#Ontario; #CommunityTransmission; #Coronavirus
Ottawa, Apr 29 (Canadian Media): Ontario public health officials have failed to understand why Ontario communities are still contracting COVID-19 despite six weeks of workplace closures, physical distancing, and stay-at-home messages, media reports said.
While roughly half of Ontario's new cases of the coronavirus being among residents and staff of long-term care homes, other front-line health workers, but the sources of infection of the remaining cases, are not often specified.
During his daily briefing on Tuesday Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said he is looking for answers to questions such as who is getting infected, its demographics, and which locations being affected most.
Dr David Williams (Centre). Twitter
Concerned about the continued evidence of community spread of new cases reported outside of long-term care and other institutional settings and added that some individuals who are still not adhering strictly to the social distancing, Williams said he wants Ontario's public health units to collect more specific information about likely sources of transmission among new cases.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday that it was precisely for this reason that we have to be extra careful about opening up the economy.
#Ontario; #Covid19Models; #CommunitySpread
Ottawa, Apr 20 (Canadian-Media): Although it is suggested by updated COVID-19 models, that community spread of the novel coronavirus in Ontario has reached a peak earlier than expected, but public health officials advise the public to stay the course to achieve the best-case scenario in the weeks ahead, media reports said.
According to the revised projections of the current status of COVID-19 in Ontario provided by the health authorities on Apr 20 afternoon as well as documents provided by the province's dedicated COVID-19 task force reveal the total number of cases during this wave of outbreak is now likely less than 20,000 if the physical distancing and other emergency measures remain in place.
This figure is much lower than Ontario's previous modelling update on April 3 the worst-case scenario of 300,000 and expected-case scenario of 80,000.
These new numbers, Premier Doug Ford said Monday show that Ontario's physical distancing measures are working but he still cautioned hat the fight against COVID-19 is far from over.
Doug Ford. Image credit: Twitter
Experts initially anticipated a peak of community spread at some point in May.
A plan is being worked out by the province, said Ford to gradually reopen everything it shut down.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said until health officials deem it safe to ease restrictions, everyone needs to continue staying home and following precautionary measures
Physical distancing to remain for foreseeable future, officials say Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province's associate chief medical officer of health.
#Alberta'sBiggestOutreakinCovid19 #CargillPlantspikeInCovid19; #LackPhysicalDistancing;
Alberta, Apr 20 (Canadian-Media): About 842 percent increase in COVID-19 cases, associated with the Cargill meat plant, were announced Apr 17 by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, media reports said.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Image credit: Twitter
As opposed to earlier 38 known cases associated with the Cargill outbreak, 358 cases identified in households connected to Cargill on Friday seen by Hinshaw, represented 15 percent of all cases in Alberta, and more than the entire province of Saskatchewan.
It was revealed on Saturday by Dr. Jia Hu, medical officer of health for Calgary during a telephone town hall held Saturday between Cargill workers and provincial health representatives that around 200 of those cases are directly connected to Cargill contractors and workers.
Although the union that represents some workers at the plant temporarily laid off 1,000 staff last Tuesday and also called for the facility to be closed till a plan could be formulated, but the facility remained open since it was classified as an essential service as part of the food supply chain.
Cargill also began offering bonuses during the COVID-19 outbreak, workers said. They worried that by missing work, they would miss out on the bonus.
The main reason for not deciding to shut Calgary plant, including Cargill's High River plant, along with the JBS plant in Brooks and the Harmony Beef plant in Balzac both of which also have confirmed cases of COVID-19, represent approximately three-quarters of beef suppliers in Canada.
Cargill normally processes nearly 4,000 animals per day at this time of year, according to Dennis Laycraft, executive vice-president of the Canadian Cattleman's Association.
According to CUPE Alberta tweet employees at Seasons Retirement Community in High River have tested positive for COVID-19, some of whom live with employees of the Cargill plant.
#Canada; #MentalHealth; #Covid19Pandemic; #NewPortal; #WellnessTogetherCanada
Ottawa, Apr 15 (Canadian-Media): In view of varying degrees of stress faced by Canadians due to COVID-19 pandemic, Patty Hajdu, Canada's Minister of Health launched April 15 a new portal on Canada.ca/coronavirus and the Canada COVID-19 app. to facilitate access to credible information and services to support their mental health and wellbeing, media reports said.
Dedicated to mental wellness, this portal combines the experiences of a broad consortium of organizations in providing digital mental health and substance use support, including Stepped Care Solutions, Kids Help Phone, Homewood Health, Greenspace Health, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and the Canadian Psychological Association.
