Health

Manitoba task force to target doctors’ paperwork burden

Katie May 3 minute read Yesterday at 4:41 PM CST

A new provincial task force on cutting unnecessary paperwork for physicians is expected to make a public report on its progress later this year.

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‘Died suddenly’ posts twist tragedies to push vaccine lies

Ali Swenson And Angelo Fichera, The Associated Press 6 minute read Preview

‘Died suddenly’ posts twist tragedies to push vaccine lies

Ali Swenson And Angelo Fichera, The Associated Press 6 minute read 8:12 AM CST

Results from 6-year-old Anastasia Weaver’s autopsy may take weeks. But online anti-vaccine activists needed only hours after her funeral this week to baselessly blame the COVID-19 vaccine.

A prolific Twitter account posted Anastasia’s name and smiling dance portrait in a tweet with a syringe emoji. A Facebook user messaged her mother, Jessica Day-Weaver, to call her a “murderer” for having her child vaccinated.

In reality, the Ohio kindergartner had experienced lifelong health problems since her premature birth, including epilepsy, asthma and frequent hospitalizations with respiratory viruses. “The doctors haven’t given us any information other than it was due to all of her chronic conditions. ... There was never a thought that it could be from the vaccine," Day-Weaver said of her daughter's death.

But those facts didn’t matter online, where Anastasia was swiftly added to a growing list of hundreds of children, teens, athletes and celebrities whose unexpected deaths and injuries have been incorrectly blamed on COVID-19 shots. Using the hashtag #diedsuddenly, online conspiracy theorists have flooded social media with news reports, obituaries and GoFundMe pages in recent months, leaving grieving families to wrestle with the lies.

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8:12 AM CST

Jessica Day-Weaver poses next to a picture collage made for her daughter, Anastasia, at her home, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Boardman, Ohio. (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)

Why a new Alzheimer’s drug is having a slow US debut

Tom Murphy, The Associated Press 5 minute read Preview

Why a new Alzheimer’s drug is having a slow US debut

Tom Murphy, The Associated Press 5 minute read 7:34 AM CST

The first drug to show that it slows Alzheimer’s is on sale, but treatment for most patients is still several months away.

Two big factors behind the slow debut, experts say, are scant insurance coverage and a long setup time needed by many health systems.

Patients who surmount those challenges will step to the head of the line for a drug that delivers an uncertain benefit. Here’s a closer look.

THE SITUATION

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7:34 AM CST

FILE - This Dec. 21, 2022, image provided by Eisai in January 2023 shows vials and packaging for their medication Leqembi. Leqembi, the first drug to show that it slows Alzheimer’s, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early January 2023, but treatment for most patients is still several months away. Two big factors behind the slow debut, according to experts, are scant insurance coverage and a long setup time needed by many health systems. (Eisai via AP, File)

Biden makes progress on ‘unity agenda’ outlined in 2022

Darlene Superville, The Associated Press 6 minute read Preview

Biden makes progress on ‘unity agenda’ outlined in 2022

Darlene Superville, The Associated Press 6 minute read Yesterday at 11:16 PM CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — A year ago, President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to push top Democratic priorities that were sure to face a battle in the narrowly divided Congress but he also laid out a four-pronged “unity agenda” that would be an easier sell.

Biden's unity goals would be hard for anyone to argue against: improving mental health, supporting veterans, beating the opioid epidemic and fighting cancer. The president is still pushing for some of those big Democratic goals, like an assault weapons ban, but he's fared better on the unity goals.

Susan Rice, the president's domestic policy adviser, pointed to “very significant progress” on all four aspects even as she noted that issues like meeting the demand for mental health services or combating drug abuse won't be solved overnight.

"We’re happy with the progress that’s been made and we’re determined to keep pushing forward and make more progress," Rice said in an interview.

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Yesterday at 11:16 PM CST

FILE - President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, March 1, 2022, in Washington. A year ago, President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to push top Democratic priorities that were sure to face a battle in the narrowly divided Congress but he also laid out a four-pronged "unity agenda" that would be an easier sell.(Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP, File)

California won’t require COVID vaccine to attend schools

Adam Beam, The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

California won’t require COVID vaccine to attend schools

Adam Beam, The Associated Press 2 minute read Yesterday at 6:23 PM CST

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California won't make children get the coronavirus vaccine to attend schools, state public health officials said Friday, reversing a state policy first announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021.

