Next week, a new doctor will be leading physicians in the N.W.T.
Dr. AnneMarie Pegg has worked in conflict zones and played a significant role in shaping the medical approach for tackling epidemics, like Ebola.
Now, Pegg is set to be the new Territorial Director of Medicine, and in a way, the new role is something of a homecoming for the doctor who spent parts of her career in the N.W.T.
In 1999, Pegg came to the North as a community health nurse in Fort Simpson, N.W.T. She later returned to medical school and has since provided services as a contract and locum physician in the territory.
While keeping a practice in the territory, Pegg also held senior roles within Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) where she spent time working in Syrian war zones. Recently, she was a clinical lead for epidemic response and vaccination.
Pegg says as her 12 years with Doctors Without Borders was coming to a “natural pausing point,” she wanted to rekindle her relationship with the N.W.T. and return on a more regular basis rather than just as a locum.
“Given the fact that we are in the middle of … a complex situation with COVID[-19] and the pandemic, I really thought that perhaps this is something that I could take on given my relationship with the North that has been quite long-standing now,” she said.
Working as a community health nurse and then as a physician, in Yellowknife, the Dehcho and the Beaufort Delta regions, gave her an appreciation for the geographical challenges faced by northerners.
“I think that being able to picture a place in my head, having a vision of what that place looks like, knowing the physical layout of the health centre, even, I think it’s going to really give me a lot of advantage,” Pegg said.
“It makes me feel like I’m coming in a little bit ahead in terms of awareness of where we are in the territory.”
‘Culturally acceptable’ medicine
She says communication is one of the biggest parts for her job.
“Listening to people and the importance of being aware that even in a very complicated situation or a complicated context, it’s usually possible to provide a service and to find a solution that can be mutually acceptable both to practitioners and to patients,” Pegg said.
Pegg says the territory has a long way to go to improve access to continuous care in certain areas, despite “enormous strides” made already.
She’s set to keep looking into how to provide services “in a manner that’s culturally acceptable” to the N.W.T. population.
“[It] has not always been a strong point of health care providers,” Pegg said.
The director of medicine for N.W.T. is the most senior physician administrative leader in the territory’s health system and is a member its executive team. The job is meant to provide leadership in areas of planning, operation and evaluation of delivery of quality health care services by practitioner staff to residents.
The European Union has earmarked 220 million euros ($257 million) to fund the transfer of Covid-19 patients across its borders to prevent the hospital systems in the 27-nation bloc from buckling.
Europe has become the world’s epicenter of the virus for the second time since the pandemic began, forcing several countries to reimpose national lockdowns as a second wave envelops the region and infections surpass 10 million.
Health officials in several EU countries have warned that their hospitals are near capacity and have raised the alarm that more cooperation is needed to ensure facilities are not overwhelmed.
“Numbers of cases are rising, numbers of hospitalizations are rising, numbers of deaths are rising — not as fast, fortunately, because we understand better today how to treat COVID patients and how to deal with disease,” EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday night.
“But the spread of the virus will overwhelm our healthcare systems if we do not act urgently.”
Von der Leyen made her comments at a meeting with EU leaders, in which she laid out a number of measures to streamline and centralize the bloc’s Covid-19 response, from the use of tests, tracing apps and the distribution of vaccines.
The EU chief said the bloc was intensifying its efforts in obtaining and validating a vaccine, and that its members had agreed to a “fair distribution” to each state.
“The member states will all get vaccines at the same time and at the same conditions, based on their share of the EU population they have,” she said.
The EU will also now carry out rolling reviews from pharmaceutical companies, who will share quicker “step-by-step” updates with the bloc as they carry out their trials.
In terms of testing, the bloc is working to validate rapid antigen tests that can provide quicker results than the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests currently in use. In addition, the EU aims to mutually recognize test results across the bloc.
