U.S. health care supply company 3M says Canada will continue to receive its N95 masks following an agreement the company made with the United States.
Speaking during his daily COVID-19 response briefing on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that they had made a deal with Minnesota-based 3M to produce 166.5 million face masks for its health-care workers.
A press statement from 3M released after Trump’s announcement confirmed that both Canada and Latin America would continue to receive respirators.
Coronavirus outbreak: Trump says deal reached with 3M for 55.5 million face masks per month
“3M will import 166.5 million respirators over the next three months primarily from its manufacturing facility in China, starting in April,” read press release.
“The Administration is committed to working to address and remove export and regulatory restrictions to enable this plan. The plan will also enable 3M to continue sending U.S. produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, where 3M is the primary source of supply.”
Coronavirus: Ontario struggles to get masks from U.S.
The announcement comes on the heels of several disputes between Canada and the United States over their supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Last week, 3M released a statement in response to a Trump administration order to stop exporting N95 respirators to Canada and Latin America.
And earlier on Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that around three to four million medical masks ordered from 3M were blocked at the border on Sunday. Ford later clarified that 500,000 of those masks were now being released to Ontario.
In a tweet Monday night, Ford responded to 3M’s announcement to continue sending masks across the border.
“I am very pleased that a resolution has been reached between 3M and the U.S. administration. I want to thank 3M and officials on both sides of the border for their support to ensure Canada’s continued access to vital PPE,” read his tweet.
“We are stronger together.”
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says they expect equipment shipments from U.S. to be delivered
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to confirm on Monday whether the shipment to Ontario was blocked, instead saying that Canadian officials were in talks with the U.S. over the situation.
“We are working very closely with all provinces and monitoring the levels of personal protective equipment and the challenges they’re facing,” said Trudeau while speaking to reporters outside of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.
“We continue to have productive and positive conversations with the United States, emphasizing for them that health-care supplies and workers across the border are very much a two-way street.”
During his COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Trump said that the deal would end the “3M saga” happily.
“Because of my actions under the DPA, I can also announce today that we’ve reached an agreement with — a very amicable agreement — with 3M for the delivery of an additional 55.5 million high-quality face masks each month,” Trump said.
“So that we’re going to be getting over the next couple of months 166.5 million masks for our frontline health-care workers, so the 3M saga ends very happily.”
— With files from Amanda Connolly
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Should everyone be tested for COVID-19? Most Canadians think so, poll shows – CTV News
Experts say widespread testing for COVID-19 is one of the most effective defences against a second wave of infections, a measure most Canadians support according to a recent poll.
More than three in five Canadians say they are in favour of testing every Canadian for the novel coronavirus, according to a Nanos Research poll commissioned by CTV News.
The random survey of 1,009 Canadians, which took place between May 26 and 28, revealed that 28 per cent of respondents support and 33 per cent somewhat support widespread testing measures, while more than one in three opposed the idea.
Polling data shows that residents of Atlantic Canada and Ontario have a higher intensity of support for universal testing than residents in Western Canada.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, provinces are working to expand their testing criteria to include people with very mild or even abnormal COVID-19 symptoms, an effort Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says will help spot possible community cases that would otherwise go undetected.
Officials are also working to roll out the country’s first antibody test as rapidly as possible to help determine how much of the population may have been infected.
But some provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, have routinely fallen behind their diagnostic targets. The criteria for who can get tested also ranges widely between each province.
Nanos polling also shows that Canadians are more likely to say they are confident that there will be a vaccine available to fight COVID-19 within the next 12 months. However, four in ten respondents are not confident in that timeline.
Tam has noted that officials are working to understand how administering an eventual vaccine would be prioritized to certain segments of the population while considering “the maximum number of Canadians who may wish to be vaccinated.”
MOST CANADIANS HAPPY WITH PROVINCIAL RESPONSE
According to the poll, more than three in five Canadians are confident that their public health authorities have an accurate count of the number of COVID-19 cases in their province.
However, Ontario residents were less confident in the province’s data, with the majority of respondents doubting the official case count.
Ontario, one of the hardest hit provinces, has had several instances of reporting errors since the beginning of the outbreak.
