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Sudbury’s health unit expects ‘bumpy’ transition as pandemic restrictions eased – Yahoo News Canada



Public Health Sudbury and Districts said in its weekly update on Thursday that it will continue to be there for area families and communities as Ontario continues to ease pandemic restrictions.

“While the pandemic is not over, we are transitioning to another phase,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe.

“Instead of provincial requirements, most people will be expected to make decisions and choices that are best for their own circumstances. This transition will be bumpy as people’s circumstances are all different.”

Sutcliffe said she knows communities will tap into their reserves of “mutual respect, kindness, and patience” as we navigate the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our collective response to COVID-19 has required us to tap into personal resources we might not have imagined we had,” she said. “We have been innovative, compassionate resilient, and determined. Getting to this point has not been easy, but now more than ever, we know what we need to do to stay safe.”

Thursday, March 10, marked two years since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Public Health Sudbury and Districts’ service area.

“Since that time, we have learned much and have the tools we need to take charge and maximize our own protection and that of our loved ones,” said Sutcliffe.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore announced this week that the requirements for self-isolation following a potential exposure to COVID-19 have been loosened, effective immediately.

Provincial requirements for masking in many settings will also be removed on March 21.

“Being fully vaccinated and getting our COVID-19 boosters, as well as staying home when ill and deciding to mask in crowded indoor spaces remain strong protectors,” said Sutcliffe.

Over the last seven days, public health reported 424 new cases of COVID-19 among high-risk settings in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts, as well as 531 resolved cases.

Of the new cases reported this week, 362 were in Greater Sudbury, 44 were in the Manitoulin district, 10 were in Sudbury north, 24 were in Sudbury west, and seven were in Sudbury east.

The health unit said it is likely that a large majority of the cases reported from March 3 to 9 were the Omicron variant.

However, limited testing means the number of new cases is likely an underestimate.

Public Health said there were 19 active COVID-19 outbreaks in its service area, including eight in congregate living settings, five in long-term care homes, five in hospitals, and one in a retirement home.

There were also two COVID-related deaths reported in the health unit’s service area.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a total of 12,025 known cases locally, of which 11,625 are resolved.

“Sadly, COVID has now caused or contributed to the deaths of 111 people in our service area. Of these, COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death in 84 cases.”

Provincial data indicates that from Jan. 27 to Feb. 25, the risk of an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individual being admitted to hospital for COVID-19 was 2.5 times higher than someone with two doses.

Additionally, the province found the risk to be 3.1 times higher than someone with three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Their risk of being admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) was 2.8 times that of someone with 2 doses, and 5.1 times that of someone with 3 doses,” said the health unit.

Public health reported 64 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among patients admitted to Sudbury and districts hospitals, including 27 admitted due to the virus.

Three patients were admitted to the ICU due to COVID-19.

To date, the health unit and its partners have administered 442,988 doses of COVID-19 vaccinations to residents in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts.

“Thus far, 174,495 people have received their first dose of vaccine and 166,506 people have been fully vaccinated (with two doses),” said the update.

“A total of 99,918 people have received a third dose including 55.0 per cent of residents aged 12 and over.”

Additionally, 2,069 people have received a fourth dose as of March 9. There were 934 vaccine doses administered in the health unit’s service area over the last seven days.

Overall, 85 per cent of the total population in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts have received a first dose, and 81.1 per cent of the total population is fully immunized.

“This means that there are over 38,000 residents who are not currently fully immunized,” said the update.

Public Health said that its service area could see an increase in COVID-19 transmission in the weeks ahead as provincial public health measures ease.

“To protect yourself and those around you, make sure to get your first and second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and get a booster dose if you are eligible,” said the update.

“It is important to continue exercising caution as we carefully get back to more in-person activities indoors and in larger gatherings.”

The Ontario government updated the isolation requirements for COVID-19 on March 9. The health unit said isolation remains an important tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“As previously required, you must isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for the virus,” said the update.

“Isolation is not required if you live with someone who has COVID-19 or has symptoms and you yourself have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days, or you are 18 years or older and have received a booster dose, or you are under 18 and you have been fully vaccinated.”

Individuals do not need to isolate if they have been exposed to someone from another household who has symptoms or is COVID-19 positive.

“If not isolating, you must still monitor for symptoms, wear a mask and not visit anyone at higher risk of illness or highest risk settings for 10 days since your exposure,” said the health unit.

Note that wearing a mask will still be required in some settings after the requirements are lifted on March 21.

These settings include public transit, long-term care homes, retirement homes, other health care settings, shelters, jails, and congregate living settings, including homes for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Visit for regular updates about COVID-19 testing, confirmed cases, as well as outbreaks and potential exposures in Greater Sudbury, the Sudbury District, and the Manitoulin District.

The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.

Twitter: @SudburyStar

Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star

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



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



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’'

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'

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



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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