In addition to the above services, the entire suite of tools on Wellness Together Canada, built on the support of $7.5 million provided to Kids Help Phone, provides an opportunities to Canadians in need to chat with peer support workers and other professionals.
The launch of Wellness Together Canada was built to provide mental health support to young people during this difficult time, as a result of school closures and reduced access to community resources.
#Ontario; #LowSupplyOfSomeDrugs; #Ventilators; #Covid19Patients
Ottawa, Apr 15 (Canadian-Media): Low supply of some drugs in Ontario required to keep COVID-19 patients sedated while on ventilators has compelled the hospitals in Ontario to conserve their use, media reports said.
Ventilator. Image credit: Twitter
With almost triple the demand of these drugs due to their being crucial to sedate and immobilize the COVID-19 patients on ventilators, said Christina Adams, chief pharmacy officer of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, has given rise some very significant shortages in medications such as propofol (a sedative), cisatracurium (a paralytic, or neuromuscular blocker), and rocuronium (a paralytic, or neuromuscular blocker).
All three are on a Health Canada list current drug scarcities with "the greatest potential impact on Canada's drug supply and health care system."
Ontario is working with pharmaceutical companies on the issue, said Ontario's Health Minister Christine Elliott.
#CanadianHospitals; ICUShortfalls; #PublicHealthAgencyOfCanada; #Covid19Pandemic; #CanadianInstituteforHealthInformation
Ottawa, Apr 12 (Canadian-Media): As the number of COVID-19 patients are expected to increase over the next few months, a team of health system researchers had predicted that some Canadian hospitals could face significant shortfalls of ICU beds, media reports said.
ICU beds. Image credit: Twitter
The data also revealed the discrepancy of ICU requirement between different areas of the country showing some hospitals are better equipped to deal with an acute stress like COVID-19 than others.
Many hospitals across Canada had more than enough capacity, said the data, to handle COVID-19 patients, all except Ontario.
According to the data ten hospital regions in Ontario, eight in Quebec, three in Saskatchewan and two in Alberta and Manitoba would all face ICU bed capacity shortages.
Broken down provincially, Ontario would face the greatest shortfall in capacity with projections that the province would need twice as many ICU beds.
And some hospitals across the country would have to triple their capacity for ICU beds in such a scenario.
But those issues could be mitigated by actions already being undertaken by health officials across the country, provincial health officials say.
Those measures include, transferring patients to other regions. converting spaces within hospitals, or creating additional ICU capacity.
The ICU bed model builds on the Public Health Agency of Canada's latest projections, as well as Canadian Institute for Health Information's recent data with respect to regional hospital bed capacity.
Members of the ICU bed capacity model project included research assistant Robert Redelmeier and Jose Figueroa, an assistant professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The model does not account for an unexpected infections increase which would impact regions differently over time and gathering of resource needs could be even greater sooner than expected.
#HealthCanada; #RapidCoronavirusBloodTest; #BTNX; #NasalSwabs
Ottawa, Apr 12 (Canadian-Media): It was reported by Health Canada that a rapid coronavirus blood test that's being manufactured in Canada by Markham, Ont., company BTNX, and shipped to the United States is not ready for use here, media reports said.
Rapid Blood Test. Image credit: Twtiter
While there is a backlog of tests done through nasal swabs in Canada's medical laboratories, rapid blood tests that could hasten diagnosis remain off the table here.
The company had reportedly been told by Health Canada rapid blood tests it's seeking to sell will remain under review until a greater national strategy on their use is developed despite the fact that sales of the same test have been allowed to proceed in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.
CEO of the company BTNX, Iqabal Sunderani said that their sister company in the U.K. is literally selling this in the millions.
Unlike the traditional swabs that test for the presence of the virus, these rapid tests use just a couple of drops of blood from a pinprick on the finger to detect the presence of antibodies that fight the virus. With no trip to a laboratory required, results are available on the spot in 15 minutes. The tests cost around $10 each.
Rapid blood test can't detect the virus in its early stages but are effective at diagnosing people about five to seven days after symptoms show up, once the body has had a chance to produce antibodies.
The test can also help identify who is immune to the illness, including those who had already had the illness, as well as some who may have acquired the virus but never become sick.
In a letter co-signed by 90 physicians to the federal government, Dr. Jean Carruthers, a Vancouver ophthalmologist and ocular plastic surgeon, said that he is disappointed that a test made in Canada by Canadians can't be used on Canadians.
