Posts Tagged "Health"


COVID-19: Health professionals in private practice face vaccine mandate

by admin

On Friday, B.C. recorded 667 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 new deaths.

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B.C. doctors, dentists and other health professionals in private practice will soon be required to get vaccinated.


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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued an order Friday putting unvaccinated health professionals on notice that they would be required to be vaccinated in order to see patients or provide care or services in B.C.

The notice was directed at health professionals not covered by previous orders, including those who work in private practice and do not have privileges at a hospital or health-care facility. Henry’s order did not specify a deadline.

COVID-19 vaccinations are already mandatory for staff at long-term care homes and assisted living facilities. Anyone who works in a health-care facility, including hospitals, will be required to be fully immunized by Oct. 26.

In a note sent to members on Friday, the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. said it “interprets the order to mean that, in time, all of our registrants will be required to be vaccinated to provide health care or services in B.C.”


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It said it supports Henry’s office and expects members to comply with provincial health officer orders.

Doctors of B.C. also said it supports mandatory vaccination of health-care workers. The vaccination rate among physicians is about 97 per cent, said the organization.

On Friday, B.C. recorded 667 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 new deaths.

Eleven of the deaths occurred in the Fraser Health region, where Willingdon Care Centre, a Burnaby long-term care facility, has been grappling with a COVID-19 outbreak since late September that has infected at least 90 people. Two deaths occurred in the Interior.

Out of 5,128 active cases in the province, 367 people are in hospital including 152 in intensive care.

The new figures come a day after Henry introduced “circuit-breaker” restrictions in most of northern B.C., where hospitals have been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.


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Northern Health, which has seen the highest rate of infections and hospitalizations in the province, reported 184 cases on Friday. Fraser Health had 246 cases; Interior Health, 101; Vancouver Coastal, 75; and Island Health, 59.

There have been 196,433 cases of COVID-19 and 2,055 deaths from the virus in B.C. since the start of the pandemic.

More than 3.8 million people, or 83 per cent of eligible British Columbians 12 and older, are fully vaccinated, while 89 per cent have received their first dose.

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COVID-19: B.C. introduces ‘circuit-breaker’ restrictions in Northern Health

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The restrictions take effect Oct. 15 and will be in place until Nov. 19

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Surging rates of COVID-19 infections in Northern B.C. have led to new “circuit-breaker” restrictions in most of the region, including limits on personal gatherings, suspension of in-person worship services and the closures of bars and nightclubs.


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The new restrictions, announced Thursday by the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix, were meant in part to reduce the strain on the region’s health care system, which is being swamped with critically-ill COVID-19 patients, many of them in their 20s to 40s.

“We do not take these actions lightly,” said Henry. “We are intending for this circuit breaker to save lives, to lower the rates of transmission, to allow our hospitalizations to stabilize, and enable all of us to come back safely to celebrate the upcoming holiday season.”

The restrictions take effect Oct. 15 and will be in place until Nov. 19. P ersonal gatherings are restricted to only fully vaccinated people. Indoor gatherings will be capped at five people and outdoor gatherings at 25.


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Attendees of organized events such as weddings and parties will be required to be fully vaccinated and wear masks. The events will be limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

The restriction on outdoor organized events, however, does not apply to Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Henry said she is working with Legions in B.C. and Yukon and the recommendation, similar to last year’s ceremonies, will be to keep Remembrance Day ceremonies small and invite only immunized people to attend in person.

The public health orders also suspend in-person worship services because “with the amount of transmission we are seeing in the North, it is no longer safe for us to have a mixing of people who are unvaccinated in these worship settings,” said Henry.


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Churches and other places of worship will be limited to virtual services only, although there can be “single-person services” where people can go for “quiet reflection,” she said.

Bars and nightclubs will have to shut down. Restaurants which serve liquor will have to stop serving alcoholic beverages by 10 p.m.

The restrictions cover the entire Northern Health region, except the local health areas west of Kitwanga, including Terrace, Kitimat, Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Stikine, and the Nisga’a areas — areas where the virus has not been able to spread because of high rates of vaccination, said Henry.

Cases in Northern Health started to climb in August. On a per capita basis, its seven-day moving average of new infections is nearly four times the provincial rate, according to data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, while its hospitalization rate is the highest out of all the health regions.


