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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – The Battlefords News-Optimist



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

7:45 p.m.

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Nunavut is reporting a new case of COVID-19.

The case is in the Hudson Bay community of Arviat, where there are now 18 active cases.

Arviat is the only community in the territory with active cases, and is experiencing its second outbreak.

As of Saturday, Nunavut has had 284 COVID-19 cases and one death.

6:30 p.m.

Alberta’s chief medical health officer is reporting 11 new COVID-19 deaths.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the news in a series of tweets, where she also reported 383 new COVID-19 infections across the province.

Hinshaw says there are 582 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Alberta, including 103 in intensive care.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday that some public health measures will be eased on indoor fitness centres, school sports, restaurants and bars due to lower hospitalization numbers.

Hinshaw notes that while Alberta continues to make progress and is seeing numbers decrease, it’s important for people to remain vigilant and make safe choices.

3:10 p.m.

Eight more people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Saskatchewan have died, and the province is reporting 258 new cases.

The government says in its daily COVID-19 update that the province’s seven-day average of new daily infections is 244, which works out to 19.9 new cases per 100,000 people.

The update says there are more than 2,500 cases that are considered active in the province.

2:30 p.m.

Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting 12 new cases of COVID 19 and the virus-related death of one person in their 80s with underlying health conditions.

The latest death brings the province’s total number of COVID-related fatalities to 18.

As for the new cases, more than half of them were reported in the Edmundston area of northern New Brunswick, which is currently in the midst of a full lockdown.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick has risen to 1,230, which includes 928 recoveries and 283 active cases.

2:25 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting two new deaths in people with COVID-19.

The province says in its daily pandemic update that a man in his 80s in the Winnipeg region died in connection with an outbreak at Holy Family Personal Care Home.

The other death was a man in his 90s, and was linked to an outbreak at Heritage Life Personal Care Home in the Southern Health region.

The update says 166 new cases were identified as of 9:30 Saturday morning.

Data shows Manitoba’s five-day COVID-19 test-positivity rate is 7.3 per cent provincially and 4.4 per cent in Winnipeg.

12:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting three new cases of COVID-19.

The province is now dealing with 11 active cases.

All of the new infections are related to travel outside the Atlantic region.

Since the pandemic began, Nova Scotia has recorded 1,580 cases, 1,504 recoveries and 65 deaths.

Premier Stephen McNeil issued a brief statement today thanking residents for helping slow the spread of the virus.

11:10 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,367 new cases of COVID-19 today and 46 additional deaths linked to the virus, including 14 within the past 24 hours.

Public health authorities say the number of hospitalizations declined by 54 over the past 24 hours to 1,163. The number of people in intensive care declined by eight from the previous day to 201.

The Health Department says 2,086 doses of vaccine were administered on Friday for a total of 238,143 doses.

It says Quebec has received 238,100 doses of vaccine from the federal government, but was able to administer more because some vaccine vials contain an extra dose.

10:55 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 2,063 new cases of COVID-19.

The province is also reporting 73 more deaths from the virus.

One-thousand-273 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Saturday, with 353 people in intensive care and 216 on ventilators.

Provincial data says 9,373 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in the past 24 hours.

10:30 a.m.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he plans to announce changes to Quebec’s COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday.

Legault wrote in a Saturday-morning Facebook post that he hopes to be able to relax some restrictions, particularly those around retail stores, if the situation permits.

Legault wrote that the changes would come into effect after Feb. 8.

Businesses designated “non-essential” have been closed across Quebec since Dec. 25 and the province has been under an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew since Jan. 9.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2021.

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Monkeypox: Cases found and suspected in Portugal, Spain – CTV News




Portuguese authorities said on Wednesday they had identified five cases of rare monkeypox infection and Spain’s health services are testing eight potential cases after Britain put Europe on alert for the virus.

The five Portuguese patients, out of 20 suspected cases, are all stable. They are all men and they all live in the region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, the Portuguese health authorities said.

European Health authorities are monitoring any outbreak of the disease since Britain has reported its first case of monkeypox on May 7 and found six more in the country since then. 

None of the eight suspected cases in Spain has been confirmed yet, the Spanish Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, though milder, first recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s. The number of cases in West Africa has increased in the last decade.

Symptoms include fever, headaches and skin rashes starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body.

It is not particularly infectious between people, Spanish health authorities said, and most people infected recover within a few weeks, though severe cases have been reported.

Four of the cases detected in Britain self-identified as gay, bi-sexual or other men who have sex with men, the U.K. Health Security Agency said, adding evidence suggested there may be a transmission in the community.

The agency in Britain urged men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.

The Spanish Health Ministry and Portugal’s DGS health authority Spanish did not release any information on the sexual orientation of the monkeypox patients or suspected patients.

