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Provincial health officer won't give in to bar industry's call to reinstate liquor sales after 10 p.m. – CBC.ca

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Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, is rejected calls from the bar industry to allow liquor sales until midnight.

Last week Henry issued a public health order that ended liquor sales at restaurants and bars at 10 p.m., and closed the businesses at 11 p.m., unless they are serving food.

The industry immediately appealed for more relaxed rules, and that request is now being repeated, despite Henry’s warnings about the risk of COVID-19 transmission during the later hours.

Jeff Guignard, executive director of the B.C. Alliance of Beverage Licensees, says his group’s research shows the last couple of hours of business is when establishments go from losing money to turning a profit.

Bars in downtown Vancouver make half their revenue after 10 p.m., he said, while in other areas about a quarter or a third of revue is tallied after 10 p.m. Even in rural communities, 10 per cent of revenue comes in the last couple of hours of business, he added.

Jeff Guignard is executive director of the B.C. Alliance of Beverage Licensees. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

He said 50 per cent of the industry might not make it to the end of the year and it has been surviving on government rent and wage subsidies. The situation will become more dire if the public health order isn’t changed.

“It means bankruptcy. It means you’re going to close and you’re going to have to lay off your employees,” said Guignard.

Henry told reporters on Thursday that she had received a letter from the alliance on Wednesday, but she wasn’t ready to budge on the order.

“I appreciate that this is a very challenging time for people in that industry, I also know that this virus is transmitted by people,” she said.

“These orders were done with thought and the realization that these were places right now that cannot safely operate,” said Henry.

She said environmental health officers who have been inspecting bars around the province say the businesses faces challenges to meet safety requirements. Henry also said staff at the establishments and WorkSafeBC have expressed concerns.

Preventing COVID-19 spread in drinking establishments is a challenge, says Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“We had transmission events documented in several places around the province and it was becoming increasingly challenging for public health to try and identify and getting on top of those places that were breaking the rules,” she said.

Delay in publishing order

Guignard said bar owners are “absolutely furious” that the public health order — which was issued verbally more than a week ago — has not been published in writing. That means details aren’t clear for a highly regulated industry with various types of liquor licenses. 

Businesses don’t know, for instance, whether off-sales of alcohol are also banned after 10 p.m.

Henry said her office has answered questions that have popped up since the verbal order was issued and she hopes to have the details in writing by Friday after a careful legal vetting to ensure the order isn’t overly broad.


With files from Tina Lovgreen

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Ottawa Public Health flu shot clinics open, new appointments available at 9 a.m. – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Ottawa residents will be able to roll up their sleeves and get the flu shot starting today at Ottawa Public Health clinics across the city.

The health unit will also release more appointment slots for the flu shot at 9 a.m., after the first seven days were booked within 18 hours last week.

Flu shot clinics will operate by appointment-only at six locations across the city seven-days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The flu shot clinic locations are:

  • Notre-Dame-Des-Champs Community Hall, 3659 Navan Road, Orléans
  • Ottawa Public Library-Orleans Branch, 1705 Orléans Blvd., Orléans
  • Lansdowne – Horticulture Building, 1525 Princess Patricia, Glebe
  • Mary Pitt Centre, 100 Constellation Dr., Nepean
  • Chapman Mills Community Building, 424 Chapman Mills Drive, Barrhaven
  • Eva James Memorial Centre, 65 Stonehaven Drive, Kanata

All six flu shot clinic locations will be appointment only, and no walk-up appointments are available.

Last Thursday, the health unit launched the appointment system to book a slot at the six clinics for the first seven days of the flu shot clinics from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4. Nearly 10,000 people booked an appointment for the first seven days within 18 hours.

Approximately 1,500 spaces are available daily at the six flu shot clinic locations. 

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches told reporters this week that new appointments will become available to book online starting at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The flu shot clinics will continue until everyone gets the flu shot that wants to get a flu shot.

Ottawa Public Health’s goal is to have 70 per cent of the population receive the flu shot this fall and winter.

For more information about the flu vaccine and to book an appointment, visit www.ottawapublichealth.ca/flu

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Man in his 90s one of two new COVID-19 cases in Kingston region – St. Thomas Times-Journal

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A resident and an employee at an Amherstview seniors and long-term care home are in isolation after Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health deemed them positive for COVID-19.

The home, Helen Henderson Care Centre, declared an outbreak on Wednesday as a result. It said in a news release that the resident and staff member are asymptomatic and isolating. No other staff or residents are showing symptoms, the home said.

