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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, Oct. 3 – CBC.ca

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Recent developments: 

What’s the latest?

As Elgin Street bars begin to reopen after a COVID-19 scare, some say the damage to their industry will go beyond just the temporary lost profits.

Four bars and restaurants — Elgin Beer Project, the Lieutenant’s Pump, St. Louis Bar & Grill and Deacon Brodies — voluntarily closed their doors last week, out of concerns that staff or customers might have been exposed to COVID-19.

Residents of Ottawa’s West End Villa and their families have launched a $16-million class-action suit against Extendicare, the owner of the long-term care home where 19 people have died in a COVID-19 outbreak.

The claim, filed in court Thursday, alleges Extendicare was negligent and breached the basic human rights of the home’s residents.

A woman walks past Ottawa pub Deacon Brodies on Oct. 2, 2020. The Elgin Street bar, one of four on the commercial strip to recently close after a potential COVID-19 exposure, reopened Friday. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

Ottawa has set another one-day record on Friday with 142 new COVID-19 cases. The previous high was 105.

COVID-19 testing in Ontario is moving to an appointment-only model starting Tuesday.

The province is lowering capacity at gyms, restaurants and event spaces in Ottawa, Toronto and Peel, and is repeating the message to limit close contacts to household members, effectively cancelling the previous strategy of social circles.

Ottawa businesses say they’re discouraged by these new rules.

How many cases are there?

As of the most recent Ottawa Public Health update on Friday, 4,530 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. That includes 767 known active cases, 3,472 resolved cases and 291 deaths.

Overall, public health officials have reported more than 6,800 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 5,300 of those cases considered resolved.

COVID-19 has killed 104 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 people have died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 34 in the Outaouais and 18 in other parts of eastern Ontario.

What’s open and closed?

Health officials are telling people to see fewer people in person or they will be forced to by stricter rules.

Ottawa’s medical officer of health issued a dire warning to residents Friday, saying the entire health-care system is on the verge of collapse if individuals don’t take personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19.

WATCH | Ottawa’s health-care system on the verge of collapse:

Ottawa’s medical officer of health said hospitalizations have doubled over the past 10 days, and said the pressure on the health-care system is coming from transmission that occurs when people are in close contact. 0:59

Western Quebec’s health unit says residents need to stop gathering until the end of October or, like Montreal and Quebec, it will go into the final level of its alert system and they won’t be allowed to see anyone they don’t live with.

Ontario is putting the concept of social circles on pause, and advising people to limit close contact only to those living in their own household. People who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.

Western Quebec is in orange alert, which means private and organized gathering limits, earlier closing hours for restaurants and recommendations against travelling to other regions.

Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., public health officials are ordering anyone with symptoms or who has been identified as a close contact of someone who’s tested positive to immediately self-isolate or face a fine of up to $5,000 per day in court.

Kingston has also tightened its distancing rules in city parks and increased fines.

The McNabb Arena respite centre was set to close Friday for people without housing. Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney tweeted Friday that the centre will be open for another week “to ensure the necessary services and facilities are in place” for its day programs.

As of Monday, visitors to long-term care homes in Ottawa will be restricted to staff, essential visitors and one or two caregivers only.

A healthcare worker walks along the line up of people waiting outside a COVID-19 testing facility in Ottawa on Sept. 15. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

What about schools?

There have been nearly 120 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff or student, most of them in Ottawa.

Not all of them have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there’s a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.

Many school boards have a list of affected schools.

Ontario updated its COVID-19 screening protocols for children Thursday, no longer telling them to isolate and get tested if they have just a runny nose, headache, sore throat, fatigue or diarrhea.

They’ll still be asked to stay home, but can return after at least 24 hours if they feel better.

Some health units tweak the province’s guidelines, so check with the unit in your area. OPH says it will use the province’s rules.

Distancing and isolating

The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something.

People can be contagious without symptoms.

This means precautions such as working from home, keeping your hands and frequently-touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone you don’t live with, including when you have a mask on.

Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in all of Ontario and Quebec, including transit services and taxis in some areas.

Masks are also recommended outdoors when you can’t stay the proper distance from others.

WATCH | Banquet hall owner reacts to premier’s new restrictions:

Tony Zacconi, owner of Sala San Marco banquet and conference centre, said his hope has been extinguished and the announcement has left a lot of brides and grooms scrambling. 1:05

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. 

Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.

Most people with a confirmed COVID-19 case in Quebec can end their self-isolation after 10 days if they have not had a fever for at least 48 hours and has had no other symptom for at least 24 hours.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. 

Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.

Getting tested any sooner than five days after potential exposure may not be useful since the virus may not yet be detectable, says OPH.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Where to get tested

Wait times and lines have been long at many of the area’s test sites, though they have been better this week.

There have also been delays processing tests at laboratories. Ontario’s testing backlog reached an all-time high Thursday.

Ontario health officials have said they’re trying to add more test capacity and are requiring an appointment for all tests as of Tuesday.

