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SHA urges northern residents to stop travelling to Alberta after COVID-19 outbreak – Prince Albert Daily Herald

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The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and Northern Inter-Tribal Alliance urged residents in Northern Saskatchewan to stop travelling to Alberta after an outbreak of new COVID-19 cases were linked to travel between the two provinces.

The SHA is still conducting its contract tracing investigation, but says there is regular interprovincial travel from residents in northern communities to the Fort McMurray area in Alberta. A number of COVID-19 cases have been linked to an oil sands facility north of Fort McMurray, according to a media update released on Saturday, and there is “a potential for community transmission with continued non-essential travel between communities across the border.”

Regional medical health officers have advised against all non-essential travel between Northwest Saskatchewan and Northern Alberta, effective immediately.

The SHA also recommended that all Northern Saskatchewan residents self-isolate for 14 days and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms after returning home from Northern Alberta.

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, chills, diminished sense of smell, body aches, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

On Thursday, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab reported that a staff member at a long-term care facility in La Loche had tested positive for COVID-19. There other cases have also been reported in the area, including one care home resident.

FSIN chief Bobby Cameron has been critical of the provincial government’s response to COVID-19 cases in the north. On April 13, he argued the government wasn’t doing enough to make sure northern healthcare workers followed proper procedure. The Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority echoed those concerns, saying that 40 per cent of healthcare sites did not have proper equipment to respond to a pandemic.

In response, the Saskatchewan Health Authority instituted a number of new measures, including mandatory temperature checks for all healthcare workers before and after shifts, and minimized staff movement between facilities.

The provincial government announced three new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, along with three new presumptive cases, bringing the total number of cases to 313.

Another six patients have recovered from the virus, meaning only 75 of those 313 cases are still active. There are still five patients in hospital, one of which is in intensive care.

There are seven active COVID-19 cases in the north, an area which includes Prince Albert, Melfort, North Battleford and Meadow Lake. There are eight active cases in the far north.

The Saskatoon area, which includes Humboldt, continues to have the highest number of active cases in Saskatchewan with 38. The south area, which includes Weyburn, Moose Jaw and Swift Current, has only two active cases, the lowest number in the province.

The government reports 35 total cases involve healthcare workers, but says the source of the infections may not be healthcare related in all instances.

There are 29 Saskatchewan cases that have no known exposure, and 18 more are still under investigation.

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New Brunswick reports one new case of COVID-19 at nursing home as tests and calls to 811 spike – CTV News

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HALIFAX —
Another resident of Manoir de la Vallee, a long-term care home in Atholville, N.B., has tested positive for COVID-19.

New Brunswick public health said Tuesday that the person is in their eighties. The new case increases the number of active cases to 13 – all of them stemming from a doctor who travelled to Quebec for personal reasons and failed to self-isolate upon his return. Five of the 13 new cases are residents at Manoir de la Vallee.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 133, but 120 had recovered before the Campbellton cluster emerged.

Five patients are hospitalized with one in an intensive care unit. As of Tuesday, 30,666 tests have been conducted.

“We are pleased to see how all our partners have come together to help us manage the situation,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health. “We have 14 days ahead of us to see how things unfold. In the meantime, I ask New Brunswickers to continue to demonstrate their compassion, kindness and patience throughout the province.”

For many health-care workers and Campbellton residents, it’s going to be a long 14 days as they wait and see how many more people will be infected by the most recent outbreak.

About 5,000 people in that zone have been tested since Friday and 300 are self-isolating.

“I would say the majority of them have been tested, but even if they tested negative, they still have to remain home for the next 14 days,” said Dr. Russell. “We’ve seen cases where the person tested negative in the morning and then they tested positive that evening.”

As for the doctor, Vitalite Health Network said last week that the doctor has been suspended and on Tuesday, the college of physicians and surgeons says no further action has been taken yet — but acknowledged the rumours in a statement:

“There has been no action on his license because he was suspended by the hospital and consequently can’t practice anyway. Nor is there an urgent need for us to act on our own, but we are keeping an eye on things, trying to distinguish between reality and fiction.”

There was also a reminder from health officials that New Brunswick’s borders are not completely closed.

In May, an average of 5,600 vehicles crossed every day during the week.

About 90 were turned away because their travel was deemed not essential.

“The problem is, if somebody does something dumb and goes off to some other place where they shouldn’t be and gets infected, you can’t legislate against that,” said Ken McGeorge, an advisor with the Special Care Home Association. “But you have to keep re-enforcing and the special care homes are doing a good job at that.”

Calls to 811 have spiked

Calls to 811 have spiked since Thursday, but despite the increase in testing, public health says there are enough testing kits to go around.

As of Monday 133 tickets  have been issued for non-compliance with the state of emergency order. Fines range between $200 and $10,000.

