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The COVID-190 REPORT FOR MONDAY, FEB. 22/21 – My Eespanola Now



Elliot Lake doctor strongly urges COVID-19 protocols

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19 at an apartment building in Elliot Lake, a local doctor is strongly encouraging the public to continue following COVID-19 protocols.

Dr. Cathy Groh of the Elliot Lake Family Health Team says the cluster of nine people who tested positive for COVID at Warsaw since January highlights the concern about the spread of this disease through multi-residential buildings, especially in Elliot Lake with its senior population.

She says Algoma Public Health has asked for testing of people living in multi-residential buildings on Warsaw, Washington, Mississauga and Pine Road, and that is currently underway.

People living in the buildings should take care to follow the advice of public health: ensure social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-sanitizing.

She stresses it is important that masks fit well and be worn properly, and people at high risk could consider wearing medical masks if these are available.

Eye protection such as a face shield offers additional protection in confined spaces such as elevators, she adds.

The health team and the health unit continue to monitor the situation.

A look at the local numbers …

Algoma Public Health is reporting one new case of COVID-19 from Central and East Algoma.

The case is due to close contact and the individual is in self-isolation.

Considering resolved cases, there are seven active cases with two individuals in the hospital

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting two new cases, both in Greater Sudbury.

The two are due to close contact and both are self-isolating.

Considering resolved cases, there are 24 active cases in the agency’s jurisdiction.

Health Sciences North is reporting they have ten admitted patients, six of which have been verified as COVID-19.

Of the six, one is in intensive care.

The other four are awaiting test results.

The variants are spreading …

Canada’s chief medical health officer says our efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 have been working.

But Doctor Theresa Tam says the presence of more-contagious variants of the coronavirus put us at a critical juncture in the battle.

Tam says COVID-19 activity continues to fall, and vaccination programs are ramping up.

But she adds the mounting number of cases of the variants means we have to continue following public health restrictions to protect ourselves and each other.

Tam also notes that the coronavirus has had a higher impact on racialized and indigenous communities across Canada.

Tough calls for schools …

Tougher coronavirus screening rules are now in effect for parents of schoolchildren across Ontario.

Starting today, parents who find even one symptom in their child must keep them at home….and all members of the same household must stay home as well, until a negative COVID-19 test result is received.

Provincial health officials say the stricter guidelines come as the number of cases involving coronavirus variants continues to rise in the province.

So far, there have been 401 diagnoses of the “variants of concern” in Ontario.

The vast majority have been of the B 1-1-7 variant, first discovered in the U-K.

Travel and the virus …

New rules for international air travellers come into effect today.

All those arriving in Canada by plane will be subject to a COVID-19 test….and will have to pay for up to three days in a government-approved quarantine hotel until their test results come back.

If they test negative, they’ll be allowed to finish their 14-day quarantine at home.

But if they’re positive, they’ll have to remain in the hotel until their two weeks are up.

The federal government has said the cost, including meals and security, could top two-thousand dollars for the three days.

But actual rates being charged by the hotels are much lower.

Masks will be around for a while …

The top infectious disease expert in the United States says Americans will probably have to wear face masks into next year to finally quell the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctor Anthony Fauci says, with vaccination programs now underway, a mostly-normal life could be back in place by the end of this year.

But he adds that the coronavirus could still be spread until children under 16 are inoculated…and that’s not expected to happen before early in 2022.

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Moderna says waiving IP rights won’t help increase vaccine supply



Moderna Inc said on Thursday that waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines will not help boost supply in 2021 or 2022, a day after U.S. President Joe Biden backed a proposed waiver that is aimed at giving poorer companies access.


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Canada allows Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12-15



(Corrects headline and lead to make clear that Canada was not the first nation as stated by Canadian officials, adds context from Pfizer in fourth paragraph)

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) –Canada is authorizing the use of Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 15, the first doses to be allowed in the country for people that young, the federal health ministry said on Wednesday.

Supriya Sharma, a senior adviser at the Canadian federal health ministry, said the Pfizer vaccine, produced with German partner BioNTech SE, was safe and effective in the younger age group.

“We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she told reporters.

Sharma and a health ministry spokesman said Canada was the first country to grant such an approval, but a Canadian representative for Pfizer later said Algeria permitted use of the vaccine for this age group in April. The Canadian health ministry said it had no information about the discrepancy.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to take a similar step “very soon,” U.S. health officials said.

Separately, authorities reported the third death of a Canadian from a rare blood clot condition after receiving AstraZeneca PLC’s’s COVID-19 vaccine. The man, who was in his sixties, lived in the Atlantic province of New Brunswick.

Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health in New Brunswick, said the province would continue using the AstraZeneca vaccine. Alberta reported a death from clotting on Tuesday and Quebec announced one on April 27.

“There will be rare cases where thrombosis will occur. However, the risks remain minimal compared to the risks, complications and potential consequences of COVID-19,” Russell told reporters.

Canada‘s federal government has bought tens of millions of doses of vaccines but critics complain the pace of inoculation is lagging due to bottlenecks in the 10 provinces, which are responsible for administering the doses.

Alberta will become the first province to offer COVID-19 vaccines to everyone aged 12 and over from May 10, Premier Jason Kenney said on Wednesday, a day after he introduced tighter public health measures to combat a third wave of the pandemic.

Alberta, home to Canada‘s oil patch, has the highest rate per capita of COVID-19 in the country, with nearly 24,000 active cases and 150 people in intensive care.

Around 20% of the 1,249,950 cases of COVID-19 in Canada have been reported in people under the age of 19. Canada has recorded 24,396 deaths.

(Additional reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto and Nia Williams in Calgary;Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Sonya Hepinstall)

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Younger people filling up COVID-19 intensive care



By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA (Reuters) –COVID-19 infections continue to spread fast across the Americas as a result of relaxed prevention measures and intensive care units are filling up with younger people, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

In Brazil, mortality rates have doubled among those younger than 39, quadrupled among those in their 40s and tripled for those in their 50s since December, Carissa Etienne said.

Hospitalization rates among those under 39 years have increased by more than 70% in Chile and in some areas of the United States more people in their 20s are now being hospitalized for COVID-19 than people in their 70s.

“Despite all we learned about this virus in a year, our control efforts are not as strict, and prevention is not as efficient,” Etienne said in a virtual briefing from Washington.

“We are seeing what happens when these measures are relaxed: COVID spreads, cases mount, our health systems become overwhelmed and people die,” she said.

Canada continues to report significant jumps in infections in highly populated provinces such as Ontario as well as in less populated territories of the North and Yukon, home to remote and indigenous communities, according to PAHO.

Puerto Rico and Cuba remain significant drivers of COVID-19 cases in the Caribbean, which is facing a new surge of the virus, PAHO directors said.

Cases are rapidly accelerating in the Guyanas and across Argentina and Colombia, where weekly case counts are five times higher today than they were this time last year and hospitals are reaching capacity in large Colombian cities.

In Central America, Guatemala is seeing significant spikes in cases and Costa Rica is reporting record-high infections.

While vaccines are being rolled out as fast as possible, they are not a short-term solution because they are in short supply, said Etienne, the World Health Organization’s regional director.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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