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Colder weather and holidays bring new COVID-19 concerns, Tam warns – Red Deer Advocate

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OTTAWA — The fall will bring new risks in the COVID-19 pandemic along with colder weather and indoor family holiday gatherings, Canada’s chief public health officer warned Friday.

With the final long weekend of the summer season upon us, Dr. Theresa Tam said Canadians need to consider their own risk factors and the details of plans for any in-person gatherings with friends and family.

And they should be asking themselves some important questions, she said.

“Are you at high risk of developing serious complications if you become infected?” Tam asked rhetorically.

“Or if you would have to self-isolate, would this seriously disrupt your upcoming plans?”

Knowing the people you’re with does not protect you from catching the virus that causes the respiratory illness, Tam warned.

And Canadians need to consider whether people they live with are at high risk of contracting the virus, she said.

After months of dealing with the novel coronavirus, government agencies, employers and individuals understand COVID-19 better now, so the situation Canadians are facing is different from the one in the spring when the disease first began to spread widely, Tam told reporters in Ottawa.

But there is renewed concern that the number of cases could balloon out of control still.

An average of 525 COVID-19 cases a day have been reported in Canada the past week, a noticeable uptick from earlier in the summer, and schools are reopening across the country.

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford criticized hosts of backyard parties, whom he blamed for new cases in his province. Friday, Ontario reported 148 new COVID-19 infections, nearly half of them in a suburban region just west of Toronto.

Tam said contagion in private settings is a major concern now, but at the same time local health authorities will order fresh closures and reductions in public activities if they’re needed to suppress new outbreaks. Those shouldn’t be needed if people follow public health advice, she said.

British Columbia’s top doctor warned this week that there is the potential for an explosive spread of COVID-19 cases over the Labour Day long weekend.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged B.C. residents to choose smaller gatherings over larger ones over the weekend in a continuing effort to keep case numbers low.

“Choose to spend time with your household bubble instead of a group of strangers and choose to use those layers of protection wherever you go,” Henry said Thursday.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault declared Friday that the contagion was under control in his province, despite authorities there reporting more than 180 new COVID-19 infections for the second consecutive day.

Still, Legault urged Quebecers to be prudent ahead of the long weekend.

“I am asking you not to let your guard down,” he said.

Tam said downloading the government’s COVID Alert app is one way to mitigate the risks of catching and spreading the illness unknowingly although it is currently only operational in Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Quebec has said it does not plan to use the app, but announced Friday that it will launch its own alerting system.

Health Minister Christian Dube told a Montreal news conference the system will allow regions to be designated by zone, depending on the number of COVID-19 cases found in those regions.

Details of the system were to be revealed Tuesday, although Dube compared it to the warning notice boards already found in certain parks in Quebec.

As of Friday, Canada had recorded 130,834 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 9,140 deaths.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 4, 2020.

Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

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Saskatchewan officials fine person $2000 for not self-isolating while symptomatic – The Observer

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REGINA — Saskatchewan health officials have fined a person $2,000 for not self-isolating while showing symptoms of COVID-19, bringing the total amount of penalties levied in the province to more than $20,000.

The Ministry of Health has not released specific details about the recent case, except to say the penalty was imposed after a contact tracing investigation.

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“Public health is confident that all close contacts have been determined and contacted in this case,” reads a statement from the Ministry of Health.

Public health rules state people must isolate for 14 days if they return from international travel, are diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been close to someone who is positive.

Officials said the recent violation was of a section of the provincial public health order that states all symptomatic people who have been directed to get a COVID-19 test, or are awaiting their results, must isolate until they are no longer deemed a risk.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said asymptomatic people being tested are only required to self-monitor.

“As there is no further public risk, we will not be releasing additional information about this enforcement,” said the statement.

A spokeswoman said officials have issued four fines related to violations around COVID-19 precautions, including the one announced Thursday.

Recently, an organizer of a private gathering at a home in Saskatoon, where about 47 people attended, was fined $2,000. Another $2,000 fine was handed to a person who didn’t self-isolate, despite being positive for COVID-19.

A $10,000 penalty was given to a business that was open when restrictions were in place.

“Fines are not our first choice; we want people to be responsible and protect their health and the health of the friends, family and community,” Colleen Book said in an email.

“There can be very serious consequences for not following Public Health Orders and we are seeing increasing transmission rates in Saskatchewan and across the country as a result of social gatherings (weddings, parties etc.). This is putting our schools, businesses and health facilities at risk.”

Saskatchewan reported five new infections on Thursday. Officials said of the more than 1,800 cases reported to date in the province, 130 are believed to be active.

There are 24 active infections of children since schools reopened earlier this month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020

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Manitoba murder trial to continue with 11 jurors after one shows COVID-19 symptoms. – Nanaimo News NOW

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Queen’s Bench Justice Vic Toews told the jury Thursday he received advice from public health that it is safe and prudent to continue.

Toews says even if the juror tests positive, it doesn’t mean the remaining jurors would need to self-isolate given the steps taken in court, which include physical distancing.

“It is not prudent to wait any longer,” said Toews.

Moar, 23, is accused of killing Hibi at the foster home he ran for boys.

Jury trials were suspended across the country in the spring as the justice system grappled with how to handle the pandemic.

They resumed in Manitoba earlier this month with Moar’s trial.

The court put several protocols in place. Jury selections have been held in a large convention centre, there has been physical distancing in courtrooms and masks became mandatory after an employee at the Winnipeg courthouse tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Toews said Wednesday that he was optimistic that jurors would soon hear his charge in the case before beginning deliberations on a verdict. (CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020.

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Manitoba murder trial to continue with 11 jurors after one shows COVID-19 symptoms. – rdnewsnow.com

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Queen’s Bench Justice Vic Toews told the jury Thursday he received advice from public health that it is safe and prudent to continue.

Toews says even if the juror tests positive, it doesn’t mean the remaining jurors would need to self-isolate given the steps taken in court, which include physical distancing.

“It is not prudent to wait any longer,” said Toews.

Moar, 23, is accused of killing Hibi at the foster home he ran for boys.

Jury trials were suspended across the country in the spring as the justice system grappled with how to handle the pandemic.

They resumed in Manitoba earlier this month with Moar’s trial.

The court put several protocols in place. Jury selections have been held in a large convention centre, there has been physical distancing in courtrooms and masks became mandatory after an employee at the Winnipeg courthouse tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Toews said Wednesday that he was optimistic that jurors would soon hear his charge in the case before beginning deliberations on a verdict. (CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020.

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