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Canadian Think-Tank Achieves Working Ventilator Prototype For Health Canada Review And Certification

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Vancouver, BC – A group of Canadian medical professionals, mechanical engineers, software engineers and entrepreneurs have worked in shifts around the clock for the past eight days – and today, are declaring success in producing a working ventilator prototype that has passed initial testing protocols.The group now awaits approval and certification by several health authorities including Health Canada.

The Ocalink Emergency Ventilator Project initially began eight days ago, involving two dozen individuals, working together to spearhead the development and manufacturing of a new ventilator design, for one common purpose; to do everything they can to save lives in the midst of the growing COVID-19 health crisis.

The group achieved a first prototype on March 25, but the head engineer for the project instructed refinements. As a result, a team of 60 software engineers were pulled into the effort and worked through the night and produced a second prototype on March 26. Another night of work and further refinements produced the third version of the prototype today. The ventilator has been reviewed by independent doctors and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority – and now requires official certification at the federal level. Pending approval, initial production facilities have already been contracted and are awaiting federal funding to begin manufacturing. This will also have the potential to create thousands of Canadian jobs in a time of need.

“This is an escalating emergency situation and what is becoming abundantly clear is that there aren’t enough ventilators to fill anticipated global demand,” said Corbin Lowe, CEO of Ocalink, a Canadian from Vancouver who is one of the core group leading the effort. “This ventilator is cost effective, highly efficient and manufacturing is scalable to meet global demand. The only way to succeed with this project is to obtain immediate federal funding. We have thousands of Canadians waiting to get to work on manufacturing to save lives.”

While most people who get COVID-19 may only face mild symptoms, the sickest may end up in intensive care units where ventilators are critical to their survival and recovery.

The manufacturing process will involve utilizing smaller assembly plants that are already set up for manufacturing. Twelve-person assembly lines would allow for social distancing – and the model would be replicated in identified sites across Canada.

The Ventilator Project is now working with manufacturers, assemblers and suppliers – to meet their goal of manufacturing one million ventilators over a 90-day period.

For more information about the company formed to pioneer the Emergency Ventilator Project visit: www.ocalink.com.

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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Think Global, Act Local

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How small actions and ‘conscious-consumerism’ can make a huge
difference in our local communities in the covid-19 era

Social-distancing, self-isolating, “wash your hands”, zooming, lockdown, quarantining, the ‘rona’… just some of the latest catch phrases and new verbiage of 2020. It’s true, the new decade didn’t get off to the ‘fresh start’ we were all expecting or hoping for, but it’s been a big bang nonetheless.

We by no means can see the finish line or the light at the end of the tunnel any time soon in this constant state of unknowns, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start reflecting now on what our lives post covid-19 era look like. In fact, we can start reflecting on how this life-changing experience can impact our day-to-day decisions at this very moment.

In self-isolating solo for nearly 3 months, I have taken the chance to heavily reflect on the consumer decisions I make in my daily life, and how such decisions impact the local economy, environment, and my overall well-being too.

When you are ‘stuck’ at home, you have a lot of time to reflect and think about your surroundings – and for me, that directly translated to my buying habits, and also the concept of “consumption” as a whole. Marie Kondo suggests only keeping things that ‘spark joy,’ whereas other renowned minimalists such as Joshua Becker suggest only keeping what is essential.

Now psychologically, the jump from hoarder status to professional minimalist is not for the faint of heart, so while you are mentally preparing for such ‘all or nothing’ commitment, I suggest you look at the root of the issue – consumption. We all consume – food, clothes, etc. this is true – but how we consume is something completely within our hands, and can assist us in minimizing and maintaining a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle overall.

Conscious consumption should be the number one catch phrase resulting from this seismic shift in the world, no doubt.

The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day this past April highlighted the theme of “Climate Action,” and it truly couldn’t have come at a better time – when the world literally stopped still. With this in mind, I chose to make some commitments for the year ahead.

These included: supporting local, small businesses to decrease emissions from international transport of products; choosing and consuming national food products whenever possible – preferably from local, organic producers; and finally, buying less clothing and being a conscious consumer with supporting local brands with sustainable fabrics and manufacturing techniques.

When you make a purchase, can you answer the following questions?

  • Where is this product coming from? And how far does it require to travel to get to you?
  • Where is it produced? By whom was it produced?
  • Can I buy the equivalent from a local small business or brand?

Even with the increase of delivery services or online purchases in the current reality we are living in (avoiding unnecessary face-to-face contact in taking precautions or ‘doing the right thing’) , there are ways for us to ensure that we are looking to support small businesses first and foremost. Take the time to research, make the effort to spread the word, and your communities and those around you reap the rewards!

Considering all of the aforementioned, this upcoming Sunday (and every Sunday following that), I challenge you to take to your social media accounts and participate in a new initiative which highlights your favourite local “small” businesses, and encourages those in your network to do the same.

On “Support Small Business Sundays” I highlight one local business that I am passionate about (and want to promote) while sharing their story, contact info, etc. and bringing light to those who are making a difference in my community.