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On Thursday, Dix said 58 critically ill patients — including 45 who were COVID-19 positive — had to flown out of the Northern Health region to hospitals in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island to free up more beds in the North.

“It’s a critical situation,” said Dix, who also noted that out of those 45 with COVID-19, only one was fully vaccinated.

Henry said the Delta variant is much more transmissible and spreads even with a small amount of exposure. It is also causing more severe illness in younger people, particularly those in their 20s to 40s, who are ending up in critical care.

On Thursday, B.C. reported 580 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of active cases to 5,348.

Out of the new infections, 22 per cent, or 129 cases, were in Northern Health. Fraser Health had 246; Vancouver Coastal Health, 53; Interior Health, 104; and Island Health, 48. In the last 24-hour reporting period, nine people have died of COVID-19. The provincial death toll now stands at 2,042.

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COVID-19 update for Oct. 12: B.C. health officials to offer COVID-19 update at noon | Parents concerned about spread in schools, support mask mandates: survey

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Oct. 12, 2021.


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We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


As of the latest figures given on Oct. 8:

• Total number of confirmed cases: 192,491 (5,969 active)
• New cases since Oct. 7: 743
• Total deaths: 2,001 (five additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 360 (down 13)
• Intensive care: 137 (up five)
• Total vaccinations: 4,107,666 received first dose; 3,811,076 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 184,121
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 17


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IN-DEPTH:Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021 | in 2020


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B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


B.C. health officials to offer COVID-19 update at noon

British Columbia’s health minister and top public health doctor are set to provide an update today on the COVID-19 situation.


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Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry are due to speak at noon.

The province last reported daily case numbers on Friday, when there were 743 new COVID-19 diagnoses and five added deaths.

As of Friday, 88.6 per cent of eligible B.C. residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 82.2 per cent were fully vaccinated.

As it stands, only those 12 and up are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Canada, but the province confirmed over the weekend that it had opened up registration for younger kids through the Get Vaccinated portal.

Pfizer has requested Health Canada approve its vaccine for kids aged five to 11, and the B-C government is getting its ducks in a row for if and when that approval comes.

B-C Health spokesman Jeffrey Ferrier has said kids will be scheduled for their vaccination based on when it’s their turn, not when they register.


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He says the province will notify parents when it’s time to book an appointment for their children.

– The Canadian Press

Parents concerned about COVID-19 spread in schools, support mask mandates: survey

The majority of respondents in a newly released Canada-wide survey say they are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in schools and want children and staff to wear masks.

The survey by the Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research at the University of Saskatchewan was done by phone between Sept. 3 and Sept. 28. It asked 1,000 people about any worries in sending kids to school and their thoughts on what public health orders should be in place.

Most respondents (89 per cent) said they were vaccinated. Of those with children 12 and older who are eligible to get a dose, 81 per cent said their kids were also vaccinated.


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“Those who are vaccinated are more likely to have kids who are vaccinated and want to see the kids in the schools and staff wearing masks,” said research director Jason Disano.

Parents have been watching closely as children returned to classrooms across the country during the fourth wave of the pandemic.

The survey said respondents were largely confident in the safeguards at their children’s schools.

– The Canadian Press

Fraser Health schools have 30 times more active exposures than those in Vancouver Coastal Health

There are 174 active COVID-19 exposures in schools within Fraser Health compared to just six within Vancouver Coastal Health, latest figures show.

This comes despite Vancouver Coastal Health’s population (1.25 million) being just 30 per cent less than within Fraser Health (1.8 million) — though Fraser Health has a higher proportion of younger people than Vancouver Coastal Health.


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The latest Fraser Health active school exposure tally includes 32 exposures within Surrey Schools district and 27 within independent schools — the highest two numbers within districts in that health region.

None of Fraser Health’s 13 schools districts are without a COVID-19 exposure — and eight districts have more than 10 active exposures — while half of the 10 school districts within Vancouver Coastal Health have no active exposures.

The Vancouver School District (with 50,000 students) has three active exposures, compared to the 32 in Surrey (with 75,000 students).

There are 79 active exposures in schools within Interior Health — including six in Cranbrook, where the percentage of people aged 12 and over who are fully vaccinated is 74 per cent, compared to the provincial average of 82.2 per cent. The lowest vaccination rate within that health authority is in Enderby at 62 per cent.


