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COVID-19: Canada's vaccine schedule 'accelerating significantly'; Ontario reports 1,185 new cases – Ottawa Citizen

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What you need to know, at a glance

  • While the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa is relatively stable, “we have had a sharp rise of COVID in our wastewater,” Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said in a city media conference Tuesday. Etches said history has shown that whenever the wastewater indicators rise, the number of people testing positive follows suit.
  • Ottawa Public Health reported 40 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and one new death
  • Ottawa’s health board chair Keith Egli implored the public to “please be kind to our case managers,” after hearing reports of resistance and even abusive behaviour towards the public health case and contact management team
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday Canada’s vaccination schedule “is accelerating significantly,” with eight million combined doses from the four Heath Canada-approved manufacturers expected to arrive before the end of March
  • Canada received one million combined doses last week and is expecting another million this week. The 500,000 doses from the recently approved AstraZeneca vaccine are being distributed to provinces and territories “as we speak,” Trudeau said
  • Ontario is reporting 1,185 new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and six related deaths Tuesday

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While the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa is relatively stable, “we have had a sharp rise of COVID in our wastewater,” Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said in a city media conference Tuesday.

Etches said history has shown that whenever the wastewater indicators rise, the number of people testing positive follows suit.

While Ottawa is currently in the orange zone of the province’s colour-coded pandemic response framework, the weekly rate of COVID-19 per 100,000 people is at 37 — not far from the red-zone threshold of 40 in the framework.

Etches also said more transmission is being observed at private gatherings and among sports teams, including those for middle-aged and older adults.

Taking questions from reporters, Etches said she’s watching the situation very carefully, “but I think the people of Ottawa are paying attention and they’re holding things together, they’re keeping things steady as she goes, because we are still hanging out in the orange, close to red,” she said.

“We’re in orange because of people’s behaviour, and we could bring it down towards yellow, that would be great, but certainly holding it away from the red is a good goal for now, and I want to thank people — you’ve heard that message to limit your close contacts. It makes a difference.”

Meanwhile, Ottawa’s health board chair Keith Egli implored members of the public to “please be kind to our case managers,” after hearing reports of resistance and even abusive behaviour towards the public health case and contact management team.

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These staff members follow up with every Ottawa resident who tests positive for COVID-19 to identify places they might have visited while contagious, to get a list of close contacts, and to share information about measures needed to prevent further spread of the virus. They also notify high-risk close contacts of confirmed cases to provide info based on the individual’s level of risk.

“This work is important to the community as a whole. OPH staff are there for you, and they have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic. Please treat them with kindness, patience and respect as they carry out their duties,” said Egli.

While it’s not the norm, Egli said he’s heard from senior OPH staff about instances where staff following up on contacts have been hung up on or yelled at.

Etches later pointed out that “we know that sometimes when things escalate to the point of abusive language, it can be a sign that people are struggling and they need more support.

“And so we do want people to understand — we get that too, this is a difficult time, many people have had very negative experiences because of COVID-19, and so there are supports available. That’s part of what we can do, is connect people to supports.”

She said staff are resilient, and OPH has taken pains to ensure they have the support needed when things escalate.

“We just can’t have an environment where this is something that’s tolerated. They’re human too, and so all of us, we just want to promote kindness and kind words.”

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Anthony Di Monte, general manager of emergency and protective services, said the city’s vaccination appointment booking line is receiving a significant number of calls from people who aren’t yet eligible to make vaccine appointments. He asked people to visit the OPH website and use the eligibility screening tool before phoning in to the booking line.

He also revealed that on the weekend, there were a couple of bars that “were not following the rules, that were going past the time, were continuing to serve individuals … Following complaints, we intervened rapidly and with the appropriate response, and there will be charges.”

The provincial framework permits bars and restaurants in orange-zone regions to sell or serve liquor only until 9 p.m. Establishments have to close at 10 p.m. and no liquor can be consumed after that time.

“Enforcement is not a solution,” Di Monte noted. “Each and every one of us have to internalize that if we want this to work. We have to follow the public health rules.”

Ottawa Public Health reported 40 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and one new death.

There have now been 15,207 cases in Ottawa and 444 related deaths.

There are currently 512 active cases in the city, a number that has remained relatively flat in recent weeks.

There are 27 patients in hospital and two in ICU.

Ottawa remains in the Orange (Restrict) zone of the provincial framework, and while key indicators had been trending in the wrong direction, there have been some encouraging signs in local data released in recent days.

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Ottawa’s daily test positivity was 1.4 per cent on Monday, well below the weekly average of 2.2 per cent.

That weekly rate must remain below 2.4 per cent to remain in Orange.

Ottawa’s weekly average rate of infection is 36.8 cases per 100,000 population, down slightly from 37.9 on Monday. That rate must remain under 40 cases per 100,000 population to remain in Orange.

The R(t) number — another key indicator measuring the secondary cases generated by a single confirmed COVID-19 infection — must be between 1.0 and 1.1 to remain in Orange.

Ottawa’s R(t) number had approached that Red (Control) threshold in recent days with a 1.08 score on Monday, but that has since receded to an average 1.04 weekly score as of Tuesday.

Any number above 1.0 indicates the virus is spreading in the community, while any score under 1.0 indicates the spread is coming under control.

Updated vaccination numbers were not immediately available Tuesday, and as of the latest count, Ottawa had administered 63,576 of the 71,180 doses it had received.

