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Seven health-care workers at local long-term care home test positive for COVID-19 – Woodstock Sentinel Review

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Secord Trails Care Community in Ingersoll.

Public health officials have declared an outbreak at an Ingersoll long-term care home after seven health-care workers there tested positive for COVID-19, but how the virus got into the home remains a mystery.

Southwestern Public Health, which covers Oxford and Elgin counties and St. Thomas, said a health-care worker at Secord Trails Care Community tested positive Monday. Since then, officials have recorded six more cases among staff, who hold different positions and have different levels of interactions with residents.

All seven infected workers are self-isolating at home, officials said. So far, none of the home’s roughly 80 residents has tested positive, though some results are still pending.

The first case was confirmed after a staffer with “very mild” symptoms was tested, Joyce Lock, the region’s chief medical officer, said at a news conference Friday. But there’s no indication of how the virus got into the home.

“We don’t even know who the first (infected) staff member was, because when the other six staff members were deemed to be positive, on deeper questioning (we) realized some had developed very mild symptoms prior to the first case,” Lock said.

“So we don’t know who the index case was or where the exposure may have occurred.”

Lock said extra staff have been brought in to ensure the home, which employs about 110 people, remains fully staffed.

Though most of the infected staff reside within Southwestern Public Health’s jurisdiction, health officials aren’t releasing where they live, Lock said.

All Secord Trails staff and residents have been swabbed since Monday, Lock said. Officials are working to inform people of their results and trace all contacts, and all precautions are being taken to prevent the virus spreading within the home.

Sienna Living, the home’s owner, said Friday that 51 residents have tested negative, and test results on 27 others are pending.

Long-term care and retirement homes across Canada have been hit hard by the virus crisis, with residents accounting for most COVID-19 cases and deaths.

As of Friday, there were 171 active outbreaks at Ontario long-term care homes, and 1,486 residents and patients had died, according to figures collected by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

On Friday, Ontario reported 441 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the provincial total to 24,628 since the pandemic began. About 76 per cent of those cases have been resolved.

jjuha@postmedia.com
Twitter.com/JuhaatLFPress

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No new coronavirus cases in Manitoba on Saturday – Globalnews.ca

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Manitoba health officials say there are no new cases of the coronavirus identified as of Saturday morning.

Health officials say the total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable cases in the province remains at 300.

There are nine active cases as of Friday and 284 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.

The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at seven.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Covid-19 research scam: Unwanted diversion during pandemic – The East African

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By AFP
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The first research scandal of the coronavirus pandemic has created unnecessary distraction around the politically divisive drug hydroxychloroquine, scientists say, as questions swirl around the tiny health care company at the centre of the affair.

On Thursday, most of the authors of major studies that appeared in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) retracted their work and issued apologies, saying they could no longer vouch for their data after the firm that supplied it — Chicago-based Surgisphere — refused to be audited.

NEW DIMENSIONS

At any other time, the matter might have led to hang-wringing within academia, but it has taken on a new dimension as the world grapples with a virus that has claimed some 400,000 lives.

Of particular interest was the paper in The Lancet that claimed to have analysed the records of 96,032 patients admitted to 671 hospitals across six continents, finding that hydroxychloroquine showed no benefit and even increased the risk of death.

Its withdrawal is seen as a boost to backers of the decades-old anti-malarial drug, who include US President Donald Trump and his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro.

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“It’s very politicised — there is a group, probably not particularly small, who have learned to mistrust science and scientists, and this just feeds into that narrative,” Gabe Kelen, a professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University, told AFP.

This is despite the fact that even without The Lancet paper, evidence has been building against hydroxychloroquine’s use against Covid-19.

HUMAN EXPERIMENTS

On Friday, results from a fourth randomised controlled trial — carefully designed human experiments considered the most robust form of clinical investigation — showed it had no impact against the virus.

The Lancet, which first published in 1823, is one of the world’s most trusted medical journals.

As a result, the hydroxychloroquine paper had an outsized impact: the World Health Organization, Britain and France all suspended ongoing clinical trials.

But things soon began unravelling after researchers noticed numerous red flags, from the huge number of patients involved to the unusual level of detail about the doses they had received.

PRESTIGIOUS

Both The Lancet and the equally prestigious NEJM, which had published a paper on whether blood thinners elevated the risk of Covid-19 that relied on the same company, issued expressions of concern — before the authors themselves pulled both papers.

Surgisphere, founded in 2007 by vascular surgeon Sapan Desai, had refused to share data with third-party reviewers, saying it would violate privacy agreements with hospitals.

However, when science news site The Scientist began reaching out to hospitals throughout the US to ask whether they had participated, it found none.

Surgisphere’s internet profile has also raised numerous questions. Only a handful of employees could be found on LinkedIn, and most have now deactivated their accounts.

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

According to the Guardian newspaper, its employees included an adult model and until last week the contact page on its website redirected to a WordPress template for a cryptocurrency website, leaving it unclear how hospitals could have reached out to them.

Meanwhile Desai, who according to court records has three outstanding medical malpractice suits against him, has written extensively in the past on research misconduct.

“The most serious cause of fraud in medical publishing is manufactured data that authors use to support high impact conclusions,” he said in a 2013 paper.

For Ivan Oransky, who founded Retraction Watch in 2010, the affair is far from surprising, serving instead to highlight systemic issues in science publishing and the way science is reported to the public.

“No one took a hard look at the data,” said Oransky. “But we’ve known about these issues for literally decades.”

LEADING JOURNALS

Policymakers should get away from the idea of using the results of a single study to inform their decisions, he added, as was the case for the WHO — and the media has a responsibility to place papers in context instead of hyping them up.

The problem also stems from the fact that even leading journals rely too heavily on an honour system, but “you never know when a catastrophe is going to happen, if you’re not willing to put into place some reasonable safeguards,” added Oransky.

As to the future, the current episode is unlikely to serve as a wake-up call, he said. If one journal increases its diligence, more blockbuster papers will start appearing in its competitors.

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No new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Saturday – CBC.ca

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No new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Manitoba on Saturday.

The total number of cases of the illness caused by the new coronavirus identified in the province is still 300.

The province tweeted the announcement and said Manitoba’s numbers on hospitalizations, recoveries, tests and active cases will be updated again on Monday.

On Friday, there was no one in hospital with COVID-19. Nine cases were still active and 284 had recovered.

Manitoba had done 47,372 tests for the virus as of Friday.

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