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– David Carrigg

B.C.’s long-term care home workers allowed to work in more than one facility if short staffed

B.C.’s long-term care homes and assisted living facilities will again be able to request staff work in more than one facility should they face staff shortages.

A last-minute public health order to that effect was issued as employees at such facilities are required to be fully vaccinated by Tuesday, Oct. 12.

The exemption for vaccinated workers to work in more than one facility is a reversal of a health order issued in March 2020 designed to help stop the deadly spread of COVID-19 in those facilities, and it is one of many “extraordinary interventions” health authorities are advising home operators to use to deal with any staff shortage as a result of the vaccination order.


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“Operators should assume that all staff who have not had dose one by Friday, Oct. 8, will likely be ineligible to work” on Tuesday, said the directive from the public health office, dated Friday.

Health ministry staff didn’t return a request for comment on the holiday Monday.

“There is definitely going to be some gaps in staffing levels,” said Mike Klassen, spokesman for the B.C. Care Providers Association. “Some operators are going to find it more difficult than others.”

Klassen said it’s not known how many of the 40,000 workers in long term care and assisted living homes remain unvaccinated.

Health Minister Adrian Dix has said it is likely health care workers are inoculated at a higher rate than the provincial average. As of Friday, 73 per cent of British Columbians were fully vaccinated.


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B.C. has warned operators to be prepared for staff shortages and has set out three tiers of escalating remedies.

– Susan Lazaruk


Dangerous blood clots can occur in moderate COVID-19

A European study has found an elevated risk of a life-threatening blood clot called venous thromboembolism (VTE) in COVID-19 patients who were not critically ill.

The blood clot risk had previously been associated with severe COVID-19.

The researchers tracked 2,292 patients who came to hospital emergency rooms with mild or moderate COVID-19 but without VTE. Four weeks later, VTE had developed in roughly one of every 200 mildly ill patients who had not been hospitalized and nearly five of every 200 moderately ill patients overall, the researchers reported on Friday in Thrombosis Research.


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They conclude that doctors caring for mildly and moderately ill COVID-19 patients need to be aware of these risks, “especially in patients with moderate COVID-19 requiring hospitalization.”

– Reuters

 Mink to get COVID vaccine in Finland

Keen to avoid the total annihilation of farmed mink as seen in Denmark during the pandemic, the Finnish fur industry is organizing an inoculation program for the animals.

The Nordic nation has about half a million doses of a domestically developed vaccine ready to be deployed this winter, enough to protect the entire population of breeding minks from COVID-19. It’s the first such program in the European Union.

Mink are known to be particularly susceptible to the virus. Denmark last year culled 17 million animals after concerns emerged that a mutated form of the virus was spreading through its farms, and there’s evidence from the Netherlands the virus can jump between humans and mink.


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In Finland, farms operate under strict lockdowns and close surveillance. No infections have so far been confirmed in the country’s minks throughout the pandemic.

Marja Tiura, managing director of the Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association, said the vaccinations are carried out “to ensure the welfare of animals as well as to safeguard human health” and avoid the emergence of virus reservoirs. Interest in the vaccine has been “massive,” she said in an interview on Monday, though the substance developed jointly with the University of Helsinki only has a conditional usage permit since late September.

In July,  British Columbia has placed a moratorium on new mink farms and capped existing farms at their current numbers following outbreaks at several farms in the Fraser Valley.


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– Bloomberg

Merck Seeks Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 Pill

Merck & Co. and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP sought emergency use authorization in the U.S. for molnupiravir, moving the pill closer to becoming the first oral antiviral treatment for Covid-19.

An application was submitted with the Food and Drug Administration for molnupiravir to treat mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults at risk of developing a severe illness that may require hospitalization, the companies said in a statement Monday.

Submissions to regulatory authorities worldwide are expected in the coming months after an interim analysis of clinical trial data found it cut the risk of hospitalization for such patients by half.


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– The Canadian Press


Find out how your neighbourhood is doing in the battle against COVID-19 with the latest number of new cases, positivity rates, and vaccination rates:


LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


World Mental Health Day: COVID-19 has led to increase in psychological symptoms and people seeking help

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The good news is, there is lots of help available and it’s easy to access virtually.

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Mental-health problems brought on by viral outbreaks, such as COVID-19, have long been called parallel epidemics, and research during the current crisis seems to bear that out.