In eastern Ontario:

The Ontario government recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you’ve been told to by your health unit or the province because of your work.

Most of Ottawa’s testing happens at one of four permanent sites, with additional mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.

A test clinic is expected to open at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex in Orléans, likely by mid-October.

People without symptoms, but who are part of the province’s targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select Ottawa pharmacies.

In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, there are drive-thru centres in Casselman and Limoges and a walk-up site in Hawkesbury that doesn’t require people to call ahead.

Its medical officer of health says the Casselman centre will be moved to reduce its impact on traffic.

Others in Alexandria, Rockland, Cornwall and Winchester require an appointment.

In Kingston, the city’s test site is now at the Beechgrove Complex near King Street West and Portsmouth Avenue.

Napanee’s test centre is open daily for people who call ahead.

People can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville, Picton or Trenton by calling the centre. Only Belleville and Trenton run seven days a week and also offer online booking.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit has walk-in sites in Kemptville and Brockville. 

There are permanent testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.

There is a first-come, first-served site at the Merrickville Community Centre today.

Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor. Those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.

People can also visit the health unit’s website to find out where testing clinics will be taking place each week.

In western Quebec:

Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.

They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.

There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.

They can call 1-877-644-4545 if they have other questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms. People without symptoms can also get a test.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases, most linked to a gathering on an island in July.

It has a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.

Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who’s been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Inuit in Ottawa can also call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.

People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. 

Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.

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Researcher predicts 4,000 daily new COVID-19 cases in Alberta by mid-December if measures not taken – CBC.ca

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A researcher is sounding the alarm about Alberta’s significant increase in the number of new and active cases of COVID-19, warning that things could rapidly get worse in the province should additional measures not be taken.

Malgorzata Gasperowicz, a developmental biologist and associate in the school of medicine at the University of Calgary, says that given the province’s current doubling time, the province could be reporting more than 1,000 new cases per day by Nov. 11.

But Gasperowicz also told CBC Calgary News at 6 that without “strong, decisive measures” given the province’s current doubling time, Alberta could see around 2,400 daily new cases of COVID-19 on Dec. 5, and 4,800 on Dec. 23.

WATCH | Malgorzata Gasperowicz discusses the COVID-19 numbers Alberta could be seeing in the coming months:

Malgorzata Gasperowicz, a developmental biologist at the University of Calgary, talks to CBC’s Rob Brown about what she’s seeing in the province’s latest COVID-19 numbers during CBC Calgary News at 6. 4:22

But even should the province shut everything down today, it’s not as though the numbers will instantly drop.

“They usually take like, what we [saw] in the first wave in [introducing restrictions], it took at least three or four weeks to see the cases drop down,” Gasperowicz said. “So we will still be doubling for three weeks at least.”

That would mean the province would still be seeing around 1,600 or 2,000 daily new cases before dropping down, Gasperowicz said.

Given a situation where the province shut down on Nov. 15, Gasperowicz said, the province would see 3,000 daily new cases before bending the curve.

Alberta at ‘a tipping point’

On Monday, Alberta introduced new social gathering restrictions, bringing in mandatory limits of 15 people in Edmonton and Calgary. 

“You have heard me say many times that we need to achieve a balance between minimizing the risk of COVID-19 and minimizing the risk of harms of restrictions,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said during a news conference.

“This requires us to keep the spread of COVID-19 manageable. We have now crossed a tipping point and are losing the balance we have been seeking.”

WATCH | Dr. Hinshaw says Alberta is at a tipping point for COVID-19 

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, says the province has ‘now crossed a tipping point and are losing the balance we have been seeking’ when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. 1:26

When asked whether the province would consider implementing another shutdown, Tom McMillan, a spokesperson with Alberta Health, pointed to the measures introduced Monday.

“We announced new measures on Monday. We are watching the data in Alberta closely and will consider if adjustments to the public health approach are needed in the days to come,” McMillan said in an email.

Speaking Thursday, Hinshaw reiterated that the province’s focus at this time was to strike “a difficult, but necessary balance when responding to COVID-19.”

“We must follow the evidence, and take the steps needed to prevent cases from rising exponentially and overwhelming our health system,” Hinshaw said.

“At the same time, every element of Albertans’ health is important. We must also limit the harms that our measures can have, as much as possible.”

Implementing ‘strong measures’

Gasperowicz pointed to a “cocktail of measures” that have worked to decrease numbers in other western jurisdictions.

“I’m convinced that if strong measures would be implemented, we would have the decrease,” she said. “But if we won’t implement strong measures and just have little tweaks, I don’t think it will slow the virus down.

“Strong measures worked in Australia, and they have zero cases now, and they’re celebrating.”

Speaking Thursday, Hinshaw said the choice is not between implementing another lockdown or letting COVID-19 run unimpeded.

“Instead, we must make it as easy and safe as possible for Albertans to live with this virus for the foreseeable future,” she said.

One day before Halloween, Alberta reported 622 new cases of the virus, a new daily record. It pushed the number of active cases in the province to a record 5,172.

