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Old 03-30-2020, 12:02 AM
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Canada and the Coronavirus


Hi Guys,

I have been watching all these threads on Coronavirus. I have paid attention to many countries, and the US is the center of attention it seems for most of them, which is cool. I care what happens in the US, but would like a thread to focus on Canada.

I am from Alberta. Currently there are 6320 cases in Canada and 661 cases in Alberta. Although these numbers are smaller than the US, we also have 10 times less the population. In Alberta there have been 42,527 tests completed, which seems like a good start at least. I would say from being here that this province is taking social isolation seriously. Schools have been closed for weeks, and all non-essential businesses are closed. We are asked to stay home. Recently testing has started to emphasize health care workers, over people who had travelled, hopefully those people are now mostly home.

I am not sure why Quebec has surged ahead of other provinces at 2,840 cases. If anyone has a theory, I am listening.

I am watching our growth curves of infections for a sign of flattening. Maybe in a week we will see some results. We have been isolating for close to 2 weeks.

I am not sure what it would take to get people back to work, but I think it would taking testing for everyone, and more than 1 test per person, just because you didn't have it yesterday, does not mean you won't get it tomorrow. Also I am very much waiting for the antibody tests which will show if you had an exposure, and maybe did not know it. Then I would feel confident that sick people where reasonably isolated, and we could get on with our lives.

I am fairly happy with the response by local and federal governments. I think they took the issue seriously fairly soon, and I hope we see good results from it. Now back to watching Trump blow his own horn.

Last edited by Mikemike2; 03-30-2020 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 03-30-2020, 03:29 AM
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Although I don’t live in Canada presently, I have friends and family scattered around the country. I listen to CBC radio and get news updates almost on a daily basis. Please stay safe!

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Originally Posted by Mikemike2 View Post
I am not sure why Quebec has surged ahead of other provinces at 2,840 cases. If anyone has a theory, I am listening.
From what I understand, each province has their own protocol in counting COVID-19 cases. In Quebec’s case, it used to be that positives at the designated testing centres needed to be confirmed by the provincial Public Health Laboratory before they could be counted as an affirmative. The day they dropped that second confirmation requirement was when Quebec started getting a huge spike of cases.

Also, Quebec’s spring break is at the beginning of March. Most other provinces start spring break from mid to late March. While other school districts were just getting shut down, Quebec students were travelling to places like Florida and Europe, now known hotbeds for the coronavirus. Quebec has concentrated a lot of their testing efforts to those travelers since they would have had enough incubation time to have symptoms show up.

I believe the numbers we’re seeing now is an amalgamation of those factors.

In any case, each province, (and each country for that matter), have different testing protocols and procedures so it makes across-the-board comparisons very difficult.
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Old 03-30-2020, 05:02 AM
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I am not sure why Quebec has surged ahead of other provinces at 2,840 cases.
It is the second most populous province. Even if the disease was equally distributed you would expect it would have the second most number of cases. The province also has the second largest city. Large, densely populated, cities are an anti-social distancing environment where day to day behavior before controls were implemented would generally result in higher transmission. Those cities also tend to be draws for tourism bringing in more potential infected individuals. Ontario is the largest province with the largest city so that is not enough to account for Quebec being first. We should expect Quebec to be relatively high though.

Both Ontario and Quebec have border crossings with the US state with our highest infection counts, New York. Saturn Dreams points out some important issues. Some spring breakers in Quebec may have taken shorter international trips that put them in some of the riskiest places on the continent at about the worst time possible.

Then there is just sheer random chance. A few more early cases can make a big difference in the counts a couple weeks later. Some people follow routines that bring them into contact, before controls were implemented, with more people than average. If they are one of the early cases community transmission gets a jump start.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:12 AM
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There’s also the tendency for Quebec snowbirds to go to Florida for the winter. They’ve likely all returned home by now, and some brought the virus with them from Florida.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:13 AM
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Thank you for the well thought out answers about Quebec's higher numbers Saturn Dreams and DinoR. What you suggest makes perfect sense. I had watched Quebec's number's spike, and it seemed odd to me.

