Date: Oct 18, 2021
    Posted By: New Room

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe confirmed six intensive care patients from the province will be sent to Ontario. Moe also said the province requested specialized ICU support from Ottawa on Monday.

A memo from the Ontario Critical Care COVID-19 Command Centre says that one patient from Saskatchewan is expected to arrive at The Ottawa Hospital on Monday. The memo was originally obtained by CP24.

According to the memo, three more patients will arrive at North Bay Regional Health Centre, Markham-Stouffville Hospital and Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Two more patients are scheduled to head to Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Humber River Regional Hospital sometime Wednesday.

“We recognize the stress this will cause the families affected,” said Scott Livingstone, Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) CEO.

“We continue to work every day to maximize capacity to provide care as close to home as possible, but this decision is necessary to maintain the quality of critical care services our patients need. We are extremely thankful to our partners in Ontario for stepping up and providing this support.”

Moe said conversations about patient transfers are underway with the governments of Manitoba and Alberta.

The move comes as ICU admission in the province continue to reach pandemic highs.

According to the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA), there are 335 COVID-19 patients in hospital on Monday, including 89 in the ICU – breaking the record of 84 patients set Sunday.

There are 124 people in intensive care units across the province, including COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.

The province’s usual ICU capacity outside of the pandemic is 79. The Saskatchewan Health Authority has been adding surge beds in attempts to increase availability.

Saskatchewan NDP Opposition leader Ryan Meili said his thoughts are with the families of those critically ill patients who are being sent out of the province for care this week.

“The decision that should’ve been made weeks ago isn’t to send people away, it’s to get the staff here on the ground to help people.”

Meili said he has spoken with the federal Ministry of Health and they have told him support is available in everything from testing and tracing, all the way to setting up field hospitals.


According to Derek Miller, emergency operations centre commander with the SHA, it will cost around 20,000 to transfer an ICU patient out of the province – however that estimate does not include getting the patient back to Saskatchewan or the cost of supporting family members.

Miller said the province will foot the bill for one or two family members or support people to travel and stay near the patient while they’re receiving care outside of the province.

The SHA said doctors are following clinical requirements to determent which patients are eligible for a safe transfer.


During a telephone conference with reporters Monday morning, Miller said the ability to staff added critical care beds was the main driver behind reaching out to the federal government for help.

The SHA has redeployed 180 staff into ICUs across the province, according to Miller, but the healthcare system remains “significantly strained.”

Saskatchewan has asked the federal government for skilled staff to support ICUs, including additional critical care nurses, respiratory therapists and perfusionists – personnel who run a heart-lung machine, said Marlo Pritchard, president of the SPSA.

Pritchard said he doesn’t know the specific number of staff that will be redeployed to the province or when they will arrive, but he said the request to Ottawa includes all federal resources, including the military.


    Date: Oct 18, 2021
    Posted By: New Room

The Saskatchewan government reported 279 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, along with four additional deaths.

One person who died was in the 40-59 age range, one was age 60-79 and two were in the 80+ age group. The four deaths bring the province’s total to 785. Eighty-five people have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of October.

The new cases are in the Far North West (three), Far North East (15), North West (17), North Central (30), North East (five), Saskatoon (69), Central West (six), Central East (32), Regina (50), South West (19), South Central (12) and South East (12) zones. Nine new cases have pending residence information.

Of the 279 new infections, 216 – or 77 per cent – are in unvaccinated people, including 64 cases in kids under the age of 12, who are not yet eligible for vaccination.

There are 3,670 active cases in the province, down from 4,658 last Monday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 319, the lowest number since Sept. 5.


There are 335 COVID-19 patients in hospital across the province, including 85 in the ICU – breaking the record of 84 patients set Sunday.

Of the 335 patients, 254 – 76 per cent – were not fully vaccinated.

Premier Scott Moe confirmed Monday morning the province will send six ICU patients to Ontario and request staffing assistance from the federal government in an effort to lessen the stress on Saskatchewan’s healthcare system.


The province reported 2,100 more COVID-19 shots have been given since the last update, that number includes 711 first doses and 1,389 second. To date, 1,626,382 total shots have been given in Saskatchewan and 768,183 people are fully vaccinated.


    Date: Oct 18, 2021
    Posted By: New Room

Even without a provincial mandate, Saskatchewans top doctor is urging people to keep private gatherings small and to limit mixing between households. I would certainly strongly recommend that this is the time when we think of all private gatherings in the home, Dr. Saqib Shahab said during a media teleconference on Monday.

Shahab is the provinces chief medical health officer.

