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Health

Coronavirus: 29 new cases confirmed in Nova Scotia

As of Sunday, Nova Scotia has 29 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total of cases to 236.

According to the province, those cases range in age from under 10 to over 80.

Four individuals are currently in hospital and 50 individuals have now recovered, and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.

“Public health is working to identify and test people who may have come in close contact with the confirmed cases. Those individuals who have been confirmed are being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days,” the province said in a statement released on Saturday.

The province also noted that most of the confirmed cases have been connected to travel or a known case, but some are connected to community spread.

“This is expected and why the testing strategy continues to be adjusted,” said the province.

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Part of that adjustment is increasing lab capacity, which according to the government, will have processing at the lab move to 24/7 operations as of Monday.

The 29 new cases were identified on Friday after the QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed 800 Nova Scotia tests in one day.

“It is now more important than ever for Nova Scotians to strictly adhere to the public health orders and directives – practise good hygiene, maintain a physical distance of two metres or six feet from others, limit essential gatherings to no more than five people and stay at home as much as possible,” the province said.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent

spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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Health

Some Canadians to pay additional pharmacy dispensing fees due to coronavirus restrictions

A new policy that has pharmacists restricting patients to a 30-day supply of their medications means some people are having to pay dispensing fees two or three times over.

The policy was put in place to prevent drug shortages while manufacturers struggle to produce enough product during COVID-19.

But that means patients who would normally receive 90-days’ worth of prescription medications are now paying the dispensing fee three times instead of one in some provinces.

“All of a sudden they’re going to see their cost for prescriptions go up 200 per cent,” said Kathleen Finlay, the founder of the Center for Patient Protection.

In most places, those dispensing fees are between $5 and $15. But some people have multiple prescriptions, multiplying the cost, she said.

“It gets up there really quickly,” she said.

She’s particularly concerned about fixed income seniors, who are being hit with these costs out of the blue. She said some people may be faced with tough decisions about whether they can afford to renew their prescriptions when they need them.

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Some provinces, like Alberta, have adjusted their co-pay structure for seniors and those without private insurance to offset those costs, but not all.

In British Columbia, the province covers dispensing fees for many people with low incomes or high medication costs under a complex pharmacare plan.

But even there, some people are going to feel the impact of the new 30-day supply rules when they go to renew their prescriptions next month, according to the seniors’ advocate for the province.

“We knew that was a risk,” said spokesperson Barry Power, adding people may not be able to get their medications at all if nothing is done.

“We felt that avoiding drug shortages was the better way to go.”

The association has been working with governments and insurers to address the added burden on patients, he said.

“This is the cost of safeguarding Canada’s drug supply and it should be borne by Canada as a whole, not small businesses,” Power said.

Canada is already starting to see medications fall into short supply as a result of COVID-19, he said.

According to Health Canada, there are supply constraints for certain drugs like sedatives, pain relievers, and muscle relaxants.

While individual pharmacies have the discretion to waive dispensing fees if they want to, the money goes a long way to covering the pharmacy’s costs, Power said

With every prescription, the pharmacist must verify the medication and proper dose, make sure there are no adverse drug interactions, and make sure there is enough inventory, he said.

The fees also help pay for the added expenses pharmacies have borne to stay open during the pandemic. Many have installed barriers between patients and customers and hand-sanitizing stations, for example.

He said it’s important that pharmacists doing essential work are not made to cover those costs themselves, just as the government wouldn’t ask nurses or doctors to pay for their own protective equipment in a hospital.

But if provinces don’t act, he said the costs will trickle down to patients instead.

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Health

‘The calm before the storm’: London ER doc describes working on frontlines of COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Alex Dong doesn’t wear his wedding ring anymore when he goes to work at London Health Sciences Centre because it could become contaminated.

The only items he takes now are the essentials, like his phone and driver’s licence, which he locks safely away in a Ziploc bag that has to be sterilized before he leaves the hospital.

Once home, to keep from contaminating anyone or anything inside, he has to strip down in his garage and immediately jump into the shower.

It’s become the new normal for the emergency department physician and his colleagues at Victoria Hospital.

Similar stories are also playing out across the country as frontline medical staff, increasingly short on personal protective equipment, work to treat a growing number of COVID-19 patients, all while putting their own health — and that of their families — at risk.

