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Province releases planning scenarios for COVID-19, prepares for 153000 to 408000 cases – battlefordsNOW

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The first, and worst case scenario was modelled on a high range of virus reproductivity, meaning if one person infected with COVID-19 in Saskatchewan would go on to infect four others. This scenario assumed the province continued with its current measures to combat the virus, including testing, tracing and physical distancing.

The estimates for that model suggested 4,265 COVID-19 patients would be in acute care simultaneously, with 1,280 hospitalized patients in ICU, 90 to 95 per cent of which would require ventilation.

This scenario modelling suggested 408,000 cases across the province, with 8,370 deaths. Hospital admissions per day would be 710, with 215 admitted to ICU.

The second scenario was modelled on a mid-range virus reproductivity — meaning one person infected would go on to infect 2.76 others. This scenario also assumed the province would continue with its current response levels.

In that scenario, modelling estimates were that at the apex of infections, 1,265 people would be in acute care simultaneously, with 380 in ICU, 90 to 95 per cent of which would require ventilation.

The estimates suggested 262,000 infections across the province, with 5,260 deaths. Hospital admissions per day at the peak would be 205 with 60 admitted to ICU.

The third scenario modelling was based on the virus reproductive levels similar to the Wuhan province in China, where the virus originated. That rate of infection would be one infected person passing the virus to 2.4 people.

This scenario assumed the province continued with its current response levels. At its peak, the scenario suggested 390 patients would be in acute care simultaneously, with 120 in the ICU. Of those hospitalized 90 to 95 per cent would require a ventilator.

The low range scenario suggested 153,000 cases across the province, with 3,075 deaths. Hospital admissions per day would be 60, with 20 people admitted to ICU.

It’s important to note the models and the scenarios are not predictive, but are based on the limited information available for the province to guide its planning.

The current interventions have made a difference, the province says, along with key public health strategies. That includes increased testing, identifying cases early, expanding contact tracing, enforcing health orders and managing cases, clusters and outbreaks.

A plan for the North

The province has contingency plans for its hospital use if there was a steady increase of COVID-19 patients. In some areas of the province, hospitals or facilities would be converted to only accept patients with the virus. Others would be designated as ‘non-COVID hospitals’.

The Sakatchewan Health Authority’s Integrated Northern Health area (essentially the top half of the province north of Saskatoon) would have hospitals with a mixed patient cohort, and non-COVID hospitals.

Prince Albert, North Battleford, Meadow Lake, Nipawin, Melfort, La Ronge, La Loche, Ile a La Crosse, and Lloydminster would have mixed patient hospitals.

Facilities in Loon Lake, Turtleford, Maidstone, Unity, Shellbrook, Rosthern, Tisdale, Porcupine Plain, and Hudson would only accept non-COVID patients.

SHA Emergency Operations Lead Derek Miller said field hospitals in Regina and Saskatoon will be activated immediately.

But according to planning models, those would only be needed in the North in the event of a worst-case scenario.

“Field hospitals have been identified as a potential contingency for the North but at this point in time we’re not activating any field hospitals in any Northern centres,” he said.

In the event of exceeded capacity to intensive care units in northern hospitals, there would be a co-ordinated provincial approach which would place rural and northern patients in urban locations, the province said.

SHA Emergency Operations Lead Derek Miller said the SHA will employ a co-ordinated provincial response to manage case load across Saskatchewan.

“Regina and Saskatoon have scaled up their ICU capacity to allow for the admission of patients from the North and rural once they are exceeding their capacity,” he said.

—With files from Alison Sandstrom

panews@jpbg.ca

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New Brunswick doctor says he does not know where he picked up COVID-19 – OHS Canada

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FREDERICTON — A New Brunswick doctor blamed by many, including the premier, for spreading COVID-19 in a growing cluster of new cases told Radio-Canada on Tuesday that he’s not sure how he picked up the virus.

Dr. Jean Robert Ngola said he recently travelled from Campbellton, N.B., to Quebec to pick up his four-year-old daughter because the girl’s mother had to attend a funeral in Africa.

Ngola admitted that upon his return from the overnight trip, he did not self-isolate for 14 days, but added he does not know if he caught the coronavirus on his travels or from a patient.