On Thursday, the province recorded a spike in the number of deaths due to COVID-19 after days of relatively lower numbers. However, officials said the increase may have been due to a lag in reporting from local public health units. This comes just days after officials revealed nearly 500 COVID-19 patients were not flagged to local public health agencies for contact tracing due to a reporting error.
When it comes to the economic ramifications of the outbreak, nearly eight in ten Canadians say the opening up of the economy in their province is being done in a safe (33 per cent) or somewhat safe (46 per cent) way.
Residents in B.C. and Atlantic Canada were the most confident in the safety measures being taken to reopen the economy.
However, when asked which approach Canada should take to opening its border with the U.S., 40 per cent of Canadians say Canada should keep the border closed to non-essential traffic until the end of the summer. Thirty-one per cent say Canada should keep the border closed until there is a vaccine.
Twenty per cent of Canadians say the border should open to non-essential traffic once businesses are allowed to open, even if social distancing is still in place, with residents of the Prairies the most likely to be in favour of reopening.
Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,009 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between May 26 and April 28, 2020. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online.
The margin of error this survey is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The research was commissioned by CTV News and was conducted by Nanos Research.
Canadians living in China watch developments in Meng case closely – CTV News
Canadian teacher Christopher Maclure remembers the first time he felt afraid living in China.
Almost all the newspapers there carried stories about how angry Chinese officials were when Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained by Canadian authorities in Vancouver at the behest of the United States.
But it wasn’t until a few days later when the two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, were arrested by China that Maclure felt fear.
“That’s when I got really scared,” he said in a phone interview from China where he has lived for more than two decades. “It was the top news story in China.”
Meng has been held in Canada since December 2018. She’s out on bail while fighting extradition to the United States on fraud charges. Last week, her lawyers’ first round of arguments was thrown out by a B.C. judge, meaning the case continues.
Nine days after Meng’s arrest, Chinese authorities sent Kovrig, an ex-diplomat working for the International Crisis Group, and Spavor, an entrepreneur who did business in North Korea, to prison. They are accused of violating China’s national security interests, but Canadian argues the men have been “arbitrarily detained.”
Maclure said his family was quite worried while these events played out and their fears were renewed when the B.C. court ruled against Meng last week.
But Maclure said he has felt safer in China than in any country in the West, he said.
“Everything is on camera here. It provides me with a sense of security,” he said. “And I speak Chinese quite well.”
Maclure said he censors what he says on WeChat, a Chinese social media site.
“Being a teacher … I’m sometimes a little paranoid that I’d be a person to detain,” he said. “We have a saying in China that when it’s all the same the tallest tree gets the most wind. It means the more you express your opinion, the more critical you are, the more likely you are to get cut down.”
Myriam Larouche, a Quebec woman who is a graduate student in China, said she’s not worried about being affected by the Meng case. Larouche is in Canada now, but she plans to return to China once flights resume and school starts.
Larouche said she had “some concerns” when she heard the two Canadians were arrested, but “I asked some friends and they said ‘No, no you don’t have to be worried.’ “
Global Affairs Canada said there are currently 12,885 Canadian citizens in China who have voluntarily registered with the department.
Ottawa is “aware” of 118 Canadians currently in custody in greater China with the most common charges being drug-related and fraud.
A court in southern China handed down a death penalty to a Canadian in April of last year on drug charges. In a separate drug smuggling case, China sentenced Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death in a sudden retrial in January — one month after Kovrig and Spavor were detained.
Wayne Duplessis had been living in China for more than two decades prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and said he hopes to go back.
He remembers reading about the arrests of Meng, Kovrig and Spavor.
“A friend contacted me a couple of days after (Kovrig and Spavor were arrested) and said, ‘are you concerned?’ I guess there was a brief moment when I thought ‘should I be concerned?’ “
But that passed, Duplessis said.
He said he and his family have been treated well in China and people there have a lot of respect for Canada.
“By and large I never feel uncomfortable about this. It seems very much unrelated to us.”
Duplessis said he feels badly for Spavor and Kovrig.
“I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in custody for more than 500 days — even one day. Terrifying,” he said
Canadians living in China can stay in touch with the embassy and cultivate “good working relationships locally,” he said.
