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1.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 1172, 2022 Jun 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1886932

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 (COVID) pandemic shifted way of life for all Canadians. 'Stay-at-home' public health directives counter transmission of COVID but may cause, or exacerbate, older adults' physical and social health challenges. To counter unintentional consequences of these directives, we rapidly adapted an effective health promoting intervention for older adults-Choose to Move (CTM)-to be delivered virtually throughout British Columbia (BC). Our specific objectives were to 1. describe factors that influence whether implementation of CTM virtually was acceptable, and feasible to deliver, and 2. assess whether virtual delivery retained fidelity to CTM's core components. METHODS: We conducted a 3-month rapid adaptation feasibility study to evaluate the implementation of CTM, virtually. Our evaluation targeted two levels of implementation within a larger socioeconomic continuum: 1. the prevention delivery system, and 2. older adult participants. We implemented 33 programs via Zoom during BC's 1st wave acute and transition stages of COVID (April-October 2020). We conducted semi-structured 30-45 min telephone focus groups with 9 activity coaches (who delivered CTM), and semi-structured 30-45 min telephone interviews with 30 older adult participants, at 0- and 3-months. We used deductive framework analysis for all qualitative data to identify themes. RESULTS: Activity coaches and older adults identified three key factors that influenced acceptability (a safe and supportive space to socially connect, the technological gateway, and the role of the central support unit) and two key factors that influenced feasibility (a virtual challenge worth taking on and CTM flexibility) of delivering CTM virtually. Activity coaches also reported adapting CTM during implementation; adaptations comprised two broad categories (time allocation and physical activity levels). CONCLUSION: It was feasible and acceptable to deliver CTM virtually. Programs such as CTM have potential to mitigate the unintended consequences of public health orders during COVID associated with reduced physical activity, social isolation, and loneliness. Adaptation and implementation strategies must be informed by community delivery partners and older adults themselves. Pragmatic, virtual health promoting interventions that can be adapted as contexts rapidly shift may forevermore be an essential part of our changing world.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , British Columbia/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Exercise , Health Promotion , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control
2.
Curr Oncol ; 29(6): 4199-4211, 2022 Jun 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1884039

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Patients have had their cancer care either postponed or changed to telehealth visits to reduce exposure to COVID-19. However, it is unclear how these changes may have affected their experiences. We aim to identify patient characteristics that affect telehealth experiences and evaluate their preferences for using telehealth in the future. METHODS: Patients who completed the Outpatient Cancer Care (OCC) Patient Experience Survey were invited to participate. They comepleted the modified OCC Survey, which focused on telehealth during the pandemic. Linear and logistic regression analyses were used to identify patient characteristics that influenced telehealth experiences and preferences for future telehealth use. RESULTS: Perceived ease of participation in telehealth is a significant predictor of the change in patients' ratings of their telehealth experience. We found that cancer patients had lower preferences for using telehealth in the future if they were older, female, or non-white; resided in an urban area; had no previous telehealth experience; had lower education; and had poorer mental health. CONCLUSIONS: To optimize cancer care and improve equitable access to high-quality telehealth care during the pandemic and beyond, clinicians and policymakers will need to consider patients' self-reported experiences and their personal characteristics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Telemedicine , Ambulatory Care , British Columbia , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/therapy , Pandemics
3.
AIDS Behav ; 26(7): 2242-2255, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1872567

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people living with HIV (PLWH), among whom social inequities and co-morbidities may drive risks of COVID-19 infection and outcome severity. Among a provincial (British Columbia) sample, we determined the prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine intention by HIV status and assessed socio-demographic, vaccine hesitancy, and psychological predictors of vaccine intention. Individuals (25-69 years) recruited from province-wide research cohorts and the general public completed an online survey examining COVID-19 impacts (August/2020-March/2021). In an analysis restricted to women and gender diverse participants (n = 5588), we compared intention to receive a recommended COVID-19 vaccine (Very likely/Likely vs Neutral/Unlikely/Very Unlikely) by self-reported HIV status. Logistic regression models assessed the independent effect of HIV status and other factors on COVID-19 vaccine intention. Of 5588 participants, 69 (1.2%) were living with HIV, of whom 79.7% were on antiretroviral therapy. In bivariate analyses, intention to vaccinate was significantly lower among PLWH compared to participants not living with HIV (65.2% vs 79.6%; OR 0.44; 95%CI 0.32-0.60). However, this association was not statistically significant after adjustment for ethnicity, income, education, and essential worker status (aOR 0.85; 95%CI 0.48-1.55). Among PLWH, those with greater vaccine confidence, positive attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccine, and more strongly influenced by direct and indirect social norms to vaccinate had significantly higher odds of vaccine intention. Tailored messaging is needed to build vaccine confidence, address questions about vaccine benefits, and support informed vaccination decision-making to promote COVID-19 vaccine uptake among women and gender diverse people living with HIV.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Vaccines , British Columbia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Female , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Intention , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
4.
Harm Reduct J ; 19(1): 50, 2022 05 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1865300

