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Arra to require masks within 10 days in Grey-Bruce – Owen Sound Sun Times



Masks will be mandatory in Grey-Bruce in enclosed public spaces within 10 days, Dr. Ian Arra announced Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (file photo)

jpg, PO

People in Grey-Bruce will soon be required to wear masks in indoor settings where there is public interaction.

Dr. Ian Arra, the medical officer of health, said details remain to be finalized, including how enforcement would work. But there will be exemptions based on the honour system for people with conditions that prevent mask-wearing, he said.

“With reopening and less compliance, we might see more risk of transmission. And that’s why we pulled the trigger on this mandating to get that added benefit before things go to increased cases,” Arra said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

He anticipates mask use will increase after the order. According to a news release to announce the mask order, expected to be made within 10 days, there is evidence doing so decreases the transmission of the disease through respiratory droplets.

Arra stressed masks are no silver bullet, just added protection to augment the same safety practices that have been successful at limiting transmission of the virus since mid-March, such as hand-washing and physical and social distancing.

The approach will be to empower businesses with an order to create a policy requiring masks among customers and employees, with the option of asking people to leave if they don’t comply, possibly utilizing trespass laws.

It would apply to a grocery store, for example, but not the back offices of the store.

Arra said in an interview he’s inclined to consider business exemptions in cases where businesses are already employing effective measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as face shields and physical distancing, which might make mask-wearing redundant, he said.

He said he met electronically with mayors of all 17 Grey-Bruce municipalities Friday and received general agreement that an order should be issued, followed by municipal bylaws governing mask-wearing, which take longer.

He said he wants to consult more to help refine the order. If it were signed Friday, the order would provide time before people would have to comply, Arra said.

He said data and observations of public behaviour drove his decision now to require mask-wearing in places the public may gather indoors.

The epidemiological data and compliance with advice to wear a mask has remained steady, he said. But physical and social distancing compliance has fallen off.

“We have seen evidence of lower compliance with those things. And that’s expected. It’s difficult to sustain these interventions, social distancing and physical distancing for so long.”

Arra said the order is also being issued now for consistency with other jurisdictions that are also implementing mask-wearing requirements.

Before the order comes into effect, Arra said there must be ways to provide equity for all citizens, including the homeless who, without access to free masks, would be in violation of his order.

Bruce Power’s 150,000 mask donation should address that, he suggested.

* * *

A surge in requests for testing at one assessment centre from people claiming the health unit sent them concerns the medical officer of health.

Dr. Ian Arra issued a news release Tuesday featuring an example, the discovery of a case of COVID-19 on Friday, July 3 in West Grey. News of the case got around the community quickly and prompted some people to show up at an assessment centre falsely claiming the health unit told them to get tested, Arra said. Some also called the health unit or shared concerns on social media.

Arra said this was driven by anxiety. He said he issued the release to reassure the public that if they didn’t get a call from public health “it’s a good day.”

He said health unit staff effectively trace contacts of any COVID-19-infected people within 24 hours. “We asked a number of people, a handful of people, (who) needed to self-isolate, go get tested, observe for symptoms.”

Arra said it was quiet over the weekend but then Tuesday morning someone at an assessment centre said they saw 50 extra people compared to any other day, and many of them said we were sent by public health.

Arra called that “alarming, why somebody would claim that they were asked by public health to go if public health didn’t.” He didn’t know if all those who claimed public health sent them originated with the West Grey case.

He offered reassurance in the release: “If there was potential risk of transmission, full response and control is implemented. The lack of hospitalization and death shows the high success rate of our outbreak management.”

“Ontario provincial government made testing widely available to all. A person does not need to falsely claim direction from public health to access testing.”

The release said wrongly claiming the health unit sent you for testing could introduce bias in the lab data.

* * *

Just two active reported cases of COVID-19 remain in Grey-Bruce, the Grey Bruce Health Unit announced Tuesday.

There were no new cases reported in the 24 hours prior to 3:30 p.m.

In all, there have been 114 cases, 107 recovered and five cases referred to other health units. There have been zero deaths and currently no one is hospitalized for the virus. Twenty-eight health care workers working in Grey-Bruce caught the bug.

There are currently no long-term care or retirement home outbreaks of COVID-19.

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BC records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths – Fernie Free Press



From Friday to Monday B.C. recorded 131 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of active confirmed cases as of Monday (Aug. 10) to 445.

Nine of those people are battling the disease in hospital, three of whom are in critical care or intensive care, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed in a news conference Monday afternoon.

Broken down by day, 50 people tested positive for the respiratory illness Friday to Saturday, 37 on Saturday to Sunday and a further 44 on Sunday to Monday.

There have been no new deaths, leaving the total to 195 lives lost linked to the novel coronavirus.

