaccine uptake, Mamakwa said. Promotion begins weeks before vaccine teams arrive and includes radio campaigns, social media posts and live online question-and-answer sessions.

It’s about giving people information, he said.

“One of the only ways out of this pandemic is the vaccine,” said Wade Durham, Ornge’s chief operating officer, who added it’s key to have Indigenous people involved in vaccine planning.

Each First Nation in Operation Remote Immunity has a community member responsible for answering questions and setting up a vaccination site. Immunization teams are required to take cultural training and, when possible, include Indigenous medical professionals and language speakers.

Indigenous Services Canada said it is aware that a history of colonization and systemic racism has caused mistrust, so campaigns are being developed specifically for First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.

Michelle Driedger, a Metis professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba, said experience has shown that stakes are high when it comes to Indigenous communities.

During the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, the Public Health Agency of Canada prioritized vaccines by geography. A main lesson learned was to increase Indigenous representation at decision-making tables, she said.

At the time, Indigenous people were over-represented in hospitalizations and intensive care stays, as well as in deaths. Those living in remote and isolated communities experienced worse outcomes.

Driedger said the vaccine response is better now, but there is “rational skepticism.” There needs to be a transparent vaccination plan for Indigenous communities — no matter where they are, she said.

The Matawa First Nations tribal council said its four communities reachable by road are not getting the same vaccine access as its five fly-in ones, and more needs to be done.

Provincial officials have said that remote First Nations received priority for the vaccine rollout because of less access to on-site health care and increased health risks. Chief Rick Allen from Constance Lake First Nation has said the vaccine needs to go where the outbreaks are.

Back in Neskantaga, Moonias said he’ll do anything he can to protect anyone he can.

He continues to give updates about his vaccination. In another Facebook video posted soon after he received his shot, the chief gave a thumbs-up and said he had no pain or discomfort.

“We need this. We need to beat this virus.”

First Nations

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