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The Latest: Teachers in Pakistan told to get vaccinated – The Chronicle Journal

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LAHORE, Pakistan— A provincial education minister in Pakistan on Tuesday asked teachers working at private and public schools in the eastern Punjab province to get vaccinated against the coronavirus by August 22 to prevent school closures.

Punjab Education Minister Murad Rass said if any teachers are found unvaccinated after that date, authorities will shut the school where they teach.

The warning comes amid a steady surge in the confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in Pakistan.

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Pakistan on Tuesday reported 3, 884 new daily cases and 86 deaths. The country has reported 1,075,504 confirmed cases and 24,004 deaths since the start of the pandemic last year.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Bangladesh vaccinating Rohingya refugees amid virus surge

— COVID-19 vaccines to be required for military under new US plan

Governor of Texas appeals for out-of-state help against COVID-19

— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors are set to meet to decide on how to handle pandemic measures amid a discussion about whether people who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 should have greater freedoms than those who aren’t vaccinated.

While Germany has relatively low numbers of virus cases compared with other European countries, cases are rising again and authorities fear that especially young people who are not vaccinated yet may contract and spread the virus in the coming weeks and months.

On Monday, the country’s disease control agency registered 2,480 new cases, about 700 more than a week ago. Some 45.6 million people or almost 55 % of the population are fully vaccinated.

In response to a drop in vaccinations, officials have begun pushing for more vaccine clinics at megastores and in city centers, or offering other incentives to get people to show up for shots.

Merkel and the state governors are also expected to decide Tuesday whether free antigen tests that are available everywhere and can be used to access restaurants or cultural venues should be paid for again.

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FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s Supreme Court has issued an order encouraging anyone entering a judicial facility to wear a mask in response to rising COVID-19 cases caused by the highly contagious delta variant.

The order issued Monday applies to judicial centers, courthouses or other judicial facilities. It’s in line with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, court officials said.

The order says the use of masks or other facial coverings is strongly encouraged for anyone entering a judicial facility.

The order also states that a chief circuit judge can mandate masks for a judicial facility.

The Administrative Office of the Courts — the operations arm of the state court system — supports the activities of nearly 3,300 court system employees and more than 400 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks.

The delta variant has caused a surge in coronavirus cases across Kentucky, leading to increased hospitalizations and concerns that the death toll will spike.

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SYDNEY — Australia’s most populous state is reporting a new daily high of 356 coronavirus infections.

The New South Wales government also reported four more COVID-19 deaths Tuesday. The death toll since the latest outbreak was detected in Sydney in mid-June is now 32. One of the latest deaths is a man in his 80s who was infected overseas, while the rest caught the virus locally.

More than 80% of the state’s 8.2 million people are in lockdown, including the greater Sydney region. The Sydney lockdown began June 26, and hopes are fading that restrictions will be eased as planned on Aug. 28.

Only 22% of Australian adults had been fully vaccinated by Monday. Officials hope that by getting the number above 70% will enable restrictions to be eased even if the virus is continuing to spread.

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DALLAS — Texas is looking for out-of-state health workers to help fight its third wave of coronavirus infections.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s move Monday came as a county-owned hospital in Houston raised tents to accommodate its COVID-19 overflow.

Abbott directed the Department of State Health Services to use staffing agencies to find additional medical staff from outside Texas. He also is urging the Texas Hospital Association to request that hospitals postpone all elective medical procedures.

The governor also ordered an expansion of coronavirus vaccine availability in underserved communities.

Abbott is not lifting his emergency order banning local governments from requiring mask use and social distancing. He says people are able to make their own decisions on protecting their health.

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ATLANTA — Georgia hospitals are raising alarms about being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients as coronavirus infections rise rapidly across the state.

Clinical leaders from four coastal Georgia hospitals said at a news conference Monday that their institutions are rapidly running out of beds and pleaded that more people get vaccinated and wear masks.

