Patients worry after coronavirus prompts closure of ‘life-saving’ addiction program

Liam was discharged from the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre’s substance use and concurrent disorders program on March 26.

The 22-year-old, whose last name Global News is not using for privacy reasons, was four weeks into a six-week inpatient stay when the program announced it was closing because of the new coronavirus outbreak.

The early discharge was an unwelcome shock, says Liam, but one he’s been able to adjust to because he has a supportive family willing to give him a safe place to stay. He’s more worried about the other people alongside whom he was receiving treatment.

“There are a number of people who have extremely unstable housing situations … and virtually no external support,” Liam says.

“One of the biggest parts of recovery, both in active recovery and people who have 10-15 years sober, is community support, and right now (with COVID-19), we’re seeing a total lack of support.”

The pandemic, with its uncertainty, anxiety and demands for physical distancing, time spent mostly at home and no group — including Alcoholics Anonymous — gatherings, puts a unique burden on people with substance use disorders.

The idea that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people struggling have lost “an essential, life-saving inpatient program” significantly increases people’s risk of relapse, Elliot Hudson wrote in a letter to hospital leadership expressing his concerns with the closure.

Hudson, who has relapsed several times in the last few years and whose story Global News chronicled over 18 months, was admitted to the program in mid-February. He was discharged from the hospital on March 23.

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Coronavirus sparks surge in demand for sex dolls from randy self-isolators

A top sex doll supplier has received a surge in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The disease has forced millions around the world to self-isolate to stop the spread of the bug.

That has led to a surge in self-isolators stock-piling, as people turn to home entertainment in a bid to keep themselves amused.

And for many, that has seen them seek out sex dolls to share their time holed up with 'company' during the crisis, according to doll firm Silicone Lovers.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Online, the company's boss Louie Love said that orders have been pouring in following the outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, at the end of last year.

Mr Love told us: "We've definitely seen a spike in interest in dolls since the news of COVID-19 hit.

"Everyone seems in a bit of a panic to try and get a doll before they are possibly forced into isolation.

"I mean there are a lot of introverted doll owners anyway and existing doll owners are understandably quite smug that they are safe and already do not socialise too much.

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"Their dolls are disease-free and are no threat like the outside world.

"There have been initial concerns about shipping but as yet we haven't experienced any delays.

"It's business as usual and everyone is looking for some kind of indoor entertainment, and perhaps someone to cosy up with and watch the new season of Westworld!"

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The coronavirus broke out in Wuhan, China, at the end of last year and has gone on to ravage countries around the world.

More than 150,000 people have been infected with thousands of deaths.

In the UK, supermarket shelves have been left empty as people stockpile goods for the crisis.

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Manitoba should allow liquor with restaurant delivery, takeout orders during COVID-19: advocate

The Manitoba Restaurant & Foodservices Association (MRFA) is calling out Manitoba’s government for not allowing restaurants to add booze to delivery and takeout orders during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Although similar delivery is currently available from beer, wine and liquor stores, we don’t understand what is holding up restaurants from participating in this measure,” said MRFA executive director, Shaun Jeffrey, in a release Friday.

“This would allow for some restaurants to rehire laid-off staff to get them back to work.”

The MRFA is a non-profit industry advocate representing 400 restaurant members and 100 associate members across Manitoba.

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Coronavirus: Worker at Hamilton McDonald’s charged after fake positive COVID-19 test closed restaurant: police

An 18-year-old woman from Hamilton has been charged after allegedly trying to get out of work at a local McDonald’s by submitting a fake doctor’s note claiming she tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to police.

On Saturday, McDonald’s said it closed down one of its restaurants on the Mountain after a worker reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, according to a spokesperson.

The restaurant chain alerted the public, saying the employee worked at the location at 20 Rymal Rd. E. just east of Upper James Street and was on duty between noon and 8 p.m. on March 15.

“We are in contact with Ontario Public Health to confirm this report. Out of an abundance of caution, McDonald’s Canada made the decision to immediately shut down the restaurant for a thorough cleaning,” spokesperson Ryma Boussoufa said on Saturday.

All staff at the restaurant believed to have been in close contact with the employee were told to self-quarantine until further notice.

