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'TIDAL WAVE': Demand for flu vaccines during COVID way up – Goderich Signal Star

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Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist Abdeen Salim Hamid administers a flu shot on Oct. 19, 2020 at the Coxwell and Danforth Aves. location.

Jack Boland, Toronto Sun / Toronto Sun

Those seeking flu shots will face less panic than people who were intent on obtaining toilet paper as supplies dwindled on store shelves.

But that doesn’t mean demand for flu vaccine is low.

A Toronto pharmacist who owns four Shoppers Drug Mart franchises in the city’s Greektown area, said Monday there’s enough flu vaccine to go around.

John Papastergiou added he does not want to see people seeking flu shots in the same panic as shoppers who were stockpiling toilet paper.

“(The government) purchased about 30% more shots this year; we did anticipate a big jump right out of the gate,” said Papastergiou.

“That said, I don’t think that amount of demand is going to be sustainable through the whole flu season. It will die down, (even though) you hear the term, ‘twindemic’ and with COVID in full swing again.”

More than 13 million doses of the vaccine were ordered this year, compared to 11.2 million in 2019, said The Public Health Agency of Canada.

Ontario is ordering 5.1 million doses — about 700,000 more than last year, along with 1.3 million high-dose vaccines for seniors and for those with compromised immune systems.

“There was a tidal wave of demand almost immediately,” said Papastergiou. “On Thursday, one site did 500 flu shots. Some stores have got in well over 2,000 flu shots already.

“That would be approaching what we did for the entire last year in the first week-and-half,” he added.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health distributes the vaccine in waves to pharmacies, doctors’ offices and city-run flu vaccine clinics throughout the season.

There are 101 Shoppers Drug Mart locations across Ontario doing both the COVID-19 swab tests for asymptomatic patients and flu shots.

Papastergiou said that has been a challenge, with social distancing, given only a certain number of people are allowed in the store at a time.

“The models are a little different — COVID testing is appointment based … but we are keeping them separate from the traffic coming in for flu,” he said.

Papastergiou said he suggests people go to the Shoppers’ website to see what pharmacies have stock of the vaccine.

Rexall said it also expects strong demand for the flu shot.

“We are confident in the current supply levels for the flu vaccine,” said spokesperson Andrew Forgione.

Dr. Vinita Dubey, of Toronto Public Health, said community flu vaccination clinics will run until December and appointments must be booked.

“Getting vaccinated against the flu may also reduce the number of individuals who need COVID-19 testing, as the symptoms are very similar,” said Dubey.

jyuen@postmedia.com

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New Brunswick leaves Atlantic bubble as Nova Scotia reports 14 new COVID-19 cases Thursday – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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Nova Scotia is reporting 14 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 114.

Twelve of the new cases are in the central health zone, which includes Halifax, Eastern Shore and West Hants. The other remaining cases are in the northern zone and the western zone.

It’s not clear whether the new cases are related to previously reported ones.

In a live briefing Thursday, Blair Higgs, the premier of New Brunswick, announced that New Brunswick will leave the Atlantic bubble.

“Effective midnight tonight, we’re resorting back to our original 14-days isolation for anyone from anywhere travelling into New Brunswick,” he said.

Exemptions for essential travel will continue, he added.

New Brunswick is the third province to reinstate the 14-day isolation for travellers from within Atlantic Canada. Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. made the changes on Monday.

Negative, left, and positive rapid tests are seen at the rapid-testing pop-up site in the Richard Murray Design Building in Halifax on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. – Tim Krochak

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,253 Nova Scotia tests on Wednesday, the highest number of tests reported to date. There were 856 tests administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in downtown Halifax on that day.

Five presumptive positive cases were identified at the pop-up site. The individuals were directed to self-isolate and have been referred for a standard test. Cases identified through rapid testing won’t be added to the total number of cases until they are confirmed by a standard test.

Rapid-testing clinics are targeted at people in the 18-35 age group or those who have been to or work at a bar in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Locations and times of the pop-up clinics, which could change every time, are announced on social media.

“We’ve seen a great uptake for asymptomatic testing among Halifax bar staff and patrons. People are showing us how much they care about their communities by going to these pop-up rapid testing locations,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health in a news release. “This has allowed us to detect a few cases among asymptomatic people early on and helps to stop the spread of the virus.”

Late Wednesday evening, the Department of Health and Wellness released a new list of potential exposure sites, which includes numerous establishments across Halifax. And on Thursday evening, an additional six locations were added:

  • Stillwell (1672 Barrington St., Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 6 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 4.
  • Bearly’s House of Blues and Ribs (1269 Barrington St., Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 8:30 p.m. and 2 a.m. Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 4.
  • Highwayman (1673 Barrington St., Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 7:30 p.m. and 12 a.m. Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 5.
  • Gahan House (5239 Sackville St., Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 5.
  • Princess Nails (1475 Bedford Highway, Bedford) on Nov. 21 between 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.  Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 5.
  • Boston Pizza Dartmouth Crossing (111 Shubie Dr., Dartmouth) on Nov. 20 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and Nov. 22 between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.  Watch for symptoms up to and including Dec. 6.

The department has created a new website that lists all of the potential exposure sites so far. There were 132 locations on the list as of Thursday evening. 

