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Ontario runs out of COVID-19 rapid tests handed out at LCBO retailers in less than a day – CTV News Toronto

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All COVID-19 rapid tests designated to be handed out free of charge at LCBO retailers have been distributed, the Ontario government says.

On Wednesday, Ontario announced it would use select LCBO locations as COVID-19 rapid test distribution sites, in what the province dubbed a “holiday testing blitz.” On Friday morning, 100 LCBO retailers across the province handed out the tests to residents, many of whom lined up outside, free of charge.

But by Friday evening, the LCBO announced that their supply had run out.

“Our supply of COVID-19 rapid test kits has run out,” the corporation said in a Tweet on Friday night. “Thanks for your patience and understanding.”

The Ontario government also confirmed through their website that the LCBO no longer has tests to distribute.

“Beginning Dec. 17, select LCBO stores offered free take-home rapid test kits while supplies lasted,” it said.

“All of these test kits have now been distributed. Many thanks to the LCBO for participating in Ontario’s pop-up COVID-19 testing holiday program.”

When reached for comment, the Ministry of Health said they “recognize there is significant demand for rapid tests and are pleased to see so many people embrace the opportunity to add an extra layer of protection in advance of the holidays.”

“That said, Ontario has a limited supply of rapid tests and every single test the province has received from the federal government is out the door to thousands of workplaces, hospitals, home and community care settings, long-term care homes, schools and child care centres on top of the many pop-up sites across the province,” Ministry spokesperson Alexandra Hilkene told CTV News Toronto on Saturday.

Hilkene claimed that the province recently learned “millions of tests expected to be received from the federal government have been delayed.”

“In light of this, Ontario is directly procuring additional rapid tests where possible, and we continue to urge the federal government to make more rapid tests available to provinces as quickly as possible,” she said.

Rapid antigen tests are still being handed out at community pop-ups and testing centres across the province. To see a full list of participating locations, click here.

These pop-ups are first-come, first-served and many have seen long lines of residents waiting to secure tests.

The Ontario government is underlining that rapid antigen tests are best used on asymptomatic individuals to detect whether they are positive for COVID-19. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, it is recommended that you do not use a rapid antigen test, but rather take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which can be done at provincial testing locations.

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Gloomy Netflix forecast erases much of stock’s pandemic gains

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Netflix Inc dashed hopes for a quick rebound after forecasting weak first-quarter subscriber growth on Thursday, sending shares sinking nearly 20% and wiping away most of its remaining pandemic-fueled gains from 2020.

The world’s largest streaming service projected it would add 2.5 million customers from January through March, less than half of the 5.9 million analysts had forecast, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Netflix tempered its growth expectations, citing the late arrival of anticipated content, such as the second season of “Bridgerton” and the Ryan Reynolds time-travel movie “The Adam Project.”

Shares of Netflix plummeted nearly 20% to $408.13 in after-hours trading. Competitor Walt Disney Co, which has staked its future on building a strong streaming business, saw its shares sink 4%. Streaming device Roku Inc fell 5%.

Nasdaq futures dropped almost 1%, showing trad

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Pfizer's newly approved COVID-19 antiviral pills arrive at Queensway Carleton Hospital – Ottawa Citizen

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Pfizer’s Paxlovid treatment has been approved to treat mild to moderate COVID in adult cases where the patient has tested positive and is at high risk of getting severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

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The Queensway Carleton Hospital has received 700 courses of Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill, the first take-home medication for treating COVID-19.

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Health Canada announced the prescription antiviral treatment was approved on Monday. Each course of treatment involves two antiviral drugs, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. The treatment consists of two oral tablets of nirmatrelvir and one of ritonavir, taken together twice a day for five days.

The province says 15 hospitals will be receiving Paxlovid. For now, it’s unclear how it will be distributed, although the Public Health Agency of Canada has released preliminary guidelines for categories of patients to be prioritized.

Until now, COVID-19 medications were given intravenously or by injection in a hospital or health-care settings. Paxlovid is expected to be in high demand, but the global supply is limited.

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The Queensway Carleton Hospital is actively working on creating a regional process with other hospitals, led by director of pharmacy Joe Dagenais, to identify which patients are eligible and the criteria they need to meet to receive this treatment, hospital spokesperson Kelly Spence said. Dagenais is also head of the regional pharmacy committee and is spearheading regional plans.

  1. Pfizer’s antiviral treatment for COVID-19 is approved for adult patients with mild or moderate symptoms at high risk of becoming more seriously ill.

