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Public Health Agency of Canada president resigns as COVID-19 cases spike – Yahoo News Canada

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CBC

Sorry to burst your COVID-19 ‘social bubble’ but even small gatherings are getting riskier

For months, Canadians have been bubbling up with other friends and family to socialize safely during the pandemic.But with COVID-19 case counts rising in many communities, kids back in schools and more people returning to work, many public health experts agree that what worked as a safe approach in the early days of the lockdown now comes with more risk.”I honestly think with the return to school right now, most people’s bubbles have burst,” says epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite. “You’re talking about large numbers of connections.”In Ontario, “social circles” allow you to see up to 10 people without the usual pandemic precautions in place as long as all of those family members, friends or neighbours make a pact to socialize only with each other, while in Alberta, the cap for your “cohort” is your household plus up to 15 other people.In B.C., the guidelines for a “bubble” are now to try and limit it to six people. Officials initially said the members of your immediate household can be “carefully expanded” to include outsiders, with the goal of limiting the number as much as possible — since these are people you’re allowed to kiss, hug, chat with and dine with, all without masks or distancing.WATCH | B.C. moves toward limiting bubbles to 6 people:It’s a concept being adopted in several countries around the world. And while it works well in principle, experts warn it may be harder to maintain at this point in the pandemic.Bubble makes sense in ‘theory'”As a theory, the bubble makes a lot of sense,” said Dr. Dominik Mertz, an associate professor in the division of infectious diseases at Hamilton’s McMaster University. “But there’s a lot of confusion from people over what it is.”He also added it can be tough to do safely, particularly if the bubble involves multiple households “who all have different risks.”Say you have two four-person households socializing without the usual pandemic precautions. On paper, it follows the current Ontario guidelines.But what if one person is back at work, leaving them exposed to dozens of colleagues? Or either family’s children are in school, where physical distancing and mask wearing might be a challenge?A small sphere of contacts can quickly expand to include everyone that each family member comes in contact with, which means the bubbling approach really isn’t “useful” anymore, according to Tuite, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.’It’s not going to work for all people’Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, agreed it’s not a “perfect model” at this point in the pandemic.”It would’ve worked better back when things were fully locked down,” he said, adding there’s still merit in bubbling with a few close friends or family if everyone is cautious.”I don’t want to remove any tools from the table,” he said. “If bubbling is working for some people, keep on doing it. But it’s not going to work for all people.”For instance, a supply teacher, with a social network of students and staff in various classrooms or even buildings, can’t realistically have a social bubble without any precautions, Deonandan said, while someone working from home might be able to do it more safely.WATCH | ‘Exponential’ growth in new cases in parts of Canada, says infectious disease specialist:For many people, losing their bubble could mean a long, lonely winter, made worse by mental health struggles or living alone.”We know there are benefits to having that human contact,” said Dr. Nitin Mohan, a physician epidemiologist and assistant professor at Western University in London, Ont. But when dropping temperatures push people indoors, where transmission risk is higher, and families start making plans to gather over the upcoming stretch of holidays, it could make adhering to the bubble principles even tougher. Bubble burst? Isolate for a while Mertz says Canadians should already be planning for upcoming gatherings like Thanksgiving.If outside-the-bubble family members want to celebrate together, find ways to do it safely, he says, by meeting outdoors and staying apart as much as possible. Otherwise, you’re blending several household bubbles together and upping the risk for everyone.And if you do throw caution to the wind for a turkey feast, there’s another approach: Isolate yourself as much as possible for two weeks after the gathering. “That would give us downtime, so in case someone got infected, you are not spreading it from that gathering into each individual bubble,” Mertz said.The various experts who spoke with CBC News acknowledged the challenges in sticking to even the safest bubbling plan, with peer pressure, slip-ups, and our innate desire for human connection all potential obstacles.For that reason, Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease specialist with the Sinai Health System and University Health Network in Toronto, stresses the onus shouldn’t just be on individuals to reduce transmission.From a system-wide perspective, he says, provincial governments need to ensure every piece of the pandemic plan is adequately resourced: testing capacity, contact tracing, personal protective equipment and hospital staff.”If you can’t test people who are symptomatic, then you can’t contact trace … and you can’t identify people who are about to become symptomatic and are unknowingly and unwittingly spreading the disease,” he said.Ontario gathering sizes reducedOntario officials say they’re working to increase testing capacity amid hours-long lineups in multiple cities, including Ottawa and Toronto.The province is also lowering the maximum size limit for private gatherings — things like backyard barbecues or dinner parties, with precautions in place among people in different social circles — in some regions.The new limits will be 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with hefty fines of $10,000 or more for organizers who flout the rules.Deonandan calls that the “single best policy intervention” for controlling the spread of COVID-19, given the growing body of research showing large gatherings can be hot spots for virus transmission.”Mask wearing, that’s important. Distancing, that’s important, too,” he said. “But time and time again we see explosions of cases in otherwise controlled areas … driven by these super-spreading events.”Even smaller gatherings can fuel the virus’s spread, like infections after a family outing documented in Toronto, and a 10-person cottage trip — which would still meet the province’s new rules — that led to 40 new cases in Ottawa.It’s not clear if anyone involved in those gatherings was bubbling together, and Mertz stresses in all situations, the same safety precautions apply.”Whether you continue with the bubble concept or not, it comes down to the less people gathering, the more time you can spend outside, the more you can spread out — the lower the risk.”