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: When the novel coronavirus pandemic emerged in March 2020, many settings across Canada and the USA were already contending with an existing crisis of drug overdoses due to the toxic unregulated drug supply. In response, the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) released innovative risk mitigation prescribing (RMP) guidelines for medical professionals to prescribe pharmaceutical alternatives to unregulated drugs in an effort to support the self-isolation of people who use unregulated drugs (PWUD) in preventing both SARS-CoV-2 virus infection and overdoses. We sought to assess the level of awareness of RMP and identify factors associated with this awareness among PWUD in Vancouver, BC. METHODS: Cross-sectional data were derived from participants enrolled in three community-recruited prospective cohort studies of PWUD in Vancouver, interviewed between July and November 2020. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with awareness of RMP. RESULTS: Among 633 participants, 302 (47.7%) had heard of RMP. Of those 302 participants, 199 (65.9%) had never tried to access RMP services, ten (3.3%) made an unsuccessful attempt to access RMP, and 93 (30.8%) received RMP. In the multivariable analysis, participants who had awareness of RMP guidelines were more likely to self-identify as white (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.47; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01, 2.13), to have completed secondary school education or higher (AOR = 1.67; 95% CI: 1.16, 2.39), to have used drugs at a supervised consumption or overdose prevention site in the past six months (AOR = 1.66; 95% CI: 1.10, 2.52), and to have received opioid agonist therapy as treatment for opioid use disorder in the past six months (AOR = 1.51; 95% CI: 1.02, 2.24). CONCLUSION: At least four months after the release of the guidelines, RMP was known to less than half of our study participants, warranting urgent educational efforts for PWUD, particularly among racialized groups and those who were not accessing other harm reduction services. Furthermore, the majority of participants who were aware of RMP guidelines had never tried to access the service, suggesting the need to improve perceived accessibility and knowledge of eligibility criteria.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , British Columbia/epidemiology , Canada/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Humans , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Health Rep ; 33(5): 22-33, 2022 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1856608

ABSTRACT

Background: Canadian and international research has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to changes in health behaviours, including physical activity. Methods: The Canadian Community Health Survey asked Canadian youth (12 to 17 years) and adults (18 years and older) to report the amount of time they spent in the past seven days engaged in physical activity across the following domains: recreation, transportation, household or occupation, and school (youth only). The present analysis compares the physical activity from two cross-sectional samples collected during the fall of 2018 (n=13,482) and the fall of 2020 (n=27,234). Results: Youth reported accumulating, on average, two hours less physical activity per week in the fall of 2020 compared with the fall of 2018 (-129 minutes per week). The percentage of youth meeting the Canadian physical activity recommendation for children and youth dropped from 50.8% in the fall of 2018 to 37.2% in the fall of 2020. Physical activity decreased more among youth living in urban (-135 minutes per week) compared with rural (-86 minutes per week) areas. Physical activity decreased more among youth from Ontario (-168 minutes per week), Quebec (-121 minutes per week) and the Prairies (-106 minutes per week) compared with youth from the Atlantic provinces (-38 minutes per week) and British Columbia (-75 minutes per week). There was no change in the percentage of adults aged 18 and older meeting the Canadian physical activity recommendation between the fall of 2018 (52.7%) and the fall of 2020 (53.3%). Weekly physical activity was stable between fall 2018 and fall 2020 among 18 to 49 year olds, while significant increases were observed among adults aged 50 to 64 years (+41 minutes per week), 65 to 79 years (+55 minutes per week) and 80+ years (+20 minutes per week). Increases in physical activity among adults were statistically significant only among non-immigrant, non-Indigenous, those not designated as a visible minority, those living in urban areas and those with a postsecondary degree. Interpretation: The COVID-19 pandemic had a detrimental impact on the physical activity of youth but not adults. The findings of this study add to a growing body of evidence that shows the considerable impact the pandemic has had on many aspects of Canadian life, including physical activity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Adult , British Columbia , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Exercise , Habits , Humans , Pandemics
6.
Health Rep ; 33(5): 13-21, 2022 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1856607