COVID-19 symptoms

Anyone showing two of the following symptoms should contact Tele-Care 811 or their primary health-care provider for further direction:

  • fever above 38 C or signs of fever (such as chills);
  • new cough or worsening chronic cough;
  • sore throat;
  • runny nose;
  • headache;
  • new onset of fatigue;
  • new onset of muscle pain;
  • diarrhea;
  • loss of sense of taste or loss of sense of smell; and
  • in children, purple markings on the fingers or toes. In this instance, testing will be done even if none of the other symptoms are present.

You can do an online self-assessment to help determine if you should be tested for COVID-19.

You can also get up-to-date information about COVID-19 on this page of the provincial government website.

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Two new COVID-19 outbreaks in BC offices | New West Record – The Record (New Westminster)

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New COVID-19 outbreaks have been discovered in the past 24 hours at Abbotsford’s New World Technologies and Delta”s Maersk Distribution Canada, B.C.’s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said June 2.

She described both of these outbreaks as being in offices. Both workplaces have two cases, and public health teams are at both sites to investigate and determine which people may have had contact with the infected individuals.

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The new outbreaks come on what was otherwise a relatively good day, given that there were no new deaths in the last 24 hours, and a spate of outbreaks at seniors’ homes and at an acute-care ward at Abbotsford Regional Hospital are newly declared over. 

Henry said that outbreaks are declared over at North Vancouver’s Amica Edgemont Village, Vancouver’s Royal Arch Masonic Home, Maple Ridge’s Chartwell Willow Retirement Community, and Chilliwack’s Eden Care Centre. That means that no new cases have been discovered at those facilities in the past 28 days, or two incubation periods.

This leaves eight active outbreaks at seniors’ care facilities, all of which are long-term care residences. Two of those homes are in Vancouver Coastal Health, while six are in the Fraser Health region. No new cases of COVID-19 have been discovered at any of those homes in the past 24 hours. 

Health Minister Adrian Dix said that while the good news on fewer seniors’ home outbreaks and no new deaths is promising, the new outbreaks at businesses show that COVID-19 is alive and well in B.C. and “requires vigilance.”

B.C. recorded four new cases in the past 24 hours of the virus that has caused a global pandemic, and a total of 2,601 cases.

The breakdown of all COVID-19 infections by health region is:
• 904 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 1,311 in Fraser Health;
• 127 in Island Health;
• 195 in Interior Health; and
• 64 in Northern Health.

Of all of those who have been infected, 165 have died, 207 are battling illness and 2,229 have recovered.

Most of the 207 people with active illnesses are self-isolating at home, although 31 of them are in hospital, with eight of those in intensive care units. 

Dix shared other good news that was part of his weekly update on personal protective equipment. Two separate independent labs in the past week have confirmed lab test results done at the University of British Columbia that showed that respirators that B.C. has bought from a new manufacturer in China has exceeded necessary standards.

“This is excellent news for two reasons,” Dix said. “We have a significant inventory of this product – three million respirators in B.C.,  and now [we] are assured that the product is safe and effective for our healthcare workers. And, the availability of this equivalent product will reduce our reliance on the traditional 3M respirators that have been extremely difficult to procure due to global demand and supply-chain issues.”

The government has not yet introduced the equivalent respirators for use in the healthcare system because officials have wanted to take time first to communicate with workers about the new product, and to ensure that the respirators are tested to ensure that they fit all employees who may need to wear them, Dix said. 

“The significant boost of three million N95-equivalent respirators puts us in good stead as we ramp up our health system, catch up on scheduled surgery volumes and prepare our province for a potential second wave of COVID-19,” he said.

Overall, B.C. has acquired more than four million N-95 or equivalent respirators, about 4.5 million surgical masks, 27 million pairs of gloves, 1.3 million gowns and 1.25 million pieces of eye protection, including goggles and face shields. 

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom 

 

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1 new COVID-19 case detected in Atholville long-term care facility – CBC.ca

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A new case of COVID-19 has been linked to a long-term care facility in Atholville.

New Brunswick announced one new case of the respiratory infection Tuesday, linking it to the previous four resident cases detected in Manoir de la Vallée.

The new case is a person between 80 and 89 years of age, in Zone 5 or the Campbellton region, said a news release.

There are now 13 active cases of COVID-19 in the Campbellton region. Public H​​​​​ealth has previously linked the outbreak to a doctor who travelled to Quebec and didn’t self-isolate for the mandatory 14 days when he returned.

The number of people in hospital has increased from four to five. One person is in intensive care.

The other affected residents of Manoir de la Vallée include three people in their 80s and one in their 70s from the 18-bed Alzheimer’s unit.

A staff member from the facility has also tested positive.

The province has conducted 30,666 COVID-19 tests to date, including 2,204 tests in the past 24 hours.

A provincial news release says if you or a member of your family are showing two of the following symptoms, contact Tele-Care 811 or your primary health-care provider for further direction:

  • Fever above 38°C or signs of fever (such as chills).
  • A new cough or worsening chronic cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Runny nose.
  • Headache.
  • A new onset of fatigue.
  • A new onset of muscle pain.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Loss of sense of taste or loss of sense of smell.
  • In children, purple markings on the fingers or toes. In this instance, testing will be done even if none of the other symptoms are present.

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