Montreal (Quebec), Jul 30 (Canadian-Media): Based on the history of infectious diseases such as SARS, a respiratory illness caused by a virus that is genetically related to the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, many health specialists in Montreal say that a second wave of coronavirus infections is inevitable, its severity will depend on government policy and the willingness of the public to follow guidelines, media reports said.
COVID-19 Pandemic. Image credit: Twitter handle
"It's useful to understand that a second wave is not a discrete thing that happens or doesn't," said Dr. Cédric Yansouni, an infectious-disease physician at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal. "There haven't been any pandemics of respiratory diseases that had a single wave.
"You will always have ongoing transmission for some time. It can last for months and up to a two-year period," reported by CBC.
Another reason a second wave is likely is the absence of enough people infected in the first wave to have sufficient levels of immunity in the population at large.
It is also believed by some epidemiologists that the second wave may already be underway and many of them say the severity and duration of that wave can be kept under control, but they added that Quebec will again fare worse than the rest of the country.
An informal survey conducted by CBC Montreal was circulated earlier this month in which 170 medical doctors, epidemiologists, public health experts and medical researchers took part.
Two-thirds of those who answered indicated that a second wave was "very likely." A further 24 percent said it was "somewhat likely."
Pointing to the low number of deaths and hospitalizations, the Quebec government says despite the increase in cases, the public-health situation remains under control.
#AlbertaHealth; #Covid19Surge, #HealthRegionsOfAlberta
Alberta, Jul 23 (Canadian-Media): Alberta has recorded the most new cases of COVID-19, per capita, of all provinces, from July 7 to 21, according to federally compiled data, media reports said.
COVID-19 Pandemic. Image credit: Twitter handle
Alberta also recorded the highest percentage of positive tests over that time, and its hospitalization rate is on the rise with second only to Quebec.
For the first time during the pandemic, large numbers of new cases have been seen in all five of Alberta's broad health zones at the same time, with the largest surge in the Calgary zone, where physicians have been urging for more government action to limit the spread.
60 active cases back on March 15 rose to 694 active cases on April 7, and on July 21 the number rose to 1,193 active cases.
This situation led the Calgary city council to propose a bylaw for mandatory masks on Calgary Transit and requiring face coverings indoors, and in public places as of Aug. 1.
Calgary's mask bylaw, which passed by a 12-3 vote, was quickly applauded by physicians and business leaders but there were concerns why this bylaw did to extend to schools.
Edmonton's council also passed a similar bylaw at an emergency advisory committee meeting on Thursday.
At a press conference in Edmonton July 21, Alberta's Premier Jason Kenney said "we should all be very concerned about the recent rise in active COVID-19 cases." He chided Albertans who had been ignoring public health orders to "knock it off," and added: "We're not expecting perfection ... let's just do our best."
On the other hand with 1,193 active cases on July 21, the province's announcement of the return to classes received mixed responses from school boards and teachers associations.
"We anticipate that there will be some cases in schools," Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said. "But again, we have a very strong plan in place, so that when there is a case, we will be able to identify it quickly. We will be able to contain it," reported by CBC.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw at July 21 news conference said some degree of spread among kids and teachers was preferable to the schools closure, because "extended school closures negatively impact children's overall long-term mental, emotional and physical health."
#Montreal, #Quebec; #SuddenRiseInCoronavirus; #FamilyContacts; QuebecHealthMinistry
Montreal (Quebec), Jul 22 (Canadian-Media): Quebec's sudden increase in the cases of coronavirus with 180 new cases on Jul 21, its highest daily increase since June 11, is attributed mainly to family contacts, said Quebec Health Ministry, media reports said.
Quebec Health Ministry. Image credit: Website
After experiencing the worst of the coronavirus outbreak, in late June that had left thousands dead in long-term care homes, the province of Quebec had started seeing a decline in the number of cases.
On the eve of summer, fewer than 90 new cases of coronavirus per day were being registered by the province on an average, compared to more than 800 just weeks earlier.
After seeing the downward trend of other public health indicators such as hospitalizations, deaths, Quebec Premier François Legault allowed the reopening of restaurants and bars where Quebecers could gather again in small groups.