Starting today, new public health restrictions have come into effect in the Halifax and Hants counties. They include the closure of licensed establishments and bars for dine-in. Museums, libraries, and fitness and recreational facilities are also closed.

Over the past two months, Nova Scotia has had 167 positive COVID-19 cases, 38,434 negative test results. No one is currently in hospital.

A rapid COVID-19 test being administered at a pop-up COVID-19 testing site in the Ricard Murray Design Building on Morris Street in Halifax on Tuesday Nov. 24, 2020. -  - Tim Krochak
A rapid COVID-19 test being administered at a pop-up COVID-19 testing site in the Ricard Murray Design Building on Morris Street in Halifax on Tuesday Nov. 24, 2020. – – Tim Krochak

Numbers in Atlantic Canada

New Brunswick has 105 active cases as it reported 12 new cases Thursday.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported three new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases to 28.

Prince Edward Island has two active cases. No new cases were reported Thursday.

COVID-19 symptoms

Anyone who is currently experiencing or has experienced within the last 48 hours one of the following symptoms should visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca for a self-assessment:

  • new or worsening cough
  • fever (i.e. chills or sweats)

People should also visit the website if they are experiencing two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):

  • sore throat
  • runny nose or nasal congestion
  • headache
  • shortness of breath

People can also call 811 if they can’t access the website or if they wish to speak to a nurse. Anyone experiencing symptoms should self-isolate until they receive advice from Public Health on what to do next.

Online booking for COVID-19 tests is available for all primary assessment sites. The swish and gargle COVID-19 test is available at all centres for children aged four to 18.

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What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Nov. 27 – CBC.ca

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THE LATEST:

  • Health officials will provide their daily update in a live briefing at 3 p.m. PT.
  • 887 new cases of COVID-19 were announced on Thursday, along with 13 more deaths.
  • There have been 29,973 confirmed cases in the province to date.
  • There are 7,899 people with active cases of the disease across B.C.
  • 294 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, including 64 in intensive care.
  • 384 people have now died of the disease.

B.C.’s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is showing no signs of slowing, with another 887 new cases confirmed on Thursday and 13 more deaths.

That brings the number of active cases in the province to 7,899. A total of 294 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, including 64 in intensive care.

The Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions continue to drive this phase of the pandemic, accounting for 88 per cent of the new cases announced Thursday.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix urged everyone to stick with public health measures meant to stem the spread of the disease.

“Slow and steady is what we need with COVID-19 and it is how we will get through this second wave. The efforts we make each day make a difference,” they said.

Henry and Dix are scheduled to give an update on the pandemic response in a live briefing at 3 p.m. PT.

It comes a little more than a week after strict new restrictions and rules were put in place in B.C., including wide-ranging mask orders for indoor public and retail environments.

Health officials have told British Columbians to pause all social interactions and be vigilant applying different layers of protection, including physical distancing, washing hands and using masks.

READ MORE:

What’s happening elsewhere in Canada

There have now been more than 353,097 cases of COVID-19 in Canada.

On Thursday, federal officials sought to reassure Canadians that they have a plan to procure and distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021. Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said as many as six million doses could be deployed in the first three months of the new year.

Canada is expected to receive at least 194 million vaccine doses, with contractual options for 220 million more. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Loss of taste or smell.
  • Headache.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they’re mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or o​​​​​​ther extreme symptoms should call 911.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep your distance from people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.

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Province offers grant to Halifax-area businesses ordered closed under new COVID rules – Preeceville Progress

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Halifax-area businesses ordered closed in an effort to curb the city’s rising number of COVID-19 cases are getting another round of financial support from the province.

Business Minister Geoff MacLellan said Thursday that the province would offer a one-time grant of up to $5,000 to small, independently owned bars, dine-in restaurants and fitness and leisure centres.

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The businesses are among those that are now closed for at least the next two weeks under health measures that took effect Thursday.

MacLellan said it’s the third round for a grant which is part of a larger $50-million relief fund for business.

“Those who received this in the past will be fast-tracked,” he told reporters following a cabinet meeting. “If there are any that didn’t apply . . . they still will be eligible.”

Businesses can use the grant money for any operational expenses, such as wages and supplies. To be eligible, businesses must have been operating since March 15. There is no cap on annual revenues.

“It’s not going to solve everyone’s problem. We always wish we could do more,” MacLellan said.

Under the new restrictions, retail stores can remain open, but they have to limit the number of shoppers and staff to 25 per cent or less of their legal capacity.

MacLellan said while retailers aren’t part of the targeted relief package, his department will monitor the impact on their business over what is hoped will be only a two-week period before the measures can be lifted.

The province reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, including 12 in the Halifax area, one in the northern health zone and one in the western zone.

It said 856 tests were administered at the rapid-testing site in downtown Halifax on Wednesday, and there were five positive results. The individuals were directed to self-isolate and have been referred for a standard test.

“We’ve seen a great uptake for asymptomatic testing among Halifax bar staff and patrons,” Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health said in a news release.

“People are showing us how much they care about their communities by going to these pop-up rapid-testing locations. This has allowed us to detect a few cases among asymptomatic people early on and helps to stop the spread of the virus.”

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has reported 167 COVID-19 cases, and it has had 1,257 cases and 65 deaths since the pandemic began.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said companies had to have between $25,000 and $300,000 in annual sales to be eligible.

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