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Syncrude employee and contractor test positive for COVID-19, virus contracted off-site – Fort McMurray Today

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Syncrude Canada’s base plant, located north of Fort McMurray, reflected in an ongoing reclamation project of a tailings pond, on Sunday, August 11, 2019. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network ORG XMIT: POS1908121811593871

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Syncrude Canada is confirming that an employee and a contract worker have recently tested positive for COVID-19. The company says the source of infection for both cases was off site.

According to company spokesperson Will Gibson, the employee began showing symptoms during days off, which was on a six-day rotation.

The employee immediately quarantined themselves, contacted Alberta Health Services and did not go into work.

Contact tracing shows the employee came into contact with a presumptive COVID-19 patient when the employee was not working. That presumptive case is not a Syncrude employee.

“AHS has told us this case poses no risk to the organization,” said Gibson. “This employee did everything right.”

The second case was found in a contractor who last reported to a Syncrude operation sometime late last week. The company the individual worked for is not being named.

Health authorities are doing contact tracing and getting in touch with anyone who may have come into contact with this individual. Once those people are identified, they will be told to quarantine themselves.

Syncrude was told about the employee’s positive results on April 22 and the contractor’s results on April 21.

Because there is no evidence the virus was contracted at any of Syncrude’s operations, the province has not declared an outbreak.

“These are two unrelated cases,” said Gibson. “We have prepared for a case in our workforce. We are taking this seriouslty and we’ve had plans well in place to address any potential impacts based on previous pandemics, all the way back to H1N1 and SARS.”

Gibson did not know where the two individuals lived full-time, but said they would have spent at least some time in Fort McMurray during their shifts. They were not travelling into any Syncrude work site when they began showing symptoms.

He also said the company has also scaled back its workforce since the pandemic began. Gibson did not have any specific numbers on Thursday, but confirmed there are “thousands less” working at Syncrude during the crisis.

Nine active cases in Fort McMurray, 32 connected to Kearl Lake outbreak

The total number of active cases in Fort McMurray is now nine. Another four people have recovered. Two people in Wood Buffalo’s rural areas have recovered and there are no active cases in those communities.

Currently, 32 cases have been linked to Kearl Lake. Of these cases, 25 cases are still in Alberta. Ten workers are quarantined at the camp, while 15 workers tested positive after leaving the camp.

The other seven cases are being treated in other provinces. Five of those cases are in B.C. and there is one case each in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.

Alberta Health Services declared an outbreak at the camp on April 16, when three workers tested positive for the virus. An outbreak is declared over after one month without any new cases.

On Thursday, Alberta saw an increase of 319 new cases, bringing the provincial total to 3,720. There has been a total of 1,357 recoveries.

There were two new deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 68.

vmcdermott@postmedia.com

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Coronavirus: Manitoba reports record-breaking 543 new cases, 7 additional deaths | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca

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Manitoba’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Brent Roussin on Monday reported a record-breaking 543 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and seven additional deaths. It is the highest single-day increase the province has seen since the pandemic began, breaking the previous record of 494 cases announced Nov. 15.

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N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 15 new cases reported Monday, and another death – CBC.ca

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Public Health is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and another death.

Eleven of the new cases are in the Saint John region (Zone 2), three are in the Moncton region (Zone 1) and one in the Fredericton region (Zone 3), Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference.

All 15 of the cases have been “identified and are isolating,” Russell said.

Seven people in New Brunswick have now died of the disease since the pandemic started. Russell did not say where the latest death occurred.

She urged residents to “please, wear a mask” and keep their close contacts low.

“We must all remain vigilant, there has never been a time when the risk was zero,” she said.

Enforcement of rules, and frustration with non-compliance

Premier Blaine Higgs said Monday that police and peace offers were enforcing compliance with the single-household bubble, mask-wearing, physical distancing and other rules in the orange zones on the weekend.

Thirty tickets were issued, he said, and at least one business in southeastern New Brunswick has been shut down after not following guidelines “for some time.”

Higgs also singled out for criticism those who are deliberately ignoring the rules.

“It is disappointing to hear that some people have not been giving their real names and contact information” when at businesses, he said.

“You’re not ‘beating the system,’ ” he later added. “You’re jeopardizing the health and welfare of maybe your neighbour, maybe your grandparents, maybe your parents.”

Atlantic bubble bursts

The Atlantic bubble has come to an end for now.

Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I announced Monday that they were leaving the bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region.

New Brunswick isn’t following suit, although Premier Blaine Higgs is asking people to be cautious about travel outside the province.

Higgs said during Monday’s news conference that he spoke with the P,E.I and Newfoundland and Labrador premiers Sunday night and the decision to leave the bubble was a “shared decision.” He expects it will be “a two-week closure.”

New Brunswick tightened restrictions in Moncton and Saint John last week as cases rose, and the province reported its highest ever single-day case count on Saturday with 23 new cases. As of Sunday, the province had a total of 77 active cases. 

Employee tests positive at Stan Cassidy Centre

Horizon Health Network and New Brunswick Public Health are investigating a potential COVID-19 exposure at Horizon’s Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton.

As this is a high-risk situation, Horizon is declaring an outbreak at the Centre.