It said the resident tested positive but the staff member received a negative swab. The home did not explain why public health declared the staff member a positive case. Jenn Fagan, spokesperson for public health, said it is still under investigation why the staff member was deemed positive.

On Wednesday, public health announced two new cases of the virus in the region. One is a man in his 20s, who caught the virus from an already positive close contact, and the other is a man in his 90s. The authority also announced two new recoveries, keeping the active case count at seven.

The man in his 90s is the oldest resident in the region to test positive. The next youngest were nine people in their 70s.

The public health authority is also asking some Kingston Transit riders to monitor themselves for symptoms after a fellow passenger tested positive for the virus. Fagan would not say when the passenger in question tested positive.

“For confidentiality reasons, we are not able to share any identifying information of any of case or potential case outside of the established contact tracing and case management procedures,” she said.

The ill passenger rode Kingston Transit north on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon and south between 4 and 5 p.m.; north on Wednesday between 1 and 2 p.m. and south between 6 and 7 p.m.; north on Thursday between 9 and 10 a.m. and south between 2 and 3 p.m.; and north on Friday between noon and 1 p.m. and south between 5 and 6 p.m.

Anyone who rode Route 1 during these times should monitor themselves until Nov. 6, which is 14 days after the last risk of exposure, public health said.

“The individual with a COVID-19 infection wore a face covering during all bus trips — and most likely other riders also did due to the mandatory requirement for face coverings — which can reduce the possibility of infection transmission to others,” public health said.

The Kingston region has had 182 cases of the virus since March of this year. While the cases were first found in a variety of ages, recently, the vast majority have been found in people in their 20s.

At the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Board of Health meeting on Wednesday, Megan Carter, local public health’s research associate in knowledge management, provided modelling that showed what might happen to 10 active cases in 20 days using different doubling periods: 14 days, 12 days and “the worst-case scenario” of seven days.

At our current doubling rate of 14 days, by mid-November there could between five and 47 new cases. If the doubling rate decreased to 12 days, there could be between seven and 56 cases, and if it decreased to seven days, there could be between 19 and 130 active cases.

Carter reiterated that the models show only what “might” happen, but the models are important for public health to prepare for the future.

Dr. Mark Mckelvie of Queen’s University’s department of public health and preventative medicine gave a general rundown of the region’s current COVID-19 status. He told the board of the region’s “chain of protection.”

The chain included the various different community members, including families, businesses, public health, hospitals, long-term care, military, correctional services and many others. He explained that all linked together, everyone needs to fulfil their roles to keep the region in its bubble.

“We really appreciate what people are doing and we thank the community for their co-operation,” Mckelvie said, adding that what everyone is doing is “saving lives.”

He then reminded the board that many of the cases in the region are connected to someone who has travelled, so staying local continues to be important.

The public health dashboard states 26 of the area’s cases caught the virus while traveling, 112 caught the virus from a close contact who had already tested positive, information is still pending for three cases and public health has found no epidemiological link for 41 local cases.

Mckelvie also spoke to the board about public health’s seasonal influenza strategy. He told the board that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization estimates that about 12,200 Canadians are hospitalized and 3,500 die every year of influenza. Last year, 42,537 Canadians tested positive for the flu. Those at the most risk are the elderly, the very young, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions.

While the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington area has been above the provincial vaccination rate of about 40 per cent, Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health, has set the goal of vaccinating 60 per cent of the region.

The local public health authority has been allocated 72,000 vaccines by the province to distribute, in addition to the more than 16,700 allocated to local pharmacies.

scrosier@postmedia.com

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Manitoba piloting rapid COVID-19 testing for healthcare workers – CTV News Winnipeg

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Public health officials in Manitoba are piloting a project to help reassure health care workers that they are safe when coming to work.

Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer with Shared Health, revealed on Wednesday that public health is piloting a rapid COVID-19 testing pattern for healthcare workers.

“As of last week at the Health Sciences Centre, 150 symptomatic health care workers were tested,” Siragusa said, noting 146 of the workers tested negative for COVID-19, and were cleared to work.

Four of the staff members tested positive, and are now self-isolating.

The goal of the pilot project is to see if hospitals will be able to identify positive tests among staff earlier and help potentially reduce the spread of COVID-19 in health care facilities.

Siragusa said the rapid testing is also not a substitute for wearing approved personal protective equipment while working.

She added rapid testing could become important in the coming months.

“(Rapid testing) could prove to be an important tool as we approach the respiratory virus season, when many health care workers may have one or more influenza-like illness symptoms, but do not have COVID-19,” Siragusa said.

The pilot project is currently being assessed by public health, and Siragusa said they will announce more on it in the coming days.

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