One youtuber I watch (thunderfoot) suggested this virus be called something like the Air Pandemic, because the hotspots match perfectly with a diagram of international air routes. We would not have this as a pandemic without a high level of air travel. I expect that is also why cases in Alberta are concentrated in Calgary where I live, as we have an international airport.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:15 AM
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The Wikipedia page on the coronavirus outbreak in Canada is a good source, with data being updated regularly from reliable sources. There’s also sub-pages for some of the individual provinces and territories.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_c...emic_in_Canada

Only jurisdiction not reporting any infections is Nunavut. No surprise, given its isolation.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:18 AM
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Mikemike2, the wiki page has a map showing cases per million, broken down by public health region. It’s a few days out of date, but it confirms your suggestion. The hotspots are all in areas where there are international airports.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:21 AM
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Thanks for that resource page, Northern Piper, I am looking at it now.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:24 AM
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Mikemike2, the wiki page has a map showing cases per million, broken down by public health region. It’s a few days out of date, but it confirms your suggestion. The hotspots are all in areas where there are international airports.
To play a bit of a devil's advocate -- how well do those same two maps match up to a simple population density map?

https://xkcd.com/1138/
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:25 AM
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The image is from the US, but a relevant XKCD comic.

International airports are typically sited where the population is highest. Disease transmission is also highest where population is highest, which is also where testing will be highest. It's not a coincidence that the most populous places have the highest incidence of known cases and also have international airports.

ETA: Sniped!

Last edited by Great Antibob; 03-30-2020 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:35 AM
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If you haven't bookmarked the government site, you should. It's updated daily.

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-heal...-19-cases.html

I mentioned in another thread that I thought Trudeau was doing a good job leading on this. I stand by that, and also think Doug Ford is performing very well too. It's nice to hear Ford praising Trudeau.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:39 AM
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To play a bit of a devil's advocate -- how well do those same two maps match up to a simple population density map?

https://xkcd.com/1138/
Not that well actually, for Canada. For example, St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, is a pretty low population density area, but is showing quite high on the cases per million map. St John’s is a main air terminal for cross-Atlantic flights.

And in Alberta, Edmonton and Calgary are the two main cities, with roughly equal populations, but Calgary is showing much higher on the cases per million map. One difference is that Calgary is the headquarters and regional hub for WestJet, while Edmonton is more of a “spoke” for WestJet.
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Old 03-30-2020, 11:22 AM
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I am not sure why Quebec has surged ahead of other provinces at 2,840 cases. If anyone has a theory, I am listening.
As Saturn Dreams points out, Quebec's March break is a week earlier. They got a seven day head start on travellers spreading the virus around, and a seven day head start on people showing symptoms.

This is really important, because it's not just that they've had a week or two extra for the problem to grow; it was a week in which the full measures of social distancing and workplace shutdown weren't being enforced. No one was really doing anything about it, so the virus was being passed around much more easily.
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Old 03-30-2020, 11:48 AM
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And in Alberta, Edmonton and Calgary are the two main cities, with roughly equal populations, but Calgary is showing much higher on the cases per million map. One difference is that Calgary is the headquarters and regional hub for WestJet, while Edmonton is more of a “spoke” for WestJet.
Calgary is also one of only 4 airports allowing international flights to arrive. But based on that government website, has Canada managed to 'flatten the curve'?
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Old 03-30-2020, 12:27 PM
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Calgary is also one of only 4 airports allowing international flights to arrive. But based on that government website, has Canada managed to 'flatten the curve'?
My understanding is that when we see new cases reported, it actually reflects people who were infected 2 weeks or so ago, as that is the incubation period. As we have been in social isolation for about 2 weeks, I will look for signs of flattening this week.

Yesterday only 41 new cases were reported in my province, we will see what today at 3:30 pm brings.

As an interesting aside, many people think Alberta's chief medical officer making the announcements, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, is pretty hot in a nerdy way. She does an excellent job in explaining our situation in a calm but direct manor. She wore a top with the periodic table of the elements printed on it, and that top was put back into production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3TGr_7JS50

How is social isolating going in your province?

