ALPENA — Far more people unvaccinated against COVID-19 call an ambulance than those vaccinated, local first responders say.
Officials worry the number of medical calls from people suffering from severe COVID-19 symptoms could increase through the holiday season if more people don’t get their shots.
Capt. Andy Marceau, community risk reduction officer at the Alpena Fire Department, said more people in Alpena County need emergency care because of COVID-19 than at any other point of the pandemic.
As of now, he doesn’t have any call volume totals for COVID-19 ambulance responses, but everyone at the department sees the surge, Marceau said.
“We have been running nonstop, and the majority of the people are unvaccinated,” Marceau said. “We are seeing this with our own two eyes, that the vaccinated aren’t as sick as the unvaccinated. People who call us have general sickness and difficulty breathing. When they can’t breathe, it is a scary situation and a helpless feeling for them.”
As of Thursday, 1,175 Northeast Michiganders were actively infected with COVID-19, down from nearly 1,300 earlier last week as more people survived the 30 days after infection to meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of recovered from the disease.
Though the active-infections count has dropped, it remains at a level not seen at any other time during the coronavirus pandemic.
At this time last year, fewer than 500 were actively infected.
The area is still well short of the 70% vaccination rate public health experts have said we have to hit to consider the coronavirus pandemic over.
The state says that, among those 5 and older, about 54% of Alpena County residents, 59% of Presque Isle County residents, 53% of Montmorency County residents, and 56% of Alcona County residents have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Marceau said paramedics have limited options to help people in respiratory distress. He said first responders can administer high-flow oxygen on the scene and during the transfer, but other treatments have to wait until the patient gets to the hospital.
“There is no magic thing we can do to help them,” Marceau said.
The Alpena Fire Department paramedics, who provide medical care throughout all of Alpena County, have dealt with the impact of COVID-19 for nearly two years, Marceau said. He said first responders know how to remain safe when working with infected patients and depend on their personal protection equipment to keep them safe. Because of their experience with COVID-19 patients, they rarely feel any fear of becoming infected themselves and focus completely on the job at hand.
“It is better now than what it was early on,” Marceau said. “We take all of the precautions we need to and it is just part of doing business for us. I think the men and women at the department are doing a great job, and have been since the very beginning.”
The last two weeks have consisted of many COVID-19-related emergency calls, Marceau said, but added that everyone has their fingers crossed that the number of infections and the severity of them will begin to diminish soon.
Marceau said he hopes the latest infection numbers continue in the right direction but added that might not be in the cards as the holidays approach and people congregate more indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.
Still, Marceau said, people need to live and enjoy their lives while taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others from the disease.
“We are coming up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it is the season of gathering, so I’m not so sure we have seen the worst of it yet, but we hope we have,” he said. “But we also can’t quit living our lives all together, either. We just need to be smart, responsible to remain safe.”
COVID-19 shows up in Canadian wildlife for first time with three Quebec deer infected – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
OTTAWA – For the first time, the COVID-19 virus has been detected in Canadian wildlife.
Environment Canada says the virus was detected late last month in three wild white-tailed deer in Quebec.
The department says the deer all appeared healthy and showed no clinical signs of COVID-19.
The discovery follows recent reports of the virus spreading among white-tailed deer in the United States.
There has so far been no known transmission of COVID-19 from deer to humans and Environment Canada says it remains “largely a disease of human concern and typically spreads from human to human.”
Still, until more is known, it says anyone exposed to respiratory tissues and fluids from deer should wear a well-fitting mask and avoid splashing of fluids as much as possible.
COVID-19 has infected multiple species of animals, including dogs, cats, farmed mink and zoo animals. But this is the first time in Canada that it has spilled over into wildlife.
Deer in the Estrie region of Quebec were sampled Nov. 6 to 8. The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease confirmed the virus in three of them on Monday. The World Organisation for Animal Health was notified on Wednesday.
“As this is the first detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife in Canada, information on the impacts and spread of the virus in wild deer populations is currently limited,” Environment Canada said in a news release Wednesday.
“This finding emphasizes the importance of ongoing surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife to increase our understanding about SARS-CoV-2 on the human-animal interface.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2021.
KFL&A reports 34 new COVID-19 cases, 304 active – Globalnews.ca
The Kingston region is once again over the 300 active cases mark, as Wednesday’s 34 new cases bring the daily active case count to 304.
Of the new cases, 10 are in the five-to-11 age group.
Nineteen people remain in hospital, with 11 of those cases are in the intensive care unit. Six people are on ventilators.
The cases per 100,000 over the past week is up slightly to 104.7, from 102.8 Tuesday.
The rise in cases locally has also forced the postponing of at least one local event. The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was scheduled to have its grand opening on Dec. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.
“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have significant impacts throughout our communities, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is committed to supporting the community through this time of heightened risk and uncertainty,” the Marine Museum said in a statement Wednesday.
“We consider the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors paramount.”
As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Roussin takes aim at HIV stigma – Brandon Sun
Wednesday was World AIDS Day and the province is getting behind the message to end the stigma of the disease.
There were 117 new cases of HIV identified in the province in 2020, slightly fewer than in 2019.
“Even though there are fewer cases, there was also significantly less testing,” Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said Wednesday.
“Around 25 per cent of people with HIV are unaware they have it, and that can contribute to the spread.”
The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS continues to be a significant public health issue in the province. Roussin said the populations most at risk are also facing problems of accessibility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roussin urged people who may be at risk to get regular testing and speak to their health-care providers regarding prevention, testing and treatment options.
All these services are confidential and free of charge.
Those living with HIV are also encouraged to stay connected to care and treatments.
Roussin said it is considered a chronic infection and there are effective treatments for HIV, with many being able to get the virus level down to undetectable levels and minimizing risk of transmitting it to other people.
» The Brandon Sun
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