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The latest news on COVID 19 developments in Canada for March 28, 2021 – BarrieToday

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

6:30 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 644 new cases of COVID-19 and three new deaths.

The province says on its website that as of Saturday night, 1,972 of the 7,698 active COVID-19 cases were variants of concern.

Alberta’s chief medical health officer says in a tweet that there are 277 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 63 in ICU.

4:55 p.m.

Health officials in Saskatchewan are now urging residents of Moose Jaw to follow the same public health guidelines as Regina due to a rise in the number of COVID-19 variants of concern in the province’s south.

The advice, contained in Saskatchewan’s daily pandemic update on Sunday, follows a warning from officials a day earlier that variants of concern cases were rising in Moose Jaw, which is about 70 km west of the capital.

Regina remains the area with the most variants of concern cases, with 1,126 of the Saskatchewan’s 1,365 variant cases identified so far through screening.

Last week, the province recommended that people avoid travelling into or out of Regina unless it was absolutely necessary, in order to stop the spread of more infectious variants of COVID-19.

Extra restrictions took effect in Regina and surrounding areas Sunday, including a ban on in-person dining in restaurants.

Saskatchewan reported three new deaths and 248 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.

4:30 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19.

Health officials say a man in his 40s from the central region was infected while travelling in Canada.

The province now has two active cases of COVID-19.

A total of 1,004 people in the province have recovered from the virus since the pandemic began.

4:30 p.m.

Two new cases of COVID-19 are being reported in Nova Scotia.

Both cases were recorded in the province’s central zone, with one related to travel and the other under investigation.

As well, health officials confirmed that an earlier case in the central zone related to travel was linked to the U.K. variant of the virus, though that case is now considered resolved.

This brings the total number of cases of the U.K. variant in Nova Scotia to 14, while the South African variant remains at 10.

As of Sunday, Nova Scotia had 25 active cases of COVID-19.

4:30 p.m.

Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting six new cases of COVID-19 — all but one of them in the Edmundston area.

The new cases in the northern New Brunswick community, which is dealing with a recent outbreak, are all contacts of previously reported infections.

One new case reported in the Miramichi region is an individual in their 40s whose infection is travel related.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the province has reported 1,577 cases, which includes 1,432 recoveries, 30 deaths and 114 active cases.

Five patients remain in hospital, including one in intensive care.

2:05 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting one new death of a person with COVID-19 and 55 new cases.

Today’s new death — a man in his 60s in the Winnipeg health region — is the 934th person with COVID-19 in Manitoba to die since the pandemic began.

The province reports there are 1,179 active cases, with 140 people in hospital due to COVID-19.

Twenty-seven of those are receiving intensive care.

11:30 a.m.

The Quebec government is reporting 917 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths due to the pandemic, but none in the past 24 hours.

Hospitalizations declined by one to 480, but the number of people in intensive care increased by six to 114.

The province vaccinated 45,745 people in the last 24 hours, and has currently given a vaccine dose to 14.4 per cent of the population.

Some 29,407 tests were completed on Friday, which is the last day for which data is available.

10:30 a.m.

Ten more people in Ontario have died with COVID-19 as the province reports 2,448 new cases of the disease.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 780 new cases in Toronto.

She says there are also 356 new cases in Peel Region, 278 in York Region, 278 in York Region, 219 in Durham Region and 150 in Ottawa.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2021.

The Canadian Press

<!– Photo: 20210328110340-6060a37ee95030990984e374jpeg.jpg, Caption: Vaccine clinic visitors fill in paperwork as they wait in line at a mass vaccination clinic in Toronto on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Toronto's mayor is urging anyone 70 years or older to get vaccinated.
John Tory says three new COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics will open Monday, but there are still many appointments unfilled. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn –>

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Transplant programs reviewing policy on recipients being vaccinated against COVID-19 – Squamish Chief

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Transplant centres in Western Canada have stopped short of requiring organ recipients to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but they say conversations about such a policy are ongoing.

Some centres in other parts of the country, including Ontario, are requiring proof of vaccination before a patient is approved for the life-saving surgery.

BC Transplant, located in Vancouver, said COVID-19 vaccination is not required to be eligible for a transplant, but programs in the province are actively reviewing it.

“The transplant programs are strongly encouraging all pre-transplant patients to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as they do with many other vaccine-preventable infections,” the agency said in a statement.

Similarly, Alberta Health Services told The Canadian Press it has long been a requirement that patients preparing for transplant have all vaccines to help maximize their chances of success post-transplant. It notes, however, it’s only a practice guideline at this point.

Saskatchewan has also not made any changes.

“Saskatchewan’s organ transplant teams are strongly supportive of all recipients and donors having COVID vaccinations, and the issue of requiring these vaccinations in recipients is actively being discussed,” Lisa Thomson, a spokeswoman for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, said in a statement. 

The Ajmera Transplant Centre at Toronto’s University Health Network recently announced its decision to implement a policy that requires patients who may benefit from receiving a transplant be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before they are listed for solid organ transplant.

However, there may be exemptions for medical reasons or in cases of urgent need of a transplant.

“We all recognize that (COVID-19) is a massive, massive risk factor. The prudent and ethical thing to do to protect patients and to protect each other, and show fidelity and respect to those organ donors, is to require this (policy) to be a price of pass and go,” UHN president and chief executive officer Kevin Smith said in an interview. 

The decision to enact the policy is based on a few factors, according to the organization. 

It said transplant patients are severely immunocompromised because of lifelong treatment to prevent rejection of a new organ. If someone who is immunocompromised gets COVID-19, they are at a very high risk of being hospitalized or placed on ventilation.

