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Woman becomes 2nd victim of COVID-19 outbreak at Steinbach care home –



A woman in her 90s with COVID-19 has died, the second death linked to an outbreak of the illness at the Bethesda Place care home in Steinbach, Man. 

It is the 14th death connected to COVID-19 in Manitoba. The woman who died was in hospital but not in intensive care, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference.

New public health orders will come into effect on Friday, requiring anyone with COVID-19 or exposed to the illness to self-isolate for 14 days, Roussin said.

People who don’t adhere to the new requirements can be fined $486 per day, Roussin said. The new rules come as a result of people not self-isolating when they should.

While isolation was already required in those situations, the new order allows the province to fine people immediately if they break the rules, Roussin said, though health officials will still try other avenues to get people to self-isolate before issuing tickets.

“Education is our Number 1 tool here, because we know that there’s a disproportionate burden on some individuals,” he said.

“For the most part, we’re going to work with people to get them to self-isolate.”

People told to self-isolate by public health officials need to go home or to an approved isolation location and stay there for 14 days, or until they are told otherwise by public health, he said.

There can be exceptions made to isolation requirements so people can go to in-person appointments with health-care providers, Roussin said. But if a person told to self-isolate is allowed to leave home, they have to wear a face mask, maintain physical distancing and minimize their time away from where they’re isolating.

An exception to the exposure order will also be made for health-care workers, Roussin said.

Officials announced Thursday morning that a health-care worker at the Rideau Park Personal Care Home in Brandon, Man., has tested positive for COVID-19.

Prairie Mountain Health, in yellow, has the most active cases in the province, and Winnipeg, red, and Southern Health, green, also have a substantial number. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

That person wore personal protective equipment while working and is now self-isolating, Roussin said.

Rideau Park has now been moved to red, or critical, on the province’s colour-coded pandemic response system, he said. That means the personal care home is putting more precautionary measures in place and restricting visits to the facility.

So far, no other cases have been detected at the care home, but an outbreak has been declared “out of an abundance of caution,” said Blaine Kraushaar, a spokesperson for the Prairie Mountain Health region, where the home is located.

22 new cases

Six people in Manitoba are currently in hospital with COVID-19, including one in intensive care.

There are 22 new cases of the illness in Manitoba on Thursday, and one case reported on Aug. 15 was removed from the province’s total cases, Roussin said.

Nine of Thursday’s new cases are in the Prairie Mountain Health region, six are in the Southern Health region, four are in the Winnipeg health region and three are in the Interlake-Eastern health region.

Investigations found seven of the new cases are close contacts of a previously announced case of COVID-19, Roussin said. More information will be released when it’s available, he said.

Roughly 20 per cent of Winnipeg’s 97 active COVID-19 cases are now considered community spread, Roussin said.

The province has considered separating data on Winnipeg cases into smaller regions, though Roussin said it’s unlikely the extra detail would be helpful, since cases are reported based on where a person lives, but not necessarily where they spend their time working or out in the community.

“They might live in the north, they might work in the south, they might have family in the west,” he said. “It really doesn’t add a whole bunch.”

Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate is now three per cent, down slightly from the record 3.1 per cent on Wednesday, Roussin said.

The higher rate is affected by positive results linked to targeted testing in known COVID-19 clusters, Roussin said.

Employees stand with clipboards as vehicles line up at a COVID-19 drive-thru test site on Main Street in Winnipeg on Wednesday. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

As of Wednesday, eight people linked to the Bethesda Place care home in Steinbach, Man., where an outbreak was declared on Aug. 17, had contracted the illness.

That tally included five staff, at least one of whom is a nurse, and three residents, two of whom have died, Roussin said. A woman whose death was announced on Tuesday was the first fatality from Bethesda and Manitoba’s 13th fatality linked to COVID-19.

To date, 643 people in Manitoba have recovered from COVID-19, and 1,064 cases of the illness have been detected in the province.

On Wednesday, 1,429 more COVID-19 tests were completed in Manitoba, bringing the total done in the province since early February to 130,835.