The nation's most populous state plans to formally end its coronavirus emergency order on Feb. 28, ending some of Newsom's authority to quickly alter or change laws.

As the state prepares to end that order, it has also backed away from plans to issue emergency regulations adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required school vaccinations, the California Department of Public Health said in a statement. Any effort to do so would need to go through the Legislature, the statement said.

The department “is not currently exploring emergency rulemaking to add COVID-19 vaccinations to the list of required school vaccinations, but we continue to strongly recommend COVID-19 immunization for students and staff to keep everyone safer in the classroom," the statement said.

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Yesterday at 6:23 PM CST

FILE - Johnny Thai, 11, receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a pediatric vaccine clinic for children ages 5 to 11 set up at Willard Intermediate School in Santa Ana, Calif., Nov. 9, 2021. On Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, the California Department of Public Health said it was no longer exploring emergency rules to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required school vaccinations. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong,File)

Health officials in Yukon warn of dangers of syphilis as infections rise

The Canadian Press 1 minute read Preview

Health officials in Yukon warn of dangers of syphilis as infections rise

The Canadian Press 1 minute read Yesterday at 3:09 PM CST

WHITEHORSE - Health officials say the infection rate for syphilis in Yukon is higher than any rate on record since 1979.

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Sudit Ranade says in a statement that the increase is cause for concern because the illness can have serious, long-term health implications if left untreated.

The sexually transmitted disease is occurring primarily in the heterosexual community, with 53 residents diagnosed last year, at a rate 17 times higher than in 2020.

Ranade says when left untreated it can cause a rash, fever, swollen glands, hair loss and even more serious infections in the heart, blood vessels and brain.

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Yesterday at 3:09 PM CST

The Yukon provincial flag flies on a flagpole in Ottawa, Monday July 6, 2020. Health officials say the infection rate for syphilis in Yukon is higher than any rate on record since 1979. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Sudit Ranade says in a statement that the increase is cause for concern because the illness can have serious, long-term health implications if left untreated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Ontario looks to increase fines for LTC homes that fail to have AC in all rooms

The Canadian Press 1 minute read Preview

Ontario looks to increase fines for LTC homes that fail to have AC in all rooms

The Canadian Press 1 minute read Yesterday at 11:50 AM CST

TORONTO - Ontario is proposing to increase fines for long-term care homes that do not have air conditioning in every resident's room.

A posting to the province's regulatory registry proposes to increase the fine to a maximum of $25,000 for nursing homes that do not meet legislative requirements.

Legislation passed in 2021 required homes to install air conditioning in all resident rooms by June 2022.

A spokesman for Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra says the province wants to ensure every resident lives comfortably.

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Yesterday at 11:50 AM CST

Ontario is proposing to increase fines to long-term care homes that do not have air conditioning in every room. A worker is shown through a window at a long-term care home in Almonte, Ont. on Thursday, April 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Major Florida hospital hit by possible ransomware attack

The Associated Press 1 minute read Preview

Major Florida hospital hit by possible ransomware attack

The Associated Press 1 minute read Yesterday at 11:33 AM CST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A major hospital system in northern Florida said Friday it is diverting some emergency room patients and canceling surgeries after a security problem with information technology.

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare said the issue began effecting its systems late Thursday night and has forced the hospital to shut down its IT network.

It had the hallmarks of a ransomware attack, but the hospital has not yet characterized it as such, instead calling it an “IT security issue.” Victims often at least initially decline to confirm ransomware attacks.

The hospital said in a statement that it was diverting some emergency room patients, and rescheduling non-emergency patient appointments through Monday. It said it is not moving patients currently in the hospital to other facilities.

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Yesterday at 11:33 AM CST

The Tallahassee Memorial Hospital is photographed on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. The major hospital system in northern Florida said Friday it is diverting some emergency room patients and canceling surgeries after a security problem with information technology. (AP Photo/Anthony Izaguirre)

New rules would limit sugar in school meals for first time

Jonel Aleccia, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

New rules would limit sugar in school meals for first time

Jonel Aleccia, The Associated Press 4 minute read Yesterday at 11:00 AM CST

U.S. agriculture officials on Friday proposed new nutrition standards for school meals, including the first limits on added sugars, with a focus on sweetened foods such as cereals, yogurt, flavored milk and breakfast pastries.

