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Biden vows to unite America and Ragu exits Canada; In The News for Aug. 21 – CKPGToday.ca

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The federal and Ontario governments are each kicking in $23.3 million to help increase production capacity at the plant.

A provincial government official confirmed the masks are to be used to meet private sector, provincial, and North American market demand throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Ford has repeatedly said that Ontario needs to ramp up production of personal protective equipment given the experience early in the COVID-19 crisis, when Canada was scrambling in a global competition for a limited supply of masks and other equipment.

The prized N95 masks, used by frontline health care workers, were in particularly short supply. 

Also this …

An evacuation order for a fire in the southern interior of British Columbia has been rescinded while other areas are still seeing raging blazes.

Kim Wright, southeast fire centre information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, says the Solomon Mountain wildfire is under control.

The fire about four kilometres north of Beaverdell had prompted an evacuation alert by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

However, the Doctor Creek fire near a village located at the southern end of Columbia Lake is now estimated to be 30 square kilometres in size.

Wright says the fire has been very aggressive partly because of the dryness of fuels in the area.

She says fighting the flames has been challenging for crews because of the steep and rocky terrain.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

Joe Biden vowed to unite an America torn by crisis and contempt Thursday night, accepting the Democratic presidential nomination and achieving a pinnacle in an unfinished quest that has spanned three decades and been marred by personal tragedy, political stumbles and more dynamic rivals.

The past hurdles fell away as Biden addressed his fellow Democrats and millions of Americans at home who he hopes will send him to the White House to replace Donald Trump – though his triumphant moment was drained of immediate drama by the coronavirus pandemic, which left him speaking to a nearly empty arena rather than a to a joyously cheering crowd.

“Here and now I give you my word, if you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us not the worst,” Biden declared. “I’ll be an ally of the light, not our darkness.”

“And make no mistake, united we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America.”

The pandemic has shaken the nation and fundamentally altered the campaign. But Biden pointed to the public health emergency and the severe economic fallout to turn traits previously seen as vulnerabilities, notably a long career spent in elected office, into an advantage by presenting himself as a competent leader in a moment that Democrats say cries out for one in the White House.

The night’s keynote address was the speech of a lifetime for Biden, who at 77 would be the oldest president ever elected if he defeats Trump in November. But his convention leaned on a younger generation earlier in the night to help energize his sprawling coalition.

What we are watching in the world …

West African leaders escalated pressure on Mali’s ruling junta late Thursday, calling on them to allow President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s return to power as the mutinous soldiers who overthrew him insisted his midnight resignation had been his own decision.

The junta behind Tuesday’s military takeover said the 75-year-old Keita was only being held at army barracks for his own protection, and denied he had been ousted in the first place.

“There was no coup d’état because the constitutional order is still in force,” junta spokesman Ismaël Wagué told The Associated Press in an interview late Thursday. “The president of the republic resigned on his own after making an analysis of the country’s situation.”

Keita was last seen by Malians late Tuesday on state broadcaster ORTM where he announced his immediate resignation and the dissolution of his government and the National Assembly. His speech came just hours after mutinous soldiers had surrounded his house and fired shots into the air before detaining him and the prime minister.

Heads of state from the regional bloc known as ECOWAS late Thursday called for the mobilizing of a standby regional military force, saying Keita must be allowed to serve out the three years left in his term after this week’s “coup attempt.” They warned that the junta was responsible for the safety of Keita and all other detained government officials.

The United Nations and France also urged a return to constitutional order in Mali, amid fears that Islamic extremists could once again gain ground amid the political upheaval, derailing more than seven years of effort to stabilize the country.

On this day in 1996 …

Mary Two Axe Earley, a Indigenous rights activist who pressured the government into changing a section of the Indian Act that discriminated against women, died at age 84.

In food news …

Sorry, spaghetti lovers: Canada has lost Ragu pasta sauce.

The American purveyor of Italian-inspired flavour says it’s made the “hard decision” to pull its products from Canadian shelves.

Ragu grabbed attention after confirming on Twitter last week it had exited the country.

