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Sexual Health Nova Scotia 'overwhelmed' with demand in province – HalifaxToday.ca

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in the province, Sexual Health Nova Scotia is trying to handle existing problems that have started worsening.

Its problems are partly due to the provincial government’s lack of funding and support for sexual health.

“It felt like sexual health services were not sort of considered essential,” Leigh Heide tells NEWS 95.7’s The Sheldon MacLeod Show.

Sexual Health Nova Scotia encompasses a network of six sexual health centres across the province. Only the Halifax Sexual Health Centre (HSHC) has a clinic, meaning all patients from across the province seeking sexual health services are being referred to Halifax.

Heide, the provincial coordinator at Sexual Health Nova Scotia, says handling the demand from the six sexual health centres was difficult even prior to the pandemic.

For the most part, there are no other sexual health clinics in Nova Scotia besides the Halifax location located inside the Bayers Road Centre near Fairview. Patients seeking services such as STI testing, pap tests and gender-affirming care can’t be treated in most parts of rural Nova Scotia without a family doctor.

Recently, the Truro Sexual Health Centre was started by two doctors. According to CBC News, the centre is open one evening a week for three hours.

Although the opening of the Truro’s centre has helped alleviate the high demand of services, Heide says the clinic is still overwhelmed.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Heide says the Nova Scotia Health Authority closed the STI clinic at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre on University Avenue (it’s now open for appointments only). Other walk-in clinics and facilities had also limited services.

HSHC has stayed open since the pandemic started but also with slightly limited services, including no walk-ins and having testing affected by what its lab could process.

“It kind of built up a backlog of people who couldn’t get in,” Heide says. “Now, put those things together as we reopen to all services again and they’re just very overwhelmed.”

HSHC has different streams of funding including funds from MSI, some small project grants and a part of an annual provincial grant Sexual Health Nova Scotia receives. This $300,000 grant isn’t guaranteed and must be applied for each year. Sexual Health Nova Scotia also distributes the grant between its six centres.

Heide says around $30,000 is allocated to HSHC each year; Running the clinic costs around $700,000.

“It’s a huge issue and they all need more funding, all of our centres,” says Heide. “[With] Halifax’s clinic being so essential to our whole province, we really recognize how much they need the extra funding right now.”

Heide says people even show up to the emergency room for an STI test. Since there isn’t a doctor to follow up with patients, much like with walk-in clinics, STI tests aren’t always provided.

On top of that, Heide says Sexual Health Nova Scotia receives inconsistent reports from people about the availability of STI testing at different locations.

“It’s extremely unfortunate to think that it’s inconsistent across the province,” Heide says.

“We have a hard time telling people what to expect. Really, without a family doctor, there is no guarantee that you’re going to be able to get the test you need.”

With a lot of people unable to enter a clinic for a sexual health service, Heide says they think that has just become worse with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re really concerned about the impact of that,” Heide says. “As time goes on, we’re going to see what the impact has been.

“We talk, I guess, about STI testing and the like because it feels like something a lot of people can relate to. But there are so many services that Halifax Sexual Health Centre and all of our centres offer that are outside of even what people are thinking about on a daily basis.”

On top of STI testing, Sexual Health Nova Scotia centres offer various services including pregnancy testing, educational resources and transgender health services.

Heide says even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the waitlist at HSHC to see a doctor for gender-affirming care was months long. They say they believe it’s currently about a seven-month waitlist.

Heide says they think the provincial government still hasn’t responded to Sexual Health Nova Scotia’s needs.

“It’s a bit of a time-sensitive thing,” Heide says, “but at the same time we know that of course, their focus is just not on sexual health, and we need it to be. But we’re also looking at how the province is handling every aspect of coming back from the pandemic.

“It’s just a really big problem that needs a lot of attention.”

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Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, September 29 – Bring Me The News

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The death toll has reached 2,020.

Five more deaths has brought Minnesota’s COVID-19 death toll to 2,020. The newly reported deaths released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) on Tuesday include one person each aged in their 60s, 70s and 80s, respectively, and two patients who were in their 90s. 