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Data from the first round of the nationally representative Survey on COVID-19 and Mental Health (SCMH) revealed that the prevalence of recent suicidal ideation in the fall of 2020 in Canada did not differ significantly from that in the pre-pandemic period in 2019. The objective of the present study was to reassess the prevalence of recent suicidal ideation in the spring of 2021. Methods: The prevalence of suicidal ideation among adults in Canada was examined using the 2021 SCMH (conducted between February 1 and May 7, 2021), and it was compared with the prevalence in the 2019 Canadian Community Health Survey. Unadjusted logistic regression analysis was used to assess the differential likelihood of reporting suicidal ideation in population subgroups. Results: Among adults in Canada, the prevalence of suicidal ideation since the pandemic began was 4.2%, which was significantly higher than the pre-pandemic prevalence of 2.7% in 2019. A statistically significant increase in prevalence was observed among females and males, age groups younger than 65, and several other sociodemographic groups, as well as in British Columbia, the Prairie provinces and Ontario. People who were younger than 65 years, were born in Canada, had lower educational attainment, or were never married were significantly more likely to report suicidal ideation than others during the pandemic. Conclusion: As the second year of the pandemic began, the prevalence of recent suicidal ideation in Canada was higher than it had been before the pandemic in 2019. Continuous monitoring of suicide-related outcomes and risks is necessary so that population-level changes can be detected and inform public health action.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , British Columbia , Canada/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Mental Health , Prevalence , Risk Factors , Suicidal Ideation
7.
Front Public Health ; 10: 867425, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1855469

ABSTRACT

Background: Close-contact rates are thought to be a driving force behind the transmission of many infectious respiratory diseases. Yet, contact rates and their relation to transmission and the impact of control measures, are seldom quantified. We quantify the response of contact rates, reported cases and transmission of COVID-19, to public health contact-restriction orders, and examine the associations among these three variables in the province of British Columbia, Canada. Methods: We derived time series data for contact rates, daily cases and transmission of COVID-19 from a social contacts survey, reported case counts and by fitting a transmission model to reported cases, respectively. We used segmented regression to investigate impacts of public health orders; Pearson correlation to determine associations between contact rates and transmission; and vector autoregressive modeling to quantify lagged associations between contacts rates, daily cases, and transmission. Results: Declines in contact rates and transmission occurred concurrently with the announcement of public health orders, whereas declines in cases showed a reporting delay of about 2 weeks. Contact rates were a significant driver of COVID-19 and explained roughly 19 and 20% of the variation in new cases and transmission, respectively. Interestingly, increases in COVID-19 transmission and cases were followed by reduced contact rates: overall, daily cases explained about 10% of the variation in subsequent contact rates. Conclusion: We showed that close-contact rates were a significant time-series driver of transmission and ultimately of reported cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, Canada and that they varied in response to public health orders. Our results also suggest possible behavioral feedback, by which increased reported cases lead to reduced subsequent contact rates. Our findings help to explain and validate the commonly assumed, but rarely measured, response of close contact rates to public health guidelines and their impact on the dynamics of infectious diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , British Columbia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Rural Remote Health ; 22(2): 7252, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1836325

ABSTRACT

CONTEXT: People living in rural and remote British Columbia (BC) in Canada experience complex barriers to care, resulting in poorer health outcomes compared to their urban counterparts. Virtual healthcare (VH) can act as a tool to address some of the care barriers, including reducing travel time, cost, and disruptions to people's lives. Conversely, VH can exacerbate inequities through unique difficulties in rural implementation, such as a lack of access to necessary infrastructure (eg internet), social supports, and technological capacity (eg devices and literacy). ISSUE: The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic induced a rapid shift to VH, providing new opportunities for health care while simultaneously highlighting and exacerbating inequities for people living in rural and remote settings. Equity-informed knowledge translation processes can help address these concerns. This commentary reports on an equity-informed knowledge translation process engaged by a diverse group of health researchers, community members, and practitioners in BC. LESSONS LEARNED: Informed by equity principles from the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research, this knowledge exchange and translation process led to the co-creation of two practical tools: a set of VH appointment tip sheets and an open access report. Through stakeholder engagement and literature consultation, VH appointments were found to have many benefits for those in rural and remote communities, including expanding access to basic and specialized health services. However, some hesitation was noted when relying solely on these modes of care, as they can lack relationality, clarity, and time to process medical information. The tip sheets resulting from this process are an interactional-level tool developed to address this concern and optimize VH appointments, for rural patients and care providers. They offer the respective stakeholder group insights on how to actively prepare for and participate in inclusive virtual care. On a systems level, there is a continually echoed need for equity-based processes to ensure that VH is striking the balance of meeting rural health needs without exacerbating inequities. Additionally, incorporating the voices of rural and remote community members is essential. To help address this gap, an open-access report was compiled to serve as a small-scale example of integrating rural voices with existing literature to recommend systems-level adjustments. Overall, VH holds promise as an effective tool for addressing inequities experienced by those living in rural areas. To maximize this potential, rural and remote stakeholders must be proactively engaged and listened to throughout the processes of considering, planning, and implementing shifts in the utilization of VH options.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , British Columbia , Delivery of Health Care , Humans
9.
Int J Drug Policy ; 105: 103709, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1819474

