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South African variant of COVID-19 detected in North Central zone – Yahoo News Canada

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The province reported on Tuesday that a resident of the North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, has had the B1.351 SA (South Africa) COVID-19 variant detected in their test, the individual was tested at the end of January and Public Health’s investigation is ongoing.

According to Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab in a press conference on Tuesday the experience with the variants is not different from what other provinces have seen.

“What it means for us is basically the variants of concern respond exactly the same as the previous COVID-19 strains,” Shahab said.

He reminded people to take all of the common steps such as social distancing and other steps to reduce transmission as well as minimizing interprovincial and international travel.

He explained that six per cent of all samples are screened for all variants by referring them to the National Microbiology Lab (NML) in Winnipeg including travel related cases, outbreaks, cases of people under 50-years-old in ICY and random samples.

“That will also help us increase the portion that we can screen, it will also shorten the time it takes to get the results from one to two weeks to a few days,” Shahab said.

“All of that must start once the initial test comes back positive. We shouldn’t wait for it to be diagnosed for the variants of concern for us to take further action,” he added.

According to Premier Scott Moe work in under way to receive certification for the Roy Romanow Laboratory in Regina to expand to testing for variants of COVID-19.

“That process does take a period of time, working with the lab in Winnipeg. That process is underway and I would expect that we would be able to identify the variants at the Roy Romanow Lab within the province of Saskatchewan sometime in early March,” Moe said.

Shahab and Moe both said that the province expected to see the variant in the province.

The B1.1.7 UK (United Kingdom) variant has been detected in two residents in the Regina zone. These individuals were tested at the end of January. Based on the contact investigation to date, there is no link to travel at this time but public health’s investigation is ongoing.

There is also a presumptive case of B1.1.7 UK in one individual in the Saskatoon zone. The individual was transferred from out of province to Saskatoon for acute care.

Whole genome sequencing will need to be completed to confirm the results and health’s contact investigation is ongoing.

“All residents with a confirmed COVID-19 test are required to isolate to reduce the risk of transmission. If required, public health will issue a public service announcement to alert the general public to any risk due to any confirmed case of a variant of concern. The Government of Saskatchewan continues to plan for the impact of variants on COVID-19 including any required increase to public health measures and surge capacity planning,” the province’s release explained.

This brings the provincial total of confirmed variant of concern cases to seven.

Meanwhile, there were four deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the province on Tuesday.

There were three deaths reported in the Regina zone with two in the 80 plus age group and one in the 70 to 79 age group. There was also a death reported in the 80 plus age group in the Saskatoon zone.

The number of deaths in the province currently sits at 376.

There were 122 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the province on Tuesday.

The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported four new cases.

One additional case was added to North Central that had tested positive out of province.

North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 36 active cases.

According to Shahab the province is in the 12th consecutive week of a consistent slow decline in numbers with a slight uptick last weekend. The overall seven day average has dropped from 16.6 on Feb. 9 to 12.7 on Feb. 23.

“And our test positivity is also gradually trending down to around seven per cent right now. Similar to many other provinces we are seeing a decline but some provinces are also seeing a bit of a plateauing,” he said.

North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 47 active cases and North Central 3 has 19 active cases. There are currently 174 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 158 reported as receiving in patient care there are 17 in North Central. Of the 16 people reported as being in intensive care there is one in North Central.

The current seven-day average 156, or 12.7 cases per 100,000 population.

Of the 27,923 reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 1,530 are considered active.

The recovered number now sits at 26,017 after 244 more recoveries were reported.

The total numbers of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 27,923 of those 77,238 cases are from the North area (2,917 North West, 3,192 North Central and1,129 North East).

There were 549 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 62,342.

There were no doses administered in the North Central yesterday. Doses were administered in the adjacent North East zone, North West, Far North Central, Central East, Regina and Saskatoon zones.

An additional 21 doses were administered in the Central East zone on Feb.17 and an additional 52 doses were administered in the South Central zone on Feb. 19.

There were 1,872 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Feb. 21.

As of today there have been 563,055 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan.

Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald

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COVID-19 in B.C.: Over 200 new cases and over 1000 active cases; Fraser Health shifts to vaccine hubs; and more – The Georgia Straight

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Today’s total and new case numbers are provisional but they are concerning.

Both new and active cases continue to rise and hit new highs in recent weeks, with the bulk of both of them still in Interior Health—which continues to have more new and active cases than both Fraser and Vancovuer Coastal Health combined.

Meanwhile, like the last heat wave, some immunization clinics may be affected by the high temperatures and at least one is already being relocated.

According to the B.C. Health Ministry, the following numbers for total and new cases are provisional due to a delayed data refresh.

For now, the B.C. Health Ministry is reporting 204 new COVID-19 cases today.

Currently, there are 1,055 active cases, which is an increase of 146 cases since yesterday.

The new and active cases include:

  • 107 new cases in Interior Health, with 600 total active cases (an increase of 97 cases since yesterday);
  • 58 new cases in Fraser Health, with 241 total active cases (33 more cases than yesterday);
  • 23 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, with 139 total active cases (three more cases than yesterday);
  • 14 new cases in Island Health, with 51 total active cases (10 more cases than yesterday);
  • two new cases in Northern Health, with 19 total active cases (three more cases than yesterday);
  • no new cases of people from outside of Canada, with five total active cases (same number as yesterday).

At the moment, 51 individuals are in hospital (four more people than yesterday), and 20 of those patients are in intensive care units (same number as yesterday).

Thankfully, no new COVID-19-related deaths have been reported, which leaves the overall total at 1,771 people who have died during the pandemic.

With 54 recoveries since yesterday, a cumulative total of 146,810 people have now recovered.

During the pandemic, B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 149,648 cases.

The forecast heat wave may cause some clinics to be relocated again, as they were during the previous heat wave in June.

In preparation for the expected high temperatures this weekend, Island Health announced today that it will move the Eagle Ridge immunization clinic to the air-conditioned Victoria Conference Centre (720 Douglas Street, Victoria) tomorrow (July 30).

Also tomorrow, Island Health will hold a pop-up clinic from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Starlight Stadium (1089 Langford Parkway) in Langford, during the game between Victoria’s Pacific FC and Calgary’s Cavalry FC.

Meanwhile, Fraser Health announced today that it has now administered over two million vaccine doses—80 percent of eligible people in the region have received at least one dose, and over 60 percent have received their second dose.

Consequently, as of tomorrow (July 29), Fraser Health is transitioning from a network of immunization clinics to establishing four main hubs at existing clinics at:

  • Ag-Rec Centre (32470 Haida Drive) in Abbotsford (for both COVID-19 testing and immunizations);
  • Poirier Forum (618 Poirier Street) in Coqutilam;
  • Guildford Rec Centre (15105 105th Avenue) in Surrey;
  • North Delta Rec Centre (11415 84th Avenue) in Delta.

Immunization will also continue to be available at COVID-19 testing and immunization centres in Hope, Chilliwack, Mission, Langley, South Delta, South Surrey, Surrey 66, Coquitlam, and Burnaby. In addition, Fraser Health will continue to hold pop-up and mobile clinics, outreach clinics, and community initiatives (such as beachside clinics) to ensure easy access to immunizations.

The following clinics, however, will be closed on the dates listed below:

  • July 28: South Surrey Rec Centre and Chuck Bailey Rec Centre;
  • August 1: Abbotsford test collection centre at the University of the Fraser Valley will close and testing will relocate to Abbotsford Ag Rec;
  • August 7: Agassiz Agricultural Hall, Langley Events Centre, Anvil Centre, and Christine Sinclair Community Centre;
  • August 14: Chilliwack Mall, Hope Legion, Cloverdale Rec Centre, Surrey North, and Haney Place Mall;
  • August 30: Mamele’awt Community Indigenous Centre, Stó:lō Service Agency, Fraser River Indigenous Society, Mission Friendship Centre, Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre.

As part of its effort to increase vaccinations amid the recently declared outbreak in the Central Okanagan, Interior Health will hold pop-up immunization clinics from 3 to 7 p.m. from Friday (July 30) to Wednesday (August 4) at the Kelowna Yacht Club (1370 Water Street) in Kelowna, and vaccinations are available for eligible drop-in visitors.