The plan announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also seeks to significantly decrease sodium in the meals served to the nation’s schoolkids by 2029, while making the rules for foods made with whole grains more flexible.

The goal is to improve nutrition and align with U.S. dietary guidelines in the program that serves breakfast to more than 15 million children and lunch to nearly 30 million children every day, Vilsack said.

“School meals happen to be the meals with the highest nutritional value of any meal that children can get outside the home,” Vilsack said in an interview.

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Yesterday at 11:00 AM CST

FILE - Second-grade students select their meals during lunch break in the cafeteria at an elementary school in Scottsdale, Ariz., Dec. 12, 2022. On Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, U.S. agriculture officials proposed new nutrition standards for school meals, including the first-ever limits on added sugars, with a focus on sweetened foods such as cereals, yogurt, flavored milk and breakfast pastries. (AP Photo/Alberto Mariani, File)

New Mexico legislators may block local abortion ordinances

Morgan Lee, The Associated Press 5 minute read Preview

New Mexico legislators may block local abortion ordinances

Morgan Lee, The Associated Press 5 minute read Yesterday at 9:42 AM CST

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A standoff over abortion in politically conservative regions of New Mexico escalated Friday as Democratic state legislators advanced a bill that would prohibit local governments from interfering with women's access to reproductive health care.

The initiative from state House Democrats responds to abortion restrictions recently adopted in two counties and three cities in eastern New Mexico where sentiments against the procedure run deep — and amid efforts by states across the nation to restrict abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

A legislative panel endorsed the bill on a party-line, 7-3 vote with opposition from Republican lawmakers who said they were bombarded with emails, phone calls and petitions from constituents in opposition. Additional hearings are planned before the House and Senate potentially votes on the bill, which is supported by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Anti-abortion ordinances, adopted over the past several months by officials in the cities of Hobbs, Clovis, Eunice, and Lea and Roosevelt counties, reference an obscure U.S. anti-obscenity law that prohibits shipping of medication or other materials intended to aid abortions.

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Yesterday at 9:42 AM CST

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham delivers her State of the State address on the opening day of the annual legislative session, in the House of Representatives in Santa Fe, N.M., Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. Lujan Grisham called for new gun-control laws and greater accountability for firearms manufacturers while denouncing recent drive-by shootings against state legislators and a national "scourge" of violence. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Explainer: What is domperidone, why are doctors prescribing it for breastfeeding?

Nicole Ireland, The Canadian Press 6 minute read Preview

Explainer: What is domperidone, why are doctors prescribing it for breastfeeding?

Nicole Ireland, The Canadian Press 6 minute read Yesterday at 9:33 AM CST

This week, Health Canada publicly confirmed that it is reviewing the safety of domperidone, a drug used to treat gastrointestinal symptoms that has also been prescribed off-label to improve breast milk supply.

Here's a look at key properties of the drug and what the issues are with it:

How does domperidone work?

Domperidone blocks some of the body's dopamine receptors, called D2 receptors. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, but it's not just found in the brain. There are also D2 dopamine receptors in the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal tract, When domperidone blocks those receptors, it causes increased movement through the digestive system, relieving some gastrointestinal symptoms and treating nausea.

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Yesterday at 9:33 AM CST

A woman nurses her son Wednesday, January 19, 2011 in Montreal. This week, Health Canada publicly confirmed that it is reviewing the safety of domperidone, a drug used to treat gastrointestinal symptoms that has also been prescribed off-label to improve breast milk supply. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Feds say cyberattack caused suicide helpline’s outage

Amanda Seitz, The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

Feds say cyberattack caused suicide helpline’s outage

Amanda Seitz, The Associated Press 2 minute read Yesterday at 5:32 PM CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — A cyberattack caused a nearly daylong outage of the nation's new 988 mental health helpline late last year, federal officials told The Associated Press Friday. Lawmakers are now calling for the federal agency that oversees the program to prevent future attacks.

“On December 1, the voice calling functionality of the 988 Lifeline was rendered unavailable as a result of a cybersecurity incident,” Danielle Bennett, a spokeswoman for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said in an email.