Donna Cochrane is the chief nursing officer at Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville and says her 25-bed hospital has 33 patients as of Monday morning, holding eight additional patients in the emergency room. Many are ill with COVID-19.

Georgia’s seven-day average for new coronavirus cases rose to nearly 5,700 on Monday, the highest level since Feb. 1. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals statewide rose to nearly 3,500, eight times the lowest level earlier this summer.

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SEATTLE — Most state workers in Washington, as well as private health care and long-term care employees, will be required to show proof of vaccination for the coronavirus by Oct. 18 or will lose their jobs.

Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday that weekly testing for the virus rather vaccination will not be an option. The only opt-out of the requirement is either a medical or religious exemption.

The order applies to about 60,000 employees of the 24 state agencies that are part of the governor’s executive Cabinet. Those include the departments of corrections, social and health services and transportation, as well as the Washington State Patrol.

Employees in the private sector who are covered under the order include those who work in health care and long-term care and other congregate settings, including nursing homes, assisted living and treatment facilities.

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JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s top public health official says that as COVID-19 cases continue to surge with the highly contagious delta variant, no intensive care beds are available in 35 of the state’s top-level hospitals.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs also said Monday that more than 200 people are waiting in hospital emergency rooms to be admitted. The wait times affect not only people with COVID-19 but also those with other health conditions.

The state Health Department said Monday that more than 6,900 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Mississippi from Friday through Sunday.

Dobbs said the intensive care units were full in Level 1, 2 and 3 hospitals in the state’s acute care systems. Those include the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson; North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo; Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg; Memorial Hospital in Gulfport and Singing River Health System in Pascagoula.

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MEXICO CITY — Mexico will ask the United States to send at least 3.5 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccine as the country faces a third wave of infections

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday that he planned to discuss a transfer of vaccine with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris during a call scheduled for later in the day.

López Obrador said the U.S. government had initially offered the Moderna vaccine, but Mexican health authorities could not get the necessary approvals in time so now they are considering Pfizer or another approved vaccine.

Mexico has vaccinated more than 50 million people with at least one dose, representing about 56% of the adult population. It has received 91.1 million doses of five different vaccines.

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These are some of the advantages of childcare!

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The teaching staff at the daycare encourages interaction between the children by, for example, playing music together, letting them play on the activity mat, or playing games with them. Other ways that interaction is encouraged to include having them play on the activity mat. Your youngster will begin to develop basic social skills in this manner. They also develop the skills to make friends, stand up for themselves when they are bullied, and share with their fellow students as they get older.

When a child attends child care, they will learn…

There are millions of children who spend each day having fun, discovering new things, and playing at one of the hundreds of childcare centers across the country. Child care is a great option not just for working parents but also for the children of those parents, who can reap the countless benefits that child care has to offer. Child care is a fantastic choice for both working parents and their children.

Children are given access to a safe and nurturing environment in which they are encouraged to investigate the world around them. At the same time, they are given the opportunity to learn essential skills that will enable them to be successful in both their academic endeavours and in life more generally. The following are reasons why it is beneficial to both you and your child for you to enroll your child in an early education program at a childcare center.

Capability to communicate with other people

If a child begins visiting a childcare facility at the earliest possible age, it will be of great benefit to their overall social and emotional development. Children have the potential to develop when they learn to engage with people, such as at Daycare Calgary NW or another location. The earlier in life that children begin this process, the simpler it will be for them to mature.

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The capacity for reflection and investigation

A childcare facility that is of high quality will offer a variety of activities and educational games to the children who are enrolled there. These activities and games have the potential to have a positive impact on the cognitive development of children. In addition to acquiring linguistic skills, they will also gain familiarity with shapes, colour schemes, and numerical values.

While taking part in this activity, young people have the opportunity to increase both their general knowledge of the world and their capacity for critical thought. This is still another advantage. In order to make learning more appealing to the children in their care, a good daycare center will, on a daily basis, involve the children in a variety of educational activities. Many of these activities will be presented to the children in the guise of “play,” but their true purpose will be to educate them.