Just don’t forget to use the hashtags #SSBS and #supportlocal so that we can build off of each other’s enthusiasm! You can even extend a challenge by tagging three of your friends/family in your post to encourage them to do the same and carry on the momentum!

Keep in mind that a little bit of reflection and research can go a long way for supporting local and being mindful of the environmental impacts of our buying habits as well. Let’s do our part in helping others in our communities and national economies during these challenging times, and we will leave the ‘rona’ season behind as stronger, more united, and aligned communities.

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TELUS Health expands digital home health monitoring to virtually support B.C. patients with or at risk of COVID-19

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Home Health Monitoring technology enables health providers to virtually observe British Columbians who are at home while reducing exposure to the virus

Vancouver – Today, TELUS Health announced the expansion of its Home Health Monitoring (HHM) solution so that nurses and other healthcare providers in British Columbia can digitally monitor more patients remotely while they recover from COVID-19 Launched in partnership with the B.C.

Ministry of Health and local health authorities, this digital health dashboard enables healthcare providers to track the symptoms and provide medical help for more patients as they recover outside of hospitals in the comfort of their own homes.

“As we face the immense challenge of COVID-19, TELUS Health is committed to working alongside BC’s healthcare leaders to expand the use of technology solutions like Home Health Monitoring to support more British Columbians while recovering at home,” said Darren Entwistle, president and CEO, TELUS.

“By enabling clinicians to remotely observe the vitals of patients with COVID-19, as well as those who are vulnerable to the virus, and provide necessary interventions early, we can reduce exposure and also help to alleviate the pressure in hospital emergency rooms and clinics.”

Easily accessible through a mobile device, the program sends daily prompts to the patient to report their biometrics such as temperature, physical symptoms and overall health condition. This provides crucial information on the status of a patient’s health to their clinicians who are regularly and remotely monitoring their well-being through a digital dashboard.

HHM allows healthcare providers to view information for multiple patients simultaneously, enabling them to more effectively manage the vitals of a larger number of patients so they can quickly identify those patients in need of urgent care. Depending on the escalation of their symptoms, some patients may be advised to contact their doctor, or visit their nearest hospital emergency room, while others with improving symptoms may be told to continue recovering and isolating at home.

“Home monitoring is a significant part of our response to the ongoing pandemic. We are grateful for the technology and partnership with TELUS Health enabling our efforts,” said Lisa Saffarek, Clinical Director Virtual Care and Home Health Monitoring lead at Island Health. “With the Home Health Monitoring solution, we are able to stay connected with our patients, provide symptom support and ensure our patients who are quarantined or isolated at home are provided with safe and effective care. The monitoring solution has also improved clinical capacity for our Public Health team, the front line of our pandemic response.”

Home Health Monitoring by TELUS Health has been in use in B.C, since 2013 to remotely monitor thousands of patients in the province living with chronic conditions such as heart failure, diabetes and respiratory diseases. The TELUS Home Health Monitoring system is aligned with the Canadian Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 protocols for the monitoring of patients recovering from COVID-19 outside of hospitals.

“The B.C. Ministry of Health has partnered with TELUS since 2013 to implement and evolve a provincial remote patient monitoring service for patients with chronic conditions,” said Corrie Barclay, Assistant Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Management and Information Technology with the B.C. Ministry of Health.

“Our investment has enabled us to act quickly to monitor our patients in isolation while also providing them with peace of mind, knowing that they are being monitored daily by their healthcare teams. As well, our clinicians are given the assurance that we are keeping track of our vulnerable citizens.”

As healthcare professionals risk their lives every day, TELUS Health is working hard to provide the technology solutions needed to keep them safe. Building off of this successful initiative in B.C., discussions with other provincial health ministries are underway to provide HHM technology to even more Canadians during these unprecedented times.

About TELUS Health and Payment Solutions

TELUS Health is a leader in digital health technology solutions such as home health monitoring, electronic medical and health records, virtual care, benefits and pharmacy management as well as personal emergency response services. TELUS Health is leveraging the power of technology to improve access to care and revolutionize the flow of health information to create better outcomes for Canadians while facilitating collaboration, efficiency and productivity for physicians, pharmacists, health authorities, allied healthcare professionals, insurers, employers and citizens.

TELUS Payment Solutions complements our health solutions by delivering secure, industry-compliant payment and lending solutions that connect lenders, payors, insurers, extended health care providers and financial institutions to their customers across Canada.

For more information please visit:
www.telushealth.com and www.telus.com/payment-solutions.

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City of Surrey online videos boost mental and physical health for all ages

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The popular at-home classes and activities have been viewed over 15,000 times

While recreation centres and libraries across Surrey are closed to limit the spread of COVID-19, city staff have found a way to connect with residents online to ensure physical and mental health exercises are available for families at home during the pandemic.

“We have called on our residents to physically distance to limit the spread of COVID-19, and I want to personally recognize our community for rising to this challenge,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “While we all follow the measures put in place, it is important that we continue to connect with each other. The videos we have launched ensure Surrey families have access to physical and mental exercises at home, and I’m pleased they have been so well received over the past 4 weeks.”

Led by certified instructors, the free fitness classes offer a range of exercises that do not require professional equipment, including yoga and body sculpt. For seniors, light stretching and low impact classes are available.

