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Valley transmission rate among world's best | News | pentictonherald.ca – pentictonherald.ca

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A mid-month rise in COVID-19 cases can be traced back to British Columbians getting a little too close to one another over the Labour Day weekend, health officials say.

Another 139 cases, only three of which were in the region served by Interior Health, were announced province-wide between Thursday and Friday.

Since Sept. 15, the average number of new daily cases has been 153.

In the first two weeks of the month, the average daily number of new cases was 108.

“The cases we are seeing today are a direct result of how we spent our Labour Day long weekend. Let’s break the chain of transmission and turn this trend around,” Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a joint Friday statement.

“No one intends to pass the virus onto friends or family, but it is very easy to do. It can take up to two weeks for symptoms of COVID-19 to develop and, in that time, we can inadvertently spread it to others.”

As of Friday, there were 1,803 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and another 3,075 who are under active public health monitoring because of their identified exposure to someone known to be infected.

Hospitalizations rose two, to 59, and 20 of them are in intensive care.

Across the province, 7,842 British Columbians have now been infected since the start of the pandemic, including 492 in the Interior Health region.

A total of 220 people have died in B.C. from COVID-19; two of those deaths occurred in the region served by Interior Health.

B.C. vs. Canada

A total of 330 people across the Okanagan have been infected by COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, new figures from the government indicate.

That number represents 0.08 per cent of the region’s population of 377,000 people.

In the past two weeks, 13 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the Okanagan.

The rate of transmission in the Valley is now among the province’s lowest, behind the West Kootenays and northwest B.C., and far below the rates being experienced in Vancouver and Surrey.

Every Thursday, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control produces a surveillance report covering a variety of COVID-19 data with infection statistics broken down by geography, patient age and likelihood of hospitalization.

The most recent report provides some context to the scope and effect of the pandemic beyond the daily case counts provided by Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

What often attracts the most media and public attention is the rising number of newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases.

Between Sept. 11 and Sept. 17, 833 new cases were confirmed provincewide, compared to 789 in the previous one-week period.

And the number of active COVID-19 cases across the province also rose in the past two weeks, from 1,412 to 1,705.

That number has been rising steadily since mid-July, and is now more than three times higher than active case counts in March, before the start of near-lockdown provisions ordered by the government.

But the surveillance reports also contain information that, while perhaps not reassuring exactly, give a fuller picture of how the pandemic is affecting British Columbians.

Here are some other highlights from this week’s COVID-19 surveillance report, with numbers accurate to Thursday:

— Cases have surged among people aged between 20 and 40, with that group now accounting for 44 per cent of all COVID-19 infections in B.C.

But only 10 per cent of British Columbians who’ve been hospitalized for the disease have been between 20 and 40, and no one in this age range has died of the disease.

Those numbers reflect the fact that reasonably healthy young people are simply much less likely to become seriously ill if they catch COVID-19.

— There are almost one million children and teenagers under 19 in B.C., but only 605 of them have caught COVID-19. That represents 0.06 per cent of the population group. Of the 605 children or teens who were infected, only five were hospitalized, none were treated in intensive care, and all have recovered.

— Of the 219 British Columbians who died of COVID-19 from the onset of the pandemic until this past Thursday, 28 per cent were over the age of 90, 69 per cent were over age 80, and 88 per cent were over age 70.

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Ottawa Public Health flu shot clinics open, new appointments available at 9 a.m. – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Ottawa residents will be able to roll up their sleeves and get the flu shot starting today at Ottawa Public Health clinics across the city.

The health unit will also release more appointment slots for the flu shot at 9 a.m., after the first seven days were booked within 18 hours last week.

Flu shot clinics will operate by appointment-only at six locations across the city seven-days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The flu shot clinic locations are:

  • Notre-Dame-Des-Champs Community Hall, 3659 Navan Road, Orléans
  • Ottawa Public Library-Orleans Branch, 1705 Orléans Blvd., Orléans
  • Lansdowne – Horticulture Building, 1525 Princess Patricia, Glebe
  • Mary Pitt Centre, 100 Constellation Dr., Nepean
  • Chapman Mills Community Building, 424 Chapman Mills Drive, Barrhaven
  • Eva James Memorial Centre, 65 Stonehaven Drive, Kanata

All six flu shot clinic locations will be appointment only, and no walk-up appointments are available.

Last Thursday, the health unit launched the appointment system to book a slot at the six clinics for the first seven days of the flu shot clinics from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4. Nearly 10,000 people booked an appointment for the first seven days within 18 hours.

Approximately 1,500 spaces are available daily at the six flu shot clinic locations. 

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches told reporters this week that new appointments will become available to book online starting at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The flu shot clinics will continue until everyone gets the flu shot that wants to get a flu shot.

Ottawa Public Health’s goal is to have 70 per cent of the population receive the flu shot this fall and winter.

For more information about the flu vaccine and to book an appointment, visit www.ottawapublichealth.ca/flu

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Man in his 90s one of two new COVID-19 cases in Kingston region – St. Thomas Times-Journal

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A resident and an employee at an Amherstview seniors and long-term care home are in isolation after Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health deemed them positive for COVID-19.

