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Health

Measles warning issued for Vancouver music festival, restaurant, other locations

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  • Vancouver Coastal Health is warning anyone who went to the Skookum Festival, visited Noodlebox Mount Pleasant or the Outdoor Community Block Party or used public transit in Vancouver at specific times that they may have been exposed to measles.

    An individual who attended those locations has been confirmed to have the highly-contagious disease that is spread through the air.

    A list of the specific locations and times, which range between Saturday and Tuesday, is available on the health authority’s website.

    Anyone who attended those locations at the specified times and who has not been fully immunized with two doses of the measles vaccine, nor had the disease in the past, should see a doctor immediately.

    The health authority says if you think you have been exposed and are not immune to measles, you should get immunized within six days of exposure to protect yourself.

    Anyone who caught the disease at one of those events would begin developing symptoms between Sept. 15 and Sept. 29 and should see a doctor but phone the doctor’s office first to avoid exposing others.

    “The active measles virus can remain in a room or on a surface for two hours after the person has left. So if someone was on a bus, it could remain on that bus for two hours after that person left the bus,” Vancouver Coastal Health communications lead Tiffany Akins said.

    “That’s why it’s so important to just be vaccinated because it spreads through the air.”

    Most people are immune to measles because they’ve had two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccines or had the illness in the past. However, the health authority is warning that individuals born between 1970 and 1994 or who grew up outside of British Columbia may have received only one dose and would require a second.

    Measles symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the chest.

    The locations and times of concern are:

    — Saturday, Sept. 8 – Skookum Festival, Stanley Park, 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.

    — Saturday, Sept. 8 – Aquabus from Olympic Village to Hornby Street, approximate trip start was 3 p.m.

    — Saturday, Sept. 8 – Canada Line SkyTrain from Vancouver City Centre to Broadway-City Hall Station, 11 p.m. – 1 a.m.

    — Sunday, Sept. 9 – Outdoor Community Block Party at 1188 Quebec Street, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

    — Sunday, Sept. 9 – Main Street bus from Terminal Station to Broadway, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

    — Tuesday, Sept. 11 – Noodlebox Mount Pleasant (2511 Main Street) – Noon – 6 p.m.

    The Canadian Press


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    Health

    Examine ‘monstrous’ allegations of forced sterilization of Indigenous women: NDP

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  • OTTAWA — The federal government and the provinces must examine “monstrous” allegations of modern-day forced sterilizations of Indigenous women, NDP reconciliation critic Romeo Saganash said Monday before he pressed for answers in the House of Commons.

    Coerced sterilization clearly breaches human-rights standards that Canada must fight to uphold, Saganash in an interview Monday, and said that authorities should very carefully read Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the UN in 1948.

    That international agreement says that “genocide” includes any acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, such as by “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.”

    Canadians should not tolerate allegations of forced sterilization in their country, Saganash said, and Ottawa must address the issue as victims share their stories.

    “I think they have to take this seriously,” said the Cree lawyer and MP from northern Quebec. “Just the fact that it is happening and people are coming out makes it serious enough to look for a solution.”

    The issue of forced sterilizations will also be raised at the UN Committee Against Torture this week, when Amnesty International Canada and a national law firm call for accountability for the practice.

    Maurice Law is leading a proposed class-action lawsuit against the federal government, the government of Saskatchewan, all its health authorities, and individual medical professionals.

    The lawsuit was launched in 2017 by two affected women in the Saskatoon Health Region who each claimed $7 million in damages. Now about 60 women are part of the lawsuit.

    An additional 32 women have come forward to report they were sterilized without consent since The Canadian Press first published a story last Sunday, associate Alisa Lombard said Monday, noting the women are mostly from Saskatchewan but elsewhere as well.

    In its submission to the UN committee, Maurice Law said there has been no effort at a comprehensive review to understand the scale of the problem or the conditions that make forced sterilizations possible.

    It also listed a number of solutions, including a proposal to specifically criminalize forced sterilization as the “single most effective, immediate and enduring measure that could be taken” to protect women from this practice.

    The Liberal government has not indicated it is looking at this step.

    During question period on Monday, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott said the Liberal government knows coerced sterilization is a gross violation of human rights and of reproductive rights. 

    The federal government is actively working with provinces and faculties of medicine to ensure safe and culturally appropriate health care is available across the country, she added.

    “This is not something that any one order of government can address alone,” Philpott said. “All Canadians have a responsibility to ensure that these practices never happen again.”

    For its part, Amnesty International Canada has recommended the federal government appoint a special representative to examine the prevalence of the practice.

    Yvonne Boyer, a Metis senator for Ontario, has welcomed this recommendation. She’s said that tubal ligations carried out on unwilling Indigenous women constitute one of the “most heinous” practices in health care in Canada.

    Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde also wants to see the scope of forced sterilization examined and called the practice wrong, immoral and a gross human-rights violation.

    —Follow @kkirkup on Twitter

    Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press



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    Health

    Data suggests violence rising in Winnipeg remand jail; union says meth a factor

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  • WINNIPEG — Newly obtained statistics point to increasing violence at the Winnipeg Remand Centre and the union that represents correctional workers says methamphetamine use is a major factor. 

    “Our members actually believe that some of the incidents are definitely fuelled by drugs such as meth,” said Michelle Gawronsky, president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union.

    “They know that meth is an issue, that it lingers in the inmate.”

    Records obtained by The Canadian Press under the province’s freedom-of-information law show remand centre guards called for backup 47 times between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30 this year. That’s already higher than any full-year numbers reported in the previous five years for which statistics were provided and more than double the number in 2014.

    There were another 20 cases in the first nine months of this year in which a corrections officer issued a more serious call of being in immediate danger. That figure is on track, by the end of 2018, to be the highest in recent years.

    One worker at the remand centre, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to publicly discuss matters inside the jail, said inmates on meth are unpredictable and can become violent suddenly.

    “You’re dealing with zombies, for lack of a better word,” the worker told The Canadian Press.

    “An alcoholic is usually slow. They’re sluggish. But an inmate who’s on meth … in my opinion they have increased strength.”

    The 300-bed remand centre is normally the first stop for people after they are arrested until they are granted bail or transferred to another jail. Because the effects of meth can last much longer than those of other drugs, inmates can be under its influence long after they enter the facility, the worker said.

    The worker said one inmate at the remand centre was on meth and appeared to settle down, but then erupted in violence when cell doors were opened.

    “He came out of his cell and proceeded directly into another cell … and with a (homemade) weapon, started attacking both of the guys who were sleeping.”

    Gawronsky said the union has raised the issue with Justice Minister Cliff Cullen and is hoping to have jail staff receive more training.

    The Justice Department would not comment on security issues inside the remand centre. Cullen, who was out of the province much of last week meeting with other provincial justice ministers, issued a brief written statement.

    “Correctional centres can be volatile environments and Manitoba Justice is committed to working with staff and the (union) to manage offenders with a variety of needs, including addictions to methamphetamine and other substances,” he said in the statement.

    The John Howard Society of Canada, a prisoners rights group, said rising meth problems in jails should come as no surprise, given that police forces in Winnipeg and other cities have noticed an increase in the drug’s use.

    John Hutton, the group’s executive director in Manitoba, said the problem needs to be addressed before people end up behind bars.

    “The facilities weren’t built with detoxification units and it’s a challenge,” Hutton said.

    “I don’t think anyone would disagree we need more resources in the community for people to get treatment for meth addiction before they end up in custody.”

    Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press




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    november, 2018

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