But since the start of the month, the five-day rolling average of new cases has climbed from 70 to 159 left the health experts and politicians bewildered about the cause
Many in the province criticized the reopening of bars on June 25.
But the information compiled by Quebec's Health Ministry between June 28 and July 4 revealed fewer than five percent of new cases in the province could be traced to a bar, whereas around 35 percent were due to family contacts.
#BC; #EmergencyProgramAct; #COVID-19PandemicResponse
British Columbia, Jul 21 (Canadian-Media): The B.C. government's state of emergency has formally been extended through the end of the day on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 enabling Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General to use his powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the Province, media reports said.
John Horgan. Image credit: Twitter Handle
B.C. Premier John Horgan said in a news release that he commends everyone for following public health advice to reduce transmission and keep everyone safe from COVID-19 and added,
“However, we are still in the midst of a pandemic, and we’re not out of the woods yet. As a government, we are working to ensure the supports people need during this unprecedented time continue to be available, which is why we’re extending provincial state of emergency today.”
Farnworth said in the news release that as British Columbians start to carefully adjust to life in Phase 3, critical supports would be maintained to respond to and alleviate the effects of this pandemic.
The COVID-19 Related Measures Act which came into force on July 10 enables provisions created for people and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed after the provincial state of emergency ends.
Actions taken in the previous two weeks to support British Columbians include: releasing an economic and fiscal update for 2020-21 with a summary of COVID-19 investments to date with scenario of revenue and deficit projections; extending the temporary authorization that permits food-primary and liquor-primary licensees to sell and deliver sealed, packaged liquor products alongside the purchase of a meal for off-site consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic; and laying out the details of a repayment framework later this summer, helping renters and landlords and tenants to maintain their housing when the ban on evictions for non-payment of rent is lifted ahead of Sept. 1, 2020.
Mississauga, Jul 21 (Canadian-Media): Ontario Premier Doug Ford in his July 21 COVID-19 briefing in Mississauga said 203 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Ontario on that day, the most on any single day in about three weeks.
Doug Ford. Image credit: Twitter handle
Ford was joined by Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario Minister of Long-term Care, Michelle DiEmanuele, President & CEO of Trillium Health Partners, and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.
In a series of tweets this morning, Health Minister Christine Elliott had attributed today's rise in COVID-19 infections to localized increases, namely in Peel, Ottawa and Windsor-Essex. The three regions each confirmed 57, 43 and 24 new cases, respectively.
It was noted by Elliott that people 39 years old or younger accounted for 57 percent of today's newly confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus.
"While one day of data, today's increase is concerning," Elliott wrote.
"Ontarians of all ages need to continue to adhere to public health guidelines: maintain only one social circle of 10 people, physically distance with anyone outside of it and wear a face covering when doing so is a challenge."
Ford, in his daily briefings said that he was concerned that people 39 years old or younger accounted for 57 percent of today's newly confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus.
Ford said he has a message for the young people, "Don't go to the parties. Simple. It might not be you but it's going to be your parents, your grandparents, or your neighbours or your friends, your relatives. You are hurting people by doing this. Wear masks and if you don't have a mask, keep at least 6 feet or 2 meters of distance. Practice social distancing, continue to sanitize your hands. I just ask people to keep away from these parties. We have to keep this in control."
Of the total of 37,942 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario since the outbreak began in late January, about 88.6 percent have been resolved.
Ontario has seen a sudden rise this week of about 1,584 active cases, after several weeks of steady decline.
The jump in new daily cases occurs just one day after Ford's announcement that another seven public health units would be moving into Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan on Friday.
Only Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex will remain in Stage 2 after Friday, July 24.
#Manitoba; #Formulary; #FormularyMedications; #Eligibility
Manitoba, Jul 17 (Canadian-Media): Cameron Friesen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living announced July 17 at a news conference that Manitoba government has added 137 drugs to the provincial formulary, including 109 generic medications, media reports said.
Cameron Friesen. Image credit: Website
“Manitobans dealing with a number of conditions and disorders will now have help in paying for their prescription medications,” said Friesen in a news release. “Medications can be costly and by adding these drugs to the formulary, we are providing better access and lessening the financial burden so patients can focus on being well.”