Numerous queries had been made by Canadians who were left scraping their jars while waiting for stores to restock their favourite beef or tomato sauce.

The brand apologized to pasta lovers for any inconvenience, and said it hoped they enjoyed the tastes while they lasted.

The brand’s owner, Mizkan America, did not return requests for comment about why or when Ragu was removed from the Canadian market.

Ragu is warning American customers on its website that finding its sauces may be a challenge and it’s working to keep up with demand.

ICYMI …

Electric car advocates are pushing Ottawa to put more money into its zero-emission vehicle rebate program, as the popular program is on track to run out of cash more than a year ahead of schedule.

Transport Canada data obtained by The Canadian Press this week shows 75 per cent of the $300-million program has already been spoken for, just 15 months into its three-year mandate.

The rebate, which provides up to $5,000 back on the purchase or lease of a new battery vehicle, or a battery-gasoline hybrid one, began May 1, 2019, and was supposed to run until April 30, 2022.

But as of July 31, more than $225 million had been paid out to 53,510 drivers.

“It’s no surprise to me,” says Daniel Breton, president of Electric Mobility Canada, a non-profit agency pushing for the electrification of transportation.

Electric car sales, as a share of overall vehicle purchases, have steadily grown from two per cent of all sales in 2018 to three per cent last year, and to almost four per cent in the first three months of 2020.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 21, 2020

The Canadian Press

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Leaked document reveals Ontario's plan to avoid another COVID-19 lockdown – CBC.ca

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Ontario wants to avoid imposing lockdown-style measures to combat a second wave of COVID-19, but is prepared to take “targeted action” such as closing certain higher-risk businesses, CBC News has learned. 

CBC News obtained a copy of Ontario’s fall pandemic preparedness plan, still in draft form even as Premier Doug Ford’s government is in the midst of announcing some of its elements.

The 21-page draft, provided by a government source this week, acknowledges the recent upsurge in new COVID-19 cases, and lays out three possible scenarios of what the second wave could look like: small, moderate or large.

Whichever scenario plays out, the plan favours responding with targeted restrictions, rather than widespread closures or a lockdown.

“If there is a resurgence of COVID-19, either locally or province-wide, targeted action may be taken to adjust or tighten public health measures,” says the document.  

“The return to an earlier stage of provincial reopening, or even regional approaches to tightening would be avoided in favour of organization-specific or localized changes.”

CBC News asked Ford’s office on Wednesday evening for comment about the plan. A spokesperson said the document is an early draft, “which has since evolved considerably.

“It should not be considered complete,” said Ford’s director of communications, Travis Kann, in an email. “We look forward to continuing to release the full details of the final plan.” 

Ontario is currently seeing a marked upswing in infections, with the daily numbers of new cases hitting levels not seen in four months. There have been on average 386 new confirmed cases reported daily over the past week, while that figure was 337 in the final week of May. 

At that time, all regions were still in Stage 1 of the province’s reopening plan, with restaurants and bars shut. Case numbers were on a downward trend. 

The draft plan says if cases start rising “a specific workplace or organization could be closed for a period of time or have additional public health measures or restrictions applied, or a certain type of higher-risk business in a local area might be closed until trends in public health indicators improve.”

The plan commits at least $2.2 billion to the pandemic response. The biggest single item is nearly $1.4 billion on a range of public health measures, including increased capacity in testing, labs, contact tracing, and efforts to prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus.

Other dollar figures in the plan include:

  • $475 million to prepare the health system for a surge in COVID-19 cases.
  • $284 million to reduce backlogs in surgeries and other hospital procedures. 
  • $30 million to identify, manage and prevent outbreaks in schools, long-term care and other settings.
  • $28.5 million for the flu immunization campaign announced on Tuesday.

An additional $90 million is labelled “TBC” (to be confirmed) for a wage enhancement for personal support workers in home and community care. 

Premier Doug Ford has released only part of the province’s fall preparedness plan for COVID-19. He described the plan as massive, with too many elements to release all at once. The draft copy of the plan obtained by CBC News is 21 pages long. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

So far, the government has released two elements of the plan: the upcoming flu vaccination campaign and the expansion of COVID-19 testing to some pharmacies. Ford is expected to reveal more on Thursday, but the full plan was not to be rolled out for several more days. 

