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Saskatchewan officials fine person $2000 for not self-isolating while symptomatic – The Observer

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REGINA — Saskatchewan health officials have fined a person $2,000 for not self-isolating while showing symptoms of COVID-19, bringing the total amount of penalties levied in the province to more than $20,000.

The Ministry of Health has not released specific details about the recent case, except to say the penalty was imposed after a contact tracing investigation.

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“Public health is confident that all close contacts have been determined and contacted in this case,” reads a statement from the Ministry of Health.

Public health rules state people must isolate for 14 days if they return from international travel, are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been close to someone who is positive.

Officials said the recent violation was of a section of the provincial public health order that states all symptomatic people who have been directed to get a COVID-19 test, or are awaiting their results, must isolate until they are no longer deemed a risk.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said asymptomatic people being tested are only required to self-monitor.

“As there is no further public risk, we will not be releasing additional information about this enforcement,” said the statement.

A spokeswoman said officials have issued four fines related to violations around COVID-19 precautions, including the one announced Thursday.

Recently, an organizer of a private gathering at a home in Saskatoon, where about 47 people attended, was fined $2,000. Another $2,000 fine was handed to a person who didn’t self-isolate, despite being positive for COVID-19.

A $10,000 penalty was given to a business that was open when restrictions were in place.

“Fines are not our first choice; we want people to be responsible and protect their health and the health of the friends, family and community,” Colleen Book said in an email.

“There can be very serious consequences for not following Public Health Orders and we are seeing increasing transmission rates in Saskatchewan and across the country as a result of social gatherings (weddings, parties etc.). This is putting our schools, businesses and health facilities at risk.”

Saskatchewan reported five new infections on Thursday. Officials said of the more than 1,800 cases reported to date in the province, 130 are believed to be active.

There are 24 active infections of children since schools reopened earlier this month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020

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As spread slows slightly, OPH wants Ottawans to fine tune their physical distancing – CBC.ca

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While the rate of COVID-19 transmission in Ottawa has declined over the last two weeks, Ottawa Public Health is calling on residents to take further measures — albeit small ones — to combat the respiratory virus.

At a virtual news conference on Tuesday, Dr. Vera Etches, the medical officer of health with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), said the virus takes advantage of moments where people let their guard down. Despite the messages about the importance of physical distancing, wearing masks and hand hygiene, Etches said there are situations where people seem to forget themselves. 

What’s more, these are often situations where government enforcement doesn’t have jurisdiction — such as in private homes where mandatory mask bylaws don’t apply or at gatherings small enough to be permitted under provincial regulations. Etches referred to these situations as “blind spots.”

“One blind spot is gathering with extended family and larger friend circles and thinking that the risk of COVID-19 isn’t there,” she said. “Another one is socializing before or after a team sport.”

Close contact with people outside your household always poses a risk of transmission, said Etches, no matter who you are.

“People don’t think of these settings like carpooling or meeting up with extended family in the same way they might in terms of going to a gym or going to a bar. So we’re just trying to expand people’s risk assessment.”

Lunch at work often a problem 

One of the most common opportunities for COVID-19 transmission is during lunch breaks between colleagues, said Etches.

Coworkers may spend the entire work day safely distancing and wearing a mask, only to sit together and remove their mask to sip coffee or eat lunch, and inadvertently spread the virus. 

“Employees having lunch together seems to come up over and over,” she said. “Whether it’s in a health-care setting or a school or a workplace … it is what gives the virus an opportunity to spread.”

Dr. Vera Etches, medical officer of health, says Ottawa’s numbers are dropping, though people are still gathering with extended family or socializing before and after team sports. 0:52

Etches said “it’s no one’s fault,” reiterating the virus is often present before people feel sick.

One simple solution is if people have to remove their masks to eat lunch, they ensure they stay at least two metres away from others, she said. 

Case numbers in Ottawa improving

While much of September and October was overshadowed by a rise of the second wave, Etches said on Tuesday, there are signs to be hopeful about.

“I want to say congratulations to the people of Ottawa. There are some encouraging indications that we’re having some success,” she said.

Etches said local health officials are still working on their recommendations for the province as to whether they think Ottawa is ready to relax measures.

The province’s Stage 2 modified measures in Ottawa went into effect Oct. 10 and are set to expire by next month. Health Minister Christine Elliott would not say whether the Ottawa will be allowed to transition to Stage 3 or whether the increased restrictions, on things like indoor dining or gyms, will continue.

As Halloween approaches, Etches still recommends families cancel trick-or-treating and parties and opt for virtual celebrations and walks with household members only to see neighbourhood decorations. 

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Early COVID-19 vaccines 'likely to be imperfect': U.K. Vaccine Taskforce chair – Toronto Sun

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U.K. Vaccine Taskforce Chair Kate Bingham said on Tuesday that the first generation of COVID-19 vaccines “is likely to be imperfect” and that they “might not work for everyone.”

“However, we do not know that we will ever have a vaccine at all. It is important to guard against complacency and over-optimism,” Bingham wrote in a piece published in The Lancet medical journal.

“The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long,” she added.

Bingham wrote that the Vaccine Taskforce recognizes that “many, and possibly all, of these vaccines could fail,” adding the focus has been on vaccines that are expected to elicit immune responses in the population older than 65 years.

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She said that the global manufacturing capacity for vaccines is vastly inadequate for the billions of doses that are needed and that the United Kingdom’s manufacturing capability to date has been “equally scarce.”

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Coronavirus: First COVID vaccines 'likely to be imperfect' and 'might not prevent infection', says taskforce boss – Sky News

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The chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce has said the first generation of COVID-19 vaccines “is likely to be imperfect” and that they “might not work for everyone”.

Writing in The Lancet, Kate Bingham said no vaccine in the history of medicine “has been as eagerly anticipated” and that “vaccination is widely regarded as the only true exit strategy from the pandemic that is currently spreading globally”.

But she cautioned against over-optimism and that any vaccine might not work for everyone, or for very long.

“We do not know that we will ever have a vaccine at all,” she wrote. “It is important to guard against complacency and over-optimism.

“The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long.”

The Vaccine Taskforce was created by Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific advisor. It was set up under the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in May 2020, and Ms Bingham reports directly to the prime minister.

In her Lancet article she said that the “strategy has been to build a diverse portfolio across different formats to give the UK the greatest chance of providing a safe and effective vaccine, recognising that many, and possibly all, of these vaccines could fail”.

More from Covid-19

Ms Bingham’s article came as a review of coronavirus vaccine research called for a standardised approach to assessing the effectiveness of all potential COVID-19 inoculations.

Publishing their conclusions in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, researchers from the University of Oxford said a meaningful comparison of different candidates is required to ensure only the most effective vaccines are deployed.

Dr Susanne Hodgson, of the University of Oxford, who is the lead author of the review, said: “It is unlikely that we will see a single vaccine winner in the race against Covid-19.

“Different technologies will bring distinct advantages that are relevant in different situations, and additionally, there will probably be challenges with manufacturing and supplying a single vaccine at the scale required, at least initially.

“Taking a standardised approach to measuring the success of vaccines in clinical trials will be important for making meaningful comparisons, so that the most effective candidates can be taken forward for wider use.”

There are more than 200 vaccine candidates in development around the world, with 44 in clinical trials.

Of the 44, nine are in the phase three stage of clinical evaluation and are being given to thousands of people to confirm safety and effectiveness.

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