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Vaccine distribution ramping up as 11% of Canadians get first shots: Ottawa – Abbotsford News

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Canada has hit a milestone in its COVID-19 vaccination drive and the federal government says it expects to deliver at least 1.5 million more doses within the next week.

Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, said during a news conference Thursday that the country had surpassed the 10 per cent mark of residents over 18 receiving at least one shot.

“To date, over 4.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Canada,” Njoo said in Ottawa. “This marks an important milestone, with more than 11 per cent of eligible adult Canadians … having received at least one dose.”

Njoo said that includes 60 per cent of people older than 80 and 19 per cent between 70 and 79. More than 60 per cent of adults in the three territories have received their first shot, he said.

But he warned those numbers aren’t enough to stop the spread as more transmissible variants continue to pose a “significant threat” until more people are vaccinated.

Federal officials said a total of six million vaccine doses have been delivered to the provinces and territories.

“With nearly two million vaccine doses to be distributed next week, we are clearly on track to receive eight million vaccine doses, reaching our objective for this quarter,” said Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander who is overseeing the country’s vaccine program logistics.

Fortin said he doesn’t expect any disruption to shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from Europe, despite concerns about potential export reductions by the European Union.

He said 1.2 million Pfizer doses are to arrive next week — the same as this week, which was the largest shipment so far.

Another 846,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are also being delivered, though there was word late Thursday that a batch of nearly 600,000, which was expected to arrive on the weekend, has been delayed until April 1.

Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand blamed a “backlog in its quality assurance process.”

“All of the doses have been manufactured and are authorized for shipment to Canada,” she said. “Once Moderna’s final quality assurance process has been completed, the doses will be released for shipment.”

The first 1.5 million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses coming from the United States could also arrive next week, Fortin said, but a date has not yet been confirmed.

Fortin said there’s no indication that shipments of vaccine to Canada from India will be delayed, but added those discussions are ongoing.

Media reports Wednesday said India has halted exports of Covishield, the version of AstraZeneca produced at that country’s Serum Institute.

India has already supplied 500,000 of a planned two million doses to Canada, with another one million still slated for arrival in mid-April, followed by a final shipment a month or so later.

Health Canada noted Thursday it has updated the product label for the AstraZeneca vaccine to warn about blood clotting. Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser for the federal department, said three cases of blood clotting have been reported out of 300,000 Canadians who have received at least one dose, but none appeared to be linked to the vaccine.

Sharma said she agrees with European health authorities that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any potential risks, and that all four vaccines approved for use in Canada are considered safe.

Canada’s overall infection rate since the pandemic began a year ago is nearing the one-million mark. To date, the virus has killed 22,759 people across the country.

Health officials in New Brunswick are imposing circuit-breaker measures in an effort to contain an outbreak of the infection in the province’s northwest.

“We’re quite concerned because it is the variant,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “We have to pull out all the stops to get things under control.”

The province reported 30 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 89 active cases.

In Nova Scotia, there were four additional cases, including two related to travel, for a total of 25.

Ontario reported another 2,380 cases and 17 deaths, but officials noted that number was inflated because of a data catchup.

Quebec reported 945 cases and four more deaths, while Manitoba reported 111 cases and one death.Saskatchewan had 168 new cases and two deaths.

In Alberta, health officials reported 764 cases and three deaths. Twenty-one per cent of active cases were variants of concern.

British Columbia officials said they have seen an increase in cases among people who are 19 to 39 in the past six weeks even as COVID-19 cases decrease in people over 80.

Long-term care residents in British Columbia will soon be allowed more than one visitor and will be able to give their loved ones a hug after more than a year of strict restrictions.

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3 Ways to Incorporate CBD Into Your Spring Wellness Plan

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Canada’s cannabis market has grown significantly since it first became legal in 2018 — when the federal government legalized the plant for recreational use. Since that time, the market has developed into a variety of avenues. From edibles to beverages and beyond, the number of legal products available continues to grow.

As spring weather takes over from the cold winter months, there is an opportunity for novice and experienced CBD users to incorporate this newly legal plant into their diets and wellness routines. Let’s take a look at three popular ways to incorporate CBD into your spring diet.

