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Top doc reports 800 new cases in Alta., says spread is outpacing province's contract tracing ability – CTV Edmonton

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EDMONTON —
Alberta Health confirmed a record 800 new cases of COVID-19 in the province on Thursday, prompting its chief medical officer of health to issue an ultimatum: without a decline in active cases, more action will be needed to protect Alberta’s health-care system. 

The province has set and broken its daily record numerous times in the past two weeks, recently reporting 622 cases on Oct. 29 and 592 cases on Nov. 1. But never 800. 

“It means that the measures we introduced 10 days ago, which may have helped cases plateau over the last few days, are not having enough of an effect,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in an afternoon update. 

“It means that in about seven to 10 days from now, our hospital numbers will rise further, which means that care for Albertans with other issues besides COVID will be impacted.” 

Her department couldn’t report exact numbers due to “internal discrepancies” in its reporting system, but said its ability to identify and follow up with new cases was unaffected. 

However, Hinshaw said Alberta Health Services’ ability to trace new cases is being outpaced by the rate of transmission, and as such, AHS will have to focus on “high-priority settings” cases until more contract tracers can be hired. 

“AHS does not currently have the capacity to call every contact of every case in a timely way,” Hinshaw commented.

“Every confirmed case will still get a phone call to identify whether or not they have a link to a high-priority setting, like a continuing care facility, a health care setting, or a school. If a case attended a group event, like a wedding, a party, or a group fitness class while infectious, or if this could have been the source of their infection, the organizer of these events will still be contacted to ensure attendees are notified,” she explained.

If a case isn’t linked to a high-priority setting, they will be given information about calling their own contacts and informing them of the need to isolate and be tested. 

A day earlier, the province reported 6,230 active cases across Alberta, keeping 164 Albertans in hospital.

On Thursday, Hinshaw said Alberta’s two largest cities each have more than 2,500 cases, and a “high proportion” of cases who worked or went to a social gathering while symptomatic. 

In Edmonton, nine per cent of active cases worked while they had symptoms. Another eight per cent visited retail or service businesses. Another eight per cent went to a social gathering. 

In Calgary, 11 per cent worked while symptomatic. Another nine per cent travelled. Another seven per cent attended a social gathering. 

“We are talking about at least 500 people who did not stay home while symptomatic. This is significant. I am calling on Albertans to please stop all activities if you have any symptoms,” Hinshaw urged Albertans. 

In each city, an estimated 40 per cent of cases were exposed at home or at a gathering. 

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More COVID-19 cases discovered at Saanich Peninsula Hospital – Times Colonist

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A COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital is more widespread than first thought, with more cases discovered Thursday in both staff and patients, says provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

As of Wednesday, one staff member and five patients had tested positive for COVID-19 at Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

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Island Health is expected to release an update today.

The outbreak is “still confined,” but additional testing is ongoing, said Henry. The hospital remains closed to admission, but the emergency department is still operating. Patients who need to be admitted will be taken to Victoria General Hospital.

Saanich Peninsula Hospital and West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni both reported outbreaks on Tuesday.

Units involved at Saanich Peninsula included acute-care and palliative care, but given the small size of the hospital, the entire acute-care facility is under outbreak status.

The health care worker who tested positive is self isolating, while two patients were discharged to recover at home, and three were transferred to Royal Jubilee Hospital, a COVID-19 designated hospital.

On Wednesday, Island Health said it hadn’t determined whether the infections occurred in the community or in hospital. The infected health care worker did not have contact with all of the patients who tested positive.

The outbreak at West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni on Wednesday was confined to the medical-surgical B-wing.

One staff member and one patient tested positive for COVID-19. The health care worker is isolating at home, while the patient was transferred to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, one of three COVID-19 designated sites.

In both outbreaks, Island Health says it has implemented precautions, including enhanced cleaning and contact tracing, infection control, testing and personal protective equipment.

On Thursday, Island Health recorded 10 new cases of COVID-19, out of a total of 694 new cases in the province: 114 in Vancouver Coastal, 465 in Fraser Health, 10 in Island Health, 82 in Interior Health, and 23 in Northern Health.