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However, on Thursday, Hamilton police charged the woman with mischief over $5,000, fraud under $5,000, using a forged document and making a forged document.

“The fake note was presented to a restaurant supervisor on March 19, 2020. The McDonald’s restaurant, located on Rymal Road, took immediate safety actions by closing the store and sending all employees home to self-isolate,” Hamilton police said in a statement.

Investigators say they were tipped off about the fake note from Hamilton Public Health on Monday.

Police go on to say there was “significant impact” on the restaurant, local customers and employees.

The woman has been released and has a court date on May 18.

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Hamilton COVID-19 cases reach 50, one of the latest involves a Barton St. jail employee

The number of COVID-19 cases in Hamillton has reached 50.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Bart Harvey confirms that one of the city’s latest cases involves an employee at the Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre.

Dr. Harvey says Hamilton Public Health is working closely with jail staff and inmates through the staff “to identify individuals who may have had close contact with that individual and asking them to self-isolate for 14 days.”

The positive test result was confirmed on Wednesday.

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Brent Ross, a spokesperson for the solicitor general, has released a statement saying “our thoughts are with the staff member and their family during this time,”

He adds that the ministry has been in contact with the local public health unit and “upon receiving this information, the ministry undertook a deep clean of the area that the individual was working in. We have also notified staff of the confirmed COVID-19 positive result.”

Dr. Harvey confirmed that Hamilton’s total number of cases had reached 50, during an appearance on CHML’s Scott Thompson Show on Friday afternoon.

He also stressed that we’ve moved into a third phase as it relates to new cases.

He says the first phase involved people returning from cruise ships and other international travel and the second phase involved family members and close contacts of those patients.

“We no longer have travel history, we no longer have direct contact. We’re now seeing more and more individuals that we’re deeming as, you know, it was acquired through community transmission or community spread,” Dr. Harvey adds.

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Coronavirus lockdown sees two blokes organise toilet paper delivery by drone

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed a number of things about society that none of us had really thought about before. Such as the huge importance that people place on having an ample supply of toilet paper.

Bog roll is one of the most commonly-purchased items on panic buying sprees, with people emerging from supermarkets with armfuls of the stuff within hours of the lockdown being announced.

But not everyone remembered to stock up. San Francisco resident Ian Chan realised he was running dangerously low on supplies, and the city is under a rigorous lockdown at present in an effort to contain the deadly Covid-19 outbreak that is sweeping California.

But San Francisco is home to a larger-than-average pool of technical wizards, so Ian knew that someone would have a solution for him.

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He reached out to his friend David Chen. David, who is an “aspiring drone racing pilot”, had the two things Ian needed: toilet paper, and a lockdown-proof delivery method.

David loaded up his drone with a single roll of toilet paper and sent it across San Francisco for delivery to Ian’s doorstep.

And, of course, the pair captured the entire operation on video.

Ian says that while the drone-powered resupply was a lighthearted operation, the need to stop the spread of the virus is still very serious.

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He said: “There’s lots of people out there – here in US and other countries – in not good spots. I’m taking it very seriously.

“But hopefully this dumb tweet added some brief humour/happiness into your timeline/day. Stay safe & healthy everyone.”

The ingenious bog-roll re-up comes just a day after two pals managed to share a beer using a remote-control car to deliver the precious cargo while sticking to social distancing rules.

It’s a dark time, but in the midst of it all, people are still managing to keep their spirits up.

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Coronavirus conspiracy theories test government, evidence: experts

The novel coronavirus threatens the health of Canadians, but to some people the pandemic stokes fears of a government plot to subvert freedoms, say experts who study conspiracy theories.

Terrorist attacks, natural disasters, economic shocks and the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak are events that fuel conspiracy theories, says Edwin Hodge, a sociologist at the University of Victoria who studies far-right extremism.

“Believing that it just happened by accident doesn’t work,” said Hodge. “One of the things I found that a lot of conspiracy theories do is they provide a sense of order to a chaotic universe.”

He said this holds true across political and social spectrums.

Governments closing public and private places, urging physical distancing and requiring travellers to self-isolate for 14 days to slow the spread of COVID-19 would be viewed as state control tactics by those who believe in conspiracy theories, Hodge said.

