#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: Wikimedia commons
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.
#Ontario; #SecondWaveOfCovid19; #StageTwoRestrictions
Ottawa, Sep 29 (Canadian-Media): Ontario is being warned by some physicians that its plans to ramp up efforts to prevent new infections will fall short amidst coronavirus transmission surge unless further measures are taken to curb community spread, media reports said.
Second wave of Covid-19. Image credit: Pixaby
700 new confirmed cases, were reported by Ontario on Sep 28, marking the highest one-day total since the pandemic began.
Amidst this increase, Ontario plans to boost testing capacity to 50,000 daily tests, while bringing on 1,000 more staff to manage cases and trace their contacts.
Toronto, the epicenter of Ontario's second surge of cases is lagging behind in testing and contact-tracing efforts on several fronts.
According to the latest Toronto Public Health data, more than half of people getting tested, on average, get their results after two days or more, and nearly half of the people who are tested positive aren't being reached by contact tracers within 24 hours.
Due to these challenges faced by Ontario, it is pushed by many physician leaders, including the Ontario Hospital Association, to return to Stage 2 restrictions on indoor bars and restaurants, gyms, places of worship, movie theatres, and other non-essential businesses.
#Quebec; #QuebecCity #Montreal; #Covid19; #RedAlert
Quebec, Sep 28 (Canadian-Media): Christian Dubé, Quebec Health Minister, confirmed Sep 27 while speaking on Radio-Canada's popular Sunday night talk show 'Tout le monde en parle', that Montreal and Quebec City would move from orange to red alert, its highest alert level "in the coming days."
Image: Covid 19 red alert. Image credit: Unsplash
Dubé did not provide any further on exactly what the red zone restrictions would look like.
"Montreal and Quebec City are the hardest-hit areas at the moment. They're very close to the red zone," he said. "We're going to announce in the coming days because I think we've arrived at that point. We're there and we have to act because people are expecting us to be transparent."
896 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Sep 17 by Quebec, the province’s highest single-day tally in months. To date, the province has recorded 71,901 cases and 5,825 deaths.
Government officials of Quebec had seen a recent rise in cases as a result of community transmission, and have been urging people to limit socializing and cancel private events in order to contain the rise of the virus.
Ontario; #Covid19Forecasts; COVID19ModellingCollaborations; #RapidRiseInInfections
Ottawa, Sep 28 (Canadian-Media): Fresh projections from forecasts of COVID-19 Modelling Collaborative effort of scientists and physicians from the University of Toronto, University Health Network, and Sunnybrook Hospital suggest that Ontario's second wave of COVID-19 will peak in mid- to late October, media reports said.
Image: Covid-19 Pandemic. Image credit: Twitter handle
Owing to the average number of new cases reported daily currently in Ontario being four times higher than what it was at the end of August, Ontario's Premier Doug Ford's government has since culled limits on the size of private gatherings, reduced opening hours for bars, and strip clubs ordered to close.
Based on the recent weeks' accelerating speed in Ontario's infection rate, the model projected it could exceed 1,000 new cases per day by the middle of October unless subjected to stricter public health measures to slow the rise in infection.
These projections may put more demands on intensive care units with the need to cancel non-emergency surgeries.
The research team also predicted that demographics of who gets infected in the coming weeks during the second wave would impact Ontario's hospitals.
"Right now, we have predominantly younger, healthy people (contracting COVID-19 in Ontario)," said Beate Sander, a scientist at the University Health Network and Canada Research Chair in economics of infectious diseases. "But what we've seen in other jurisdictions is that it really spills over into other population groups, " reported by CBC News.
#Ontario, #Covid19DailyIncrease; #Quebec; #SchoolsReopening
Ottawa, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): Both Ontario and Quebec, Canada's two most populous provinces have recorded 169 and 175 respectively, their highest daily increases in new cases of COVID-19 since late July, amidst many schools reopening on Sep 8, media reports said.
Covid 19 pandemic. Image credit: Twitter handle
The largest counts for the day recorded in Ontario were in Peel Region with 46, Toronto with 42, Ottawa with 30 and 19 in York Region, Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.
