FREDERICTON – As New Brunswick reports no new COVID-19 cases for the sixth time in the last 10 days, the conversation in the province has inched towards the re-opening of the economy, as reflected in the provincial press conference Monday.
While five people are still hospitalized, including two in intensive care, 98 people have recovered. There have been no fatalities and the number of total cases has stayed at 118.
Premier Blaine Higgs said we won’t be ready to go back to normal until a vaccine is available, but the data is cause for hope.
“The fact that we’re continuing to receive positive results would reinforce our idea to look at getting back to a new norm, whatever that will be, it will be different than what we’re used to. Also looking at the economic recovery side, and then trying to balance this as we reintegrate into society,” said Premier Blaine Higgs.
With elective surgeries being postponed to ensure the system can handle COVID-19-related hospitalizations and to protect those that may be vulnerable to the virus, Higgs says the recovery plan is not just about economics. It’s also about ensuring the healthcare system gets “back to its original self and better, as we’ve learned through this process.”
Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, says the province’s recovery plan will be based partly on criteria being discussed at the national level. The province will incorporate what is identified as triggers at the national level on its own approach to ease or strengthen safety measures like physical distancing.
“We will make sure we have those conversations and make sure that we get things back up and running as soon as we can with all of those pieces of information in mind, knowing that, again, this will be a cyclical event,” Russell said.
Because neighbouring jurisdictions are likely to continue struggling with rising numbers of cases, New Brunswick’s leaders have to be ready to ease and re-impose measures “on very short notice.”
“So we’re going to be doing a dance, basically, where we lift measures and we put them back in place based on data and based on criteria that are being established at the national level around case counts and the types of cases that we see in the province, and the time frame around when we stop seeing an increase in numbers,” she said.
While the criteria on what data will be used to determine when and how measures can be eased, each province will depend on their own number of cases, type of transmissions, and other data to figure out exactly what measures can be eased at a point in time in certain regions.
“Right now we’re trying to nail down a consistent framework so that we’re all singing from the same songbook. That way, when we do apply those measures individually in each province, then we can have our own discussions around what that looks like at a provincial level and then at a regional level,” Russell said.
Premier Higgs has said he hopes to see positive changes at the beginning of May. But those changes are unlikely to include the re-opening of the provincial borders for non-essential travel.
“[Border closure] will be one of the last things that would change,” he said, urging New Brunswickers to again explore the province this summer. “At this stage, any outside travel would require a quarantine coming back into the province.”
In the “coming days and weeks,” he says the government will look at allowing specific businesses to re-open if they can verify and validate physical distancing and other safety measures.
Higgs said the province wants to identify requirements that businesses will have to fulfill in order to reopen, including possibly providing a procedure that is approved by public health officials. The onus will be on the business operators to meet those guidelines, and the consequences of not complying would be either a fine or a shutdown.
“We’ll be providing that sort of path forward in the coming days and weeks,” the Premier said. “We just cannot allow any option, I guess, to loosen our current situation that would be to our detriment and we see an increase of cases because it can start so quickly if we don’t all continue to exercise good behaviour.”
Part of the consideration to restarting the economy is the re-opening of childcare facilities, as parents will be going to work, Higgs added.
The Premier also spoke about ensuring the province has the supplies it needs for essentials, even as export-import activities are affected.
“We had a discussion last week about food security. If we can ramp up our ability to grow more here in the province and have a greater level of food security, then let’s start down that path,” he said.
“We’re all in agreement. One thing we have here in this province….is we have lots of land and we need to make better use of it. So we can start to reduce our dependence, but it’s again not something you can do overnight. It’s something that you build a clear line target.”
He says the province has shown a unique ability to work through a crisis in a non-partisan way, “and that’s exciting.”
“We need to build our economic recovery in the same non-partisan fashion so it will continue to get better year-on-year, and it won’t be dependent on the election cycle,” he said.
BlackburnNews.com – Six more COVID-19 recoveries in Lambton – BlackburnNews.com
Six more COVID-19 recoveries in Lambton
June 6, 2020 7:02am
Lambton Public Health is reporting six more COVID-19 recoveries.
The health unit reported Friday night that of 267 confirmed cases, 223 have now recovered.
The death toll remains unchanged since Tuesday at 24.
Lambton Public Health has now received the results from 7,861 tests, 96 per cent of which have been negative for COVID-19.
Bluewater Health reported Friday that 12 patients were in hospital confirmed to have the virus, and 26 were in hospital suspected of having it with tests pending.
Trucker brings in another case of COVID-19 as two new cases emerge Friday – Winnipeg Sun
Another case of COVID-19 in a truck driver, and one in a close household contact of that driver, were reported by public health officials on Friday.