1.   Food & Drink

The food and beverages we consume have a significant impact on our overall health and wellness. The incorporation of edibles is one of the fastest-growing avenues of legal CBD production in Canada. Consumers are gravitating towards the discretionary and efficiency functions of edibles.

As more licenced businesses begin to set up shop across the country, the variety of products available shows genuine promise — whether it’s with gummies or a sweet chamomile herbal tea, this is where Canada’s entrepreneurs are shining.

The CBD properties in edibles are becoming a go-to for many consumers looking to regulate their appetites, improve muscle function, and treat mood irregularities. Incorporating CBD into your spring diet may be a gradual process, particularly if you’re new to the experience. The easiest way to experiment is with the smallest dosage recommended and gauge your body’s reaction — as time goes on, you may be able to incorporate a higher dosage into your food or drink.

2.   Improving Sleep

Developing a healthy sleep pattern is a crucial part of your mental and physical health. The conversation around CBD and improved sleep is ongoing, though it shows promise. Since CBD is a non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, it could offer therapeutic benefits without the attached high that comes with the same plant’s THC compounds.

Oils are one of the most popular ways to incorporate CBD into a sleeping ritual — consumers can choose to add the oil directly to their skin or add a few droplets to their diffusers while they sleep. The way the CBD compound reacts to the body’s serotonin receptors and the brain’s receptors is continuously studied. Consumers can use the available research and reports to decide whether adding CBD to their nighttime routine is the right choice for their lifestyle.

3.   Fitness Routine

Incorporating CBD has been a growing fundamental practice for anyone looking to improve their physical fitness. We know CBD is one of the many chemical compounds found in cannabinoids. Still, Cannabinoids actually exist in our bodies via our endocannabinoid system — which is known to regulate various functions in our body from appetite and mood to sleep and memory.

For those looking to add a therapeutic remedy to their active lifestyle, topical CBD products could be the answer. Massage oil or body cream has the potential to improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, and aid in the recovery of soft tissue injuries.

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Budget Tips Canadians Should Consider Before Renovating Their Home

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Budget Tips

The decision to undergo a home renovation project should be exercised with an equal amount of excitement and caution. Most renovations require dealing with the foundation, plumbing, or electrical within the home, producing significant costs.

Canadians should approach each renovation with a firm understanding of their finances, especially if the project will involve a contractor or paid professional. To make sure you’re on the right track, these budget tips can help.

1.   Estimate Your Costs

If you’re considering a renovation on your home you’ve likely come up with temporary plans and dreamed-up colour schemes and design ideas. The next step is evaluating the costs for each renovation to determine if you have the financials you need to get started.

When it comes to budgeting for a home renovation, it’s important to overprepare — creating a spreadsheet outlining each project and your projected costs will help you visualize your expenses. Once you have your costs in front of you, you’ll want to pad your budget slightly. Renovations are synonymous with surprises and inflated costs, and it’s always better to be overprepared.

2.   Find Savings with DIY

One of the simplest ways to lower your renovation expenses is to take on specific projects yourself. The DIY approach can range from construction-based projects to simply painting the walls or re-furnishing your old furniture — it all depends on how handy you are and the time you have to contribute to the project. If you can manage to save money on professional painters or lessen the number of construction workers on any project, your chances of saving money are far more significant.

3.   Know Your Financing Options

Ideally, you’ll want to have as much money saved as possible before undergoing any projects in your home. Every household is unique, which means your financing options may vary from your neighbours. What you’ll need to ask yourselves is, how much money will you require to complete this renovation and will you be able to pay back potential loans?

Homeowners are looking for alternative lending options that don’t require the stress and time that can come with traditional lenders — extensive interviews, paperwork, and the time it takes to receive any cash is unfavourable for most.

These days, homeowners are looking at online-only lenders like Flexmoney.ca for a faster, more convenient way to access the money they need to complete their projects. The new wave of lenders is focused on helping borrowers access the cash they need quickly and without the added stress of waiting and wondering if they’ve been approved. It’s easier to focus on what needs to be done in your home when you have the funds you need to get the job done.

