Brampton’s coronavirus positivity rate more than double national average; B.C. cases soar over the weekend

For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.

‘Concerning’ number of cases over the weekend in B.C.

Dr. Réka Gustafson, British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer, said the province is dealing with a “concerning” number of COVID-19 cases, after 1,120 new cases were reported over a three-day period.

She said the most common places of transmission are private “uncontrolled” gatherings in a private residence, with too many many and no safety protocols in place.

Health minister Adrian Dix recognized that it can be incredibly frustrating for British Columbians who are following the public health rules to see individuals who aren’t doing the same, specifically after reports of large crowds of people on Halloween.

“We’re facing COVID-19 for a long time to come, for months and months and months and months and month and months and months to come,” Dix said. “We need to follow public health guidance and public health advice.”

The health minister said it’s even more important to follow the rules in the winter months, compared to summer, and suggested that upcoming holiday gatherings will have to be virtual this year.

Dr. Gustafson also spoke about the federal COVID Alert app and why B.C. hasn’t adopted it yet. She said it was carefully reviewed with contact tracers in the province and the information that the app provides wouldn’t have any “additional benefit.”

“It isn’t able to notify and tell them…how intense that contact was,…when it occurred and what they need to do about it,” she said. “In order to act in a meaningful way…you need to have some details about it.”

‘You knew the allocations that you had so don’t overbook people’

The Ontario government announced it is increasing the hours of direct care for long-term care residents to an average of four hours per day.

“I made a promise to long-term care residents, their families and their caregivers that we would deliver better care for our seniors,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “Today, we are delivering on that promise and acting on the early recommendations of Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission.”

“By increasing the hours of daily direct care for residents, we will improve their quality of life and ensure they are more comfortable and safe.”

At a press conference on Monday, Ford called out Rexall pharmacies for overbooking influenza vaccine appointments after it was announced the chain is pausing the flu shot program due to supply issues.

“You knew the allocations that you had so don’t overbook people,” the premier said. “If you know you have X amount of flu shots, book X amount of flu shots.”

The premier also defended the decision to move Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa into modified Stage 2 restrictions.

Ford said he would rather err on the side of caution than let everything go “hog wild” and open up.

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CT Sees 2,600+ Coronavirus Cases Over Weekend

CONNECTICUT — Connecticut reported another 2,651 positive coronavirus tests over the weekend along with a 3.4 percent positive test rate.

“There’s no question about it, the trend line is continuing to trend up,” Gov. Ned Lamont said during a Monday news conference.

The trend of more cases, a higher positive test rate and increased hospitalizations caused Lamont to roll back some guidelines to phase 2 levels in a new phase dubbed “2.1.”

Coronavirus hospitalizations increased by 11 patients up to a net of 340. Hospitalizations are now at early June levels.

Another 11 coronavirus-related deaths were reported over the weekend for a total of 4,627 during the pandemic to date.

Click on county names below to see how cases have grown over the past two months in your county:

The towns with the most new cases since Friday are:

  1. Bridgeport: 237

  2. Waterbury: 169

  3. Hartford: 153

  4. Norwalk: 139

  5. Danbury: 138

  6. Stamford: 111

  7. Meriden: 79

  8. New Haven: 71

  9. New Britain: 61

  10. East Hartford: 55

The towns with the most new cases since Oct. 25:

  1. Bridgeport: 444

  2. Norwalk: 374

  3. Danbury: 365

  4. Waterbury: 342

  5. Stamford: 301

  6. Hartford: 294

  7. New Haven: 165

  8. New Britain: 145

  9. Meriden: 133

  10. East Hartford: 126

This article originally appeared on the Across Connecticut Patch

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Free Flu Vaccinations Offered In Austin This Weekend

AUSTIN, TX — Travis County residents will have two convenient opportunities to receive free flu vaccinations on Saturday, Central Health officials said.

With the arrival of flu season, public health officials are urging residents to get their flu shot now — especially as the county and state continue to see an upward trend in cases of COVID-19. While the flu and virus that causes COVID-19 are different viruses, they result in many similar symptoms and can both cause serious health complications, health officials noted. This is especially true for those who are considered high-risk, including individuals with chronic health conditions, the elderly, and pregnant women, officials added. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a flu vaccine for everyone six months and older.

Those who have health insurance should bring their insurance card so their carrier can be billed directly, with no out-of-pocket costs for individuals. Free vaccines are available for those without insurance. Because the flu and COVID-19 are easily spread from person to person, Central Health is also reminding everyone to stay vigilant about wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), washing or sanitizing hands often, and watching their distance with others — keeping at least six feet between themselves and coworkers, close friends and family outside of their household.

EVENTS

Halloween Themed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Distribution

9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Ojeda Middle School, 4900 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744.

Del Valle Community Coalition and the Austin Latino Coalition are hosting a Halloween-themed event with walk-up and drive-through options available. There will be free flu shots, PPE and candy for the community. Children must be at least seven years old to receive a flu shot at this event. Additional details here.

The sponsors for this event are Austin Latino Coalition; Del Valle Community Coalition; HEB; Austin Public Health; and Central Health.

Boo the Flu (Drive-thru Event)

Noon to 3 p.m. Travis Early College High School, 1211 E. Oltorf St., Austin, TX 78704.

The annual Boo the Flu event, sponsored by Central Health-affiliated Sendero Health Plans, will take place with strict safety guidelines. Visitors can receive a flu vaccine while remaining in their car, as well as get free PPE and Halloween treats. Additional information can be found here.

The sponsors for this event are Sendero Health Plans; Austin Public Health; Austin Independent School District; Ascension Seton; Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; City of Austin; El Mundo; City of Austin; and Travis County Constable – Precinct 4.

This article originally appeared on the Austin Patch

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‘Weekend Effect’ Affects Survival Odds for Rural Stroke Patients | Health News

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Stroke patients have a higher risk of death if they’re admitted to a rural hospital on the weekend, a new study finds.

University of Georgia researchers analyzed 2016 data on stroke deaths at U.S. hospitals to learn whether the so-called “weekend effect” influenced stroke outcomes.

“The weekend effect is the phenomenon where the risk of bad or adverse outcomes, such as mortality in our study, increases for those who are admitted to the hospital over the weekend as opposed to a weekday,” said lead author Birook Mekonnen, who was a graduate student in the College of Public Health when the research was conducted.

There was evidence to support the weekend effect in all hospitals. But outcomes were especially poor for rural patients who had hemorrhagic (bleeding) strokes on a weekend, as opposed to ischemic strokes (ones caused by blocked blood flow to the brain).

But the time of week may be just one factor in unfavorable outcomes for rural stroke patients, according to study co-author Donglan Zhang, an assistant professor of health policy and management in public health.

Zhang noted that rural hospitals tend to have fewer resources, including stroke specialists and equipment for particularly severe cases. They also serve a wider area and it’s not uncommon for rural patients to be more than an hour’s drive from the nearest hospital.

The researchers said one way to protect stroke patients from the weekend effect is to invest in telemedicine. They noted that more rural hospitals are joining telestroke care networks, enabling them to connect with specialists and collaborate on treatment for stroke patients.

Mekonnen advised people who are at risk for stroke or other major health problems to look into the telemedicine options available to them. “This may be the new norm,” he said in a university news release.

The findings were published in the October issue of the Journal of Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases.

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on stroke.

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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