The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is advising the community of a second confirmed case of hepatitis A from the Real Canadian Superstore in Sudbury.
A statement from the health unit says the case also involves an employee in the deli department of the Superstore, located at 1485 Lasalle Blvd.
Anyone who ate clerk-served deli meat or cheese, or meat and cheese from prepared deli trays, purchased from the store between Nov. 27, 2019, and Jan. 2, 2020, could be at risk of hepatitis A infection.
It is recommended that individuals who ate the listed food items in the last 14 days get vaccinated for hepatitis A.
The latest development comes after Public Health Sudbury & Districts issued an advisory last month following a confirmed case of hepatitis A in the deli department of the Superstore.
At the time, the case had affected clerk-served deli meat and cheese, as well as prepared trays, purchased at the store between Nov. 27 and Dec. 16.
Clerk-served refers to food products offered for sale unpackaged and then packaged by a clerk upon request by a consumer. This includes deli meat for sale at the deli counter that is then sliced and packaged by a clerk.
Anyone who has previously completed the two-dose hepatitis A vaccination series is protected and does not need an additional dose to protect against this particular exposure.
Those who have only received one dose of hepatitis A vaccine in the past should receive the second dose to complete the series.
Common symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, stomach pain or discomfort, dark urine, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, loss of appetite, clay or ash-coloured bowel movements, and jaundice or a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
Anyone who has eaten the listed food items or has questions about getting the vaccine can contact the health unit at 705-474-1400 ext. 5229, toll free at 1-800-563-2808, or speak to their health-care provider as soon as possible.
For more information, visit the Public Health Sudbury & District website at www.phsd.ca.
Contact tracing is no longer an effective tool in the province’s fight against surging cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, says B.C.’s top health officer.
The province has adapted its strategy to prevent transmission of the highly-infectious COVID-19 strain, Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters in a press briefing Friday (Jan. 21) morning.
And while contact tracing has been an effective mechanism for public health intervention in the past, Henry noted that is an increasingly difficult process due to the infectious variant.
“Disease characteristics that make contact tracing effective are things like having a longer incubation period because you have to have time to find people after somebody has been tested,” she explained, highlighting that the Omicron variant has a signifcantly shorter incubation period.
As COVID-19 strains “become more and more infectious,” it is more challenging to find people through contact tracing, added Henry.
A disease such as measles, on the other hand, has a two- to three-week incubation period. The health officer said contact tracing for diseases with longer incubation periods like this allows time to identify and reach a high proportion of contacts and take measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Earlier in the pandemic, individuals infected with the Delta variant typically had a five- to seven-day incubation period, Henry noted. This period allowed public health teams to locate the individuals and prevent them from spreading the virus to others before they developed symptoms.
Individuals infected with Omicron may also “have mild or asymptomatic infections and not even realize that they are affected,” she emphasized. Further, at this juncture in the pandemic, the majority of B.C. residents are vaccinated. Some adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progressing to serious disease will have access to Canada’s first oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment.
“So with the emergence of these more transmissible variants are shorter incubation periods, COVID-19 is no longer an infection for which contact tracing is an effective intervention,” Henry underscored.
“We now need to shift our management and think about the things that we can do across the board to prevent transmission and to prevent ourselves from being exposed.”
While vaccination is the most effective way to prevent transmission from COVID-19, individuals should also manage their symptoms and stay home if they feel ill.
A policy introduced to hospital staff last Friday by Fraser Health means some COVID-19 positive patients can share rooms with fully-vaccinated patients who are not infected with the virus.
Black Press received a copy of the memo issued Jan. 14 to staff at Chilliwack General Hospital (CGH) announcing the revised recommendations “for COVID-19 patient placement in acute care settings.”
The memo states that due to evolving epidemiology of the Omicron variant, and that “this virus generally causes mild disease,” areas for COVID patients will be reserved for only those with significant respiratory symptoms.
“A single occupancy room… is the preferred accommodation for any patients with respiratory symptoms. If a single occupancy room is not available, accommodate the patient in a multi-bed room ensuring at least two metres of space from other beds.
“Place COVID-19 positive patients only with fully vaccinated roommates.”
Hospital staff are directed to follow Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) droplet precaution guidelines, and the memo made it clear that COVID-positive patients should not share a room with immunocompromised patients, patients with chronic cardiac or respiratory disease, newborns, or others with respiratory illnesses.