    Health Canada approves Pfizer anti-viral pill for treatment of COVID-19

  2. (FILES) This file handout photo courtesy of Pfizer shows the making of its Covid-19 antiviral pills inside a laboratory in Freiburg, Germany.

    Experts stress Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 treatment not a replacement for vaccines

“We are waiting to receive patient eligibility guidance from the Ontario COVID-19 Science Table, hopefully coming this week,” Spence said.

Ontario expects to receive about 10,000 courses of treatment from the federal government in January, Ministry of Health spokesperson W.D. Lighthall said in a statement.

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“Based on the limited supply we expect to receive from the federal government, we have worked with our hospital partners and are prepared for distribution of antivirals at 15 sites across the province as soon we receive them.”

Initially, the medication will be prioritized for adults with the highest risk of severe outcomes, including immunocompromised patients, Lighthall said.

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The Ontario Medical Association is seeking more details but understands clinical assessment centres may have key roles in prioritizing testing and eligibility and ensuring timely delivery, spokesperson Leslie Shepherd said.

Manotick physician Dr. Alykhan Abdulla, past chair of the association’s section on general and family practice, said family physicians are still learning more about these medications and support the province’s plan at this time.

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“We want to have access to prescribing these medications in a month or so.”

Health Canada received the Paxlovid submission from Pfizer on Dec. 1 and conducted an expedited review, including information confirming its effectiveness against the Omicron variant.

Paxlovid has been approved to treat mild to moderate COVID in adult cases where the patient has tested positive and is at high risk of getting severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

It’s not approved for patients who are already hospitalized or to prevent COVID. Paxlovid can’t be used more than five days in a row and has not been approved for those under 18 years old.

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s interim set of guidelines for prioritizing patients includes those who have the highest likelihood of severe illness, including patients who are immunocompromised, regardless of their vaccination status, as well as those over the age of 80 whose vaccinations are not up to date.

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Patients over 60 who live in underserved rural or remote communities, long-term care homes, First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities are also prioritized under the interim guidelines.

Pfizer reported in November that Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89 per cent compared with a placebo in high-risk adults who were not hospitalized.

Health Canada’s review found the benefits outweigh potential risks, but also cautioned that Paxlovid has the potential to interact with other prescription drugs.

Health officials also said public health measures and vaccinations remain key ways to prevent infection, and no drug is a substitute for vaccination.

Paxlovid could help keep thousands of people out of hospitals, Lighthall said.

“The arrival of these pills gives us increased confidence as we continue to review key indicators and data to determine when we can begin safely and gradually lifting public health measures, and we look forward to providing additional details in the near future.”

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Amazon to open fashion store where algorithms suggest what to try on

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Amazon.com Inc’s recipe for the department store of the future includes algorithmic recommendations and what one corporate director called “a magic closet” in the fitting room.

The online retailer is making another push to grow its fashion business, announcing on Thursday it will open its first-ever apparel store this year, with a tech twist. “We wouldn’t do anything in physical retail unless we felt we could significantly improve the customer experience,” said Simoina Vasen, a managing director.

At 30,000 square feet (2,787 sq meters), the planned “Amazon Style” shop near Los Angeles is smaller than the typical department store. Model items are on the racks, and customers scan a code using Amazon’s mobile app to select the color and size they would like. To try on the clothes, which are stored in the back, shoppers enter a virtual queue for a fitting room that they unlock with their smartphone when it is ready.

Inside, the dressing room is “a personal space for you to continue shopping without ever having to leave,” Vasen said. Each has a touchscreen letting shoppers request more items that staff deliver to a secure, two-sided closet “within minutes,” she said.

“It’s like a magic closet with seemingly endless selection,” Vasen said.

The touchscreens suggest items to shoppers too. Amazon keeps a record of every good a customer scans so its algorithms personalize clothing recommendations. Shoppers can fill out a style survey as well. By the time they arrive in a fitting room, employees have already deposited customers’ requested items and others that Amazon has picked.

Shoppers can opt out with a concierge’s help, Amazon said.

Amazon has unveiled tech to help customers choose outfits before. The company has surpassed Walmart Inc as the most-shopped clothing retailer in the United States, according to analyst research.

But it still has room to expand and compete with the likes of Macy’s Inc and Nordstrom Inc, which have opened smaller-format stores. Amazon’s lineup of physical grocery and convenience shops have yet to upend brick-and-mortar retail.

The company’s new store aims to attract a broad range of shoppers with hundreds of brands, Vasen said, declining to name examples.

It has hundreds of associates, and no cashier-less checkout like some Amazon stores, Vasen said. Still, using a biometric system known as Amazon One, customers can pay with a swipe of their palm.

 

(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in Palo Alto, California; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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