4.   Shopping Second-Hand

The idea of second-hand is still new for many homeowners, who are hesitant to purchase things for their homes that have been previously used. The reality is that second-hand goods are a beneficial tool for anyone looking to save money on their renovation. With some time and patience, you could find great deals on appliances, furniture, and home decor. With the extra savings, you can focus on the areas of the home that need the additional capital — or, if you’re right on budget, any money you’ve saved could go into a savings or investment account.

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Ontario’s strained intensive care units

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By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Over the course of a single shift last week, critical care physician Laveena Munshi saw her intensive care unit (ICU) at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital fill with pregnant and post-partum COVID-19 patients.

During that week, the ICU doubled the total number of pregnant COVID-19 patients it had previously seen throughout the entire pandemic. Swamped with patients with complex medical needs, one day Munshi ended up pulling a 36-hour shift.

“You do what you have to do,” she said.

Ontario’s hospitals and ICUs have been crushed by a punishing third coronavirus wave, as depleted resources and overworked staff push Canada‘s healthcare system – often held up as a model for the rest of the world – to the brink.

Last week, Munshi and her colleagues spent agonizing hours discussing what to do if a pregnant woman needed an artificial lung to help her get enough oxygen.

“Having delivery equipment outside an ICU room is never a thing you want to be walking into at the beginning of your shift,” she said. “It just adds an added layer of unnecessary sadness to this whole pandemic.”

By Thursday, ICUs in Ontario, Canada‘s most populous province, had 800 COVID-19 patients, with such admissions at the highest point since the pandemic began.

Patients are coming in younger and sicker, driven by more highly transmissible virus variants. Hospital staff say they are seeing whole families infected due to transmission at front-line workplaces that have remained open through lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.

Mount Sinai Hospital just added a third ICU. It has seconded non-ICU nurses to help deliver critical care to the most seriously ill patients as it braces for the worst.

“The next couple of weeks are going to be extremely busy, there’s no question,” Munshi said, adding that people most affected by the current wave do not come from privileged backgrounds that would allow them to protect themselves, for example by working from home.

The provincial government has promised more ICU beds and requested medical staff from other provinces.

‘HOW MUCH MORE CAN WE STRETCH?’

Ramping up vaccinations targeting high-risk communities will help bring the third wave under control, experts said. But that will not relieve the immediate pressure on hospitals.

Exhausted staff are pulling overtime shifts and doctors are bracing for the tipping point no one wants to talk about: The activation of a “triage protocol” that will dictate who gets critical care when there isn’t enough for everyone who needs it.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health did not respond when Reuters asked what criteria would activate that protocol.

The protocol provides a standardized way to predict who is more likely to survive the subsequent 12 months, “trying to prioritize so that the most lives could be saved,” explained Dr. James Downar, one of its authors.

It does not include a provision for withdrawing life-sustaining measures, he said.

Raman Rai, manager of the ICU at Toronto’s Humber River Hospital, said she has never seen such a volume of critical care patients.

The hospital has redeployed staff, is treating people in “unconventional spaces,” and is stretching resources so a nurse who might have been responsible for one or two patients now has three, Rai said.

“We have already gone over capacity,” she said. “How much more can we stretch?”

Hospitals have been conducting drills and exercises in preparation for the triage scenario, said Ontario Hospital Association Chief Executive Anthony Dale.

“If it is used, it means we’ve failed as a province,” he said. “This did not have to happen. But are we preparing with everything we’ve got? Yes.”

In Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital on Wednesday morning, the ICU was buzzing with health workers having bedside discussions, punctuated by alarms from pumps and various equipment monitoring patients’ vital signs.

“It’s particularly distressing when we see someone who is 30 years old and healthy who comes in unable to breathe,” said intensivist doctor Hannah Wunsch. She is also seeing younger patients, pregnant patients and whole families with COVID-19.

From a medical perspective much of the work is the same, Wunsch said – save for ubiquitous masks.

“I haven’t seen anyone smile in a long time.”

 

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Denny Thomas and Bill Berkrot)

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