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Fraser Health outbreaks push active COVID-19 infections in B.C. to all-time high of 2390 – Powell River Peak

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B.C. has never had more people actively battling COVID-19 infections, as new government data showed a total of 2,390 people suffering with the virus that has spurred a global pandemic. 

That’s 46 more people suffering with the illness than was the case yesterday and it comes as 272 people were newly identified as infected in the past 24 hours. With 10,420 tests conducted, the day’s positive-test rate was 2.6%.

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The hotspot for new infections remains the 1.8-million-resident Fraser Health region, which includes much of the eastern and southern Lower Mainland, including 20 communities, such as Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Delta, Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack, but not Richmond or Vancouver.

Only about two-thirds of the new cases are from Fraser Health today, however. That’s down from the average in the past week, which had seen about three-quarters of all new cases located in the Fraser Health region. 

Here is the breakdown of all 14,381 detected COVID-19 cases in B.C., by health region, with new cases identified overnight in brackets:
• 4,664 in Vancouver Coastal Health (76);
• 8,219 in Fraser Health (183);
• 256 in Island Health (no change);
• 741 in Interior Health (seven);
• 412 in Northern Health (six); and
• 89 people who reside outside Canada (no change).

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital fell by six to 78, with 25 of those people having infections serious enough to be in intensive care units. 

The vast majority of those infected are self-isolating at home. Health officials are keeping tabs on a record 6,003 people because those individuals have come into contact with others who are known to be carrying the virus.

The vast majority of COVID-19 patients recover: 11,670, or more than 81%.

One new death was recorded overnight, pushing the provincial death toll from the disease to 263. That leaves 58 patients unaccounted for, and health officials have told BIV that it is likely that they left the province without alerting authorities.

“There has been one new community outbreak, at Suncor Firebag Oil Sands,” provincial health officer Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement. “There continue to be exposure events around the province.”

One hospital in Fraser Health, Surrey Memorial Hospital, has had an outbreak for weeks. That health authority earlier this week declared that the outbreak at Delta Hospital is over.

There are three new outbreaks at seniors’ homes and healthcare facilities:
• Hawthorne Seniors Care Community in Port Coquitlam;
• CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey; and 
• Queen’s Park Hospital: Unit 3C NMSK 2.

Three such outbreaks have been declared over: 
• Fort Langley Seniors Community in Fort Langley;
• Sunset Manor in Chilliwack;
• The Village in Langley.

Fraser Health yesterday declared that the outbreak at Good Samaritan Victoria Heights, in New Westminster, is over, and the province confirmed that news today.

Other seniors’ long-term care and assisted living facilities in B.C. that have active outbreaks, include:
• Gateway Assisted Living for Seniors in Surrey;
• Mayfair Terrace Retirement Residence in Port Coquitlam;
• Louis Breyer Home and Hospital in Vancouver;
• Revera Lakeview long-term care home in Vancouver;
• Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
• Queens Park Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Three Links Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Arch Masonic Home in Vancouver;
• Haro Park Centre long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Banfield Pavilion 4 West in Vancouver;
• Peace Portal Seniors Village in Surrey;
• Rosemary Heights Seniors Village in Surrey;
• Zion Park Manor in Surrey;
• Laurel Place in Surrey;
• Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Baillie House in Maple Ridge;
• Fellburn Care Centre long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• St. Michael’s Centre long-term care facilityin Burnaby;
• Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge in Burnaby; and
• Agassiz Seniors Community in Agassiz.

“As we all enjoy Halloween tomorrow, make it about the treats and not the tricks,” Henry and Dix said.

“Respect homes that are choosing not to participate this year and give everyone the space to stay safe, both indoors and outdoors.”

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

 

 

 

 

 

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Family Thanksgiving dinner linked to 13 cases of COVID-19 in Renfrew County – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Three weeks after Thanksgiving weekend, a family dinner is Renfrew County is being linked to 13 cases of COVID-19.

Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Cushman tells CTV News Ottawa between 15 and 20 people attended an intergenerational Thanksgiving dinner over the holiday weekend.

Dr. Cushman says it appears someone at the dinner was asymptomatic or didn’t pay attention to the symptoms.

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit says 13 positive cases are linked to the Thanksgiving dinner, including two new cases Thursday. Not all 13 positive cases attended the dinner.

“What you see is the spread, now into the third group from those at the dinner,” said Dr. Cushman, noting there is now second and third generational spread of the virus.

Two family members who tested positive for COVID-19 were high school students.

“Luckily, no further spread yet (at schools), thanks to excellent public health precautions at the school,” said Dr. Cushman.

Seventy students at the school were tested for COVID-19, while 90 students returned to school on Friday after being asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Dr. Cushman says four outstanding students who developed symptoms on days 14 and 15 are now being retested, and will remain in isolation.

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit is also investigating a COVID-19 outbreak at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratory at Chalk River. Six people have tested positive for COVID-19.

“This virus is very wily,” said Dr. Cushman, noting CNL has solid public health measures in place.

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