As of Monday morning, Horizon is restricting all visitors at the Centre and cancelling scheduled appointments until further notice after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

The employee is self-isolating, Horizon said in a statement.

Patients who were in contact with the employee when the employee may have been infectious had rapid testing for the respiratory virus Sunday.

 Horizon said all affected patients have been isolated. And all staff who were in contact have had COVID-19 testing. 

“As a precautionary measure, all other employees at the Centre will be tested for COVID-19.”

Effective Monday morning, all staff and physicians at the Centre will participate in active screening for COVID-19 symptoms.

Horizon Health said affected patients and families have also been notified.

Employee and 3 residents test positive for COVID-19 at Shannex

A Shannex official says the Parkland Saint John facility has activated its pandemic plan after one employee and three residents tested positive for COVID-19.

Clinical practice director and infection control specialist Lisa Snodgrass says all 371 residents and employees were tested.

And she’s been told those four were the only positive cases.

“We’re not sure how it got in,” she said. “But we are sure of what we can do to help prevent the spread and that’s what we’re focusing on right now.

Public health says the outbreak is at Tucker Hall.

Snodgrass says that’s a 90-bed licensed long-term care home on the Parkland Saint John campus.

Snodgrass said all residents are self-isolating as well as some employees – she declined to say how many.

Residents can normally move freely between the buildings, but under pandemic restrictions, she says most of the movement is limited to health care team members.

She says the investigation into cause of the outbreak is ongoing.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online

Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included:

  • A fever above 38 C.

  • A new cough or worsening chronic cough.

  • Sore throat.

  • Runny nose.

  • Headache.

  • New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell.

  • Difficulty breathing.

In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with one of those symptoms should:

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Manitoba posts record 543 new cases of COVID-19 – CBC.ca

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Manitoba hit a new high for daily COVID-19 cases with 543 today — the first daily tally to top 500 — and seven more deaths, the daily bulletin says.

That puts Manitoba’s total cases so far above 14,000, meaning one in every 100 Manitobans has contracted the illness.

“It might be easier to just think of these as numbers, but these are Manitobans,” said Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin. “The list continues to grow and it’s very challenging to be reading every day.”

The majority of new cases — 368 of them — are in the Winnipeg Health region, which is a record. The previous high was 330 cases announced on Nov. 7.

The announcement comes about a week and a half after all of Manitoba went into code red, or critical, under the provincial pandemic response system.

Even more restrictions went into effect Friday, with gatherings no longer allowed inside homes, and no more sales of non-essential items in-store, following widespread closures of restaurants, bars and non-essential businesses.

4,700+ cases under code red

More than 4,700 new cases have emerged under code red, and Manitoba has struggled to alleviate the pressure facing hospitals. 

Roussin said one promising sign that those restrictions are working is the average number of contacts of people who test positive is beginning to trend down.

There were 118 new cases in the Southern Health region, just shy of the record for that area. There were 27 cases in the Northern Health Region, 21 in the Interlake-Eastern health region and 12 in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

The death toll rises to 236, with five of the new deaths in Winnipeg and two in the Southern Health region. The people who died were age 60 to 100. 

Nearly half of all reported deaths have emerged during code red, which came into effect Nov. 12.

The five-day provincial test positivity rate is 14 per cent in Manitoba, with a rate of 13.8 per cent in Winnipeg.

Record in hospital

A record 296 people are in hospital with the illness, with a record-tying 52 in intensive care.

Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said 96 of Manitoba’s 103 ICU beds are currently full, half of them with COVID-19 patients.

All but four days in the past month have seen record high numbers in hospital and the system is at or near capacity. Hospitals continue to add a few ICU beds every week, but Siragusa and Roussin have repeatedly stressed the demands facing the system can’t be sustained.

The surge has caused the province to postpone 901 non-urgent and elective surgeries in the past four weeks, she said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 552 health-care workers and first responders have tested positive, Siragusa said.

Nearly 111,000 hours of sick time were logged in the past two weeks, up slightly from the two weeks earlier, and that equates to about 6,900 eight-hour shifts, Siragusa said. Much of the sick time is linked to workers in Winnipeg who are sick or isolating at home.

Roussin also addressed reports of religious gatherings taking place over the weekend in violation of current public health orders. He stopped short of confirming where in the province these gatherings reportedly occurred but said enforcement officers are investigating.

“These orders are here to save lives,” Roussin said. “We can’t have in-person gatherings. It puts Manitobans at risk.”

Calls for help at care home

There are hundreds of cases tied to care home outbreaks — nearly 30 such outbreaks have occurred so far — and rising case numbers across the province.

Some private care homes are facing staffing shortages due to workers testing positive and have resorted to asking family members of residents to come help feed and monitor their loved ones.

Siragusa said Monday that among those helping out at care homes are staff from the Victoria General Hospital, who recently began pitching in at St. Norbert Personal Care Home.

“I just want to thank everyone who has stepped up during this period of incredible need,” she said. “It’s a reminder that we all need to stick together in this time.”

About a quarter of all deaths are linked to two Winnipeg care homes. About 90 per cent of all deaths have been people over age 60, though two 30-year-olds and a 20-year-old died last week.

Since March,14,087 people in Manitoba have tested positive; over 70 per cent of all cases to date have emerged in the past month.

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