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Paralyzed Canadian says experimental spinal stimulator improves quality of life – CTV News

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TORONTO —
An Ontario woman who received an experimental spinal stimulator implant in the U.S. says the device should be tested in Canada.

Sandra Mulder, who was one of the first Canadians to receive the implant, was left partially paralyzed after a motorcycle accident in 2012. She had minimal motor function in her legs, couldn’t sit on the side of a bed for long, and couldn’t reach down to touch her toes without falling over.

But the new implant has changed her life.

“It makes me feel better overall,” said Mulder. “I always have it on at some level. I find that it’s given me a better quality of life.”

Mulder received the implant in 2017, as part of a study in Minnesota. The device uses 16 electrodes to send signals to nerves in her lower spine. She can even control the settings using a smartphone app, picking different “programs” to send varying electrical signals to her spine. The signals provide her with some control over muscles in the paralyzed part of her body.

The device is similar to the epidural stimulator that Humboldt Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki paid to have implanted in Thailand, a move that he told the Canadian Press emphasizes a gap in Canada, where the devices have not yet been approved for use.

“Our health-care system is kind of lacking in this area for spinal cord injuries and I think it’s huge that Thailand and some other places are getting this started,” he said earlier this month. “I think if Canada can step in and advance this program, I think it’ll help a lot of people out.”

Mulder got her implant, free of charge, as part of a study in Minneapolis led by Calgary surgeon Aaron Phillips of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and the University of Calgary. He told CTV National News that early results show the device is safe. Among three Canadian and 11 U.S. patients with implants, the device has shown to improve bladder, bowel and body temperature control. Some patients have even been able to move their legs for the first time.

“I would say that it’s the only therapy in that last kind of 50 years of trials that’s shown such significant promise for people with spinal cord injury,” said Phillips. “I’m excited because I’m seeing people have life-changing experiences … and recovery of function that they didn’t expect to have.”

Phillips and colleagues in Vancouver are “aggressively working through the regulatory steps” to attain funding for a possible study in Canada. He told CTV National News that there is “significant institutional support,” including from the University of Calgary. The study would be the first of its kind in Canada.

Mulder, who has lived with the implant for just over two years now, believes the technology could be life-changing for many Canadians.

“We have to allow it in Canada,” she said, adding that Canadians shouldn’t have to travel to other countries for the device.

Her physiotherapist told CTV National News has witnessed “enormous improvement” in Mulder’s motor function.

“I can’t say it’s miraculous. But she can stand longer, she can reach behind her, which sounds small, but is a huge gain,” said Jackie Levy, who considers the technology promising. “I think it’s the most hopeful thing we have seen in quite a long time.”

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Sept. 17 – CBC.ca

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The latest:

With climbing cases of COVID-19 across Canada, health experts are struggling to trace the source of new infections — raising concerns that several provinces are lacking crucial information to curb a potential second wave this fall. 

In Quebec, Health Minister Christian Dubé and chief public health officer Dr. Horacio Arruda held a press conference on Thursday, to encourage residents to continue practising safe social distancing as the weekend approaches. Dubé said this weekend is not the time to go out partying and risk pushing a region into a higher COVID-19 alert level.

He said regions will remain yellow, but will be changed to orange in the coming days depending on the progress and the number of active cases over the weekend.

Dubé also reminded people that bars, even if they sell food, cannot sell liquor after midnight and that includes restaurants and microbreweries.

WATCH | Quebecers warned to heed health measures to slow coronavirus:

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said this weekend is not the time to go out partying and risk pushing a region into a higher COVID-19 alert level. 1:15 

As of Thursday afternoon, there are 66,356 confirmed cases in Quebec. 

B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have all reported a bump in cases throughout September, and some have paused their reopening plans as a result. 

As of 3:40 pm ET on Thursday, Canada had 140,556 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 122,842 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,238.

In B.C. a record number of new cases were confirmed on Thursday, and two new outbreaks have been declared in hospitals in the Lower Mainland.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged British Columbians to stick to gatherings with six or fewer people and to keep those groups of six consistent. She said the new restrictions to end the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. is necessary to slow transmission of the disease.