Of the 2,020 total deaths, 1,449 have been residents of long-term care, including two of the five newly reported cases Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized is unclear because the MDH stopped publicizing that data last Thursday. Instead, the MDH is only releasing new admissions to the hospital and ICU in its daily report, and on Tuesday it announced six new hospital admissions. There were also 20 new ICU admissions in Tuesday’s report. 

According to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, the maximum ICU capacity of Minnesota’s hospitals is 2,158 – 1,071 of which are currently occupied (this is for all ailments, not just COVID-19). That’s an increase from 1,063 in Monday’s update. 

Tuesday’s update includes 817 new positive tests for the coronavirus, eight of which have been removed for an official count of 809 cases. Those positives are the result of 8,713 people tested, creating a 24-hour reporting period test positivity rate of 9.28%.

The positive test rate is lower from the perspective when the number of individuals producing positive tests (809) divided by total completed tests (15,257). In that case, the positivity rate is 5.30%.

The “tests completed” number is always higher than the “people tested” metric because some people get tested multiple times and those who test positive are only counted once, so it produces a less accurate positivity rate.

Coronavirus in Minnesota by the numbers:

  • Total tests: 2,017,350 (up from 2,003,115)
  • People tested: 1,406,578 (up from 1,397,865)
  • Positive cases: 98,447 (up from 97,638)
  • Deaths: 2,020 (up from 2,015) 
  • Hospitalized (cumulative): 7,633 (up from 7,627)
  • ICU admissions (cumulative: 2,129 (up from 2,109)
  • Patients no longer requiring isolation: 88,380 (up from 87,330)

There have also been 52 deaths where COVID-19 is listed by doctors as the “probable” cause, though it’s not included in the official COVID-19 death toll.

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105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols – Golden Star

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B.C. reported 105 new COVID-19 cases and one death over the past 24 hours in a joint statement released by health officials Tuesday (Sept. 29).

In the statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Deputy Health Minister Stephen Brown said there are currently 1,268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 9,013 cases of COVID-19 and the death toll has reached 234. The most recent death was of a person in Fraser Health.

There are 69 people in hospital with the virus, 20 of whom are in ICU.

Officials said there is a new outbreak at Haro Park Centre long-term care facility in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, for a total of 14 health-care facilities with outbreaks at this time.

In their statement, health officials reminded British Columbians again that this fall will not look like that of years’ past.

“We have had to change our special celebrations and gatherings to keep the people we care about safe,” officials said. “This same approach is how we need to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Rather than travelling to see friends or hosting a large family dinner, make it small this year and plan to connect virtually instead.”

The province also extended its state of emergency Tuesday, allowing the province to continue using its expanded powers under the Emergency Program Act. B.C. has been in a state of emergency since March due to the COVID-19 crisis.

ALSO READ: National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

VIDEO: Ottawa unveils guidelines, deal for rapid COVID-19 tests as calls for approval mount


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105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols – Nelson Star

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B.C. reported 105 new COVID-19 cases and one death over the past 24 hours in a joint statement released by health officials Tuesday (Sept. 29).

In the statement, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Deputy Health Minister Stephen Brown said there are currently 1,268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 9,013 cases of COVID-19 and the death toll has reached 234. The most recent death was of a person in Fraser Health.

There are 69 people in hospital with the virus, 20 of whom are in ICU.

Officials said there is a new outbreak at Haro Park Centre long-term care facility in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, for a total of 14 health-care facilities with outbreaks at this time.

In their statement, health officials reminded British Columbians again that this fall will not look like that of years’ past.

“We have had to change our special celebrations and gatherings to keep the people we care about safe,” officials said. “This same approach is how we need to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Rather than travelling to see friends or hosting a large family dinner, make it small this year and plan to connect virtually instead.”

The province also extended its state of emergency Tuesday, allowing the province to continue using its expanded powers under the Emergency Program Act. B.C. has been in a state of emergency since March due to the COVID-19 crisis.

ALSO READ: National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

VIDEO: Ottawa unveils guidelines, deal for rapid COVID-19 tests as calls for approval mount


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

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