It will also try to share data collected through tracing apps. Twenty-two of the 27 member states have developed or are in the process of developing an app, and three have connected to a new European gateway since Monday. The 19 others hope plan to join in November.
Von der Leyen said there had been around 50 million app downloads in the bloc, but that was “not enough.”
“We need across the board coverage in the European Union,” she said.
The EU’s effort to centralize its response comes after it was criticized for poor coordination at the beginning of the region’s outbreak. Hard-hit countries
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union will finance the transfer of patients across borders within the bloc to prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations spike in the continent.
After a video conference of EU leaders to discuss the health crisis on Thursday, the head of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the EU executive had made available 220 million euros ($260 million) to move COVID-19 patients across borders.
“The spread of the virus will overwhelm our healthcare systems if we do not act urgently,” she said.
At the meeting leaders agreed to better coordinate efforts to battle the virus as infections in Europe exceeded 10 million, making the continent again the epicenter of the pandemic.
EU countries want to avoid divisions which dogged the 27-nation bloc at the beginning of the pandemic, when nations vied with each other to buy scarce medical equipment.
To better trace infections, von der Leyen said the EU would work for the quick validation at EU level of rapid antigen tests, which allow quicker results than the standard PCR (polymerase chain reaction) molecular kits.
The Commission is also intensifying its efforts to get potential vaccines against the new coronavirus.
The EU was in talks with four companies, and had already sealed supply deals with another three, she said.
The EU has secured potential vaccines being developed by AstraZeneca, Sanofi and Johnson & Johnson.
It has also said it is in talks with Moderna, CureVac and a partnership of Pfizer and BionTech. Reuters reported in September that the EU was also in preliminary talks with Novavax.
The chair of the meeting, Charles Michel, said EU leaders committed to a fair distribution of vaccines once available. That would be done in proportion to population, von der Leyen said.
Michel said vaccination plans at a national level were crucial to make sure the first limited doses of vaccines could be distributed quickly to those most in need.
Many countries however have not yet defined their inoculation plans, and have different targets.
($1 = 0.8461 euros)
Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, Robin Emmott, Jan Strupczewski; editing by Richard Pullin
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The top U.S. infectious disease expert is shrugging off sharp criticism from President Donald Trump while the U.S. is keeping its borders with Canada and Mexico closed for another month in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tapped “The Godfather” in describing his relationship with Trump.
“It’s like in ‘The Godfather’ – nothing personal, strictly business as far as I’m concerned,” Fauci told Southern California AM radio station KNX1070. “I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country.”
Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said restrictions on non-essential travel will be extended through Nov. 21. The announcement comes days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it would keep its borders closed until the U.S. gains control of the coronavirus.
Some significant developments:
- Fargo became the first city in North Dakota to issue a face mask mandate on Monday amid the state’s rising coronavirus caseload.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a “strong recommendation” for people to wear a mask on trains, planes, buses and other transportation.
- As states finalize their distribution plans for a COVID-19 vaccine, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state will independently review any FDA-approved vaccines before passing one out.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 8.2 million cases and 220,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. The global totals: More than 40.5 million cases and 1.1 million deaths.
📚Read this: The latest in USA TODAY’s Deadly Discrimination series looks at the 10 U.S. counties with the highest death rates from COVID-19. Seven have populations where people of color make up the majority.
🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak in your state.
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Data reflects boom in new cases
Sixteen states set records for new cases in the seven-day period ending Monday, another sign that infections across the nation are booming, a USA TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins reveals. And 42 states had more cases in the latest week than in the week before, while 34 states had a higher rate of people testing positive than the week before, an analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows.
North Dakota is reporting cases on a per-capita basis at a rate about two-thirds higher than any state had during the spring or summer surges. Health officials said the daily positivity rate is just under 20%. The World Health Organization has recommended the number be under 5% before governments ease major restrictions.
More ominous news: New daily hospitalizations reached 37,744, the most in a single day since August 25.
– Michael Stucka