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Province announces two new COVID-19 cases Saturday – Edmonton Sun

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Public health officials announced two new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total number of lab-confirmed positive and probably positive cases in Manitoba to 417.

No further details on the new cases was provided as the provincial government released the information on Twitter. The online data will be updated on Tuesday due to the long weekend.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, is expected to address the media and give an update on Tuesday.

As of Friday, Manitoba’s active caseload had fallen to 70, with 337 individuals now being recorded as having recovered from the virus. The province’s current five-day test positivity rate remained at 0.40%.

Six people remain in hospital, including five who are currently in intensive care. Manitoba’s death toll remains at eight after a man in his 70s died earlier this week.

As of Friday, the total number of tests completed since early February were in access of 88,000.

PRE-GAME SHOUT OUT

As part of the celebrations to mark the start of the NHL’s 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Saturday, social justice activists and COVID-19 healthcare workers were recognized in a virtual pregame ceremony before the Blackhawks-Oilers game including Manitoba’s Roussin. A similar pre-game ceremony was held prior to the Canadiens-Penguins puck drop.

As part of the NHL’s new League-wide initiative, #WeSkateFor, the NHL and its 32 clubs and players will support, celebrate and honor community heroes, frontline and healthcare workers, and racial justice activists through various local and national programs and activities, including charitable donation drives, social media campaigns using the hashtag #WeSkateFor and pregame acknowledgements.

POSSIBLE EXPOSURE

Public health officials are advising that potential exposure to COVID-19 may have occurred from a case identified Friday at Blazers Mini Mart, 140 Main St N., Minnedosa, on July 25 and from a case identified Thursday at the Asian Spices of Brandon, 437-A 10th St, Brandon, on July 22 and 23.

People who are considered close contacts of a COVID-19 case will be contacted by public health officials and advised to self-isolate. Others who were at these sites on those days do not need to self-isolate, but should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.

If people develop symptoms, they should self-isolate and visit http://www.manitoba.ca/covid19/to use the online screening tool, or call Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257 for health guidance on how to seek testing.

gdawkins@postmedia.com

Twitter: @SunGlenDawkins

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Fatal COVID-19 outbreak over at Edmonton hospital; 84 new cases in Alberta – Cochrane Today

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EDMONTON — The Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton has started a phased reopening following a COVID-19 outbreak linked to 58 cases, including 11 patient deaths. 

The hospital was closed to new patients on July 8 due to what officials called a full facility outbreak.

Alberta Health Services says there have been no new COVID-19 cases linked to the Misericordia’s outbreak since July 18.

Patients who were in the hospital continued to receive treatment, while labouring mothers and patients with scheduled day procedures were rebooked or cared for at other Edmonton-area hospitals.

The hospital’s emergency department as well as its labour and baby delivery services resumed operations on Friday.

Officials say the hospital will also begin phased reopening of scheduled ambulatory appointments and surgical procedures.

“Early in the outbreak at the Misericordia, we took significant measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of patients, staff, physicians, and volunteers,” Dr. David Zygun, medical director, AHS Edmonton Zone, said in a release.

“With an abundance of caution, and nearly a month without a new case linked to the initial outbreak, we are confident the site is ready to begin accepting incoming patients to a safe environment of care.”

Also Friday, health officials reported 84 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta and one new death.

Since the pandemic began in March, there have been a total of 12,053 cases and 221 deaths in the province.

There are 1,036 active cases in Alberta, as well as 48 people in hospital and 13 in intensive care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 14, 2020

The Canadian Press

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Tam warns of possible surge in COVID-19 cases – Canada News – Castanet.net

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Only a small fraction of the 40,000 new ventilators Canada ordered for hospitals last spring have already been delivered but several companies involved say their production lines will start delivering the products faster in the next few weeks.

The promise of new arrivals comes as Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, warned Friday that a fall surge of COVID-19 cases could overwhelm the health-care system, including its supply of critical care beds and ventilators.

“What we know based on what we learned from other countries and cities that had a devastating impact in that initial wave, if you exceeded that capacity the mortality goes up really, really high,” she said.

Flu season and other respiratory infections common in the fall could put added pressure on the system if COVID-19 flares up in a big way.

Tam said there were many lessons learned from the spring, when the government was ill-prepared and without enough protective equipment for health-care workers, and feared a massive surge of COVID-19 would overwhelm the health-care system.

“We are much better prepared than we were before,” she said.