“Perhaps it was an error in judgment, but I did not go to Quebec to go to take the virus and come to give it to my patients,” Ngola told morning show La Matinale.

There are 13 active COVID-19 cases in the province that had just weeks ago seen all of its coronavirus cases recovered.

On Tuesday, the Public Health Department reported another COVID-19 case in an outbreak at Manoir de la Vallee, a care home in Altholville in the northern part of the province.

All of New Brunswick’s active cases are in the health region known as Zone 5, and all have been linked to a cluster in the Campbellton area.

Officials, including Premier Blaine Higgs, have said the cluster began when a health-care worker travelled to Quebec and returned to work at Campbellton Regional Hospital without self-isolating.

But Ngola told La Matinale that his COVID-19 diagnosis threw him, and he’s not sure how he was exposed. His daughter tested positive as well and both have been in quarantine since, but neither have had any symptoms.

Doctor has faced racist attacks

The doctor, who is of Congolese descent, said he has been the victim of racist attacks online since public attention was directed to his case. His name and photo were shared on social media with racist comments describing him as “the bad doctor who went to get the virus to kill people here.”

Ngola told the radio program he took precautions when travelling and did not stop en route.

He continued working upon his return to Campbellton and left his daughter in the care of an essential service workers’ daycare centre.

On May 25, he was told that one of his patients had tested positive for COVID-19. He called the man, whom he’d seen May 19 for a prescription renewal, and stopped working right away.

Ngola said as a patient, he also has the right to confidentiality.

The Campbellton COVID-19 cluster has led to increased testing in the region, where the Vitalite health authority offered tests to anyone who asked from Friday through Sunday.

More than 3,300 were completed over the weekend and Zone 5 has moved back a step in the province’s reopening plan.

A Tuesday news release from the province’s Public Health Department said the newest positive case is a person their 80s linked to Manoir de la Vallee, where a worker tested positive last week.

Five residents have now tested positive for the virus and the regional director for Lokia Group, the company that owns the home, said Monday that two had been hospitalized.

The province said Tuesday that five people are in the hospital due to COVID-19, including one person in intensive care.

Chief doctor pleads for patience

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement that New Brunswickers should be patient as the province monitors the outbreak.

“We have 14 days ahead of us to see how things unfold,” Russell’s statement read. “In the meantime, I ask New Brunswickers to continue to demonstrate their compassion, kindness and patience throughout the province.”

At a news conference last week, Premier Blaine Higgs did not refer to Dr. Ngola by name, but criticized him as “irresponsible” and said the matter had been referred to the RCMP, potentially leading to charges for violating public health orders.

Days later, Higgs walked back his remarks slightly and appeared to acknowledge the outrage, telling people to leave investigation into any wrongdoing up to law enforcement and the person’s employer.

“I know people are upset, but we don’t want anyone taking matters into their own hands,” he said.

Campbellton Mayor Stephanie Anglehart-Paulin told The Canadian Press on Saturday that she was embarrassed by many of the comments on social media directed at the doctor, which she described as “pretty hateful and nasty.”

By Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John’s, N.L., with files from Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal

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Hydroxychloroquine fails to prevent COVID-19 in those at high risk, trial shows – CBC.ca

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The drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been the subject of heated debate as a potential treatment for COVID-19, was not effective in preventing the disease in Canadians and Americans at high risk, according to the first gold standard clinical trial.

In Wednesday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, medical researchers reported on testing the use of hydroxychloroquine in 821 adults throughout the U.S. and in Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta. The participants did not have symptoms but were exposed to someone with confirmed COVI9-19 in a health-care or household setting.

Hydroxychloroquine is often used to treat autoimmune diseases such as lupus. U.S. President Donald Trump said he’s taken hydroxychloroquine, although he’s not tested positive for the coronavirus infection. No studies have proven this drug or any others are effective against COVID-19.

The exposures were all considered high risk, because the participants were less than two meters away from a confirmed case for more than 10 minutes without wearing a mask or face shield. The goal of the randomized trial was to see if hydroxychloroquine could prevent symptoms of infection, known as postexposure prophylaxis, compared with taking a sugar pill.

