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“You may not know you have it”: MHO on syphilis outbreak – paNOW

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“Just because it disappears doesn’t mean you don’t have the infection,” he said. “It can remain asymptomatic, so you don’t know you have it and it can remain like that for decades and only reappear several decades later.”

The outbreak in the Prince Albert area has mostly affected people between the ages of 25 and 65. In 90 per cent of the cases, those who contracted the disease did not use condoms.

Chokani said the way syphilis is spreading here is unusual.

“We are seeing it predominantly in the heterosexual population. In other parts of Canada, its more on men who have sex with men. It’s greater in the heterosexual population here and that puts our future generations at risk because women may not know their partners have it, they contract it and then pass it on to their unborn child.”

Chokani said on average, one case of syphilis will have at least four other contacts. That means with the 21 cases in north central Saskatchewan, there could be 84 other people who may have come in contact with the disease. Adding to that problem is the trouble health officials have when tracking down patients after they’ve been tested. In some cases, it’s taken four weeks to deliver results because the contact information left by the patient wasn’t valid.

“If you have any doubts [about whether you have syphilis], give your physician contact information you know you can be found at,” Chokani urged. “And if you get treated today, it doesn’t mean you’re good to go. The most important thing is abstinence – ideally for at least 21 days.”

In a press release issued to media Thursday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority said testing is free and confidential and the treatment, which is a single injection of a long acting penicillin, will be offered to patients immediately.

In the meantime, a multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary team is providing a coordinated, integrated response in the affected communities. The team includes health professionals from Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Ministry of Health, Indigenous Services Canada – Saskatchewan region, and Northern Inter-Tribal Authority. The response focus is on testing, treatment and connecting people to health and support services to reduce their risks.

Teena.monteleone@jpbg.ca

On Twitter: @TeenaMonteleone

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Social Exclusion in Canada

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Social exclusion is something that hasn’t been talked about directly before because it is either a cause of something or an effect of something. Either way it is a reality and Canada unfortunately are experiencing a lot of it.

But the question popping up in a lot the people minds would be; what is social exclusion? Well, the answer is quite simple actually. Social exclusion refers to the lack of belonging, acceptance and recognition.

People who are socially excluded are more economically and socially vulnerable, and hence they tend to have diminished life experiences. Social exclusion has been associated with economic and social changes. Social exclusion is becoming one of the most common reasons for people to become more vulnerable, which cause them to have unacceptable experiences at school and in their personal life. Children are the ones who experience all of this to it’s maximum potential.

Children who live in persistent poverty are twice as likely to live in a “dysfunctional” family, they are twice as likely to live with violence, and more than three times as likely to live with a depressed parent. All risk factors for social exclusion and eventual criminality.

Another alarming fact is that child poverty has shown no decrease in the past years. Last time a decrease was seen in the 1990s. the latest figure show a child poverty rate of 15.6%. The UK study found that social exclusion and deprivation consistently emerge as underlying factors in the over-representation of certain visible minority groups in the criminal justice system.

In Western countries, members of disadvantaged minority groups are more likely to be arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for violent crimes, property crimes, and drug-related crimes. Canada is no exception. Data from Ontario correctional facilities reveal a prison admission rate of 705 per 100,000 population for Canadians of European ancestry, and a rate of 3,686 per 100,000 for Canadians of African ancestry.

These number are very disappointing to look at especially in the 21st century and more importantly in a developed country like Canada and we see that countries like the United Kingdom have taken initiative to counter these kinds of problems but on the other hand we don’t see Canada doing much to counter all of this.

For example, lets have a look at the United Kingdom;

In the UK, a social inclusion approach that was adopted in 1997 seems to have already helped to substantially diminish the risk factors for criminality. Their Social Exclusion Unit was launched as a multi-sectoral way to try to tackle poverty, housing, health, and crime issues. It aimed at stopping people from “falling through the cracks” in social services, and reintegrating those who had already fallen behind.

 

As a parallel to the Social Exclusion Unit, the UK’s Neighborhood Renewal Unit was created to narrow the gap between deprived neighborhoods and the rest of the country. Since the launch of these initiatives, there has been a 66% reduction in people sleeping on streets at night, a 33% reduction in the number of children excluded from school, and the successful placement of over 17,000 disaffected youth into school, training or employment.

If the United Kingdom took take these steps into the betterment of their citizen, I am sure Canada could take the same if not a different approach to handle these problems. Then the real question is what is stopping them?

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COVID-19 in Ottawa: Fast Facts for Jan. 18, 2021 – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.

Fast Facts:

  • Some COVID-19 statistics in Ottawa declined slightly on Sunday, but the city still saw a triple-digit number of new cases.
  • A Nepean retirement home has lost four residents to COVID-19 due to a recent outbreak.
  • The Ontario government is cracking down on COVID-19 violations at big box stores, visiting more than 100 in the GTHA this weekend, with plans to inspect stores all across the province.

COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health data):

  • New cases: 123 new cases on Sunday
  • Total COVID-19 cases: 12,286
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 85.6
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 4.1 per cent (Jan. 8 – Jan. 14)
  • Reproduction Number: 1.03 (seven day average)

Testing:

Who should get a test?

Ottawa Public Health says there are five reasons to seek testing for COVID-19:

  • You are showing COVID-19 symptoms. OR
  • You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app. OR
  • You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health. OR
  • You are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care OR
  • You have traveled to the UK, or have come into contact with someone who recently traveled to the UK, please go get tested immediately (even if you have no symptoms).

Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:

There are several sites for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa. To book an appointment, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx

The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre

Open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

COVID-19 Drive-thru assessment centre at National Arts Centre: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Heron Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at McNabb Community Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Symptoms:

Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath

Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallow, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, new or unexplained runny nose or nasal congestion

Less common symptoms: unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, headache, delirium, chills, red/inflamed eyes, croup

The number of people in Ottawa with known active cases of COVID-19 fell slightly on Sunday after hitting a record high on Saturday.

Ottawa Public Health reported 1,274 active cases of COVID-19 Sunday, down from a peak of 1,286 on Saturday.

The number of people in the hospital and in the ICU also fell by two on Sunday to 38 and eight, respectively. 

The weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 residents–considered more of a stable metric to judge the progress of the pandemic compared to daily case counts–dipped as well, to 85.6, down from 88.9. It was at nearly 100 late last week.

OPH added 123 new cases of COVID-19, 134 recoveries and one new death to its pandemic totals on Sunday.

As COVID-19 vaccines are delivered to local long-term care homes, one Ottawa retirement home is battling an outbreak that has so far claimed the lives of four residents.

The Valley Stream retirement home on Valley Stream Drive in Nepean has, to date, seen 46 residents and 27 staff members test positive for COVID-19 since Jan. 2.

In a statement dated Jan. 14, Dr. Rhonda Collins, chief medical officer for Revera, the company that runs the home, said COVID-19 protocols are in place to help limit the spread.

On Friday, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said vaccination teams had visited all 28 local long-term care homes and the focus of the city’s inoculation efforts would turn to retirement homes.

A spokesperson for Revera told CTV News on Sunday that Valley Stream is awaiting confirmation from Ottawa Public Health of a date for residents to begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations and staff have been preparing the informed consents required.

Safety inspectors found more than 30 businesses violating COVID-19 safety rules during a big-box blitz across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development said Sunday, and the blitz will soon be expanding across the province.

The ministry said that inspectors visited 110 stores on Saturday and found 31 stores in violation of provincial orders, which is equal to about 70 per cent compliance.

“We’ll be expanding that in the days and weeks to come across the whole province,” Minister Monte McNaughton said in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press. “We’re going to continue targeting bad actors and we’ll continue issuing fines and close them down if we have to.”

The most common violations inspectors found big box stores contravening were linked to screening of customers and staff, masking protocols and physical distancing problems, McNaughton said.

With files from CTV Toronto’s Sean Davidson and The Canadian Press.

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Vaccination campaign gets underway in nine Cree communities in northern Quebec – Sudbury.com

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Boxes of doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived by plane in nine Cree communities in Quebec’s James Bay region over the weekend and were immediately put to work to protect the community, the head of the regional health board said Sunday.

Bertie Wapachee, the chairperson of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, said vaccination was already underway in many of the communities, with the rest of the vaccine centres opening on Monday.

“In some ways, it represents a light at the end of the tunnel for us,” he said in a phone interview.

“It’s an added tool to defeating the virus as we move forward.”

Wapachee said he didn’t know the exact number of vaccines received, but said the communities would be able to offer a first dose to any adult community members who want them.

He said the remote Cree communities are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks due to overcrowded housing conditions that make isolating difficult, as well as a limited number of local health-care workers.

He said he was “confident” most of the community members would want the shot.

The region has contended with at least one outbreak involving about 40 cases.

While there are logistical challenges in delivering the vaccine to isolated communities, Wapachee said the area is well-served by regional airline Air Creebec, a strong team on the ground and a population that has done a good job respecting the health measures overall.

Meanwhile, Quebec reported 50 new deaths due to COVID-19 on Sunday as well as a preliminary total of 1,744 new cases.

The province said a delay in transmitting data from Quebec’s labs means the number of cases is incomplete and will be adjusted in a future update.

Hospitalizations declined for the third straight day, down 14 to 1,460.

There were also 12 fewer people in intensive care, for a total of 215.

While the number of new cases recorded in Quebec has declined slightly over the past week, Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter that it’s too soon to describe the movement as a trend.

He urged Quebecers to keep following health measures because the battle is “not yet won.”

The province administered just over 8,800 doses of vaccine on Saturday, he added.

Quebec has reported a total of 242,714 cases and 9,055 deaths since the pandemic began.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

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