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“When we talk about the impact of COVID on mental health, the impact is due to multiple factors,” said Dr. Lakshmi Yatham, the University of B.C.’s head of psychiatry as well as the regional head and program medical director of Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Providence Health.

One factor, of course, is having COVID itself.

“But also all the others things that came with COVID: Lockdowns, social isolation, social-rhythm destruction,” Yatham said. “But also a financial impact as well, because many people lost their jobs.”

Yatham, co-author of an editorial in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry on the mental health of communities during COVID, was speaking ahead of Sunday’s World Mental Health Day: It’s time to make quality mental-health care for all a reality, says the WHO.


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On Oct. 8, there were 743 new cases of COVID in B.C. for a total of 192,491 cases in the province. There have been five new deaths, for a total of 2,001 since the start of the pandemic. Eighty-eight-point-six per cent of eligible people age 12-and-over have received their first dose of the vaccine and 82.2 per cent have received their second dose.

Because COVID is relatively new, doctors and scientists around the world have been eager to come up with new information to try to understand its impact at several levels from a mental-health perspective, said Yatham. He and his team have studied surveys about physical and mental effects, feelings of anxiety, depression, increased alcohol and drug use.

“Lots of surveys have indicated that COVID has had a huge impact on the mental health of populations, with numbers varying depending upon where the survey was done, when the survey was done, who the target population was, that sort of thing,” he said. “So for example, a survey done in the U.S. indicated that 40 per cent of the population were exhibiting symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress-related (issues). Before the pandemic that number would have been more like 10 per cent.


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“So there’s a huge increase in terms of the number of people, the proportion of people, reporting symptoms of those things. But what those surveys don’t tell us is, are they feeling anxious and depressed or do they actually have a psychiatric disorder?”

All of us at times, for a variety of reasons, feel anxious, upset, sad, irritable or angry, Yatham said. That’s not to say it indicates a psychiatric disorder, he said.

“The question is, how many (people reporting symptoms) actually have the disorders, that’s the type of research that is starting to come out.”

Yatham and a colleague, Dr. Daniel Vigo, recently got a grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research to identify groups of patients who are at increased risk of developing adverse mental-health outcomes because of COVID, with an eye to making it easier to access effective treatments. One thing they looked at was comparing during the second wave of the virus in B.C. people hospitalized because of COVID with those in hospital because of flu, and the same two groups that didn’t require hospitalization.


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The results were a bit surprising.

Roughly, as many hospitalized flu-sufferers over the previous eight years sought mental-health counselling within three months of leaving hospital as did those hospitalized with COVID (about 30 per cent in each case), but for those not hospitalized, twice as many with COVID sought mental-health help as did flu-bug victims (about 13 per cent versus six or seven per cent).

“This is still very preliminary data so we still need to do more analysis to fully understand it,” Yatham said. “But clearly, in the mild-to-moderate COVID people the incidence of psychiatric conditions seems to be much higher.”

Another study Yatham was part of found worsening of depression and bipolar disorder correlated with the degree of lockdown — the more severe it was, the more people’s mental health suffered.


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“With COVID, all of us shut down our social lives, in a way. You’re sitting at home watching TV, no social contacts, your biological rhythms and social rhythms are completely disrupted, all of which are important for good mental health,” he said.

Research continues and more will be found out down the road, but if there’s good news it’s that help has never been easier to find.

Pre-pandemic, pretty much every counselling session would’ve been in-person, Yatham said, but phone and video-conference counselling has soared — up to 95 per cent of psychiatric care provided in the VCH region was done virtually at one point during COVID.

As well, VCH-supported mental health crisis lines are getting four times the volume of calls they did pre-pandemic.

“Now there are lots of opportunities,” Yatham said. “Don’t hesitate to seek help.”



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


COVID-19: Northern Health declares outbreak at hospital in Prince George

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Northern Health says nine patients and one staff member have tested positive for COVID-19

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A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared in the primary care unit of the University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George.

Northern Health says nine patients and one staff member have tested positive for COVID-19 in association with the outbreak. Meanwhile, monitoring and testing is underway to identify any additional cases at the hospital.

“Enhanced outbreak control measures are in place at UHNBC. The facility is taking steps to protect the health of staff and those they care for,” the health authority said in a statement.


Briercrest College down to 55 active COVID-19 cases, will continue with weekly testing |

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Briercrest College and Seminary in Caronport, Sask., is now down to 55 active COVID-19 cases among staff and students.