“I hope this is a blip and I hope that things get cleared.”
But people can’t be ruled by their fears, he added.
“We have to move forward or we just don’t get anywhere. So, you try to be as cautious as you can, you try to understand the risks — there’s no sense in being foolish about it — but we do have to move forward.
“We do have to build our lives.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2020.
Strains from Europe and Eastern Canada account for most COVID-19 cases in B.C., genomic data shows – CBC.ca
Strains traced to Europe and Eastern Canada are by far the largest source of COVID-19 infections in B.C., according to new modelling presented by the provincial government Thursday.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry revealed the results of genomic tracing of different strains of the virus, showing that of those samples that have been sequenced, early cases linked to travel from China and Iran appear to have been well contained, leading to relatively few other infections.
But beginning in March, with an outbreak that began with the Pacific Dental Conference in Vancouver, infections with strains from Eastern Canada and Europe spiked dramatically.
“One of the people that we knew was positive and had attended that conference had previously been in Germany during his incubation period before he became ill,” Henry said.
Strains traced to Washington state have also been linked to a large number of cases, particularly in long-term care homes in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
Henry explained that this kind of tracing is possible because the genome of the virus changes relatively quickly, but not as fast as diseases like influenza.
She also announced nine new confirmed cases of the virus on Thursday, for a total of 2,632 to date. No new deaths have been recorded, leaving B.C.’s total at 166.
The new cases announced Thursday include four people who have already recovered, people that Henry described as epidemiologically linked to previous patients who have tested positive.
This means these four people were close contacts of known cases and developed symptoms of COVID-19, but may not have had access to testing at the time.
There are currently 26 people in hospital, including six in intensive care. To date, 2,265 people have recovered from their illnesses, and there are now 201 active cases across the province.
Meanwhile, there has been a new community outbreak at the Beresford Warming Centre in Burnaby, where three people have tested positive for the virus.
Richmond has lowest caseload in Lower Mainland
For the first time, Henry also provided more detailed geographic data about COVID-19 cases in B.C., breaking them down by the 16 health service delivery areas.
The numbers show that in the Lower Mainland, Richmond has had the lowest percentage of cases, with just 444 per million residents, compared to 832 in Vancouver, 911 on the North Shore, and 1,241 cases per million in the area from Abbotsford to Hope in Fraser Health.
The numbers also show that Richmond had no new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks of May, the only part of the Lower Mainland where that was the case.
As well, 83 per cent of B.C.’s new cases in the last two weeks of May were in just two health delivery areas — Fraser East and Fraser South.
In the rest of the province, the only sub-region with a significantly higher percentage of COVID-19 cases was north Vancouver Island (comprising areas north of Qualicum Beach), with 483 cases per million residents compared to 92 cases in central Vancouver Island and 112 cases in south Vancouver Island.
Men account for more deaths and hospitalizations
The figures presented by Henry also show a trend that has been noted in most other parts of the world.
While slightly more women and girls have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C., men and boys have been much more likely to have serious cases of the disease.
About two-thirds of COVID-19 patients who have been hospitalized were male — a proportion similar to those in intensive care and those who have died.
“We’ve talked about the biological reasons why this might be, but we do not have all the answers yet,” Henry said.
Meanwhile, people over the age of 70 are much more likely to die from the virus, even though people between the ages of 30 and 60 account for the majority of infections.
Other data presented Thursday suggest that since businesses and services began reopening on May 19, British Columbians have managed to keep their social contacts to between 30 and 40 per cent of what they were before the pandemic.
“That’s what we want to see,” Henry said.
She also said that modelling suggests that the partial reopening of schools that began on June 1 should have minimal impact on the spread of the virus, as long as adults maintain social distancing and those who are ill commit to self-isolating.
B.C. is now testing between 1,500 and 2,000 people for COVID-19 every day, and the percentage of those tests coming back positive has fallen in recent weeks. Anyone with symptoms can now get tested, and Henry said the province has the capacity to ramp up the testing rate if necessary.
If the curve of infection remains relatively flat, Henry said, she is hopeful that travel within B.C. will be safe by late June or early July.
If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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