Posts Tagged "Health"

13Jul

UWaterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University offering COVID-19 vaccination clinics on campus | Globalnews.ca

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Both the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are offering staff and students the opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID-19 on campus.

A vaccination clinic opened at the University of Waterloo on Monday, offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more:
University of Waterloo planning for on-campus learning in the fall

“This is a positive step for #UWaterloo and an important piece of our overall plans to support a safe and staged return to campus,” the university said on Twitter.

The school says appointments are available to students, employees, and family members of students and employees over the age of 18.

Appointments must be booked over the phone in advance by calling 519-888-4096

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Vaccinated Ontario mother, son say they contracted COVID-19 from basement tenant


Vaccinated Ontario mother, son say they contracted COVID-19 from basement tenant

Across town, Laurier says it will be offering appoints through the summer and the fall.

It offered the option on Monday and will do so again on Friday.

There is a COVID-19 Immunization Intake form on the school’s website for those who wish to book an appointment.

Both schools are planning to have more student activities on campus this fall with more and more people being vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We remain cautiously optimistic, and are putting plans in place to increase our on-campus presence and in-person classes and student experiences, with the goal to return to regular in-person operations with minimal restrictions by winter term,” Laurier notes on its website.

Back in March, University of Waterloo president Feridun Hamdullahpur issued a letter to students that noted how eager staff and students were to return to a semblance of normal campus life.

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Read more:
20,000 people vaccinated in Waterloo Region over the weekend

“The recent news of an increase in the number of vaccines across Canada is giving us reason for new hope,” he wrote.

“It is with that sense of hope that I am pleased to announce that we are planning to deliver significantly more an in-person learning, work and research starting in the Fall 2021 term.”

The University of Waterloo president says his school has developed a flexible plan in an effort to make that a reality.

“We are optimistic that on-campus activity can happen in person with a staged and strategic return to campus,” he said.

“Our goal will be to create as many on-campus experiences as possible starting September.”





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

12Jul

Quebec retailers, cinema owners pleased with COVID-19 capacity changes – Montreal | Globalnews.ca

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Retailers and theatre owners say they’re happy Quebec lifted capacity limits on stores and eased physical distancing rules for entertainment venues, but some operators of performance halls say the changes don’t mean much for them.

On Monday, stores no longer faced COVID-19 capacity limits but were still required to ensure customers kept one metre of distance from each other. Owners of theatres and other performance venues were able to reduce space between patrons from different households to one empty seat instead of 1.5 metres.

Eric Bouchard, co-president of a theatre owners group called the Association des propriétaires de cinémas du Québec, said the change makes a “universe of difference,” especially for smaller theatres.

When the two Montreal-area theatres he co-owns were allowed to reopen in February, they were required to keep two metres of distance between patrons from different households — limiting capacity to around 10 per cent, he said. Bouchard was also forbidden to sell snacks.

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Relaxed Covid Rules

“Now, you can reach up to 65 per cent of capacity, it means a lot,” he said about the new distancing rule. Another thing that’s helping movie theatres, he said, is the release of new films. And while the health orders are still “not ideal,” he described the new rules as a “huge progression.”

But not all venues can take advantage of the distance reduction.

Circus festival Montreal Complètement Cirque will see few additional seats added because its two main venues are already at capacity with 250 people, said Stéphane Lavoie, programming director at circus venue Tohu, which organizes the festival.

While Quebec allows 3,500 people to attend indoor events and up to 5,000 outside, audiences must be separated into sections of 250 people, with separate entrances and washrooms for each section. Lavoie said that with the new rule on physical distancing, only one venue — a cabaret under a big tent — will be able to add 60 seats to bring it close to the 250-person maximum.

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“It’s not a lot,” he said in an interview Monday. “The problem for rooms like the Tohu is the 250 (limit).” While Lavoie said having sections of 250 people might work for an arena, it doesn’t work for concert halls that don’t have multiple entrances and washrooms.

Read more:
Quebec says 2nd vaccine dose allowed for those with previous COVID-19 infection

Lavoie said he understands the need to keep different “bubbles” separated but he doesn’t understand the 250-person capacity for venues, especially when shopping centres and large retail stores can have bigger crowds. “The fact that a retailer or a business can have 300 people walking around and we can’t have more than 250 people seated, we’re a little disappointed,” he said.

Jean-Guy Côté, executive director of the Quebec Retail Council, said retailers have been asking for an end to the pandemic-related restrictions on the number of clients allowed in stores.

“What we saw during the pandemic is, because of the lines, some people were not keen to enter the stores,” he said. “They were just going back to their homes and going to the big retailers online. For the corner stores, the mom-and-pop shops and the local stores, it’s good news.”

Côté said that for retailers, things are almost back to normal, despite the fact they still need to ensure customers stay one metre apart from each other and mask-wearing remains mandatory.

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Quebec reported 52 new cases of COVID-19 Monday and 147 other cases from Friday and Saturday. One COVID-19-related death has been reported since Friday.





© 2021 The Canadian Press

6Jul

Heat wave deaths in Fraser Health nearly double compared to B.C. average

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Hundreds of British Columbians died after a stifling heat wave gripped the province in record-breaking temperatures and new data shows that twice as many residents in Fraser Health died compared to the provincial average. 