British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on COVID-19 on Sept. 17, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Meanwhile in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford unveiled a series of new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, including restrictions on social gatherings in three regions and significant fines for violating the new rules. 

Ford held a news conference Thursday afternoon saying the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases “are concerning,” and that the province has decided to “implement further restrictions,” starting Friday.

He also announced that Ontario will have the “highest fine anywhere in the entire country,” with a minimum amount of $10,000 for organizers of illegal social gatherings, and a $750 fine for individuals who “break the rules and show up to these parties.”

As a result of the growing pandemic in Ontario, health officials have shut down a high school in the Ottawa Valley after a third staff member tested positive for COVID-19 — making it the first school in the province to close since the new school year began.

All in-person classes at Fellowes High School in Pembroke, Ont., were halted Wednesday after the latest case was linked to two previous ones, also involving staff members.

WATCH | Ford announces new COVID-19 gathering limits, freeze on rent increase:

Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled a series of new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, including restrictions on social gatherings in three regions and significant fines for violating the new rules. 4:41

In an emailed statement to CBC News, Renfrew County District School Board spokesperson Jonathan Laderoute said the closure will remain in place until further notice.

“The decision was made shortly after a third case was confirmed earlier today that was linked to two previous cases,” the email reads. “The school will reopen only with public health approval.” 

WATCH | Alarms raised after COVID-19 cases close Ontario high school:

An Ottawa-area high school is the first in the province to shut down after three staff test positive for COVID-19, prompting concerns about cases in schools and how outbreaks are handled in schools. 2:02

Despite the school closure and an increasing caseload, health officials in Ontario say they can’t trace how roughly half of its latest COVID-19 cases became infected, even as Ford announced new measures to try to slow the pace of spread.

To gain insights into the September surge of COVID-19 in Canada’s largest province, CBC News has analyzed Ontario’s data on active cases — those who have most recently tested positive for the virus and are either hospitalized or still considered to be infectious. 

Data suggests that many Ontarians are currently contracting COVID-19 through unmemorable interactions with others in the course of their daily lives. Experts are worried that failing to track the source of so many new infections will hamper efforts to rein in the spread of the virus. 

Those under 40 are driving the spread in most provinces. In Ontario, health officials have identified smaller, indoor gatherings as the culprit. Younger people may also be working in precarious jobs where their exposure is increased, or where sick days may not be readily available. 

“If we don’t understand how and where people are getting infected, it’s very hard to control this disease,” said Ashleigh Tuite, epidemiologist at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. “It suggests that our contact tracing is not up to the level that we wanted it to be.”  

A health-care worker walks along the lineup of people waiting outside a COVID-19 testing facility in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Alberta is starting to see a caseload similar to that in Ontario and Quebec, which is concerning as the prairie province has a much lower population, said Dr. Stephanie Smith, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. 

On Thursday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said testing priorities will change as the province prepares for increasing testing demands.

With flu season upon us, Hinshaw said asymptomatic testing will therefore no longer be recommended for general population.

“We and every other province in Canada must prepare for a surge in demand in tests this winter. We must prioritize our testing, especially as we prepare for the flu system to ensure that testing is scheduled and that results are returned as quickly as possible.” 

For the first 15 days of September in Alberta, the province has reported an average of 137 new cases of COVID-19 per day. That’s up from an average of 88 cases for that same period in August, meaning that cases have gone up by about 55 per cent in the last month.

WATCH | Looking back at six months of COVID in Alberta:

Even though it may feel much longer, it’s officially been six months since COVID-19 restrictions were put in place in Alberta – here’s a look back at when and how it started. 1:50

The province is also facing widespread community transmission of COVID-19, Smith said, rather than the disease appearing in a few specific hotspots, like a long-term care facility.

While some of the increase in Alberta cases could be attributed to more testing in September with upwards of 30,000 people tested per day, Smith said these jumps in case counts are still concerning.


What’s happening around the rest of Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says dealing with COVID-19 remains his government’s number one job.

Trudeau says Canadians deserve an ambitious plan for a healthier and safer Canada, a country that’s fair and inclusive and clean and competitive.

He made his comments at the end of a two-and-a-half day cabinet retreat.

