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Sick kid over the holidays? B.C. Children's Hospital emergency department is open – Yahoo News Canada



Doctors’ offices and walk-in clinics often have reduced hours during the holidays, but B.C. Children’s Hospital says its emergency department is available for kids with serious symptoms such as high fever and breathing troubles.

Parents shouldn’t be reluctant to seek urgent care, even when the emergency department gets busy during the holidays, said hospital pediatrician Dr. Benetta Chin. 

“As a parent myself, I know that the stress of having a sick child can be very, very scary for families,” she said.

“I understand that in the city it’s hard to see a clinic sometimes and so we’re very understanding. When you come [to the emergency department] because you’re worried about your child, you will get the care you need.” 

B.C. Children’s says the following symptoms are a sign that a child should be taken to emergency:

  • A persistent high fever for more than four days.
  • Excessive coughing, especially with a fever.
  • An injured limb that looks swollen or crooked.
  • Hasn’t urinated within 12 hours and has stopped drinking fluids.
  • Blue lips and skin that appears pale.
  • Trouble breathing, especially with rapid or laboured breathing patterns. Excessive vomiting, particularly if it’s bright green or there’s blood in the vomit.
  • Ingested a toxic chemical, including a suspected drug or alcohol overdose.

Chin said long waits at the hospital can be avoided by scheduling an appointment with a family doctor or a walk-in clinic before symptoms get worse.

Maggie MacPherson/CBC
Maggie MacPherson/CBC

She said there are some urgent primacy care clinics that are open during the evenings and weekends.

Chin added that families can also get information from the HealthLink BC phone line by dialling 811.

“There’s a nurse available 24 hours a day to give immediate medical advice over the phone and they will often do an assessment,” she said.

“If they feel that a child should be seen by an emergency department, they will give the family advice to do so.”

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Austrian government proposes law to legalise assisted suicide



Austria’s federal government has submitted a draft law to make assisted suicide for seriously ill adults legal, the federal chancellery said in a statement on Saturday.

The new law lays out the conditions under which assisted suicide will be possible in the future, following a ruling by Austria’s Constitutional Court last December according to which banning assisted suicide was unconstitutional because it violated a person’s right to self-determination.

“Seriously ill people should have access to assisted suicide,” the federal chancellery said in the statement.

The new law allows chronically or terminally ill adults to make provisions for an assisted suicide.

They have to consult two doctors who have to attest the person is capable of making his or her own decisions. A delay of 12 weeks also has to be respected that can be reduced to two weeks for patients in the final phase of an illness.


(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Christina Fincher)

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Namibia suspends use of Russian COVID vaccine after S.Africa flags HIV concerns



Namibia will suspend the rollout of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, its health ministry said on Saturday, days after the drugs regulator in neighbouring South Africa flagged concerns about its safety for people at risk of HIV.

Regulator SAHPRA decided not to approve an emergency use application for Sputnik V for now because some studies suggested that administration of vaccines using the Adenovirus Type 5 vector – which Sputnik V does – can lead to higher susceptibility to HIV in men.

South Africa and Namibia have high HIV prevalence rates.

Namibia’s health ministry said in a statement that the decision to discontinue use of the Russian vaccine was “out of (an) abundance of caution that men (who) received Sputnik V may be at higher risk of contracting HIV,” adding it had taken SAHPRA’s decision into account.

The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed Sputnik V, said Namibia’s decision was not based on any scientific evidence or research.

“Sputnik V remains one of the safest and most efficient vaccines against COVID-19 in use globally,” the institute told Reuters, adding over 250 clinical trials and 75 international publications confirmed the safety of vaccines and medicines based on human adenovirus vectors.

Namibia said the suspension would take effect immediately and last until Sputnik V receives a World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing. But it will offer people who received a first dose of Sputnik V a second to complete their immunisation course.

Namibia received 30,000 doses of Sputnik V as a donation from the Serbian government, but only 115 had been administered as of Oct. 20.

Namibia has also been using COVID-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinopharm, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, acquired through a mix of procurement deals and donations.

So far it has only fully vaccinated around 240,000 of its 2.5 million people, reflecting African nations’ difficulties securing enough vaccines amid a global scramble for shots.


(Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa in Windhoek and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Editing by Alexander Winning and Ros Russell)

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Britain reports highest weekly COVID-19 cases since July



Britain recorded the highest number of new cases of COVID-19 since July over the past week, government figures showed on Saturday, a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson played down the prospect of a return to lockdown.

Some 333,465 people in Britain tested positive for COVID-19 over the past seven days, up 15% on the previous week and the highest total since the seven days to July 21.

Daily figures showed there were 44,985 new cases on Saturday, down from 49,298 on Friday. Daily death figures were only available for England, and showed 135 fatalities within 28 days of a positive test.

Deaths have risen by 12% over the past week, and the total since the start of the pandemic now stands at 139,461, the second highest in Europe after Russia.

While vaccination and better medical treatment have sharply reduced deaths compared with previous waves of the disease, hospitals are already stretched and Britain’s current death rate is far higher than many of its European neighbours.

Government health advisors said on Friday that preparations should be made for the possible reintroduction of measures to slow the spread of the disease, such as working from home, as acting early would reduce the need for tougher measures later.

Johnson, however, said he did not expect a return to lockdown.

“We see absolutely nothing to indicate that is on the cards at all,” he said on Friday.


(Reporting by David Milliken, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Christina Fincer)

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