#Ontario; #CovidAlertApp; #MoreUsageOfCovid19App
Ottawa, Oct 20 (Canadian-Media): Ontario's second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is being hampered by the National COVID Alert app being used by just a fraction of Ontario's COVID-19 to report their infections.
Covid Alert app. Image credit: Twitter handl
Being used in eight of the provinces, with British Columbia and Alberta the sole holdouts, the COVID Alert app has been downloaded to nearly 4.7 million phones across Canada.
Figures provided by the provincial government show COVID Alert users have reported 1,354 cases through the app since its launch on July 31.
Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health said Oct 19 during a news conference that the number of downloads is promising, but not enough.
Out of more than 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported by Ontario since its launch means that approximately five percent have used the app to report their cases of Coronavirus infections.
Those figures, however, do not mean the app should be written off as a failure, according to public health experts.
With many good features and strong privacy protections, the app needs to be used in large numbers to be most effective said Yaffe.
"The COVID Alert app has been effective in supporting early detection, testing and self-isolation," said a spokesperson for Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy, who oversees Ontario's digital government efforts, in an emailed statement.
"The more people who have the app, the more effective the province will be at stopping the spread of COVID-19."
#Ontario, #SurgeInCovid19Cases; #HospitalsOverburdened; #ReschedulingSurgeries; #ICUs
Ontario, Oct 09 (Canadian-Media): Ontario's continuous rising in the COVD-19 cases in the last few weeks, with a record high of nearly 940 new cases on Oct 9 requiring more patients to be treated and hospitalized has alarmed clinicians at several already-overflowing hospital sites as well as added pressure to reschedule surgeries put off during the pandemic's first wave, media reports said.
ICU beds. Image credit: Unsplash
The data obtained by CBC News from the report prepared Oct 8 by Critical Care Services Ontario reported eight new patients across the province were admitted by end-of-day Oct 7 to Ontario intensive care units (ICUs), that's a high Ontario hospitals haven't hit since June 4.
'You've got people backing up into the emergency department and hallway medicine getting worse,' said Dr. Brooks Fallis, division head and medical director of critical care at William Osler Health System. 'And that becomes very, very problematic in a pandemic situation,' reported by CBC News.
On top of that Ontario hospitals have experienced shortage of healthcare workers as several of them being absent as they awaited their own results of COVD-19 tests.
There have been increased calls by Ontario physicians as well as Toronto public health officials for the quick crucial implementation of month-long closures of hot spots like indoor dining and gyms for the sake of the hospital system.
#Ontario; #LeadsCanadaInNoOfTest; #DailyTestingCapacity; #Covid19SecondWave
Toronto, Oct 07 (Canadian-Media): Ontario continues to lead Canada since the beginning of the pandemic by surpassing four million COVID-19 tests, as well in its daily testing capacity, said Ontario Premier Doug Ford Oct 6 during his daily briefings.
Image Doug Ford. Image credit: Twitter handle.
More testing centres are being added by the federal government to keep Ontario well-prepared for the second wave of COVID-19, to improve access and reduce wait times, and increase processing capacity within the provincial laboratory network.
"It's clear from today's milestone...most comprehensive testing strategy in the entire country, ...and completed more tests than all the other provinces combined...this critical capacity will ensure we are able to track, trace, and isolate the deadly invisible enemy...second wave," said Ford in a news release and attributed this to the tireless efforts lab technicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other frontline staff.
Details were released Oct 6 by Ford, Christine Elliott, Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Matt Anderson, CEO of Ontario Health.
"As part of our COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, our government is investing $1.07 billion to...expand our testing capacity, launch more testing locations...add more case and contact management resources to trace and isolate new cases," said Elliott in a news release.
As the weather begins to get cooler, shifting of assessment centres to online and telephone bookings further provides certainty and convenience for those who need a test.
#HealthCanada; #1stRapidAntigenCOVID19Test; #PointOfCareTest; #AbbotLaboratories
Ottawa, Oct 07 (Canadian-Media): Another rapid COVID-19 test, the first antigen device, was approved Oct 6 by Health Canada regulators for use in Canada as a "point-of-care" test, meaning it can be used by trained professionals in pharmacies, walk-in clinics or doctors' offices, Health Canada reports said.
Image:Abbot Laboratories Image credit: Wikipedia
Being permitted sell and distribute the Panbio COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device, U.S.-based Abbott Laboratories' device can produce results in less than 20 minutes.
The federal government has signed an agreement to buy more than 20.5 million of these tests in the coming weeks, which would be deployed to COVID-19 hotspots as demand for testing spikes and caseloads grow, Federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said Oct 7 and added,
"Cases are on the rise and testing and tracing is more important than ever."
Anand said the antigen tests are not designed to supplant the lab-based testing options currently in use across the country.
"The strategy in terms of our procurements is not to replace the standardized testing model but to enhance the capacity of provinces and territories to keep up with the increasing demand for tests. Our strategy is one of diversification across various testing types and models," Anand said, adding that the government has purchased enough swabs and reagent to conduct 200,000 conventional molecular tests per day for the remainder of the year.
8.5 million tests will be distributed across Canada by year's end, said Anand said, and the delivery schedule is to be finalized with Abbott in the coming days.
Canada has secured options for 12 million more tests that could be ordered in the future if the government is satisfied with Panbio's performance.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the new Abbott device will not only take pressure off overrun testing sites, but would offer specific "advantages" for remote communities where access to laboratory testing is limited.
"They are easier to perform with limited training and can be done at the point-of-care with generally more rapid results," Hajdu said. "These are valuable tools for remote or isolated communities or special settings.
2.5 million such tests will arrive by December 31, 2020, said the government.
#HealthCanada, #AbbotLaboratories, #IDNOWRapidCOVID19TestingDevice
Ottawa, Oct 1 (Canadian-Media): Health Canada's approval Sep 30 of Abbott Laboratories-backed point-of-care ID NOW rapid COVID-19 testing device for Canada could result in millions more tests for communities combating with a surge in coronavirus cases, media reports said.
Image credit: ID NOW rapid COVID-19 testing device
Since these devices can be administered by trained professionals at places like pharmacies, walk-in clinics and doctors' offices and give the results in 15 minutes, and avoids an extra step of sending the samples to laboratory to determine the results.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sep 30 during his question period said the government is expecting to receive the first batch of these Abbott tests "in the coming weeks," and added that the government has earmarked more money for Health Canada to expedite the approvals process for "new technologies" like these diagnostic devices.
Abbott has already shipped more than 11 million ID NOW tests to all 50 U.S. states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. territories.
When health experts and the opposition Conservatives pointed out Health Canada's delay regulatory process, Trudeau said his government put "science first" to protect Canadians from faulty devices as some researchers had said that this Abbott device has led to false positives in a small number of cases.