#OntarioStage3; #Covid19Cases; #StrictAdherenceToBylaws
Ottawa, Aug 28 (Canadian-Media): Absence of spike in COVID-19 cases even four weeks after when Toronto and Peel Region joined the rest of Ontario (with the exception of Windsor-Essex) in Stage 3 of the province's pandemic reopening plan has been attributed to Ontarians' strict adherence of public health advice, media reports said.
Doug Ford. Image credit: Twitter handle
Fears of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in Ontario after bars and other indoor spaces were reopened have not emerged even with four weeks of looser restrictions in which 97 percent of Ontario's population has been living, reportedly enough time for trends in new coronavirus infections to emerge.
The increase in the provincial average number of daily new cases has been very slight since early August which recorded the lowest point in its trendline in months.
Asked by reporters his assessment of Ontario's performance in Stage 3, Premier Doug Ford credited local medical officers of health. "Everyone's moving forward, they're doing a great job," Ford said Thursday in Brockville, Ont., during his daily news briefing. "I really have confidence in our public health system."
Ontario had maintained its "curve" to be below 110 throughout August, which meant that the daily average of cases is actually lower than in July, when bars and restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area were still not allowed to serve customers indoors.
"The province is actually doing much better than I would have expected as we moved into Stage 3," said Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health, in an interview with CBC News.
Relatively successful Ontario's Stage 3 reopening has been attributed by Ontario's Health experts to a range of factors, including physical distancing, adherence to local bylaws requiring masks in shops and on transit; limiting occupants on indoor businesses; majority of the population's general adherence to public health advice, and summer weather during which people could spend time outdoors, where the risk of transmission is at its lowest.
#Canada, #CanadaCOVID19, #Coronavirus; #PHAC
Ottawa, Aug 24 (Canadian-Media): The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said on Sunday that there had been 124,629 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,071 deaths, and added "89 percent of people have now recovered."
Covid19 Pandemic. Image credit: Pixaby
To date 5,076,734 people have been tested for COVID-19 in labs across Canada. An average of over 48,700 people were tested daily, over the past week, with 0.8 percent testing positive, said PHAC.
National daily case counts over the last several weeks have ranged from 350 to 500 cases with an average of 380 cases being reported daily during the most recent seven days.
As Canada's economic and social spaces continue to reopen, the country has recorded increased COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, said the agency.
"But we are continually improving our capacity to manage COVID-19 based on our own experience and the experience of other countries. Together, we can limit the size and impact of these resurgences," it said.
#Manitoba; #Covid19NewCases; #increaseInCovidcases
Manitoba (ON), Aug 22 (Canadian-Media): Manitoba recorded Forty-two new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, province's highest single-day increase in new cases of the illness, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 290, media reports said.
COVID-19 Pandemic. Image credit: Twitter handle
Previously on April 2 and again on Aug 14, Manitoba had recorded 40 new cases.
The province did not say whether the new cases in the region announced Saturday are linked to a cluster.
The test positivity rate wen down slightly from two percent on Friday to 1.8 percent representing a rolling five-day average of the percentage of COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba that come back positive for the illness.
To date, there have been 872 cases of COVID-19 identified in Manitoba and 570 people have recovered.
Opening of a new test site in Winnipeg is in process and remain open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
With 1,849 tests for the illness being conducted in Manitoba, the total number done in the province since early February is 124,140.
People are again being advised by the public health officials to get tested for COVID-19 only symptoms of the illness are obvious and to do it as soon as possible once those symptoms appear.
#Toronto' #StripClub; #CoronavirusExposure;
Toronto, Aug 14 (Canadian-Media): The City of Toronto warned that about 550 people may have been exposed to COVID-19 at a downtown strip club Brass Rail Tavern at 701 Yonge St. earlier this month, media reports said.
Brass Rail Tavern. Image credit: Twitter handle
People who visited the strip club are being notified by Toronto Public Health about a potential exposure.
