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Trudeau says first COVID-19 vaccines will face distribution hurdles in the new year – Canada News – Castanet.net

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says some COVID-19 vaccine candidates expected in the new year will pose significant logistical and distribution challenges.

Trudeau says he hopes a viable vaccine will be available to Canadians in the spring but notes some of the initial doses will require special handling that could complicate distribution efforts.

“We know that some of the first vaccines to come out have extremely high degrees of logistical support necessary — things like freezers that can keep the vaccines down at -80 degrees Celsius for example, which doesn’t lend itself to mass distribution in pharmacies across the country, for example, but later vaccines that will be arriving will be able to do that,” Trudeau said Friday.

“So we have to have a very sophisticated plan to be able to roll out vaccines the right way; the right vaccines in the right place to the right people.”

Earlier this week the National Advisory Committee on Immunization outlined four key groups that should be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Trudeau says those include populations with “a high degree of vulnerability,” such as Indigenous peoples and frontline health workers.

The prime minister’s comments came as Canada recorded 253,470 confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday, with especially alarming daily totals emerging across the country.

Alberta’s top doctor Deena Hinshaw announced a record-breaking range of 800 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, and suggested new public health restrictions may be on the way.

Alberta Health Sciences says its contact tracers are now unable to keep up with the “unprecedented” new daily cases, and that starting Friday AHSwill only notify close contacts of cases confirmed in health-care workers, minors and those who live or work within congregate or communal facilities.

Anyone outside of those three groups who have tested positive for COVID-19 must notify their own close contacts.

Meanwhile, Manitoba health officials are increasing restrictions in the Southern health region, following a similar move recently in Winnipeg.

Restaurants and bars will have to close except for takeout and delivery, and capacity limits will be reduced for religious services and other gatherings.

Provincewide, Manitoba is reporting 242 new cases and five additional deaths, with a testing positivity rate of 9.1 per cent.

On Friday, Quebec reported 1,133 new cases and 25 additional deaths while Ontario reported 1,003 new cases and 14 new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said 300 cases are in Toronto, 280 in Peel Region and 125 in York Region.

And in Nunavut, the chief public health officer confirmed the territory’s first case of COVID-19 — located in the Hudson Bay community of Sanikiluaq, home to about 850 people.

Trudeau urged the nation to maintain vigilance against further COVID-19 spread, saying “this situation is serious” and now is not the time to let down our guard.

He said surging counts should remind us of loved ones we all must protect. For him, that includes his godfather and uncle Tom Walker, who has been in and out of hospital and had to be readmitted to hospital Thursday.

Trudeau also pointed to increasing evidence of aerosol spread and urged Canadians to do everything possible to reduce outbreaks before the weather turned cold.

“Winter is coming. That means we’re going to have to get into more enclosed spaces, we’re not going to be able to open windows wide in rooms, ventilation is going to become much more important. We need to remember to be careful.”

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Family seeking COVID is “playing with a loaded gun” in B.C. city, mayor speaks out – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
The mayor of Revelstoke is appalled at a family rumoured to be trying to contract COVID-19 to “build their natural immunity” at a time when his city is discouraging visitors and grappling with a slew of active coronavirus cases.

Revelstoke has 32 active COVID-19 infections and a population of only 13,500 people, which is more than double the active cases per capita than in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, said Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz.

“We’ve become a little complacent because we haven’t seen this through the community in a big way over the last eight months so what we’re saying now is ‘it’s here, it’s not just those who are travelling in who are bringing this in, it’s here in our community,’” he said. 

Sulz said residents need to be more vigilant.

“It’s our locals who are not being vigilant who are spreading it so we need to make sure that everyone does follow the rules.”

The mayor also raised serious concerns about a family rumoured to be seeking out people who’ve tested positive in the community so that they can become infected, reminiscent of ‘chicken pox parties’ among kids before a reliable vaccine was developed.

“We are a healthy family and we would like to safely expose ourselves to the virus to build our natural immunity,” reads the ad posted to a local Craigslist-style website.