There are now 9,103 active cases in the province, with 325 people in hospital, including 80 in intensive or critical care. The province also announced 12 new deaths on Thursday, for a total of 481 in the province to date.

Henry said Thursday that B.C. health officials are planning to begin vaccinations against the virus in the first week of January.

Henry expects the province will have two vaccines in January, February and March — one from Pfizer and the other from Moderna.

“Our planning construct is to be ready to start the first week of January and to hope to have everybody done by September of next year,” said Henry.

Initially, there will not be enough for everybody, she said. But vaccines from other manufacturers, if approved by Health Canada, are expected in the second quarter of 2021.

“So, we expect there’ll be a good lot of people who will be immunized by the summer, and through the fall next year, but by the end of the year, anybody who wants vaccine in B.C. and in Canada should have it available to them and should be immunized.”

Vancouver Coastal Health’s Dr. Ross Brown, heading the province’s vaccine program, and B.C. Centre of Disease Control experts have participated in a “table top” exercise with provincial and federal counterparts to walk through how to facilitate vaccine delivery and anticipate challenges or roadblocks, said Henry.

The vaccines will first be given to people who are most at risk from severe illness, and to health-care workers.

“We know that we will have limited amount at first, so we won’t be able to broadly achieve what we’ve been calling community immunity, or herd immunity, right off the bat, but that will come,” said Henry. “Our first priority will be to make sure that we’re protecting those who are most at risk. We know that this our seniors and elders in our communities, and long-term care homes in particular, and in hospitals, here in British Columbia.”

There are 56 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living homes — involving 958 residents and 559 staff — and eight in acute care.

Health orders ban social gatherings, require masks in public spaces and ask residents to stop all non-essential travel. There are also new restrictions on adult team sports and contact in sport for kids, on top of an existing ban on all indoor high-intensity fitness activities.

In the past few weeks, 10 to 15 per cent of new COVID-19 cases have been related to physical fitness and sport activities, said Henry.

Asked about delays in posting of new orders after they are announced, Henry said last-minute changes are sometimes needed in wording for legal reasons, and she asked people to be guided by the “intent of the orders.”

In B.C., 35,422 people have been infected with COVID-19 and 24,928 have recovered.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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B.C. to unveil COVID-19 vaccine plan next week; reports 694 new cases and 12 deaths – radionl.com

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B.C. health officials are reporting 694 new cases of COVID-19 in the province today, for a provincial total of 35,422 total cases of the virus since the pandemic began.

There were another 82 new cases in Interior Health, which has now had

Active cases provincewide are now at 9,103 – a new record – with 325 people in hospital, 80 in ICU.

Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, also reported 12 more deaths for the second straight day – the tenth straight day the province has seen double-digit deaths from the virus – taking the death toll to 481 people

Dr. Henry says they will unveil a COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan next week, noting an emergency response committee has been set up. Yesterday, she said that the does not expect immunization to be mandatory in the province, but will be strongly recommending that workers in certain industries get the vaccine when it is available.

The first people to get the vaccine will be the most vulnerable, Henry said today, noting that includes seniors, particularly those in long term care facilities, along with health care workers.

“We know we will have limited amounts at first, so we won’t be able to achieve herd immunity right away, but that will come,” she said, noting she expects the first doses of the vaccine to arrive in the coming weeks. “For now, we must all stay strong.”

“I recognize that this sacrifice is one that all of us are taking. I know that we have seen sacrifices from people everywhere in B.C.”

Henry said the committee is currently anticipating any challenges and roadblocks that may come up so it can be addressed as soon as possible.

There are now 10,849 people isolating after being exposed to the virus, and 24,928 people are considered to have recovered – roughly 70 per cent of the total.

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Ontario reports 1824 new COVID-19 cases, including 10 in greater Kawarthas region – kawarthaNOW.com

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Here’s an update on COVID-19 cases in Ontario as well as in the greater Kawarthas region.

Ontario is reporting 1,824 new COVID-19 cases today, although this number includes 127 cases from Middlesex-London Health Unit reported over the previous three days that, due to a data processing error, were not included in previous daily reports. The average number of daily cases over the past seven days has increased by 49 to 1,769.