Officials say an employee who tested positive for the virus was at the club on these dates and times:
Public health says there was no risk to anyone who went to the club outside of those occasions.
"As a precaution, [Toronto Public Health] is advising anyone who attended the Brass Rail Tavern during these dates and times to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms for the 14 days after their last visit during this time period," the city said in a news release.
Public health officials said that they have followed up with "all known close contacts" of the person who tested positive, and asked those people to self-isolate for two weeks and go get tested.
They are also directly notifying people who gave their name and contact information to the club for its contact tracing log, according to a news release. The club is working with public health to ensure all proper infection control reopening protocols are in place, which includes staff and patrons wearing masks, the city says.
Mayor John Tory said Friday that this incident shows why it's important for businesses to keep a contact tracing log.
"I just hope the result of all the follow up that Toronto Public Health is doing proves that nobody contracted the virus from that person," he said, CBC News reported.
Premier Doug Ford touched on the incident at his daily press conference Friday, saying that all businesses have to follow health measures amid the pandemic.
"I know it sounds ironic talking about that, but you have to," Ford said. "They've got to follow the protocols."
"Bars seem to be these places where super-spreader events happen," CBC News reported.
Infectious disease epidemiologist Dr. Robyn Lee noted, no blame should be laid on the employee involved in this situation.
"There should be no stigma associated with working in these environments," Lee said.
"If you know you were at the strip club at this time, do your best to isolate and get tested. We're all in this together," reported by CBC News.
According to the city's website, as of the afternoon of Aug. 12, 15,548 cases of COVID-19 have been reported to Toronto Public Health, while 14,132 people have recovered.
Health officials recommend that anyone who has symptoms or feels as though they may have been exposed to COVID-19 use the province's COVID-19 self-assessment tool.
#CanadaHealth; #Covid19; #PublicHealthGuidelines; #NewModelingOnCoronavirus
Ottawa, Aug 14 (Canadian-Media): Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer said Aug 14 during a news conference in Ottawa that while Canada has shown success at slowing the spread of COVID-19, a resurgence could occur subject to Canadians' failure to strictly follow public health guidelines on physical distancing, hand-washing and limiting mass gatherings.
Theresa Tam. Image credit: Twitter handle
The recent weeks have seen a surge in the number of new cases reported daily, with the highest rate of infection among people aged 20-39 years old.
While presenting new modelling on the coronavirus in the news conference Tam and deputy public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo had flagged a potential surge in coronavirus cases which could be several times worse than what had been seen so far in Canada.
"Continuing to build up capacity across our health, public health and laboratory systems while urging all Canadians to continue with public health practices will give us the best chance of keeping the epidemic on a slow burn, while preparing us in the event of a need to rapidly ramp up response measures for possible larger resurgence," Tam said.
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) documents show although officials are aiming for lower number of cases which could be easily dealt with by the public health-care system, but officials are also planning for a "reasonable worst-case scenario," where a fall spike in infections is followed by ongoing peaks which could put excessive demands on the health system.
With reopening of businesses and schools and more people return to the workplace, Tam stressed that Canadians must be vigilant in following public health guidelines to avoid a major rebound and said the key measures they need to take to limit the outbreaks include detecting and isolating cases, contact tracing and quarantining, physical distancing, handwashing and staying home when possible, and using exposure notification apps.
Canada's COVID-19 exposure notification app had been downloaded by about 1.9 million people, Njoo said and urged people to take part, especially young people who go to pubs and nightclubs.
PHAC says that in the short term the case load could grow to between 121,650 and 127,740 by Aug. 23, and the number of deaths could climb to between 8,980 to 9,115.
Ontario and Quebec had seen the majority of cases, while Nunavut has not recorded a single case.
Modelling information on coronavirus of that day, said Tam and Njoo, does not predict what will happen, but provides a snapshot of what could happen in certain scenarios.