In the face of a sustained onslaught of fresh COVID-19 cases, the Saskatchewan government implemented a mandatory masking policy in September and a vaccine requirement that came into effect on Oct. 1.

However, limits on gathering sizes, like those recently requested by Saskatoons elected officials, have so far been off the table.

Shahab said that even without a public health order, people should keep gatherings small and consistent, involving a maximum of two or three households and including only those who are fully vaccinated.

Same goes for private events, whether its a marriage or a funeral, keep it small, keep it safe, (wear maks) in indoor places, Shahab said.

Only remove masks while youre eating and I recommend proof of vaccination, or negative test, even where its not required by an order.

Shahab said that people in the province need to remain extremely vigilant as the weather cools off and social life again moves indoors.

There were 279 new COVID-19 cases reported on Monday with four additional deaths. Of the new reported cases, 77 per cent were identified in unvaccinated people..

As of Mondays update 335 patients were in hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19 including a record total of 85 patients in intensive care.


    Date: Oct 18, 2021
    Posted By: New Room

A memorial display created by a community member in Regina honours the lives lost to COVID-19 and demands accountability from the provincial government.

Clinton Ackerman installed 127 crosses on the northwest lawn of the Legislative Building to represent those who died of COVId-19 between July 11 and Oct. 1, 2021. A letter to Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe was hung on a few of the crosses.

Ackerman explained in the letterthat his memorial serves two purposes - the first,to honour the lives lost.

“They were people with families, friends, and loved ones, whose loss will be felt for years and generations to come. They are not a number, nor are they ‘the unvaccinated’, they are missed, loved, and cherished,” the letter reads.

“The second purpose is to remind you, Scott Moe, of the cost of your ignorance and inability to lead our province in service of the people who live here. The loss represented here was preventable.”

The letter demands an apology from the premier and the replacement of Paul Merriman as minister of health.

In a statement to CTV News, the Government of Saskatchewan offered condolences to those who have lost someone to COVID-19 but did not acknowledge the display or the letter to the premier.

“This is why it is critical that all eligible Saskatchewan residents get vaccinated,” the province said in an email.

“Getting vaccinated is also about protecting those around you who may be vulnerable, such as people with underlying health conditions and children under 12 who are too young to be vaccinated.”

In Saskatchewan, there are 335 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 85 in the ICU – breaking the record of 84 patients set Sunday.

Of the 335 patients, 254 – 76 per cent – were not fully vaccinated.

Premier Scott Moe confirmed Monday morning the province will send six ICU patients to Ontario and request staffing assistance from the federal government.


    Date: Oct 18, 2021
    Posted By: New Room

Pfizer-BioNTech has asked Health Canada to approve the first COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11 years old.

The vaccine was developed in partnership with Germanys BioNTech and is now marketed under the brand name Comirnaty. It was authorized for people at least 16 years old last December, and for kids between 12 and 15 in May.

Pfizer already submitted clinical trial data for its child-sized dose to Health Canada at the beginning of the month. The company said the results were comparable to those recorded in the Pfizer-BioNTech study in people aged 16 to 25.

Health Canada said it will prioritize the review of the submission, while maintaining high scientific standards for safety, efficacy and quality, according to a statement from the department.

“Health Canada will only authorize the use of Comirnaty if the independent and thorough scientific review of all the data included in the submission showed that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the potential risks in this age group,” the statement read.

The doses are about one-third the size given to adults and teens age 12 and up.

As soon as the regulator gives the green light, providers will technically be able to start offering the COVID-19 shot to kids, though new child-sized doses might need to be procured.

Pfizer has delivered more than 46 million doses to Canada to date, and an analysis of the available data on administration from provincial and federal governments suggests there are more than enough Pfizer doses already in Canada to vaccinate kids between five and 11 years old.

But simply pulling smaller doses from the vials Canada already had stockpiled across the country may not be advised, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said at a media briefing late last week.

“We also understand from Pfizer that this actual formulation has shifted, this is a next generation formulation, so that is something that needs to be examined by the regulator,” Tam said Friday.

Canada signed a new contract with Pfizer for pediatric doses last spring.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has also been tested on children as young as six months old. Topline data for children under five years old is expected as soon as the end of the year.

Health Canada said it expects to receive more data for review from Pfizer for younger age groups, as well as other manufacturers for various age ranges in the coming months.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has noted rare incidents of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, after receiving an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

As of Oct. 1, Health Canada has documented 859 cases associated with the vaccines, which mainly seem to affect people under 40 year old. On balance, the risk appears to be low, according to Tim Sly, a Ryerson University epidemiologist with expertise in risk management.