There are 10 new cases to report in the greater Kawarthas region, with the total number of active cases decreasing by 5 to 99.

Most of the new cases reported today are in Peel (592), Toronto (392), York (187), and Middlesex-London (127). The cases in Middlesex-London, which are the total cases reported over the past three days, work out to an average of 42 cases per day.

There are double-digit increases in Waterloo (87), Halton (68), Windsor-Essex (62), Durham (57), Hamilton (56), Ottawa (41), Niagara (25), Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (23), Eastern Ontario Health Unit (19), Thunder Bay (13), and Simcoe Muskoka (11), with smaller increases in Huron Perth (9), Southwestern Public Health (8), Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (7), and Leeds, Grenville & Lanark (6).

The remaining 15 health units are reporting 5 or fewer new cases, with 6 health units reporting no new cases at all.

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Of today’s cases, 54% are among people under 40 years of age, with the highest number of cases (728) among people ages 20 to 39 followed by 499 cases among people ages 40 to 59. With 1,541 more cases resolved since yesterday, the percentage of resolved cases remains unchanged at 84.8%. The average positivity rate across Ontario has decreased by 0.3% to 4.4%, meaning that 44 out of every 1,000 tests performed were positive for COVID-19 on December 2.

Ontario is reporting 14 new COVID-19 deaths today, including 11 in long-term care facilities. Hospitalizations have increased by 10 to 666, with 12 additional patients with COVID-19 admitted to ICUs and 1 additional patient on a ventilator.

A total of 52,873 tests were completed yesterday, and the backlog of tests under investigation has increased by 8,746 to 58,320.

There are 122 new cases in Ontario schools today, a decrease of 44 from yesterday, with 94 student cases and 28 staff cases. There are 17 new cases in licensed child care settings, a decrease of 11 from yesterday, with 11 cases among children and 6 cases among staff.

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In the greater Kawarthas region, there are 10 new cases to report, including 4 in Hastings and Prince Edward counties (almost all in Belleville), 3 in Northumberland, 2 in Peterborough, and 1 in Kawartha Lakes. There are no new cases to report in Haliburton.

An additional 9 cases have been resolved in Hastings and Prince Edward, 3 in Northumberland, and 3 in Peterborough.

The new cases in schools reported by Ontario include 1 student case at St. Paul Catholic Elementary School in Asphodel-Norwood. In addition, St. Peter Catholic Secondary School in Peterborough is reporting a confirmed case, but has not identified whether it is a student or staff member.

None of the reported new cases in child care settings are in the greater Kawarthas region.

There are currently 99 active cases in the greater Kawarthas region, including 39 in Hastings and Prince Edward counties, 28 in Northumberland, 23 in Peterborough, 8 in Kawartha Lakes, and 1 in Haliburton.

Since the pandemic began in the greater Kawarthas region, there have been 221 confirmed positive cases in the Peterborough area (193 resolved with 5 deaths), 203 in the City of Kawartha Lakes (176 resolved with 32 deaths), 101 in Northumberland County (72 resolved with 1 death), 27 in Haliburton County (26 resolved with no deaths), and 156 in Hastings and Prince Edward counties (114 resolved with 5 deaths). The most recent death was reported in Peterborough on November 23.

Province-wide, there have been 121,746 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,824 from yesterday. This number includes 127 cases from Middlesex-London Health Unit reported over the previous three days that, due to a data processing error, were not included in previous daily reports. There are 103,239 resolved cases (84.8% of all cases), an increase of 1,541 from yesterday. There have been 3,712 deaths, an increase of 14 from yesterday, with 2,342 deaths in long-term care homes, an increase of 11 from yesterday. The number of hospitalizations has increased by 10 to 666, with 12 additional patients with COVID-19 admitted to ICUs and 1 additional patient on a ventilator. A total of 6,406,655 tests have been completed, an increase of 52,873 from yesterday, with 58,320 tests under investigation, an increase of 8,746 from yesterday.

