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Three new COVID-19 cases reported Thursday – The Kingston Whig-Standard

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Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health. (Steph Crosier/The Whig-Standard)

Steph Crosier / Steph Crosier/Kingston Whig-Stan

After reporting zero new cases of COVID-19 on Canada Day, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health added three cases to its total on Thursday.

The additional cases bring the region to 33 total active cases, and 150 contacts of those cases who are actively being monitoring. More than 600 people have been asked to self-isolate as a result of the outbreak.

Dr. Kieran Moore, local medical officer of health, said that only one of the three new cases was linked to the recent outbreak at Binh’s Nail and Spa in the west end of Kingston. One was connected to Georgia Nail salon in Amherstview and the other was linked to a returning traveller from Europe, which Moore said public health believes to be an independent case.

As well, another individual who tested positive — but wasn’t a part of the three cases reported Thursday — had no exposure to Binh’s but has been in contact with individuals from the Greater Toronto Area. Public health is pursuing contact tracing on the matter.

“We’ll continue to investigate this new case, which we cannot find any association with the (Binh’s) outbreak in our community. … That investigation is still ongoing,” Moore said.

One person is currently in the intensive care unit at Kingston Health Sciences Centre receiving supplemental oxygen after testing positive, according to Moore, but is not intubated. The case was connected to the Binh’s Nail salon outbreak.

“I’m sure our community wants the best outcome with this individual and sends our best wishes to the family,” Moore said.

Moore said 746 people were tested on Canada Day, which solely operated at the temporary drive-through testing clinic at St. Lawrence College. Over the past two weeks, nearly 5,000 people have been tested.

Public health is still investigating where the outbreak at Binh’s salon started. Moore said there is still no conclusive evidence regarding how COVID-19 started spreading through the salon, maintaining the position that it’s most likely a result of community spread.

“That’s still a question. We’re fairly confident that the individuals who visited there didn’t bring it with them, and we’re now looking at the travel and contact history of the individual workers,” he said.

Kingston Police are currently investigating whether Binh’s Nail Salon was operating before the non-essential business shutdown was lifted on June 12.

In contacting every individual who’s required to self-isolate, Moore said many bring new information regarding possible areas of transmission every day.

“New information comes to light every day that we try to validate and verify every day … the first time someone’s interviewed, they may not have recalled every single event, so we accumulate more and more information all the time,” he said. “It is fluid; it is ongoing.”

While the number of cases in the region continues to slowly grow, Moore said the risk of infection remains low and that the community “must remain vigilant.”

“This recent second wave peaked, in our opinion, on June 25. … We have not seen it propagating heavily in our community,” he said.

Public health unit said that those who visited Georgia Nail salon between June 12 and 25 and have tested negative for the virus are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

“Given this evidence that exposure was more significant than we thought, we’re asking all those individuals to isolate themselves … our nurses will be back in contact with them to make sure they adhere to (the requirements),” Moore said.

Last week, all Binh’s clients — the nucleus of the initial outbreak — were required to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days.

Earlier this week, one employee of Georgia Nail salon tested positive for the virus and had been a contact of a worker from Binh’s. On Thursday, public health confirmed the employee had provided services to the public.

“The first employee at Georgia’s … there was a clear connection back to Binh’s. We’re not sure of the second employee at Georgia’s of their relation to Binh’s, but we know they must have had interactions with their (co-worker),” Moore said.

Public health hasn’t confirmed whether the second employee had provided service to the public.

On Tuesday, one case was linked to Amherstview Golf Club, but public health hasn’t had any further positive tests connected to the club. As such, it will remain open for the time being.

“If there’s any further exposure there, we may make (testing and isolation) a requirement, but at present, we always thought that risk was low given it was an outdoor environment, predominantly. Our investigation is ongoing with that situation,” Moore said.

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Area man succumbs to COVID-19, health unit confirms – OrilliaMatters

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A man from New Tecumseth has died after being hospitalized with the coronavirus. 