In the ongoing provincial immunization program so far, B.C. has administered 6,732,309 doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines.

As of today, 81 percent (3,753,057) of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose and 64.1 percent (2,971,793) have received their second dose.

In addition, 81.9 percent (3,543,503) of all eligible adults in B.C. have received their first dose and 66.8 percent (2,890,948) have received their second dose.

None of the five regional health authorities declared any new healthcare or community outbreaks, or listed any new business closures or public exposure events.

Currently, there are two active healthcare outbreaks, both in longterm care facilities: Holyrood Manor (Fraser Health) and Nelson Jubilee Manor (Interior Health).

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No changes expected as COVID-19 cases surge in Central Okanagan: Kelowna airport – Revelstoke Review – Revelstoke Review

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With new restrictions announced specifically for the Central Okanagan today (July 28), the Kelowna International Airport (YLW) said they are not expecting any changes to their operations.

Senior manager of airport operations Phillip Elchitz said that with the COVID-19 safety plan already in place at YLW, they don’t expect much more to change.

Elchitz also said that they’re not expecting much impact on passenger numbers because of the new restrictions.

“YLW is not anticipating a reduction in commercial scheduled flights as a result of the new provincial health guidelines specific to the Central Okanagan,” he said.

“YLW currently has a mandatory mask policy in place for all areas of the Air Terminal Building and on aircrafts due to Transport Canada requirements.”

Individual passenger temperature is also checked just before they go through security as an added safety measure.

Earlier in the afternoon on July 28, the province announced that masks will be mandatory again in indoor public spaces throughout the Central Okanagan, which includes Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country.

The province is also discouraging non-essential travel to and from the Central Okanagan, especially for those who are not vaccinated or who don’t have both doses yet.

READ MORE: Mask mandate returns to Central Okanagan, COVID-19 outbreak declared


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

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Nenshi says lifting Alberta’s remaining COVID-19 health orders is the ‘height of insanity’ – Global News

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The mayor of Calgary says it’s the “height of insanity” that Alberta is moving ahead with removing almost all of its remaining COVID-19 public health orders, even as cases climb in the province.

Alberta has ended isolation requirements for close contacts of people who test positive and contact tracers will no longer notify them of their exposure. The province has also ended asymptomatic testing.

Read more:
Alberta to adjust COVID-19 masking, isolation, testing rules over next month

Further measures are to be eliminated Aug. 16. People who test positive will no longer be required to isolate. Isolation hotels will close as quarantine supports end.

“It is inconceivable to me. It is the height of insanity to say we don’t even know what’s happening,” Nenshi said Thursday.

“It is putting the health of Albertans at risk. To stop contact tracing, to stop testing people for the coronavirus and to become one of the first _ if not the first — jurisdictions in the world to say that people who have tested positive, who are infectious, can just go about their lives.”


Click to play video: 'Majority of Canadians worried about lingering COVID-19 threat, according to poll'



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Majority of Canadians worried about lingering COVID-19 threat, according to poll


Majority of Canadians worried about lingering COVID-19 threat, according to poll

Naheed Nenshi, who was making an announcement at the Calgary airport, said if he were in another jurisdiction he would be thinking hard whether to put travel restrictions on Albertans starting Aug. 16.

“I’m aware of no science that backs this up. It is clear for the last month or so on this file (that) our government has been grasping and struggling, just trying to get some good news out of something,” he said.

Read more:
Amid pushback, Alberta health minister defends plan to ease COVID-19 isolation, masking, testing rules

“To say we don’t want to know who has the coronavirus, we don’t want to track outbreaks. Even the most fervent of the anti-maskers wouldn’t say (to) unleash people who are actually infectious into the population.”

Nenshi said he worries that the decision to lift the health orders is politically motivated and has nothing to do with science at all.

“The only possible explanation here is a political one. It might be that they’ve run out of money, but you know what? Don’t spend $1.5 billion on a pipeline you know isn’t going to get built if you’re running out of money.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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