The attack occurred on the network for Intrado, the company that provides telecommunications services for the helpline. The agency did not disclose details about who it believes launched the attack or what kind of cyberattack occurred. Intrado is working with a third-party assessor to investigate the incident and law enforcement agencies have been notified of the breach, SAMHSA said.

The national 988 phone number, which can be reached by text, chat or voice calling, has become a lifeline for millions of Americans seeking help during a mental crisis, with millions of calls pouring in during the first six months since its launch in July. The system is designed to work similarly to 911 — it's a universal, easy-to-remember number that people can call in an emergency to reach a human who is working around the clock in a local call center.

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Yesterday at 5:32 PM CST

Part of the 988helpline.org website is photographed Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. A cyberattack caused a nearly daylong outage of the nation's new 988 mental health helpline on Dec. 1, 20222, federal officials tell The Associated Press. Lawmakers are now calling for the federal agency that oversees the program to prevent future attacks. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick

Governments seek buyer as Quebec COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Medicago set to close

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press 3 minute read Preview

Governments seek buyer as Quebec COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Medicago set to close

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press 3 minute read Yesterday at 9:48 AM CST

MONTREAL - The Quebec government says it's looking to find a buyer for Medicago Inc., the Quebec-based COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer that will be shut down by parent company Mitsubishi Chemical.

Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said Friday the province has had preliminary talks with potential buyers in the pharmaceutical sector to keep Medicago's expertise and skilled workforce in Quebec. He said both the Quebec and federal governments would be willing to put in money to secure a deal.

"We can't operate it ourselves; the government will not be the main shareholder," Fitzgibbon said. "But if there is a pharmaceutical company that considers it's worth continuing, we're ready to help."

Mitsubishi Chemical said Thursday it would stop marketing the Medicago-produced Covifenz vaccine, which is plant-based and was approved by Health Canada one year ago for adults aged 18 to 64.

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Yesterday at 9:48 AM CST

Retired nurse Donna Lessard takes part in the Medicago COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials with project co-ordinator Raphael Brochu Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, in Mirabel, Que. The parent company of Medicago Inc. has announced it will shut down the Quebec-based biopharmaceutical company which had developed a vaccine against COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Montreal shelters expand services to care for homeless as extreme cold hits city

Marisela Amador, The Canadian Press 3 minute read Preview

Montreal shelters expand services to care for homeless as extreme cold hits city

Marisela Amador, The Canadian Press 3 minute read Yesterday at 3:00 AM CST

MONTREAL - An extreme cold snap that brought risks of frostbite and hypothermia with temperatures of -28 C on Friday in Montreal had the city's shelters fearing for the homeless population.

Environment Canada said the effects of the "vigorous" cold front that was forecast to continue into Saturday with a wind chill making the temperature feel like -40 C would put people at risk.

The City of Montreal this week opened two temporary emergency warming centres for the homeless population, each of which can accommodate up to 50 people between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. The centres are to close on Sunday. City health officials warned that frostbite can cause permanent tissue damage necessitating amputation of fingers and toes, while they said hypothermia can cause death.

James Hughes, the head of homeless shelter network Old Mission Brewery, said Friday his staff were working tirelessly at the overflowed shelter in downtown Montreal.

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Yesterday at 3:00 AM CST

A person jogs next to a backdrop of the Montreal skyline as ice fog rises off the St. Lawrence River in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. An extreme cold weather warning is in effect for Montreal, with temperatures forecast to dip to -27 C by Friday night, increasing the risk of frostbite and hypothermia, especially for the city's vulnerable homeless population. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Doctor, GOP governor clash over private Medicaid discussion

Michael Goldberg, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

Doctor, GOP governor clash over private Medicaid discussion

Michael Goldberg, The Associated Press 4 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said in a private conversation that expanding Medicaid to people working low-wage jobs would be in the best interest of the state, but that he refuses to support the policy for political reasons, a former chancellor of the University of Mississippi said Thursday.

Dr. Dan Jones is a physician who led the University of Mississippi Medical Center before serving as chancellor of the university from 2009 to 2015. During a news conference organized by Democratic state lawmakers on Thursday, Jones said that Reeves acknowledged in a private conversation with him in 2013 or 2014 that expanding Medicaid would benefit Mississippi's economy, and provide health care to more residents of a state bedeviled by poor health outcomes.