“Of course, no one considers any complication in a child to be acceptable, and a tremendous amount of caution is being taken to look for and identify all problems,” said Sly in a recent email exchange with The Canadian Press.

COVID-19 infection also produces a very high risk of other cardiovascular problems, he said.

Aside from protecting kids against more serious symptoms of COVID-19, the vaccine would also reduce the risk of a child passing the virus on to a vulnerable family member and make for a better school environment with less stress about transmission.

Once the vaccine is approved for kids, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization will weigh in on whether the benefits of the shot outweigh potential risks for young children.


    Date: Oct 18, 2021
    Posted By: New Room

Warning: This story contains details some readers may find disturbing.

Details about how the actions of a Kindersley woman led to her childs death emerged at a sentencing in Saskatoon on Monday.

Teenie Rose Steer was charged with second-degree murder in the death of her one-month-old daughter. Earlier this year Steer pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.

On Monday, court heard that in the early morning of Sept. 27, 2018, when her baby wasnt settling, out of anger and frustration Steer threw her newborn daughter against a wooden wall in the living room of her home.

When Steer picked her child up off the floor, she said she knew something was wrong.

An autopsy conducted the next day found the infant girl had a nine centimetre skull fracture on the left side of her head and two points where hemorrhaging had occurred.

The pathologist determined blunt force trauma to her head was the cause of death.

Court heard in the days after her daughters death, Steer lied to investigators about what happened.

At one point she attempted to advance a theory that her three-year-old daughter was jealous of her newborn sister and mistreated her.

Court heard how Steer told police her three-year-old was rough with the newborn and babys twin sister.

In her first interviews with police, Steer said she woke up at 3 a.m. and found it odd the baby was still asleep as she needed to be fed every three hours. Steer told police she went to check on her daughter and noticed she wasn’t breathing.

In a subsequent interview with investigators Steer changed her story about where the baby was sleeping the night she died.

Court heard it took 17 months for Steer to admit to police what happened.

On Feb. 25, 2020 Steer was arrested and charged with manslaughter in the death of her daughter.

During a nine-and-a-half hour interview with RCMP, Steer admitted to investigators that she had thrown baby against the wall.

Court heard how Steer told police she heard something crack when the infant hit the wall and when Steer picked her daughter up, she saw that she was gone.

“She was not making sounds and showed no signs of life,” said Crown prosecutor Janyne Laing.

Following her confession RCMP charged Steer with second-degree murder. Steer pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter in May.


Laing argued for an eight-year penitentiary sentence for Steer, who was 28 at the time of the incident.

In her arguments Laing said Steer had two other children before the birth of her twin daughters.

Laing told the court Steer failed in her obligation to care for her child, and that a parent abusing an infant, only 27 days old, was an aggravating factor.

Laing said Steer took out her frustration on her daughter and failed to come clean to police until 17 months after her initial statement.

“She knew what the truth was, but still tried to mislead investigators,” Laing told the court.

In her argument Laing added Steer was an experienced mother and was no stranger to a crying baby.

“Stress, anger and frustration is not an excuse,” Laing said.

Steer’s defence lawyer Barbara Degenstein said her client faced many challenges growing up, including a troubled childhood.

She told the court Steer moved about 10 times as a child and experienced abuse in her home.

Degenstein said Steer struggled with a negative self-image, adding her client would sometimes hear voices in her head.

At the time of the incident, Degenstein said Steer hadnt slept for four days and was in a state of extreme exhaustion.

She argued while Steer told police her three-year-old daughter was rough with the twin infants, Degenstein argues this was not an admission or an alternative theory of what happened. Rather it was Steer simply stating something that happened.

Degenstein also argued that the statement Steer and her family made to police the day of the incident was influenced by Steer’s family and it explains why she misinformed police about what happened.

She argues her client didn’t lie for 17 months but told the truth when she had the chance.

Degenstein argued for a four to four-and-a-half year sentence. She said with about 32 months of time already served in custody on remand, the sentence would allow her client to continue to remain in provincial custody. Any sentence longer than two years would mean she serves her time in a federal penitentiary.

Currently, Steer is in custody at Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford, where she is undergoing psychiatric treatment, according to her lawyer.

“My client’s remorse and grief are significant,” Degenstein said. “She knows she can’t turn back the clock.”

Justice Gerald Allbright reserved his decision until Dec. 3. At that time, a victim impact statement will be read in court.