The two new cases bring the province’s total to an even 300 since the outbreak began in early March. The cases are both from Winnipeg. One is in a man in his 30s and another in a man in his 20s.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said the trucker who tested positive had travelled outside of the province.
Other details were sparse, including if the driver had self-isolated or not.
“I don’t have a lot of details on that as of yet, the public health investigation is ongoing,” Roussin said.
Last week, two cases in truck drivers that had travelled into the U.S. for work were also reported.
Roussin said no new measures are going to be implemented in terms of testing truck drivers or requiring them to self-isolate upon return from international or domestic travel.
Currently, all truck drivers can access asymptomatic testing, but Roussin said they cannot disrupt supply chains into the province.
The province’s active caseload jumped to nine with the two new cases as no new recoveries were announced. There have been 284 total recoveries thus far.
The death toll in Manitoba remains at seven, and no one is in hospital at the moment.
The Cadham Provincial Laboratory processed 671 tests on Thursday, bringing the running total since early February to 47,372.
Meanwhile, changes to the hours of operation at community testing sites in Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Steinbach and Winkler, as well as at Thunderbird House in Winnipeg, come into effect this weekend.
Due to low patient volumes, these sites are now closed on Sundays.
KNOWLEDGE, ROAD TESTS RESUME
Manitoba Public Insurance is resuming knowledge tests for all licence classes and road test bookings for Class 1 licences effective immediately, a release said on Friday.
Customers are encouraged to book Class 5 and 6 knowledge tests online. For those who cannot book online, MPI is allowing customers who phone their Autopac agent to perform certain critical transactions over the phone or by email.
For Class 1 road tests, drivers will be required to provide and wear their own mask, be screened prior to the test and sanitize all touchpoints in their vehicle.
Knowledge test customers will be asked to arrive on-site 15 minutes prior to their appointment.
Ripples from coronavirus research scandal rocks global scientific community – RFI English
Issued on: 06/06/2020 – 12:02Modified: 06/06/2020 – 12:02
The first research scandal of the coronavirus pandemic has created unnecessary distraction around the politically divisive drug hydroxychloroquine, scientists say.
This as questions swirl around the tiny health care company at the center of the affair.
On Thursday, most of the authors of major studies that appeared in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) retracted their work.
The issued apologies, saying they could no longer vouch for their data after the firm that supplied it — Chicago-based Surgisphere — refused to be audited.
At any other time the matter might have led to hang-wringing within academia, but it has taken on a new dimension as the world grapples with a virus that has claimed some 400,000 lives.
Of particular interest was the paper in The Lancet that claimed to have analyzed the records of 96,032 patients admitted to 671 hospitals across six continents, finding that hydroxychloroquine showed no benefit and even increased the risk of death.
Its withdrawal is seen as a boost to backers of the decades-old anti-malarial drug, who include US President Donald Trump and his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro.
“It’s very politicized — there is a group, probably not particularly small, who have learned to mistrust science and scientists, and this just feeds into that narrative,” Gabe Kelen, a professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University, told French new agency AFP.
This is despite the fact that even without The Lancet paper, evidence has been building against hydroxychloroquine’s use against COVID-19.
On Friday, results from a fourth randomized controlled trial — carefully designed human experiments considered the most robust form of clinical investigation — showed it had no impact against the virus.
The Lancet, which first published in 1823, is one of the world’s most trusted medical journals.
As a result, the hydroxychloroquine paper had an outsized impact: the World Health Organization, Britain and France all suspended ongoing clinical trials.
But things soon began unravelling after researchers noticed numerous red flags, from the huge number of patients involved to the unusual level of detail about the doses they had received.
Both The Lancet and the equally prestigious NEJM, which had published a paper on whether blood thinners elevated the risk of COVID-19 that relied on the same company, issued expressions of concern — before the authors themselves pulled both papers.
Role of Surgisphere
Surgisphere, founded in 2007 by vascular surgeon Sapan Desai, had refused to share data with third-party reviewers, saying it would violate privacy agreements with hospitals.
However, when science news site The Scientist began reaching out to hospitals throughout the US to ask whether they had participated, it found none.
Surgisphere’s internet profile has also raised numerous questions. Only a handful of employees could be found on LinkedIn, and most have now deactivated their accounts.
According to the Guardian newspaper, its employees included an adult model and until last week the contact page on its website redirected to a WordPress template for a cryptocurrency website, leaving it unclear how hospitals could have reached out to them.
Meanwhile Desai, who according to court records has three outstanding medical malpractice suits against him, has written extensively in the past on research misconduct.
“The most serious cause of fraud in medical publishing is manufactured data that authors use to support high impact conclusions,” he said in a 2013 paper.
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BlackburnNews.com – Six more COVID-19 recoveries in Lambton – BlackburnNews.com
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