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Canadians should wear masks as an 'added layer of protection,' says Tam – CBC.ca

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Canada’s chief public health officer says Canadians should wear a mask as an “added layer of protection” whenever physical distancing is not possible.

Dr. Theresa Tam provided the updated advice during her daily news conference in Ottawa today.

“For the spring and summer months, strict adherence to the public health basics of physical distancing, handwashing and cough etiquette must continue as the bare minimum,” she said.

“In addition, where COVID-19 activity is occurring, use of non-medical masks or face coverings is recommended as an added layer of protection when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. And staying home when sick is a must, always and everywhere.”

Watch: Chief Public Health Officer explains mask guideline

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, is now recommending that Canadians wear masks in public as an “added layer of protection” whenever physical distancing is not possible. 2:27

Tam said the new guideline comes as provinces begin to allow businesses and services to reopen, bringing more people out of their homes.

Asked if the recommendation should have come earlier in the pandemic emergency, Tam said public health advice has been evolving based on the science. That advice is also now responding to the fact that, with more provinces taking cautious steps toward reopening their economies, more Canadians are coming into closer proximity to one another in public.

“We need to flexibly change our measures as we get more information,” she said.

Tam said the advice coming from her office today is a “specific recommendation,” while the previous language was “more permissive.”

The position taken by Tam’s office at the start was that masks can protect others — so if someone is showing symptoms and needs to go out, they need to cover their face. As officials learned more about asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers and their potential role in transmission, the advice on masks changed.

Asked if the federal government could issue a directive to make mask-wearing in public mandatory, Tam said it remains a recommendation at the national level — but provinces and communities could make their own decisions based on local conditions.

She also warned that wearing a mask won’t protect an individual from infection on its own, and stressed that physical distancing remains fundamental.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wears a mask at a repatriation ceremony for six Canadian Armed Forces members killed in a helicopter crash off of Greece Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

PM to wear mask in public

Tam said measures to suppress the disease through the summer are essential to buy more time for research and innovation on medical therapies and vaccine development.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he has started wearing a mask in public in situations where he could be in close proximity to people.

“That’s my personal choice. I think that’s what is aligned with what public health is recommending,” he said. “I think we all need to adjust to what works in our circumstances and keep safety at the forefront of what we’re doing.”

Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his decision to wear a mask in public

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says wearing a mask is his personal choice and he wears one whenever he’s unable to keep two metres’ distance from others. 1:04

Trudeau said he will wear a mask to in-person sittings of Parliament but will remove his mask once at his desk to engage in parliamentary debate.

He was first seen wearing a mask in public during a May 6 Canadian Armed Forces repatriation ceremony.

Trudeau said again that the best measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 are to stay two metres apart, to stay at home whenever possible and to wash hands regularly and frequently.

Singh following health advice

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will be wearing a mask outside of his home “in times when physical distancing is hard or not possible,” says a statement from his office.

“From the beginning of this crisis, he had followed public health experts’ advice and will continue to do so,” says the statement.

Asked if Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is wearing a mask, a party spokesperson said: “A number of our MPs have made the personal decision to wear masks on the Hill. Conservative MPs will continue to follow public health guidelines.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not formally recommended wearing masks and has said the evidence is inconclusive on whether people who are asymptomatic should wear them.

But many experts say masks should be mandatory because they can reduce the amount of airborne droplets that can carry the virus.

Several countries, including Spain, have made wearing masks compulsory in cases where the two-metre physical distancing rule can’t be observed.

Today, Ontario’s provincial government said passengers on public transit should wear masks.

Watch: Trudeau arrives  on Parliament Hill wearing a mask

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen walking into West Block on Parliament Hill wearing a personal mask. He said his ‘personal choice’ to wear a mask in public is aligned with health recommendations. 0:23

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Coronavirus: What's happening across Canada on Friday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Canada approached 7,000 COVID-19-related deaths and the total number of cases passed 88,000 on Thursday as both Quebec and Ontario reported hundreds of new cases and New Brunswick faced a fresh outbreak linked to a health-care worker.

