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Three active COVID-19 cases in Fort McMurray; Imperial not releasing hometowns of infected Kearl workers – Fort McMurray Today

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An aerial view of Kearl Oilsands Project north of Fort McMurray, Alta. on June 18, 2013. Ryan Jackson/Postmedia Network

There are now three active cases of COVID-19 in Fort McMurray and four recovered cases. In Wood Buffalo’s rural communities, there are no active cases and two recovered cases.

As of Saturday afternoon, there are no new active cases of COVID-19 among workers at Imperial Oil’s Kearl site. Earlier this week, the province declared an outbreak after 12 positive cases were recorded among workers.

Two workers remain quarantined at the site, which is located 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, after testing positive for the virus. Another 10 cases were found in workers that were tested after they left the site. At least one infected worker is in an intensive care unit.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical officer of Health, said Friday there are other cases linked to those workers in other provinces, but those details have not been released. The company is not disclosing the hometowns of the workers, citing medical privacy issues.

“To protect employee privacy, we do not disclose personal information on suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases among our workforce,” a company spokesperson said in an email. “This includes the location of these cases.”

A total of 165 cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing Alberta’s total to 2,562 cases. Of those, 1,162 patients have recovered. There has been one new death in the province, bringing the total death toll to 51.

Of these cases, 57 people are in hospital, with 14 admitted to intensive care units. Another 450 cases are suspected of being community acquired.

There have been 92,962 people tested for COVID-19 in Alberta. In the last 24 hours, 4,092 tests have been completed.

The number of new cases is expected to jump in upcoming days after the province announced it would test all Albertans showing symptoms of the virus.

vmcdermott@postmedia.com

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1,933 COVID-19 cases over weekend, ‘very real’ strain on B.C. health care: top doctor – News 1130

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 shows no indication of slowing down, and the stress rising cases and outbreaks are putting on the health-care system is “very real,” according to the provincial health officer.

On Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry reported a combined total of 1,933 new COVID-19 infections over the weekend.

Seventeen more people died from the virus over the weekend. The majority of them were from the Fraser Health region and the rest were from Vancouver Coastal. Since the start of the pandemic, 348 people have died from the virus, most of them were residents in long-term care, said Henry.

RELATED: 10 COVID-19 deaths in B.C. amid record hospitalizations, dropping daily case count

A record 277 people are currently hospitalized because of the coronavirus, with 59 in critical care. And with nearly 1,000 active cases in long-term care, Henry said it is a very “sobering thought” knowing how challenging outbreaks can be in those facilities.

“We need to urgently reduce the level of transmission in our province to keep our schools, and workplaces open, and relieve that very real stress we are seeing right now on our health-care system,” she said.

Henry asked British Columbians to take seriously the COVID-19 restrictions implemented last week, which are aimed at reducing social interactions to curb transmission.

RELATED: Mandatory masks in indoor public spaces among new B.C. COVID-19 restrictions

“Simply put, we all need to focus on making a difference,” she said. “Now, for these next few weeks in this province, all of us need to stop these events and pause, so that we can get control of this virus.”

Influenza not as prevalent

However, there is some positive news regarding the province’s healthcare system.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said there is no indication the influenza is circulating in the community.

Henry clarified that there are usually 700 to 800 positive flu tests this time of year. As of last week, there were around seven.

“We think, and we hope that this will continue and is partly because of the measures we have in place to prevent COVID-19 because it is transmitted in very similar ways,” she said.

Health officials had worried the healthcare system would be battling COVID-19 and the flu at the same time this winter.

Dix also said there haven’t been any flu outbreaks in long-term care.

But there are six more healthcare facilities dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks: North Peace Seniors Housing Society in Fort St. John, Queen’s Park Care Center in New West Minster, Care Life Fleetwood in Surrey, Sunset Manor in Chilliwack, Renfrew Care Center in Vancouver, and Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver. The outbreaks at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and Evergreen Baptist Care Society are over.

Meanwhile, Alberta reported 1,549 new COVID-19 infections Monday, while parts of Ontario move into tighter restrictions.

B.C.’s restrictions are in place until Dec. 7.

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COVID-19: Close to 2,000 cases and 17 deaths reported in B.C. over past three days – Vancouver Sun

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Article content continued

She said Fraser Health accounted for 67 per cent of all the cases reported over the past three days. Fraser Health is responsible for 36 per cent of B.C.’s population.

Henry said there were 10,200 people in isolation after being exposed to the disease. There were six outbreaks reported at health-care facilities over the past three days.

She said the pandemic would likely have three parts, and B.C. was in the midst of the second part.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the rate of influenza in B.C. was “exceptionally low.” More than one million flu vaccines have been administered in the province over the past six weeks.

Henry said that rapid testing was not available for long-term care facilities in B.C., and if it was these tests had faults and limitations. Rapid testing is however used in the film and television industry in B.C.

More to come.


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The reason why liquor and cannabis stores are considered essential services in Manitoba – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
With high COVID-19 case counts, many in Manitoba are asking why certain businesses are still open – including liquor and cannabis stores.

On Monday, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health official, said taking liquor stores and cannabis stores off the list of the essential services and shutting them down could cause more harm than good.

“Unintended consequences of not allowing access to theses types of products,” Roussin said.

For more than 40 years, Mitch Bourbonniere, a community outreach worker, has been working with those who are impacted by mental health and addiction. He says those untended consequences can be physical, emotional, and psychological withdrawals, and it could be life-threatening.

“Addiction has no demographic. Anyone and everyone can be afflicted by addiction in the wrong circumstance,” he said.

Addiction is an illness, he said, that causes intense suffering usually brought on by trauma. If the stores are closed, people are most likely to turn to more dangerous substances.

“Whether it is home brew, whether it is crack, whether it is meth, prescription drugs, anything they can get their hands on, if they can’t get a safe, viable, government-run product,” Bourbonniere said.

Bourbonniere also says closing stores opens the door for organized crime to take over the sales.

“People are absolutely going to get desperate and go to organized crime, they are going to go to the street, they are going to go to gangs,” said Bourbonniere.

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