Parts of the plan that have not been revealed include expanding testing capacity to 50,000 tests per day, with the ability to ramp up to 100,000 tests per day as needed. The plan also says the province will adopt new testing technologies, including saliva tests and tests that can be processed at the point of care.

The document sets out some benchmarks for success in the public health response to COVID-19. The province wants the positive test rate running no higher than three per cent. It’s aiming for at least 80 per cent of all test results to be completed within 48 hours.

And it wants 90 per cent of all people who test positive for the virus to be contacted within 24 hours.    

There is mixed success with some of these measures right now. The positive test rate province-wide has averaged 1.1 per cent over the past week. The turnaround target for lab tests is currently being met only 68 per cent of the time in Toronto.      

The plan does not state any specific benchmarks to trigger tighter pandemic restrictions. The decision would be based on more than just the daily case count, says the document. The number and type of outbreaks, hospitalization data, and the input of local medical officers of health would also be factored in. 

Private clinics to help clear surgery backlog

Private medical clinics would be paid to help clear the backlog of thousands of procedures that were postponed during the spring wave of the pandemic as hospitals tried to clear space.

The Ministry of Health will address the backlog in part “through innovative channels such as the use of independent health facilities that can deliver additional publicly funded surgical and diagnostic imaging services,” says the document.

It also promises unspecified funding for additional surgeries to take place during extended hours in hospital operating rooms. 

The Ford government is committing at least $2.2 billion to responding to the second wave of COVID-19, according to a draft of its fall preparedness plan. Of that, $284 million is for reducing backlogs in surgeries and other hospital procedures. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The document says the health system is facing challenges that weren’t present during the initial spring wave of COVID-19.

Overcrowding at hospitals is one of them, as patient volumes are beginning to returning to pre-pandemic levels. Hospitals and long-term care homes now have less space for patients and residents as they have had to reduce the number of multi-bed rooms to ensure physical distancing. 

There’s also a shortage of health-care workers, particularly in home and community care, according to the plan.  

The draft document says the province will take action on what it calls “health behaviour surveillance” as part of its efforts to slow transmission of COVID-19. 

There are no dollar figures attached to this, but the document says the aim is “to track adherence to public health measures across Ontario.”

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Canada ‘on the brink’ of coronavirus surge, second wave underway in some regions: Trudeau – Global News

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Canada is “on the brink” of a coronavirus surge as many parts of the country enter a second wave.

And it’s likely Thanksgiving gatherings will be out of the question as cases spike across the country following the recent lifting of many social restrictions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging Canadians to stick to their social bubbles, wear a mask, wash their hands frequently and keep their distance from other people as the country faces down a looming second wave of the virus that has already claimed 9,238 lives.

Read more:
Trudeau dangles national childcare system in throne speech with few hints of fiscal restraint

In a speech to the nation on all major broadcasters Wednesday evening, Trudeau warned the daily case counts are already much higher than they were when the country first locked down in March.

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In Canada’s four biggest provinces, the second wave isn’t just starting, it’s already underway.

“The numbers are clear — back on March 13th when we went into lockdown there were 47 new cases of COVID-19. Yesterday alone, we had well over 1,000,” Trudeau said.

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






1:47
Coronavirus: Trudeau says 2nd wave of COVID-19 infections ‘already underway’ in 4 biggest provinces


Coronavirus: Trudeau says 2nd wave of COVID-19 infections ‘already underway’ in 4 biggest provinces

“I know this isn’t the news that any of us wanted to hear. And we can’t change today’s numbers or even tomorrow’s — those were already decided by what we did, or didn’t do, two weeks ago,” he continued.

“But what we can change is where we are in October, and into the winter. It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving, but we still have a shot at Christmas.

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“Together, we have the power to get this second wave under control.”