As of 7:30 a.m. ET Friday, Canada had 88,512 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 46,853 of them considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial data, regional information and CBC’s reporting stood at 6,963.

New Brunswick, which has been ahead of most other provinces in its reopening given its relatively low case numbers, announced a new outbreak this week in Campbellton, which is near the Quebec border in the province’s north. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, said there are a total of six cases, including a health-care worker who failed to self-isolate after travel.

The province said in a statement Thursday that the current active cases “appear to have a connection to a health-care professional who worked in the Restigouche area.”

“Based on the contact tracing and the testing that we are doing, we will see more cases,” she said Thursday. Premier Blaine Higgs, who has called the health worker “irresponsible,” said that information has been passed along to RCMP, “to determine exactly what took place and whether charges are warranted.”

Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories 

British Columbia health officials said Thursday that an outbreak at the Mission Institution, a medium security correctional facility, is over. The Correctional Service Canada reported 120 positive COVID-19 tests at the facility, with one death. Read more about what’s happening in B.C, which reported two new long-term care deaths linked to COVID-19, for a total of 164 deaths.

Alberta is allowing preschools to open as of June 1 under tighter public health guidelines. The province reported two more COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing its total to 143. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta, where there have been a total of 6,955 cases, with 6,160 considered resolved or recovered.

Saskatchewan reported two more coronavirus cases on Thursday, one in the far north and one in the Saskatoon area. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

WATCH | An infectious disease specialist answers questions about COVID-19, including whether someone who has recovered can stop physical distancing:

An infectious disease specialist answers viewer questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, including whether someone who has recovered from COVID-19 can stop physical distancing. 2:46

Manitoba reported two more cases on Thursday, bringing the provincial total of confirmed and presumptive cases to 294, with 273 considered resolved. The province, which is preparing to reopen schools for limited programming including one-on-one and small group instruction on June 1, has reported seven deaths. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

Ontario’s long-term care minister said 19 long-term care homes are still considered “red” or “high risk,” but would not say if the province will identify them publicly. “If you really look at the dynamic nature of what’s happening in our homes, our homes are shifting,” Merrilee Fullerton said, noting that their status can change daily. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government should release the list so that families can know which homes are struggling. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

WATCH | Lack of data hampers Ontario’s fight against COVID-19:

Issues continue to surround Ontario’s failure to gather and share data about COVID-19, which many say is key to controlling outbreaks. 1:44

Quebec reported 563 new COVID-19 cases and 74 new deaths on Thursday, bringing its death toll to 4,302. The province has reported a total of 49,702 cases, with 15,618 of the cases listed as resolved. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.

In New Brunswick, the threat of a growing COVID-19 outbreak forced the adjournment of the provincial legislature Thursday and delayed by a week the planned loosening of some restrictions in the province’s recovery plan. The moves came a day after officials confirmed a health-care worker who travelled outside New Brunswick had failed to self-isolate upon their return and subsequently infected other people in the Campbellton area. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.

Dr. Jennifer Russell announced three new COVID-19 cases in the Campbellton area on Thursday, bringing the province’s active case number up to six. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Nova Scotia reported two new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 1,055, with 977 considered resolved. The province has reported 59 deaths to date, with most linked back to the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.

People who live in Prince Edward Island’s long-term care homes will be able to see visitors again as of June 1. The visits will be by appointment, will have time limits and will happen outside in a bid to prevent infection, officials said. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I.

WATCH | Buying or selling a home during the pandemic — what to expect:

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed what happens when you buy or sell a house. Andrew Chang walks through what’s changed in the real estate game. 1:48

Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new coronavirus case on Thursday after going 20 days without any new cases. The case is related to travel, health officials said. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.

Nunavut, which is the only province or territory in Canada that has no confirmed COVID-19 cases, has extended its public health emergency until June 11. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said Thursday that the territory’s border won’t be reopened soon. “Right now, travel into Nunavut from outside of the territory represents the highest risk,” he said. Read more about what’s happening across the North.

