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Ventilator supply starts to increase as Tam warns of possible surge of COVID-19 – insauga.com

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Only a small fraction of the 40,000 new ventilators Canada ordered for hospitals last spring have already been delivered but several companies involved say their production lines will start delivering the products faster in the next few weeks.

The promise of new arrivals comes as Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, warned Friday that a fall surge of COVID-19 cases could overwhelm the health-care system, including its supply of critical care beds and ventilators.

“What we know based on what we learned from other countries and cities that had a devastating impact in that initial wave, if you exceeded that capacity the mortality goes up really, really high,” she said.

Flu season and other respiratory infections common in the fall could put added pressure on the system if COVID-19 flares up in a big way.

Tam said there were many lessons learned from the spring, when the government was ill-prepared and without enough protective equipment for health-care workers, and feared a massive surge of COVID-19 would overwhelm the health-care system.

“We are much better prepared than we were before,” she said.

In March, Canadians watched in horror as northern Italy’s COVID-19 outbreak overran its health-care system, leaving doctors to choose which patients got a ventilator and which were left without one. That experience, coupled with warnings it could happen here too, compelled federal and provincial governments to order thousands of new ventilators.

But much like surgical face masks and N95 respirators, Canada didn’t already produce many ventilators domestically, and getting them from international sources is tough when global need for new ventilators is in the hundreds of thousands. So Canada asked firms here if they could step up, and out of that four new consortiums to build ventilators were formed.

A fifth contract was signed with Thornhill Medical, a Toronto firm that at that point was making about 50 of its portable breathing machines a month.

In all, Canada ordered 40,328 ventilators, for an estimated $1.1 billion, and as of Friday, it had just 606 in hand.

Paul-Emile Cloutier, the president of national health-care advocate HealthCareCAN, said there is concern about the status of the government’s orders for personal protective equipment and ventilators ahead of the possibility COVID-19 will surge again in Canada this fall.

“Details are crucial as we prepare for the expected next wave of COVID-19,” he said.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Friday the government is pushing on to get the entirety of the orders in place. A statement from her department said “Canada currently has sufficient ventilators to meet current demands” and that the ones on order are to bolster existing Public Health Agency of Canada stockpiles, as well as the units already in hospitals and provincial warehouses across the country. 

But Health Canada won’t say how many ventilators the country now has in total. It will also not disclose any modelling for how many could be needed in a worst-case scenario situation. In March there were about 5,000 ventilators nationally, and another 500 in the national emergency stockpile.

Canada’s ability to plank the COVID-19 curve in the spring meant warnings about running out of ventilators never came to fruition.

John Walmsley, the executive vice president at Starfish Medical in Victoria, said that took the pressure off his new coalition, Canadian Emergency Ventilators, Inc.

“We have a little bit more elbow room to do things in a bit of a controlled manner but I would say we’re looking to get it done this year,” he said.

“We’re all concerned about a second wave and being ready for that and so we’re on board to deliver for that.”

Canadian Emergency Ventilators is still waiting for Health Canada approval before it can start shipping its promised 7,500 machines. It submitted the documents in June and it is taking a bit longer than expected to get the green light.

Once that happens, the Public Health Agency of Canada would have to test the product, and then the units that have already been built could be shipped, said Walmsley. He is still hopeful to fill the order by the end of the year.

Thornhill Medical CEO Lesley Gouldie said her company’s partnership with Linamar, a manufacturer based in Guelph, Ont., has been a great success. Thornhill is to provide 1,020 machines to Canada, and has shipped 27 so far.

Gouldie said Linamar can make as many as 100 of the units a week, but getting the supplies for the 1,500 parts that make up their portable device proved to be difficult in a pandemic.

“The limiting factor is the supply chains,” Gouldie said.

She said the kinks are mostly worked out now, and she expects to ship enough machines each week to fulfil their contract by early December.

Rick Jamieson, the CEO of FTI Professional Grade, said they expect to fulfil their entire contract for 10,000 ventilators by Dec. 12. FTI is one of several companies in a consortium called Ventilators for Canadians, which has already delivered 132 ventilators. Another 120 are on track for delivery next week and 240 in the last week of August.

“We have activated a fourth shift to increase production knowing that a second wave is likely this fall and winter,” said Jamieson.

Montreal’s CAE received Health Canada approval for its new ventilator on June 17, and said that day it expected to begin shipping “hundreds each week.” It has a contract to deliver 10,000.

The final company, Vexos, was the last to sign a contract, and had to submit its product to Health Canada as well, and began shipping in late July.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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Sask. police visiting recent travellers to check compliance with mandatory self-isolation – CBC.ca

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Police in Saskatchewan are checking-up on people who are in mandatory self-isolation after returning from international travel.

Regina Police Service spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich said Tuesday that police receive a daily list from the Saskatchewan Health Authority of people who have recently travelled. 