Jones said he was trying to persuade Reeves, who was the lieutenant governor at the time, to take advantage of a 2010 health care law signed by President Barack Obama that allowed for Medicaid expansion, with the federal government covering most of the cost. Jones said the conversation took place in Jones' office at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

“The governor after a few moments put his hands up and said, ‘Chancellor, I recognize that it would be good for Mississippians, that it would be good for our economy, good for health care to expand Medicaid,’" Jones recounted. "I had a big smile on my face, and I said ‘I’m glad to hear that and I’m glad to hear you’ll support Medicaid expansion.’ His response was, ‘Oh no, I’m not going to support it because it’s not in my personal political interest.’”

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

Dr. Dan Jones, the former chancellor of University of Mississippi, center, speaks at a news conference at the state Capitol in Jackson, where Democratic legislative leaders, criticized the Republican leadership's inaction on addressing the state's hospital crisis, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. Jones said Gov. Tate Reeves once privately acknowledged to him the benefits of Medicaid expansion, but publicly, the governor has long resisted expansion. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Interior: $580M headed to 15 tribes to fulfill water rights

Suman Naishadham, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

Interior: $580M headed to 15 tribes to fulfill water rights

Suman Naishadham, The Associated Press 4 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fifteen Native American tribes will get a total of $580 million in federal money this year for water rights settlements, the Biden administration announced Thursday.

The money will help carry out the agreements that define the tribes' rights to water from rivers and other sources and pay for pipelines, pumping stations, and canals that deliver it to reservations.

“Water rights are crucial to ensuring the health, safety and empowerment of Tribal communities,” U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement Thursday that acknowledged the decades many tribes have waited for the funding.

Access to reliable, clean water and basic sanitation facilities on tribal lands remains a challenge across many Native American reservations.

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

FILE - Low water levels at Wahweap Bay at Lake Powell along the Upper Colorado River Basin are shown, June 9, 2021, at the Utah and Arizona border at Wahweap, Ariz. The Biden administration announced Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, that 15 Native American tribes will get a total of $580 million in federal money this year for water rights settlements. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

COVID-19 tests will be mandatory for travellers from China for another two months

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press 3 minute read Preview

COVID-19 tests will be mandatory for travellers from China for another two months

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press 3 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

OTTAWA - People arriving on flights to Canada from China, Hong Kong and Macao will have to do a COVID-19 test before they board for another two months, after Canada announced it would renew border restrictions on air travel from those areas Thursday.

The government mandated pre-boarding tests for people coming from those places last month after China removed long-standing public health restrictions, causing a countrywide outbreak of the virus.

The test requirement is now expected to remain in place until April 5, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced in a statement Thursday.

The government says it is concerned about reports of a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases in China, and a lack of data available from China about potential variants that could be spreading through the country.

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

Visitors and tourists to Parliament Hill stand around the Centennial flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Crowds decry gender-affirming treatment ban in West Virginia

Leah Willingham, The Associated Press 5 minute read Preview

Crowds decry gender-affirming treatment ban in West Virginia

Leah Willingham, The Associated Press 5 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Crowds at the West Virginia state Capitol pleaded with lawmakers Thursday to show as much compassion for saving the lives of transgender children as they showed for unborn fetuses when they voted to ban abortion just months ago.

Over and over, dozens of doctors, parents and LGBTQ people told the Republican supermajority during a hearing that a decision to ban gender-affirming care for youth would put children's lives at risk. West Virginia is among 26 states considering bans to restrict gender-affirming care for minors or young adults, with the most recent action being in South Dakota and in Utah, where the Republican governor just signed that state's bill into law. A judge is reviewing whether to strike down Arkansas' law after temporarily blocking it last year.

Transgender and gender nonconforming children attempt suicide at a disproportionately high rate, and West Virginia has the largest per capita population of transgender youth in the nation.

“You all like to use rhetoric about not killing children as a justification for passing legislation, as you did this summer. You will kill children if you pass this,” said the Rev. Jenny Williams, a United Methodist pastor in Preston County. “If you oppose the killing of children like you say you do, I would hope that you apply your principals consistently.”