A lesson plan that has been carefully considered

Each and every daycare center has a set of pedagogical guidelines that have been thoroughly analyzed. This provides an overview of the concept that underpins the nursery’s approach to interacting with children. For instance, one of the concepts is to incentivize forward movement. Not only does your kid pick up a lot of social skills at daycare, but they also improve their important motor skills, creative abilities, and cognitive abilities, all while being challenged. The educational staff participates in a variety of activities, such as movement games, reading books, playing outside, and producing music with the student. These activities all contribute to the kids’ development. The development of language is helped by intentionally naming objects and repeatedly using words.

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B.C. to start public push to get more kids vaccinated against flu as cases climb

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VANCOUVER — British Columbia health officials are urging parents to get their young children vaccinated against influenza ahead of the holiday season as the province deals with crowded emergency rooms.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said after two years of low rates of flu, mostly due to travel restrictions, the province is seeing a “dramatic increase” in illness and it arrived sooner than normal.

“We know, much more than COVID, influenza can cause more severe illness in children, especially young children, and it can lead to secondary bacterial infections with things like streptococcus and pneumococcus that can cause very severe pneumonia,” she said Monday.

“And so that’s the concern that we have now.”

Henry said there is still time for people to get a flu vaccine to protect themselves and their children, especially as the holiday season approaches.

“We’re starting to see the impact of a large number of children who haven’t been exposed to influenza for a few years and a small proportion of them are getting severely ill,” she said.

“So now’s the time to really make a difference and get that vaccine now.”

According to the most recent numbers from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, for the week of Nov. 20, 169 patients were in BC Children’s Hospital with some form of a respiratory virus. Of those, 71 had influenza.

Henry said the province started seeing influenza numbers climb about two weeks ago and that the flu season typically lasts about two months.

While the province is on track for a record number of people getting their flu shot this year, Dr. Penny Ballem, with BC Vaccine Operations, said Monday that only 20 per cent of children under five have been vaccinated.

The government will be using its provincial health registry to contact parents in an attempt to increase that number.

Ballem said they’ll be sending texts and emails to the families of about 150,000 children under five who are not part of the province’s vaccine booking system and inviting them to make appointments.

She said there’s also a significant social media campaign from the government and health authorities encouraging people to get vaccinated.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said visits to provincial emergency rooms had been averaging 6,700 per day, but that is now peaking up to 6,900 patients daily, with extra pressure on BC Children’s and Fraser Health hospitals.

B.C. Children’s briefly called a code orange on Saturday, a step sometimes used in mass casualty events. It was lifted 28 minutes later.

Dix said it was determined the code did not need to be enacted in order to make the mandatory overtime call-out, which was required at the time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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B.C. ramps up appeal to vaccinate as influenza surges in children

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The province is ramping up its flu-shot campaign, especially for young children, as hospital emergency departments deal with a flu-driven spike in visits.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province is seeing a “dramatic increase” in cases of Influenza A, particularly H3N2, which can cause severe illness, especially in children.

The surge began about two weeks ago and while it’s leveling off in older teens, it continues to spike in younger children who — along with seniors — are most susceptible to serious illness and complications.

Henry, speaking at a news conference in Vancouver Monday with Health Minister Adrian Dix, said it’s not too late for vaccination to make a difference. “We can blunt that and we can prevent that ongoing transmission to older adults as we come together over the holiday season, which is often when we see our influenza peaking.”

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Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the flu season usually lasted six weeks to two months, peaking after the winter holidays when people gather indoors. Typically in Canada every year, 15,000 to 20,000 people would be hospitalized with the flu and 2,500 to 3,000 would die.

Now, however, it’s surging earlier and the number of cases of Influenza A is way up, said Henry.

Children’s hospitals across the country have seen a surge in patients, including those affected by COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, for which there is no vaccine.