There is an increase in anxiety about potential outbreaks as students return to classrooms in the coming weeks.
British Columbia released its own modelling Thursday, showing the province's COVID-19 curve is now climbing at a higher rate than the initial outbreak in March, and suggesting a second wave could be bigger than the first by September.
Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry said the province's contact-tracing efforts could help reduce the number of transmissions.
#CanadaHealth; #MentalHealth; #CIHI; #SelfHarm
Ottawa, Aug 6 (Canadian-Media): 25,000 canadians were admitted to hospital or died because of self-harm in 2018-19 according to research released Aug 6 by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).
CIHI. Image credit: Website
The highest rate of hospitalization was seen by girls and women aged 10-24, who were three times more likely to be in hospital due to self-harm than males in that same age category.
Deaths due to suicide were highest among men 45 years and older.
1 in 3 unpaid caregivers in Canada are distressed.
These numbers exclude people who had gone to emergency rooms and were not admitted to hospital, or those who were helped by primary health-care providers, such as a family doctor, clinic or other local services.
These indicators are part of a 10-year commitment by governments across Canada, an agreement known as Shared Health Priorities aimed to improve access to home and community care and to mental health and addictions services.
12 indicators that had been recommended by CIHI and federal, provincial and territorial representatives in consultation with Canadians were endorsed in June 2018 by Canada’s health ministers.
Results for the first 3 indicators were released in 2019 and updated in May 2020.
The data collected by CIHI was before the global spread of COVID-19, which has created increased anxiety over health risks, prolonged confinement and financial insecurity.
Self-Harm. Image credit: Wikipedia
Canadian Health experts are concerned that stress brought on by the pandemic would cause the numbers to soar.
CIHI said its data will serve as a basis for studying the impact of the pandemic on mental health.
The research, part of a pan-Canadian multi-year program was conducted through federal, provincial and territorial governments to better understand health priorities in improving access to home and community care, including mental health and addictions services.
In a survey research conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) on the impact of COVID-19, it was found that there was a significant rise in mental health concerns and suicidal thoughts, especially among subgroups that include parents, people with existing mental illness, Indigenous people and those with a disability.
Manitoba, Aug 4 (Canadian-Media): Confirmation of over two dozen new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba over the long weekend including 18 on Sunday, the highest single-day jump in new cases since early April, had caused great concern to the public, media reports said.
Cameron Friesen. Image credit: Official Website
The health officials tried to quell public fears about rising COVID-19 infections in Manitoba.
During a news conference on Aug 4, Shared Health Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said that almost all the new cases had been traced back to known clusters or travel.
"It's not indicative of community spread, at this point," Siragusa said.
A number of businesses in Steinbach announced they were closing temporarily out of caution, although there was no recommendation from the Manitoba Ministry of Health for businesses to close, he said.
"People are doing the right things. Public health did their job, contact tracing was successful, the people involved have gone home to self-isolate and they're being monitored, and I think that should give people a lot more comfort in terms of their decision today of whether they want to move around or not," Cameron Friesen, Manitoba's Minister of Health said in the news conference.
Both Siragusa and Friesen said that all except two of the new cases over the long weekend were linked to travel or known contacts, while the others are still under investigation.
#BC; #Fentanyl; #IllicitDrugs; #FatalOverdoses
British Columbia, Aug 3 (Canadian-Media): Despite nearly 2,000 people in British Columbia (B.C.) having been prescribed hydromorphone, a synthetic opioid, under the province's safe-supply program, fatal overdoses continued to rise, reaching a historic high in June, with 175 deaths, media reports said.
Fentanyl. Image credit. Facebook page
Physicians in B.C. were given the go-ahead, by March-issued new provincial guidelines to more widely prescribe opiates and other substances to those struggling with addiction.
This action was taken to alleviate growing concerns that the pandemic could disrupt the drug supply, along with a desire to have those at risk self-isolate.