Newly-released statistics from the BC Coroners Service shows that while there were nearly 300 per cent more people who died in the province compared to the five-year average from June 25 to July 1 – in Fraser Health that number skyrocketed to nearly 600 per cent.

When averaged out, 198 people typically died during the last week of June in British Columbia, but during the punishing heat dome, that number rose to 777, representing 579 excess deaths in the province. In Fraser Health, the average is 50 people who die during that week, but this year there were 344; a 582 per cent increase.

In Vancouver Coastal Health, which has a smaller population (1.25 million) than Fraser Health (1.8 million), an average of 45 people die in the last week of June, but this year 193 did; a 329 per cent increase. This year Interior Health, Northern Health and the Vancouver Island Health authorities saw increases of 123 to 138 per cent of their five-year averages during that time.

CTV News has reached out to Fraser Health and the city of Surrey, the health authority’s largest city, to discuss the statics and planning efforts for future extreme heat events but has not yet been granted an interview.

VANCOUVER ALREADY CONDUCTING A REVIEW AMID RECOMMENDATIONS

While Vancouver saw comparatively fewer deaths than its suburbs and Fraser Valley, the city is already conducting a review of its existing heat response measures as the city’s planning commissioners have sent a memo to the city council and the managers of the city, park board and various civic departments in an effort to mitigate future deaths due to extreme temperatures.

The nine-page document dated July 5 has a series of short-term and longer-term suggestions that “should prioritize historically under-served areas and populations that have been harmed by systemic oppression and inequitable policies and wealth inequality.”

Among the priorities the Vancouver City Planning Commission advocates for in “Climate Emergency: Extreme Heat and Air Quality Mitigation” are emergency alerts to phones in a variety of languages and more widespread communication of the risks and emergency response measures on various media channels and even signage at bus stops and grocery stores.

The commission’s short-term suggestions include opening beaches, pools and public washrooms 24 hours per day during heat waves, using buses as cooling stations, planting trees to offer shade and providing more covered and shaded outdoor seating, more temporary washrooms, charging stations and Wi-Fi access near shade or cooling stations, air conditioning in lobbies of social housing and congregate care settings, temporary hotel rooms for the homeless (particularly seniors or living with a disability), transportation to cooling centres, as well as air purifiers with priority for the disabled and elderly.

Suggestions for multi-height water fountains, cooling and misting stations were already incorporated into the city of Vancouver’s response to the heat wave, and the city is continuing to direct people to air conditioned libraries and community centres even though the temperatures have largely returned to normal. 

Long-term recommendations include ensuring accessible seating and access to shady areas in parks, widening sidewalks, investing in pop-up cooling and clean-air tents, more water fountains and water parks, more accessible public washrooms, and air conditioning for social and congregate housing units.

A city of Vancouver spokesperson says the document will be considered as part of a review its initiated into the heat event.

“The first phase of this review will take place within the next two weeks, based on preliminary data available now,” they said in an email. “We will also be analysing more detailed data from BC Coroners as this is made available over the coming months, to more meaningfully assess who is most impacted and what supports are needed for future extreme heat events.”

4Jul

COVID-19: Four of five B.C. teachers report declining mental health during pandemic

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UBC study polled 1,206 teachers across the province

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With a trying school year having wrapped up, four in five B.C. teachers who volunteered for a survey say their mental health declined during the pandemic, according to a UBC study.

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“The pandemic-related school disruptions and the need to adapt to new regulations and guidelines are unprecedented,” the study stated.

One elementary school teacher with 10 years experience said they had never felt so “discouraged, unappreciated and deflated, while at the same time burned out.”

“Our goal was to understand how B.C. teachers were doing during the pandemic and the potential impact the pandemic may have had on their mental health, but also on their teaching experiences,” said lead author Anne Gadermann, an assistant professor at UBC’s school of population and public health.

The study, carried out in conjunction with the B.C. Teachers Federation and the B.C. Ministry of Education, canvassed 1,206 teachers around the province in February, surveying their teaching experience and well-being after 11 months of COVID-19 restrictions.

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Other findings included:

• 70 per cent of teachers said they had fewer opportunities to form and maintain emotional connection with students;

• 93 per cent reported fewer connection with colleagues;

• 43 per cent said students’ emotional needs were not met;

• 67 per cent said they had more work;

• and 40 per cent said they are more likely to leave the profession than they were before the pandemic.

This response rate is similar to previous research using this approach, but it’s important to note the respondents self-selected to participate in the survey and that their responses may not be representative of all B.C. teachers, Gadermann said.

Gregory Jung, who teaches at Brentwood Elementary in Burnaby, listed the unique challenges COVID-19 posed.

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“I mean not only teaching during a pandemic, but also dealing with a whole bunch of other factors,” said Jung, who took the survey. He named teaching remotely, dealing with families who think the virus is fake news and other families who thought it was unsafe to return to school, and ensuring mask and handwashing protocols were being followed.

“Combine all that with not being able to do normal things like going to see your friend in another class,” Jung said. “It started taking a toll.

“I feel blessed to have had the group I had, but I know some teachers in our school felt the weight of everything. It took a team effort this year, teachers and families coming around, and I’m proud of our community.”

