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With 879 new COVID-19 cases, Quebec passes grim 100,000 milestone – Timmins Times

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The province also reported 11 more deaths as the cumulative total of cases reached 100,114.

With Quebec surpassing the 100,000 mark in new COVID-19 cases Sunday, it’s clear the winter ahead will be challenging, two epidemiologists said.

“I’m concerned that we’ve reached the 100,000 mark,” said Catherine Hankins, a professor of public health at McGill University and co-chair of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.

“We’re just at the start of what will be a cold winter, so we really need to ramp up our public health response,” she said.

A major challenge will be to achieve a balance between distancing measures to check the virus’s spread and mental-health issues caused by loss of social contact, especially as winter weather forces people indoors, Hankins said.

We should take inspiration from the Scandinavian saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes,” she suggested.

“We should be able to get out in all types of weather and keep active if we dress appropriately, with the layers that we need,” she said.

Hankins proposed that the phrase “social distancing,” should be replaced by “physical distancing.”

There are still ways to connect with others while practising safety measures like avoiding gatherings, wearing masks, keeping a two-metre distance from people outside our household and hand washing, she said.

“One thing that’s important is that people continue to exercise,” she said.

“For our own mental health, we do need to keep physically active and, although physically distanced, we need to keep socially active, even if it’s by phone or online.”

For people who aren’t comfortable with videoconference apps, the good, old-fashioned telephone is a great way to stay in touch, she said.

“Pick up the phone. Don’t hesitate to call somebody. Don’t feel like you’re interrupting or bother them. Just pick up the phone and give them a call,” Hankins added.

Quebec reported 879 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and 1,009 new cases Saturday, bringing the total to 100,114 since the first case was reported on Feb. 29.

Infections from Quebec continue to account for nearly half of Canada’s total, which stood at 213,959 on Saturday night.

Ontario, the province with the second-most infections, topped 1,000 cases for the first time on Sunday to reach a total of 70,373.

“I’m concerned to see that Ontario is getting up to our levels now. And I am really concerned when I look at places in Europe that thought they had it under some kind of reasonable control,” Hankins said.

Quebec has recorded more than 1,000 cases in seven of the last 10 days.

The province reported 11 more deaths on Sunday. Five of those fatalities occurred in the last 24 hours, another five occurred between Oct. 18 and 24 and one was from an unknown date.

The number of deaths associated with the virus now stands at 6,143.

The number of hospitalizations increased by two to 551. Of the patients hospitalized because of the virus, 97 are in intensive care, an increase of four from Saturday.

Of the new cases reported on Sunday, 146 were in Montreal, where a total of 40,869 have now been reported.

For the first time in a week, Montreal was not the region with the most new cases. Montérégie, with 162, reported the highest total.

Jay Kaufman, an epidemiologist at McGill University, said that with 800-1000 cases a day for almost three weeks now, “Quebec is not doing so badly” compared to many European countries and the United States.

However, with Quebec continuing to have the worst case counts in Canada, “there is still lots of room for concern,” he said.

The fact cases have plateaued in Quebec show distancing measures are working, he said.

“The cases are not declining, however, and hospitalizations are way up, and so I suspect that we will not be able to reopen closed businesses for some time still, which is terrible news for those businesspeople,” he added.

Hankins said there should be more emphasis on the contact-tracing cell phone app to fight the virus’s spread.

Additional measures to protect vulnerable residents of long-term care facilities that were hard hit during the first wave are essential, she added.

“We know that they’re an Achilles heel,” she said.

“This is the most vulnerable population and we really need to make sure that we get it right this time as best we can.”

mscott@postmedia.com

With additional reporting by David Rudin

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‘Long-term care facilities are at a breaking point’: Calls for action as more deaths linked to Alberta continuing care centres – Global News

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COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths at Alberta’s long term care centres are causing alarm among doctors and families.

On Sunday, Alberta Health Services announced nine additional deaths linked to the virus. Eight of those deaths were at continuing care, long-term care or retirement centres.

Alberta Health has been notified of 41 cases linked to the outbreak at Clifton Manor in southeast Calgary, and a man in his 80s who was connected to the outbreak died Sunday.

“The people who are in these facilities who are truly vulnerable — we have again disregarded,” said David Cowling, whose brother Donald has been living at Clifton Manor for a year-and-a-half.

Read more:
‘Unclear processes’ led to days of delay for critical asymptomatic testing at long-term care homes

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Donald was recently transferred to a Calgary hospital because of medical issues. Cowling said his brother is well enough to go back to Clifton Manor but there’s an outbreak in his unit.

“Society has paid a tremendous price for this and yet we haven’t protected the vulnerable. That’s the irony in all of this,” Cowling said.

“I think it has been outrageous, how this has been handled.”

University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine assistant professor Dr. Tehseen Ladha said hospital bed capacity is being affected by the outbreaks in long term care facilities.