“We dispatch a police car to the home address to ensure that the person is in fact doing that mandatory 14-day isolation,” said Popowich. 

“And if they’re not, then we refer it back to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) for further action as per the public health order.” 

Saskatoon police and the RCMP are also doing visits to check on compliance with the provincial order, which states anyone who has travelled internationally must isolate for two weeks. 

People who are isolating are allowed to be outside on their own property, such as a backyard or balcony, and they can take solitary walks if they do not have symptoms. 

Non-compliance referred back to health authority

Popowich said police do not issue immediate fines if a person does not open the door. Instead, they report back to the SHA to follow up. 

CBC has contacted the SHA for more information about the police visits and who initiated them.

Regina and Saskatoon police have both been doing check-ups since April.

‘There are consequences’ 

Police could issue a fine if someone is found to be repeatedly violating isolation after multiple checkups, but Popowich said she is not aware of any such fines being issued so far.

She said there are some instances where people may not receive a visit from police, for example if there is a mistake in the address or if police receive the information late in the quarantine period.

“Don’t risk getting a fine. Certainly don’t risk potentially carrying an infection to someone who is not as easily able to handle the illness,” she said.

“Treat it as though you could be paid a visit if you’ve been out of the country and you’re not self-isolating. If you’re not, then there are consequences.”

Popowich said Regina police have enough resources to take on the role of checking compliance. 

“Those calls get dispatched at a time when typically our other call loads are lower,” she said. 

In April, a Regina woman who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 was fined $2,800 for allegedly not complying with the order to self-isolate.

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Sask. Party first to 61 candidates – Prince Albert Daily Herald

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With its last nominee acclaimed Saturday, the Saskatchewan Party became the province’s first this election cycle to nominate a full slate of candidates.

There are 61 constituencies in Saskatchewan. The opposition NDP has 45 candidates listed on its website so far. The progressive conservatives are next, with 15, while the Saskatchewan Green Party has at least 13 — 11 listed on its website and another two by Elections Saskatchewan. This election’s newcomer, the Buffalo Party (formerly Wexit Saskatchewan) has nominated five and the Saskatchewan Liberals four.

Three independent candidates have also been listed by Elections Saskatchewan — Nestor Mryglod in Regina Wascana Plains, Trevor Wowk in Regina Lakeview and Rolf Hartloff in Regina Elphinstone-Centre.

Information about becoming an independent candidate is available on the Elections Saskatchewan Website.

The latest Sask. Party candidate — and the 61st to be nominated ahead of October’s provincial election, is Darren Deschambeault in Cumberland.

In a press release, he said he is looking forward to having representation from the region in Scott Moe’s government.

“Providing strong leadership and a real voice for the people of Cumberland in the legislature will help with a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Deschambeault was born and raised in Cumberland House, and currently works as a communications consultant for an oil and gas company.  He disclosed a 2001 impaired driving conviction that he has since received a pardon for.

Deschambeault will go up against incumbent NDP MLA Doyle Vermette and Saskatchewan progressive conservative candidate Dean Foster.

“With a full slate of 61 candidates nominated, Premier Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party team will be meeting voters in every part of the province to present their plan for a strong Saskatchewan and a strong economic recovery from the pandemic,” the Sask. Party said.

Locally, nominees are as follows:

Rosthern-Shellbrook

• Scott Moe, Saskatchewan Party (incumbent)

Saskatchewan Rivers

• Nadine Wilson, Saskatchewan Party (incumbent)

• Lyle Whitefish, NDP

• Shaun Harris, Progressive Conservative

Melfort

• Todd Goudy , Saskatchewan Party (incumbent)

• Lorne Schroeder, NDP

• Dave Waldner, Buffalo

Batoche

• Delbert Kirsch, Saskatchewan Party (incumbent)

• Lon Borgerson (NDP)

Prince Albert Carlton

• Joe Hargrave, Saskatchewan Party (incumbent)

• Troy Parenteau, NDP

Prince Albert Northcote

• Nicole Rancourt, NDP (incumbent)

• Alanna Ross, Saskatchewan Party

• Sarah Kraynick, Green Party

The provincial election is set for October 26.

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Active COVID-19 cases up slightly in Red Deer and Central zone – rdnewsnow.com

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By Sheldon Spackman

Tuesday Update

Sep 22, 2020 5:06 PM

Alberta is reporting 150 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The latest numbers released by the province show 16,889 cases of coronavirus identified in the province since the pandemic began, with the number of active cases now at 1,565 – up 106 from Monday.

The number of people in hospital with the virus is 51 with nine in intensive care and two more deaths, bringing the death toll to 258. Recovered cases now stand at 15,066.

In the Central zone, the number of active cases is up four to 24, while 629 have recovered. There are currently no hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the Central Zone.

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