Manitoba’s top public health official says he’s noticing messaging and personal protective equipment fatigue amongst health-care workers at personal care homes experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. If true, this could impact public health for the duration of the pandemic if not corrected, says one expert.
Four personal care homes in Manitoba are experiencing outbreaks. Three in Brandon, Man. announced outbreaks after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, while an outbreak at Bethesda Place, a care home in Steinbach, Man., infected five staff and three residents — two of whom have now died.
“We’ve seen on a number of occasions out in the public, with the spread in Brandon, that there’s a lot of fatigue out there with adhering to the fundamentals, and adhering to a lot of the guidelines that are in place that did such an excellent job at protecting us in that first wave,” Dr. Brent Roussin, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, told reporters at a news conference Monday.
“When we see the spread within some of these personal care homes, we can see that it’s challenging to be using PPE consistently. It’s challenging to do it for so long,” he said. “We have to get back to that fundamental where not going to work when you’re sick, wearing that PPE even though it’s tough, constantly, because we can see the results of that.”
Two Manitoba union leaders, though, say they were surprised by Roussin’s words on Monday.
“None of either the employer or the employees have come to the union saying, ‘Hey, there’s a problem,'” Shannon McAteer, health care coordinator of CUPE Local 204, which represents over 14,000 health-care workers in the province.
“The staff, as far as we know, are still adhering to [protocol] and still asking for PPE, to make sure that they’re not either contracting [COVID-19] or spreading it.”
The union has received many complaints from workers about visitors at personal care homes not adhering to the public health guidelines properly, McAteer noted.
Darlene Jackson, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union, believes that message fatigue would only be one of various reasons for the current outbreaks at care facilities in the Prairie Mountain Health Region.
“I don’t think it’s attributable simply to the issue of message fatigue,” said Jackson. “But I can tell you that it’s certainly not for a lack of caution and concern among staff providing care.”
“Those frontline providers out there providing care during the pandemic puts them at higher risk for exposure. So nurses absolutely take appropriate donning of PPE and wearing appropriate PPE extremely seriously.”
If what Roussin says is true, though, then there could be consequences for public health for the duration of the pandemic if not immediately corrected, says Michelle Driedger, professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba, whose expertise is health risk communication.
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“Health-care workers have to model the behaviour that they want everybody else to also be engaging in, in order to help keep our [COVID-19] case rates low,” said Driedger.
Health-care workers are among the most essential in society because the vast majority of people have to rely on their expertise, she explained. But this means that during the pandemic, health-care workers must lead by example, because “people are going to be following and adopting a lot of that guidance themselves.”
“If they don’t see health professionals wearing their PPE appropriately or regularly, it’s going to start to erode that trust in the public health guidance generally,” said Driedger, adding that the rule applies from wearing PPE, to getting in line for a vaccine when one is eventually developed.
Trust in health care could also be shaken if a patient, who is visiting the doctor for a reason unrelated to COVID-19, ends up contracting the illness from a health-care worker who showed up to work despite being symptomatic, or wasn’t wearing their PPE properly, she cited.
Despite all of that, though, both messaging and PPE fatigue is understandable, Driedger said, given the messaging from public health officials has stayed relatively the same since March, and health-care workers are wearing more PPE than they were accustomed.
To any workers at personal care homes who may be feeling fatigued, McAteer reiterates that wearing the PPE protects them and the residents in their care.
Jackson said the current outbreaks at personal care homes are a reminder that Manitobans, including health-care workers, must remain vigilant of the threat of COVID-19.
“We have to follow proper procedure. We’re seeing outbreaks in long-term care facilities. We’ve seen what’s happened in other provinces in Ontario and Quebec, the tragedy that unfolded in their long term care facilities,” she said.
“We have to be incredibly vigilant to ensure that our most vulnerable populations are kept safe.”
Six more COVID-19 outbreaks in Edmonton schools as Edmonton Zone hits record for active cases – Edmonton Journal
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Edmonton Public Schools said Tuesday in-school transmission is “likely” at Waverley.
By Monday, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said there had been 81 schools with active alerts for outbreaks in the province, meaning one or more people have been to the school while they are infectious.