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The ‘hidden’ coronavirus symptom many young patients are developing

We all know to watch out for a high fever or dry cough as telltale signs of coronavirus, but new research suggests many younger patients are reporting a completely different symptom.

Anosmia, meaning the loss of smell or taste, is now believed to be a "hidden carrier" of Covid-19 – even among people with no other symptoms.

The British Rhinological Society Profession and the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology partnered up to look into coronavirus cases overseas.

Approximately a third of patients who have tested positive in South Korea, China and Italy reported experiencing a loss of smell.

"In South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30% of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases," the associations said in a joint statement.

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"There have been a rapidly growing number of reports of a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with anosmia in the absence of other symptoms.

"Iran has reported a sudden increase in cases of isolated anosmia, and many colleagues from the US, France and Northern Italy have the same experience."

Younger patients in particular seem more prone to anosmia without experiencing the more commonly known symptoms of a fever and cough.

"In young patients, they do not have any significant symptoms such as the cough and fever, but they may have just the loss of smell and taste, which suggests that these viruses are lodging in the nose," Professor Nirmal Kumar, president of the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology, told Sky News.

The researchers have called for anyone experiencing a sudden loss of smell or taste to self-isolate in order to stop the transmission of the virus.

Coronavirus seems to present with a wide range of symptoms and severity, with some patients barely feeling ill at all to others requiring urgent hospitalisation.

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In virus-hit France the doctor will see you now – virtually

PARIS (Reuters) – The doctor’s surgery in Paris where Tura Milo works has closed its door to patients because of the coronavirus but the general practitioner is still doing her consultations, only now by video conference.

“How many days have you had a fever for?” she asked a 31-year-old patient suspected of having the virus. The doctor could see the patient in a window on her computer screen, while the patient filmed himself using a webcam at home.

The doctor diagnosed a mild case of coronavirus, gave the patient an online prescription for medicine to relieve the symptoms, and advised him to limit contact with his boyfriend to avoid transmitting the virus.

“Surprisingly, the patients got used to it very quickly,” Milo said of the virtual consultations, which she conducts from her surgery in the French capital’s upscale 6th district.

She estimated that between 30% and 50% of her online appointments are about coronavirus-related complaints.

Heightened anxiety among patients about the virus, coupled with worries that seeing a doctor in person could expose people to infection, has in France driven a surge in the use of online medical consultations.

Since the outbreak took hold in France, the number of consultations taking place on one platform, called Doctolib, has increased 100 times, and the number of doctors using the site has risen tenfold, according to Doctolib co-founder and chief executive Stanislas Niox-Chateau.

“And that is going up hour-by-hour,” he told Reuters in an interview.

A total of 1,696 people have so far died from coronavirus in France, according to an official tally released on Thursday, and the number of recorded cases of infection is at 29,155.

The French government has told people to stay at home and avoid all but essential trips. Visits to the doctor are on the list of permitted activities, but many some worry they could pick up the infection in the doctor’s surgery.

Doctolib, founded in 2013, usually charges doctors a 79 euro ($87) per month fee for using the site, but it decided to waive that at the start of the outbreak.

Doctolib, which is not listed, said last year a funding round in which it raised 150 million euros from investors gave the firm a valuation of around 1 billion euros.

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Woman charged after non-essential business opened during COVID-19 pandemic: Guelph police

Guelph police say they will be charging a woman after a local business allegedly opened on Thursday despite being ordered to close by the Ontario government as a non-essential service amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Const. Kyle Grant says an officer spotted a man leaving a business in the area of Woodlawn Road and Woolwich Street on Thursday morning.

“A traffic stop was initiated with the male as he drove away, and he confirmed that the business was, in fact, open and providing service,” he said.

Grant wouldn’t say what type of business it was but confirmed that it was considered to be non-essential.

The officer then made his way to the business, but it was locked and there was no answer at the door, Grant said.

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According to Grant, a 48-year-old woman will be charged with failing to comply with an order made during a declared emergency, and she will have to make a court appearance in July.

“We are looking for businesses that are operating in contravention of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act,” he said. “I think it’s all our responsibilities to, as they say, flatten the curve.”

Police are recommending that residents contact the non-emergency line to report concerns about non-essential businesses being open or others who are not practising physical distancing.

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