Teacher stress was already a concern pre-pandemic, the report notes, with teachers facing time constraints, classroom-management challenges and supporting the needs of diverse learners.

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“This may be exacerbated by additional burdens due to the pandemic,” the report said. “Prior research suggests that many teachers leave the profession due to (a) exhaustion and/or (b) a lack of confidence in their teaching ability.

“These findings take on new meaning in the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially creating a perfect storm of high levels of exhaustion and lack of confidence in one’s teaching ability in this unprecedented context.”

Teachers tended to report feeling more support from their colleagues, principal and school-based administrators, and union; and less support from school boards and the ministry in Victoria.

“There were definitely many negative aspects about the very challenging year faced by teachers,” Gadermann said. “But on a positive note, we also found some things that can potentially be addressed in the future with more sources of support.

“Teachers who reported feeling well-supported were also more likely to report better mental health and less consideration of leaving the profession.

“We can think of these supports as protective factors for teachers’ mental health and well-being. Focusing on teacher support could be a critical first step for stakeholders to focus on as they work to support teacher well-being.”

gordmcintyre@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordmcintyre

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3Jul

COVID-19 update for July 3-4: Fraser Health to set up vaccine clinics at popular beaches | 84 cases, two deaths | Outbreak over at Minoru Residence

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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 July 3-4, 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.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on July 2:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 147,705 (729 active cases)
• New cases since June 30: 84
• Total deaths: 1,756 (two new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 99
• Intensive care: 30
• Total vaccinations: 5,124,693 doses administered; 1,526,711 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 145,200
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 8

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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19: Look up your neighbourhood in our interactive map of case and vaccination rates in B.C.

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

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COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

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


LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

5 a.m. – Fraser Health to set up vaccine clinics at popular beaches this week

Starting this week, Fraser Health will set up COVID-19 immunization clinics at two popular local beaches for people 12 years and older who still need to be immunized.

Fraser Health says Crescent Beach in South Surrey and the main beach at Cultus Lake in the east Fraser Valley are popular destinations during the summer months.

The Crescent Beach clinic will start on Tuesday and the Cultus Lake one will start on Friday at Main Beach. Both will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The beach-side clinics aim to meet people where they are, or will be, congregating during the summer season.

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Those attending the beach-side immunization clinics are reminded to take precautions from the heat including wearing sunscreen, staying hydrated, and having something to eat and drink before your appointment.

12 a.m. – Vancouver Coastal says outbreak at Minoru Residence is over

Another care home outbreak was declared over Friday.

Vancouver Coastal Health has declared the COVID-19 outbreak over at Minoru Residence in Richmond.

Three residents tested positive for COVID-19 during the outbreak but there were no deaths among staff or residents.

The home is open to new admissions and transfers and is working to resume all group activities and visitation, said VCH.

12 a.m. – 84 new cases since June 30 and two deaths recorded

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The province recorded a total of 84 new cases of COVID-19, including 49 new cases from June 30 to July 1 and 35 new cases Friday.

There were two new COVID-19 related deaths in B.C. bringing  the total to 1,756 deaths so far.

There is a new outbreak recorded at Royal Inland Hospital in the Interior Health. The outbreak at Glenwood Seniors Community in the Fraser Health region is over.

The province has vaccinated 78.7 per cent of all adults in B.C. and 77.5 per cent of those 12 and older with their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, 35.2 per cent of all adults in B.C. and 32.9 per cent of those 12 and older have received their second dose.


B.C. MAP OF WEEKLY COVID CASE COUNTS, VACCINATION RATES

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:

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B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



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

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Comments

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.

27Jun

B.C. heat wave update for Jun 27: Fraser Health moves vaccination clinics indoors | Metro Vancouver issues poor air quality advisory | B.C. Hydro reports extreme energy demand

by admin

Here’s a roundup of the latest news concerning what Environment and Climate Change Canada is calling a “dangerous long duration heat wave.”

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Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are in for a potentially record-breaking heat wave this weekend, with temperatures expected to hit the high 30s and even into the 40s in some areas.

It’s unprecedented hot weather for this region.

Authorities are urging residents to drink lots of water and check on elderly neighbours, and of course never leave a child or a pet in a parked car.

Here’s a roundup of the latest news concerning what Environment and Climate Change Canada is calling a “dangerous long duration heat wave.”


Read more:

Temperature records broken during heat wave in B.C. on Monday

Environment Canada issues heat warnings, says record-high temperatures loom for B.C.

B.C. Hydro says it will weather heat wave, customers won’t see outages like in some U.S. states

Extreme ‘dome of heat’ to descend on Metro Vancouver this weekend


LATEST NEWS on B.C.’s heat wave

SATURDAY

8:45 p.m. Fraser Health shifts vaccination clinics indoors

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Because of the excessive heat in the coming days, Fraser Health has taken the precaution of changing venues for those vaccination clinics that were to have been held outdoors.

Beginning Sunday, anyone going for testing or an immunization after noon will be redirected to a cooler indoor venue. The switches will be in place through Monday, at which point Fraser Health will provide an update on the situation.