ABSTRACT

AIMS: In March 2020, British Columbia issued Risk Mitigation Guidance (RMG) to support prescribing of pharmaceutical alternatives to illicit drugs, in order to reduce risk for COVID-19, overdose, and withdrawal among people who use drugs. This study evaluated factors associated with 60-day adherence to novel opioid alternatives prescribed at an inner-city health centre in Victoria, Canada. METHODS: A chart review was conducted to collect data on sociodemographic information, medical histories, and follow-up services among all clients prescribed novel opioid alternatives from March 2020-August 2020 (n = 286). Bivariable and multivariable regression were used to identify independent and adjusted factors associated with 60-day adherence. RESULTS: Overall, 77% of 286 clients were still receiving opioids after 60 days of follow-up. Medications included hydromorphone (n = 274), sustained-release oral morphine (n = 2), and oxycodone (n = 9). The adjusted odds of 60-day adherence to novel opioid alternatives were significantly higher for those receiving a mental health medication (aOR = 3.49, 95%CI = 1.26, 11.00), a higher maximum daily dosage of RMG prescriptions (aOR = 1.03 per mg increase, 95%CI = 1.01, 1.04), and those with continuous receipt of OAT (aOR = 6.25, 95%CI = 2.67, 15.90). CONCLUSIONS: Higher dosages and co-prescription of mental health medications and OAT may help support better adherence to this form of prescriber-based "safer supply". Further work is needed to identify optimal prescribing practices and the longer term impacts of differing implementation scenarios.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , British Columbia/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Health Personnel , Humans
10.
CMAJ Open ; 10(2): E379-E389, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1798679

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There have been multiple waves in the COVID-19 pandemic in many countries. We sought to compare mortality and respiratory, cardiovascular and renal dysfunction between waves in 3 Canadian provinces. METHODS: We conducted a substudy of the ARBs CORONA I study, a multicentre Canadian pragmatic observational cohort study that examined the association of pre-existing use of angiotensin receptor blockers with outcomes in adults admitted to hospital with acute COVID-19 up to April 2021 from 9 community and teaching hospitals in 3 Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec). We excluded emergency department admissions without hospital admission, readmissions and admissions for another reason. We used logistic and 0-1-inflated ß regression models to compare 28-day and in-hospital mortality, and the use of invasive mechanical ventilation, vasopressors and renal replacement therapy (RRT) between the first 3 waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in these provinces. RESULTS: A total of 520, 572 and 245 patients in waves 1, 2 and 3, respectively, were included. Patients in wave 3 were on average younger and had fewer comorbidities than those in waves 1 and 2. The unadjusted 28-day mortality rate was significantly lower in wave 3 (7.8%) than in wave 1 (18.3%) (odds ratio [OR] 0.43, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.24-0.78) and wave 2 (16.3%) (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.27-0.79). After adjustment for differences in baseline characteristics, the difference in 28-day mortality remained significant (adjusted OR wave 3 v. wave 1: 0.46, 95% CI 0.26-0.81; wave 3 v. wave 2: 0.52, 95% CI 0.29-0.91). In-hospital mortality findings were similar. Use of invasive mechanical ventilation or vasopressors was less common in waves 2 and 3 than in wave 1, and use of RRT was less common in wave 3 than in wave 1. INTERPRETATION: Severity of illness decreased (lower mortality and less use of organ support) across waves among patients admitted to hospital with acute COVID-19, possibly owing to changes in patient demographic characteristics and management, such as increased use of dexamethasone. Continued application of proven therapies may further improve outcomes. STUDY REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, no. NCT04510623.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adult , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors , British Columbia , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Cohort Studies , Hospitals , Humans , Multiple Organ Failure , Ontario , Quebec/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Front Immunol ; 13: 836449, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785342