Last edited by Mikemike2; 03-30-2020 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 03-30-2020, 12:36 PM
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If you haven't bookmarked the government site, you should. It's updated daily.

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-heal...-19-cases.html

I mentioned in another thread that I thought Trudeau was doing a good job leading on this. I stand by that, and also think Doug Ford is performing very well too. It's nice to hear Ford praising Trudeau.
I agree. Both are doing a good job and are a good example of non-partisan cooperation. I note from those graphs that the total number of cases in Canada appears to have just plateaued, while the number of new cases appears to have been dropping since around March 20, but I see from the footnote that the recent shaded area represents a recent period that may include a lot of yet-unreported cases.

Last edited by wolfpup; 03-30-2020 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 03-30-2020, 12:56 PM
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As an interesting aside, many people think Alberta's chief medical officer making the announcements, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, is pretty hot in a nerdy way.
What does her physical appearance have to do with anything?
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:08 PM
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I agree. Both are doing a good job and are a good example of non-partisan cooperation. I note from those graphs that the total number of cases in Canada appears to have just plateaued, while the number of new cases appears to have been dropping since around March 20, but I see from the footnote that the recent shaded area represents a recent period that may include a lot of yet-unreported cases.
Some jackass reporter was trying to get them to fight over the carbon tax, getting a call through to both their press conferences this morning. I'm rather impressed Ford didn't take the bait.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:16 PM
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What does her physical appearance have to do with anything?
I dunno, it created a news story, it brought a top design back into production, I thought it was interesting.
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Old 03-30-2020, 01:53 PM
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Some jackass reporter was trying to get them to fight over the carbon tax, getting a call through to both their press conferences this morning. I'm rather impressed Ford didn't take the bait.
If I was the head of any news organization that employed a reporter like that during a time of national crisis, I'd fire the fucker.
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:23 PM
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I agree. Both are doing a good job and are a good example of non-partisan cooperation. I note from those graphs that the total number of cases in Canada appears to have just plateaued, while the number of new cases appears to have been dropping since around March 20, but I see from the footnote that the recent shaded area represents a recent period that may include a lot of yet-unreported cases.
Be cautious about the shared area. Note, though, that the week prior to the shaded area shows the number of new cases had already stopped growing exponentially - again, precisely coinciding with Canada getting serious about social distancing.

It works. We may be able to avoid overloading the health care system. I hope we can take some careful steps towards normalcy - opening up a few more workplaces, for instance, and maybe schools with a great deal of care. It will be much longer before we can safely travel outside the country.

Of course, much of this isn't just about how many cases there are, but how widespread testing is.
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Old 03-30-2020, 03:39 PM
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If I was the head of any news organization that employed a reporter like that during a time of national crisis, I'd fire the fucker.
It was Brian Lilley of the Toronto Sun. He’s a professional asshole.
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Old 03-30-2020, 04:31 PM
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... of the Toronto Sun.
So not a reporter, then.
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Old 03-30-2020, 05:03 PM
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Canada's population is mainly distributed among a small number of large cities. The more international travel to those cities the higher the risk.

If 100 infected people travel to one city and 10 to another then the city with 10 people are about 2 weeks behind the city with 100. 2 weeks can be significant amount of time in a pandemic.

If you look at the death rate per 1 million people then Canada is in great shape compared to most other countries.
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:52 PM
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Another comparison is the US rates compared to Canadian rates. Since we’re both developed countries in North America, most factors are similar, so comparing rates may give an insight into how the two countries are doing, respectively.

I’m not a numbers guy, so for back of the envelope calculations, I just rely on the fact that the US population (327.2 million) is roughly ten times the Canadian population (37.59 million), and then multiply the Canadian stats accordingly, and compare to the actual US numbers.

According to the Canadian federal website Leaffan linked to up-thread, Canada today has 3,409 cases, with 61 deaths. Using the Piper-order-of-ten magnitude comparison, that would give 34,090 cases in the US, and 610 deaths.