Here’s a list of the affected clinics and the alternative locations:

• Burnaby COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Christine Sinclair Community Centre instead

• Mission COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Chilliwack Mall instead

• South Surrey COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit South Surrey Recreation Centre instead

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• Coquitlam COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Haney Place Mall instead

• Langley COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Langley Events Centre instead

• Surrey 66 COVID-19 Testing and Immunization Centre: Visit Cloverdale Recreation Centre instead

• Abbotsford Ag-Rec Centre Immunization Clinic: Visit Gateway Church instead.

5:45 p.m. The City of Maple Ridge has opened a cooling centre for temporary relief from the heat

The City of Maple Ridge has temporarily opened the Greg Moore Youth Centre as a cooling centre to provide residents with relief from the heat.

The centre is located at 11925 Haney Place in Maple Ridge with the entrance opposite to the north entrance of Haney Place Mall and will remain open until Monday. Additional days may be added as this weather system moves through the region.

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This site will be staffed by City employees, Emergency Support Services volunteers and security personnel who will be providing guests to the facility with bottled water, washroom access and seating to provide some comfort from the heat.

The city will continue the spray parks that were activated on the May long weekend in its two largest parks, Maple Ridge Park and Albion Sports Complex. Small water spray features will also be located at some other parks. The City’s Parks teams have also reactivated the water fountains in downtown parks, which were previously closed down due to COVID-19 protocols.

3:30 p.m. Metro Vancouver issues poor air quality advisory

Metro Vancouver has issued an air quality advisory for eastern Metro Vancouver and the central Fraser Valley because of high concentrations of ground-level ozone.

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High concentrations are expected to persist for a few days during the hot and sunny weather. The current weather forecast indicates extremely hot temperatures through at least Monday, the region said.

Metro said ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air. It is formed when nitrogen oxides (pollutants emitted when fuels are burned) and volatile organic compounds (emitted from solvents and other sources) react in the air in the presence of sunlight.

The highest levels of ground-level ozone are generally observed between mid-afternoon and early evening on summer days.

Residents are advised to avoid strenuous outdoor activities during mid-afternoon to early evening, when ozone levels are highest, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable.

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Exposure is particularly a concern for people with underlying illnesses and for those who are socially marginalized, such as people experiencing homelessness.

1 p.m. – B.C. Hydro says extreme heat causes record energy demand

B.C. Hydro says on Friday night the peak hourly demand record for June — the hour customers use the most power — was broken for a second time this week.

B.C. Hydro expects demand for power to continue to increase this weekend and it will likely peak on Monday – the day when temperatures are expected to hit 40ºC or higher in some parts of the province.

The last summer record was set on August 18, 2020 when peak hourly demand reached about 7,900 megawatts. Monday’s peak hourly demand could reach up to 8,300 megawatts, shattering the previous record, Hydro said.

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B.C. Hydro continues to insist it can meet the additional demand. It has also taken important steps to protect the safety of its customers and employees, including canceling the majority of planned outages as well as suspending disconnections for non-payment.

B.C. Hydro is providing some tips to save energy:

• Closing the drapes and blinds: Shading windows can block out up to 65 per cent of the heat.

• Shutting doors and windows: If the temperature outside is warmer than inside, keep doors and windows closed to keep the cooler air in and the warm air out.

• Using a fan: Running a fan nine hours a day over the summer costs just $7.

• Being a star: Purchase an Energy Star air conditioner as they use about 30 to 40 per cent less power than standard units.

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• Opting for smaller appliances: Use a microwave, crockpot or toaster oven to avoid the extra heat produced by larger appliances when preparing meals.

11:30 a.m. – Mission School District closes schools on Monday because of heat wave.

Mission schools will be closed on Monday because of the heat wave, as temperatures around 40 C are expected. The school district said it will reopen on Tuesday.

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11 a.m. – Fraser Health rebooks vaccines because of heat wave

Due to the extreme heat wave that is currently affecting Abbotsford and other areas of B.C., Fraser Health is rebooking COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the Abbotsford Ag-Rec Centre that were scheduled for 1 p.m. or later today.

The heat wave is causing elevated internal temperatures in the clinic and, as a result, Fraser Health says it has made the decision to rebook these appointments to protect the health and safety of staff and clients.

People who have been affected by this temporary measure are asked to call 1-833-838-2323 to rebook their appointment.

Alternatively, people may walk-in to another location.

9:30 a.m. – Heat dome primer

Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon explains the phenomenon and what to expect in British Columbia.

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What is a heat dome?

A heat dome is caused by a strong ridge of high pressure that traps warm air underneath it. Although not a term commonly used by Environment Canada scientists, the heat dome gets its name because the ridge acts like a dome, allowing the sun to crank up the heat below and create a heat wave that lasts at least a few days.

How often does this happen?

Ridges of high pressure create hot spells in B.C. most years but they typically occur in July or August. Another memorable heat wave occurred in July 2009, when there were several heat-related fatalities and some B.C. weather stations smashed temperatures records. On July 30, 2009, the Vancouver airport set its current local record of 34.4 C.

How significant is this?

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This year’s ridge is much stronger and earlier than usual. The temperatures for this time of year are unprecedented and parts of B.C. are going to set some all-time records, certainly a lot of June records and probably daily maximum records.

Are there particular parts of B.C. you’re keeping an eye on?