Schools in Quebec have been open for more than a week, and 46 out of 3,100 schools in the province have at least one case of COVID-19 since then, according to government figures released Sep 4.
The number of cases are in line with expectations, said Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé adding that in most of the 46 cases, the staff or student was infected outside of school.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 63,292 confirmed cases in Quebec, and 5,769 people infected have died.
Ontario has now seen 43,003 cumulative confirmed cases of the virus since the outbreak began in late January, and 2,811 people have died.
"A key concern this past week has been the continuing increase in daily case counts," Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said in a statement on Saturday and added,
"Although we are well below the almost 1,800 cases reported daily at the peak of the initial wave in early May, we have been seeing an increasing trend in this disease activity indicator.
"With 631 new cases reported across Canada yesterday, the most recent seven-day moving average now has us at 545 cases being reported daily. This exceeds the maximum number of daily cases reported during increased activity in mid-July." Tam said.
Canada had recorded 131,469 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 116,118 of those as recovered or resolved.
The global total of confirmed coronavirus cases is now more than 26.6 million, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. More than 875,000 people have died while 17.7 million have recovered.
Widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 is not expected until the middle of next year, said World Health Organization.
With least 176 potential vaccines at various stages of research around the world, just eight of them are in the final stage of human clinical trials, or Phase 3.
This part of the process can't be rushed, said Dr. Margaret Harris of the WHO, as all data from trials needs to be shared and compared.
#Canada; #CanadaHealth; #Influenza; #Covid19; #FluShot
Ottawa, Sep 3 (Canadian-Media): Canadians are being urged by Canadian health experts to get the flu shot to avoid an influx of people becoming ill as influenza and the novel coronavirus circulate at the same time, media reports said.
Flu shot. Image credit: Unsplash
Health experts say that although flu shot does not prevent one from getting coronavirus still it's important that people do their best to reduce their chances of getting flu, as it takes an enormous toll on the health-care system if it needs to treat both flu and COVID-19 patients.
"If you haven't received the vaccine in previous years, this is the year to get it," said Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an infectious disease expert specializing in influenza and emerging respiratory illnesses at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, and added, "It is particularly important this year that those with high-risk conditions receive the influenza vaccine so that we are not utilizing critical hospital beds for influenza that could be used for those with COVID, [where] there is currently no vaccine," reported by CBC News.
Due to an "overlap" in the people who are at especially high risk of critical illness from influenza and from COVID-19 including seniors and people with underlying health conditions, getting a flu vaccine could also help reduce "unnecessary testing" for COVID-19 as several symptoms of both illnesses are similar, said Skowronski.
Anticipated increased demand for the flu shot has resulted in increase of 22 percent of the vaccine (13.7 million) ordered by the provinces and territories compared to the amount ordered by the same time last year (11.2 million), the highest order ever placed in Canada for seasonal influenza vaccine, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), CBC News learnt from PHAC.
The flu vaccine is expected to be available in canada this year at its usual time starting in mid-September with most deliveries completed by the end of October, the PHAC said.
#Canada; #HealthCanada; #HomeCOVID19Tests
Ottawa, Sep (Canadian-Media): The news regarding Health Canada's consideration to approve of home COVID-19 tests to screen for the virus, was welcomed by public health experts and doctors who were in favour of frequent and inexpensive testing to beat back the virus, media reports said.
Covid19 Test. Image credit: Unsplash
"In response to the evolution of the pandemic, Health Canada is now considering applications for home testing devices for screening purposes," said Cole Davidson, spokesperson for the minister of health said in a statement.
In June of this year, Health Canada had refused to review applications for home test kits as health ministry had expressed concerns of misuse of of home tests as well as misinterpretation of the results.
But this change could facilitate self-collection of samples which would sent to the labs for processing.
This would also encourage the development of new tests to detect the virus at home
Although when compared to laboratory tests, there is a risk of positive cases being missed by home tests, its cost-effectiveness should be considered, argued the advocates, and added that it would be very unlikely to miss people who are sick enough to be contagious.