The home, Helen Henderson Care Centre, declared an outbreak on Wednesday as a result. It said in a news release that the resident and staff member are asymptomatic and isolating. No other staff or residents are showing symptoms, the home said.

It said the resident tested positive but the staff member received a negative swab. The home did not explain why public health declared the staff member a positive case. Jenn Fagan, spokesperson for public health, said it is still under investigation why the staff member was deemed positive.

On Wednesday, public health announced two new cases of the virus in the region. One is a man in his 20s, who caught the virus from an already positive close contact, and the other is a man in his 90s. The authority also announced two new recoveries, keeping the active case count at seven.

The man in his 90s is the oldest resident in the region to test positive. The next youngest were nine people in their 70s.

The public health authority is also asking some Kingston Transit riders to monitor themselves for symptoms after a fellow passenger tested positive for the virus. Fagan would not say when the passenger in question tested positive.

“For confidentiality reasons, we are not able to share any identifying information of any of case or potential case outside of the established contact tracing and case management procedures,” she said.

The ill passenger rode Kingston Transit north on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon and south between 4 and 5 p.m.; north on Wednesday between 1 and 2 p.m. and south between 6 and 7 p.m.; north on Thursday between 9 and 10 a.m. and south between 2 and 3 p.m.; and north on Friday between noon and 1 p.m. and south between 5 and 6 p.m.

Anyone who rode Route 1 during these times should monitor themselves until Nov. 6, which is 14 days after the last risk of exposure, public health said.

“The individual with a COVID-19 infection wore a face covering during all bus trips — and most likely other riders also did due to the mandatory requirement for face coverings — which can reduce the possibility of infection transmission to others,” public health said.

The Kingston region has had 182 cases of the virus since March of this year. While the cases were first found in a variety of ages, recently, the vast majority have been found in people in their 20s.

At the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Board of Health meeting on Wednesday, Megan Carter, local public health’s research associate in knowledge management, provided modelling that showed what might happen to 10 active cases in 20 days using different doubling periods: 14 days, 12 days and “the worst-case scenario” of seven days.

At our current doubling rate of 14 days, by mid-November there could between five and 47 new cases. If the doubling rate decreased to 12 days, there could be between seven and 56 cases, and if it decreased to seven days, there could be between 19 and 130 active cases.

Carter reiterated that the models show only what “might” happen, but the models are important for public health to prepare for the future.

Dr. Mark Mckelvie of Queen’s University’s department of public health and preventative medicine gave a general rundown of the region’s current COVID-19 status. He told the board of the region’s “chain of protection.”

The chain included the various different community members, including families, businesses, public health, hospitals, long-term care, military, correctional services and many others. He explained that all linked together, everyone needs to fulfil their roles to keep the region in its bubble.

“We really appreciate what people are doing and we thank the community for their co-operation,” Mckelvie said, adding that what everyone is doing is “saving lives.”

He then reminded the board that many of the cases in the region are connected to someone who has travelled, so staying local continues to be important.

The public health dashboard states 26 of the area’s cases caught the virus while traveling, 112 caught the virus from a close contact who had already tested positive, information is still pending for three cases and public health has found no epidemiological link for 41 local cases.

Mckelvie also spoke to the board about public health’s seasonal influenza strategy. He told the board that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization estimates that about 12,200 Canadians are hospitalized and 3,500 die every year of influenza. Last year, 42,537 Canadians tested positive for the flu. Those at the most risk are the elderly, the very young, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions.

While the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington area has been above the provincial vaccination rate of about 40 per cent, Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health, has set the goal of vaccinating 60 per cent of the region.

The local public health authority has been allocated 72,000 vaccines by the province to distribute, in addition to the more than 16,700 allocated to local pharmacies.

scrosier@postmedia.com

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Manitoba piloting rapid COVID-19 testing for healthcare workers – CTV News Winnipeg

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Public health officials in Manitoba are piloting a project to help reassure health care workers that they are safe when coming to work.

Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer with Shared Health, revealed on Wednesday that public health is piloting a rapid COVID-19 testing pattern for healthcare workers.

“As of last week at the Health Sciences Centre, 150 symptomatic health care workers were tested,” Siragusa said, noting 146 of the workers tested negative for COVID-19, and were cleared to work.

Four of the staff members tested positive, and are now self-isolating.

The goal of the pilot project is to see if hospitals will be able to identify positive tests among staff earlier and help potentially reduce the spread of COVID-19 in health care facilities.

Siragusa said the rapid testing is also not a substitute for wearing approved personal protective equipment while working.

She added rapid testing could become important in the coming months.

“(Rapid testing) could prove to be an important tool as we approach the respiratory virus season, when many health care workers may have one or more influenza-like illness symptoms, but do not have COVID-19,” Siragusa said.

The pilot project is currently being assessed by public health, and Siragusa said they will announce more on it in the coming days.

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