Here’s what’s happening around the world

WATCH | Italians nervous as regional borders reopen:

Many Italians are concerned about the potential for more COVID-19 spread as the country reopens its borders to free travel and people start returning to workplaces. 1:58

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada on May 28 – CBC.ca

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The latest:

As Canada’s total number of COVID-19 cases climbed to more than 88,500 on Thursday, New Brunswick began ramping up testing in a region of the province where it’s feared a new cluster of three cases could grow.

At least 150 people have been exposed to a medical professional in the Campbellton region who has COVID-19 and saw multiple patients over a two-week period following his return to New Brunswick from Quebec. Gilles Lanteigne, head of the Vitalité Health Network, said those exposed include 50 health-care workers at the Campbellton Regional Hospital and 100 people in the community.

“We could see some transmission around the province,” Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, told a briefing on Thursday, adding that two of the three new cases of COVID-19 are health-care workers.

Quebec and Ontario remain the hardest-hit provinces in terms of the number of cases and the daily increases.

Innis Ingram sits chained to a tree Thursday near crosses identifying the lives lost to COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community centre in Mississauga, Ont. Ingram’s mother is inside the facility, and he says he won’t unchain himself until an inspector arrives or management from Trillium Health Partners, a hospital system serving Mississauga and west-end Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Quebec has reported 563 new cases, while Ontario has reported 383 new cases. As of 5:50 p.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 88,504 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 46,844 considered resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial health data, regional information and CBC’s reporting stood at 6,961.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said the country is seeing a “series of regional epidemics” with Quebec and Ontario experiencing the vast majority of cases and severe outbreaks.

Within those provinces, you have to home in on certain areas and offer assistance to hard-hit areas, said Tam, who praised a move by the health officials in Toronto to release more “granular data” about COVID-19 cases.

When asked about a recent decision in New Brunswick to reimpose some restrictions on one region after new cases emerged linked to a returning traveller who didn’t self-isolate, Tam said she thinks every medical officer of health agrees on the need to be “really careful” as activities resume and restrictions are lifted.

WATCH | RCMP to look into new cluster of cases in New Brunswick:

Premier Blaine Higgs says police will determine whether charges are warranted after a health-care professional with COVID-19 did not self-isolate after returning to New Brunswick from Quebec. 0:56

“I think there’s always been the message in different jurisdictions that there’s a flexibility in the public health system to reinstate or pull back on some of the measures as they see fit, based on their own epidemiologic context,” she said at a Thursday briefing.

New Brunswick had gone an extended period with no new cases, but with the new cases, it’s now rolling back the easing of some restrictions in Zone 5, an area that’s home to 25,000 people and includes the Campbellton-Dalhousie Region. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not hold his daily briefing on Thursday because he was opening a UN conference on financing issues around health and development and how they have been affected by COVID-19, including questions about liquidity and debt.

Trudeau told heads of state and government that “our citizens need to have confidence in international institutions that leave no one behind and are capable of overcoming global challenges.”

Read on for a look at what’s happening in your region, and to get the latest details on how provinces are handling the pandemic and the tentative process of lifting restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the novel virus.

Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories

British Columbia reported nine new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Thursday — including one new outbreak at Nicola Lodge, a long-term care home in Port Coquitlam — for a total of 2,558 cases in the province. There have been 164 COVID-19-related deaths in B.C., including two more in long-term care homes in the Fraser Health region.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s health officer, announced the outbreak of COVID-19 at Mission Institution, where dozens of inmates had fallen ill, has now ended. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that B.C.’s COVID-19 numbers are trending in the right direction but urged continued adherence to public health guidelines. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

Alberta reported 29 new coronavirus cases on Thursday and two new deaths. That brings the province’s total number of confirmed cases to 6,955 with 143 deaths.

On Wednesday, the province reported its lowest number of active cases since the end of March, at 679. That number was down to 652 on Thursday. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta, where health officials are investigating a possible case of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), an inflammatory syndrome associated with the novel coronavirus.

Saskatchewan announced two new cases of COVID-19, one in the province’s northern region and one in the Saskatoon area. There are now 61 active cases out of 639 cases and 568 recoveries, with four people in hospital for treatment of the disease. Ten people in the province have died of the illness. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba is on track to enter the next phase of its reopening on Monday, when it will allow restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses shuttered by COVID-19 restrictions to open with stepped-up public health measures in place.

