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As COVID-19 cases tick upwards, Dr. Bonnie Henry urges B.C. not to let our sacrifices go to waste – CBC.ca

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B.C.’s provincial health officer says recent increases in the number of new COVID-19 cases being confirmed each day is an expected result of people opening up their social circles and spending more time outside the home.

On Tuesday, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 13 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing B.C.’s total to 3,128 to date. That follows a weekend when 62 new cases were confirmed.

“We’ve had more than we’re used to seeing in the last few days. This is not unexpected,” Henry acknowledged in her daily briefing.

Still, she said she was distressed to see one day recently when there were 25 new cases of the virus.

“That’s way above my comfort zone,” Henry said.

She added that everyone needs to recommit to socializing with only a small number of people in larger spaces — preferably outside.

Tuesday’s update included no new deaths from COVID-19, leaving the total deaths to date at 189.

There are 209 people with active cases of the illness, of whom 14 are in hospital, including five in intensive care.

‘We have sacrificed a lot’

Henry said that when B.C. began implementing measures to prevent the spread of the virus back in March, she had some hope that health officials around the world would be able to stop COVID-19 in its tracks, but those hopes have been dashed.

Watch | Dr. Bonnie Henry says we still need to keep our circles small so health officials can do timely contact tracing:

Dr. Bonny Henry says seeing the number of new cases of COVID-19 go above 20 per day is ‘above her comfort zone,’ but understandable due to relaxing restrictions. 1:14

While the virus continues to circulate in the community, B.C. will continue to see new cases, Henry said, but it’s up to each individual to make efforts to keep infections at manageable levels to protect the vulnerable and so that public health workers can trace the contacts of each person who falls ill.

“We were able to flatten the curve, but what that means is we’ve been grumbling along at 10, 15, 20 [new cases a day] in the last little while. As we start doing more, and having more contacts, that’s our reality now,” she said.

“That’s going to be our reality, in my opinion, for the next months until we have an effective treatment or vaccine.”

Henry said “we have sacrificed a lot in British Columbia” over the last few months of the pandemic, and it’s important not to undo all that hard work.

In response to questions about multiple recent potential exposure events over 12 days in bars and restaurants in Kelowna’s downtown and waterfront areas, Henry said she’s spoken to people who work in the restaurant industry across B.C. about their concerns.

“It’s a very challenging situation,” she said.

She’s particularly concerned about stories that suggest large groups of people are visiting restaurants together, taking up multiple tables and then hopping between them, rather than sticking to groups of six or fewer. Henry said table-hopping puts staff at risk, and is not acceptable.

Watch: Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about working with restaurants and bars to make closed spaces safer:

Provincial health officer says banning indoor dining altogether “just drives things underground.” 1:37

Henry also addressed an outbreak at Krazy Cherry Fruit Co. in the Okanagan, where at least two people have tested positive for COVID-19. She said food is not a source of transmission for the virus, but it’s always wise to wash fruit thoroughly before eating.

There are no new outbreaks in the health-care system, leaving two active outbreaks in long-term care and one in an acute care unit of a hospital. To date, 399 residents and 252 staff at these facilities have tested positive.

‘The worst downturn’

Earlier Tuesday, the provincial government announced it is forecasting a $12.5 billion deficit due to the pandemic.

Finance Minister Carole James said it could be “the worst downturn experienced in our province in recent history.”

Yet support for Premier Horgan remains high, according to an Insights West poll. Horgan’s approval rating now sits at 68 per cent, which is 17 points higher than seven months ago.

Also on Tuesday, CBC News learned the agreement to restrict travel across the Canada-U.S. border will be extended into August. The agreement, which has to be reviewed each month, was set to expire on July 21.

Henry said Tuesday that she doesn’t expect it to be safe to have visitors from outside the country any time soon, especially as the U.S. continues to experience record-breaking numbers of new infections.

But Health Minister Adrian Dix offered a reminder that the pandemic is a problem everywhere, not just south of the border.

“We can absolutely in no way be smug about this question,” he said.

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COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says, amid rising numbers – CFJC Today Kamloops

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Her assessment comes as case counts continued to soar in numerous provinces.

Quebec set a new single-day record with 1,480 new infections today as the provincial death toll crossed the 7,000 threshold.

Ontario, meanwhile, logged case numbers just shy of Friday’s one-day record as it reported 1,822 new diagnoses in the past 24 hours.

Case numbers also jumped sharply in Manitoba where officials recorded 487 new infections and 10 new deaths.

Among those who died was a boy under the age of 10, officials said, though they offered no other details.

Figures from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador show more modest increases of four and two cases, respectively.

“If we continue on the current pace, our longer range models continue to forecast significant increases in daily case counts and estimate that there could be up to 10,000 cases reported daily by mid-December,” Tam said in a statement. “Right now, we have a window of opportunity to act collectively together with public health authorities to bring the infection rate down to a safer trajectory.”

Tam redoubled her calls for Canadians to heed public health advice, limit their social interactions and practice physical distancing in a bid to bring surging case counts under control.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Sunday, Nov. 29 – CBC.ca

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Recent developments:

What’s the latest?

Ottawa reported 46 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday and one new death.

Ottawa Public Health reduced the city’s overall death toll by one, however, after an investigation revealed that two earlier COVID-19 deaths could no longer be tied to the virus.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) says it supports the province’s decision to dispatch education and enforcement teams to the region to ensure businesses are following COVID-19 protocols.

