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B.C. officials call for virtual Diwali celebrations as COVID cases hit new peak – Vancouver Courier

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VICTORIA — British Columbia health officials are urging residents to celebrate Diwali virtually this year, as the province reports a new daily record number of COVID-19 cases.

B.C. recorded 617 new cases on Friday, for a total of 20,985.

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Officials also reported two new COVID-19-related fatalities, bringing the province’s death toll to 290 over the course of the pandemic.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say in a joint statement that the number of cases shows it is a critical time for B.C., and residents need to work together to slow the number of infections.

They say people who would normally be gathering to celebrate the South Asian holiday of Diwali this weekend should stay home and connect virtually with family members and friends.

The plea comes a day after modelling data showed the number of cases has doubled every 13 days in the past few weeks, making it harder for contact tracers to keep up and break the chains of transmission.

“As (Thursday’s) modelling update clearly showed, this is a critical time for everyone in our province. We need to act now to protect our loved ones, our elders and our communities,” Dix and Henry said in their joint statement.

The province also announced new ticketing measures for party buses and limousines in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions on Friday.

People or companies operating the vehicles and found to be violating the provincial health order face fines of up to $2,000.

The Ministry of Public Safety said individuals found using limos or party buses would be fined up to $200.

All ticketing measures previously announced in August and September to enforce COVID-19 public safety at gatherings and events will remain in effect throughout B.C., the ministry statement said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2020.

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Prairie Harm Reduction temporarily closing due to COVID-19 case – Global News

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Prairie Harm Reduction (PHR) is temporarily closing its doors due to a coronavirus case.

The closure, which also affects the safe consumption site, will last for two weeks.

The Saskatoon-based organization posted on its Facebook page Monday morning that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

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PHR said the decision to close is the safest option.

The organization added that it allows for the quickest return to normalcy.

PHR’s safe consumption site, the first of its kind in Saskatchewan, opened its doors last month.

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1:39
Sask.’s 1st supervised consumption site opens as overdose deaths spike


Sask.’s 1st supervised consumption site opens as overdose deaths spike – Oct 1, 2020

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

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2 more New Brunswick schools confirm cases of COVID-19 – CBC.ca

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Two more schools in New Brunswick have confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to four since last week, and nine since the school year began.

Education Minister Dominic Cardy said administrators at Montgomery Street School in Fredericton and Centreville Community School, north of Hartland, issued notices to parents over the weekend.

The two schools are now working with New Brunswick Public Health to identify students and school personnel who might have been exposed to the virus.

Over the weekend, one case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Simonds High School in Saint John and another at Hampton Middle School. Harbour View High School in Saint John confirmed a possible exposure to the illness.

Students in Grade 7 at Hampton Middle School will start virtual learning this week

But public schools won’t close as they did this past spring, when COVID-19 first made an appearance in New Brunswick, Cardy told Information Morning Fredericton. Early in the pandemic, not as much was known about the coronavirus, but things are different now and such a broad shutdown of schools isn’t considered necessary.

“The goal could never be to have everything completely shut down indefinitely,” Cardy said. 

“It was always to be as safe as possible and operating as close to normally as possible.”

Cardy said there is a single COVID-19 contact at Montgomery Street School, and everyone in the school has been notified. Letters to parents have also been sent out.

“That person is being isolated. We don’t believe there’s a further risk at this time.” 

‘Don’t panic’ 

Cardy said he is trying to be as transparent as possible. And if parents haven’t received any emails from their child’s school or district, that’s a good sign.

“When you hear from Public Health … don’t panic. Just listen to what they have to say. And follow the steps.”

Cardy made it clear that  schools will move to online learning right away if there are any risks to students or if the number of cases increases. 

He said his department has been working in conjunction with Public Health, which is ” constantly looking at the data” related to COVID-19.

“We’ll be ready to move on a moment’s notice if they give us the word that we have to make a shift.”

In July, Cardy announced all high school students in New Brunswick would have to use their own electronic devices. A $7 million subsidy program to help low- and middle-income families buy computers was launched July 31. 

But Cardy also said there could be challenges with the new online system.

“Anything brand new … I’m sure there will be issues with it.”

COVID-19 in schools

Cardy said he will continue working with districts and the New Brunswick Teachers’ Union and representatives of other workers in the school system.

“Making sure those communication lines are working as smoothly as possible,” he said.

“You’ve got a lot of moving pieces here.”

More cases of COVID-19

New Brunswick officials announced six new cases of COVID-19 in the province Sunday.

The new cases bring the total of active infections in the province to 77. One person is in hospital related to the virus.

That announcement follows a significant rise in the Moncton and Saint John regions, including a single-day high for the province on Saturday when 23 cases were reported.

The Moncton and Saint John regions returned to tighter restrictions under the orange phase last week.

“We are not through COVID yet,” he said.

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Makeshift graveyard constructed outside of Alberta health minister's office – CTV Toronto

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CALGARY —
Rows of cardboard grave markers lined the grass across the street from Health Minister Tyler Shandro’s office in southwest Calgary Monday morning.

The signs, erected in the grass on the west side of Macleod Trail, criticized the province’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and placed blame on the provincial government for the recent spike in confirmed cases.

The individual or group responsible for the makeshift graveyard has not been identified.

The province announced 1,584 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, continuing Alberta’s four-day streak of establishing record highs for new case counts. Alberta’s new case count was the most amongst all provinces.

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