The post was removed before CTV News could attempt to contact the family. 

The post ends with a plea for “no hate mail.”

“You’re playing with a loaded gun,” warned Sulz.

“We don’t know what this disease can do, whether it’s an older person, younger person, someone who’s in their 30s and 40s. Because people feel they may be in good health doesn’t mean you should go out seeking this because it can have different effects for everyone. That, for me, is very concerning.”

While there were several cases in the United States of people trying to get COVID-19, scientists have repeatedly stressed that they don’t know whether contracting the virus will guarantee immunity and prevent a second infection.

Interior Health cases rising sharply

While Vancouver Coastal Health has brought down its active caseload per capita in the past week and Fraser Health has seen a smaller increase than before, cases in Interior Health have nearly doubled in that time.

Last week a CTV News analysis found there were 37 active cases for every 100,000 people who live in the Interior Health region. However, current data as of Dec. 1, shows there are now 65 cases per 100,000. Fraser Health has grown from 301 to 337 cases per 100,000 people, while Vancouver Coastal Health has dropped from 116 to 111 per 100,000.

In Revelstoke, where the exact number of residents is up to debate as the city claims double the number of inhabitants than the federal census, CTV’s analysis was based on the city’s declared total of 13,500, which puts their active cases at about 237 per 100,000.

That has the mayor pleading with those who think it’s safe to visit over the holidays to simply stay away.

“Snowmobiling, skiing, that’s the ultimate physical distancing but it is when you gather afterwards (that the virus is spreading),” he said. “We’re finding that COVID is spreading because of social gathering so we’re basically saying to people ‘avoid that the best that you can, stay in your own family bubble’.

Revelstoke has only 13 beds in its hospital, with two additional rooms for ventilators. While there aren’t any coronavirus patients there now, the mayor fears the mountain city will soon see its first COVID-19 deaths.

“There isn’t any leeway,” said Sulz bluntly. “If it gets into our hospital or seniors centre or something like that, it’s going to be devastating for this community.”

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COVID-19 in B.C.: 834 more cases, 12 deaths in the last 24 hours – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
B.C. has added 834 more cases of COVID-19 to its total, as well as 12 more deaths from the disease.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the new numbers Wednesday during a live briefing.

There are now 8,941 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., another new record. Of that total, 337 people are hospitalized with the coronavirus, which is also a record. There are 79 people in intensive care with the virus.

Since the pandemic began, the province has recorded 34,728 cases of COVID-19 and 469 deaths.

Henry also announced multiple new outbreaks of the disease on Wednesday, including two community outbreaks in the Fraser Health region, at The Cove Shelter in Surrey and at Millennium Pacific Greenhouses in Delta.

Three more health-care facilities have had outbreaks of the coronavirus declared: Royal City Manor long-term care home in New Wesminster, Saanich Peninsula Hospital in Saanich and West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni.

With 54 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care in the province and a recent spike in the number of daily deaths B.C. has seen, Henry highlighted the need for British Columbians to overcome their pandemic fatigue.

“We hope and expect that vaccines will be ready in the next few weeks,” the provincial health officer said. “But this virus continues to move and move quickly between us, and it takes lives. Another 12 families have been affected today, and we are continuing to see unchecked transmission in many places despite our efforts.”

A total of 10,201 people are under active public health monitoring because of exposures to known cases of COVID-19, Henry said, adding that public health orders she has put in place must be followed to get the province through the rest of the pandemic’s second wave.

“Those are there because we know that these are situations where this virus can spread very easily now,” she said. “It’s not about bad people or people doing the wrong things, it’s the fact that we know this virus can spread even in places where we thought it was safe with the guidelines we had in place just a few months ago.”

Henry also repeated her plea to British Columbians and residents of other provinces to stay home and avoid travelling outside of their local communities.

She acknowledged that it has been a “challenge” for people to limit their travel, citing examples of people travelling to and from B.C. for recreation and sports, despite health officials’ warnings.