The provincial data in this report is pulled from Ontario’s integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) at 12 p.m. the previous day. Data from local health units is more current and is usually reflected in the provincial data the following day. There may be discrepancies between the Ontario data reported today (which is from yesterday) and the local health unit data reported today (which is from today).

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Peterborough Public Health

Peterborough Public Health’s service area is the City and County of Peterborough and the Hiawatha and Curve Lake First Nations.

The health unit provides daily reports, including on weekends.

Confirmed positive: 221 (increase of 2)
Active cases: 23 (decrease of 1)
Close contacts: 46 (decrease of 4)
Deaths: 5 (no change)
Resolved: 193 (increase of 3)
Hospitalizations (total to date): 10 (no change)*
Total tests completed: Over 37,000 (increase of 100)
Institutional outbreaks: Fairhaven (no change)

*The health unit is no longer reporting the total number of hospitalizations.

 

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s service area is the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County, and Haliburton County.

The health unit provides reports from Monday to Friday, excluding statutory holidays.

Confirmed positive: 331, including 203 in Kawartha Lakes, 101 in Northumberland, 27 in Haliburton (increase of 4, including 1 in Kawartha Lakes and 3 in Northumberland)
Active cases: 37, including 8 in Kawartha Lakes, 28 in Northumberland, and 1 in Haliburton (increase of 1 in Northumberland)
Probable cases: 0 (no change)
High-risk contacts: 156, including 22 in Kawartha Lakes, 128 in Northumberland, and 6 in Haliburton (increase of 39, including 8 in Kawartha Lakes and 31 in Northumberland)
Hospitalizations (total to date): 16, including 11 in Kawartha Lakes, 4 in Northumberland, and 1 in Haliburton (no change)
Deaths: 33 (no change)
Resolved: 274, including 176 in Kawartha Lakes, 72 in Northumberland, 26 in Haliburton (increase of 3 in Northumberland)
Institutional outbreaks: None (no change)

 

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health’s service area is Hastings County (including Bancroft) and Prince Edward County.

The health unit provides reports from Monday to Friday, excluding statutory holidays.

Confirmed positive: 156 (increase of 4)
Active cases: 39 (decrease of 5)
Deaths: 5 (no change)
Currently hospitalized: 0 (no change)
Currently hospitalized and in ICU: 0 (no change)
Currently hospitalized and in ICU on ventilator (total to date): 0 (no change)
Resolved: 114 (increase of 9)
New swabs completed: 5,036 (increase of 68)
Institutional outbreaks: None (no change)

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Province of Ontario

Confirmed positive: 121,746 (increase of 1,824)*
Resolved: 103,239 (increase of 1,541, 84.8% of all cases)
Hospitalized: 666 (increase of 10)
Hospitalized and in ICU: 195 (increase of 12)
Hospitalized and in ICU on ventilator: 107 (increase of 1)
Deaths: 3,712 (increase of 14)
Deaths of residents in long-term care homes: 2,342 (increase of 11)
Total tests completed: 6,406,655 (increase of 52,873)
Tests under investigation: 58,320 (increase of 8,746)

*This number includes 127 cases from Middlesex-London Health Unit reported over the previous three days that, due to a data processing error, were not included in previous reports.

New COVID-19 cases in Ontario from November 2 - December 2, 2020. The red line is the number of new cases reported daily, and the dotted green line is a five-day moving average of new cases. (Graphic: kawarthaNOW.com)
New COVID-19 cases in Ontario from November 2 – December 2, 2020. The red line is the number of new cases reported daily, and the dotted green line is a five-day moving average of new cases. (Graphic: kawarthaNOW.com)
COVID-19 tests completed in Ontario from November 2 - December 2, 2020. The red line is the number of tests completed daily, and the dotted green line is a five-day moving average of tests completed. (Graphic: kawarthaNOW.com)
COVID-19 tests completed in Ontario from November 2 – December 2, 2020. The red line is the number of tests completed daily, and the dotted green line is a five-day moving average of tests completed. (Graphic: kawarthaNOW.com)

 

For more information about COVID-19 in Ontario, visit covid-19.ontario.ca.

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