“In this trial, high doses of hydroxychloroquine did not prevent illness compatible with COVID-19 when initiated within four days after a high-risk or moderate-risk exposure,” the study’s authors wrote.

Gold standard method

Dr. Emily McDonald, a physician at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, co-authored the randomized control trial in which half of participants were randomly assigned to the drug and half to the placebo without investigators knowing to avoid bias in interpreting any symptoms or their resolution.

McDonald called it the gold standard method to have the best evidence to support how to prevent spread of COVID-19.

“When we politicize the drug and we stop studies early for reasons that are perhaps not entirely valid, we risk never answering the question properly because the enrolment for the studies drops off,” McDonald said.

“There are also hundreds of patients that have contributed their data to randomized trials because they also felt a responsibility to help the scientific community answer this question.”

Overall, 107 of 821 of participants developed COVID-19 based on a swab or compatible symptoms during 14 days of followup.

No deaths occurred

Of those who received hydroxychloroquine, investigators said 49 developed the disease compared with 58 in the placebo group, a difference that could simply be random.

Two patients were hospitalized, one in each group. No deaths occurred.

Medication side-effects such as nausea and abdominal discomfort were more common for patients taking hydroxychloroquine compared to placebo (40 per cent versus 17 per cent), but no serious treatment-related adverse reactions were reported, including any heart arrhythmia.

Earlier on Wednesday, the World Health Organization announced it was resuming the hydroxychloroquine arm of its Solidarity trial into potential treatments for COVID-19 following a pause to check for any potential safety concerns such as heart problems.

The Solidarity trial includes participants and researchers in Canada. 

Previous studies of hydroxychloroquine were observational in design, which greatly increases the potential for bias when managing patients compared with a well conducted, randomized clinical trial.

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2 new cases of COVID-19, bringing total long-term care residents infected to 5 – CBC.ca

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There are two new cases of COVID-19 in the province, both related to a recent outbreak in the Campbellton region.

There are now 15 active cases of COVID-19, all in Zone 5, which has been returned to the orange phase of recovery while restrictions remain eased in the rest of the province.

The new cases are an individual between 40 and 49 years of age, and an individual between 60 and 69 years of age.

A provincial press release said one of the two new cases is linked to a close contact of a previously identified case, and the other one is linked to Manoir de la Vallée, a long-term care facility in Atholville.

Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard said in total, the facility has three staff and five residents test positive.

There are five people in hospital and one in the intensive care unit, the release said.

Three of the hospitalized people are residents of the long-term care home, Shephard said, including the ICU patient.

“To the best of my knowledge I can tell you that [their condition] is stable,” Shephard said.

All of the cases are isolated in the memory care wing of the facility, Shephard said. 

“This memory care wing would have doors, like locked doors,” shes said. “We can’t say 100 per cent that a patient doesn’t wander in some fashion but it’s very much minimized.”

She said all the rooms are private, but residents do share a bathroom.

“A cleaning crew has been brought on to support staff in washing down washrooms three times a day at a minimum,” she said.

Two of the positive residents are still in the wing in Atholville she said, and the staff members are isolating in their homes. 

She said administrators are in contact with family members on a daily basis. She said she’s sure residents and families are worried.

“But I’m sure that staff is doing everything they can to give them assurances that every precaution is being taken to protect them.”

Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard says three of the six people in hospital are long-term care home residents. One is in ICU and in ‘stable’ condition. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

The release said a Quebec resident has also tested positive, and is also linked to the facility, but the case will be counted as part of Quebec’s statistics.

Public H​​​​​ealth has previously linked the outbreak to a doctor who travelled to Quebec and didn’t self-isolate for the mandatory 14 days when he returned.

The province has conducted 31,791 tests in total, including 1,125 in the last 24 hours.

What to do if you have symptoms?

The province says if you or a member of your family are showing two of the following symptoms, contact Tele-Care 811 or your primary health-care provider:

  • Fever above 38°C or signs of fever (such as chills).
  • A new cough or worsening chronic cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Runny nose.
  • Headache.
  • A new onset of fatigue.
  • A new onset of muscle pain.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Loss of sense of taste or loss of sense of smell.
  • In children, purple markings on the fingers or toes. In this instance, testing will be done even if none of the other symptoms are present.

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