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Return of Sask. COVID-19 restrictions unlikely following reopening: health minister – CTV News

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REGINA —
Barring a major change in the COVID-19 landscape in Saskatchewan, the province’s health minister said a return to major restrictions is unlikely.

“I don’t think we look at going at restrictions anymore, just because of our vaccine. The only thing that would ever change something like that is if there was a variant that came out that was vaccine resilient,” Minister Paul Merriman said, in an interview with CTV Morning Live Regina on Tuesday.

Merriman took over the province’s health portfolio in November – just as cases began trending upwards in Saskatchewan.

He said while there are small tweaks that could have been made to the province’s pandemic response, he would not change the overall handling of COVID-19 over the past 16 months.

“You look back and you say some things, ‘okay well we would have done that maybe a little bit differently, or we would have changed that specific restriction,” Minister Paul Merriman said, in an interview with CTV Morning Live Regina on Tuesday.

“But I think we were very surgical about it, especially in Regina when we had the outbreak of the variants of concern.”

When asked about potential spread of the Delta variant in Saskatchewan, Merriman said he wants to make sure people know that “COVID isn’t over.”

“We want to push that message because people think it’s done. There’s a kind of celebratory feeling, masks are off, restaurants are back open, businesses are finding their stride,” he said.

Merriman pointed to the recent outbreak on Hatchet Lake First Nation as an example of how quickly case numbers can rise.

The Far North East 1 sub-zone – which includes Hatchet Lake – currently accounts for 108 of Saskatchewan’s 397 active cases.

“People still need to be vigilant when it comes to what they’re doing,” Merriman added.

With hospitalization numbers trending down steadily after reaching their peak in February, Merriman said the state of Saskatchewan hospitals is good.

As of Monday, 57 Saskatchewan residents are currently in hospital related to the disease, with nine in ICU as of July 12.

Merriman attributes that drop to the uptake of vaccines.

“People are getting those vaccines, and I want to encourage them to keep doing that because it is critically important that we’ve always wanted to protect our healthcare system, that was our primary goal,” he said.

In the 12-plus age group, 73 per cent have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 55 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Moving forward, the province will be looking to address some of the lasting effects of the pandemic, including a backlog of surgeries and an increase in mental health and addictions issues.

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Should I be worried about monkeypox? A doctor answers questions as the outbreak spreads – CBS News

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The World Health Organization said June 25 that monkeypox wasn’t yet a public health emergency of international concern. More than 4,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with about 250 in the U.S. And with public health officials unable to follow all chains of transmission, they’re likely undercounting cases. Everyone should be aware of its symptoms, how it spreads, and the risks of it getting worse.

Q: Should I be worried about monkeypox?

The American public is currently at low risk for monkeypox. It is spreading among men who have sex with men, but it is only a matter of time before it spreads to others. As of June 27, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control had reported 10 cases among women. Monkeypox is generally a mild disease but can be serious or even deadly for people who are immunocompromised, pregnant women, a fetus or newborn, women who are breastfeeding, young children, and people with severe skin diseases such as eczema.

But monkeypox could become endemic in the U.S. and around the world if it continues to spread unchecked.

Q: How does monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox is a viral infection, a close cousin of smallpox. But it causes a much milder disease.

It is transmitted through close contact, including sex, kissing, and massage — any kind of contact of the penis, vagina, anus, mouth, throat, or even skin. In the current outbreak, monkeypox has primarily been transmitted sexually.

Condoms and dental dams will reduce but won’t prevent all transmission because they protect only against transmission to and from the skin and mucosal surfaces that are covered by those devices. It’s important to know that the virus can enter broken skin and penetrate mucous membranes, like in the eyes, nose, mouth, genitalia, and anus. Scientists don’t know whether monkeypox can be transmitted through semen or vaginal fluid.

Monkeypox can be transmitted through respiratory droplets or “sprays” within a few feet, but this is not thought to be a particularly efficient mode of transmission. Whether monkeypox could be transmitted through aerosols, as covid-19 is, is unknown, but it hasn’t been documented so far.

It is not known whether monkeypox can be transmitted when someone doesn’t have symptoms.

Q: What are the common symptoms of monkeypox?

Symptoms of monkeypox may develop up to 21 days after exposure and can include fevers and chills, swollen lymph nodes, rash, and headaches.

It is not known whether monkeypox always shows any or all of those symptoms.

Experts currently think monkeypox, like smallpox, will always cause at least some of these symptoms, but that belief is based on pre-1980 science, before there were more sophisticated diagnostic tests.

Q: What does the monkeypox rash look like?

The monkeypox rash usually starts with red spots and then evolves into fluid-filled and then pus-filled bumps that may look like blisters or pimples. The bumps then open into sores and scab over. People with monkeypox should be considered infectious until after the sores scab over and fall off. Monkeypox sores are painful. The rash was often seen on palms and soles in the past, but many people in this outbreak have experienced external and internal lesions of the mouth, genitalia, and anus. People may also experience rectal pain or the sensation of needing to have a bowel movement when their bowels are empty.

Q: How do I get tested for monkeypox?