ABSTRACT

Background: Older adults have been disproportionately affected during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, including higher risk of severe disease and long-COVID. Prior exposure to endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV) may modulate the response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and contribute to age-related observations. We hypothesized that cross-reactive antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 are associated with antibodies to HCoV and that both increase with age. Methods: To assess SARS-CoV-2 unexposed individuals, we drew upon archived anonymized residual sero-surveys conducted in British Columbia (BC), Canada, including before SARS-CoV-2 emergence (May, 2013) and before widespread community circulation in BC (May, 2020). Fifty sera, sex-balanced per ten-year age band, were sought among individuals ≤10 to ≥80 years old, supplemented as indicated by sera from March and September 2020. Sera were tested on the Meso Scale Diagnostics (MSD) electrochemiluminescent multiplex immunoassay to quantify IgG antibody against the Spike proteins of HCoV, including alpha (HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63) and beta (HCoV-HKU1, HCoV-OC43) viruses, and the 2003 epidemic beta coronavirus, SARS-CoV-1. Cross-reactive antibodies to Spike, Nucleocapsid, and the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 were similarly measured, with SARS-CoV-2 sero-positivity overall defined by positivity on ≥2 targets. Results: Samples included 407 sera from 2013, of which 17 were children ≤10 years. The 2020 samples included 488 sera, of which 88 were children ≤10 years. Anti-Spike antibodies to all four endemic HCoV were acquired by 10 years of age. There were 20/407 (5%) sera in 2013 and 8/488 (2%) in 2020 that were considered sero-positive for SARS-CoV-2 based on MSD testing. Of note, antibody to the single SARS-CoV-2 RBD target was detected in 329/407 (81%) of 2013 sera and 91/488 (19%) of 2020 sera. Among the SARS-CoV-2 overall sero-negative population, age was correlated with anti-HCoV antibody levels and these, notably 229E and HKU1, were correlated with cross-reactive anti-SARS-CoV-2 RBD titres. SARS-CoV-2 overall sero-positive individuals showed higher titres to HCoV more generally. Conclusion: Most people have an HCoV priming exposure by 10 years of age and IgG levels are stable thereafter. Anti-HCoV antibodies can cross-react with SARS-CoV-2 epitopes. These immunological interactions warrant further investigation with respect to their implications for COVID-19 clinical outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral , British Columbia/epidemiology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
12.
BMJ Open ; 12(4): e057846, 2022 04 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1779378

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Few studies reported COVID-19 cases in schools during the 2020/21 academic year in a setting of uninterrupted in-person schooling. The main objective was to determine the SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among school staff in Vancouver public schools. DESIGN: Cumulative incident COVID-19 cases among all students and school staff based on public health data, with an embedded cross-sectional serosurvey among a school staff sample that was compared to period, age, sex and geographical location-weighted data from blood donors. SETTING: Vancouver School District (British Columbia, Canada) from kindergarten to grade 12. PARTICIPANTS: Active school staff enrolled from 3 February to 23 April 2021 with serology testing from 10 February to 15 May 2021. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among school staff, based on spike (S)-based (unvaccinated staff) or N-based serology testing (vaccinated staff). RESULTS: Public health data showed the cumulative incidence of COVID-19 among students attending in-person was 9.8 per 1000 students (n=47 280), and 13 per 1000 among school staff (n=7071). In a representative sample of 1689 school staff, 78.2% had classroom responsibilities, and spent a median of 17.6 hours in class per week (IQR: 5.0-25 hours). Although 21.5% (363/1686) of surveyed staff self-reported close contact with a COVID-19 case outside of their household (16.5% contacts were school-based), 5 cases likely acquired the infection at school based on viral testing. Sensitivity/Specificity-adjusted seroprevalence in 1556/1689 staff (92.1%) was 2.3% (95% CI: 1.6% to 3.2%), comparable to a sex, age, date and residency area-weighted seroprevalence of 2.6% (95% CI: 2.2% to 3.1%) among 5417 blood donors. CONCLUSION: Seroprevalence among staff was comparable to a reference group of blood donors from the same community. These data show that in-person schooling could be safely maintained during the 2020/21 school year with mitigation measures, in a large school district in Vancouver, Canada.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , British Columbia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Seroepidemiologic Studies
13.
Epidemics ; 39: 100559, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1778118