Surrey Libraries is offering virtual story times and singalongs for children to enjoy from home, featuring familiar librarians across the City. The popular Treehouse Storytime at Redwood Forrest is also available online, so families can connect with nature and enjoy craft making, puppets and songs. Parks staff take children on an educational walk through the forest, offering virtual ways to connect with nature from home.

“It is more important than ever that we continue to take care of our physical and mental well-being,” added Mayor McCallum. “In the coming weeks we will continue to add more videos for residents, and I invite you to check back often to make full use of the recreational, cultural and library services available.”

City of Surrey online classes can be found here.

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Emergency Response Centre opens at North Surrey Recreation Centre to support those experiencing homelessness

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To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, BC Housing, City of Surrey and Fraser Health have established a temporary Emergency Response Centre at Surrey’s previously decommissioned North Surrey Recreation Centre (NSRC).

The NSRC Emergency Response Centre will provide up to 110 safe spaces in the recreation centre, separated amongst the facility’s two rinks. The Centre will be referral-only which will prioritize the support of people living on the streets, in shelters, or for people coming out of acute care who do not have a safe place to self-isolate if they have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.

“By utilizing the decommissioned North Surrey Recreation Centre, we are providing our most vulnerable population with the most essential protective measure against COVID-19, which is the ability to physical distance,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “We will continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus within our community, and today’s establishment of the NSRC Emergency Response Centre is a crucial shift in our efforts. We thank BC Housing and Fraser Health for their collaboration and contributions in making this vital project possible.”

“It’s important for people who are street-entrenched or living in shelters to have a safe place to self-isolate and to physically distance. Combatting COVID-19 requires each person and community to work together and we’re proud to partner with BC Housing and the City of Surrey to ensure this vulnerable population has access to the support and care they need,” said Fraser Health president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee

Referrals will be managed by Fraser Health to ensure those most at risk with the highest care needs are prioritized. This proactive approach will also help reduce capacity in nearby shelters in order to support physical distancing efforts.

BC Housing has appointed Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS) to operate and manage the centre, which will be staffed 24/7. Fraser Health staff will be onsite daily, supporting SUMS and providing ongoing health guidance.

BC Housing, with the support of City of Surrey, is continuing to explore opportunities to partner with local hotels to support frontline staff who are unable to go home during the COVID-19 outbreak, or for those who are unable to self-isolate due to living on the streets or in shelters.

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TELUS Health enables 26,000 Canadian family doctors to conduct virtual visits with their patients to reduce exposure risk

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Canada’s leading health IT company adds patient videoconferencing to its electronic medical records in British Columbia

Vancouver- Today, TELUS Health announced it is enabling 26,000 Canadian family doctors to conduct virtual visits with their patients by seamlessly integrating this functionality into its electronic medical records (EMRs) offering. TELUS Health has accelerated the development of this virtual video functionality in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, now that physicians in British Columbia and across the country can use virtual care fee codes.

Offered as a free service for the first four months, this new feature allows physicians to virtually support their own roster of patients while maintaining continuity of care and fully up-to-date health records.

“Continuity of care is so important, especially during this health crisis,” says Dr. Baldev Sanghera, B.C. Family physician. “With this new technology, I have a secure way to see my patients virtually and make sure they’re getting the best care possible, all while keeping both of us safe in our own homes.”

The new virtual care feature empowers physicians to book appointments, conduct video consultations and update patient records all within their EMR. Available from desktop, smartphone or tablet, the fully integrated virtual visit feature is mobile and eliminates the need to switch between multiple digital tools for seamless workflow, easing the burden on physicians and allowing them to focus more of their time on patient care.

The intuitive video call interface can then be placed side-by-side with the physician’s other EMR features, allowing them to take notes and review patient records at the same time. Meanwhile, patients can open the appointment link from their web browser, whether on their desktop computer or mobile device, and have the video appointment with their primary care physician. The feature offers both full audio and video capabilities, as well as a chat function through which written messages can be exchanged.

“In the face of this pandemic, we are working extremely hard to give Canadian clinicians the right digital tools to effectively help their patients and support their continuity of care,” says Dr. Diane McIntosh, Chief Neuroscience Officer, TELUS Health.

“We’ve made it a priority to make EMR-integrated virtual care available much sooner, allowing our physicians to securely connect with their patients and conduct virtual consultations via video on the same platform they already use to update digital records and information.”

About TELUS Health and Payment Solutions

TELUS Health is a leader in digital health technology solutions such as home health monitoring, electronic medical and health records, virtual care, benefits and pharmacy management as well as personal emergency response services.

TELUS Health is leveraging the power of technology to improve access to care and revolutionize the flow of health information to create better outcomes for Canadians while facilitating collaboration, efficiency and productivity for physicians, pharmacists, health authorities, allied healthcare professionals, insurers, employers and citizens.

TELUS Payment Solutions complements our health solutions by delivering secure, industry-compliant payment and lending solutions that connect lenders, payors, insurers, extended health care providers and financial institutions to their customers across Canada.

For more information please visit: www.telushealth.com | www.telus.com/payment-solutions.

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