The actual US numbers today, according to the CDC, are 140,909 cases in the US, and 2,405 deaths.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019...ses-in-us.html

Either my rough-and-ready order-of-ten is flawed, or there’s some difference between the two countries which is resulting in a significant difference in the disease stats.
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Old 03-30-2020, 08:17 PM
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Another comparison is the US rates compared to Canadian rates. Since we’re both developed countries in North America, most factors are similar, so comparing rates may give an insight into how the two countries are doing, respectively.

I’m not a numbers guy, so for back of the envelope calculations, I just rely on the fact that the US population (327.2 million) is roughly ten times the Canadian population (37.59 million), and then multiply the Canadian stats accordingly, and compare to the actual US numbers.

According to the Canadian federal website Leaffan linked to up-thread, Canada today has 3,409 cases, with 61 deaths. Using the Piper-order-of-ten magnitude comparison, that would give 34,090 cases in the US, and 610 deaths.

The actual US numbers today, according to the CDC, are 140,909 cases in the US, and 2,405 deaths.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019...ses-in-us.html

Either my rough-and-ready order-of-ten is flawed, or there’s some difference between the two countries which is resulting in a significant difference in the disease stats.
The US has currently 10 deaths per million. Canada has 2 per million. Stats are all available on Worldometer. About a week ago, the US was at 2. Hopefully, social distancing limits that type of growth in Canadian cities, but it doesn’t take long for things to trend downwards fast. I live in the NYC metro area and watched it happen right in front of my eyes.
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Old 03-30-2020, 08:21 PM
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Oops - wasn’t looking at the most current for Canada. As of today, it’s 7,424 cases, with 89 deaths.

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-heal...-covid-19.html

Multiplying by 10 gives comparators of 74,240 cases and 890 deaths, respectively. Closer to the actual US numbers, but still quite a difference.
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Old 03-30-2020, 08:31 PM
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I think the next week will be telling as to how Canada's situation will evolve compared to the United States' situation. Will we see new hotspots emerging?

Dr. Hinshaw was on TV today and said we can't test everybody in Alberta for Coronavirus. Why not? There are just over 4 million people in Alberta. Why can't everyone have a test? How expensive is a test? I read $50. How many facilities would it take to process it? How portable can these tests be? I think without a vaccine, that only way to safely get back to work is to test everyone. That way you can isolate people carrying the virus with no symptoms.

When the H1N1 virus was a problem, everyone in Alberta was offered a vaccine. I got one. So dealing with that many people must be possible.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:16 PM
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I think the next week will be telling as to how Canada's situation will evolve compared to the United States' situation. Will we see new hotspots emerging?

Dr. Hinshaw was on TV today and said we can't test everybody in Alberta for Coronavirus. Why not?
The tests do not physically exist in that quantity.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:22 PM
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First two COVID deaths in Saskatchewan today.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:28 PM
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Another difference in Canada is that our major cities tend to be more spread out and rely less on mass transit and high rise apartments.

Edmonton, for example, has about 3500 people per square mile. Calgary has 3400. Only a small fraction of the population relies on mass transit - in Edmonton, only about 15% of the population lives within 5km of the city center. Only about 12% of the population uses mass transit to commute.

New York City has 27,000 people per square mile. Los Angeles about 20,000. San Fransisco about 17,000. Boston has 13,000. Chicago 11,000, which is about where Toronto is in population density.

But all the huge hotspots in the U.S. are in highly dense cities. Alberta and Saskatchewan look more like the U.S. western states.

There have been plenty of screwups in Canada. Trudeau took way too long to cut off flights from hotspots, and our 'enhanced screening' turns out to have been handing out leaflets to people getting off planes warning them to go home and sef-isolate. It took him until last week to close the illegal border crossing in Ontario, and we allowed in flights from Iran and China LONG after the U.S. shut those flights down.

Here in Alberta, one of our health directors thought it would be a good idea to send health professionals to the airport without any protective gear at all to greet people as they came off airplanes.