Read more:
Briercrest College reports 62 active COVID-19 cases

On Monday, it reported 62 active cases.

According to an update posted on Briercrest’s website, 43 students and 12 staff members have COVID-19 as of Wednesday.

Don Taylor, dean of the college and provost, said Briercrest will continue with weekly testing provided by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

“We’re going to have our staff and students continuing to test until we can get down to zero,” Taylor told Global News.

Read more:
COVID-19 surge in Saskatchewan straining health-care system

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Students who can’t self-isolate on their own, such as students living in dorms with communal washrooms, have access to private apartments on campus.

“We’ve put a great deal of institutional effort into caring for our students. We have staff (and) volunteers who are delivering meals to the recovery area. We have counselling services that are available free of charge to students. We have health-care staff checking on our students,” Taylor added.

Classes are also being livestreamed to isolating students. Tutors and academic coaches are also helping students.

“Even our student government has been delivering goodie bags. We really are working carefully to make sure students have a successful educational semester as best as we can through this health-care crisis.”

Read more:
Ottawa offers military aid as Alberta battles brutal COVID-19 surge

Taylor believes Briercrest is past the “big wave” of students who contracted COVID-19 and the school is working to bring those numbers down.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


COVID-19: City to require proof of vaccination at select indoor rec centres, programs in London – London |

by admin

Starting Wednesday, Londoners looking to access select municipal recreation facilities and programs will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of their vaccination status in order to do so.

Proof of full immunization, in the form of a vaccine receipt, will be needed to access select services and programs at city-owned community centres, arenas and indoor aquatics facilities, the city says.

The change comes as part of the province’s previously announced vaccine certificate system, which takes effect on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Read more:
New details released on Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine certificates, non-compliance fines start at $750

The new system will require Ontarians to show their vaccine receipt as well as a piece of government ID in order to access indoor areas of higher-risk settings, like gyms, restaurants, bars, event spaces and more.

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Vaccine receipts were issued by email at the time of one’s second dose, however, receipts can be downloaded or printed from the province’s website. Those without access to a computer, internet, or printer can call 1-833-973-3900.

As of Oct. 22, residents will receive a QR code that will serve as proof of vaccination, which businesses can scan using a government app.

The city says children 12 and under, who are not currently eligible to get the vaccine, are exempt from the vaccination requirement to access facilities.

An exemption is also included for those 12 to 17 who are going into a facility “only if they are entering for the purpose of actively participating in an organized sport.”

The policy also doesn’t apply to people entering an indoor area for the sole purposes of using a washroom, accessing an outdoor area that can only be accessed through an indoor route, making a retail purchase, making or picking up an order,  paying for an order, purchasing admission, or “as may be necessary for the purposes of health and safety,” the city says.

There is also a medical exemption for patrons who have a written document that was “completed and supplied by a physician or registered nurse stating that the individual is exempt for a medical reason from being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the effective time-period for the medical reason.”

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–with files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


COVID-19: Peace River South only health area in B.C. with fully vaccinated rate less than 50 per cent

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There were 661 new cases of COVID-19 reported over the past day and seven deaths — bringing that toll to 1,873

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Peace River South in B.C.’s north is the only local health area in the province with a fully vaccinated rate of less than 50 per cent, latest Centre for Disease Control statistics reveal.


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This area comprises the towns of Dawson Creek, Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge (total population around 20,000) and rural areas in-between and falls within Northern Health — the smallest health authority in the province, responsible for 287,000 people. The area had a vaccination rate of 49 per cent as of Sept. 14.

Figures also show that Northern Health’s top vaccination rate performer — Kitimat at 80 per cent — is still the lowest of all the top-performing areas within B.C.’s other four health regions.

Peace River North — centred around Fort St. John with a growing population of 21,000 — has a fully vaccinated rate of 50 per cent, while Fort Nelson in the far north has a double-dose rate of 51 per cent.

Dr. Jong Kim, Northern Health’s chief medical officer, said the hospitals at Fort St. John, Chetwynd and Dawson Creek were under pressure as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise in the region.


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“Right now across northern B.C. we are seeing rising numbers of cases and a rising number of hospitalizations,” he said, adding that this could lead to cancellations of non-urgent surgeries.