The provincial health officer shared the specific example of an “old-timers'” hockey team from B.C.’s Interior that travelled to Alberta. She declined to identify the team or where it was from, saying her understanding is that it’s not a unique case. She described it as a “cautionary tale.”

“Now, there are dozens of people who are infected and it has spread in the community,” Henry said. “We need to stop. Right now. To protect our communities and our families and our health-care workers. This is avoidable, and these are the measures that we need to take.”

Wednesday’s new outbreaks come alongside five outbreaks that have been declared over, including the care home outbreaks at Cottage Worthington Pavilion in Abbotsford, Discovery Harbour Care Centre in Campbell River and Orchard Manor in Kelowna.

The other two health-care outbreaks recently concluded are at acute-care units at Burnaby Hospital and Langley Memorial Hospital.

Most of the new cases added Wednesday are located in the Lower Mainland, with 529 in Fraser Health and 174 in Vancouver Coastal Health.

Elsewhere in the province, 66 cases have been added in Interior Health, 45 in Northern Health and 20 in Island Health.

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Family seeking COVID is 'playing with a loaded gun' in B.C. city, mayor says – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
The mayor of Revelstoke is appalled at a family rumoured to be trying to contract COVID-19 to “build their natural immunity” at a time when his city is discouraging visitors and grappling with a slew of active coronavirus cases.

Revelstoke has 32 active COVID-19 infections and a population of only 13,500 people, which is more than double the active cases per capita than in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, said Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz.

“We’ve become a little complacent because we haven’t seen this through the community in a big way over the last eight months so what we’re saying now is ‘it’s here, it’s not just those who are travelling in who are bringing this in, it’s here in our community,’” he said. 

Sulz said residents need to be more vigilant.

“It’s our locals who are not being vigilant who are spreading it so we need to make sure that everyone does follow the rules.”

The mayor also raised serious concerns about a family rumoured to be seeking out people who’ve tested positive in the community so that they can become infected, reminiscent of ‘chicken pox parties’ among kids before a reliable vaccine was developed.

“We are a healthy family and we would like to safely expose ourselves to the virus to build our natural immunity,” reads the ad posted to a local Craigslist-style website.

The post was removed before CTV News could attempt to contact the family. 

The post ends with a plea for “no hate mail.”

“You’re playing with a loaded gun,” warned Sulz.

“We don’t know what this disease can do, whether it’s an older person, younger person, someone who’s in their 30s and 40s. Because people feel they may be in good health doesn’t mean you should go out seeking this because it can have different effects for everyone. That, for me, is very concerning.”

While there were several cases in the United States of people trying to get COVID-19, scientists have repeatedly stressed that they don’t know whether contracting the virus will guarantee immunity and prevent a second infection.

Interior Health cases rising sharply

While Vancouver Coastal Health has brought down its active caseload per capita in the past week and Fraser Health has seen a smaller increase than before, cases in Interior Health have nearly doubled in that time.

Last week a CTV News analysis found there were 37 active cases for every 100,000 people who live in the Interior Health region. However, current data as of Dec. 1, shows there are now 65 cases per 100,000. Fraser Health has grown from 301 to 337 cases per 100,000 people, while Vancouver Coastal Health has dropped from 116 to 111 per 100,000.

In Revelstoke, where the exact number of residents is up to debate as the city claims double the number of inhabitants than the federal census, CTV’s analysis was based on the city’s declared total of 13,500, which puts their active cases at about 237 per 100,000.

That has the mayor pleading with those who think it’s safe to visit over the holidays to simply stay away.

“Snowmobiling, skiing, that’s the ultimate physical distancing but it is when you gather afterwards (that the virus is spreading),” he said. “We’re finding that COVID is spreading because of social gathering so we’re basically saying to people ‘avoid that the best that you can, stay in your own family bubble’.

Revelstoke has only 13 beds in its hospital, with two additional rooms for ventilators. While there aren’t any coronavirus patients there now, the mayor fears the mountain city will soon see its first COVID-19 deaths.

“There isn’t any leeway,” said Sulz bluntly. “If it gets into our hospital or seniors centre or something like that, it’s going to be devastating for this community.”

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