The two countries sent out alerts to health professionals in order to identify more possible cases.

(Reporting by Patricia Rua in Lisbon and Christina Thykjaer in Madrid; Editing by Inti Landauro and Alison Williams)

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Long Covid Patients' Symptoms Helped After Vaccination in Study – BNN



(Bloomberg) — Fewer Covid-19 patients reported lingering symptoms from the infection after getting vaccinated, according to a study that suggests the shots could help alleviate the burden of long Covid. 

A first vaccine dose after infection with the virus was associated with a 13% decline in the odds of having long Covid and a second shot with a 9% drop in the study published Thursday in the BMJ. Over the course of seven months in 2021, researchers regularly visited the households of more than 28,000 people to ask whether they were experiencing symptoms long after infection.

The findings, together with evidence that long Covid is reduced in those infected after vaccination, suggest that jabs may help decrease the prevalence of persisting symptoms.

“The large scale of this study means that we can be fairly confident about what has been observed, but it does not mean we can be sure what it means,” said Peter English, a former chair of the BMA Public Health Medicine Committee. 

“The most obvious — and perhaps the most likely inference — is that vaccination does prevent at least some cases of long Covid, and may reduce the severity of symptoms,” he said in emailed comments. But “we cannot yet say this with any confidence.” English wasn’t involved in the research. 

An estimated 1.8 million people in the UK had reported experiencing long Covid as of April 2022, with two in three people saying the symptoms had affected their day-to-day activities, according to the latest Office for National Statistics data.

The scientists who ran the study called for more research to “understand the biological mechanisms underpinning any improvements in symptoms after vaccination, which may contribute to the development of therapeutics for long Covid.” 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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Europe, US on alert after new monkeypox cases emerge – Al Jazeera English



US, Spain and Portugal announce cases of rare viral infection, two weeks after UK identified its first case.

Health authorities are on alert for the spread of monkeypox, a rare viral disease first reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s, after new cases emerged in Europe, and the United States confirmed its first infection.

Portugal said on Wednesday it had identified five cases of monkeypox, Spain said it was testing 23 potential cases, and the US state of Massachusetts announced it had found a case in a man who recently travelled to Canada.

The United Kingdom was the first to confirm a case of monkeypox earlier this month. It has now detected seven cases and is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate the virus’s spread after being unable to make a link between the initial case, in a man who had travelled from Nigeria, and the more recent ones.

Health authorities suspect some of the infections may have occurred through sexual contact – in this instance among gay or bisexual men – with four of the UK cases identified among people who visited sexual health clinics after developing the rash associated with monkeypox.

“No source of infection has yet been confirmed for either the family or GBMSM clusters,” the WHO said in a statement in Wednesday. “Based on currently available information, infection seems to have been locally acquired in the United Kingdom. The extent of local transmission is unclear at this stage and there is the possibility of identification of further cases.”

Monkeypox, which is similar to human smallpox, typically begins with a flu-like illness and swelling of the lymph nodes, followed by a rash on the face and body. Most people recover from the illness, which is endemic in parts of central and western Africa and usually the result of close contact with infected animals, within a few weeks, but it can be fatal.

The five Portuguese patients, out of 20 suspected cases, are all in a stable condition, according to the country’s health authorities. They are all men who live in the region of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, they added.

Health authorities in Madrid said the cases discovered in Spain appeared to be linked to sexual contact.

“In general, its transmission is via respiratory drops but the characteristics of the 23 suspected infections point to it being passed on through bodily fluids during sex relations,” they said in a statement, without giving further details.

“All of them are young adult males and most of them are men who have sexual relations with other men, but not all of them,” Elena Andradas, head of public health in the Madrid region, told Cadena Ser radio.

US health officials said the Massachusetts man who developed monkeypox went to Canada to see friends at the end of April and returned home in early May. He is currently being treated in hospital.

Jennifer McQuiston from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said while it was the only case the CDC was aware of, “I do think we are preparing for the possibility of more cases”.

The agency is in contact with its counterparts in the UK and Canada as part of the investigation, but McQuiston said no link had been established so far.

There are two types of monkeypox virus: the West African clade and Congo Basin (Central African) clade. The case-fatality ratio for the West African clade has been documented to be about 1 percent, and up to 10 percent for patients with the Congo Basin clade.

The WHO said that while smallpox vaccination has been effective against monkeypox, the end of mass vaccination programmes for smallpox meant people under the age of 40 or 50 no longer had that protection.

The UK has previously reported cases of monkeypox – all linked to travel to Nigeria – as has the US. An outbreak there in 2003 was traced to pet prairie dogs that had been housed with small animals imported from Ghana that were found to have the virus.

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