There are 849 active cases of the disease in Northern Health and 62 new cases reported Wednesday — just 37 fewer than the much larger Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Kim said there had been first doses of vaccine administered in the Peace River South and Peace River North local health areas over the last few days and “slow-and-steady progress” was being made. He said this was aided by mobile vaccination clinics and outreach from community leaders. He said accessibility was the key reason for the low vaccination rate.

Interior Health has the second worst vaccination rates overall, with Enderby at the lowest end with 59 per cent and Revelstoke the highest with 79 per cent.


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Vancouver Island Health’s top-performing local health area is the Saanich Peninsula at 88 per cent, comprising Saanich, Saanichton, North Saanich, Sidney and Brentwood Bay. The poorest performer in that region is Cowichan Valley West at 69 per cent.

Hope is the worst performer in Fraser Health at 65 per cent, with Delta being the best at 85 per cent.

Best-and-worst vaccination figures for Vancouver Coastal Health are harder to comprehend. COVID immunization data is broken down by health service delivery area, then local health areas within those delivery areas.

Vancouver Coastal Health (responsible for 1.22 million people) has three health service delivery areas — North Shore/Coast Garibaldi, Richmond and Vancouver.


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There are seven local health areas within North Shore/Coast Garibaldi (Bella Coola Valley, Central Coast, Howe Sound, North Vancouver, Powell River, Sunshine Coast and West Vancouver-Bowen Island) representing 27 communities within them. Vancouver and Richmond health-service delivery areas are the same as the local health areas.

The area with the best rate in Vancouver Coastal is the Central Coast at 90 per cent (the highest in the province), which comprises the tiny community of Waglisla adjacent to Bella Bella.

However, the area with the worst rate at 64 per cent is the Bella Coola Valley that comprises Bella Bella, Bella Coola and Hagensborg.

On Wednesday, the B.C. Ministry of Health reported 6,729 first doses of COVID vaccine administered across B.C., plus 6,312 second doses. So far, more than 70 per cent of all British Columbians have been fully vaccinated.


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There are 863,000 people in B.C. aged 12-and-over and eligible for vaccine that haven’t received a first dose.

While 31.6 per cent of new cases reported during the week of Sept. 7-13 were in people who had received vaccine (including 23.5 per cent who were fully vaccinated), 68.4 per cent were in people unvaccinated.

During the last two weeks 81.7 per cent of people admitted to hospital with COVID were unvaccinated.

There were 661 new cases of COVID reported over the past day and seven deaths — bringing that toll to 1,873.

The number of active cases has fallen 374 to 5,791, while the number of people in hospital with COVID is steady at 288. There are three fewer people in intensive care, with that number at 137.

There were no new health-care facility outbreaks.



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


People seeking mental health support say they face long, potentially harmful wait times | CBC News

by admin

Tera Hawes first reached out for help with her mental health around 2011, when she was suffering from what she now knows as a hypomanic episode.

“There [were] lots of areas where my life was kind of spiralling,” she said. 

The 37-year-old from Vancouver was overspending, using substances and had endless energy which led her to exhaust herself socially, just some of the ways hypomania affected her.

“The impact on my life was monumental.”

It wasn’t until six years later, in 2017, that Hawes was accurately diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, characterized by hypomanic episodes and deep bouts of depression.

Tera Hawes says her journey to find appropriate mental health supports has been marked by disappointment. (CBC News)

She is not actively suicidal, non-violent and not living with addiction. Those three traits place her and many other British Columbians within a group that can struggle to get timely mental health support, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

“There is a space of people who aren’t at the point of needing an emergency department or who aren’t needing crisis care who are caught in this middle space,” said Jonny Morris, CEO of CMHA BC.

“Finding the right services at the right time is challenging, or there’s a wait for those services, or the service isn’t the right fit,” said Morris.

Jonny Morris is the CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s B.C. dividision. (CBC News)

Hawes needs a psychiatrist for her treatment. She has been trying to connect with one throughout the four years since her diagnosis, without success. She says at one point, her doctor told her there were simply no psychiatrists taking new patients.

“I followed up, I followed up, and nothing ever followed through,” she said. “Sometimes you just want some help, and I don’t need somebody to hold my hand. I just want to feel like I’m being supported.”

The impact of having to wait for help

The gap between asking for help and connecting with the right support has had dire consequences for Hawes at several points in her mental health journey.

“It was real deep, like not knowing how you’re going to get into the next day,” she said. 