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

Cricket Hall speaks against a bill that would ban gender-affirming surgery and hormone therapy for minors at the state Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Leah Willingham)

Quebec says only people at risk who haven’t had COVID-19 should get booster dose

The Canadian Press 2 minute read Preview

Quebec says only people at risk who haven’t had COVID-19 should get booster dose

The Canadian Press 2 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

MONTREAL - Only people who are considered at risk for severe COVID-19 — and who haven't already been infected — need to get a booster dose, Quebec's public health director said Thursday.

The vast majority of Quebecers have hybrid immunity — protection through vaccination and through a SARS-CoV-2 infection — making regular boosters unnecessary, at least for this winter and spring, Dr. Luc Boileau told reporters.

"People with hybrid immunity … have a very good protection against a severe form of the illness," Boileau said. "And this immunity lasts for a long enough time that we can propose changes."

Those who have been vaccinated but haven't contracted the virus are also protected against severe COVID-19, he said, but their immunity "has a tendency to drop with time."

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

Quebec public health director Dr. Luc Boileau speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022, in Quebec City. Quebec's Health Department says only residents who are considered at-risk for severe COVID-19 – and who haven't already been infected – should get a booster dose.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

NFL prospects safeguarded from inappropriate team questions

John Zenor, The Associated Press 5 minute read Preview

NFL prospects safeguarded from inappropriate team questions

John Zenor, The Associated Press 5 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — NFL prospect Jake Andrews fielded questions from teams designed to probe his personality and attitude more than just his football IQ.

Those questions — such as, would you rather be a Super Bowl champion or Hall of Famer? — are standard issue for teams vetting potential draft picks leading up to all-star games like Saturday’s Senior Bowl and at the NFL combine. What aren’t deemed acceptable anymore: the outlier questions that a player might find demeaning or embarrassing, a nod to the greater attention being paid to mental health concerns among athletes.

Andrews, a Troy offensive lineman, and other players said former NFL running back Brian Westbrook spoke this week emphasizing the changes in the 21 years since he arrived in the league.

“When he first got in the league, if you wanted to see a psychiatrist or something, if you were having a down day, when it was time to negotiate that next contract, you knew (general managers) were going to bring that up,” Andrews said. “And that stuff just can’t happen in this day and age.

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

National receiver Jayden Reed of Michigan State (1) and cornerback Mekhi Blackmon of USC (31) run through drills during practice for the Senior Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, in Mobile, Ala.. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

As sexual assault rates rise, provinces face shortages of specially trained nurses

Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press 4 minute read Preview

As sexual assault rates rise, provinces face shortages of specially trained nurses

Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press 4 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - As rates of sexual assault climb across Canada, nursing experts say there is a shortage of specially trained forensic nurses to properly care for victims.

Timely care from a well-trained forensic nurse can help stave off a cascade of post-traumatic effects, including depression, anxiety and even suicide, said Sheila Early, president of the Canadian Forensic Nurses Association.

"I always thought that as an emergency nurse, what I did was I put Band-Aids on these individuals. But as a forensic nurse, I helped them make that first step to whatever recovery that will come," Early said in a recent interview.

Sexual assault nurse examiners are forensic nurses trained to collect evidence from sexual assault and domestic violence victims, and to help them cope with trauma. They can also be called to testify in court. Their expertise requires hours of dedicated training — at least 60 hours in Nova Scotia, plus observation training in a gynecological practice, said Martha Paynter, an assistant nursing professor at the University of New Brunswick.

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

An assistant nursing professor at the University of New Brunswick says there is a crisis-level shortage of sexual assault nurse examiners in the country. A nurse tends to a patient at the Bluewater Health Hospital in Sarnia, Ont., on Wednesday, Jan, 26, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ontario in full support of feds’ national health-care data push

Liam Casey and Allison Jones, The Canadian Press 4 minute read Preview

Ontario in full support of feds’ national health-care data push

Liam Casey and Allison Jones, The Canadian Press 4 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

TORONTO - Ontario fully supports the federal government's push to make health-care funding contingent on data reporting, the province said Thursday as it announced a plan to boost access to primary care doctors.

Provincial and territorial premiers are set to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau next week to hash out a deal on the Canada Health Transfer.