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed the death today, and report he was a man over 80 who had been hospitalized at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket. His case was reported by the health unit on Sept. 8.

This is the 38th COVID-related death reported in the region since March. The last death in the region involved a Penetanguishene woman on Aug. 4.

The region’s health unit also confirmed 13 more cases of COVID-19 in Simcoe and Muskoka today. 

Eleven of today’s cases are in Simcoe County, with six new Barrie cases, two new Bradford West Gwillimbury cases, one in Innisfil, one in Orillia, and one in New Tecumseth. There are also two new cases in Muskoka. 

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has reported a “worrisome spike” in cases. It reported 13 new cases both today and on Monday, with the lowest daily case increase this week on Wednesday with eight new cases. 

There have been 55 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (as of Thursday) in Simcoe Muskoka for the week of Sept. 13. This is the second-highest number of new cases reported in a single week in the region during the entire pandemic.

Among the new Barrie cases today are two men between 35 and 44 years old, a man and two women between 45 and 64 years old, and a man between 18 and 34 years old. 

The Orillia case is a woman between 18 and 34. 

The two Bradford cases include a boy under 18 years old and a man between 18 and 34 years old. 

The new Innisfil case is a man between 18 and 34 years old and the new case in New Tecumseth is a woman between 35 and 44 years old. 

The new Muskoka cases include a Huntsville man between 35 and 44 and a Gravenhurst woman between 18 and 34.

The transmission source for all but two of the new cases reported today is listed as under investigation. The Bradford bo and one of the Barrie men (aged 35-44) are listed as close contact cases. 

There is currently one active outbreak at Leacock Retirement Lodge in Orillia. Read our story about there here.

Previous outbreaks declared at The Pines Long-Term Care Residence (Bracebridge) and at Roberta Place (Barrie) have been declared over. In those outbreaks, there was a single staff member at each facility who was infected with the coronavirus and one resident at The Pines tested positive for COVID-19. 

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has reported a total of 803 cases of COVID-19, with 685 of those now listed as recovered. There are two people hospitalized in Simcoe County with COVID-19 (one from Barrie and one from Bradford).

The health unit indicates there are 73 unrecovered cases in Simcoe County, including 51 in Barrie, nine in Bradford, two in New Tecumseth, three in Innisfil, three in Orillia, one in Collingwood, one in Wasaga Beach, one in Springwater, and one in Oro-Medonte.

There are two people hospitalized, one Bradford resident and one New Tecumseth resident.

Case breakdown by municipality for Simcoe County as of Sept. 18

MunicipalityTotal cases**RecoveriesDeathsIn HospitalLast case reportedIncidence rate*
Barrie28021514 Sept. 18187.5
Bradford W-G148126121Sept. 18344.4
New Tecumseth92882 Sept. 18222
Innisfil5855  Sept. 18142.4
Orillia22172 Sept. 1565.8
Collingwood1817  Sept. 1770.9
Wasaga Beach20181 Sept. 1782.6
Clearview981 July 2760.9
Springwater16141 Sept. 976.2
Midland1212  July 2466.9
Oro-Medonte1072 Sept. 1738.6
Adjala-Tosorontio99  June 1677.2
Essa20191 Aug. 1783.6
Ramara1313  Sept. 8125.2
Tiny77  Aug. 28not released
Tay99  July 2381.3
Penetanguishene981 Aug. 1992.9
Severn77  July 27not released

*Incidence rate is number of cases per 100,000 people in the local population.

**Total cases includes the number of cases currently recovering at home as well as any that have recovered, died, or are in hospital.