A group of 47 doctors and nurses in Alberta and Saskatchewan thought it would be a marvy idea to have.a big 5-day curling bonspiel from March 12 to 17, when the pandemic had already been called and we already had over 1000 cases in the country. Then they went back to work in our hospitals. Twelve of them have tested positive, with three having 'extensive contact' with patients and other doctors and nurses before they were tested, causing a number of critical health care workers to have to self-isolate. One of the people who went to the Bonspiel was the head of the Saskatchewan Medical Association, who is now sick with COVID-19. Way to go, professionals.

Last edited by Sam Stone; 03-30-2020 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:58 PM
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Thanks for the great information, Sam Stone. I had thought that we are a lot more spread out than American cities and that would help. I agree that mistakes were made and the Drs. who participated in that curling event were not thinking clearly. Especially seeing patients at the end.

Another event that is shown here By March 25, 34 cases were linked to a "super spreader" event, a March 6 prayer meeting held at a private home in Calgary's Upper northwest zone, with a pastor from Singapore as the featured guest.

Last edited by Mikemike2; 03-30-2020 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:01 PM
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The tests do not physically exist in that quantity.
I am sure the tests do not exist in that quantity. Shouldn't it be a priority to make enough tests for all Canadians? I do not see how we come out of this before a vaccine is ready, if we do not have universal testing.

Last edited by Mikemike2; 03-30-2020 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:16 PM
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The US has currently 10 deaths per million. Canada has 2 per million. Stats are all available on Worldometer. About a week ago, the US was at 2. Hopefully, social distancing limits that type of growth in Canadian cities, but it doesn’t take long for things to trend downwards fast. I live in the NYC metro area and watched it happen right in front of my eyes.
Ouch. That really sucks. I hope you are safe.
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:19 PM
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The tests need to be administered by health care professionals. Should we be focussing their efforts on testing everyone, or gearing up for acute care in hospitals? Which is the best use of those health-care professionals’ time and skills?

I don’t know the answer, but “test everyone” has to be balanced against other needs of the health care system.
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:24 PM
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Ouch. That really sucks. I hope you are safe.
Thanks. Just to be clear, not literally in front of my eyes (I’m not a medical worker or anything, who unfortunately are never completely safe).
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:32 PM
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The tests need to be administered by health care professionals. Should we be focussing their efforts on testing everyone, or gearing up for acute care in hospitals? Which is the best use of those health-care professionals’ time and skills?

I don’t know the answer, but “test everyone” has to be balanced against other needs of the health care system.
Sure, universal testing may not be job one. There are other priorities. But I would like to see a discussion of a gameplan to recover once social isolation has done it's job. And I would like the planning to start now so we are not again caught flat footed. If we need to ramp up testing kit production, I would like to know that it is in the works.

Last edited by Mikemike2; 03-30-2020 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:55 PM
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Let’s suppose you make testing of all Albertans a priority.

There are 4,371,000 Albertans.

Let’s assume each test takes 10 minutes to administer.

That’s 43,710,000 minutes, or 728,500 hours.

Divide by 8 hour shifts, and that’s 91,063 person-days of professional health care workers, for Alberta to test everyone.

Assuming you have a thousand health care workers, trained to administer the test and doing nothing else, it would take 90 days to test all Albertans.

Is that the best allocation of health-care workers’ time?

I don’t know, but the fact that Alberta can’t test everyone right away is not a sign of being caught flat-footed, in my opinion. YMMV, of course.
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
The tests need to be administered by health care professionals. Should we be focussing their efforts on testing everyone, or gearing up for acute care in hospitals? Which is the best use of those health-care professionals’ time and skills?

I don’t know the answer, but “test everyone” has to be balanced against other needs of the health care system.
the priority is to keep away from each other. "test everyone" is a matter of developing a fast/cheap diagnostic tool and that's just coming out now.

If Canada started sequestering people when Europe and the US did then it's a function of where the infection rate was at the time it was started. Here is the current list in order of deaths per 1 million as of 30-Mar. I've left out smaller countries because they are probably skewed too much. I stopped at Canada because that's the focus of the thread.