No one working in Dong’s emergency department has gotten sick from COVID-19, at least not yet, Dong says. “Hopefully it stays that way.”

“The overall feeling is that this is kind of like the calm before the storm,” he says. “Overall, there’s a lot of anxiety amongst us, especially as more cases are coming in.

“For many of us, for the first time in our careers, we’re like, we’re scared to come to work.”

Ninety-two cases of COVID-19 and three deaths have been confirmed in London and Middlesex so far. Sixty-one cases and two deaths were reported just this work week.

Nineteen patients with COVID-19 were being treated at LHSC’s University and Victoria hospitals as of Friday, with 11 of those patients in intensive care.

“There’s probably a lot more cases of COVID-19 in the community than the official numbers would suggest,” Dong said. “We’re not testing everybody who comes in with symptoms. We’re telling them to self-quarantine at home and only to come back if things worsen and they need hospitalization.”

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Something that Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said the other day is that our confirmed numbers are probably a significant underestimate of the true number of people with COVID-19. So I really don’t want people thinking, ‘oh, there’s only like, whatever, 80 cases in London. It’s not that bad.’”

LHSC itself is readying itself for a potential influx.

Plans are in the works to convert the Western Fair District Agriplex into a temporary field hospital with 180 beds that could be expanded to 500 should the need arise, the organization said Friday.

“We are not at our peak yet. We’re still seeing our numbers rising,” Dong said. “We need to be more diligent with our social distancing to flatten that curve.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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Health

Winnipeg Superstore closed after employee tests positive for coronavirus

A Winnipeg grocery store shut its doors Friday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The Superstore on Regent Avenue was closed for what a spokesperson from a company described as a deep cleaning, and was expected to re-open Saturday.

“We were informed today that one of our colleagues tested positive for COVID-19,” the spokesperson told Global News in an email.

“We’ll be working with the local public health team, and have taken a number of steps to minimize risk, including increased sanitization protocols and enforcing social distancing practices in the store.”

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The spokesperson said the employee hadn’t been at work since March 22 and other employees they worked closely with are now at home in self-isolation, monitoring for symptoms.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

Source: Read Full Article

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World News

Crimes and policing change amid coronavirus pandemic, Ontario forces say

COVID-19 has changed both criminal behaviour and policing in Ontario.

Some of the crime trends, such as a surge in domestic violence, have been predictable. Others, such as a significant rise in car thefts, have perplexed officers.

Both trends have been seen by York Regional Police. The force, which has jurisdiction north of Toronto, crunched some numbers comparing this March to last year’s.

Impaired driving is down 29 per cent in the region. York police had long tried various measures to curb the problem, especially after Marco Muzzo drove drunk in September 2015 and killed four members of the Neville-Lake family, including three young children.

Emotional campaigns pleading with drivers to avoid drinking and driving and then naming and shaming drunk drivers didn’t put a dent in the numbers.

But COVID-19 did.

“Thankfully impaired driving charges are down – likely just because people aren’t out at bars and clubs socializing with friends as much as they had previously been,” said Sgt. Andy Pattenden.

Domestic violence was up 22 per cent in the region last month, compared to April 2019.

“We believe it’s purely from the number of people home and in tight quarters and a real change in everyday routines and some people clearly aren’t managing it well,” Pattenden said.

Pattenden could not explain why car thefts were up a whopping 44 per cent. But a 45 per cent jump in commercial break-and-enters was perfectly predictable.

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“We figured we’d see that,” Pattenden said. “Businesses are closed and we have a lot of industrial parks in York Region – those areas are relatively unoccupied.”

The force has stepped up patrols in response, including re-deploying its helicopter to cover those areas more than usual, he said.

Provincial police say it’s too early to see any big trends, but major crimes haven’t really changed.

“Criminals will be criminals,” said Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne.

What most forces surveyed have seen is a jump in stunt driving, those driving more than 50 km/h over the speed limit.

York saw a nearly four-fold increase in March, with 40 charges compared to 11 in March 2019.

“The increase is most certainly due to the relatively empty roads,” Pattenden said, adding that they caught one driver going 148 km/h in a 50 km/h zone.

The OPP is seeing the same overall number of stunt drivers _ they nabbed 92 last week including one driver who clocked 209 km/h on Highway 401 near Napanee, Ont., where the limit is 100 km/h.