A COVID-19 testing site is opening up for Indigenous people in Toronto, just in time for the cold and flu season. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says dealing with COVID-19 remains his government’s number one job. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

“There’s not much trust for some Indigenous folks in our health-care system because of discriminatory practices or blatant racism,” said Steve Teekens, executive director of Na-Me-Res, an emergency shelter and housing organization.

“We have a vacant building here and one of our managers thought this would be a fabulous idea to offer it up as a COVID testing facility for Indigenous people,” Teekens said. 

Roughly 250 students have been sent home from John Pritchard School in Winnipeg as the number of COVID-19 cases linked to it climbed to seven, Manitoba’s education minister said on Wednesday.

Students at the North Kildonan school in Grades 6, 7 and 8, as well as those in a split Grade 4/5 class and the Henderson Early Learning Centre (the school’s before and after program), started remote learning on Wednesday, Kelvin Goertzen said at a news conference.

“Of course, we knew that there would be cases within the school system, and we wanted to ensure that there could be quick response when those cases arose,” Goertzen said.

Those students may continue learning from home for up to two weeks, the Winnipeg school said in a letter to parents on Tuesday.

Alberta’s health minister and chief medical officer of health have said they would support repealing a piece of legislation that gives the government the power to make vaccines mandatory. 

The Public Health Act currently contains a section that allows the Lieutenant Governor in Council to order Albertans to be immunized or re-immunized against a communicable disease in certain circumstances, like an epidemic. 

That power has never been used in the province’s history, nor can Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, imagine a scenario where it would be.

“I think if we have a piece of legislation that we’re unlikely to use, I’m not sure it provides much benefit,” she told the legislative review committee examining the act in August. “I would be comfortable with that particular piece of the legislation being removed.”

Travellers flying out of Halifax will soon have their temperature taken before liftoff to scan for one of the symptoms of COVID-19.

Next Wednesday, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) is rolling out temperature screening stations in the departure sections of 11 airports, including Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

WATCH | Rapid rise in cases in many parts of Canada, infectious disease specialist says:

Parts of Canada are seeing ‘exponential’ growth in COVID-19 cases, and we could be headed toward a thousand new cases per day, says infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Gardam. 0:58

All passengers who have a fever (38 C and above), and don’t have a medical certificate to explain a condition that would result in an elevated temperature, will not be allowed to continue their travel and will be asked to rebook after 14 days.

Leah Batstone, spokesperson for the Halifax International Airport Authority, said they’re happy to have another feature to help ease people’s fears and concerns about air travel.


What’s happening around the world

According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 29.9 million. More than 941,000 people have died, while 20.3 million have recovered.

Authorities in Pakistan have closed as many as 22 schools across the country after detecting violation of physical distancing regulations amid a steady decline in COVID-19 cases.

The government action comes only two days after authorities allowed schools to reopen.

Thursday’s announcement by the military-backed command and control centre came after health officials alerted the government that students at some schools were violating distancing guidelines.

The number of new confirmed coronavirus infections have hit a record in the Czech Republic, surpassing 2,000 cases in one day for the first time.

The country’s health ministry said a total of 2,139 cases were registered on Wednesday, about 450 more than the previous number recorded a day earlier.

The ministry said 388 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19, 55 more than the previous day, with 81 in serious condition.

India has confirmed another record jump in coronavirus cases, logging 97,894 cases in the past 24 hours.

A health worker collects a swab sample from a man for a coronavirus test at a public health centre in Hyderabad, India. (Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)

The country’s health ministry said on Thursday the new cases raised the nation’s confirmed total to more than 5.1 million since the pandemic began. It said 1,132 people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 83,198.

At the current rate of infection, India is expected within weeks to surpass the 6.6 million reported cases in the United States, which is currently the country with the most reported infections.

The number of people in the United States applying for unemployment benefits dropped to 881,000 last week, but the Labour Department reported Thursday that the economy is still struggling to recover and rebuild the job market.

Before the pandemic hit the economy, the number signing up for jobless aid had never exceeded 700,000 in a week, even during the depths of the 2007-09 Great Recession. Now they’ve topped 700,000 for 26 straight weeks.