The whole province is pretty much under heat warnings, except for parts of the northwest near the Yukon border and some coastal areas like West Vancouver Island up to Haida Gwaii. Some of the hot spots will be places like Lytton, Osoyoos, Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley and Prince George in the north. Environment Canada is forecasting six days of 40-plus temperatures in Kamloops, which has never seen 40 C in June on record.

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How does a heat dome go away?

Eventually there will be a ridge breakdown, when the province transitions to cooler weather. Usually that is accompanied with thunderstorms because of built-up energy from the heat. Once the province gets some destabilization of the atmosphere and some troughs coming in, that usually kick-starts some convection and thunderstorms. If accompanying rain showers are limited, that can create a high risk of wildfires.

— Canadian Press

7 a.m. – Unusual heat wave will set records in Pacific Northwest

Heavy rain in China, an expanse of warm water stretching across the North Pacific, and kinks in the jet stream are combining to drive an unusual heat wave that will set records in the Pacific Northwest.

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Seattle and Portland may post their hottest June days in history, while heat warnings are posted in Canada as far north as the Arctic Circle. The dangerously hot temperatures raise wildfire risk, may worsen air pollution, and pose public health threats in a region where many don’t have air conditioning.

The warmth is building under a so-called heat dome that may have been exacerbated by climate change. It’s similar to the weather pattern earlier this month that led to a California heat wave, according to Jeff Masters, a meteorologist with Yale Climate Connections. Kinks in the jet stream have pinned summer weather in place leading to prolonged heat waves and drought, as well as storminess and flooding.

“The unusual waviness of the jet stream was associated with a pattern we have been seeing more often in summer, which has been connected to human-caused climate change,” Masters said.

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The current heat wave over the Northwest started with flooding rains across China on June 23, said Masters. That fed energy into the jet stream across the North Pacific, making it stronger than usual and setting off a chain reaction of weather patterns that led to the high pressure ridge building over western North America and driving temperatures up in the U.S. and Canada.

The heat, as well as the conditions that have caused widespread drought across the U.S. West, may have been made worse by warm water stretching across the North Pacific, as well as parts of the Bering and Chukchi seas near Alaska, said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woodwell Climate Center. That pattern may have been exacerbated by less sea ice in the Arctic this year, a situation made worse in recent decades by climate change.

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The worst heat will center on the Northwest and then seep east into Idaho by Monday, though California will also see oppressive conditions. The Golden State’s power grid manager said it’s closely watching the situation. Excessive heat warnings cover areas east of Los Angeles, where temperatures could reach 110 F (43ºC) Sunday and Monday, and other parts of the state.

– Bloomberg


FRIDAY

5:30 p.m. – COVID-19 protocols takes back seat during a heat wave

B.C. medical health officers say people should be able to access cooling centres during the ongoing heat wave, even if there are concerns about crowding or physical distancing.

They also said people wearing masks who have difficulty breathing should remove the mask, whether indoors or outdoors.

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High temperatures are associated with an increase in deaths in the Lower Mainland, said Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, and Interior Health.

Especially vulnerable are the young, elderly, those working or exercising in the heat. People with chronic heart and lung conditions, people with mental illness, people living alone, and homeless people are also at high risk.

3:30 p.m. – Environment Canada issues heat warning across B.C. 

Environment Canada issued a slew of heat warnings across B.C. including Metro Vancouver due to a “dangerous long duration heat wave” starting Friday until at least Tuesday.

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Record-breaking temperatures are likely, with daytime highs expected to hit 29 to 38 C. There will be little respite at night as overnight lows will only dip down to 18 to 21 C.

With humidity, it could feel like the high 30’s and low 40’s, warned the federal weather agency.

2:30 p.m. – English Bay beach closed to swimmers due to high E. coli levels

If you’re looking to cool down from the heatwave with a dip in the ocean, don’t do it at English Bay beach.

The popular downtown Vancouver beach is temporarily off limits to swimmers Friday afternoon after high levels of E. coli was found in the water.

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Swimming in waters with high levels of the bacteria may increase the risk of gastrointestinal illness and skin and eye infections, said Vancouver Coastal Health.

— Cheryl Chan

8:20 a.m. – Here are 15 ways to beat the heat and stay cool

It’s finally summer, and B.C. is kicking it off with a long-lasting heat wave expected to hit Friday and linger until next week.

Temperatures are forecast to hit highs of 29 to 38ºC. With humidity, it could feel like the low 40s.

Such extreme heat isn’t something we’re used to. But don’t sweat it. Here are some heat wave hacks to help you cool down when the temperature rises.

— Cheryl Chan

8 a.m. – B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety issues tips to stay safe, cool during extreme heat wave

British Columbians are being asked to take precautions this weekend, as Environment Canada predicts a dangerous, long heat wave beginning Friday and lasting until at least Wednesday.

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HealthLink BC has these tips for keeping cool and healthy:

• Never leave children alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52ºC within 20 minutes inside a vehicle when the outside temperature is 34ºC. Leaving the car windows slightly open will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.

• Drink plenty of fluids. Drink extra water even before you feel thirsty and if you are active on a hot day. Ask your health-care provider about how much water you should drink on hot days if you are on water pills or limiting your fluid intake.