There were two new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Thursday, bringing the province’s total to 294. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

WATCH | Brian Pallister talks about moving Manitoba into the next phase of reopening:

Premier Brian Pallister says the slow and careful Phase 2 reopening is the result of the low incidence of COVID-19 in Manitoba and the province will look closely at any resurgence in cases. 1:15

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said Thursday that he’s sick of “taking bullets” for unionized government inspectors who, he said, refused to go into the province’s long-term care homes to carry out inspections in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because of safety concerns.

WATCH | Release of COVID-19 hot spot data in Toronto can help prevent spread of coronavirus, says epidemiologist:

Dr. David Fisman says lowering infections in hot spots will help the city and province continue with reopening plans.  6:45

On Wednesday, the province announced it’s taking over the management four of the five long-term care homes that were the subject of a Canadian Armed Forces report alleging “horrific” conditions, including poor hygiene and aggressive behaviour toward residents. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

In Quebec, Premier François Legault talked more about plans to recruit and train 10,000 support staff, or orderlies, to work in long-term care homes. He said they would be full-time positions with pensions and benefits.

Provincial Justice Minister Sonia LeBel confirmed that courthouses in Quebec would reopen on June 1. She said there will be a limited number of people allowed inside, physical distancing rules and Plexiglas barriers for judges.

Many long-term care homes in Quebec are in desperate need of medical personnel and continue to struggle to bring down the number of COVID-19 infections, a military report on its mission inside the province’s seniors’ residences says. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, which has had 49,702 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

WATCH | Military reports staffing, PPE issues in Quebec long-term care homes:

The Canadian military’s report into Quebec’s long-term care homes during the COVID-19 crisis found ongoing staff shortages and issues with the use of personal protective equipment. 2:00

In New Brunswick, officials say they expect hundreds of people to be tested within the next couple of days after a new cluster of COVID-19 cases in the Campbellton region. Premier Blaine Higgs on Thursday said the development is “very concerning,” but he remains optimistic that with contact tracing, the province will be able to curb the spread of the respiratory illness. Read more about what’s happening in N.B., where the legislature, which just reopened on Monday, has been adjourned until June 9 in a bid to ensure MLAs don’t contribute to spreading the virus.

New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, both with low numbers of COVID-19, were considering a proposed interprovincial bubble that would see travel resume across the Confederation Bridge in late June or early July. Higgs, New Brunswick’s premier, told CBC News such a plan now depends on what health officials learn about the new cluster of cases in northern New Brunswick in the next couple of weeks.

Nova Scotia is set to allow more businesses to reopen next week, saying everything from restaurants and bars to gyms and personal services like hair salons can open on June 5 under enhanced public health protocols. “We are still moving slowly, but this is a good first step,” Premier Stephen McNeil said Wednesday. Read more about what’s happening in N.S., which reported two new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

Prince Edward Island’s state of emergency has been extended until June 14Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I., which has no active cases of COVID-19.

Newfoundland on Thursday reported one new case of COVID-19, ending the province’s 20-day streak of zero new cases. The Department of Health says the new case, affecting a man between 40 and 49 years old, is related to travel. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.

The chief public health officer of the Northwest Territories said she “wholeheartedly” supports the idea of people taking staycations this summer, including visits to regional hubs. But Dr. Kami Kandola said people in the territory need to “stay on our game,” as the risk associated with COVID-19 has not passed. Meanwhile, in Nunavut, the public health emergency has been extended until June 11. Nunavut is the only jurisdiction in Canada that has not had a confirmed coronavirus case. Read more about what’s happening across the North.

Here’s what’s happening around the world

The novel coronavirus, which causes an illness called COVID-19, causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. The virus labelled SARS-CoV-2 first emerged in China in late 2019, before spreading around the world.

WATCH | Why Iceland has been so successful at contact tracing:

Coronavirus contact tracing in Iceland is a collaborative effort between health-care workers and the police, creating a ‘force to be reckoned with,’ says one of the detectives in charge. 4:47

According to a Johns Hopkins University case tracking tool, as of Thursday afternoon there were more than 5.9 million coronavirus cases worldwide, with nearly 358,000 deaths reported. 

