Covid-19 April Update

The good news is that most Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted; the bad news is that the virus is not going away so as Dr. Natalie Bocking, the HKPR Medical officer of Health put it, we have to learn to live “alongside” it.  At a regular briefing to the media on April 6, Dr. Bocking was not alarmist but pointed to a resurgence of cases in the District.  She attributed this to measures being lifted and the new BA-2 variant which spreads even more easily and is becoming dominant.  The goal remains “to avoid it being a big strain on our health system” so they can do their regular job of looking after other health issues. Also announced yesterday was that second booster shots will now be available to anyone over 60 – more details below.

There is now “quite a lot of Covid-19 Activity” in the District and we now have some Cobourg specific data.  Lab Testing now has 25-30 cases per day – at one point it was down to 15 – but this is just the tip of the iceberg since it does not include results of Rapid Antigen tests.   A fairly recent measure is based on tests of waste water – but only in Cobourg and Lindsay.  That shows a recent sharp upsurge – the latest sample was taken March 30, 2022.

Wastewater Tests
Wastewater Tests

There are currently 5 outbreaks, up from around 2.

But there is only a slight increase in Hospital admissions, Dr Bocking expects this to continue for 3 – 4 weeks.

Here are some Cobourg numbers with HKPR District numbers included for comparison:

Cobourg and HKPR District Totals
For the period Jan 1 2022 to April 6 2022

  Active Total 2022 cases Outbreak Cases * Admitted to Hospital * Deaths *
Cobourg 20 423 284 8 1
District 152 4053 2790 95 29

* Cumulative  – See the full table on this page. Note that most deaths have been unvaccinated people.

So what can we do?  We can blunt the impact by:

  • Getting vaccinated
  • Being masked when indoors
  • Staying home if you are sick
  • Avoiding large social gatherings

“Vaccines are an incredibly important tool” – and most people are now vaccinated.

  One Dose Two Doses Three Doses
Residents 5 and over 85.4% 82.7%  
Residents 12 and over 87.8% 86.1%  
Residents 18 and over 88.5% 86.9% 61.0%
Residents 70 and over     86%

Go here for more data including breakdown by County

Fourth doses are already available to long-term care and retirement home residents as well as immunocompromised people in Ontario and they are now available to anyone over 60.  For those over 60, the recommended interval between boosters is 5 months with a minimum of 3 months.

Vaccines will be available at Pharmacies and the District Health Unit has locations here.

When asked about “long-covid”, Dr. Bocking said that there is no local data on “long-covid”.

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Cap’n John
10 April 2022 9:22 pm

in my mind, the discussion on this blog clearly reinforces the need for people to listen to, and understand the information and advice given by the medical community regarding the steps we should take in order to help each other be safer in the current Covid wave.
There is far too much opinion, and far too little understanding.

Pete M
Reply to  Cap’n John
11 April 2022 7:19 am

So Cap n John
You”re saying we should be wearing mask until Covid is down to 0?
Because I’m listening to medical professionals that say its okay to take my mask off. I’m listening to medical professionals that say vaccines are good in preventing death and serious infections, but wont stop you from getting it.
Im listening to many people say because we are doing so much home testing we are finding COVID even though these individuals are asymptomatic. This is because the vaccine is doing its job.
And I see all of our elected officials and their staff of all political stripes not wearing masks.

Pete M
Reply to  Cap’n John
11 April 2022 7:26 am

What I do know is that I respect your right and decision to wear a mask, And i would never ask you to take it off.
I just ask that you afford me the the same courtesy as one who has made the decision not to wear based on my assesment of all the medical information and medical advice.

Informed
Reply to  Pete M
11 April 2022 9:19 am

You make some valid points

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Cap’n John
11 April 2022 8:42 am

I visited NHH on the weekend and arrived at the door wearing an N95 mask. Everything that I’ve read says that N95 is more effective than a surgical mask. I was told in no uncertain terms that my N95 was not acceptable and was given a replacement, poorly fitting, surgical mask to wear instead. Interestingly, virtually all of the nurses were wearing N95s; the two doctors that I saw were wearing surgical masks. Just an anecdotal data point to further confuse the discussion.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 April 2022 9:18 am

I think the reason the Hoslital does this is to ensure that people entering have a brand new mask and not one that has been worn around for 3 weeks. Im sure they dont issue N95’s to everyone simply because of the additional costs to puchase them. Maybe they should replace people arriving with N95 mask with another N95 mask as a compromise?

