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Top doctor urges 'pause' over long weekend before businesses reopen Tuesday – 680 News

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VICTORIA — British Columbia’s top doctor is urging residents to stay close to home over the long weekend in order to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 before some businesses reopen on Tuesday.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says much of the virus’s spread has occurred because symptoms are often mild, especially in the early stages of illness, and people may not recognize it could be COVID-19 making them sick.

Phase two of B.C.’s restart plan kicks off Tuesday and Henry says the latest guidelines for businesses that are allowed to begin reopening are now available on the province’s website.

She says each business must have a COVID-19 safety plan in place that customers, employees and public health officials may access.

B.C. reported 21 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the province’s total to 2,428 — an increase of 0.87 per cent.

Henry says 355 of those cases are active, with 49 people in hospital and 11 in critical or intensive care.

One more person has died after contracting the novel coronavirus, raising the province’s death toll to 141.

Henry says there are no new community outbreaks, but there are ongoing outbreaks in 15 long-term care facilities and five acute care units, as well as a fruit and vegetable processing facility in Coquitlam.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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UPDATE: No new cases in Guelph, Wellington County for second straight day – GuelphToday

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For the second consecutive day there have been no new COVID-19 cases confirmed by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health in Guelph and Wellington County.

The numbers of cases and the number of those resolved cases remained the same.

Guelph (cases/deaths): 150/9

Wellington County (cases/deaths): 70/2

Guelph resolved: 111

Wellington County resolved: 48

Hospitalized: 7

Intensive care unit: 2

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'No benefit' from hydroxychloroquine for virus: U.K. trial – CTV News

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A major British clinical trial has found hydroxychloroquine has “no benefit” for patients hospitalised with COVID-19, scientists said Friday, in the first large-scale study to provide results for a drug at the centre of political and scientific controversy.

Hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria and rheumatoid arthritis drug, has been touted as a possible treatment for the new coronavirus by high profile figures, including U.S. President Donald Trump, and has been included in several randomised clinical trials.

The University of Oxford’s Recovery trial, the biggest of these so far to come forward with findings, said that it would now stop recruiting patients to be given hydroxychloroquine “with immediate effect”. 

“Our conclusion is that this treatment does not reduce the risk of dying from COVID among hospital patients and that clearly has a significant importance for the way patients are treated, not only in the UK, but all around the world,” said Martin Landray, an Oxford professor of medicine and epidemiology who co-leads the study. 

The randomised clinical trial — considered the gold standard for clinical investigation — has recruited a total of 11,000 patients from 175 hospitals in the UK to test a range of potential treatments. 

Other drugs continuing to be tested include: the combination of HIV antivirals Lopinavir and Ritonavir; a low dose of the steroid Dexamethasone, typically used to reduce inflammation; antibiotic Azithromycin; and the anti inflammatory drug Tocilizumab.

Researchers are also testing convalescent plasma from the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19, which contains antibodies to fight the virus.

Researchers said 1,542 patients were randomly assigned to hydroxychloroquine and compared with 3,132 patients given standard hospital care alone. 

They found “no significant difference” in mortality after 28 days between the two groups, and no evidence that treatment with the drug shortens the amount of time spent in hospital.

“This is a really important result, at last providing unequivocal evidence that hydroxychloroquine is of no value in treatment of patients hospitalised with COVID-19,” said Peter Openshaw, a professor at Imperial College London, in reaction to the results.

He added that the drug was “quite toxic” so halting the trials would be of benefit to patients.  

Hydroxychloroquine has been in use for years but it has a number of potentially serious side effects, including heart arrhythmia. 

‘IT DOESN’T WORK’

Researchers from the Recovery trial said they would share their data with the World Health Organization (WHO), which on Wednesday restarted its own trials of hydroxychloroquine.

They were temporarily halted last month because of a now-retracted observational study in The Lancet medical journal that had suggested hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a related compound, were ineffective against COVID-19 and even increased the risk of death.

Authors of the Lancet research said on Thursday that they could no longer vouch for the integrity of its underlying data, in the face of serious concerns raised by fellow scientists over a lack of clarity about the countries and hospitals that contributed patient information.   

The scandal cast a shadow over The Lancet and another top medical journal, but it did nothing to clear up the increasingly politicised question of whether or not hydroxychloroquine works as a treatment for COVID-19. 

Openshaw said the Recovery trial should be credited with continuing the research until they could reach a definitive conclusion on hydroxychloroquine. 

“Everyone regrets that it doesn’t work, but knowing that allows us to focus on finding drugs that actually help recovery from COVID-19,” he added. 

Oxford professor Peter Horby, the lead investigator on the Recovery Trial, said there was probably a “very large number” of people around the world taking hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, with countries including the U.S., China and Brazil authorising it. 

A separate clinical trial on Wednesday in the U.S. and Canada found that taking hydroxychloroquine shortly after being exposed to COVID-19 does not work to prevent infection significantly better than a placebo.

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City asking people to wear masks on buses, but not mandatory – GuelphToday

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As the city prepares to allow more riders on Guelph Transit buses, it is asking riders to wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

They are not mandatory.

Free 30-minute Guelph Transit service will continue for the rest of June but the city says thta with more businesses reopening and more people heading back to work, Guelph Transit is preparing to resume fare collection and regular schedules later in the summer.

In a news release Friday morning, the city said the request is based advice from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

“According to health officials, wearing a homemade face covering/non-medical mask is not a substitute for physical distancing and hand washing. Wearing a mask has not been proven to protect the person wearing it, but it can help protect others around you,” the release said.

“As the buses get busy again, physical distancing may not always be possible. We’re asking riders to wear a non-medical mask or face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says Robin Gerus, general manager of Guelph Transit.

Guelph Transit is encouraging face coverings, not requiring them.

“It’s becoming more common to wear a mask on public transit in other cities, but it’s new for Guelph. Some riders may not be aware of or understand the latest guidelines from health officials. Some may not have resources to purchase or make a mask, or they may have a medical reason for not wearing one,” added Gerus. Everyone is welcome to use Guelph Transit, and we’re asking people to protect and respect each other as ridership increases.”

Since March, Guelph Transit made the following adjustments to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • free 30-minute service allows passengers to avoid using the farebox and board from the rear door
  • plastic barrier between the driver and passengers
  • hand sanitizing stations and cleaning supplies for drivers
  • no more than 10 people per bus
  • blocked several seats to encourage physical distancing between passengers

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the City and Guelph Transit encourage riders to continue following the latest advice from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health:

  • wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer
  • stay at least two metres away from people you don’t live with
  • when you can’t maintain physical distancing, wear a non-medical mask or face covering

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