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36 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba brings total number of active cases to 205 – Winnipeg Free Press

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Thirty-six new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba were announced by the province Sunday, bringing the total of confirmed active cases to 205 and the five-day test positivity rate to 1.47.

Over the past two days, 56 cases have been confirmed in the province, while a Portage la Prairie man in his eighties was confirmed to be the ninth Manitoban to die from the virus.

Between Aug. 13 and Aug. 15, there were 94 new confirmed cases — the highest three-day total of confirmed new cases since COVID-19’s presence was first detected in Manitoba. Over the same span this weekend, provincial data show 52 confirmed active cases have recovered.

Among the 36 new cases announced Sunday, 21 are in the Southern Health-Sante Sud region; nine in the Prairie Mountain Health region; five in the Winnipeg region; and one in the Interlake-Eastern Health region.

According to a provincial release, “preliminary investigations of (Sunday’s) Southern Health … cases are linked to a known cluster.” The province says an investigation into the cases is ongoing, and that additional information will be provided “as needed to inform of any public health risks.”

After doing well to restrict the virus’ spread throughout the spring and early parts of summer, Manitoba’s case count and its test positivity rate have been steadily climbing throughout the month of August.

On the first of the month, there were a cumulative 436 cases, and that figure has reached 697 as of Sunday. Since August 5, there has only been one day with fewer than 16 new cases confirmed in the province. Since August 4, the active case count has increased from 52 to 206, or by nearly 300 per cent.

On Saturday, 1,669 laboratory tests were completed, and the province says the five-day test positivity rate is 1.47 per cent. As recently as August 4, that figure was 0.5 per cent.

Broken down by region, there are currently 83 active cases in the Prairie Health; 59 in Southern Health; 57 in Winnipeg; and five in the Interlake-Eastern region. In total, nine Manitobans have died of the virus since March, and nine more remain in hospital, with three in intensive care.

Sunday’s media bulletin said that two previously identified cases had been removed from Manitoba’s total of lab-confirmed and probably positive cases; one was confirmed as an out-of-province resident, while another was determined to have not had COVID-19.

While chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin didn’t address the media Sunday, on Saturday, he encouraged Manitobans to wear masks and continue to follow fundamentals of virus control, including handwashing and sanitizer use, physical distancing, and staying home if any symptoms of infection are detected.

People experiencing symptoms, even minor ones, of COVID-19 are being advised to seek testing as soon as possible at one of the province’s designated testing sites.

Since February, 113,952 tests have been completed.

ben.waldman@freepress.mb.ca

Ben Waldman
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Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.

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Manitoba murder trial to continue with 11 jurors after one shows COVID-19 symptoms. – Richmond News

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WINNIPEG — A murder trial in Manitoba will continue with 11 jurors after one was discharged because he was showing COVID-19 symptoms.

Kane Moar is charged with second-degree murder in the 2018 stabbing death of 34-year-old Ricardo Hibi.

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Deliberations were to begin Wednesday but were delayed after the juror was turned away at the courthouse and went to be tested.

The other jurors were sent home and advised to self-isolate until the man’s test results are complete.

Queen’s Bench Justice Vic Toews told the jury Thursday he received advice from public health that it is safe and prudent to continue.

Toews says even if the juror tests positive, it doesn’t mean the remaining jurors would need to self-isolate given the steps taken in court, which include physical distancing.

“It is not prudent to wait any longer,” said Toews.

Moar, 23, is accused of killing Hibi at the foster home he ran for boys.

Jury trials were suspended across the country in the spring as the justice system grappled with how to handle the pandemic.

They resumed in Manitoba earlier this month with Moar’s trial.

The court put several protocols in place. Jury selections have been held in a large convention centre, there has been physical distancing in courtrooms and masks became mandatory after an employee at the Winnipeg courthouse tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Toews said Wednesday that he was optimistic that jurors would soon hear his charge in the case before beginning deliberations on a verdict. (CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020.

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Daily new COVID-19 cases triple in past month; more schools hit – Kamloops This Week

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TORONTO — A dramatic tripling of daily new cases of COVID-19 in the past month, mostly among young people, has prompted the prime minister to declare the arrival of the second wave of the pandemic and that Canadians likely won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving.

“In our four biggest provinces, the second wave isn’t just starting, it’s already underway,” Justin Trudeau said Wednesday evening in a rare television address to the nation.

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“We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring.”

Trudeau said Canadians can’t do anything to change the numbers now, or even tomorrow.

“But what we can change is where we are in October, and into the winter,” he said.

“It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving, but we still have a shot at Christmas.”

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the country had seen an average of more than 1,100 new cases of the novel coronavirus a day this past week compared with about 380 a day in mid-August.

“Canada is at a crossroads with the COVID-19 epidemic trajectory,” Tam said before Trudeau’s address. “Unless public health and individual protective measures are strengthened and we work together to slow the spread of the virus, the situation is on track for a big resurgence in a number of provinces.”