Pete M
10 April 2022 1:27 pm

Unfortunately the constant inundation exposure to media covid 19 as opposed to actual covid 19 has caused people to.live in a state fear. Just mention of covid or thought of catching it cause people to believe they will die, when in fact the opposite is true. 99 % of people will survive an exposure.
People are double, tripled and soon to be quadruple vaxed, but still under the fear that death is waiting around the corner for them.
Our faith in the vaccine is shaken every time the media announces a new or potential new variant.
We need to tune out the media and move in with our lives

Pete M
10 April 2022 11:45 am

Please explain why numbers and deaths were so high, higher than they are now, when Omicron was at its height in this Province and everyone was masking and maintaining social distancing.

Fact Checker
Reply to  Pete M
10 April 2022 1:20 pm

Pete M:

It is very difficult to study issues like this because there are numerous factors at play: vax, masks, social distancing, isolation, herd immunity, large group, etc. To properly study the effectiveness of a specific factor requires that all of the others be eliminated or controlled so that the data reflects the effects of only the factor being studied.

Due to the difficulty of doing this, there are few competent well designed studies.

During “omicron, many people were vaxed, wore masks and social distanced. How is it possible to attribute the increase or decline to any one factor. All are in play and all “contribute” to the situation.

Pete M
Reply to  Fact Checker
10 April 2022 2:07 pm

I believe that vaccines were key to reducing the number of deaths and serious cases of hospitalization during omicron phase. I also believe that mask did little to stop the spread during omicron, given the large number of people who wearing masks and practising all protocols, in light if the large numbers of infected people who overwhelmed the system’s capacity to test.
This is why I believe that wearing mask now is nothing more than false sense of security for those who fear this disease and death

Informed
Reply to  Pete M
11 April 2022 9:27 am

I enjoy the option to choose one way or another. Unfortunately i think the Government may mandate masks again if things get out of control. Dosen’t matter if masks are thought to reduce spread or not. The Government will be doing some unpredictable things in the near future based mostly on the upcoming election and what will be popular or unpopular among the voting public.

Last edited 1 month ago by Informed
Pete M
10 April 2022 11:36 am

Thank you
You ve convinced me that its masks that are saving us. Vaccines do nothing— its the mask.

Cap’n John
9 April 2022 11:10 pm

Masks were recently made optional in Ontario, and other provinces. Vaccination rates have been relatively flat recently.
The rate of Covid cases has grown exponentially since masks were made optional, and people allowed to get together in large indoor groups, where many do not wear masks.
it seems pretty obvious that large indoor groups, the use of masks and rate of Covid transmission are closely linked.
Why don’t we help protect each other by wearing a mask indoors?
If you don’t wear a mask, does that mean you don’t care?

JimT
Reply to  Cap’n John
10 April 2022 10:08 am

OK, but it’s also obvious that the world is flat, and that
the sun orbits around the Earth.

Correlation is not causation.

Last edited 1 month ago by JimT
Cap’n John
9 April 2022 8:21 pm

It seems to me that anti maskers think only of themselves, not of others, when deciding whether to wear a mask indoors in potentially contagious situations.
Even if you do not agree that masks are important in order to reduce the transmission of Covid, why would you not make this small gesture in order to help protect a vulnerable person? As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention….
See my other comments below, and other responses, for background.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Cap’n John
9 April 2022 9:01 pm

To be clear, i wear an N95 mask when in public places. That said, I would like to know how much a mask helps; i haven’t found the results of any well controlled studies which seems very strange after over 100 years of discussions.

Cap’n John
Reply to  Ken Strauss
9 April 2022 9:54 pm

I applaud you for wearing a mask, and I understand your position.
As for myself, I have confidence in the advice of the medical community, even in the absence of definitive scientific analysis as you would like to see.
In this situation, I will rely on logic.

Cap’n John
8 April 2022 10:23 pm

it surprises me that there is a debate about the value of the use of masks. Every medical expert published states that the use of masks is recommended.
it is not required, perhaps for political reasons, but it is recommended by every medical expert that I have read.
Does anyone believe that masks will increase the risk of transmitting Covid?

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  Cap’n John
9 April 2022 10:55 am

“Every medical expert published states that the use of masks is recommended….by every medical expert I have read”

This is called confirmation bias.

Frenchy
Reply to  Mrs. Anonymous
9 April 2022 12:02 pm

“This is called confirmation bias.”

Is it possible that it is just confirmation?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Frenchy
9 April 2022 12:42 pm

The efficacy of masking was a hot topic in the 1919 epidemic. I’m amazed that 100 years later there is still not a definitive, quantified and scientifically proven, answer.

Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
9 April 2022 3:20 pm

I havent had a cold in 2 years so im going to assume a mask certainly had something to do with it.Even if there was scientific proof many would disagree anyway. Seems to be the world we live in now.

