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Could Edmonton reopen before other parts of Alberta due to promising COVID-19 data? – Global News



COVID-19 data, along with new comments from health officials and politicians, are prompting questions about when Alberta will relaunch its economy and if some places will open sooner than others.

New COVID-19 cases in Edmonton have been declining since a peak in early April.

It is difficult to interpret a graph in the midst of drawing it, but a professor of infectious disease at the University of Alberta says the graph is nice to see.

“Our numbers are not going up fairly quickly,” said Dr. Stephanie Smith. “So I think that is encouraging. I think we can be encouraged by that.”

On March 31, Edmonton saw 39 new cases of COVID-19. For the first week of April, new cases dropped off a bit but stayed close to that March 31 peak.

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However, since then, there have only been a handful of days with new cases in the double-digits.

Calgary’s curve looks different. Cases have been trending up since the first one was discovered.

The Calgary zone is dealing with multiple outbreaks in long-term care centres and the outbreak at the Cargill meatpacking plan in High River is considered to be in the Calgary zone.

Graph shows the number of new COVID-19 cases per day since early March in the Calgary region.

Graph shows the number of new COVID-19 cases per day since early March in the Calgary region.

Even though Calgary’s numbers are significantly higher than Edmonton’s, both regions are well below case counts and deaths found in the province’s probable modelling released two weeks ago.

As encouraging as some of these numbers are, Smith says the differences between regions likely mean Alberta is not able to move towards an economic relaunch right now.

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“I think maybe we’re not quite there yet given the situation in Calgary, and we can’t really restrict movement within the province all that well,” she said.

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Still, some are wondering if it is possible to gradually reopen areas of Alberta while keeping other places closed.

Nationally, Canada’s chief public health officer says she and her provincial colleagues are working on a checklist for provinces looking to reopen.

Dr. Theresa Tam says provinces ought to “tread very carefully” but every jurisdiction will likely act differently.

READ MORE: Coronavirus outbreak: Dr. Tam says provinces must ‘tread very carefully’ when it comes to reopening the economy

“Different kinds of epidemics are going across the country,” she said. “So the timing of the measures or changes in what happens, there may be some variations on that.”

That individualized relaunch has some local businesses hoping that could mean different timelines in different parts of the provinces. Michelle Cairns owns a Snap Fitness in south Edmonton. The gym has been closed since March 17.

“[It’s been] really stressful,” she said. “The not knowing — seeing the updates day by day and not really knowing where we are, where we’re headed — it’s stressful.

“As a business owner, yes, I’d like to see things start to open sooner rather than later.”

But she has some health questions.

“How do you stop people from moving region to region,” Cairns said. “I think that the people who are antsy will go from region to region.”

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READ MORE: Alberta sees 5 more COVID-19 deaths, 1st case on First Nation

Smith isn’t sure provinces will create different rules for different cities, but she does say the health system might make some changes.

Right now, elective surgeries are cancelled across the province to free up staff and space for COVID-19 patients.

“If Edmonton continues on this path, should we restart more elective surgeries?” Smith asked.

Premier Jason Kenney also addressed when the province might start loosening the public health restrictions. He says a committee will meet this week and he expects more details on Alberta’s relaunch strategy next week.

“I know this is getting increasingly difficult for Albertans, but I do believe with the progress we’ve made, we can see light at the end of the tunnel here,” he said.

However, Kenney added Alberta won’t rush a relaunch. While the province’s efforts to fight COVID-19 appear to be succeeding, moving too soon could prove fatal.

“If we let the virus loose,” Kenney said, “we would lose the value of all the sacrifices we have made to date.”

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

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BKFC to up $20 million offer to Mike Tyson, Wanderlei Silva pitched as potential foe – MMA Fighting



Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship will next week issue another offer to Mike Tyson in hopes of bringing the 53-year-old boxing legend out of retirement.

BKFC President David Feldman told MMA Fighting the contract will exceed the $20 million offered to Tyson earlier this month, adding additional sweeteners that include charitable donations. He said he wasn’t able to provide the exact value of the contract because it’s still being finalized.

“I think I know what we need to do to make this thing happen,” Feldman said.

The race to get Tyson back into the ring has heated up ever since the former champ signaled his desire to compete again, potentially in a charity match. Several promoters, including BKFC, have jumped into the mix with million-dollar offers, and fighters from across the combat spectrum have volunteered themselves as opponents.

UFC Hall of Famers Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock were among those who expressed interest in a potential fight, regardless of the medium. On Sunday, Ortiz claimed someone close to Tyson had inquired about a potential matchup; Ortiz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Feldman said matching Tyson with “the right kind of guy” is central to BKFC’s offer, and an opponent like former PRIDE champ Wanderlei Silva, who immediately reached out to BKFC after the offer to Tyson, is right now a more desirable matchup than Ortiz.

“I didn’t offer that (to Ortiz),” Feldman said. “I don’t know that it really draws. I think a Wanderlei Silva, someone of that nature. No matter how old Silva gets, he’s dangerous, and I think that would be an intriguing matchup. Something like that, but I don’t actually have anything in mind right now.”