The U.S. accounts for almost 1.7 million of the cases and more than 100,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

WATCH | COVID-19: What parts of the world are big concerns right now?

A panel of experts answer questions about what’s happening with COVID-19 around the world and how it impacts Canada. 6:20

WATCH | COVID-19: What parts of the world are big concerns right now?

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Canada sees fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for 3rd consecutive day – Globalnews.ca

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For the third day in a row, the number of new coronavirus infections in Canada remained below 1,000.

But every province except for Prince Edward Island reported at least one new case on Thursday, with New Brunswick reporting a cluster of cases linked to a health-care worker who failed to self-isolate after returning from Quebec.

Canada reported 994 new cases of COVID-19 — slightly more than Wednesday’s 872 — and 112 new deaths, for a total of 88,501 cases and 6,877 deaths.

Nearly 47,000 people across the country are deemed recovered, and more than 1.6 million tests have taken place, the majority of them in Ontario and Quebec.


READ MORE:
How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

The two provinces together account for more than 86 per cent of Canada’s cases, and 94 per cent of the national death toll.

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With the exception of PEI, all the Atlantic provinces reported new cases on Thursday.






1:46
Saskatchewan company creates coronavirus decontamination unit using ozone gas


Saskatchewan company creates coronavirus decontamination unit using ozone gas

New Brunswick saw three new cases linked to a health-care worker, casting a pall on provincial reopening plans and bringing the total number of cases to 126. Zero deaths have been reported so far.

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

Premier Blaine Higgs has said the “irresponsible” health-care worker had been in contact with “multiple patients” over two weeks. The worker could be charged with violating public health orders, he added.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case, for a total of 261, including three deaths and 255 recoveries.


READ MORE:
Masks, sanitizing and vetting: How coronavirus changed home and auto repairs

Nova Scotia saw two new cases, bringing its figures to 1,055 cases. Fifty-nine people have died so far, many of them linked to a long-term care home in Halifax. More than 970 people have recovered.

Quebec saw 563 new cases and 74 new deaths. The province has seen nearly 48,000 cases, with more than 15,000 recoveries, and 4,302 deaths. Premier Francois Legault has asked the Canadian military to remain in long-term care homes till the fall.






1:51
Coronavirus: Toronto wants ability to reopen at its own speed amid COVID-19 pandemic


Coronavirus: Toronto wants ability to reopen at its own speed amid COVID-19 pandemic

Ontario announced 383 new cases — nearly 100 more than the previous day’s report — and 34 new deaths, bringing its figures to almost 26,900 cases and 2,189 deaths. More than 20,600 people are considered recovered from the virus.

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Saskatchewan and Manitoba reported two new cases each. Saskatchewan has seen 10 deaths so far and 639 cases, including nearly 570 recoveries. Seven people have died in Manitoba, which has 283 cases.

Alberta reported two new deaths and 29 new cases on Thursday. One hundred Albertans over the age of 80 have died of COVID-19 so far, out of 143 fatalities.

The province has seen close to 7,000 cases overall, including more than 6,000 recoveries.


READ MORE:
Canada facing series of regional coronavirus epidemics with distinct challenges: Tam

British Columbia reported nine new cases and two new deaths. The province also declared a major outbreak in a prison was officially over. B.C. has seen 2,558 cases — 84 per cent of them recovered — along with 164 deaths.

All cases resolved

Prince Edward Island is currently the only province without any active cases, after it declared all 27 of its cases resolved weeks ago.

The Northwest Territories and the Yukon also have no active cases, with all cases resolved for weeks now.






2:53
City of Toronto map shows COVID-19 hotspots across city


City of Toronto map shows COVID-19 hotspots across city

Nunavut remains the only region in Canada that hasn’t seen a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Worldwide

Globally, there are more than 5.8 million cases of COVID-19 around the world as of Thursday evening, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 360,000 people have died.

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The U.S. accounts for the majority of cases and deaths, with more than 1.7 million infections and more than 100,000 deaths.

— With files by The Canadian Press

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

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