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Fraser Health outbreaks push active COVID-19 infections in B.C. to all-time high of 2390 – North Shore News

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B.C. has never had more people actively battling COVID-19 infections, as new government data showed a total of 2,390 people suffering with the virus that has spurred a global pandemic. 

That’s 46 more people suffering with the illness than was the case yesterday and it comes as 272 people were newly identified as infected in the past 24 hours. With 10,420 tests conducted, the day’s positive-test rate was 2.6%.

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The hotspot for new infections remains the 1.8-million-resident Fraser Health region, which includes much of the eastern and southern Lower Mainland, including 20 communities, such as Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Delta, Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack, but not Richmond or Vancouver.

Only about two-thirds of the new cases are from Fraser Health today, however. That’s down from the average in the past week, which had seen about three-quarters of all new cases located in the Fraser Health region. 

Here is the breakdown of all 14,381 detected COVID-19 cases in B.C., by health region, with new cases identified overnight in brackets:
• 4,664 in Vancouver Coastal Health (76);
• 8,219 in Fraser Health (183);
• 256 in Island Health (no change);
• 741 in Interior Health (seven);
• 412 in Northern Health (six); and
• 89 people who reside outside Canada (no change).

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital fell by six to 78, with 25 of those people having infections serious enough to be in intensive care units. 

The vast majority of those infected are self-isolating at home. Health officials are keeping tabs on a record 6,003 people because those individuals have come into contact with others who are known to be carrying the virus.

The vast majority of COVID-19 patients recover: 11,670, or more than 81%.

One new death was recorded overnight, pushing the provincial death toll from the disease to 263. That leaves 58 patients unaccounted for, and health officials have told BIV that it is likely that they left the province without alerting authorities.

“There has been one new community outbreak, at Suncor Firebag Oil Sands,” provincial health officer Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement. “There continue to be exposure events around the province.”

One hospital in Fraser Health, Surrey Memorial Hospital, has had an outbreak for weeks. That health authority earlier this week declared that the outbreak at Delta Hospital is over.

There are three new outbreaks at seniors’ homes and healthcare facilities:
• Hawthorne Seniors Care Community in Port Coquitlam;
• CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey; and 
• Queen’s Park Hospital: Unit 3C NMSK 2.

Three such outbreaks have been declared over: 
• Fort Langley Seniors Community in Fort Langley;
• Sunset Manor in Chilliwack;
• The Village in Langley.

Fraser Health yesterday declared that the outbreak at Good Samaritan Victoria Heights, in New Westminster, is over, and the province confirmed that news today.