While the new cases were primarily among young adults, more than 400 schools in Quebec and another 153 in Ontario reported at least one case of the illness. The figures from the group COVID Ecoles Quebec and the Ontario government came as authorities seek ways to curb the spread of COVID-19 among younger people.

Data from Ontario show cases among those in their 20s have risen sharply in the past month, with one expert attributing the increase in part to the reopening of schools and universities.

In an effort to tackle the problem, several provinces, cities and universities have warned of stiff fines for violating anti-COVID restrictions. However, Quebec said it would not allow police to enter homes without a warrant to break up gatherings that violate the measures.

The worrisome upward trend in new cases came as the federal Liberal government laid out its plan to take on the second wave.

“To prevent small clusters from becoming major outbreaks, communities may need to enact short-term closure orders,” the government said in its throne speech.

Stringent lockdowns in the spring caused unprecedented economic disruption, prompting the government to spend tens of billions of dollars on supports as unemployment skyrocketed.

The throne speech promised, among other things, an extension of the federal wage-subsidy program until next summer, more aid for businesses and help to boost testing capacity. People in various cities have waited for hours or even days for virus testing. Safety concerns led a hospital in Kitchener, Ont., to close its drive-thru testing centre as people arrived in the wee hours.

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada, while the cumulative case count has been edging toward the 150,000 mark.

Quebec, with more than 69,000 cases, accounts for about 48 per cent of the total cases but 63 per cent of the deaths. Ontario’s more than 48,000 reported cases account for 33 per cent nationally, and 31 per cent of fatalities

On Wednesday, Quebec reported 471 new cases. Another four reported deaths from the novel coronavirus brought the province’s total fatalities to 5,809.

Ontario, which has shown a steady increase in new cases since mid-August, after months of declines, reported 335 new cases Wednesday and another three deaths. Almost 70 per cent of new infections were in people under the age of 40.

Concern is also mounting as more long-term care homes in Ontario, brutally hit by the virus earlier in the year, report outbreaks. Almost 70 per cent of fatalities have been among those aged 80 and older and another 27 per cent were 60 to 79 years of age.

While older people and those with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to severe illnesses from SARS-CoV-2, younger people can spread the disease — often before showing any symptoms.

“When there’s so much in the community, it can escalate into the populations with more vulnerability,” Dr. Vera Etches, medical officer of health in Ottawa, one of the harder hit cities, said.

Ontario data indicates new cases among people in their 20s have reached similar levels to those seen among people in their 80s in mid-April. Along with school reopenings, Dr. Brian Ward, a professor of medicine at McGill University, cited bars and parties as key factors, along with a “general sense of invulnerability” among younger people.

“COVID fatigue also clearly plays a role,” Ward said.

Winnipeg, for example, accounted for 30 of Manitoba’s 42 new cases reported Wednesday, with possible exposures at restaurants, bars and a pub trivia night, the province said.

Trudeau sympathized with Canadians feeling the stress of a second wave, but urged people to be strong.

“‘Can’t’ will not define us,” he said.

“We can bend the curve. We can build a stronger future. We can define the change.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.

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Saskatchewan health officials fine person $2000 for not self-isolating while symptomatic – WellandTribune.ca

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REGINA—Saskatchewan health officials have fined a person $2,000 for not self-isolating while showing symptoms of COVID-19, bringing the total amount of penalties levied in the province to more than $20,000.

The Ministry of Health has not released specific details about the recent case, except to say the penalty was imposed after a contact tracing investigation.

“Public health is confident that all close contacts have been determined and contacted in this case,” reads a statement from the Ministry of Health.

Public health rules state people must isolate for 14 days if they return from international travel, are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been close to someone who is positive.

Officials said the recent violation was of a section of the provincial public health order that states all symptomatic people who have been directed to get a COVID-19 test, or are awaiting their results, must isolate until they are no longer deemed a risk.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said asymptomatic people being tested are only required to self-monitor.

“As there is no further public risk, we will not be releasing additional information about this enforcement,” said the statement.

A spokesperson said officials have issued four fines related to violations around COVID-19 precautions, including the one announced Thursday.

Recently, an organizer of a private gathering at a home in Saskatoon, where about 47 people attended, was fined $2,000. Another $2,000 fine was handed to a person who didn’t self-isolate, despite being positive for COVID-19.

A $10,000 penalty was given to a business that was open when restrictions were in place.

“Fines are not our first choice; we want people to be responsible and protect their health and the health of the friends, family and community,” Colleen Book said in an email.

“There can be very serious consequences for not following Public Health Orders and we are seeing increasing transmission rates in Saskatchewan and across the country as a result of social gatherings (weddings, parties etc.). This is putting our schools, businesses and health facilities at risk.”

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Saskatchewan reported five new infections on Thursday. Officials said of the more than 1,800 cases reported to date in the province, 130 are believed to be active.

There are 24 active infections of children since schools reopened earlier this month.

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