Many of those who tested positive over the weekend were linked to prior cases, Henry said. There are currently 1,765 identified by contact tracing for being in close contact with an infected person who are self-monitoring or in touch with public health staff.

More to come.


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Manitobans to get more detailed regional breakdown of COVID-19 cases this week, says minister –



Manitobans can expect to get more details about where new COVID-19 cases are popping up by the end of the week, but it’s not yet clear how specific that information will be.

Health Minister Cameron Friesen said Monday the province will begin releasing more “nuanced” geographical breakdowns of where new cases emerge beginning later this week — a significant shift since the virus arrived in the province five months ago

Up until now, the province has generally only identified the regional health authority of new cases, occasionally offering more pointed information depending on the public health risk in those areas.

Moving forward those regions will be split down into finer zones or districts, said Friesen.

The impetus for the shift is that the province knows more now than it did in March when the coronavirus officially arrived in Manitoba, he said.

“We don’t think there’s any benefit in someone knowing that someone has COVID-19 that lives four blocks down from you or down the street, but it’s this balancing act of providing good information in a timely way to Manitobans and then of course on the other side making sure there isn’t a negative effect from over-identification.”

Another change that’s on the way is linked to hard-hit communities, said Manitoba’s chief public health officer.

Dr. Brent Roussin suggested that if things get out of control, certain communities in particular could see a return to past restrictions.

“As we move forward our approach is to not have widespread restrictions, take a much more surgical approach as any restrictions are required,” said Dr. Brent Roussin.

He said health officials don’t yet have anything too specific in mind. He didn’t share a possible timeline for region-specific restrictions. 

But Roussin made the comments Monday after announcing 16 new cases and addressing a cluster in Brandon that has soared to at least 64.

COVID-19 cases in Manitoba have shifted from prevalence in the Winnipeg health region in April (illustrated by the red dots) to the Prairie Mountain Health (yellow) and Southern Health (blue) regions. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

Most of the active cases are in Prairie Mountain and Southern health regions.

There are early signs of community spread in Brandon, which is when health officials are unable to confirm where someone got the virus, but most of the clusters cases have a known source, he said.

That’s why Brandon hasn’t been hit with restrictions — yet.

“We’re certainly talking about Brandon where we see this cluster,” he said. “That area should be taking extra caution.”

Roussin acknowledged increasing enforcement is an option but he would prefer to see businesses, organizations and individual take actions now to prevent that.

“By messaging, by things that Manitobans have learned, this is our opportunity to live with the virus, not shut things down,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be necessary to have to enforce these things to protect the health of Manitobans, but we will.”

The red bars illustrate the daily number of active cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

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B.C. records 131 new COVID-19 cases over three days, as active cases surge past 400 – Global News



Health officials reported 131 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. over the past three days and no new deaths.

There were 50 cases from Friday to Saturday, 37 cases Saturday to Sunday, and 44 from Sunday to Monday.

The number of active cases in the province jumped from 386 on Friday to 445, an increase of just over 15 per cent.

B.C. health officials to provide latest on COVD-19 curve

B.C. health officials to provide latest on COVD-19 curve

There are 4,065 confirmed cases of the disease in B.C. Of those, 3,425 patients have fully recovered, or about 84 per cent.

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B.C.’s death toll from COVID-19 remains at 195 as the province has not recorded a death related to the virus since July 31.

Nine COVID-19 patients are in hospital, a decrease of two since Friday. Three of those patients are in intensive care, a decrease of one.

The province says 1,765 people are in self-isolation.

Health officials have repeatedly warned B.C. residents as more COVID-19 cases emerge from large social gatherings.

Three Vancouver police officers and two Vancouver police patrols are in isolation after breaking up an out-of-control party with more than 100 people attending, Ralph Kaisers, president of the Vancouver Police Union, said on social media on Friday.

Global BC political panel: August 9

Global BC political panel: August 9

Kaisers told Global News the party took place in an apartment in downtown Vancouver in late July.

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Between 16 to 20 officers are in self-isolation as a result, Kaisers said.

In addition, hundreds of people are now self-isolating following a house party in North Vancouver.

“The numbers of contacts related to that are in the 400 range,” B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Thursday.

People under the age of 40 make up a disproportionately large number of coronavirus cases in the Okanagan and throughout the wider Interior Health region, according to statistics from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Read more:
People under 40 make up half of coronavirus cases in B.C.’s Interior Health

Forty-seven per cent of diagnosed cases in the Interior Health region involve people aged 20 to 40, compared to a provincial average of 34 per cent for the same age demographic.

The rise in coronavirus cases among young people is related to private parties in and around Kelowna, B.C., over the Canada Day long weekend, health officials have said.

The news conference at 3 p.m. will be carried live on BC1, on our website, the Global BC Facebook page and CKNW.

— With files from Amy Judd and Shelby Thom

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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