• Keep cool. Stay indoors in air-conditioned buildings or take a cool bath or shower. At temperatures above 30ºC, fans alone may not be able to prevent heat-related illness. Sunscreen will protect against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, but not from the heat.

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• Plan activity before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when the sun’s UV radiation is the weakest.

• Avoid tiring work or exercise in hot, humid environments. If you must work or exercise, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic fluids each hour. Rest breaks are important and should be taken in the shade.

• Avoid sunburn. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on exposed skin and an SPF 30 lip balm, and reapply often.

• Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a wide brimmed hat, or use an umbrella for shade.

• Regularly check older adults, children and others for signs of heat-related illness, and make sure they are keeping cool and drinking plenty of fluids.

• Check on those who are unable to leave their homes and people with emotional or mental-health challenges whose judgment may be impaired.

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• Heat also affects pets. Never leave a pet in a parked car. Limit pets’ exercise, and be sure to provide them with plenty of water and shade.

• Home treatment for mild heat exhaustion may include: Moving to a cooler environment; drinking plenty of cool, non-alcoholic fluids; resting; and taking a cool shower or bath.

If symptoms are not mild, last longer than one hour, change, worsen or cause concern, contact a health-care provider.

Elevated heat also increases the risk of wildfire, and British Columbians are being urged to do their part to prevent human-caused wildfires and help keep communities safe. To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

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8 a.m. – B.C. Ferries reminds travellers to bring water

B.C. Ferries is reminding travellers this weekend to bring extra water because of the heat wave.

B.C. Ferries anticipates higher volumes of traffic, and the terminal is unable to offer facilities while waiting to enter the ticket booth.

THURSDAY

Environment Canada issues heat warnings, says record-high temperatures loom for B.C.

Jeremy Cain spent Thursday overseeing a team of outreach workers in Kamloops in a race against an impending heat wave that he worries will put the city’s already vulnerable community members at even greater risk.

Their cars are loaded with water bottles and sunscreen that they plan to distribute around the city over the next week with temperatures set to soar to 40 C and beyond by Saturday as part of a near-provincewide heat wave.

“I’ve lived in this community my whole life and the temperatures they’re calling for are alarming to any person in the general public, these are extreme temperatures where anyone can come to harm,” said Cain, who is director of outreach and clinical support services for the ASK Wellness Society.

— The Canadian Press


TOO HOT TO TWEET

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26Jun

COVID-19 update for June 26-27: Fraser Health rebooking vaccines due to heat wave | 72 new cases, two deaths

by admin

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 June 26-27, 2021.

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.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on June 25:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 147,418 (1,096 active cases)
• New cases since June 23: 72
• Total deaths: 1,749 (two new deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 108
• Intensive care: 37
• Total vaccinations:4,703,549 doses administered; 1,167,117 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 144,554
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 6

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IN-DEPTH:COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19: Look up your neighbourhood in our interactive map of case and vaccination rates in B.C.

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

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COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

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


LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

11 a.m. – Fraser Health rebooking vaccines dues to extreme heat wave

Due to the extreme heat wave that is affecting Abbotsford and other areas of B.C., Fraser Health is rebooking COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the Abbotsford Ag-Rec Centre that were scheduled for 1 p.m. or later today.

The heat wave is causing elevated internal temperatures in the clinic and, as a result, Fraser Health says it made the decision to rebook these appointments to protect the health and safety of staff and clients.

People who have been affected by this temporary measure are asked to call 1-833-838-2323 to rebook their appointment. Alternatively, people may walk-in to another location.

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5 a.m. – The implications of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

Most British Columbians are rolling up their sleeves and lining up to get a COVID-19 vaccine in the pursuit of a two-dose summer, but Michael is determined not to be one of them.

The 25-year-old East Vancouver man knows COVID is very real: He is afraid to get the virus, terrified of passing it on to his parents, and vigilant about wearing a mask and face shield whenever he’s out in public.

But when he became eligible for the vaccine, he said thanks, but no thanks.

“I don’t know what’s in the vaccine,” Michael told Postmedia. “I want to live a natural life. If I get sick, I get sick. Is your body going to be dependent on these shots all the time?”

Michael, who did not want his full name published for fear of a backlash, is worried about the long-term side effects of the vaccines, as well as the speed at which they were developed. He’s read things, too — about how people “get magnetic” and that the virus came from a lab leak — and doesn’t know what to believe.

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Everyone in his family is vaccinated, and they have been pressuring him to get the jab. There’s also societal pressure. Once he tells people he’s not vaccinated, he says, “They look at me different.”

As of Friday, B.C. has vaccinated 76.2 per cent of its eligible population — putting it on track for the next phase of the province’s reopening plan on July 1.

But about five to 10 per cent of adult Canadians have told pollsters they do not plan to get vaccinated. A recent survey by Leger for Postmedia found 10 per cent of British Columbians are not vaccinated, with five per cent on the fence, and five per cent saying they won’t get the vaccine.

The top reason why someone hasn’t been vaccinated? Concerns about side effects (72 per cent). Other reasons include not believing the vaccines work (39 per cent); not worried about contracting COVID-19 (22 per cent); and hoping B.C. reaches herd immunity and they won’t have to take it (21 per cent). Only six per cent said they do not believe COVID-19 is real.