Citing Germany and South Korea have used rapid blood tests systematically to identify who can safely go back to work in front-line health care and the service industry, Carruthers said and these people can also help trace the contacts of people who have been infected.
Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease specialist and the chief of staff at Humber River Hospital in Toronto, echoed that sentiment.
At BTNX, Pittaway said health agencies around the world have been able to take these decisions and hopes Canada will also soon make a well-informed decision soon.
#Ontario; #HealthCareWorkers; #Coronavirus; #Covid19pandemic; #LackOfProtectiveGear
Ottawa, Apr 10 (Canadian-Media): More than 620 health-care workers across Ontario have tested positive for the coronavirus that cause COVID-19, including death of one staff member, media reports said.
Coronavirus. Image credit: Twitter
Various transmission sources beyond health-care settings have resulted in increased number of infected cases of coronavirus in dozens of hospitals and long-term care homes across the province.
As the number of cases among staff and patients rise, some say health-care workers have a growing reason to worry about what's coming next. "They are scared and frightened and torn — really torn — on their obligations and rights," said Dr. Sandy Buchman, president of the Canadian Medical Association.
The concern about the shortage of protective gear among the front line health care workers is mounting due to the increasing toll on the province's hospitals, and their staff.
#Toronto; #MentalHealthSupport; #EssentialService; #Covid19Pandemic
Toronto, Apr 9 (Canadian-Media): A mental health support strategy has been developed by the City of Toronto by partnered with key mental health service providers to support the mental health needs of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic caused due to stress, anxiety, financial loss, loss of critical supports, self-isolation, and quarantine, media reports said.
Image credit: Facebook
The mental health services are considered by the City of Toronto to be essential for residents during this time and are free to all residents.
Key mental health service providers with which city of Toronto has partnered are: Kids Help Phone and Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone; Progress Place Warm Line; Toronto Seniors Helpline; Ontario Psychological Association for frontline workers in community agencies; Caribbean African Canadian Social Services (CAFCAN) for Black residents; Across Boundaries for Black and Indigenous People/Persons of Colour (BIPOC); Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) for Indigenous residents; and Gerstein Crisis Centre.
To access support and get connected to any of the seven primary mental health service partners for direct phone support, residents can call 211.
Mental health service information is also available at http://www.211toronto.ca/.
These centres support children and youth, seniors, frontline workers, and those with intersectional identities, such as Indigenous, Black, persons with disabilities and LGBTQ2S, who are struggling with isolation, stress and anxiety due to COVID-19 measures.
The integrated approach of this strategy allows channeling of referrals to the most appropriate mental health resources and enables the City and its partners to be responsive to changing needs.
This strategy complements and does not replace any existing mental health support models such as Distress Centre, East Metro Youth Services, who are urged to continue providing services to existing clients and to expand services where needed.
#Canada; #Physically&MentallyChallenged; #Isolation; #COVID19Pandemic
Ottawa, Apr 9 (Canadian-Media): About six million disabled Canadians's families had been not being able to get respite support due to the fears of contacting COVID19 have been challenged with increased isolation, media reports said.
CACL. Image credit: Facebook
The families of Canadians have also been burdened to fill the gaps of the caregivers of this group including feeding, toileting as well as activities like reading or stretching throughout the day.
Concerned that Canada has not addressed financial support for this group in its Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Krista Carr, executive director of the Canadian Association For Community Living (CACL), called the federal government to step up support for this vulnerable group.
"We really need to hear some statements about people with disabilities and their families, coming directly from the prime minister," said Carr.
Among the recommendations released by the CACL to the federal government is waiving the $5,000 earning requirement for people with disabilities who don't meet the minimum-income requirement.
Although some Canadian provinces have announced either new or increased monthly benefits for families taking care of a child with a disability, parents say there was a growing need to address isolation which money cannot fix.
Parents said there was a need for the creation of more online or virtual projects such as being offered by Active Souls Project in Kitchener, Ontario, an adaptive training facility in Ontario, offering rehabilitation, recreation and fitness programs for many physically or intellectually challenged.
After the mandatory closure of this facility last month due to COVID-19, Sascha King, owner, founder and coach of Active Souls Project, the facility have started to offer gym equipment at no charge so members can still exercise at home and have instructing them online
Active Souls Project also started a virtual buddy program to provide online respite support to family and caregivers who need a break.