Other seniors’ long-term care and assisted living facilities in B.C. that have active outbreaks, include:
• Gateway Assisted Living for Seniors in Surrey;
• Mayfair Terrace Retirement Residence in Port Coquitlam;
• Louis Breyer Home and Hospital in Vancouver;
• Revera Lakeview long-term care home in Vancouver;
• Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
• Queens Park Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Three Links Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Arch Masonic Home in Vancouver;
• Haro Park Centre long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Banfield Pavilion 4 West in Vancouver;
• Peace Portal Seniors Village in Surrey;
• Rosemary Heights Seniors Village in Surrey;
• Zion Park Manor in Surrey;
• Laurel Place in Surrey;
• Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Baillie House in Maple Ridge;
• Fellburn Care Centre long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• St. Michael’s Centre long-term care facilityin Burnaby;
• Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge in Burnaby; and
• Agassiz Seniors Community in Agassiz.

“As we all enjoy Halloween tomorrow, make it about the treats and not the tricks,” Henry and Dix said.

“Respect homes that are choosing not to participate this year and give everyone the space to stay safe, both indoors and outdoors.”

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

 

 

 

 

 

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'COVID toes' may persist for months in long-haulers, study finds – Yahoo Canada Sports

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A new study suggests that some COVID long-haulers may experience skin reactions for months after getting the virus. (Photo: Getty Images)

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A new study suggests that some COVID long-haulers may experience skin reactions for months after getting the virus. (Photo: Getty Images)
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="A new large-scale analysis from the International League of Dermatological Societies and the American Academy of Dermatology suggests that some survivors of COVID-19 experience skin reactions long after contracting the virus —&nbsp;one of many side effects that the group, known as “long-haulers,” may endure.” data-reactid=”32″>A new large-scale analysis from the International League of Dermatological Societies and the American Academy of Dermatology suggests that some survivors of COVID-19 experience skin reactions long after contracting the virus — one of many side effects that the group, known as “long-haulers,” may endure.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The results, shared at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress in Vienna, utilized an international registry of skin reactions to COVID-19 created by a global team of dermatologists. They found that while on average individuals experienced skin symptoms for 12 days, a subset of patients experienced them for 60 days or more.” data-reactid=”33″>The results, shared at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress in Vienna, utilized an international registry of skin reactions to COVID-19 created by a global team of dermatologists. They found that while on average individuals experienced skin symptoms for 12 days, a subset of patients experienced them for 60 days or more.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Nearly 1,000 cases from 39 countries revealed what the authors called a “broad spectrum of dermatologic manifestations.” One of the most common was an inflammation of the blood vessels in the feet, nicknamed “COVID toes,” which in some lasted for as long as 150 days. Other common skin reactions included hives, a purple-like rash and reddened scaly changes in the skin.” data-reactid=”34″>Nearly 1,000 cases from 39 countries revealed what the authors called a “broad spectrum of dermatologic manifestations.” One of the most common was an inflammation of the blood vessels in the feet, nicknamed “COVID toes,” which in some lasted for as long as 150 days. Other common skin reactions included hives, a purple-like rash and reddened scaly changes in the skin.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Related: What are ‘COVID toes’?” data-reactid=”35″>Related: What are ‘COVID toes’?

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Leslie Richard, a COVID long-hauler from Louisiana — and member of the grassroots organization called Survivor Corps — says she developed “odd mysterious bumps” in the first week after getting diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March. “It felt like bugs were crawling all over my skin and stinging me regularly,” she tells Yahoo Life.” data-reactid=”40″>Leslie Richard, a COVID long-hauler from Louisiana — and member of the grassroots organization called Survivor Corps — says she developed “odd mysterious bumps” in the first week after getting diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March. “It felt like bugs were crawling all over my skin and stinging me regularly,” she tells Yahoo Life.

Two months ago she began experiencing a rash on her face, neck, shoulders, back and groin. “These rashes looked like a mix between bug bites, acne, hives and shingles,” says Richard. “I call them ‘shives’ since no doctor knows what it is. Eventually, they cluster and the skin becomes thick, hard and irritated. It is itchy, burns and stings.” Richard says she has tried many treatments but has yet to find anything that works.