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COVID-19 Update from Dr. Tam Chief Public Health Officer – Net Newsledger



OTTAWA – COVID-19 – In lieu of an in-person update to the media, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement today:

“There have been 146,663 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,234 deaths. 87% of people have now recovered. Over the past week, there has been a marked increase in laboratory testing, with an average of almost 70,000 people tested daily across Canada and 1.4% of these testing positive.

Since our last modelling update in mid-August, the national daily case count has been increasing at an accelerated rate. Over the past seven days, an average of 1,123 cases were reported daily, compared to 380 cases reported daily in mid-August.

Canada is at a crossroads with the COVID-19 epidemic trajectory. At the current rate of growth, our epidemiological analysis and modelling studies indicate that unless public health and individual protective measures are strengthened and we work together to slow the spread of the virus, the situation is on track for a big resurgence in a number of provinces.

Throughout the summer, infection rates have been highest among young adults aged 20-39 years. While COVID-19 tends to be less severe among young people, ongoing circulation of the virus in younger, more mobile and socially connected adults builds a reservoir for the virus. This not only increases the risk for spread to individuals and populations at higher risk for severe outcomes, but it threatens our ability to keep COVID-19 at manageable levels. As well, it is important to know that young adults are not immune to the direct impacts of COVID-19, as serious or prolonged illness can occur at any age.

Yesterday I ended my remarks with a message to young adults and today I want to reiterate that now more than ever, we need your cooperation, your creativity and your drive to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. In fact, we can’t get back on the slow burn track without your help. This is your generation, this is your time, let’s work together to get this done.

To make this work, we all need to commit to strictly adhering to individual protective measures including physical distancing, hand hygiene, non-medical masks as recommended; limiting in-person contacts as much as possible to a small, consistent and trusted contacts bubble; and following the golden rule of staying home and isolating from others if experiencing any symptoms, even if mild.

The challenge we all face is to stay the course no matter how weary we may feel. We have done this before and we know that working together we can do it again. Let’s get back on the slow burn track together. Find more COVID-19 information and resources here.”

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

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'Won't be gathering for Thanksgiving:' Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway –



TORONTO — A dramatic tripling of daily new cases of COVID-19 in the past month, mostly among young people, has prompted the prime minister to declare the arrival of the second wave of the pandemic and that Canadians likely won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving.

“In our four biggest provinces, the second wave isn’t just starting, it’s already underway,” Justin Trudeau said Wednesday evening in a rare television address to the nation.  

“We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring.”

Trudeau said Canadians can’t do anything to change the numbers now, or even tomorrow.

“But what we can change is where we are in October, and into the winter,” he said. 

“It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving, but we still have a shot at Christmas.”

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the country had seen an average of more than 1,100 new cases of the novel coronavirus a day this past week compared with about 380 a day in mid-August.

“Canada is at a crossroads with the COVID-19 epidemic trajectory,” Tam said before Trudeau’s address. “Unless public health and individual protective measures are strengthened and we work together to slow the spread of the virus, the situation is on track for a big resurgence in a number of provinces.”

While the new cases were primarily among young adults, more than 400 schools in Quebec and another 153 in Ontario reported at least one case of the illness. The figures from the group COVID Ecoles Quebec and the Ontario government came as authorities seek ways to curb the spread of COVID-19 among younger people.

Data from Ontario show cases among those in their 20s have risen sharply in the past month, with one expert attributing the increase in part to the reopening of schools and universities.

In an effort to tackle the problem, several provinces, cities and universities have warned of stiff fines for violating anti-COVID restrictions. However, Quebec said it would not allow police to enter homes without a warrant to break up gatherings that violate the measures.

The worrisome upward trend in new cases came as the federal Liberal government laid out its plan to take on the second wave.

“To prevent small clusters from becoming major outbreaks, communities may need to enact short-term closure orders,” the government said in its throne speech.

Stringent lockdowns in the spring caused unprecedented economic disruption, prompting the government to spend tens of billions of dollars on supports as unemployment skyrocketed.