1:14
Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada can ‘bend the curve’ together again


Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada can ‘bend the curve’ together again

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

The televised address pre-empted regularly scheduled programming on all major networks in a rare move that was billed by the Prime Minister’s Office as an opportunity to “address Canadians directly on the urgency of fighting COVID-19 as we face down the prospect of a second wave of the virus.”

But the address — both from Trudeau and from the opposition leaders who also spoke — took on an openly political tone and touting political agenda items in the government’s throne speech.

READ MORE: More than half of Canadians think coronavirus deficit too big but split on election need

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Trudeau doubled down on a pledge to keep spending even as more than half of Canadians report concern about the size of the federal deficit, currently at $343 billion from emergency spending.

He also pointed to government commitments to build towards a national pharmacare program and highlighting the government’s pledge to go further with climate change action.






1:47
Coronavirus: Trudeau says government will keep investing to ‘shoulder debt’ over Canadians


Coronavirus: Trudeau says government will keep investing to ‘shoulder debt’ over Canadians

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole also took a highly partisan approach in his speech, which was recorded from the driveway of his home where O’Toole and his wife are in isolation after contracting the virus.

“The situation facing my family shows that we must remain extremely vigilant in our battle against the spread of COVID-19. Please be mindful of that in the weeks ahead,” O’Toole said before criticizing the government.

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“We must also be very vigilant for the future of our country. After four years of Mr. Trudeau, our country is more divided, less prosperous and less respected on the world stage,” he continued.

“Across this country, millions of Canadians have lost their jobs. Many fear losing their homes, and too many have lost hope. Mr. Trudeau says we’re all in this together but Canada has never been more divided.”






3:57
Coronavirus: Conservative leader Erin O’Toole calls for vigilance against COVID-19, criticizes Trudeau for response


Coronavirus: Conservative leader Erin O’Toole calls for vigilance against COVID-19, criticizes Trudeau for response

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, who has also tested positive for coronavirus and is in isolation, also recorded an address.

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Blanchet spoke in French and stressed his party will not support the government’s throne speech because it does not do enough to support Quebec.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also spoke and said he understands that many Canadians are feeling worried about the impact the pandemic is having on their lives and their futures.

“I know that you’re worried,” he said. “And, I know you’re seeing the numbers rising and you’re worried about a second wave. I want you to know, like we’ve done throughout this pandemic, we see you, we hear you and we’re going to keep fighting for you.”






2:30
Coronavirus: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says COVID-19 exposed problems, says action needed


Coronavirus: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says COVID-19 exposed problems, says action needed

He said the party plans to push the government to make concrete policy changes including creating a national sick leave and making sure those transitioning off the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to a new model of Employment Insurance can maintain the same level of benefit payment.

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Singh has not yet said whether he will support the throne speech.

The Trudeau Liberals need the support of at least one other party to remain in power when they put the throne speech to a vote and both the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois have ruled out voting in favour.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he was “disappointed” by the speech.

“Alberta is disappointed that instead of listening to Canada’s provinces, the federal government doubled down on policies that will kill jobs, make Canada poorer and weaken national unity,” he said in a statement Wednesday evening.

-With a file from Global News’ Hannah Jackson

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

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Canada adds 1,085 new coronavirus cases as Trudeau warns of second wave – Global News

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Canada added 1,085 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, marking the fifth day in a row the country has seen a daily increase of more than 1,000.

The new infections bring the country’s total case count to 147,612.

Health authorities also said 10 more people have died after contracting the virus.

Read more:
Canada ‘on the brink’ of coronavirus surge, second wave underway in some regions: Trudeau

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Since the pandemic began, the virus has claimed 9,244 lives in Canada.

The new cases come as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said some regions in Canada are already experiencing a second wave of the virus.

“In our four biggest provinces, the second wave isn’t just starting, it’s already underway,” he said.

Trudeau made the comments during a rare evening address.

He urged Canadians to continue abiding by the public health measures including sticking to social bubbles, wearing a mask, washing hands frequently and continuing practicing social distancing.

“Together, we have the power to get this second wave under control,” he said.






