The first Tatjana Dunn heard about an active COVID-19 case in her Calgary condo building was via an email from her landlord on June 10.
Her landlord was notified by the building’s management company the previous day.
Then, more than a week later, her friends started sending her messages: her 25-storey highrise building was in the news.
“I was fearful that I had exposed my friends and loved ones to the virus unknowingly, also a little bit afraid of the building,” Dunn said.
Alberta Health Services officially declared an outbreak at The Verve, a condo building in the city’s East Village, on June 22, according to a statement from a spokesperson. As of Saturday there were 40 COVID-19 cases — 31 active and nine recovered. Three people were in hospital as of Thursday.
Dunn is confused about how the virus spread through her building and feels the highrise and its residents have been unfairly stigmatized.
From what Dunn has seen, the building’s common spaces are clean and protocols are in place to ensure people enter and leave the building safely.
Amenities are shut down, a lounge where people would normally gather is closed and all the furniture has been removed, and Dunn said staff throughout the building wear masks.
“Maybe somebody had a gathering they know they weren’t supposed to have,” she said.
The 288-unit building includes retail on the ground floor. Those living in the five-floor podium base have a separate entryway and elevator from those living in the tower.
Dunn said she and her housemate are looking for answers and have questions for AHS.
“I would ask them which floors were affected, and if there’s any patterns or clusters to be aware of within specific locations in the building. I’d also really want to know if there’s anybody who has come forward about a gathering or something like that,” she said. “Because there’s been nothing noted, anything is an option.”
Most cases have no known exposure
Much of what Dunn is looking to find out is under investigation.
Most of the cases have no known exposure and no clear link with other people in the building, that AHS officials have found. The investigation is trying to track whether there were person-to-person transmissions, and investigators are also looking at surface spread.
AHS said investigators will be on site looking at high-touch surfaces as a potential source of transmission and plan to do environmental sampling this week — which includes testing air, surfaces and water.
Health Canada has said close contact between people is the most common way the novel coronavirus is spread, and it’s not yet known how long the virus persists on different surfaces.
We’re just going to continue to stay diligent.-Tatjana Dunn, resident of Verve in Calgary
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, first mentioned the outbreak in her June 19 update. At that time, she said a highrise building in Calgary had 12 cases. She didn’t name the building.
A week later she urged the importance of not stigmatizing a location or specific group of people because it’s critical that those who come forward and get tested doesn’t suffer negative consequences and continue to cooperate with officials.
“Every measure that needs to be taken to prevent spread is being undertaken,” Hinshaw said. “Alberta Health Services is working with that group of people and getting a lot of support from that building management group.
AHS said when an increase in cases in the building was identified, public health inspectors visited the site to inspect food establishments and housing areas.
“Appropriate measures to reduce transmission were already in place at that time, including enhanced cleaning practices, and no concerning lapses in procedure were identified,” the emailed statement read.
The management company, FirstService Residential, has kept residents up to date with numerous emails, which CBC News has reviewed. Building management held a town hall this week for residents of Verve, and another one is planned for this week. Onsite testing has also been made available.
Dunn said she lined up and got her negative results quickly, though she noticed many in the line didn’t wear a mask.
Close friends of hers have also tested negative.
“We’re just going to continue to stay diligent,” she said. “Continuing to follow the recommended protocols of frequently washing our hands, wearing masks, limiting those in your home and how often we are in public spaces.”
Newfoundland and Labrador premier tries to allay border fears – The Telegram
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —
Local Journalism Iniative Reporter
As controversy continues to swirl around the prospect of opening Canada’s domestic borders, Newfoundland and Labrador’s premier and health minister are striving to allay fears.
On Wednesday, the premier fielded questions about a date that was tossed out last month around the same time the province announced it was joining an Atlantic bubble.
The opening of Atlantic regional borders, which allows permanent residents of all four provinces to travel freely without self-isolating, took effect July 3.
But Dwight Ball said a proposed opening of all provincial borders on July 17 has not been part of recent discussions.
“We know that around the province right now there’s considerable fear in opening up those borders,” he said this week. “We recognize from a Newfoundland and Labrador perspective that the areas that will line up and have more travellers come into our province would be from provinces like Alberta, provinces like Ontario.”
However, he said there has been talk lately about when, or even if, that may happen.
“First and foremost, I can assure people in Newfoundland and Labrador, it will be the safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that will be the priority and will be what will influence the decision made by all of us before we ease any more travel restrictions.”
Ban not total
Ball also touched on a common misconception about travel into and out of the province since a travel ban was implemented on May 15. At least 8,000 exemptions have been granted to non-residents, for a variety of reasons. That doesn’t include the fact that residents are free to travel outside the province and return again.
“Keep in mind we have a lot of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that leave the province and go visit families in Alberta and Ontario and other places,” he said. “They can leave. There’s no restriction on leaving. The restriction is when they come back.”
Any person arriving from outside the Atlantic bubble, including those who’ve passed through the region from elsewhere, are still required to self-isolate for 14 days.