Unvaccinated recipients could also pose a risk to other patients post-surgery. Transplant recipients have high health needs after their transplants and require frequent visits to a hospital. These individuals may pose a greater risk of spreading illness, should they get infected, to other immunocompromised patients in an inpatient or outpatient setting.

“Thinking about an outbreak in an environment like that would be just a massacre,” Smith said. 

Infectious disease experts noted this type of policy isn’t new.

“There’s just requirements pre-transplant in order to be eligible for listing. Some of it is complying with some of the medical measures to see if patients would be eligible,” said Dr. Dima Kabbani, an assistant professor in the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alberta. 

Kabbani added pre-transplant vaccine recommendations are already in place for hepatitis B, pneumococcal disease and influenza. 

Manitoba’s Shared Health said there is no requirement for Manitobans awaiting a transplant to be vaccinated for COVID-19, but noted patients may be required to show proof of vaccinationif there are requirements elsewhere.Kidney transplants are performed in the province while all other organ transplants take place in other provinces. 

Jessica Bailey, 35, is living with stage five kidney disease and awaiting a transplant in Saskatoon. 

The government has postponed surgeries as the province deals with a devastating fourth wave of COVID-19.

Bailey said she is not in favour of requiring recipients to be vaccinated against COVID-19. She said she is double vaccinated but believes recipients should still have the choice on whether they want the vaccine. 

She does encourage patients who may be on the fence to look at the bigger picture.

“If you can get a transplant just by getting the vaccine, go and do it. Pick and choose your battles,” Bailey said. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 15, 2021.

— 

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. 

Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press

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Health Unit Gearing Up For Flu Shot Program – ckdr.net

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With the colder months not far away, the Northwestern Health Unit is preparing for their annual flu shot program.

“The Northwestern Health Unit will begin to offer the flu vaccine in November and we will inform the public when they can start booking appointments,” says Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kit Young Hoon. “As always the influenza vaccine will also be available at many pharmacies and from other health care providers.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada only reported 79 lab confirmed cases of influenza in 2020 compared to 54-thousand cases just the year before.

The drop is largely attributed to strong public health measures and lockdowns due to COVID-19, but officials say there could be more documented cases this year.

“Influenza vaccination were relatively high last year so we’re working off a similar assumption for this year that they will be high,” says Dr. Young Hoon. “I believe we will have enough vaccine to provide to whoever wants to be vaccinated and we’re prepping to have a relatively high rate this year.”

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U.S. to lift curbs from Nov. 8 for vaccinated foreign travelers – White House

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The White House on Friday said it will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals effective Nov. 8, ending historic restrictions that barred much of the world from the United States.

 Restrictions on non-U.S. citizens were first imposed on air travelers from China in January 2020 by then-President Donald Trump and then extended to dozens of other countries, without any clear metrics for how and when to lift them.

Curbs on non-essential travelers at land borders with Mexico and Canada have been in place since March 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reuters first reported Friday’s announcement of the Nov. 8 starting date earlier in the day.

U.S. airline, hotel and cruise industry stocks rose on the news, including American Airlines, up 1.9%; Marriott International Inc, up 2.2%; and Carnival Corp, up 1.3%.

The United States had lagged many other countries in lifting such restrictions, and allies welcomed the move. The U.S. restrictions have barred travelers from most of the world, including tens of thousands of foreign nationals with relatives or business links in the United States.

The White House on Tuesday announced it would lift restrictions at its land borders and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated foreign nationals in early November. They are similar but not identical to requirements announced last month for international air travelers.

Unvaccinated visitors will still be barred from entering the United States from Canada or Mexico at land borders.

Canada on Aug. 9 began allowing fully vaccinated U.S. visitors for non-essential travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told Reuters last week the United States will accept the use by international visitors of COVID-19 vaccines authorized by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization.

The White House, which held a meeting late Thursday to finalize the Nov. 8 date, still faces some remaining questions, including how and what exemptions the Biden administration will grant to the vaccine requirements. Children under 18, for example, are largely expected to be exempt from the requirements, an official said.

U.S. Travel Association Chief Executive Roger Dow said in a statement that the Nov. 8 date “is critically important for planning – for airlines, for travel-supported businesses, and for millions of travelers worldwide who will now advance plans to visit the United States once again.”

The White House announced on Sept. 20 that the United States would lift restrictions on air travelers from 33 countries in early November. It did not specify the date at the time.

Starting Nov. 8, the United States will admit fully vaccinated foreign air travelers from the 26 so-called Schengen countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, as well as Britain, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. The unprecedented U.S. restrictions have barred non-U.S. citizens who were in those countries within the past 14 days.

The United States has allowed foreign air travelers from more than 150 countries throughout the pandemic, a policy that critics said made little sense because some countries with high COVID-19 rates were not on the restricted list, while some on the list had the pandemic more under control.

The White House said last month it would apply vaccine requirements to foreign nationals traveling from all other countries.

Non-U.S. air travelers will need to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight, and will need to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Foreign visitors crossing a land border will not need to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.

The new rules do not require foreign visitors or Americans entering the country to go into quarantine.

Americans traveling overseas must still show proof of a recent negative COVID-19, and unvaccinated Americans will face stricter COVID-19 testing requirements. They will also be subject to restrictions in the countries they plan to visit, which may include quarantines.

The CDC plans to soon issue new rules on contact tracing for international air travelers.

 

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by John Stonestreet, Nick Zieminski and Jonathan Oatis)

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