    Date: Oct 18, 2021
    Posted By: New Room

A Saskatchewan First Nation is pushing back against baseless claims involving the community. False claims circulating on social media alleged people in Black Lake First Nation were being forced to take COVID-19 vaccines, with people fleeing into the bush to avoid being vaccinated.

Chief and council in Black Lake First Nation, Saskatchewan strongly refute statements made in a careless Facebook video, the First Nations leadership said in a statement shared with media.

Black Lake First Nation strongly supports the personal choice and freedom to choose to be vaccinated or remain unvaccinated.

The video also prompted a response from the Athabasca Health Authority (AHA), which serves the community.

There is no dire situation in Black Lake, the AHA said in a statement issued after it became aware of the misinformation circulating online.

We can confirm to you that no one is hiding nor forced to the bush for avoiding (vaccinations).

According to the AHA, vaccine uptake is steadily increasing by the day in the community.

The First Nation was hard hit by a COVID-19 outbreak during the summer and the communitys chief Archie Robillard died after testing positive for the illness.

In its statement, the AHA said there are no active COVID-19 cases in Black Lake or any other community served by the health authority.

Black Lake is one of two AHA communities where a tuberculosis outbreak was declared earlier this month.


    Date: Oct 18, 2021
    Posted By: New Room

In the midst of a fourth wave, Canadian hospitals are pulling out all the stops to prevent further outbreaks of COVID-19.

After much of the country’s hospitals moved to implement mandatory vaccine policies for employees, a growing number are turning their attention to visitors and occasional care staff, requiring they too show proof of vaccination before being allowed to enter hospital facilities.

It’s a move that has stirred yet another pandemic-era debate for Canadians and ethicists alike, particularly considering the delicate and sometimes life-altering business that happens behind hospital doors.

“I think of all the places that we need to show proof of vaccinations, this is one of them,” Elizabeth Bardon, COVID incident commander at Kingston Health Sciences Centre in Ontario, told CTV National News.

“People who come to hospital are not coming by choice, they are very ill and right now, our patients are sicker than theyve ever been... we have a special duty of care to make sure that they dont get infected with something else while theyre here.”

Starting Oct. 22, Kingston Health Sciences Centre will require that all registered family visitors who are coming to visit inpatients be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination before entering the hospital.

The hospital joins several other Greater Toronto Area health centres, including the University Health Network (UHN), and hospitals in Quebec in implementing these new rules.

In B.C., visitor vaccination requirements first adopted in long-term care homes will expand to acute care and community care visitors on Oct. 26. Meanwhile in Alberta, where hospitals were hit hard by the fourth wave of the virus, calls to adopt a similar policy are growing louder.

From an epidemiological standpoint, ethicists say the policy is in line with hospitals’ main priority: keeping patients safe.

But looking at the topic from a compassionate standpoint is where it gets tricky.

“I have to admit from an ethical and human perspective, this is potentially the hardest context in which we are requiring vaccine proof because when are we more vulnerable when a loved one is in the hospital? When else do we have the incentive or desperate need to be there for a loved one,” Vardit Ravitsky, professor of bioethics at the University of Montreal, told CTV National News.

“We need to keep in mind how sensitive how this requirement is because it touches on families at their most difficult moments, in their most vulnerable situations.”

Ravitsky notes that hospitals should make exemptions for those who are medically unable to receive a vaccine, but adds that there should be compassionate exemptions in place under certain circumstances.

“For example, you’re accompanying someone into the ER and they need help… you’re accompanying your child,” she said. “If you’re accompanying a woman in labour, if you’re accompanying someone who is actively dying, at the very end of their life, or if you’re an essential visitor, which means you’re providing physical care for the visitor.”

At the same time, Ravitsky agrees that hospitals should limit the entry of those unvaccinated by choice to those very limited situations and require additional safety measures from those visitors if exemptions are approved, such as providing rapid testing, protective equipment, and limiting the amount of time spent with patients.

“Even if it only lasts a few weeks or months, we have to be aware of the human need and tragic nature of some situations and create enough space for nuance in the way that we implement this idea,” Ravitsky explained.

Hospitals like Kingston Health Sciences say they have provided some wiggle room to unvaccinated visitors by announcing these policies in advance and say, overall, the reaction has been supportive thus far.

“Our goal throughout the pandemic has been to really balance safety and compassion and weve worked really hard to do that,” Bardon said.

“We dont want to go backwards. We want to continue to be in a position that we can open carefully and slowly as we go, rather than having to do a shutdown because of an outbreak where were actually excluding more people from the hospital.”


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    Date: Oct 03, 2021
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    Date: Sep 27, 2021
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