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Six more British Columbians die from COVID-19, as hospitalizations continue to fall – Times Colonist

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Another six British Columbians have died overnight from complications related to the COVID-19 virus, bringing the province’s death toll from the pandemic to 1,240, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

Some good news can be seen in the recent reduction in the number of serious COVID-19 infections.

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The number of hospitalized patients battling COVID-19 has fallen significantly through 2021, and now sits at 257.

At the end of 2020, there were 374 people battling the virus in hospitals across the province. There have not been as few people battling COVID-19 in B.C. hospitals since November 20.

Of those hospitalized, 76 people are in intensive care units, down by four from yesterday.

The number of people actively battling infections is now 4,447, which is within the range of the past week.

Health officials are monitoring 6,943 people for potential infections because those individuals have had known exposure to identified cases. That is 106 fewer people than yesterday, and is the lowest total in more than a week.

Unfortunately, new cases continue to pile up. With 465 people newly identified in the past 24 hours as carrying the virus, the total number of people in B.C. who have caught COVID-19 is 69,245.

Health officials consider more than 89.6% of those infected, or 62,078 people, as having recovered because those individuals have tested negative twice.

Here is the breakdown of where the 465 new cases are located:

• 98 people in Vancouver Coastal Health (21.1%);
• 234 people in Fraser Health (50.3%);
• 27 in Island Health (5.8%);
• 54 in Interior Health (11.6%); and
• 52 in Northern Health (11.2%).

One new healthcare-facility outbreak is at the Mountain View Manor in Ladner. The outbreak at Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo is considered to be over.

Hospitals with outbreaks include:

• Burnaby General Hospital in Buranby;
• Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake;
• Mount St. Joseph’s Hospital in Vancouver;
• Nanaimo Regional General Hospital in Nanaimo;
• Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster;
• Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops;
• St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver;
• Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey; and
• University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George.

COVID-19 outbreaks remain at 24 seniors’ care homes, assisted-living facilities and retirement residences across the province.

The three active outbreaks at seniors’ living facilities in Vancouver Coastal Health are at:

• Hilltop House in Squamish,
• Minoru Residence in Richmond; and
• Holy Family long-term care centre in Vancouver.

There are 13 active outbreaks at seniors’ living facilities in Fraser Health. They are at:

• Bradley Centre in Chilliwack;
• Concord By the Sea in White Rock;
• CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey;
• Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Moody;
• Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
• Glenwood Seniors Community in Agassiz;
• Hilton Villa Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Madison Care Centre in Coquitlam;
• Mountain View Manor in Ladner;
• Royal City Manor in New Westminster;
• St. Michael’s Centre Extended Care in Burnaby; and
• Suncreek Village in Surrey.

The two active outbreaks at a seniors’ living facilities in Northern Health are at Jubilee Lodge in Prince George, and Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert.

The six active outbreaks at seniors’ living facilities in Interior Health are at:
• Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre in Kamloops;
• Creekside Landing in Vernon;
• Heritage Square in Vernon;
• Noric House in Vernon;
• Sunnybank Retirement Home in Oliver; and
• Westsyde Care Residences in Kamloops.
There are no outbreaks at seniors’ facilities in Island Health.
“In B.C., our curve is slowly moving downward,” provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement. “With each day we keep our wall strong and show compassion and kindness to those around us, we can keep the trend going.”

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom
 

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BC Cancer launches lung-screening program | BC Gov News – BC Gov News

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Warren Clarmont, provincial director, Indigenous Cancer Control, BC Cancer –

“Indigenous people are experiencing higher incidences of lung cancer when compared to other B.C. residents. The introduction of a provincewide lung-screening program will help reduce barriers to access for Indigenous people across B.C. We hope that with this new program, more lives will be saved through culturally safe and accessible screening for eligible First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.”

Sarah Roth, president and CEO, BC Cancer Foundation –

“This first-in-Canada provincewide lung cancer screening program would not be possible without our incredible community of donors. We are so proud to funnel their support, in partnership with the Province and BC Cancer, to help bring this life-saving prevention and early-detection tool to high-risk people across B.C., regardless of where they live. It is our deepest hope that it will change the game for the deadliest cancer in the province.”