“I just shake my head at these speeds,” Dionne said.

While fraud is down in Toronto and York, both forces say they’ve noticed a surge in COVID-19-related frauds.

Toronto police said the pandemic “has created the perfect opportunity for scammers seeking to defraud worried, isolated and emotionally vulnerable targets.”

Meanwhile, departments are also figuring out how to use new powers under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Dionne said OPP have yet to issue any tickets or lay charges under the new law, deciding to educate and warn first. The same goes for York, according to Pattenden.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said Thursday the city has created a new bylaw where people must remain at least two metres apart in parks and public squares. Police and bylaw officers will be blitzing the city’s parks to enforce the new bylaw, Tory said.

Toronto police are issuing plenty of warnings, Gray said, but have also begun using their new powers for those who don’t listen.

The force has issued 14 tickets so far for non-compliance.

“We’re encouraging people to continue their good behaviour, but we’ll enforce if we have to,” said Gray.

Hamilton police have used their new powers in an unexpected way.

Officers tracked and arrested an alleged cocaine dealer last Friday. In addition to drug trafficking charges, they also slapped on a $750 ticket for operating a non-essential business.

“Drug dealing, we say, is not an essential service,” said Const. Jerome Stewart.

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Economy

Manitoba loses 28K restaurant jobs during coronavirus pandemic, says industry association

As many as 28,000 restaurant jobs have been lost in Manitoba due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey by Restaurants Canada.

The non-profit, which represents restaurants nationwide, says the Manitoba numbers are part of an estimated 800,000 foodservices positions that have been lost across Canada since March 1.

Nearly one in 10 restaurants in Canada have already closed, said the organization, and nearly one in five expect to close if conditions don’t get better in a month.

“Not only was our industry among the first to feel the impacts of COVID-19, we’ve been one of the hardest hit so far, with nearly two thirds of our workforce now lost,” said Restaurants Canada’s Shanna Munro, in a release.

“In our 75 years of existence as Canada’s national foodservice association, these are by far the worst numbers we have ever seen.”

Restaurants Canada gathered the data in a survey of foodservice operators across the country from March 25 through March 29. It says it received 655 completed surveys representing 13,300 locations across Canada.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Health

Quebecers with disabilities feel abandoned by the government during pandemic

Each level of government has all hands on deck to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing several initiatives on Quebec’s most vulnerable populations.

But one group says they’ve been completely forgotten about and are struggling through the crisis: people living with disabilities.

Linda Gauthier has several health issues, including asthma and emphysema. She also uses a wheelchair.

With COVID-19 spreading fast throughout the Montreal area, Gauthier feels it’s no longer safe to step outside.

“If I catch the virus, I might not live through that,” Gauthier said.

One of her biggest challenges, she says, is getting groceries.

Delivery wait times span weeks. In addition, Gauthier says, many people living with disabilities can’t even shop online.

“The big problem is that people with disabilities, maybe 3/4 of them are on welfare, and some of them have credit cards and some of them don’t,” Gauthier told Global News.

Home care workers are also a concern.

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“I know it’s very difficult but our caregivers don’t have the same gloves, masks,” Gauthier explained.


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Health

Province thinking ahead by reaching out during coronavirus pandemic: Manitoba Hotel Association

Manitoba hotels have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic, but a request from the Manitoba government could soon see their rooms filled.

The province has put out a request for supply arrangement for accommodations across Manitoba — which includes potentially using hotel rooms as self-isolation spaces, or even extensions of hospitals as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.

Scott Jocelyn of the Manitoba Hotel Association told 680 CJOB the move is a good example of the province planning ahead and using an abundance of caution.

“About a week and a half ago I sent an email to the premier and to the minister of health explaining what we were seeing in other cities and other provinces, and that the hoteliers would be ready to do what they could do if that became the situation in Manitoba,” said Jocelyn.

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“We reached out to all of our folks, we asked if they were ready. Hotels had the opportunity to put their names forward; we got some people.

“Today the glorified headline might be ‘hotels as hospitals,’ but the range of people we might be dealing with prior to that are far less extreme. We may get to that, but I think it’s prudent that the province is exploring all avenues in case that becomes necessary.”