If you have symptoms of monkeypox, including oral, genital, or anal lesions, go to your nearest sexual health clinic for testing. A medical professional should swab any suspicious lesion for testing. There’s also emerging evidence that throat swabs may be useful in screening for monkeypox, but health officials in the U.S. are so far not recommending them.

People consult about monkeypox vaccination at a clinic in New York City on June 24, 2022.

Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images


Q: Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?

Yes. Two vaccines are effective in preventing monkeypox: the Jynneos vaccine and the ACAM2000 vaccine. The FDA has approved the Jynneos vaccine for preventing monkeypox and smallpox among people 18 and older. The ACAM2000 is FDA-approved to prevent smallpox. The U.S. is currently using only the Jynneos vaccine because it’s safer and has fewer side effects.

The Jynneos vaccine is safe. It has been tested in thousands of people, including people who are immunocompromised or have skin conditions. Common side effects of the Jynneos vaccine are similar to those of other vaccines and include fevers, fatigue, swollen glands, and irritation at the injection site.

The Jynneos vaccine is effective in preventing monkeypox disease up to four days after exposure and may reduce the severity of symptoms if given up to 14 days after exposure.

Q: Can I be vaccinated against monkeypox?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends vaccination against smallpox and monkeypox only for those at heightened risk: people who have had close contact with someone with monkeypox, as well as some health care workers, laboratory staffers, first responders, and members of the military who might come into contact with the affected.

Supplies of the Jynneos vaccine are limited. As of June 14, the strategic national stockpile held more than 72,000 doses. The U.S. government purchased 500,000 more doses this month, bringing the total number of doses bought to almost 2 million.


New York City expanding access to monkeypox vaccine as virus spreads across U.S.

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The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has started offering the Jynneos vaccine to gay and bisexual men, other men who have sex with men, and trans women who are age 18 and older and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the past 14 days. Other big cities, including San Francisco, are expected to do the same.

Q: What are other ways to lower the risk of monkeypox transmission?

The best way is to educate yourself and your sex partners about monkeypox. If you’re worried you might have monkeypox, get tested at a sexual health clinic. Many emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and other health care facilities may not be up to date on monkeypox. The CDC link to find the nearest sexual health clinic is https://gettested.cdc.gov/.

Abstain from sex if you or your partner has monkeypox. And remember that condoms and dental dams can reduce but not eliminate the risk of transmission. The CDC also warns about the risk of going to raves or other parties where lots of people are wearing little clothing and of saunas and sex clubs. It has other suggestions like washing sex toys and bedding.

Q: Is there a treatment for monkeypox?

There is no proven, safe treatment specifically for monkeypox. Most cases of monkeypox are mild and improve without treatment over a couple of weeks. Medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used to reduce fevers and muscle aches, and medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and opioids may be used for pain. In rare cases, some patients —such as immunocompromised people, pregnant women, a fetus or newborn, women who are breastfeeding, young children, and people with severe skin diseases — will develop more severe illness and may require more specific treatment. Doctors are trying experimental therapies like cidofovir, brincidofovir, tecovirimat, and vaccinia immune globulin. If administered early in the course of infection, the Jynneos and ACAM2000 vaccines may also help reduce the severity of disease.

Q: What misinformation is circulating about monkeypox?

Conspiracy theories about monkeypox abound. Monkeypox is not a hoax. Monkeypox is real. Covid vaccines can’t give you monkeypox. Monkeypox was not invented by Bill Gates or pharmaceutical companies. Monkeypox didn’t come from a lab in China or Ukraine. Migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border haven’t brought monkeypox into the U.S. Monkeypox isn’t a ploy to allow for mail-in ballots during elections. There is no need for a monkeypox vaccine mandate or lockdowns due to monkeypox.


Dr. Céline Gounder, an internist, epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist, is Senior Fellow and Editor-at-Large for Public Health at Kaiser Health News.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

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Peel Region reports its first confirmed case of monkeypox – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Peel Region has its first confirmed case of monkeypox.

According to Peel Public Health, the person infected is an adult male in his 30s who lives in Mississauga.

The heath unit said the risk to the public remains low.

Monkeypox, which comes from the same virus family as smallpox, spreads though close contact with an infected individual. Most transmission happens through close contact with the skin lesions of monkeypox, but the virus can also be spread by large droplets or by sharing contaminated items.

To reduce risk of infection, people are advised to be cautious when engaging in intimate activities with others. Vaccination is available for high-risk contacts of cases and for those deemed at high risk of exposure to monkeypox.

Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash/lesions, which could appear on the face or genitals and then spread to other areas.

Anyone who develops these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid close contact with others until they have improved and rash/lesions have healed.

While most people recover on their own without treatment, those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox should self-monitor for symptoms, and contact PPH to see if they are eligible for vaccination.

The Mississauga case is at least the 34th confirmed case of the disease in Ontario, with dozens more under investigation.

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Monkeypox case count rises to more than 3400 globally, WHO says – The Globe and Mail

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More than 3,400 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death were reported to the World Health Organization as of last Wednesday, with a majority of them from Europe, the agency said in an update on Monday.

WHO said that since June 17, 1,310 new cases were reported to the agency, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases.

Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, WHO ruled last week, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

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