At a briefing Friday morning with Health Minister Adrian Dix and Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Black Press asked about the rationale behind this revised policy, and she made it clear it was not unique to CGH.
Henry said the increased number of people being admitted to hospitals means that space is at a premium, and this policy helps maximize space with additional precautions in place.
She said the type of COVID-positive patients who might be placed with a non-COVID patient are those who come to hospitals for other reasons, they are tested, and the positive result is considered “incidental” to the reason they are in hospital.
“That is an infection prevention control team decision made at a hospital by hospital, and actually room by room and ward by ward basis, depending on the needs in that facility.”
Dix added that yesterday there were 891 people hospitalized in the province with COVID-19, and the pre-Omicron record was 500.
“When you have a lot of people in the hospital, you have to manage within the space you have and ensure infection control stays high and that’s what our teams are doing across B.C.”
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There are now now 94 people in hospital who were admitted because of COVID symptoms, 13 of whom are in ICU. Those 57 range in age from 0 to 100 years old, and the average age is 68.
Additionally, there are: • 73 people admitted to hospital for other reasons but who tested positive for COVID during the admissions screening or who were admitted for COVID but no longer require specialized care • 113 people in hospital who contracted COVID in the hospital outbreaks
The 94 people now hospitalized because of COVID have the following vaccination status: The vaccination status of those 94 is: • 11 (11.7%) have had 3 doses • 60 (63.8%) have had 2 doses but not 3 • 4 (4.3%) have had 1 dose • 19 (20.2%) are unvaccinated Note that only 9.3% of the population is unvaccinated
My very rough calculation of the rate by vaccination status of those hospitalized (based on numbers of the population in each category two weeks ago) is as follows: • (11) a rate of 6.1 per 100K with 3 doses • (60) a rate of 9.8 per 100K with 2 doses (but not 3) • (4) a rate of 5.7 per 100K with 1 dose only • (19) a rate of 18.0 per 100k unvaccinated
Additionally, the province announced 601 new cases of COVID-19 today. The new cases are people who received a positive PCR test result from a Nova Scotia Health lab; it does not include people who tested positive using a take-home rapid (antigen) test.
By Nova Scotia Health zone, the new cases break down as: • 269 Central • 120 Eastern • 49 Northern • 163 Western
Public Health estimates that there are 5,241 active cases in the province; the actual number is undoubtedly much higher.
The graph above shows the weekly (Sat-Fri) number of new cases for the duration of the pandemic.
The graph above shows the number of weekly cases (green, left axis) and weekly deaths (red, right axis). If deaths lag three weeks behind cases, we may (nothing is certain) see 10-20 more deaths in the next couple of weeks.
The graph above shows the number of weekly cases (green, left axis) and the number hospitalized on Fridays (orange, right axis) for the duration of the pandemic.
The Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility has had an outbreak since late-December, and Justice Department spokesperson Heather Fairbairn told the Halifax Examiner there have now been a total of 140 cases at the jail.
“As of Jan. 21, there are 11 active cases among those currently in custody at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility,” Fairbairn wrote in an email.
As has been the case throughout, according to Fairbairn, none of the prisoners is in hospital and there are no cases in the jail’s women’s unit.
Fairbairn said since January 1, five people have been approved for temporary absences or early release. The population at the jail, as of January 20, was 223. That means about 63% of prisoners at the facility have had COVID-19.
There are two new cases at ongoing hospital outbreaks, one each at: • Cape Breton Regional Hospital for a total of fewer than 10 in that ward • Victoria General for a total of fewer than 10
Vaccination data were not reported today “due to a technical issue.”
The graph above shows the vaccination progress as captured on Fridays through the pandemic, except Thursday for this week. The yellow line is people with at least one dose of vaccine The blue line is people with only one dose. The green line is people with two doses but not three. The grey line is people with three doses. The red line is 80% of the population.
Appointments for boosters are now open to people 30 and over for whom 168 days have passed since their second shot.
Vaccination appointments for people 5 years of age and older can be booked here.
People in rural areas who need transportation to a vaccination appointment should contact Rural Rides, which will get you there and back home for just $5. You need to book the ride 24 hours ahead of time.
There are many drop-in Pfizer vaccine clinics scheduled, starting next week, several for kids five years old and older.
Nova Scotia Health labs completed 3,975 PCR tests yesterday, with a positivity rate of 15.1%.
If you test positive with a rapid (antigen) test, you are assumed to definitely have COVID, and you and your household are to self-isolate as required.
But take-home rapid testing kits are no longer widely available.
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