In March, Canadians watched in horror as northern Italy’s COVID-19 outbreak overran its health-care system, leaving doctors to choose which patients got a ventilator and which were left without one. That experience, coupled with warnings it could happen here too, compelled federal and provincial governments to order thousands of new ventilators.

But much like surgical face masks and N95 respirators, Canada didn’t already produce many ventilators domestically, and getting them from international sources is tough when global need for new ventilators is in the hundreds of thousands. So Canada asked firms here if they could step up, and out of that four new consortiums to build ventilators were formed.

A fifth contract was signed with Thornhill Medical, a Toronto firm that at that point was making about 50 of its portable breathing machines a month.

In all, Canada ordered 40,328 ventilators, for an estimated $1.1 billion, and as of Friday, it had just 606 in hand.

Paul-Emile Cloutier, the president of national health-care advocate HealthCareCAN, said there is concern about the status of the government’s orders for personal protective equipment and ventilators ahead of the possibility COVID-19 will surge again in Canada this fall.

“Details are crucial as we prepare for the expected next wave of COVID-19,” he said.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Friday the government is pushing on to get the entirety of the orders in place. A statement from her department said “Canada currently has sufficient ventilators to meet current demands” and that the ones on order are to bolster existing Public Health Agency of Canada stockpiles, as well as the units already in hospitals and provincial warehouses across the country.

But Health Canada won’t say how many ventilators the country now has in total. It will also not disclose any modelling for how many could be needed in a worst-case scenario situation. In March there were about 5,000 ventilators nationally, and another 500 in the national emergency stockpile.

Canada’s ability to plank the COVID-19 curve in the spring meant warnings about running out of ventilators never came to fruition.

John Walmsley, the executive vice president at Starfish Medical in Victoria, said that took the pressure off his new coalition, Canadian Emergency Ventilators, Inc.

“We have a little bit more elbow room to do things in a bit of a controlled manner but I would say we’re looking to get it done this year,” he said.

“We’re all concerned about a second wave and being ready for that and so we’re on board to deliver for that.”

Canadian Emergency Ventilators is still waiting for Health Canada approval before it can start shipping its promised 7,500 machines. It submitted the documents in June and it is taking a bit longer than expected to get the green light.

Once that happens, the Public Health Agency of Canada would have to test the product, and then the units that have already been built could be shipped, said Walmsley. He is still hopeful to fill the order by the end of the year.

Thornhill Medical CEO Lesley Gouldie said her company’s partnership with Linamar, a manufacturer based in Guelph, Ont., has been a great success. Thornhill is to provide 1,020 machines to Canada, and has shipped 27 so far.

Gouldie said Linamar can make as many as 100 of the units a week, but getting the supplies for the 1,500 parts that make up their portable device proved to be difficult in a pandemic.

“The limiting factor is the supply chains,” Gouldie said.

She said the kinks are mostly worked out now, and she expects to ship enough machines each week to fulfil their contract by early December.

Rick Jamieson, the CEO of FTI Professional Grade, said they expect to fulfil their entire contract for 10,000 ventilators by Dec. 12. FTI is one of several companies in a consortium called Ventilators for Canadians, which has already delivered 132 ventilators. Another 120 are on track for delivery next week and 240 in the last week of August.

“We have activated a fourth shift to increase production knowing that a second wave is likely this fall and winter,” said Jamieson.

Montreal’s CAE received Health Canada approval for its new ventilator on June 17, and said that day it expected to begin shipping “hundreds each week.” It has a contract to deliver 10,000.

The final company, Vexos, was the last to sign a contract, and had to submit its product to Health Canada as well, and began shipping in late July.

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Ventilator supply starts to increase as Tam warns of possible surge of COVID-19 – Toronto Sun

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OTTAWA — Less than two per cent of the 40,000 new ventilators Canada ordered for hospitals last spring have already been delivered.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada is better prepared for a fall wave of COVID-19 than it was in the spring, but also says that wave could be big enough to overwhelm Canada’s health-care system, including its supply of ventilators.

Health Canada won’t say how many ventilators hospitals could need to respond to such a surge, but insists it has enough for now, with the new ones ordered meant to augment existing stockpiles.

Only 606 of the 40,328 ventilators Ottawa ordered in April and May have arrived, but at least three of the companies involved say they expect to double or even triple the number they ship in the coming weeks.

Four of them needed Health Canada approval for their product, which is still outstanding in two cases, and another said supply chain issues delayed production.

While the contracts for the ventilators, worth more than $1.1 billion, run through March 2021, most of the companies expect to fulfil their entire order before the end of the year.

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