“The situation is so dire in these long-term care facilities and it’s not getting a lot of attention,” Ladha said.

“We are basically taking up many hospital beds just because long-term care facilities are at a breaking point where they have no staff.

“They have COVID outbreaks and they simply can’t manage and they can’t accept residents back to the facilities.”

Read more:
Increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alberta pushing ICUs to 90% capacity

The president of the Brenda Strafford Foundation, which operates Clifton Manor, Conroy said the province should have brought in tougher restrictions to help stop the spread of the virus.

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“I think what is required is the circuit breaker approach. Respecting the economic impact of the pandemic but if you just saw the information over the weekend in terms of shopping, the ski hills, the (anti-mask) rallies etc.,  I’m not sure it’s enough to influence behavior,” Conroy said.

He said asymptomatic testing has been “incredibly effective.”

“Over three-quarters of the positive cases we have found have been asymptomatic which is an incredibly high number,” Conroy said.

Conroy is concerned there is a bias when in comes to the age of the people who are dying from COVID-19. In Alberta, the average age is 82.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s explicit; it’s implicit systemic ageism. I find that to be very unfortunate,” he said.

“We know who the most vulnerable in our society is based on the learning from the first wave of the pandemic and I think we could’ve done more to prevent the vulnerability of those in continuing care centers.”

READ MORE: More calls for additional health measures in Alberta’s continuing care homes

On Sunday, AHS said one person has died and there are 11 active cases linked to an outbreak at Generations Calgary — a combined long term care and supportive living facility in the northeast end of the city.

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Alberta Health has been notified of 110 cases linked to the COVID outbreak at Mount Royal Revera in Calgary. There are six active cases, 93 recovered and 11 people have died.

Cowling is calling for more resources, including more asymptomatic testing, to be provided to continuing care centres.

“There’s no reason for why this should be happening. There’s no reason why all of the suffering that we as a society have had to take to deal with. We didn’t even put in remotely the adequate resources to protect the vulnerable,” Cowling said.

There are a total of 45 outbreaks in Calgary zone long term care and supportive living facilities and 47 in the Edmonton Zone.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue – Victoria News

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The country’s top doctor is asking Canadians to limit their contacts and gatherings as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in several provinces.

In a statement released Sunday (Nov. 29), chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam said there has been an average of 5,335 new cases daily over the past week, compared to 4,739 daily new cases from Nov. 13-19.

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior, while the positivity rate has increased from 6.6 per cent to 7.6 per cent. The number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 has increased to 2,111 from Nov. 20 to 26, up from 1,840 the week prior. The number of ICU patients treated daily jumped from 376 to 432 over the same time period, while average daily deaths increased by five to 76.

“More and larger outbreaks are occurring in long term care homes, congregate living settings and hospitals, and spreading in Indigenous communities and more remote areas of the country,” Tam said. “These developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies.”

Tam said that this time period was crucial, as the weather continues to get colder across the country and gathering indoors becomes more tempting.

“Avoid or limit time spent in the 3Cs – closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings and situations,” she said, as well as urging people to wear masks, stay home if they are sick and wash their hands frequently.

In total, Canada has reported 370,278 confirmed cases and 12,032 deaths due to COVID-19.

B.C. recorded a record-breaking 911 cases on Friday, the last day of a week that has proven to be its deadliest of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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Alberta's central zone now has 1101 active COVID-19 cases – Stettler Independent

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The Government of Alberta reported 1,609 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.

The province now has 15,692 active cases, to go along with 40,219 recovered cases, according to the latest statistics on the government’s website.

Alberta Health Services’ central zone has risen to 1,101 active cases, while the Edmonton zone has 7,230, Calgary has 5,756, the north zone has 857, the south zone has 642 and 223 cases are in an unknown area.

The provincial death toll has risen to 533, which is an increase of nine.

The City of Red Deer currently has 191 active cases, Red Deer County has 61, Sylvan Lake has 48, Lacombe County has 42, Clearwater County has 31, the City of Lacombe has 28, Olds has 21, Mountain View County has 15 and Stettler County has six.

Collectively, Ponoka County and Wetaskiwin County have 349.

“The next few weeks will be hard for all of us in light of the restrictions on social gatherings. I want to thank all of you for doing the right thing and making these sacrifices to help bend the curve,” Alberta’s chief medical officer of healthDr. Deena Hinshaw said on Twitter Sunday.

“While we may be physically separated from each other, I strongly encourage you to reach out to your friends and family and stay connected virtually. We are all in this together – so please reach out to a loved one if you need to.”

Provincially, 435 are in the hospital due to COVID-19 – 95 of those individuals have been admitted into an intensive care unit. In the central zone, 27 people have been hospitalized, five of whom are in intensive care.

In the past 24 hours, 23,282 tests were completed in the province, which brings the total number of tests to 2,234,470.

Hinshaw’s next live update is Monday.



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