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Public Health Agency of Canada president resigns as COVID-19 cases spike – Yahoo News Canada

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CBC

Sorry to burst your COVID-19 ‘social bubble’ but even small gatherings are getting riskier

For months, Canadians have been bubbling up with other friends and family to socialize safely during the pandemic.But with COVID-19 case counts rising in many communities, kids back in schools and more people returning to work, many public health experts agree that what worked as a safe approach in the early days of the lockdown now comes with more risk.”I honestly think with the return to school right now, most people’s bubbles have burst,” says epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite. “You’re talking about large numbers of connections.”In Ontario, “social circles” allow you to see up to 10 people without the usual pandemic precautions in place as long as all of those family members, friends or neighbours make a pact to socialize only with each other, while in Alberta, the cap for your “cohort” is your household plus up to 15 other people.In B.C., the guidelines for a “bubble” are now to try and limit it to six people. Officials initially said the members of your immediate household can be “carefully expanded” to include outsiders, with the goal of limiting the number as much as possible — since these are people you’re allowed to kiss, hug, chat with and dine with, all without masks or distancing.WATCH | B.C. moves toward limiting bubbles to 6 people:It’s a concept being adopted in several countries around the world. And while it works well in principle, experts warn it may be harder to maintain at this point in the pandemic.Bubble makes sense in ‘theory'”As a theory, the bubble makes a lot of sense,” said Dr. Dominik Mertz, an associate professor in the division of infectious diseases at Hamilton’s McMaster University. “But there’s a lot of confusion from people over what it is.”He also added it can be tough to do safely, particularly if the bubble involves multiple households “who all have different risks.”Say you have two four-person households socializing without the usual pandemic precautions. On paper, it follows the current Ontario guidelines.But what if one person is back at work, leaving them exposed to dozens of colleagues? Or either family’s children are in school, where physical distancing and mask wearing might be a challenge?A small sphere of contacts can quickly expand to include everyone that each family member comes in contact with, which means the bubbling approach really isn’t “useful” anymore, according to Tuite, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.’It’s not going to work for all people’Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, agreed it’s not a “perfect model” at this point in the pandemic.”It would’ve worked better back when things were fully locked down,” he said, adding there’s still merit in bubbling with a few close friends or family if everyone is cautious.”I don’t want to remove any tools from the table,” he said. “If bubbling is working for some people, keep on doing it. But it’s not going to work for all people.”For instance, a supply teacher, with a social network of students and staff in various classrooms or even buildings, can’t realistically have a social bubble without any precautions, Deonandan said, while someone working from home might be able to do it more safely.WATCH | ‘Exponential’ growth in new cases in parts of Canada, says infectious disease specialist:For many people, losing their bubble could mean a long, lonely winter, made worse by mental health struggles or living alone.”We know there are benefits to having that human contact,” said Dr. Nitin Mohan, a physician epidemiologist and assistant professor at Western University in London, Ont. But when dropping temperatures push people indoors, where transmission risk is higher, and families start making plans to gather over the upcoming stretch of holidays, it could make adhering to the bubble principles even tougher. Bubble burst? Isolate for a while Mertz says Canadians should already be planning for upcoming gatherings like Thanksgiving.If outside-the-bubble family members want to celebrate together, find ways to do it safely, he says, by meeting outdoors and staying apart as much as possible. Otherwise, you’re blending several household bubbles together and upping the risk for everyone.And if you do throw caution to the wind for a turkey feast, there’s another approach: Isolate yourself as much as possible for two weeks after the gathering. “That would give us downtime, so in case someone got infected, you are not spreading it from that gathering into each individual bubble,” Mertz said.The various experts who spoke with CBC News acknowledged the challenges in sticking to even the safest bubbling plan, with peer pressure, slip-ups, and our innate desire for human connection all potential obstacles.For that reason, Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease specialist with the Sinai Health System and University Health Network in Toronto, stresses the onus shouldn’t just be on individuals to reduce transmission.From a system-wide perspective, he says, provincial governments need to ensure every piece of the pandemic plan is adequately resourced: testing capacity, contact tracing, personal protective equipment and hospital staff.”If you can’t test people who are symptomatic, then you can’t contact trace … and you can’t identify people who are about to become symptomatic and are unknowingly and unwittingly spreading the disease,” he said.Ontario gathering sizes reducedOntario officials say they’re working to increase testing capacity amid hours-long lineups in multiple cities, including Ottawa and Toronto.The province is also lowering the maximum size limit for private gatherings — things like backyard barbecues or dinner parties, with precautions in place among people in different social circles — in some regions.The new limits will be 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with hefty fines of $10,000 or more for organizers who flout the rules.Deonandan calls that the “single best policy intervention” for controlling the spread of COVID-19, given the growing body of research showing large gatherings can be hot spots for virus transmission.”Mask wearing, that’s important. Distancing, that’s important, too,” he said. “But time and time again we see explosions of cases in otherwise controlled areas … driven by these super-spreading events.”Even smaller gatherings can fuel the virus’s spread, like infections after a family outing documented in Toronto, and a 10-person cottage trip — which would still meet the province’s new rules — that led to 40 new cases in Ottawa.It’s not clear if anyone involved in those gatherings was bubbling together, and Mertz stresses in all situations, the same safety precautions apply.”Whether you continue with the bubble concept or not, it comes down to the less people gathering, the more time you can spend outside, the more you can spread out — the lower the risk.”