The premier also clarified that five new cases in P.E.I. last weekend stemmed from a U.S. citizen who had arrived legally in Halifax and was picked up by family members from P.E.I. The island province turned him back at its border, so he returned to self-isolate in Halifax. Another P.E.I. resident was confirmed positive on Thursday, stemming from the same cluster.
“I think the officials within all of the Maritime provinces — New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. — will clearly say and articulate that what happened with this traveller was not at all connected to the Atlantic bubble,” Ball said.
New Brunswick also reported one new case on Thursday, stemming from travel.
Meanwhile, a nursing professor at Memorial University had some thoughts this week on the safety of flying with strangers as airlines start filling planes again.
The issue made headlines last weekend when a Halifax man decided to walk off a plane rather than fly in close quarters with passengers from outside the Atlantic bubble.
“I have mixed feelings about airplanes, and I travel a lot,” Donna Moralejo, who specializes in infection control, said in an interview.
Moralejo said the air in a plane is actually safer than most households because of built-in filtration systems. But surface contacts must be avoided, and close proximity means masks are essential.
“It’s probably not as unsafe as it sounds, given the airflow, but it’s less than ideal, especially on longer flights,” she said.
Peter Jackson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering health for The Telegram.
4 thriller objects spotted in deep room, compared with nearly anything at any time seen – haveeruonline
LiveScience.com documented on Thursday that the highly circular objects that appear vibrant alongside the edges had been found when astronomers reviewed archival info from radio telescopes in Australia and India.
Kristine Spekkens, an astronomer from the Royal Military services College or university of Canada and Queen’s College, told the science internet site that the objects look to be a little something not nevertheless probed.
“It could also be that these are an extension of earlier known course of objects that we have not been in a position to discover,” she claimed. Researchers have referred to the objects as ORCs, or “odd radio circles.”
The Australian astronomers in the study noted that the objects ended up uncovered though functioning on the Evolutionary Map of the Universe Pilot, an all-sky continuum study, working with a square kilometer array pathfinder telescope.
The objects ended up described as circular, “edge-brightened discs.” They do not “correspond to any recognized style of object.” Two of them are reasonably close together, which could point out some relation. Two also attribute “an optical galaxy in the vicinity of the center of the radio emission.”
“We speculate that they could represent a spherical shock wave from an more-galactic transient occasion, or the outflow, or a remnant, from a radio galaxy considered finish-on,” the experts wrote.
The scholarly papers ended up posted on Arxiv.org.
The paper lists a several possible explanations but dismisses them. They theorized that it could be a supernova remnant, galactic planetary nebula or a deal with-on star-forming galaxy or ring galaxy.
The face-on star-forming galaxy principle, for case in point, was dashed, in part, owing to the “lack of measurable optical emission” in comparison to the radio emission.
Astronomers just spotted something in space that they can't explain – BGR – BGR
- Astronomers have spotted a new class of radio objects in space that has never been documented before.
- The researchers ruled out most possible explanations but a few remain, including that the signals are the leftover remnants of some cosmic event.
- In a new research paper, the scientists offer their best guesses, but can’t say for certain what they saw.
When astronomers used high-powered telescopes to peer deep into space they never know what they might find, but generally speaking, they know what they’re looking at once they see it. Finding a totally new class of unidentified object is rare, but that’s just what researchers using the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder telescope found while scanning the skies for radio signatures.
The team of scientists found four strange objects that they describe as “circular edge-brightened discs” which don’t correspond to any known object in the records. The team has named them ORCs, short for “odd radio circles,” and they’re eager to learn more about them.
As LiveScience reports, the researchers were quickly able to dismiss some possible explanations, such as newborn galaxies, nebulas, or supernovas. They even considered whether the strange objects might just be imaging artifacts, but were able to also rule that out. They’re a real mystery, but the researchers have other theories they can neither prove nor disprove at this point. One such explanation is that the rings are what remains of some massive explosive event far away in space.
What makes ORCs so hard to pin an explanation on is the fact that while they are visible in radio wavelengths they can’t be seen using visible light or even infrared. They appear to be purely radio signals, but their uniform shape suggests that the signal may be radiating out from a central point, supporting the idea that the circles are cosmic shockwaves spreading into space.
Still, even if that theory holds water, researchers still don’t know what caused them, how old they are, or what might happen to them in the future. They’re believed to be extragalactic, meaning that they’re not located within the Milky Way, but the team can’t say for certain how far away these strange signals are.
“We have discovered, to the best of our knowledge, a new class of radio-astronomical object, consisting of a circular disc, which in some cases is limb-brightened, and sometimes contains a galaxy at its center. None of the known types of radio object seems able to explain it,” the researchers write. “We, therefore, consider it likely that the ORCs represent a new type of object found in radioastronomy images. The edge-brightening in some ORCs suggests that this circular image may represent a spherical object, which in turn suggests a spherical wave from some transient event.”
It’s all pretty exciting, but we may have to wait a while before astronomers figure out exactly what they’re looking at.
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