2:57
Woman waits for 7 hours to get coronavirus test at Toronto hospital


Woman waits for 7 hours to get coronavirus test at Toronto hospital

The prime minister said it is “likely” Canadians will not be able to gather for Thanksgiving, but said “we still have a shot at Christmas.”

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Ontario reported 335 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, and health officials there said three more people had died.

The new infections bring the province’s total caseload to 48,087.

Since the pandemic began Ontario has tested 3,649,980 people for COVID-19, and 41,600 have recovered after falling ill. 

In Quebec, 471 new infections were detected, and health officials said one more person had died.

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Health authorities said three more deaths which occurred between Sept. 16 and Sept. 21, bring the provincial death toll to 5,809.

Read more:
New study finds 247 people brought COVID-19 to Quebec from abroad during March break 2020

However, 59,686 people have recovered from the virus in Quebec, and health officials have conducted 2,136,088 tests to date. 

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New Brunswick added one new case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, but officials said no one else had died.

The province has seen two deaths related to the virus so far.

A total of 191 people have recovered after contracting the respiratory illness, and 71,585 tests have been administered in New Brunswick.

Nova Scotia health officials said no new cases or deaths associated with COVID-19 had occurred.

So far 1,021 people have recovered after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, and 90,124 people have been tested.

Prince Edward Island saw one new case of COVID-19, marking the province’s first new infection since Sept. 16.

The new case brings Prince Edward Island’s total caseload to 58, however, 57 of those people have recovered. 

Provincial health authorities have administered 33,196 tests for the virus. 

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Coronavirus: Researchers identify the origins of COVID-19 infections in Quebec


Coronavirus: Researchers identify the origins of COVID-19 infections in Quebec

No new cases of COVID-19 were detected in Newfoundland on Wednesday, and provincial health authorities said the death toll remained at three.

Newfoundland has not recorded a new case of the virus since Sept. 18.

So far, 268 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the province, and 38,960 tests have been conducted. 

Forty-two new infections were reported in Manitoba, and health authorities said one more person had died after testing positive for the virus.

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To date, 1,238 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the province, and 170,045 people have been tested. 

Saskatchewan reported six new cases, but health officials said the death toll in the province remained at 24.

Thus far, 176,912 people have been tested for COVID-19 and 1,673 have recovered after becoming ill.

Read more:
40 people had a BBQ at an Ottawa park. Days later 105 people are quarantined for coronavirus

Alberta recorded 143 new infections, bringing the province’s total case count to 17,032.

Health officials there said two more people had died, pushing Alberta’s death toll to 260.

However, since the pandemic began, 15,252 people have recovered from the virus. 

A total of 1,242,263 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Alberta.

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Further west in British Columbia, 86 new infections were reported, but no new deaths have occurred.

Health authorities also reported five epidemiologically-linked, meaning they have not been confirmed by a laboratory.

So far, 6,769 people who contracted COVID-19 have recovered in B.C., and 483,979 tests have been administered. 

No new cases in the territories

None of Canada’s territories reported a new case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and health officials confirmed no one else had died.

In the Northwest Territories, all five confirmed cases of the virus are considered resolved.

The territory has administered 1,673 tests for COVID-19.






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Throne speech: Payette touts coronavirus job creation, wage subsidy extension


Throne speech: Payette touts coronavirus job creation, wage subsidy extension

Meanwhile, Nunavut has seen three cases of the virus to date, however, each have been tied to workers from other parts of the country.

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The territory says the infections will be counted in the totals for the workers’ home jurisdictions, meaning Nunavut still considers itself free of COVID-19 cases.

The territory has tested 2,812 for the virus to date. 

All 15 confirmed cases of the virus in the Yukon are considered to be recovered.

Since the pandemic began, health officials have administered 59,686 tests. 

Global cases approach 32 million

COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China late last year. Since then, it has infected a total of 31,759,233 people around the world, according to a tally from John’s Hopkins University.

As of 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the virus had claimed 973,904 lives worldwide.

Read more:
Coronavirus took their lives. Here’s how their families will remember them

The United States remained the epicentre of the virus on Wednesday, with over 6.9 million confirmed cases.

So far 201,861 Americans have died after contracting COVID-19.

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

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