On Monday, children’s critical care beds in the province were at 63 per cent capacity, with high acuity/pediatric ICU beds at 85 per cent. (On the Island, the numbers were slightly lower: Children’s critical care bed capacity at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital was at 44 per cent capacity and Victoria General Hospital was at 50 per cent. High acuity/pediatric ICU beds at Victoria General Hospital were at 60 per cent capacity.)

At B.C. Children’s Hospital, where ER wait times were reported as 10 hours on Friday and nine on Saturday, a “code orange” that’s generally used for disasters and mass-casualty incidents was called at 6:35 a.m. Saturday and cancelled 28 minutes later.

Dix said the alert was based on information “available at the time” and promptly cancelled with new information.

Henry said while other respiratory viruses, including RSV, are levelling off in B.C., pediatricians and children’s hospitals are reporting more severe influenza and in some cases complications from influenza. Many children haven’t been exposed to the flu virus during the restrictions of the pandemic and thus haven’t built immunity.

Prime Minster Justin Trudeau said Monday he is “extremely worried” about a rise in respiratory illnesses among children as hospitals across the country report they are struggling to keep up with high volumes of patients.

Trudeau said it’s everyone’s responsibility to get vaccinated against both COVID-19 and influenza. He said health officials will consider measures such as mandatory masks.

Influenza A H3N2, which causes more severe illness, particularly in children age five and younger, is the main strain in circulation. Influenza is more concerning in young children than COVID because it can lead to secondary bacterial infections such as streptococcus or pneumococcus that can cause serious bacterial pneumonia, said Henry.

The vaccine offered this year includes H1N1 and H3N2 and two B strains, and appears to be a “very good” match to the virus circulating, offering 50 to 70 per cent protection against infection and illness, said Henry.

In B.C., influenza vaccine is free to anyone six months and older through health clinics, doctors’ offices, and pharmacies — with enhanced vaccines for seniors and FluMist for children who can’t tolerate needles.

So far, about 1.5 million British Columbians — including more than 50 per cent of those age 65 and older — have been vaccinated, using about 70 per cent of the current vaccine stock, with more expected.

However, only 20 per cent of children ages six months to 11 are vaccinated against the flu, and just 15 per cent of those age 12 to 17, said Dix, who urged parents to vaccinate their children. “What we’re seeing amongst children is a more significant influenza season by a very significant margin than last year and that reflects on the presentation at emergency departments.”

Emergency room visits in September and October of about 6,700 have increased to 6,800 to 6,900, he said.

Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead of Immunized B.C. vaccine operations, said the province will host a vaccination blitz Dec. 9, 10, and 11 to get more people vaccinated through pharmacists, family doctors or health authority clinics designed for children, with thousands of appointments available on the GetVaccinated system.

The province will also send out emails and texts to the families of about 150,000 children age 5 and younger inviting them to make appointments.

B.C. Green Leader Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley, called on the province to take steps beyond vaccination, including focusing on ventilation, masks and physical distancing.

A high number of children and teachers are missing school because they are sick, children’s wards and ERs are overwhelmed, and operations for children and infants are being cancelled, said Furstenau at a news conference Monday at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver. “I am deeply concerned for children and families in this province right now,” she said.

Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi, a pediatric cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon at B.C. Children’s Hospital who joined Furstenau at the news conference, said mandating masks is a reasonable and effective tool that should be used in addition to vaccination.

As a heart surgeon, Gandhi said, he’s seeing kids with viral infections who are sicker than he’s seen in decades. “We have all the tools to change the trajectory of this horrible situation — and it’s horrible. The only missing ingredient is courage, the courage for our leaders to be transparent to the public about what’s happening in our hospitals.”

Henry said masking in schools now is “very unlikely” to have any effect on the trajectory of the several viruses that are circulating.

Masks continue to be required in health-care settings, she said, but a general mask mandate is a “heavy handed” measure used as a “last resort when it’s something that is absolutely needed, everywhere, all the time.”

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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