But On the contrary since then, number of fatal overdoses has been on a rise.
Also repeated calls were for the government to do more to confront the opioid crisis.
Some, including B.C.'s premier, John Horgan, and the head of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police have been calling for drug decriminalization while others want to see people legally prescribed the same substances they are addicted to, CBC News reported.
Experts say the drugs available on the streets have become even more deadly in recent months.
In June, 175 people died of overdoses in B.C., which was the highest number in a single month since the province started tracking overdoses. Before that, May set a similarly dismal record with 171 deaths.
According to B.C.'s Coroners Service, in more than 80 percent of deadly overdoses, fentanyl was detected.
Toxicology tests conducted between April and June revealed an increase in the number of deaths where "extreme fentanyl concentrations" were found in the bloodstream.
Due to the disruption of the drug, which comes by way of the U.S. and China, owing to border closures to non-essential traffic has caused drugs to be more toxic with not only higher levels of fentanyl but additional substances being added in.
Drug testers also reported seeing higher concentration of fentanyl as well as more tranquilizers in illicit drugs.
In order to qualify for the medication, people have to be at risk of developing a COVID-19 infection and at high risk of overdosing or going through withdrawal.
#Canada; #BirthRate; #Covid19Impact
Ottawa, Aug 3 (Canadian-Media): Canada's already declining birth rate would still get lower due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Image: Declining Birth Rate. Image credit: Twitter handle
The COVID-19 pandemic impacts the decisions people make about having a child or adding to their family at the time of this crisis, said Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute for the Family, a charitable research and education institute based in Ottawa.
"When it comes to the impact of COVID-19 on fertility intentions, what we're seeing all over the world is that people are choosing, in large part, to delay, defer or just not have a child or additional children at this time," she said, CBC News reported.
A Washington, D.C.-based think-tank Brookings Institution had forecast in June that there could be 500,000 fewer babies born in the U.S. as a result of the pandemic.
Canada, having a relatively better health-care system and having more supports than the U.S., such as parental leave, economists are not predicting an equivalent drop in Canada's birth rate. But a decline of any kind will have lasting impacts on Canada's economy.
"What it means for families and for policy-makers and for communities is that if we see a drop in pregnancy in 2020, we'll see a drop in demand for child care in 2023 to 2024, a drop in kindergarten in 2025 and a drop in adolescents available for summer jobs and part-time work by 2030," said Spinks, CBC News reported.
#CentralAlberta; #COVID19Surge; #Viking; #StarlandCounty; #Drumheller
Central Alberta, Aug 1 (Canadian-Media): There had been a significant surge in COVID-19 cases in Central Alberta over the past month, jumping from the low single digits in early July to 252 active cases as of July 31, media reports said.
COVID-19 Pandemic. Image credit: Twitter handle
Tom McMillan, a spokesperson with Alberta Health, said health officials conduct contact tracing in all cases, and anyone at risk of exposure is being contacted, isolated and tested.
"We cannot comment on specific cases due to patient confidentiality. The cases are largely linked to known contacts and gatherings," McMillan said in an email. "Alberta Health officials are in contact with Alberta Health Services and local partners and watching the situation closely," CBC News reported.
The town of Viking, located southeast of Edmonton, is currently under a "watch" designation by Alberta Health, which means the area has risen above 50 active cases per 100,000 people.
The municipal district of Starland County, located just north of Drumheller with 63 cases out of a population of 1,928, is listed as a "watch" area, with a striking active case rate of 3,268 per 100,000 population.
The town of Drumheller was under a watch as of July 30, but that was downgraded to "open" status as of July 31.
There are currently eight active cases in the community, meaning it currently has an active case rate of 88.8 per a population of 100,000.
"The best way to protect yourself is by practicing physical distancing, wash your hands, stay home if sick, and following all the other public health guidance available," McMillan said. "That's the most effective way to protect both yourself and your family, friends, and neighbours," CBC News reported.