Fact Checker
Reply to  Cap’n John
9 April 2022 10:46 pm

Cap’n John:

You wrote: “…Every medical expert published states that the use of masks is recommended…”

The medical experts you refer to may recommend masks, but based on what evidence?

Please read the following. It may change your perspective.

Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers
A Randomized Controlled Trial

This study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine

https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817

Heneghan & Jefferson (Oxford University UK) published a review of the topic in The Spectator: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/do-masks-stop-the-spread-of-covid-19-#

Also see my April 8th comment below to Kathleen.

I have no problem with those who make a personal choice to wear a mask based on their understanding of the medical issue and their assessment of the risks.

I do have a problem with those that advocate forcing their choice on others.

JimT
Reply to  Fact Checker
10 April 2022 10:15 am

“Don’t confuse me with facts; my mind is made up”.

(And I will downvote anyone who tries to enlighten me
using scientific studies).

Rob
Reply to  Cap’n John
11 April 2022 1:54 pm

Masking also has a negative psychosocial impact, in particular in young people but most want to discredit or ignore this. The mask certainly suggests to children that all of those around you are “dirty” and an inherent risk to your health and wellbeing. Its sad. The effects of this pandemic will be felt for many years to come and we likely won’t understand the true impact on childhood development and our overall physical and mental health as well as the economy for quite some time. I believe we implemented measures, that protected against negative health outcomes related to Covid, but have largely ignored the negative outcomes related to things other than Covid – doing this again would be the very definition of insanity.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rob
Informed
Reply to  Rob
11 April 2022 5:03 pm

Unfortunately we didnt have a playbook to follow. This pandamic revealed many issues and shortcomings.
Hopefully we can learn from it and be better prepared in the future.

Cap’n John
Reply to  Rob
11 April 2022 8:47 pm

Neither you or I are qualified to make the necessary decisions.
I trust the medical community. I will not accept uninformed opinion.

Kathleen
8 April 2022 11:32 am

Although my personal risk of contracting a severe case of Covid and landing in hospital is extremely low, I still wear a mask in indoor public places because I know people who are immune compromised and I would feel awful if I ever tested positive and had just been to a crowded store. (Which happens to be our new Homesense btw! Yay).
Although the mask mandate has been lifted, I just don’t understand why people feel it such a hardship to wear one while shopping.

Fact Checker
Reply to  Kathleen
8 April 2022 4:18 pm

Kathleen,

This may be of interest to you.

Some studies on mask effectiveness (Oxford and Cambridge Universities) regarding countries and states in Europe and the US.

https://www.ndlegis.gov/assembly/67-2021/testimony/HPOLSUB-1323-20210204-5275-F-SEELY_BRADLEY.pdf

Kathleen
Reply to  Fact Checker
8 April 2022 4:33 pm

You may want to ‘Fact Check’ who endorsed this, ‘The Federalist’. And Wikipedia is not a “Fake News” source either…. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Federalist_(website)

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Kathleen
8 April 2022 4:51 pm

I’d be interested in reading a report that demonstrates that masks, particularly the non-N95 ones that a commonly used, are effective in preventing infections. Suggestions for a trustworthy scientific study?

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Kathleen
Reply to  Ken Strauss
8 April 2022 7:52 pm

Let’s just say that when I’m in, say No Frills, and somebody breaks out into a mega sneezing spray (which happens almost every time I’m there), I’d personally feel better if they sprayed into their mask than all over the tomatoes. SMH.
And I also don’t want to eat anybody’s birthday cake if they’ve blown out the candles. Yuck.

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  Kathleen
8 April 2022 9:14 pm

Kathleen,

I too shop at no frills. In the last twenty years that I have lived here, I have not experienced the sneezing spray you refer to. Ever. In twenty years. At no frills. I find people courteous, I guess we shop at different times. Or maybe I didn’t notice. I am a hayseed at heart and don’t get too chuffed about these things.

I am pushing sixty years of age, Breath from blowing out candles does not concern me. Maybe that is because I come from a large farming family where germs happened. My parents lived until their nineties,

If I am lucky, I have twenty years left on this beautiful earth. I respect the laws of health physics and abhor the tv/Twitter docs with their unrealistic doomsday scenarios.

I worry about a lot of things, but the relative risk of unmasked vs masked is not one of them.