Now COVID-19 is creating a greater need for help, from a mental health care system that is already strained. Data from the CMHA gathered through an online panel suggests 37 per cent of British Columbians’ mental health has declined during the pandemic. The margin of error in the study is plus or minus 1.7 per cent at a 95 per cent level of confidence.

Lucas Britton lives with depression symptoms, and his ability to manage them was significantly hindered by the pandemic. (CBC News)

Lucas Britton is part of the group that is struggling. The University of British Columbia student lives with symptoms of depression. He was managing them successfully until he was isolated when COVID-19 restrictions came into place in 2020.

“I was in that dark, bad space, and all of the normal things I would have done to help me out weren’t available,” he said.

It took Britton a month of searching to get an appointment with a counsellor.

Funding coming for improved accessibility

The federal Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Greens have all promised new funding for mental health initiatives should they form government.

The B.C. NDP is investing $500 million over the next three years into mental health and addictions supports. The majority of the money will go toward initiatives related to the toxic drug crisis and nearly $100 million is dedicated to youth-focused resources. A smaller portion, $61 million, is earmarked for improving accessibility and quality of mental health supports for adults like Britton and Hawes.

Since announcing those figures in the 2021 provincial budget, the province has also dedicated several million dollars of pandemic recovery funds to improve accessibility, but B.C.’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson admits some people are being left behind.

‘There are definitely still gaps’

“There are definitely still gaps in the system,” she said. “We don’t want people to have to build to a crisis in order to get access to help.”

Hawes is now managing her bipolar symptoms, but years after she first reached out for help.

“I still have yet to have somebody who I can say is fully in my corner, from a medical perspective,” she said. 


Families are pleading for more mental health supports and federal leaders are promising to deliver | CBC News

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Long-suffering patients coping with Canada’s lacklustre mental health care services now find themselves in an unusual position — with all three major political parties now competing for their votes with rich promises.

“I am absolutely thrilled by the fact that this is top of mind, a major platform element of each of the key parties involved. It gives me real hope that something can be done,” said Christian Szpilfogel, who has struggled for years to obtain mental health treatment for his 26-year-old daughter Dom.

Statistics Canada says that in 2018, roughly 5.3 million people in Canada reported needing help with their mental health in the previous year — but only 56 per cent got the full treatment they needed.

The agency says the situation has only worsened due to the pandemic — which is why so many welcome the sudden political focus on mental health care.

“So we’re talking about mental health in a way during this election that we have never spoken about mental health care before. And it’s a once-in-a-generation … frankly, it’s a once-in-a-century opportunity for us to get this right,” said Sarah Kennell, national director of public policy for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Christian Szpilfogel, who has struggled to obtain mental health treatment for his 26-year-old daughter Dom, said he is very pleased all of the major federal political parties are taking mental health seriously in this election. (Christian Patry/CBC)

Canadians looking for improved mental health services say the promises of new funding amount to a good start, but they want to see that spending targeted and tracked.

“We need stronger accountability measures to make sure that these election period funding commitments for mental health services are genuinely put towards increasing access for quality and affordable mental health services,” said Ottawa’s Samantha Grills, who has friends and family members who need improved mental health services.

“A dollar amount is great to hear, and it’s an easy sort of sound-bite promise. But just throwing money at it alone, continuing in the way things are now, would just be throwing it away,” said Jessi Green, from New Brunswick, 

She has been trying to get adequate mental health services for her 21-year-old son for years and says she has been let down by a system that is unable to handle demand.  

“The process is so discouraging. It is discouraging for me, so I can only imagine what it’s like to someone who’s in crisis,” she said.

The party promises:

The Liberals are proposing to create a Canada Mental Health Transfer that would funnel money to the provinces, just as the health and social transfers do now. The Liberal plan would pump $6.5 billion into mental health services over five years.

The Liberals are offering $4.5 billion over five years through the transfer — a sum they say would, when added to previous investments, amount to $2.5 billion in annual funding for mental health services by 2025-26.

Watch: One mother’s struggle to get her son mental health support:

One mother’s struggle to get her son mental health support

Jessi Green talks about her son’s mental health struggle and her journey to get him help. 5:18

That amount is separate from the $1.4 billion in mental health funding over five years for for First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, and the $597 million earmarked to provide support for survivors of residential schools and their families earlier this year.