Meanwhile, 10 fans who attended the Kansas City Chiefs game last week have been told to quarantine after one tested positive for COVID-19, Kansas City health officials announced Thursday.

A person who watched the NFL game from the group’s box in Arrowhead Stadium’s lower level tested positive a day later, the health department said.

The health department and Chiefs organization worked together to track down those who had contact with the person.

Airline industry workers hold signs during a protest in Federal Plaza in Chicago. (AFP via Getty Images)

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Coronavirus: Canada adds 870 new cases, 6 deaths in last 24 hours – Global News

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Canada added 870 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday, but the national case count rose by an extra 248 cases that were delayed in reporting, bringing the national total to 140,752.

Six new deaths were also reported nation-wide in the last 24 hours, plus one from earlier in the week in Quebec, to bring the total to 9,200.

Read more:
Ontario reports 293 new coronavirus cases with majority in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa

Ontario reported 293 new cases on Thursday, a slight decrease from the 315 reported the day before.

Three more deaths in the province have brought its total toll to 2,825, and resolved cases increased by 179 from the day before.

Fifty-three people are currently hospitalized, up from nine on Wednesday, while 21 patients are in intensive care, up from one on Wednesday, with 12 of them on a ventilator.

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1:53
Quebec raises coronavirus alert level in several regions including Montreal


Quebec raises coronavirus alert level in several regions including Montreal

Quebec reported 251 new cases in the last 24 hours, but added 499 cases Thursday due to a delay in reporting from earlier in the week, bringing its case total to 66,356.

The province now has been reporting an average of 300 new infections per day the last week.

“It’s everywhere that we have to be careful,” Health Minister Christian Dubé said.

Read more:
Quebecers must be careful in coming days as coronavirus cases rise, health minister says

Two deaths occurred in the province in the last 24 hours and one other was recorded that occurred earlier in the week.

The number of hospitalizations in the province shot up since Wednesday, going from six to 136, with 29 patients in intensive care, up from three a day earlier.

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Over in British Columbia, 165 new cases of coronavirus were reported, setting a new single-day record over 139 recorded last week. Two of those cases are considered epi-linked.






5:37
Strengthening public health in British Columbia by reducing the risk of influenza during the pandemic


Strengthening public health in British Columbia by reducing the risk of influenza during the pandemic

There are now 1,705 active cases in the province, a record high for them.

One new death was reported to bring the total to 210.

However, hospitalizations did decrease from 60 patients to 57, with 22 of them in intensive care.

In Alberta, 146 new cases were reported, bringing the province’s active cases to 1,403 with 41 in hospital and eight of them in ICU. No new deaths were reported.

Read more:
Alberta shifting away from wide asymptomatic testing as province confirms another 146 cases of COVID-19

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Saskatchewan added seven new cases, while one case from Wednesday had been removed after deeming it to be from a non-Saskatchewan resident.

There are currently 109 active cases and five patients in hospital in the province, all in Saskatoon. No new deaths were reported.

Manitoba reported 11 new cases Thursday, and currently has 293 active cases with 10 in hospital and two in intensive care. No new deaths were reported.






1:57
Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor raises alarm over ‘stigmatizing behaviour’ in COVID-19 case


Coronavirus: Manitoba’s top doctor raises alarm over ‘stigmatizing behaviour’ in COVID-19 case

New Brunswick reported no new cases Thursday and said there are currently two active cases there.

Nova Scotia has continued its streak of no new cases, up to 10 days now.

No new cases were reported in the territories.

There have been 30,019,763 confirmed cases globally so far, according to Johns Hopkins University, and 943,515 deaths.

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— With files from Global News staff

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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What StatCan learned by asking 35000 Canadians about pandemic discrimination – CTV News

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TORONTO —
New data from Statistics Canada is adding to growing calls for the federal government to address racial inequities experienced by various population groups in Canada during the course of the pandemic in its economic recovery plan.

The survey results released Thursday found that 28 per cent of Canadians surveyed reported they had experienced some form of discrimination since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statistics Canada surveyed 35,000 Canadians between Aug. 4 to 24 to better understand which groups have been negatively impacted as a result of systemic failures amid the health crisis.