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Henry announces new, B.C.-made COVID test alternative to nasal swab – Bowen Island Undercurrent

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When provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gave her daily COVID-19 update, she was noticeably perturbed that British Columbia had reached a new high of 165 cases.

However, that soon turned to optimism as she began to highlight the great cooperative nature of B.C.’s health authorities, post-secondary institutions and businesses.

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Henry announced that through these collaborative efforts a new, innovative COVID-19 testing solution had been developed. Not only is the new test less invasive and less uncomfortable than traditional COVID-19 testing methods, but as a B.C. made solution it also reduces our reliance on the global market and global supply chains said Henry.

“On a positive note, we have some exciting new testing that we are able to provide for students in British Columbia,” said Henry. “Now for K-12 students we have an easier alternative than the nasopharyngeal swab that has been the standard. Today a new made-in-B.C. sample collection program has been launched for all k-12 students across the province and it is one of the first of its kind around the world.”

British Columbians aged four to 19 will now have the ability to gargle with sterile water and spit into a tube in order to be tested for COVID-19 rather than having a swab stuck up the nose to the back of their throat. Unlike the traditional swab, the saline gargle solution is not only more comfortable, but it does not need to be administered by a healthcare professional. Henry said that the focus on children is a matter of supply.

Henry thanked both scientists and businesses for their work in developing this new means of testing and making it accessible to students in British Columbia.

Despite this good news, there was one additional death of a senior in long term care in the Vancouver health region. There are also two new healthcare related outbreaks both in acute care units, one at the Delta Hospital and another at the rehab unit at the Peace Arch Hospital in Fraser Health. This brings the total number of active healthcare outbreaks to 15 with 802 active cases, 478 residents and 324 staff.

Bonnie Henry said that there are no new community outbreaks but the province continues to have exposure events.

There are no outbreaks in schools, at this point however Henry has said that there have been some teachers and students who have been in a school setting when they might have been infectious to others. Henry said that this was to be expected and that none of these have been high-risk exposures. Henry also reminded parents that they will be contacted by public health teams for any exposure or potential exposure, and that families will be contacted if self-isolation is required.

British Columbia COVID-19 numbers as of September 17th:

  • Total cases 7663
  • 1,705 active cases
  • 2714 Vancouver coastal health
  • 3937 Fraser health
  • 196 Vancouver island health
  • 489 Interior health
  • 241 Northern health
  • 86 reside outside of Canada
  • 57 are in hospital
  • 22 critical care/ICU
  • 1 additional death
  • 220 total deaths
  • 2,949 people under active public health monitoring
  • 5,719 people who have recovered from COVID 19

BIV

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