ABSTRACT

Following the emergence of COVID-19 at the end of 2019, several mathematical models have been developed to study the transmission dynamics of this disease. Many of these models assume homogeneous mixing in the underlying population. However, contact rates and mixing patterns can vary dramatically among individuals depending on their age and activity level. Variation in contact rates among age groups and over time can significantly impact how well a model captures observed trends. To properly model the age-dependent dynamics of COVID-19 and understand the impacts of interventions, it is essential to consider heterogeneity arising from contact rates and mixing patterns. We developed an age-structured model that incorporates time-varying contact rates and population mixing computed from the ongoing BC Mix COVID-19 survey to study transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in British Columbia (BC), Canada. Using a Bayesian inference framework, we fit four versions of our model to weekly reported cases of COVID-19 in BC, with each version allowing different assumptions of contact rates. We show that in addition to incorporating age-specific contact rates and mixing patterns, time-dependent (weekly) contact rates are needed to adequately capture the observed transmission dynamics of COVID-19. Our approach provides a framework for explicitly including empirical contact rates in a transmission model, which removes the need to otherwise model the impact of many non-pharmaceutical interventions. Further, this approach allows projection of future cases based on clear assumptions of age-specific contact rates, as opposed to less tractable assumptions regarding transmission rates.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Bayes Theorem , British Columbia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Models, Theoretical
14.
JDR Clin Trans Res ; 7(3): 315-325, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1745524

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, dental services in British Columbia, Canada, were restricted to urgent and emergency cases between March 16 and May 18, 2020. It is unclear how the curtailment of oral health services has affected underserved populations who already often have limited access to dental care due to cost, fear, stigma, and discrimination. OBJECTIVES: To explore the experiences of underserved populations and their community organizations when accessing oral health services and information in British Columbia and identify their coping mechanisms employed during the curtailment of oral health care services. METHODS: Semistructured, remote interviews were conducted with 13 staff and 18 members from 6 community-based organizations. These organizations serve men and women with a history of incarceration and/or experiencing poverty and homelessness, persons living with human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS, adults living with mental illness, and older adults in long-term care facilities. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded for emerging themes using NVivo 12 software. Thematic analysis was performed. RESULTS: The pandemic raised concerns and hesitancy among underserved populations and further reduced access to care. In turn, those with unmet dental needs resorted to coping mechanisms, including turning to community support or medical services, self-management of dental issues, and not dealing with dental issues altogether. Community organizers and members outlined needed resources such as assistance navigating the dental care system, having a contact for dental-related questions, and member preparation for dental service changes, while emphasizing the importance of positive relationships with dental providers. CONCLUSION: Underserved populations who already face barriers to oral health care services experienced increased difficulty in addressing their oral health needs and concerns during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Strategies aimed at reaching out to this population and those who support them are needed to help mitigate negative coping strategies and increased oral health disparities. KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER STATEMENT: This study depicts ways of addressing unmet oral health-related issues during the COVID-19 pandemic for underserved populations and their community organizations with policy implications as well as practical strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vulnerable Populations , Aged , British Columbia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Dental Care , Female , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Male , Pandemics
15.
Am J Public Health ; 112(S2): S151-S158, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1736599

ABSTRACT

Objectives. To explore the implementation and effectiveness of the British Columbia, Canada, risk mitigation guidelines among people who use drugs, focusing on how experiences with the illicit drug supply shaped motivations to seek prescription alternatives and the subsequent impacts on overdose vulnerability. Methods. From February to July 2021, we conducted qualitative interviews with 40 people who use drugs in British Columbia, Canada, and who accessed prescription opioids or stimulants under the risk mitigation guidelines. Results. COVID-19 disrupted British Columbia's illicit drug market. Concerns about overdose because of drug supply changes, and deepening socioeconomic marginalization, motivated participants to access no-cost prescription alternatives. Reliable access to prescription alternatives addressed overdose vulnerability by reducing engagement with the illicit drug market while allowing greater agency over drug use. Because prescriptions were primarily intended to manage withdrawal, participants supplemented with illicit drugs to experience enjoyment and manage pain. Conclusions. Providing prescription alternatives to illicit drugs is a critical harm reduction approach that reduces exposure to an increasingly toxic drug supply, yet further optimizations are needed. (Am J Public Health. 2022;112(S2):S151-S158. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2021.306692).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Overdose , Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use , British Columbia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Canada/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/drug therapy , Drug Overdose/epidemiology , Drug Overdose/prevention & control , Emergencies , Humans
16.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0264145, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1736505

