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Virus modelling estimates 11,000 to 22,000 Canadian deaths if physical distancing continues – The Globe and Mail

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Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, on April 8, 2020.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

In the next year, between 11,000 and 22,000 Canadians could die as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, in what officials say are among the best-case scenarios for the disease.

The federal pandemic models released Thursday show that the country could see 22,580 to 31,850 cases by April 16, resulting in between 500 and 700 deaths.

Canada already has 19,291 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 435 confirmed deaths as a result of the disease.

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Disease modelling is meant to show what might happen as the illness spreads across Canada, and does not predict what will happen.

In reading the models, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has warned they are not a “crystal ball,” and instead serve to inform decision-makers about where they need to put resources, the health system’s capacity to respond to the virus, and what other measures need to be put in place to further limit transmission.

At a technical briefing, Dr. Tam and her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, outlined three possible scenarios facing Canada over the next year.

With strong epidemic control measures, such as a high degree of physical distancing and a high per cent of testing and contact tracing, the models show the epidemic could last until the fall and infect between one and 10 per cent of the population. Officials say that is Canada’s best-case scenario.

The potential 11,000 to 22,000 range in deaths is based on an overall infection rate of between 2.5 and 5 per cent.

“We cannot prevent every death but we must prevent every death that we can,” Dr. Tam said, adding that the models show Canada must continue with its physical-distancing measures already in place.

If no policy measures, such as physical distancing, were put in place, the models show 70 and 80 per cent of people could become infected and more than 300,000 people could die.

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A middle-of-the-road scenario, where weaker controls would delay and reduce the peak, could lead to between 25 and 50 per cent of residents becoming infected with COVID-19 and more than 100,000 people could die. In that case, officials said the first wave of the pandemic could last until spring, 2021.

Dr. Tam said the models released by Ottawa show the first wave of the virus and warned that even when Canada is over the peak of the outbreak, some restrictions will need to stay in place to ensure the epidemic does not “reignite.”

She added that it is not clear yet when the pandemic will peak in different parts of the country, because no region is on the downward slope of its infection curve. Since at least half of all cases will come after the initial peak, the need for strong measures to reduce contact among individuals will need to continue for some time after it is clear that the first wave of the pandemic has crested, she said.

Nicholas Ogden, a senior scientist with the health agency, said that the fatality rate estimated for the Canadian figures – about 1.18 per cent of confirmed cases – was based on a range of factors and international data.

The federal government released its modelling after many provinces had done the same. On Wednesday, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador all released their models. British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec have also already made their models public.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is benefitting from being hit by the global pandemic after many other countries. “For the time being,” he said, the health care system is able to cope with the spread of the virus but the country is “at a fork in the road.”

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“We have the chance to determine what our country looks like in the weeks and months to come,” Mr. Trudeau said, meaning Canadians will have to continues to stay home and remain disciplined.

“This will be the new normal until a vaccine is developed,” Mr. Trudeau said.

Experts say making the models public is a way for officials to build trust with citizens who are being asked to take restrictive and economically painful measures to blunt the impact of the virus.

Despite new restrictions on exports of medical goods from the United States, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says hundreds of thousands of masks have made it across the border. The Canadian Press

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Owner of infected long-term care facility says COVID-19 outbreak was unavoidable – CBC.ca

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The owner of the Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville, N.B., said his facility an outbreak of COVID-19 at his facility was unavoidable.

An employee in their 30s at the long-term care facility near Campbellton, N.B., tested positive for the virus last week. Since then, four residents at the facility have also tested positive. Three of the residents are in their 80s and one resident is in their 70s. 

“We knew COVID would start somewhere in our facilities, but we didn’t know exactly when it would start,” said Guy Tremblay, president and general director of Groupe Lokia, which owns the special care home for seniors.

About 100 people, including 57 residents, may have been exposed to the worker, who was contagious during three night shifts at the facility. 