Dr. Kim Nguyen Chi, chief medical officer, BC Cancer –

“BC Cancer’s new Lung Screening Program will help diagnose lung cancer at an early stage before people develop symptoms. Cancer screening for early detection is a key tool in the fight against cancer. Earlier detection of cancer means treatment that can be less invasive and have faster recovery and higher rates of cure.”

Dr. Craig Earle, CEO, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) –

“CPAC congratulates British Columbia and the BC Cancer team for acting quickly to implement a provincewide lung cancer screening program and supporting early diagnosis for people at high risk for this disease. Because of the solid evidence showing that lung cancer screening saves lives, implementing screening programs is a priority initiative in the Canadian strategy for cancer control. Co-creating these programs across the country with First Nations, Inuit, Métis and equity-deserving communities will help achieve the strategy’s vision of equitable access to high-quality, culturally safe cancer prevention and care for all people in Canada.”

Shannon McCrae, B.C.  lung-screening trial participant and lung cancer survivor –

“My best friend passed away from lung cancer, so I knew first-hand that lung cancer can be a silent killer. I was a smoker for over 20 years, so when I saw an ad about the BC Cancer lung-screening trial, I registered on the spot. I was shocked when the screening results came back positive even though I displayed no symptoms. The cancer was removed immediately after I was notified about my results. I can say with confidence and gratitude that early detection and the B.C. Lung Screening Pogram saved my life. I’d like to encourage all who qualify for the screening to enrol.”

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Older adults face higher risks for long COVID, shots don’t prevent it: U.S. study – Global News

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New U.S. research on long COVID-19 provides fresh evidence that it can happen even after breakthrough infections in vaccinated people, and that older adults face higher risks for the long-term effects.

In a study of veterans published Wednesday, about one-third who had breakthrough infections showed signs of long COVID.

A separate report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that up to a year after an initial coronavirus infection, 1 in 4 adults aged 65 and older had at least one potential long COVID health problem, compared with 1 in 5 younger adults.

Long COVID refers to any of more than two dozens symptoms that linger, recur or first appear at least one month after a coronavirus infection. These can affect all parts of the body and may include fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog and blood clots.

Read more:

Omicron COVID-19 variant likely to re-infect ‘over and over again,’ experts say

Coronavirus vaccines that help prevent initial infections and serious illnesses provide some protection against long COVID but mounting research shows not as much as scientists had first hoped.

The veterans study published in Nature Medicine reviewed medical records of mostly white male veterans, aged 60, on average. Of the 13 million veterans, almost 3 million had been vaccinated last year, through October.

About 1%, or nearly 34,000, developed breakthrough infections. Lead author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly noted that the study was done before the highly contagious omicron variant appeared at the end of the year and said the rate of breakthrough infections has likely increased.

Breakthrough infections and long COVID symptoms were more common among those who had received Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot compared with two doses of either Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. Whether any had received booster shots is not known; the first booster wasn’t OK’d in the U.S. until late September.


Click to play video: 'WHO Director General re-elected for five more years: ‘Luck brought me all the way here’'



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WHO Director General re-elected for five more years: ‘Luck brought me all the way here’


WHO Director General re-elected for five more years: ‘Luck brought me all the way here’

Overall, 32% had long COVID symptoms up to six months after breakthrough infections. That’s compared with 36% of unvaccinated veterans who had been infected and developed long COVID.

Vaccination reduced the chances for any long COVID symptoms by a “modest” 15%,” although it cut the risk in half for lingering respiratory or clotting problems, said Al-Aly, a researcher with Washington University and the Veterans Affairs health system in St. Louis. These symptoms included persistent shortness of breath or cough and blood clots in lungs or veins in the legs.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Kristin Englund, who runs a center for long COVID patients at the Cleveland Clinic, said the Nature Medicine study mirrors what she sees at her clinic. Long COVID patients there include people who were vaccinated and received boosters.