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-Cheryl Chan

12 a.m. – 72 new cases, two deaths as some clinics moved due to heat wave

On Friday, B.C. reported 72 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total of active cases to 1,096. Of these, 108 are in hospital, with 37 patients in intensive care.

There were two new deaths, bringing the provincial death total to 1,749.

Meanwhile, on the vaccination front, B.C. is slowly inching its way to an 80 per cent vaccination rate.

About 77 per cent of all adults in B.C. and 76 per cent of those 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Many pop-up clinics have been moved to cooler, indoor locations due to extreme hot temperatures forecast for this weekend throughout the province.


B.C. MAP OF WEEKLY COVID CASE COUNTS, VACCINATION RATES

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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:


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



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

Comments

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.

25Jun

COVID-19: Check clinic locations before you go due to heat wave, health officials say

by admin

Many pop-up clinics have moved to cooler, indoor locations due to extreme hot temperatures forecast for this weekend throughout the province.

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B.C. health officials say people getting COVID-19 vaccinations during the continuing heat wave should check the clinic location before they go.

Many pop-up clinics have moved to cooler, indoor locations due to extreme hot temperatures forecast for this weekend throughout the province.

“If you have a vaccine appointment at a pop-up clinic or are planning to drop in, check the location before you go, wear a hat and sunscreen, and bring water,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint statement.

As of Friday, 77.6 per cent of all adults in the province, and 76.2 per cent of those 12-and-older, have received a first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 30 per cent of all adults, and 25.2 per cent of those 12-and-older, have received their second dose.

More than 4.7 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. to date, including 1.16 million second doses.

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To improve access and encourage vaccinations, Interior Health announced a new drop-in service for people seeking a first dose at any of its vaccination clinics for anyone 12-and-older.

“No appointments are necessary,” said Interior Health president Susan Brown. “Anyone 12-and-older is welcome to drop-in for their first dose when it’s convenient for them.”

Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health have already started offering walk-in spots for first doses at some vaccination clinics.

On Friday, B.C. reported 72 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total of active cases to 1,096. Of these, 108 are in hospital, with 37 patients in intensive care.

There were two new deaths, bringing the provincial death total to 1,749.

chchan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/cherylchan


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23Jun

Restaurants, bars to open, gathering sizes to increase this weekend under Manitoba reopening plan

by admin

This story will be updated when the press conference begins and throughout the conference as it runs.

Manitoba is reopening restaurants and bars and expanding gathering sizes under loosened restrictions slated to start this weekend.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and chief provincial public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, announced the new rules, which go into effect Saturday morning, at a Wednesday press conference.

Read more:
Manitoba hits Canada Day vaccination targets; restriction loosening details coming Wednesday

“Manitobans have earned an earlier reopening,” said Pallister in a release.

“Together, we have beat back the third wave and have booked first and second dose vaccinations in record numbers. After nearly a year and half fighting COVID-19, it is time for Manitobans to regain their freedoms and enjoy a summer we all want, and have rightfully earned.”

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Manitoba’s current COVID-19 public health orders cap public gatherings at five people, restrict restaurants to takeout and delivery services, and limit store capacity to 10 per cent. Most indoor social gatherings are banned and theatres, cinemas, casinos and concert venues remain closed.

But under a reopening plan announced earlier this month, health officials said they would look at gradually loosening restrictions if certain vaccination milestones are hit over the summer, provided daily case numbers and hospitalization rates have also fallen.

Officials said Monday the first milestone — 70 per cent of Manitobans aged 12 and up having their first dose and 25 per cent having their second — has been achieved earlier than the original July 1 target.

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That means plans to loosen COVID-19 restrictions can happen earlier too, Pallister said Wednesday.


Click to play video: 'New reopening details expected as Manitoba hits COVID-19 vaccination target: Roussin'







New reopening details expected as Manitoba hits COVID-19 vaccination target: Roussin


New reopening details expected as Manitoba hits COVID-19 vaccination target: Roussin

Under the updated public health orders restaurants and bars can open at 25 per cent capacity indoors, and 50 per cent capacity for outdoor dining. Those dining indoors must be from the same household, but those rules will be waived if all patrons at the table are fully vaccinated.

Outdoor dining at bars and restaurants will see tables limited to a maximum of eight patrons, all of whom can be from different households, regardless of immunization status.

Limits on outdoor gathering sizes on private property increase to 10 people and will allow for visitors to briefly access homes for “essential activities,” like using the washroom, Roussin said.

The cap on public outdoor gathering sizes will increase to 25 people, and retail businesses will have capacity limits increased to 25 per cent to a limit of 250 people. A restriction on the number of household members allowed to shop together will also be lifted.

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Read more:
Manitoba launches COVID-19 reopening plan

Personal services businesses such as hair and nail salons, estheticians, and barbers will be allowed to reopen at 50 per cent capacity, on an appointment basis only.

Indoor faith-based services and gatherings such as pow wows and sun dance ceremonies will be allowed to resume at 25 per cent capacity with a limit of 25 people as long as masks are worn at all times.

Outdoor weddings and funerals will have capacity limits raised to 25 people plus a photographer and officiants, while indoor weddings and funerals will remain capped at 10 people.