Data provided by Alberta Health lists other outbreaks in the Edmonton Zone Tuesday as follows: Benevolance Care Centre (1 active case, 3 recovered cases), Catholic Social Services Gabriel Place (1 active, 4 recovered), Lifestyle Options Terra Losa (2 active), Robin Hood Association in Sherwood Park (3 active, 3 recovered), Salvation Army Grace Manor (1 active, 13 recovered), Belfor Property Restoration (2 active, 3 recovered), Canadian Mat Systems (6 active, 4 recovered), Capital Fine Meats (16 active, 7 recovered), Fairmont Hotel Macdonald (2 active, 11 recovered), Loomis Express (3 active, 6 recovered), Portuguese Canadian Bakery (4 active, 2 recovered), St. Joseph’s College dormitory at the University of Alberta (5 active), Walmart Supercentre on Calgary Trail (19 recovered), WIN House (7 active), Windermere Early Learning Centre (5 recovered).
There have been 146,663 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 9,234 people have died. Worldwide, there have been 31,174,627 confirmed cases and 962,613 people have died, according to the World Health Organization.
— With files from Anna Junker
Follow COVID-19 isolation rules or face $5000 daily fine: Ottawa's top doctor – CTV Edmonton
Ottawa residents who have or may have COVID-19 and don’t properly self-isolate could face steep fines under a new order from the city’s top doctor.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches announced on Tuesday she is invoking an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act that requires people to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19, have signs of symptoms, are a close contact of a positive test, are awaiting a test result or have reasonable grounds to believe they may have COVID-19.
“Failure to comply with this order could result in a fine of up to $5,000 for every day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues,” Etches said on Tuesday.
People under the order must remain in self-isolation for 14 days unless COVID-19 has been ruled out, and they must do everything they can to avoid exposing others.
“I don’t take these types of decisions and steps lightly,” Etches told a news conference on Tuesday. “However, I must do everything possible to reduce the transmission that’s currently happening in Ottawa.”
“We must again plank the curve.”
Etches reiterated the goals in resopnding ot the pandemic: to keep the level of COVID-19 transmission in the community from disrupting society in a detrimental way, and to limit hospitalizations and death.
“This level that we’re seeing … is too high for these purposes,” she said.
The order would be enforced by Ottawa Public Health taking people to court who don’t comply with officials who call them to get information about when their symptoms started, who they were in contact with, and other details necessary for contact tracing.
“If we start to run into some resistance, then we can point to the order that already exists and say you know, we have the authority to collect this information, there are some consequences for you if you don’t provide it to us,” Etches said. “if people still are having a reluctance to provide us with the information we need to do our public health work, then we could take the next step and go to court.”
Etches added that many people testing positive are between the ages of 20 and 39. Within that group, 40 per cent of the people who became ill in recent weeks acquired COVID-19 while in close contact with someone outside their household.
The number of cases in schools is also growing; Etches said 34 Ottawa schools have had someone test positive due to contact within a school setting.
Etches also said she doesn’t believe the provincially-mandated social circles have worked.
“I don’t think the social circle concept has worked out, when I look at what we’re seeing in people’s behaviour, where one circle of 10 becomes a different circle of 10 overlapping on different days of the week,” she said. “The concept was that you need to limit your contacts.
“The simple message I’m going back to: fewer is better.”
You can read the full Class Section 22 Order here.
Alberta confirms an additional 150 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, 2 deaths – Global News
Alberta Health released the updated numbers Tuesday afternoon.
The province also confirmed another two deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 258. On Tuesday, Alberta Health said a man in his 90s from the Edmonton zone and a man in his 80s from Calgary zone had both died.
The man from the Calgary zone was linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at Wentworth Manor, Alberta Health said.
Alberta Health Services confirmed another death linked to the outbreak at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.
The province has said there is usually a bit of a delay in reporting, but some facilities with outbreaks report their own numbers. The Foothills death should show up in Alberta Health’s numbers in the coming days.
Alberta has no plans to reduce gathering limits at this time: Hinshaw
As of Tuesday, the province was reporting 1,565 active cases across the province. There were 485 in the Calgary zone, 820 in the Edmonton zone, 24 in the Central zone, 41 in the South zone and 188 in the North zone. There were seven active cases not associated to a specific zone Tuesday.
Across the province, there were 51 people in hospital with nine of those people in the ICU.
To date, 1,229,939 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Alberta.
On Tuesday, Canada’s top doctor warned the country is at a crossroads when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Theresa Tam said because daily reporting numbers only catch transmission in the past, Tam warned that actions taken now are essential to keep the virus under control.
“The only way to achieve strong control of COVID-19 and prevent the virus from surging into an uncontrollable growth trajectory is for public health authorities and the public to work together,” Tam said.
Is Canada in a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic? A doctor answers our questions
New modelling presented by Tam said, if Canadians maintain their current rates of contacts, the epidemic is forecast to resurge to over 5,000 reported cases per day in October. But, if Canadians decrease the current contact rate, the pandemic could come under control in most locations.
– With files from Katie Dangerfield, Global News
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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