The agency notes that the survey data is not based on random selection and that the findings should not be interpreted to represent the overall Canadian population.

Young participants aged 15 to 24 were twice as likely as seniors aged 65 and older to report that they had experienced discrimination over the course of the pandemic. Among youth, Statistics Canada found women were 45 per cent more likely than their male counterparts to reporting having experienced prejudice.

Both Indigenous men and women were more likely than their non-Indigenous participants to report experiences of discrimination, but the difference was again particularly large among women.

DISCRIMINATION IN POPULATION GROUPS

According to the report, the experiences of discrimination also varied “across ethnocultural characteristics.”

Statistics Canada found that Chinese, Korean, Southeast Asian and Black participants were more than twice as likely as white participants to report that they had experienced discrimination.

The agency said the results are consistent with the data from a previous crowdsourcing initiative, which found that Chinese, Korean and Southeast Asian participants perceived an increase in the frequency of race-based harassment or attacks since the beginning of the pandemic.

The new report also found that immigrants who arrived in Canada within the last 10 years were more likely than established immigrants and Canadian-born participants to report that they had experienced discrimination.

Gender-diverse participants who did not report their gender as exclusively female or male were almost three times more likely than males to report that they had experienced discrimination during the pandemic. LGBTQ and other sexual minority participants were also more likely to report experiencing discrimination.

Additionally, participants who identified themselves as having a disability were twice as likely as participants without a disability to report being discriminated against.

FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION

Among those who said that they experienced discrimination, the most commonly reported form was based on race or skin colour (34 per cent), followed by age (30 per cent), physical appearance (26 per cent) ethnicity and culture (25 per cent) and sex (22 per cent).

Avvy Go, director of the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, says the new data amplifies equity concerns those who have experienced racism have had for years.

Go told CTV’s Your Morning on Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed racial inequities in multiple sectors across Canada including employment, health care, housing and education.

“Even before the pandemic, People of Colour, Indigenous people were earning less income, they were more likely to be employed in low wage jobs, and they have higher unemployment rates… There has also been significant increases for unemployment rate among Chinese and South Asian, more so than any other group,” Go said.

“We know that this is a result of systemic racism and structural racism within the labour market.”

Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change (COP-COC) is a campaign that is currently pushing for political parties to acknowledge racial inequalities amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada’s economic restart plan.

The campaign is calling for the federal government to address discrimination within its borders so the health crisis does not continue to impact racialized groups more so than other populations.

“By doing so, we will increase the opportunities for employment for the underrepresented groups, and that includes not just people of colour, but also women and people with disability as well,” Go said.

WHERE AND HOW DISCRIMINATION OCCURS

As each group faces its own set of unique challenges and circumstances, Statistics Canada found that the most common forms of discrimination differed between groups.

Among Indigenous participants who faced bias over the course of the pandemic, the most common form was discrimination based on Indigenous identity while those belonging to a visible minority group reported forms related to race and ethnicity. Among Black participants 84 per cent reported that they had experienced discrimination related to race or skin colour.

Similar to how the forms of discrimination were mixed, where participants experienced prejudice also varied.

Statistics Canada reported that about 4 in 10 participants (36 per cent) said that they had experienced discrimination in a store, bank or restaurant. One-third experienced it while using public areas such as parks and sidewalks, almost one-third experienced it online, and approximately 3 in 10 experienced it in the workplace or when applying for a job.

However, not all groups experienced the same types of discrimination situations.

According to the data, Black and South Asian participants reported more often incidents of discrimination that occurred in a store, bank or restaurant.

Chinese and Filipino participants were more likely to report experiencing discrimination while using public areas, and Arab respondents were more likely to report bias in the workplace.

Gender-diverse and sexual minority participants said they mostly faced discrimination online.

In all population groups, participants who reported experiencing discrimination also had lower levels of trust in institutions, including the police and the court system.

Statistics Canada acknowledged that each population group faces its own unique set of challenges and additional analyses will be required to get a deeper understanding of issues faced by all groups of people that live in Canada.

Visualizations by CTVNews.ca’s Mahima Singh

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