All of the staff and residents at the facility have been tested, Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health said at a news conference on Sunday.   

Tremblay feels he did as much as he could to prevent the virus from entering his facility.

‘”All our staff have been prepared to prevent the spreading of COVID since the first week or second week of March,” he said. 

‘All the prevention, all the techniques we demonstrated to our employees was pretty much well-learned over the last two months.”

More than a third of staff at the long-term care facility are no longer working there. 

Ten of the 28 staff choose to leave the Manoir de la Vallée long-term care facility because of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“As soon as the staff learn that COVID is around, many of them are just scared about that.” 

Ambulance New Brunswick and Extra-Mural, the province’s home health-care program, are on site to provide additional help caring for residents at the facility.

Tremblay said he is happy the government chose to bring in help. 

“It’s not bad news for me really. It should be like that. We should work all together to face that situation.” 

Cecile Cassista, executive director for the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents Rights, is also pleased the government chose to ask for additional help.

Cecile Cassista of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights is worried about the senior population in Campbellton after the COVID-19 outbreak at a long-term health care facility in the region. (Wayne Chase Photography)

Cassista is “very upset” about the outbreak at the home, however. 

“This is about our aging population and our seniors,” she said. “I had the greatest fear when I heard of one person being infected and now we have it spreading throughout the home.”

There are 132 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of that, 120 have recovered since the pandemic beegan in March. 

The 12 active cases are all in the Campbellton region, or Zone 5. 

Three of the long-term care cases are in the hospital, including one patient in ICU.

A cluster of COVID-19 cases sprung up there after doctor who travelled to Quebec contracted the coronavirus and didn’t self-isolate when he returned to New Brunswick.

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SHA warns of possible COVID-19 transmission at North Battleford Walmart – News Talk 650 CKOM

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A person who tested positive for COVID-19 visited the North Battleford Walmart on May 21.

In a release Sunday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Indigenous Services Canada said the individual was likely infectious at that time.

Public Health Officials are advising customers who were at the North Battleford Walmart on May 21 between noon and 2 p.m. to immediately self-isolate if you’ve had any symptoms of COVID-19, and call HealthLine 811.

All other customers who were at the business during the time period should self-monitor daily for symptoms of COVID-19 until June 5.

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No new COVID cases reported in N.S. – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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There were no new cases of COVID-19 reported Sunday in Nova Scotia’s battle against the deadly virus.

As of Sunday, the province has confirmed 1,056 cases and 60 COVID-19 deaths, 53 of which have occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax.

The province has administered 41,944 negative tests. 

Confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90. Seven individuals are currently in hospital, two of those in intensive care, and 981 people have now recovered and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved. 

Cases have been identified in all parts of the province. A map and graphic presentation of the case data is available at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/data .

The QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed 578 Nova Scotia tests Saturday.

As of Saturday, there were 14 active cases at Northwood, including 10 residents and four staff. Northwood is the only licensed long-term care home in Nova Scotia with active cases.

The expanded list of symptoms being screened includes fever (chills or sweats), cough or worsening of a previous cough, sore throat, headache, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sneezing, nasal congestion or runny nose, hoarse voice, diarrhea, unusual fatigue, loss of smell or taste and red, purple or blueish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers without clear cause.

Anyone experiencing one of those symptoms is asked to visit  https://811.novascotia.ca to determine if a further call to 811 for additional assessment is required.

Public health is working to identify and test people who may have come in close contact with the confirmed cases. Those individuals who have been confirmed are being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia must self-isolate for 14 days. As always, any Nova Scotian who develops symptoms of acute respiratory illness should limit their contact with others until they feel better.

It remains important for Nova Scotians to strictly adhere to the public health order and directives of practising good hand-washing and other hygiene steps, maintaining a physical distance of two metres from those not in your household or family household bubble and limiting planned gatherings of people outside your household or family household bubble to no more than 10.

Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .

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