“As we have no clear treatments for long COVID, it is important for everyone to get vaccinated and use other proven methods of prevention such as masking and social distancing in order to prevent infections with COVID and thus long COVID,” Englund said.


Click to play video: 'Monkeypox patterns of transmission ‘not typical,’ but virus is ‘containable’: WHO'



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Monkeypox patterns of transmission ‘not typical,’ but virus is ‘containable’: WHO


Monkeypox patterns of transmission ‘not typical,’ but virus is ‘containable’: WHO

The CDC report, released Tuesday, used medical records for almost 2 million U.S. adults from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to last November. They included 353,000 who had COVID-19. Patients were tracked for up to a year to determine if they developed any of 26 health conditions that have been attributed to long COVID.

Those who had COVID were much more likely than other adults without COVID to develop at least one of these conditions, and risks were greatest for those aged 65 and older. Information on vaccination, sex and race was not included.

Breathing problems and muscle aches were among the most common conditions.

Older adults’ risks were higher for certain conditions, including strokes, brain fog, kidney failure and mental health problems. The findings are worrisome because those conditions can hasten older adults’ needs for long-term care, the report authors said.

They stressed that routine assessment of all COVID patients “is critical to reduce the incidence” of long COVID.

© 2022 The Associated Press

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Monkeypox: Cases in Canada climb to 16, PHAC says – CTV News

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The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says it has now confirmed a total of 16 cases of monkeypox in the country, all in Quebec.

The latest update on the spread of the viral disease came in a statement issued Wednesday evening.

The statement says Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory continues to receive samples from multiple jurisdictions for confirmation testing.

“At this time, cases of monkeypox are being identified and treated by local health clinics,” the statement said.

“There is ongoing planning with provinces and territories to provide access to approved vaccines in Canada that, if required, can be used in managing monkeypox in their jurisdiction.”

The PHAC says it has given Quebec a small shipment of the smallpox vaccine Imvamune from Canada’s National Emergency Strategic Stockpile, with other jurisdictions able to receive some supply.

In April, Public Services and Procurement Canada submitted a tender to purchase 500,000 doses of the Imvamune vaccine between 2023 and 2028.

There is currently no need for mass immunizations, the PHAC says.

“I know Canadians are concerned,” Duclos said in a statement Tuesday. “The Government of Canada is prepared to respond to emerging public health events and takes precautions to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.”

The national laboratory received its first samples during the week of May 16, before announcing the first two cases of monkeypox identified in Quebec on May 19. That number rose to five cases the following day.

Since then, other possible cases of monkeypox have emerged in Canada. On Wednesday, Toronto public health authorities said they identified two new suspected cases in the city, along with one probable case currently under investigation.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that was first discovered among colonies of monkeys used for research. Historically, it has also been transmitted from animals to humans, with the first human case recorded in 1970. The virus can spread through close contact with an infected animal, human, or contaminated material.

The federal government is prepared to help provinces and territories develop their own means of testing for the disease in order to monitor it more easily, Duclos said.

“Our surveillance system is working, as is our testing system, though we will continue to refine both, including supporting provinces and territories in building their own testing capacities so cases can be identified and traced even more efficiently,” Duclos’ statement read.

The government will also provide updated guidance on preventing infection, as well as procedures around isolation and case management. Canadians can expect the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to provide additional guidance in the coming weeks as well.

In his statement, Duclos emphasized that the emergence of monkeypox is not the same as COVID-19, which quickly spiralled into a worldwide pandemic.

“I want to re-iterate to Canadians that this is a different situation than we saw ourselves in with the emergence of COVID-19,” Duclos’ statement read. “While global understanding of the monkeypox virus is still evolving, we do have a supply of vaccines, which we will be sure to maintain, and we are working hand-in-hand with our provincial and territorial counterparts to roll out our response plan as quickly as possible.”

In an effort to avoid contracting the disease, Canadians are advised to physically distance from those around them, frequently wash their hands and wear masks in crowded environments.

With files from CTV News and The Canadian Press

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