The Liberals are also promising a number of other measures:

  • Undertaking a review of the Disability Tax Credit, CPP-Disability and other measures to ensure they are “available” to the people who need them.
  • Bringing mental health under the Canada Labour Code
  • Funding a three-digit mental health and suicide hotline 
  • Improving access to perinatal mental health services
  • Introducing a new fund for student well-being to improve wait times and increase access to mental health care at colleges and universities.
  • Improving mental health access for veterans 

The Conservatives are not proposing a specific transfer to the provinces for mental health but they have pledged to raise the Canada Health Transfer to six per cent annually. They also say they want provinces to set part of that new money aside to fund mental health services.

The Conservatives say that promise would amount to $60 billion in new health care funding over ten years. They predict  a million more Canadians would get the mental health treatment they need under this new funding model.

The Conservative plan includes a number of other measures:

  • An effort to “encourage” employers to add mental health coverage to their employee benefit plans by covering a quarter of that new cost though a tax credit for the first three years.
  • A “pilot program” providing $150 million in grants over three years to non-profits delivering mental health services. 
  • Changes to the Firearms Act to allow mental health medical professionals the freedom to inform the Chief Firearms Officer if they fear someone they are treating may pose a threat to others. 
  • A suicide prevention strategy.
  • Funding of $1 billion over five years to boost Indigenous mental health and drug treatment programs.

The NDP has not released its full platform yet. The party is pledging to make access to mental health care in Canada free and universally available, although it hasn’t said what that would cost. The NDP’s mental health policy promises announced so far include:

  • A plan to introduce universal pharmacare for all Canadians that also would cover drugs required to treat mental illnesses.
  • A national perinatal mental health strategy to support struggling parents before and after birth.
  • Efforts to partner with Indigenous communities to improve access to mental health and addiction treatment services both on and off reserve.

The Greens have not released their full platform. In the 2019 federal election, they promised to negotiate a Canada Health Accord to prioritize the expansion of mental health and rehabilitation services and to establish a mental health and suicide prevention strategy.

The party also pledged to devote “sufficient resources” to mental health services for Indigenous peoples.

The Bloc Québécois platform does not make specific demands of the federal government on mental health. It calls on Ottawa to boost health transfers to cover 35 per cent of provincial health care costs. The party is also calling for sustainable funding to support healing for residential school survivors.

Stable funding and filling in the gaps

Kennell said the Liberals’ Mental Health Transfer concept has the potential to be “transformative” because under the Canada Health Transfer, it’s hard to track how provinces spend the money.

“Services like therapy, psychotherapy, services ultimately that take place outside of hospitals and doctors’ offices aren’t covered under the traditional Canada Health Transfer,” she said, “This new transfer has the potential to really fill the gap in the mental health care funding sphere.”

Kennell said she also likes the look of the Conservative plan because it includes a number of targeted measures directed at specific problems.

“The approaches taken by the Conservative Party are equally innovative in that they really look at the gaps in the system, who has access to care, who doesn’t, what are the financial barriers in particular to accessing care,” she said.

Pediatric funding and national standards

The people who depend on mental health services in Canada say they want to see a standardized system of care offered to people across the country.

Szpilfogel said that mental health care patients need a system that sees them right through the treatment process, from diagnosis to completion.

“There’s nothing like that. There is no overall support system. There’s no process,” he said.

Watch: One father’s journey to get his daughter mental health treatment:

One father’s journey to get his daughter mental health treatment

Christian Szpilfogel talks about the years-long journey to get his daughter the mental health treatment she needed to save her life. 5:43

Grills said access to mental health services varies greatly across the country and the next federal government should set standards of service.

“What measures I might have accessible to me here in Ottawa are completely different than someone in a rural province, or someone who is under 18,” she said.

Grills said she also wants to see funding for mental health services for children — something that the three main parties have so far only mentioned in passing.

“The wait lists for pediatric mental health care can be years long, which completely misses the window for intervention,” she said.

According to Children’s Mental Health Ontario, a charity that advocates for mental health, there are 28,000 children and young people waiting to access mental health services.

Sheryl Boswell, executive director of Youth Mental Health Canada, also said more attention needs to be paid to younger Canadians who sometimes have to wait over a year for help.

“That kind of needs-based funding and support in schools and for families is really important,” she said. “We don’t have that kind of support for children in elementary and secondary schools right now, and so it is left to the parents.”

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