The throne speech promised, among other things, an extension of the federal wage-subsidy program until next summer, more aid for businesses and help to boost testing capacity. People in various cities have waited for hours or even days for virus testing. Safety concerns led a hospital in Kitchener, Ont., to close its drive-thru testing centre as people arrived in the wee hours.

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada, while the cumulative case count has been edging toward the 150,000 mark.

Quebec, with more than 69,000 cases, accounts for about 48 per cent of the total cases but 63 per cent of the deaths. Ontario’s more than 48,000 reported cases account for 33 per cent nationally, and 31 per cent of fatalities

On Wednesday, Quebec reported 471 new cases. Another four reported deaths from the novel coronavirus brought the province’s total fatalities to 5,809.

Ontario, which has shown a steady increase in new cases since mid-August, after months of declines, reported 335 new cases Wednesday and another three deaths. Almost 70 per cent of new infections were in people under the age of 40.

Concern is also mounting as more long-term care homes in Ontario, brutally hit by the virus earlier in the year, report outbreaks. Almost 70 per cent of fatalities have been among those aged 80 and older and another 27 per cent were 60 to 79 years of age.

While older people and those with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to severe illnesses from SARS-CoV-2, younger people can spread the disease — often before showing any symptoms.

“When there’s so much in the community, it can escalate into the populations with more vulnerability,” Dr. Vera Etches, medical officer of health in Ottawa, one of the harder hit cities, said.

Ontario data indicates new cases among people in their 20s have reached similar levels to those seen among people in their 80s in mid-April. Along with school reopenings, Dr. Brian Ward, a professor of medicine at McGill University, cited bars and parties as key factors, along with a “general sense of invulnerability” among younger people.

“COVID fatigue also clearly plays a role,” Ward said.

Winnipeg, for example, accounted for 30 of Manitoba’s 42 new cases reported Wednesday, with possible exposures at restaurants, bars and a pub trivia night, the province said.

Trudeau sympathized with Canadians feeling the stress of a second wave, but urged people to be strong.

“‘Can’t’ will not define us,” he said. 

“We can bend the curve. We can build a stronger future. We can define the change.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

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COVID-19: 91 new cases reported in B.C. with no deaths – The Kingston Whig-Standard



Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there were now 1,376 active cases of the disease, of which 62 were being treated in hospital including 18 in intensive care.

There were 91 new cases of COVID-19 reported in B.C. between noon Tuesday and noon Wednesday and no deaths.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said there were now 1,376 active cases of the disease, with 62 people being treated in hospital including 18 in intensive care.

The number of active COVID-19 cases peaked at 1,987 on Sept. 21, but dropped the following day to 1,465.

According to the Ministry of Health, this was because Vancouver Coastal Health had not been passing on recovery data to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control over the past month as they were transitioning to a new data collection system.

Fraser Health has the most active cases, at 781, with Vancouver Coastal Health next with 517 cases. Island Health has only eight active cases.

Henry said there were 3,368 people in quarantine under public health monitoring after being potentially exposed to the disease. Of the 8,395 cases that have been reported in B.C., 6,769 have recovered and 227 have died.

“There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks, and outbreaks at Bear Creek Villa independent-living facility and Normanna long-term care facility have been declared over,” Henry said, adding there were still outbreaks in nine long-term care or assisted-living homes and five acute-care facilities.

Of the 91 cases reported between on Wednesday, two were in health-care facilities.

“There have been no new community outbreaks, although there continue to be community exposure events. The outbreak at the Loblaws warehouse has been declared over,” Henry said.

“Public alerts and school notifications are posted on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) website, as well as on health authorities’ websites, providing details on where the potential exposure occurred and what actions to take – whether to self-isolate or monitor for symptoms.”

On Wednesday afternoon, parents at Ecole Riverside School in Port Coquitlam were told that there had been a COVID-19 positive person at the school on Sept. 18. They were told that if their child had been exposed they would be notified by Fraser Health.

In Vancouver, parents at Xpey’ Elementary School were told there had been a COVID-sick person at the school on Sept. 10, 14, 15 and 21.

Surrey, the largest school district in B.C., has reported 15 school exposures so far.

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