Several B.C. First Nations are scheduled to receive their first COVID-19 vaccines.
The Moderna vaccine will be offered to everyone aged 18 and over in 10 rural and remote Indigenous communities in B.C. this week, mostly in the north, where health care services are limited.
Although the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) could not be reached for comment, the Tahltan Central Government (TCG) confirmed they are one of the recipients.
ATTENTION TAHLTANS: MERRY CHRISTMAS & VACCINES INFO
On behalf of the Tahltan Nation COVID-19 Emergency Management…
On Christmas Eve, TCG wrote the vaccine would be arriving in all three of their communities, including Iskut (Luwe Chon), Dease Lake, (Talh’ah) and Telegraph Creek (Tlegohin) on Dec. 29.
Unlike the first COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech, which arrived in B.C. on Dec. 14, the Moderna vaccine is the preferred option for remote communities as it does not require ultra-cold storage and is easier to handle.
Indigenous peoples are at a higher risk of COVID-19 than the rest of the population due to reduced access to stable housing, income, clean water, and or health services, FNHA noted.
As of Dec. 27, Indigenous Services Canada said it was aware of 585 positive confirmed positive COVID-19 cases on First Nations reserves in B.C.
In recent weeks, many First Nations have confirmed potential exposures, including Saik’uz First Nation near Vanderhoof and Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation southwest of Williams Lake, which are both denying access to non-residents.
FNHA said while it recognizes that some Indigenous people lack trust in the medical system, “it is important to note that vaccine trials go through rigorous, well-established ethical processes.”
“Providing vaccines in a timely and effective way to First Nations communities is an important step towards protecting individuals, families and communities,” FNHA said in a joint statement with the First Nations Health Council and First Nations Health Directors Association.
A COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, which is believed to spread more quickly and easily, was confirmed in B.C. on Dec. 27 by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
Ontario's COVID test processing dips on Tuesdays, here's why – CollingwoodToday
In its daily updates, Ontario Health provides data on the latest COVID-19 cases, and that includes the testing done by more than 40 labs across the province.
As recently as May 2020, the province was reporting fewer than 10,000 tests processed in 24 hours, which meant severe delays and a low capacity for testing even for those with symptoms of COVID.
On Friday, the province reported a record 76,472 tests processed in 24 hours.
However, even with the capacity to process 60,000 to 70,000 tests in 24 hours, the province’s public health labs are not consistently processing that many test results.
According to an email from Ontario Health to Village Media, the fluctuation in tests processed is a direct result of how many specimens are sent in.
“As the volume of specimens collected at assessment centres, long-term care homes, and other specimen collection sites often drops over the weekend, the number of tests processed drops as well,” stated the email from Ontario Health. “We’ll often see a higher number of tests processed than specimens received on a Saturday, for example, as the labs are still processing Friday’s specimens received.”
Last week’s, Public Health Ontario reported 72,900 tests processed in its report on Saturday, Jan. 9, 62,308 tests processed in its Sunday, Jan. 10 report, 46,402 tests processed in its Jan. 11 report, and 44,802 tests processed in its Jan. 12 report. After that, the number of tests processed each day increased from 50,931 on Jan. 13 to 76,742 on Jan. 15.
“On a Tuesday, we may see a lower number of tests processed than specimens received as the labs are processing Monday’s volumes,” stated the email. “For context, on Saturday, Jan. 9, 36,000 tests were received and 62,000 were processed.”
The province also reports the number of tests still under investigation or awaiting processing at a lab. Last week that backlog ranged from 28,774 to 66,940.
“There are always tests in progress,” stated Ontario Health.
As of Friday, Jan. 15, Public Health Ontario has reported 8,791,388 tests processed during the pandemic.
Quebec reports 2,225 new COVID-19 cases, 67 deaths as hospitalizations decline – The Record (New Westminster)
MONTREAL — Quebec is reporting 2,225 new COVID-19 cases and 67 further deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.
The number of hospitalizations dropped for a second day, this time by 22 for a total of 1,474 patients, with four fewer patients in intensive care for a total of 227.
Health Minister Christian Dube tweeted that all Quebecers need to continue to follow public health rules to ensure cases and hospitalizations go down.
The province’s Health Department reported 2,430 more recoveries, for a total of 210,364.
Quebec currently has 21,640 active cases.
The province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021.
The Canadian Press
2 COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba as province announces 180 more cases – CBC.ca
There are 180 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Saturday and two more people have died from the illness, the province says in a news release.
The latest deaths are two men: one in his 70s from the Southern Health region and one in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region, the release says.
Just under half the new cases on Saturday — 83 — are in the Winnipeg health region, the release says. There are also 69 new cases in the Northern Health Region, which has seen a sharp uptick in cases this week due to outbreaks in several communities, health officials have said.
A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at the Lynn Lake Hospital, the release says, while an outbreak previously declared in Winnipeg’s Seven Oaks General Hospital’s 4U4-7 unit is now over.
Lynn Lake, a small northwestern Manitoba town of fewer than 500 people, was already dealing with an outbreak of its own. As of Wednesday, the community had 121 known active cases of the illness.
The health district that includes Lynn Lake now has a total of 145 active cases, according to the province’s data portal.
The remaining new cases are spread out between the Southern and Interlake-Eastern health regions (with 10 each) and the Prairie Mountain Health region (with eight).
The update comes one day after the provincial government asked people for their input on the possibility of lifting some pandemic restrictions next week.
Manitoba’s current public health orders banning most gatherings and the sale of non-essential goods are set to expire on Friday.
Because of a data error, one previously reported death has been removed from Manitoba’s totals, the release says. That brings the province’s COVID-19 death toll to 761.
Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate increased slightly to 10.2 per cent, up from 10 on Friday. In Winnipeg, that rate dropped from 7.2 per cent on Friday to seven per cent.
There are now 283 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Manitoba — down by one from Friday — including 36 who are in intensive care, one more than Friday.
The province reminded people to check restrictions in other regions before they go anywhere if they have to travel. In Ontario, new public health rules say people can only go to another residence or cottage in the province for less than 24 hours to do essential business, the release says. If they stay any longer, they may have to stay and self-isolate for 14 days.
There have now been 27,322 COVID-19 cases identified in Manitoba. To date, 23,575 are considered recovered, while another 2,986 are still listed as active — though health officials have recently said that number is inflated by a data entry backlog, and there are likely only about half as many active cases.
There were 2,043 COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba on Friday, which brings the total number completed in the province to 450,104.
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