Dr. Julia S. Lehman, an associate professor in the Division of Dermatopathology and Cutaneous Immunopathology at the Mayo Clinic, finds the rashes to be somewhat surprising. “While it is relatively common for patients to develop nonspecific exanthema (red, blotchy rash on chest, abdomen, and back) in response to viral infections, some of the skin changes that are being observed in patients affected by COVID-19 are unusual,” Lehman tells Yahoo Life. “For example, the retiform purpura (or jagged purple marks) in some very ill patients with COVID-19 appear to be due to the effect of this novel coronavirus on the blood clotting system, something which is not seen with most viral infections.”

She says that dermatologists are still working to figure out why COVID-19 patients develop COVID toes — and why, for some, they stick around. “The phenomenon of COVID toes seems to closely resemble changes that can be seen in perniosis, a condition known to cause violaceous to blue discoloration of the toes, fingers or tips of the ears,” Lehman says. “In perniosis, it is usually exposure to cool, damp conditions that causes inflammation to surround blood vessels. With perniosis, it is thought that the ears, toes and fingers seem to be preferentially affected, because they are cooler and, by virtue of being peripheral, have some of the smallest caliber blood vessels in the body.”

COVID toes aren’t the only symptoms plaguing long-haulers. A Survivor Corps member from Ohio, Lexi Riley-Dipaolo, says she’s been fighting a severe rash on her hands and wrists since getting diagnosed with COVID-19 this summer. The rash began as “small pustular vesicles” that eventually blistered and popped, leaving her hands raw and peeling. “At this point, they felt like they were on fire and were burning constantly,” she tells Yahoo Life. Although the blisters eventually healed, she says, new ones soon formed in their place, and the “whole cycle [began] again.”

Doctors have “bounced around many different diagnoses,” Riley-Dipaolo says, including psoriasis, eczema and celiac disease. But more than three months later, she still has yet to find a solution. “This has been going on since July, when I tested positive, with no relief,” she says. “No medications or creams have helped.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="In a statement on Eureka Alert, the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Esther Freeman, director of Global Health Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, said the study provides further clues about the virus. “This data adds to our knowledge about how COVID-19 can affect multiple different organ systems, even after patients have recovered from their acute infection,” Freeman said. “The skin can provide a visual window into inflammation that may be going on elsewhere in the body."” data-reactid=”46″>In a statement on Eureka Alert, the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Esther Freeman, director of Global Health Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, said the study provides further clues about the virus. “This data adds to our knowledge about how COVID-19 can affect multiple different organ systems, even after patients have recovered from their acute infection,” Freeman said. “The skin can provide a visual window into inflammation that may be going on elsewhere in the body.”

Still, Lehman says that for long-haulers, there may be reason to hope. “When skin symptoms persist, it does not necessarily mean that the body is still infected,” says Lehman. “But rather, it probably means that the immune system is still recovering from the effects of their prior viral infection.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”61″>For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more from Yahoo Life:” data-reactid=”76″>Read more from Yahoo Life:

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Want lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox?&nbsp;Sign up here&nbsp;for Yahoo Life’s newsletter.” data-reactid=”81″>Want lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Life’s newsletter.

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British Columbia reports 272 new cases of COVID-19, none in Island Health – Times Colonist

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The B.C. government says it will increase surveillance this weekend as an order limiting the number of people who can visit a home is in effect because of COVID-19.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced this week that gatherings are now limited to people in an immediate household, plus their so-called “safe six”’ guests.

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In a joint statement, Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are reminding people to make the Halloween weekend safe for everyone by maintaining safe physical distances from one another.

They say this is also not the time for large gatherings in homes as the number of cases of COVID-19 spikes.

The province reported another 272 cases of COVID-19 on Friday and one additional death, bringing the total number of people who have died to 263.

No new cases were reported by Island Health. There are eight known active cases in the region, where there have been 256 confirmed cases to date.

There are 2,390 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 6,003 people are under public health monitoring after being exposed to a known case.

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