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Wisconsin hospital worker arrested for spoiled vaccine doses – CollingwoodToday



MADISON, Wis. — Authorities arrested a suburban Milwaukee pharmacist Thursday suspected of deliberately ruining hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine by removing them from refrigeration for two nights.

The arrest marks another setback in what has been a slower, messier start to vaccinate Americans than public health officials had expected. Leaders in Wisconsin and other states have been begging the Trump administration for more doses as health care workers and senior citizens line up for the lifesaving vaccine.

Police in Grafton, about 20 miles (32 kilometres) north of Milwaukee, said the Advocate Aurora Health pharmacist was arrested on suspicion of reckless endangerment, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property, all felonies. The pharmacist has been fired and police said in a news release that he was in jail. Police did not identify the pharmacist, saying he has not yet been formally charged.

His motive remains unclear. Police said that detectives believe he knew the spoiled doses would be useless and people who received them would mistakenly think they’d been vaccinated when they hadn’t.

Advocate Aurora Health Care Chief Medical Group Officer Jeff Bahr told reporters during a teleconference Thursday afternoon that the pharmacist deliberately removed 57 vials that held hundreds of doses of the Moderna vaccine from refrigeration at a Grafton medical centre overnight on Dec. 24 into Dec. 25, returned them, then left them out again on the night of Dec. 25 into Saturday. The vials contained enough doses to inoculate 570 people.

A pharmacy technician discovered the vials outside the refrigerator on Saturday morning. Bahr said the pharmacist initially said that he had removed the vials to access other items in the refrigerator and had inadvertently failed to put them back.

The Moderna vaccine is viable for 12 hours outside refrigeration, so workers used the vaccine to inoculate 57 people before discarding the rest. Police said the discarded doses were worth between $8,000 and $11,000.

Bahr said health system officials grew more suspicious of the pharmacist as they reviewed the incident. After multiple interviews, the pharmacist acknowledged Wednesday that he removed the vaccine intentionally over the two nights, Bahr said.

That means that the doses people received Saturday are all but useless, he said. Moderna has told Aurora that there’s no safety concerns, but the hospital system is closely monitoring the people who received the spoiled doses, he said.

Bahr declined to comment on the pharmacist’s motive. He said the hospital system’s security protocols are sound.

“This was a situation involving a bad actor,” he said, “as opposed to a bad process.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin has been rising in recent days after dipping in early December. The state Department of Health Services reported 3,810 newly confirmed cases on Thursday, marking the third straight day of rising daily infections. The state has now seen 481,102 cases.

COVID-19 was a factor in 41 more deaths, pushing the state’s overall death toll to 4,859. The survival rate remained unchanged at 99%.

A little more than 47,150 people had been vaccinated in Wisconsin as of Monday morning, according to the latest data from the health agency. The state has been allocated 265,575 doses of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. As of Monday morning, only about 157,000 doses had arrived.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers wrote a letter to President Donald Trump earlier in December asking him to prioritize more doses for Wisconsin due to high case numbers, swamped hospitals and a lack of statewide mitigation mandates.


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Todd Richmond, The Associated Press

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Due to data issue, Quebec reports just 1,744 new COVID-19 cases – Montreal Gazette



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Quebec reported 1,744 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday. The figure, which is the lowest daily tally reported in more than a month, has been attributed to a data transmission problem.

The health ministry said in a statement some laboratory data had been delayed, causing a dip in case numbers. The issue will be resolved during the day and the rest of the cases will be reported on Monday.

With Sunday’s incomplete figures, a total of 242,714 cases have now been confirmed in Quebec.

Additionally, the province announced 50 more deaths, eight of which occurred in the last 24 hours for which there is data.

At total of 9,055 deaths have now been attributed to the virus in Quebec.

The number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 decreased by 14 to 1,460. Of those patients, 215 are in intensive care — a drop of 12.

Quebec also announced that 8,838 vaccine doses were administered on Saturday.

A total of 146,694 doses have now been administered since the vaccination campaign began in late December.

Montreal was once again the region with the most new cases, reporting 754 new cases on Sunday.

This figure may be lower than the actual number of new cases due to the province’s aforementioned problem with laboratory data.

A total of 86,493 cases have been confirmed in the city since the pandemic began.

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Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on Jan. 17 – Global News



Here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Sunday.

COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open at Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Monday

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic is set to open at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Monday.

Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory toured the facility on Sunday.

The clinic will help to test and adjust COVID-19 vaccination sites in non-hospital settings, officials said.

After around six to eight weeks after the clinic begins operating, the city will provide a “thoroughly evaluated” playbook for setting up vaccination clinics throughout the rest of the city and the province as officials prepare for mass vaccinations.

The clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre will initially administer the Moderna vaccine to a select group of health-care workers. The goal is to administer 250 vaccines per day.

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The first vial used will be added into the City of Toronto’s artefact collection as part of the city’s “effort to document the pandemic and preserve our response to it for future generations,” officials said.

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Ontario to expand inspection blitz targeting big-box stores

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Ontario hasn’t seen the last of inspectors who fanned out across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Areas this weekend and reportedly uncovered dozens of COVID-19-related violations at big-box stores.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the province will expand and continue its blitz, which is meant to get the virus under control.

Read more:
Ontario to expand big-box retail blitz amid widespread rule violations, labour minister says

Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported a total of 3,422 new cases on Sunday.

Of those:

  • 1,035 were in Toronto
  • 585 were in Peel Region
  • 246 were in York Region
  • 97 were in Durham Region
  • 59 were in Halton Region

Ontario reports more than 3,400 new cases, 69 deaths

Ontario reported 3,422 new cases of the novel coronavirus Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 237,786.

Sixty-nine more deaths were also reported Sunday, bringing the provincial death toll to 5,409.

A total of 203,484 COVID-19 cases are considered resolved, which is 85.6 per cent of all confirmed cases.

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The province indicated that the positivity rate for the last day was 5.2 per cent, which is up from Saturday’s report, when it was 4.9 per cent, and down from last Sunday’s when it was 6.2 per cent.

Read more:
Ontario reports more than 3,400 new coronavirus cases, 69 deaths

Ministry of Long-Term Care reports 11 more deaths

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,123 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is an increase of 11.

There are currently 246 outbreaks in long-term care homes.

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— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Saturday COVID update: Two deaths, 180 cases – The Brandon Sun



The province announced two more COVID-related deaths and 180 cases on Saturday.

The province announced two more COVID-related deaths and 180 cases on Saturday.

The province announced two more COVID-related deaths and 180 cases on Saturday.

The dead include a Southern Health-Santé Sud man in his 70s and a Winnipeg health region man in his 80s. 

New cases include 83 in the Winnipeg heath region, followed by 69 in Northern, 10 cases in both Interlake-Eastern and Southern Health, and eight cases in Prairie Mountain Health.

There are now 2,986 active cases in Manitoba, of which 219 are in Prairie Mountain Health.

A total of 283 people are in hospital with COVID-19, of whom 161 are no longer infectious. Of those in hospital, 36 are in intensive care.

In Prairie Mountain Health, a total of 14 people are in hospital, of whom one is in intensive care. 

The current test positivity rate is 10.2 per cent provincially and seven per cent in Winnipeg. 


» The Brandon Sun

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