The premiers want to see Ottawa cover 35 per cent of health-care costs across the country, up from the current 22 per cent. The prime minister has said the deal will come with strings attached, including sharing health data and outcomes for a national database.

"We've always been very open with our federal partners that if they need the data to prove that the $14 billion that we've invested since 2018 is improving our system and making it better, we're all in," said Health Minister Sylvia Jones.

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones listens to questions from reporters following a press conference in Etobicoke, Ont., on Wednesday, January 11, 2023. Ontario says it is in "full support" of the federal government's push to make health-care funding contingent on data reporting. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

Eye drops recalled after US drug-resistant bacteria outbreak

Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

Eye drops recalled after US drug-resistant bacteria outbreak

Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press 2 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials said Thursday a company is recalling its over-the-counter eye drops that have been linked to an outbreak of drug-resistant infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week sent a health alert to doctors, saying the outbreak included at least 55 people in 12 states. One died and at least five others had permanent vision loss.

The infections, including some found in blood, urine and lungs, were linked to EzriCare Artificial Tears. Many said they had used the product, which is a lubricant used to treat irritation and dryness.

The eye drops are sold under the name EzriCare and is made in India by Global Pharma Healthcare. The Food and Drug Administration said the company recalled unexpired lots of EzriCare Artificial Tears and another product, Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears.

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

FILE - This scanning electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows rod-shaped Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. U.S. health officials are advising people to stop using the over-the-counter eye drops, EzriCare Artificial Tears, that have been linked to an outbreak of drug-resistant infections of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday night, Feb. 1, 2023, sent a health alert to physicians, saying the outbreak includes at least 55 people in 12 states. One died. (Janice Haney Carr/CDC via AP)

Psychedelic churches in US pushing boundaries of religion

Michael Casey, The Associated Press 10 minute read Preview

Psychedelic churches in US pushing boundaries of religion

Michael Casey, The Associated Press 10 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

HILDALE, Utah (AP) — The tea tasted bitter and earthy, but Lorenzo Gonzales drank it anyway. On that frigid night in remote Utah, he was hoping for a life-changing experience, which is how he found himself inside a tent with two dozen others waiting for the psychedelic brew known as ayahuasca to kick in.

Soon, the gentle sounds of a guitar were drowned out by people vomiting — a common downside of the drug. Some gagged; several threw up in buckets next to them.

Gonzales started howling, sobbing, laughing and repeatedly babbling “wah, wah” like a child. Facilitators from Hummingbird Church placed him face down on the grass, calming him momentarily before he started laughing and crawling on all fours.

“I seen these dark veins come up in this big red light, and then I seen this image of the devil,” Gonzales said later. He had quieted only when his wife, Flor, put her hand on his shoulder and prayed.

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

A statue of Mother Earth sits at the front of an altar used by a Colombian shaman, healer and traditional medicine man who leads the Hummingbird Church ayahuasca ceremonies, on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Hildale, Utah. Like many groups using psychedelics as sacraments, Hummingbird functioned underground for many years, hosting word of mouth ceremonies. But in Feb. 2021, they decided to go public. (AP Photo/Jessie Wardarski)

African countries lack ‘immediate access’ to cholera vaccine

Cara Anna, The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

African countries lack ‘immediate access’ to cholera vaccine

Cara Anna, The Associated Press 2 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Africa’s public health agency says countries with deadly cholera outbreaks on the continent have no “immediate access” to vaccines amid a global supply shortage.

The acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ahmed Ogwell, told journalists on Thursday that the agency is working with the World Health Organization and the vaccine alliance GAVI on ways to obtain more doses.

The Africa CDC is also working with two local manufacturers to explore if their facilities can be repurposed to manufacture cholera vaccines, Ogwell said. He didn't say which ones.

WHO and its partners recommended in October that countries temporarily switch to using a single dose of the cholera vaccine instead of two because of the supply shortage as outbreaks of the water-borne disease surge globally. They said one dose of vaccine has proven effective in stopping outbreaks “even though evidence on the exact duration of protection is limited” and appears to be lower in children.

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

A health worker takes a cholera vaccine at the Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe central Malawi Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. Malawi’s health minister says the country’s worst cholera outbreak in two decades has killed 750 people so far. The southern African country of 20 million people first reported the outbreak in March last year. (AP Photo/Thoko Chikondi)

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