191.71 Italy
165.03 Spain
50.42 Netherlands
46.33 France
44.26 Belgium
41.48 Switzerland
35.15 Luxembourg
32.82 Iran
20.74 UK
14.46 Sweden
13.73 Portugal
13.29 Denmark
11.99 Austria
10.94 Ireland
9.56 USA
7.70 Germany
6.26 Panama
5.90 Norway
4.41 Greece
3.87 Dominican Republic
3.51 Ecuador
3.38 Romania
3.16 S. Korea
3.05 Bosnia and Herzegovina
2.44 Canada

Last edited by Magiver; 03-30-2020 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 03-30-2020, 11:25 PM
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Gee, Northern Piper, I thought I was kind of agreeing with you. Testing all Albertans is not our top priority. Not yet.

But, how do we get out of social isolation without it? How do we monitor for new cases without near universal testing? Let's say in a month new cases are close to zero. Maybe partly because of Summer. But there will probably be a new wave in Winter. What is the gameplan?

So we need a cheap fast test like Magiver said. There is a new five minute test in the States that I don't know much about.

And again, the effort of testing all Albertans, or Canadians, would be in the same league as was vaccinating all Canadians for H1N1. An excellent use of health care worker's time.

Going with your math, if the time for a test is changed from 10 minutes to 1 minute, 9 days done.

Last edited by Mikemike2; 03-30-2020 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 03-31-2020, 12:01 AM
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But, how do we get out of social isolation without it?
That would be a test for antibodies showing you had the virus and are good to go. Assuming you pass the thermometer test to see if you might have one of the variants and are sick.
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Old 03-31-2020, 01:02 AM
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Checkpoints


Are there checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec? I saw a photograph of one in passing, but I don't know whether it was a one-off thing or whether they are being set up all around the province.
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Old 03-31-2020, 01:12 AM
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No checkpoints. I'm not sure what you saw: a RIDE program perhaps?
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Old 03-31-2020, 01:23 AM
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In the photograph, it was definitely some sort of checkpoint for traffic heading toward the camera, and a Welcome to Ontario sign was clearly visible in the background for traffic heading away. So I dunno.
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Old 03-31-2020, 01:52 AM
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There are travel information booths near some of the Quebec/Ontario crossings, along with signage. I'll bet that's what it was.
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Old 03-31-2020, 03:36 AM
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Found it!

A checkpoint near the Ontario border.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the Toronto Star
Members of Quebec's provincial police force stop motorists at a checkpoint near the Ontario border in Riviere Beaudette, Que., west of Montreal on Sunday...
Apparently Quebec has restricted travel to certain regions.

More details from the CBC.
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Old 03-31-2020, 04:16 AM
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Found it!

A checkpoint near the Ontario border.

Apparently Quebec has restricted travel to certain regions.

More details from the CBC.
Huh. Thanks. I hadn't heard that. There are a half dozen or so crossing points near Ottawa and, of course, they're not considered risk areas.
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Old 03-31-2020, 02:52 PM
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Yesterday was a bad day for Canada, over a thousand new cases. (This may be a reporting backlog from the weekend. Still, it continues to rise, especially in Quebec.)

This is of course medically presented cases, not infections. We still don't know how many people are infected, or getting infected.

Because we still don't test enough - Ontario is way behind the eight ball - it remains hard to really say how much worse it's getting. A person diagnosed as having it is almost always sick, and a person who's sick probably got infected 3-6 days ago.
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Last edited by RickJay; 03-31-2020 at 03:01 PM.
  #49  
Old 03-31-2020, 04:33 PM
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I was surprised at Ontario's numbers this morning. The whole province is basically shuttered indoors and yet the number of cases continues to grow significantly. It seems almost impossible.
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Old 03-31-2020, 06:03 PM
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Huh. Thanks. I hadn't heard that. There are a half dozen or so crossing points near Ottawa and, of course, they're not considered risk areas.


There was something in the news a few days ago where they were asking us not to cross the provincial border unless necessary.

I live in Ottawa but work in Hull, so that would have affected me if I wasn't already working at home.
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