According to the province’s request, hoteliers will be able to submit a bid for their services from now until Sept. 1 for an arrangement that will be active up to Sept. 30 — and the government will evaluate and approve those applications on a weekly basis.

Jocelyn said he has no doubt there will be a lot of local hoteliers who want to get involved. For one thing, he said, many hotels are seeing single-digit — if any at all — occupancy rates during this crisis.

“I’m quite confident that because we have hotel membership in every community, that we’ll get people in every community standing up to do the right thing.”


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Health

Coronavirus: Ontario invests $12M into mental health supports amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Ontario government announced an investment of $12 million into virtual mental health supports amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier Doug Ford made the announcement alongside Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott and Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo at Queen’s Park Thursday afternoon.

“What we’re seeing happening to our seniors and our long-term care homes, what we’re seeing happening to our neighbours, is hard to process,” said Ford. “It’s hard to comprehend and it’s hard to deal with.”

“The feeling of being isolated is real.”

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Ford said the government has partnered with programs such as Kids Help Phone and Bounce Back to create the new virtual support.

“We also know the mental and physical strain that our frontline workers and our first responders are facing,” Ford continued. “They’re working long hours, they see tragedy every single day, they’re making really really tough decisions.

Ford said they will be providing “dedicated therapy” to help those frontline workers, healthcare workers and first responders.

“You’re not alone, we’re listening, we care,” he said. “If you’re struggling please reach out, talk to someone, if you know someone who may be struggling, talk to them.”

Earlier on Thursday, Ontario’s Attorney General Doug Downey announced $4 million to support those who are victims or crime and domestic abuse during the pandemic.

As of Thursday morning, Ontario has 2,793 cases of coronavirus and 53 deaths.

“We will get through this, we will defeat COVID-19,” said Elliott, emphasizing that the government will look to do everything they can to protect Ontarians mental and physical health.

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Health

Coronavirus pandemic means social distancing — it doesn’t mean you can’t hug your kids

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has required people to stay indoors and practise physical distancing, but is it OK for parents to cuddle their children?

In many cases, yes.

If you live in the same home and are not exhibiting any symptoms, you can “definitely share the same space with your kids,” said Dr. Margaret Quinn, a clinical associate professor at the Rutgers School of Nursing and director of the pediatric nurse practitioner program.

“In general, if the household is healthy… and everyone’s home together — parents are working from home and kids are home from school — then yes, they can sit on the couch together and have that hug and cuddle,” she said.

“Kids right now need their parents — and they need a good cuddle.”

The important thing to keep in mind, however, is that families need to practise good hygiene to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. This includes frequent handwashing, not sharing food or utensils and using your own towels and pillowcases.

“Those are basic infection control measures, whatever the illness or the outbreak,” Quinn said.

“I tell parents that all the time: they really should not be sharing drinks and food.”

What if you’re in self-isolation?

If you’re self-isolating due to recent travel or possible exposure, or if you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should not cuddle or kiss anyone in your household.

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If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should also physically keep your distance from your family members. Health Canada says anyone who is sick should stay in a separate room or keep a two-metre distance from others.

“If the parent is showing symptoms of any illness, whether it be a sore throat, a common cold or they may be positive for COVID-19, that’s not the time to be snuggling with your kid,” Quinn said.

Health Canada says “children who have mild COVID-19 symptoms are able to stay at home with a caregiver throughout their recovery without needing hospitalization.”

“If you are caring for a child who has suspected or probable COVID-19, it is important to follow the advice for caregivers,” the government agency stresses.

How does coronavirus affect kids?

In Ontario, at least 68 people under the age of 19 have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the most recent Health Canada data.

This includes an earlier case of a baby boy in early March, who health officials said is under the age of one and listed as having contracted the coronavirus through close contact.

Previous research suggests children may be less affected by COVID-19, or if they are infected, they may not exhibit symptoms.

This means that a child’s infection could go undetected, possibly spreading the virus to more at-risk adults.

To prevent possible transmission, everyone — including kids — need to wash their hands and not touch their faces, Quinn said. Adults need to model this behaviour to their children.

“Using reasonable precautions in the house is what we have to promote to kids and acknowledge that this is a tough time for them as well,” she said.

“We have to be thankful for what we have with them. And if they’re home with us and making us crazy, that’s OK; we have to stay healthy as a family. That’s important.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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