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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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Mass COVID-19 vaccinations to begin in Montreal as province ramps up effort –



MONTREAL — Quebec’s mass vaccination campaign gets underway in earnest in the Montreal area today as the province begins inoculating members of the general public.

The province announced last week that it was booking appointments for seniors age 85 and up across the province, or 80 and above in Montreal.

Quebec began accepting appointments last Thursday, with nearly 100,000 booked on Day One of the campaign.

Some regions started vaccinating members of the general population late last week, but the campaign is expected to speed up considerably with the opening of mass vaccine clinics in the Montreal area, including one at the Olympic Stadium.

Outlying regions are mainly expected to ramp up after the March break holiday, which gets underway today.

Quebec has so far concentrated its vaccination effort on health care workers, people living in remote regions and seniors in closed environments such as long-term care and private seniors residences.

The province has chosen to delay giving second doses in favour of administering a first jab to as many people as possible, but the province’s health minister said last week it will dole out second doses beginning March 15.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Saturday that the start of the mass vaccination campaign was giving him “a lot of hope,” even as he expressed concern about spring break week and the spread of new virus variants.

In a Facebook message, he urged Quebecers to remain vigilant for the coming weeks to allow the province to vaccinate more people, and to wait for immunity to fully develop in those who have received a shot. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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From lockdowns to spring break, provinces split on next steps in COVID-19 fight – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



Canada’s COVID-19 hotspots showed diverging approaches to handling the crisis on Sunday, as Ontario and Prince Edward Island prepared for new lockdowns while Quebec entered a week of spring break complete with some activities meant to ease the monotony of life during a global pandemic.

Prince Edward Island announced it was entering a 72-hour lockdown starting at midnight as the province struggled to contain an outbreak of COVID-19.

The short-term public health order was announced as officials reported five new infections of the disease in a province that has seen few cases for most of the pandemic. The Island has now recorded 17 new infections over the past five days.

Health officials identified two clusters of COVID-19 in the cities of Summerside and Charlottetown, and said it’s possible the island has community spread of the virus. The province has a total of just 132 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

The three-day lockdown requires residents to stay home as much as possible and will close all kindergarten to Grade 12 schools, with post-secondary education moving online only.

“We would rather go harder and stronger now than wait for an outbreak like we have seen in other provinces that could put us in an extended period of lockdown for weeks or even months,” Premier Dennis King said late Sunday during a briefing with reporters.

Ontario, meanwhile, passed the 300,000 case mark on Sunday as the government prepared to hit a so-called ’emergency brake’ in two northern public health units grappling with surging case numbers.

The Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka District health units will enter the lockdown phase of the province’s pandemic response plan on Monday in order interrupt transmission of COVID-19 at a time when new variants are gaining steam.

The province has also pushed back its spring break until April in an effort to limit community spread.

Quebec, in contrast, has allowed movie theatres, pools and arenas to open with restrictions in place to give families something to do as the traditional winter break kicks off, even as most other health rules remain in place.

The province opted to allow students and teachers the traditional March break, even though Premier Francois Legault has said he’s worried about the week off and the threat posed by more contagious virus variants.

Quebec’s health minister said the situation in the province was stable on Sunday, with 737 new cases and nine additional deaths – even as confirmed cases linked to variants of concern jumped by more than 100 to 137.

Most of the variant cases have been identified as the B.1.1.7 mutation first identified in the United Kingdom, including 84 in Montreal.

Ontario, meanwhile, reported 1,062 new infections linked to the pandemic on Sunday as it became the first province to record more than 300,000 total cses of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic.

The country’s chief public health officer urged Canadians on Sunday to continue following public health measures as a way of buying critical time as vaccine programs ramp up.

“Aiming to have the fewest interactions with the fewest number of people, for the shortest time, at the greatest distance possible is a simple rule that we can all apply to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement.

Canada’s immunization program received a boost last week with the approval of a third COVID-19 vaccine, raising hopes that provinces will be able to inoculate their most vulnerable populations before the more contagious variants can fully take hold.

Toronto announced Sunday that it was expanding the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness, noting that they have a higher risk of serious health impacts due to COVID-19 and are vulnerable to transmission in congregate settings.

Quebec, meanwhile, is set to begin vaccination of the general population on Monday, beginning with seniors 80 and over in the Montreal area, or 85 and over in the rest of the province.

While some regions with extra doses began administering shots late last week, the pace of inoculation will ramp up on Monday when mass vaccination clinics in Montreal throw open their doors.

Case counts were more stable elsewhere in the country.

Manitoba reported just 50 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday and two new virus-related deaths, while Saskatchewan saw its overall tally climb by 181 but did not log any new deaths.

Alberta reported three new virus-related deaths and 301 new infections, including 29 identified as variants of concern.

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia logged three new cases while officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported seven.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021

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Quebec reports 737 COVID-19 cases, nine deaths as variant cases jump –



MONTREAL — The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in Quebec jumped by more than 100 on Sunday, on the eve of a ramp-up in the province’s mass vaccination plan.

The province is reporting 137 confirmed cases involving variants, with most of them identified as the B.1.1.7 mutation first detected in the United Kingdom. 

While most of the cases are in Montreal, the province’s public health institute reports there are also 40 cases of the variant originally found in South Africa in the Abitibi-Temiscamingue region.

A further 1,083 cases remain under investigation and are listed as “presumptive.” 

Quebec’s health minister described the overall situation as “encouraging” as the province reported 737 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths due to the pandemic.

Four of the deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, while the rest took place earlier. 

Hospitalizations rose by two to 601, while intensive care numbers rose by five to 117.

Christian Dube noted that the situation in the province has been stable for the last week, but asked Quebecers not to let their guard down as spring break begins.

“It’s not the moment to relax our efforts,” he wrote on Twitter.

The province will kick off its mass vaccination program in earnest on Monday, with several large clinics in the Montreal area opening their doors to residents age 80 and older who have booked appointments through the province’s website.

In the rest of the province, the vaccination appointments are being accepted for those born in or before 1936. 

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Saturday that the start of the mass vaccination campaign was giving him “a lot of hope,” even as he expressed concern about spring break week and the spread of new variants.

He urged Quebecers to remain vigilant for the coming weeks to allow the province to vaccinate more people, and to wait for immunity to fully develop in those who have received a shot.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

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