Ortiz most recently fought this past December, submitting Alberto Del Rio inside one round in Combate America’s inaugural pay-per-view event. The ex-UFC champ has talked up a rematch with Silva, whom he defeated in the octagon in 2000. Silva most recently fought in 2018, losing a second-round TKO to rival Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

“First, I want to see if we can make the Mike thing happen, period, and then we’ll start talking opponents,” Feldman said. “We’re not successful yet in making that Mike thing happen. But I don’t think the door’s shut.

“He did say no immediately. But I think there’s room there.”

Tyson, who retired after quitting on his stool during a 2005 boxing match against McBride, recently talked up a charity rematch with boxing rival Evander Holyfield. Retired boxer Shannon Briggs also has claimed he’s already signed an offer to fight Tyson in an exhibition match.

“There are a lot of people out there that need help, and something like that could help a lot of people, that’s in need for help,” he told TMZ.

Feldman said BKFC will restart its event promotion schedule on June 26 with enhanced safety measures in place to address the threat of the COVID-19 virus. A location has not yet been finalized.

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Cejudo retires, vacates bantamweight title – TSN



The UFC confirmed to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on Monday that Henry Cejudo is considered to be retired and has vacated the UFC bantamweight title. His name was removed from the title page and official rankings on the UFC website Sunday.

Cejudo successfully defended the bantamweight belt against Dominik Cruz at UFC 249 earlier this month and announced after the bout he was retiring.

“I really do want to walk away, but money talks,” Cejudo said at the time. “It gets stagnant. I want to leave on top.”

It is unknown if Cejudo has removed himself from the USADA drug-testing pool. If he removes himself, Cejudo would not be able to return to the UFC until he puts himself back in the pool for a period of six months.

With a 16-2 record, Cejudo had not lost since 2016 and is only the fourth person in UFC history to hold titles in two different weight classes at the same time (bantamweight and flyweight). He is currently on a six-fight winning streak, which includes victories over Cruz, Demetrious Johnson and TJ Dillashaw.

The UFC has yet to announce its plan regarding a future bantamweight title fight.  

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NHLers face new normal as league prepares to ramp up toward return to play



Before NHL players are permitted to step back inside a team facility they must first have a swab inserted roughly four centimetres into their nasal cavity.

Laboratory-based RT-PCR testing is used to detect any active or recent infection with COVID-19, and will be administered 48 hours prior.

The next stage of life in the time of the novel coronavirus for players and team staff will then include at least two more of those tests each week, plus daily temperature and symptom checks — one self-administered at home and another from medical personnel upon arrival at the facility.

All of that just to walk through the door.

You want to get on the ice? Well, there’s a pre-participation medical exam, which includes an EKG test and screening for pre-existing conditions, to be administered before that can happen.

What resonates most about the NHL’s return-to-sport protocol is how much meticulous effort will be required just to get six players working out inside the rink together, never mind what’s still to come when teams progress to training camps or actually start playing games again.

The league hopes to reopen team facilities for small-group workouts as soon as next week and has set out the requirements for doing so. The protocol distributed to teams and players early Monday leaves no detail uncovered and paints a scene unlike any that would typically play out in these buildings.

On the ice, no more than six players are allowed to participate in non-contact skates at a time. Coaches, including those for skating and skills, can’t take part (an exception will be granted for goalie coaches after the first week of training).

Off the ice, everyone must remain at least six feet apart and players are discouraged from socializing with one another. A cloth or surgical mask must be worn when entering and exiting the building and at any point where social distancing can’t be maintained. Exercise and weight room equipment is permitted for use, providing a spotter isn’t required, and players can receive individual treatment from athletic therapists and team doctors.

But they won’t be granted access to saunas, hot tubs or steam rooms and are encouraged to shower at home whenever possible.

The groups of six (or less) will remain constant and essentially be assigned a rotating shift for when they’re allowed in the facility. Where possible, teams have been told to assign a different athletic trainer, strength and conditioning coach and equipment manager to each group.

That will ensure any infection or exposure will be contained within the group and should help facilitate contact tracing.

The facility must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between each training session. That includes locker-room areas and circuit-based training equipment. Players are required to leave all workout gear inside the facility for cleaning and can only take supplements provided in single-dispense packs.

Single-use beverages or snacks such as power bars can be consumed by players inside the facility, but any meals prepared and packaged by the catering staff must be taken home before they’re eaten.

This promises to be a different experience for players who largely haven’t been back inside team facilities since the season was paused on March 12. The small-group sessions starting in early June are strictly voluntary, but they’re viewed as an important step in trying to complete a 24-team tournament for the Stanley Cup — especially for the large number of guys unable to skate during the last three months.

The detailed nature of protocols being put in place reflect how challenging it is to contain the spread of germs in a team environment, and the NHL acknowledged in its Monday memo that they “cannot mitigate all risk.”

“A range of clinical scenarios exist, from very mild to fatal outcome,” the league wrote.

Anyone who develops symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19, or shares a home with someone who does, must immediately notify the team’s medical staff. They will be isolated and provided treatment, if needed.

There could be serious consequences for any teams that don’t comply with the measures put in place by the league. Penalties include fines, loss of draft choices, and ineligibility to participate in the resumption of play.

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Edited By Harry Miller

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