Drugs added to the formulary include Akynzeo – for the prevention of acute and delayed nausea and vomiting associated with some forms of chemotherapy; Enstilar – for the treatment of psoriasis; Mezera – for the treatment of ulcerative colitis; Prevymis – for the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection; Radicava – for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Sublocade – for the treatment of opioid use disorder; Truxima – for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; and, Velphoro – for the control of serum phosphorus levels in patients with end-stage renal disease.
Friesen noted that since April 1, 2016, 1,211 drugs have been added to the provincial formulary.
To be eligible for the coverage to medications being added to the formulary Pharmacare, Manitoban patients would have to meet the pharmacare criteria.
Coverage for the new drugs will be effective July 16.
#Canada; #Scientists'Beliefs; #Coronavirus; #Airborne; #WHO; #BC
Ottawa, Jul 7 (Canadian-Media): A group of international scientists believe that the spread of coronavirus is through airborne transmission and urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to revise its guidelines, but there is controversy within the scientific community, media reports said.
Covid-19 pandemic. Image credit: Twitter handle
In an open letter to the WHO, 239 scientists in 32 countries have reportedly argued particles smaller than what has previously been reported can carry the novel coronavirus and infect people.
"Thousands of droplets fly through the air when we cough, the most common way for the coronavirus to affect others but there are also microscopic particles smaller than droplets that can remain airborne floating around several hours released by just talking or breathing", said today's video recording by CBCNews.
"If you do not block off all the means of transmission efficiently, the flattening of the curve would be extremely slow. A choir in Washington in March is one example of the super spreading event where one person infected dozens of others," Dr Raymond Tellier, the letter signatory.
Scientists warn, in the open letter to the WHO, that hand washing and physical distancing aren't enough to stop the outbreak.
"The WHO has downplayed the risk of the air borne particles because not enough is known about how infectious they are. But experts and food mechanics say that the WHO's understanding of the subject is decades out of date as the emerging science doesn't even draw distinction between droplets and airborne particles," Vik Adhopia of CBC News reported.
"WHO's understanding of the subject is routed in 1930s physics of the causes that have been observed, measured, modelled, and validated. The letter calls for the better ventilation asking that the WHO urge governments to mandate upgrades before allowing reopening specially in schools, workplaces and seniors' homes where lots of people congregate but not everyone agrees it is urgent," Lydia Bourouiba, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in the letter.
"They need to focus on certainties and spend less time focusing on the things that might have some impact but do not appear to be as important," said Dr. Allison McGeer from Mount Sinai Hospital.
The scientists said that one of the certainties is that the continued use of masks as well as the need forbid the spread of germs.
B.C.'s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the controversy over airborne transmission of COVID-19 has been magnified, after hundreds of scientists signed a letter calling for the WHO to revise its recommendations.
During her COVID-19 briefing on July 6, Henry said that the letter was designed "to foment a bit of controversy," and the disagreement is part of an ongoing discussion about how coronaviruses and other illnesses like influenza are spread.
Bonnie Henry. Image credit: Official BC site
"I actually think it's a little bit of a tempest in a teapot in that we all agree on the extremes and we're fussing a little bit about how much we need to focus on the bits in the middle," Henry said.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, both WHO and Henry have maintained that the coronavirus is spread through droplets expelled from the mouth and nose, which fall from the air comparatively quickly.
"We know that there's a gradation of how droplets come out when somebody coughs or sneezes or talks," Henry explained July 6.
Henry added that the spread of the virus is predominantly through larger droplets and transmission of this virus requires more moisture and closer contact between people.
'It's not transmitted long distances in the air column. We're all on the same page about that," Henry said.
"Where there's a challenge is how much of it is transmitted through the small droplets that are transmitted when I'm close to you."
Besides personal measures like physical distancing and masks in crowded settings, Henry said that B.C.'s approach to COVID-19 has been in implementing several different layers of protection including several types of personal protective equipment in health-care settings to prevent transmission of both small and large droplets.
She said we should look at the data consistently to determine the area of transmission events and adapt to it by taking additional measures including stricter rules around effective face masks.
"It discourages me that we're here after SARS in 2003 and H1N1 in 2009 and we still don't have a decent fitting mask that can be used easily in all health-care settings," said Henry.