Indoor dance, music and theatre classes and other organized sports and recreation activities will be allowed at 25 per cent capacity, to a limit of five people, while those groups will be now allowed to hold outdoor activities for groups up to 25 people. No tournaments will be allowed under the new rules.

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Both indoor and outdoor swimming and wadding pools can open at 25 per cent capacity, and gyms and fitness centres can reopen for individual and group fitness classes at 25 per cent capacity as long as three metres distance can be maintained between participants,

Indoor mask use and physical distancing will still be required under the new rules, which are scheduled to expired Aug 2, the same day as the second milestone for the province’s reopening plans.

Under the province’s broader reopening plan, dubbed 4-3-2-One Great Summer Reopening Path, openings will increase to 50 per cent capacity, and gathering sizes limits will be again increased if the province hits 75 per cent first dose vaccination and 50 per cent second dose rates by the August long weekend.

Finally, if 80 per cent of the eligible population has received one shot and 75 per cent has received two shots by Labour Day, the province will open businesses, services and facilities fully, with some restrictions.

At last word Tuesday, Manitoba has 1,860 active COVID-19 cases and the provincial five-day test positivity rate is 7.6 per cent. As of Tuesday, 1,178,692 doses have been administered across the province, according to a provincial site tracking vaccinations.


Click to play video: 'Are Manitoba’s COVID-19 numbers good enough to lift restrictions?'







Are Manitoba’s COVID-19 numbers good enough to lift restrictions?


Are Manitoba’s COVID-19 numbers good enough to lift restrictions?

That means 71.4 per cent of Manitobans over the age of 12 have received at least one shot, and 26.9 per cent have received two.

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New case numbers have been steadily dropping in recent days after a delayed third wave put significant pressure on the health-care system and prompted strict public health orders last month.

There were still 224 Manitobans hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning, including 14 who are in intensive care units in other provinces.

Read more:
Man in his 20s among Manitoba’s latest COVID-19 deaths, 69 new cases reported

Manitoba reported 69 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths linked to variants of concern Tuesday. It was the third consecutive day the province’s daily case count has fallen below 100.

Since March 2020, Manitoba has reported 55,467 COVID-19 cases and 1,129 Manitobans with the virus have died.

More to come.

–With files from The Canadian Press

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

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. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.





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

17Jun

Fraser Health encourages more new moms to donate breast milk

by admin

Breast-milk donations in the health region have decreased during the pandemic, while increasing elsewhere in B.C.

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A newborn baby has only three demands, a famous British obstetrician once said: Warmth in the arms of her mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence.

Breastfeeding satisfies all three, he concluded.

But not all mothers are able to breastfeed or they may be able to but not able to provide enough milk, and thus their babies rely on donors.

“Mom’s own milk is the absolute best food for babies, there’s nothing better,” Lucy Dominak, a registered nurse and project lead for the Baby Friendly Initiative, said. “But if a mom doesn’t have enough, then pasteurized human milk is the second-best choice.”

Donor milk, with its powerful anti-infection properties, helps babies heal after surgery, and it feeds premature babies and babies born with life-threatening diseases such as necrotizing enterocolitis.

It’s the only species-specific food we have for human babies, Dominak pointed out.

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“Donor milk is literally a life-saving invention.”

For reasons that are unclear, however, breast-milk donations in the Fraser Health region – which historically has supplied 70 per cent of the province’s donated mother’s milk – have dropped by 14 per cent, while other health authorities have had increases.

Jyoti Jha would like you to know it’s safe and simple to donate.

The software engineer and mother of a 22-month-old was motivated to become a regular donor after a close family member’s baby was born prematurely. Jha’s donated milk helped treat babies with infections, digestion problems, allergies, burns, kidney and heart problems, and preterm babies.

She counts herself privileged and grateful to have helped other parents and their babies in a time of need.

“I started collecting milk for my own baby each and every day, and I realized I didn’t need it all,” Jha said. “One litre of milk basically saves one child.”

The provincial milk bank, which is part of B.C. Women’s Hospital, has been operating for 47 years and has fed tens of thousands of babies and children.

In 2019-2020, donors in the Fraser Health region provided about 50,000 ounces of milk, down from 57,000 ounces in 2018-2019, and well below a record 71,000 ounces in 2017.

Becoming a donor includes screening: A health questionnaire, phone interview, consultation with a family physician, and a blood test.

All 17 Fraser Health units are also milk drop-off depots, so any approved donor can do a drop-off with just a phone call to arrange it.

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Since the pandemic began, dropping off has become contactless: A staff member meets the donor, who holds up photo ID to their vehicle window – it doesn’t even have to be rolled down – and then once identification has been verified, the donor pops the trunk, staff retrieve the milk and shut the trunks.

“I wouldn’t say it’s really easy,” Jha said, “but so many moms are working and already collecting milk for future use, so if they could pump a little extra to save a baby … it gets easier.”

And, she added, it’s a special honour because it’s a service more than half the population is unable to provide, either because they’re men or are unable to for health or physical reasons.

“Only once or twice in your lifetime you get that chance, so I would say if you can, please donate.”

gordmcintyre@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordmcintyre

Comments

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