#honk honk

Last edited 1 month ago by Mrs. Anonymous
Fact Checker
Reply to  Kathleen
8 April 2022 7:33 pm

Kathleen, You indicate you understand that you have a relatively low covid risk and you wear a mask out of concern for others: a personal choice based on your assessment of the situation and the risks. I applaud you for that. In your response to my comment, you do not present counter arguments (studies) and data. Instead you take a “shoot the messenger” and “guilt by association” approach. You cite Wikipedia, which, while generally good, is not exhaustive or the “final word” They are subject to the biases of their content contributors. Perhaps you would find the results of a serious Danish study more informative: Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers A Randomized Controlled Trial This study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817 Heneghan & Jefferson (Oxford University UK) published a review of the topic in The Spectator: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/do-masks-stop-the-spread-of-covid-19-# When it comes to masks, it appears there is still little good evidence they prevent the spread of airborne diseases. The results of the Danmask-19 trial mirror other reviews into influenza-like illnesses. Nine other trials looking at the efficacy of masks (two looking at healthcare workers and seven at community transmission) have found that masks make little or no difference to whether you get influenza or not. Carl Heneghan is professor of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford and director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Tom Jefferson is a senior associate tutor and honorary research fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford This is why people need to do their own research and due diligence. It’s not as though our local politicians and health bureaucrats are totally forthcoming either. Consider the recent ruling by the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner against the HKPR District… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Fact Checker
Kathleen
Reply to  Fact Checker
9 April 2022 7:20 am

Just the mere fact that me and most healthy uncompromised people I know have not even had a cold since wearing masks was put in place tells me something. But hey, knock yourself out on all the charts and graphs and so-called studies. You do you. I’ll just believe my lyin’ eyes.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Kathleen
9 April 2022 9:14 am

Yes, Kathleen, I doubt that working from home, distancing, very limited social contact with others, school closures, no travel and more hand washing have had any effect whatsoever on the frequency of colds.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Kathleen
Reply to  Ken Strauss
9 April 2022 10:43 am

All that. And masking. Obviously, you don’t agree. Good day.

Lemon Cake
8 April 2022 10:44 am

Measured and wise words from public health. Also…Wastewater testing can only detect presence not numbers of cases or severity – also, hands up if you’re on septic in Cobourg 🙋‍♀️

JimT
Reply to  Lemon Cake
8 April 2022 1:41 pm

“…wastewater samples are sent to labs and analyzed for the presence and spread of a disease by measuring specific targets such as concentration of virus fragments over time.”
ontario.ca/page/covid-19-wastewater-monitoring

Old Sailor
7 April 2022 4:16 pm

I have heard that the current variant can be quite devastating for the +60 crowd if they do not receive the proper meds in the first few days after diagnosis. Is there a list of available meds one can buy in advance of catching this variant? Or do you have to first test positive, be referred to your doctor, who then refers you to your pharmacy which may or may not have what you need to take in the first few days after diagnosis?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Old Sailor
7 April 2022 6:45 pm

I think that you may be referring to Paxlovid. If so, there are reports of severe interactions and related drugs with other medications including blood thinners and drugs to treat irregular heart rhythms, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, antidepressants, immunosuppressants, steroids, HIV treatments and erectile dysfunction.

Sadly many of us in the 60+ category take one of more of these medications with severe interactions.

See https://www.fda.gov/media/155050/download for some additional info.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Old Sailor
Reply to  Ken Strauss
7 April 2022 7:50 pm

Thanks Ken

Unfortunately, I recognize the names of several of your medication prescriptions above. Being a senior has its challenges. Perhaps a visit to the LCBO tomorrow will help relieve my COVID varient anxieties?? We must all smile. Spring is here.

Informed
Reply to  Old Sailor
8 April 2022 10:30 am

Awesome

Gerinator
Reply to  Old Sailor
8 April 2022 10:45 am

Spoken like a true Sailor. Slàinte Mhath.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Ken Strauss
8 April 2022 8:16 am

So what help is there for those that have and still are suffering with a sever and prolonged, or permeant reaction to the Vaccine that have yet to catch Covid ??

Gerinator
Reply to  Sandpiper
8 April 2022 10:50 am

This site might have some answers and/or leads: https://guides.hsict.library.utoronto.ca/c.php?g=716817&p=5171775

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Sandpiper
8 April 2022 1:56 pm

There is supposed hopeful “herd immunity” as well as the “herd mentality” of the public.
Freedom of choice (so far) to which we witness the daily media/ public reaction to the choice.

JimT
Reply to  Old Sailor
8 April 2022 1:47 pm

The list of available meds to buy in advance of catching this variant must include B-complex vitamins, which are required by the immune system, plus vitamins C and D, both of which are involved in immune system function, and a multi to ensure nothing gets missed.

Is it coincidence that influenza, covid and overall death rates are at their highest in January, just when we have all used up the vitamin D we stored up through summer into fall?

How many people can tell you where they get their B vitamins from in their diet?

Pete M
Reply to  JimT
8 April 2022 2:35 pm

Most people dont know it but deficient in both B12 and D.
Our current processed, fast food, eat out diet is one of the primary causes.
Not enough fresh fruit and raw veggies in the diet