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vaccine uptake rates have been historically low in correctional settings. To better understand vaccine hesitancy in these high-risk settings, we explored reasons for COVID-19 vaccine refusal among people in federal prisons. METHODS: Three maximum security all-male federal prisons in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario (Canada) were chosen, representing prisons with the highest proportions of COVID-19 vaccine refusal. Using a qualitative descriptive design and purposive sampling, individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with incarcerated people who had previously refused at least one COVID-19 vaccine until data saturation was achieved. An inductive-deductive thematic analysis of audio-recorded interview transcripts was conducted using the Conceptual Model of Vaccine Hesitancy. RESULTS: Between May 19-July 8, 2021, 14 participants were interviewed (median age: 30 years; n = 7 Indigenous, n = 4 visible minority, n = 3 White). Individual-, interpersonal-, and system-level factors were identified. Three were particularly relevant to the correctional setting: 1) Risk perception: participants perceived that they were at lower risk of COVID-19 due to restricted visits and interactions; 2) Health care services in prison: participants reported feeling "punished" and stigmatized due to strict COVID-19 restrictions, and failed to identify personal benefits of vaccination due to the lack of incentives; 3) Universal distrust: participants expressed distrust in prison employees, including health care providers. INTERPRETATION: Reasons for vaccine refusal among people in prison are multifaceted. Educational interventions could seek to address COVID-19 risk misconceptions in prison settings. However, impact may be limited if trust is not fostered and if incentives are not considered in vaccine promotion.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Prisoners/psychology , Vaccination Refusal/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Alberta , Attitude , British Columbia , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Interviews as Topic , Male , Middle Aged , Ontario , Risk , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Social Norms , Social Responsibility , Young Adult
17.
CMAJ Open ; 10(1): E165-E172, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1718115

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual care solutions have been rapidly adopted across the country to provide safe, quality care to diverse patient populations. The objective of this qualitative case study was to understand patient and caregiver experiences of virtual care to identify barriers and gather suggestions to address them. METHODS: In this patient-oriented project, we sought to understand gaps in virtual care experienced by patients and caregivers, using virtual focus groups. With the assistance of a patient research liaison, we engaged 2 patient partners as full partners; they participated in study conception, data collection, data analysis and knowledge translation. Recruitment was done through email by disseminating the study poster to 30 community organizations and health units in Ontario and British Columbia. We conducted a constructivist, qualitative study guided by grounded theory methodology. One researcher employed in-vivo coding, followed by axial coding with focus group participants, followed by selective coding with the study team. The study took place from November to December 2020. RESULTS: We conducted 6 focus groups with 13 patients and 5 caregivers. The analysis resulted in 6 major themes and 17 minor themes. Key findings showed that barriers related to access to technology and Internet, language and cultural differences were challenges to virtual care. Participants identified special considerations surrounding caregiver and family involvement; privacy, consent and confidentiality; and the patient-physician relationship. Participants suggested that technology and the Internet be universally accessible and that virtual care modalities be integrated (e.g., consolidated patient portal) to improve virtual care. INTERPRETATION: There are multiple patient-identified barriers to accessing virtual care in Canada; patients can provide insights into ways to address these barriers. Future research should include robust patient engagement to explore ways to address these challenges and barriers to ensure that virtual care can be equitable, accessible and safe for all users. PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY: Although virtual care has been rapidly adopted and scaled up in health care institutions across the country, few improvements informed by patient and caregiver experiences have been made. Driven by concerns expressed by patient partners, our study team undertook a patient-partnered qualitative study to understand the barriers of virtual care from the perspectives and experiences of patients and caregivers. Our study team created the interview guide drawing from our previous patient-oriented qualitative studies and designed an orientation package to provide resources related to the focus groups and to introduce participants to the study team. Drawing from local health teams, clinics and patient advisory groups, the study team recruited 13 patients and 5 caregivers to participate in 6 focus group interviews. An analysis based on grounded theory was undertaken, with participation from both the study team and participants. Lack of access to technology or Internet and language barriers were determined to be the primary challenges in virtual care. Special considerations to caregiver and family involvement, privacy and confidentiality, as well as the patient-physician relationship were considered priorities to improving access to virtual care. Participants offered recommendations and potential solutions to address barriers and challenges in virtual care, which can serve to encourage large-scale policy and programmatic changes in patient-centred ways.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , British Columbia , Caregivers , Communication Barriers , Delivery of Health Care , Female , Focus Groups , Humans , Internet , Male , Middle Aged , Ontario , Physician-Patient Relations , Qualitative Research , Young Adult
18.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(7): 1158-1165, 2022 Apr 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700948