The teams will show up in the EOHU later this week, although the head of the chamber of commerce in Cornwall, Ont., says businesses aren’t to blame for spreading COVID-19.

In western Quebec, public health officials recorded 33 new cases Saturday and one new death.

How many cases are there?

As of Saturday, 8,379 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa. There are 309 known active cases, 7,698 cases now considered resolved and 372 people who have died of COVID-19.

Public health officials have reported more than 13,700 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 12,300 resolved cases.

Ninety people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 80 in western Quebec. 

CBC Ottawa is profiling those who’ve died of COVID-19. If you’d like to share your loved one’s story, please get in touch.

What can I do?

Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with, or one other home if people live alone, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Ontario says this will apply through December’s holidays, with people who live away from home such as post-secondary students asked to reduce close contacts for 10 to 14 days before going back.

Quebec has shared what it will take to have at most two small holiday gatherings next month. Rules won’t be loosened until mid-January at the earliest.

Travel from one region to another discouraged throughout the Outaouais.

WATCH: Vanier BIA head urges people to shop local this holiday season

Nathalie Carrier, executive director of the Vanier BIA, is asking residents to support local businesses this holiday season to help those shops stay afloat during the pandemic. 0:48

Ontario says people shouldn’t travel to a lower-level region from a higher one and some lower-level health units want residents to stay put to curb the spread.

Ottawa is currently in the orange zone of the provincial pandemic scale, which allows organized gatherings and restaurants, gyms and theatres to bring people inside.

Ottawa’s medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches, has said Ottawa’s situation is stable and people should focus on managing risks and taking precautions, such as seeing a few friends outside at a distance, to bring the spread down further.

Communities in the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) and Eastern Ontario health units are under yellow zone restrictions, while the Hastings Prince Edward region will enter the zone just after midnight tonight.

That means restaurant hours, table limits and rules around capacity fall somewhere between those in place in Ottawa and the rest of eastern Ontario, which is currently green, the lowest level.

In Gatineau and the surrounding area, which is one of Quebec’s red zones, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it’s essential.

There is no indoor dining at restaurants and gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.

The rest of western Quebec is orange, which allows private gatherings of up to six people and organized ones up to 25 — more in seated venues.

A sign at the Mont Ste-Marie ski hill east of Kazabazua, Que., reminds skiers to abide by COVID-19 rules on Nov. 26, 2020. The ski hill, located in one of the province’s orange zones, opened this weekend. (Christian Milette/Radio-Canada)

What about schools?

There have been about 200 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:

Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there’s a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.

Distancing and isolating

The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air.

People can be contagious without symptoms.

This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don’t live with — even with a mask on.

Ontario has abandoned its concept of social circles.

Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and should be worn outdoors when people can’t distance from others. Three-layer non-medical masks with a filter are recommended.

A pedestrian in a mask walks by a sign telling people to wear masks in Ottawa’s ByWard Market because of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-November 2020. (David Richard/Radio-Canada)

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who’ve been ordered to do so by their local public health unit. The duration depends on the circumstances in both Ontario and Quebec.

Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. 

Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. 

Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.

If you have severe symptoms, call 911.

Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic and resources are available to help.

Where to get tested

In eastern Ontario:

Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.

Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you’ve been told to by your health unit or the province.

People without symptoms, but who are part of the province’s targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.

Ottawa has nine permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.

Kingston’s test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. The area’s other site is in Napanee.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile test site visiting smaller communities.

People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.

Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.

In western Quebec:

Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.

Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.

They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.

There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.

Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis:

Akwesasne has had its most known COVID-19 cases of the pandemic this month, with 22 and counting in its Ontario portion and more on the American side of the border. Its council is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel.

Akwesasne schools and its Tsi Snaihne Child Care Centre are temporarily closed to in-person learning. It has a COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.

Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who’s been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte reported its first confirmed case this month.

People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. 

Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.

Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.

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COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says, amid rising numbers – CANOE

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Article content continued

The Saskatchewan suspension applies to hockey and curling leagues and dance studios.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority posted notices Saturday of COVID-19 exposure risks at curling and recreation centres at Christopher Lake and Shellbrook. Those curling or socializing at either of the two facilities last month must self-isolate for 14 days, the health authority said.

In British Columbia, Fraser Health announced the closure of an elementary school in Surrey after confirming 16 COVID-19 cases.

Newton Elementary School will close for two weeks, said Fraser Health.

B.C. reported a daily record of 911 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province will update its numbers Monday.

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People must continue to practise physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home as much as possible, said a newly appointed member of B.C. Premier John Horgan’s cabinet.

“I just think it’s important for us to be thoughtful and caring, but at the same time it’s critical that people follow the rules because it’s vital to be able to keep our schools open and keep as many of our business open as possible,” said Ravi Kahlon, whose ministry includes economic recovery.

Figures from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador show more modest increases of four and two cases, respectively.

Prince Edward Island reported two new COVID-19 cases, but they involved young males aged 10 and 19.

There were 14 new cases in Nova Scotia and five COVID-19 cases in Nunavut.

Tam redoubled her calls for Canadians to heed public health advice, limit their social interactions and practice physical distancing in a bid to bring surging case counts under control.

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