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Randomized-controlled trials of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine protection against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) included relatively few elderly participants. We assess single-dose mRNA vaccine effectiveness (VE) in adults ≥ 70 years old in British Columbia, Canada, where second doses were deferred by up to 16 weeks and where a spring 2021 wave uniquely included codominant circulation of Alpha (B.1.1.7) and Gamma (P.1) variants of concern (VOC). METHODS: Analyses included community-dwelling adults ≥ 70 years old with specimen collection between 4 April (epidemiological week 14) and 1 May (week 17) 2021. Adjusted VE was estimated by test-negative design. Cases were reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test-positive for SARS-CoV-2, and controls were test-negative. Vaccine status was defined by receipt of a single-dose ≥ 21 days before specimen collection, but a range of intervals was assessed. Variant-specific VE was estimated against viruses genetically characterized as Alpha, Gamma or non-VOC lineages. RESULTS: VE analyses included 16 993 specimens: 1226 (7%) test-positive cases and 15 767 test-negative controls. Of 1131 (92%) genetically characterized viruses, 509 (45%), 314 (28%), and 276 (24%) were Alpha, Gamma, and non-VOC lineages, respectively. At 0-13 days postvaccination, VE was negligible at 14% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0-26) but increased from 43% (95% CI, 30-53) at 14-20 days to 75% (95% CI, 63-83) at 35-41 days postvaccination. VE at ≥ 21 days postvaccination was 65% (95% CI, 58-71) overall: 72% (95% CI, 58-81), 67% (95% CI, 57-75), and 61% (95% CI, 45-72) for non-VOC, Alpha, and Gamma variants, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: A single dose of mRNA vaccine reduced the risk of SARS-CoV-2 by about two-thirds in adults ≥ 70 years old, with protection only minimally reduced against Alpha and Gamma variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , British Columbia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , RNA, Messenger , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic
19.
Health Expect ; 25(1): 345-354, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1691571

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite the established benefits of Advance Care Planning (ACP), engagement remains low in British Columbia. Since 2016, a growing number of community-based nonprofits have offered ACP education. To date, no study has focused on the perspectives of nonprofits on ACP in British Columbia. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to identify barriers and facilitating actions to ACP as perceived by British Columbian nonprofits. DESIGN: A mixed-methods design was used. Data were collected through online surveys and telephone interviews. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Staff and volunteers from British Columbian nonprofits that are providing or interested in providing public education on ACP were recruited for this study. RESULTS: The lack of public awareness of ACP, the emotional difficulty of the conversation, the complicated ACP process, the belief that ACP is synonymous with completing a medical order form, the challenge of introducing ACP in different cultural contexts and the siloed approach to ACP education were rated as the most important barriers to ACP engagement. The most important facilitating actions were developing clear messages, improving ACP literacy, reframing ACP as part of life planning, simplifying ACP documentation and transfer, integrating ACP conversations into clinical practice and better collaboration between the health system and nonprofits. DISCUSSION: This study identifies numerous opportunities to improve ACP engagement in British Columbia from a community lens. To maximize ACP engagement, community-led ACP education should be offered in coordination with the health system. CONCLUSION: Community-led ACP education as well as collaboration and consultation with nonprofits are part of the solution to the low ACP engagement in British Columbia. PUBLIC CONTRIBUTION: Study participants, including staff and volunteers at nonprofits, are members of the public.


Subject(s)
Advance Care Planning , British Columbia , Communication , Humans , Surveys and Questionnaires
20.
Vox Sang ; 117(2): 251-258, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1685461

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic raised concerns about the vulnerability of platelet supply and the uncertain impact of the resumption of elective surgery on utilization. We report the impact of COVID-19 on platelet supply and utilization across a large, integrated healthcare system in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Historical platelet use in BC by indication was compiled for fiscal year 2010/2011-2019/2020. Platelet collections, initial daily inventory and disposition data were assessed pre-COVID-19 (1 April 2018-15 March 2020) and for two COVID-19 time periods in BC: a shutdown phase with elective surgeries halted (16 March-17 May, 2020) and a renewal phase when elective surgeries resumed (18 May-27 September 2020); comparisons were made provincially and for individual health authorities. RESULTS: Historically, elective surgeries accounted for 10% of platelets transfused in BC. Initial daily supplier inventory increased from baseline during both COVID-19 periods (93/90 units vs. 75 units pre-COVID-19). During the shutdown phase, platelet utilization decreased 10.4% (41 units/week; p < 0.0001), and remained significantly decreased during the ensuing renewal period. Decreased platelet utilization was attributed to fewer transfusions during the shutdown phase followed by a decreased discard/expiry rate during the renewal phase compared to pre-COVID-19 (15.2% vs. 18.9% pre-COVID-19; p < 0.0001). Differences in COVID-19 platelet utilization patterns were noted between health authorities. CONCLUSION: Decreased platelet utilization was observed in BC compared to pre-COVID-19, likely due to a transient reduction in elective surgery as well as practice and policy changes triggered by pandemic concerns.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Blood Platelets , British Columbia , Elective Surgical Procedures , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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