Meanwhile, a staff member who last worked at the city’s Dempsey physical distancing centre on March 5 has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a memo from Community and Social Services GM Donna Gray, the centre is now in outbreak mode and not accepting new referrals. Another physical distancing centre on Nicholas Street “continues to accept a limited number of new referrals for men and women based on the ability to safely separate within the facility,” said Gray.

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The city’s website directs those looking for placement at the Nicholas centre to call 311, then dial 4, for Social Services.

Federal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday Canada’s vaccination schedule “is accelerating significantly,” with eight million combined doses from the four Heath Canada-approved manufacturers expected to arrive before the end of March.

Canada received one million combined doses last week and is expecting another million this week. The 500,000 doses from the recently approved AstraZeneca vaccine are being distributed to provinces and territories “as we speak,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau was vague, however, on the timeline for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to begin flowing into Canada.

Trudeau said government officials have had “many conversations” with the manufacturer, who have expressed some “challenges around the production” of the vaccine.

“We look forward to receiving those doses as soon as possible,” Trudeau said, and the government will release the delivery schedule once those details are known.

Approaching the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaration of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Canada is designating the March 11 date as a National Day of Observance.

Trudeau joined other officials in mourning the more than 22,000 Canadians who have died from COVID-19.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said she felt a “mix of emotions” reflecting on the week ahead, with a sense of “solemn remembrance” while saying “it is clear our work is not done.”

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There have been more than 890,000 total COVID cases across Canada. There are now more than 30,300 active cases in the country, and an average of 2,900 new cases and 37 deaths each day over the past week.

There are more than 2,080 Canadians in hospital with 550 in critical care.

Provincial

Ontario is reporting 1,185 new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and six related deaths Tuesday.

There have been 311,112 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic and Ontario’s death toll is 7,083. Another 972 cases were resolved in the previous 24 hours, and of Ontario’s total case count, 292,806 are now considered resolved.

There was a steep increase in hospital admissions in the past 24 hours and there are now 689 patients in Ontario hospitals (there were 626 people in hospital as of Monday), with 290 in intensive care and of those, 184 requiring a ventilator.

The provincial test positivity rate continues to climb, with 33,264 tests conducted in the previous 24 hours at a 3.7 per cent positivity rate, showing a steady rise from last week’s low of 2.1 per cent.

The majority of Ontario’s cases continue to be identified in the Greater Toronto Area, with 343 new cases in Toronto, 235 in Peel and 105 in York region Tuesday.

There were 45 new cases in Ottawa, according to provincial data.

There are often discrepancies between Ontario’s daily case counts and those logged by local public health units. Ottawa Public Health pulls local data and reports the numbers around 12:30 p.m. each day. OPH says its data is typically the most up-to-date.

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New cases continue to rise in surrounding regions, with 10 new cases in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, two in Hastings, one in Kingston, three in Renfrew County and seven new cases in Leeds, Grenville & Lanark.

Provincial officials are also tracking the spread of variants of concern, though no new cases involving variants have been identified in Ottawa or surrounding regions.

There were 29 new cases of the B.1.1.7 variant identified in Ontario on Tuesday, and there are now 908 confirmed cases involving that strain.

There were no new cases of B.1.351, and there remain 39 known cases of that strain; and no new cases of P.1, with 17 known cases of that strain in the province.

There remain eight known cases of B.1.1.7 and two known cases of B.1.351 in Ottawa.

On the vaccination front, another 31,047 vaccine doses were administered, and Ontario has administered a total 943,533 doses, with 276,193 Ontarians now fully immunized.

The province announced it reached a “key milestone” this week in the vaccine rollout to remote and isolated Indigenous communities, with teams now having visited all 31 fly-in northern communities. Moosonee will offer first doses as part of Operation Remote Immunity.

Vaccines are being administered to residents of First Nations elder care homes and Indigenous communities in remote areas, who face a disproportionate risk from the virus, the province said in a statement. The communities have few health-care facilities and resources, the province said, making the risk of COVID-19 “potentially devastating.”

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As of the latest update, 15,324 doses have been administered so far, including 12,660 first doses and 2,664 second doses.

COVID-19 BY THE NUMBERS

Ontario

1,185: New confirmed cases

311,112: Total cases

6: New deaths

7,083: Total deaths

689: Currently in hospital

290: Currently in ICU

184: On a ventilator

31,047: Vaccine doses administered the previous day

943,533: Total doses administered

276,193: People fully vaccinated

Ottawa

40: New confirmed cases

15,207: Total cases

1: New deaths

444: Total deaths

27: In hospital

2: In ICU

36.8: Weekly COVID rate per 100,000 population

2.2 per cent: Weekly test positivity percentage (excluding LTC)

1.04: Estimated R(t), seven-day average

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Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon

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Few can argue that digital payment methods aren’t central to modern-day society. In recent times, increasing numbers of payment solutions have come to the forefront, offering consumers more choice regarding their transaction preferences. Canada, in particular, has embraced a wide-ranging selection of secure, forward-thinking options. Of those available throughout the country, Interac has piqued the interests of local consumers the most. So, let’s look at why this payment solution is an especially popular option throughout Canada. 

Usable Across Various Markets 

It speaks volumes about Interac’s versatility in that it’s usable across a variety of different industries. Since being founded in 1984, the Canadian interbank network has become integral to numerous markets, including local air travel. Air Canada, which has been operating since 1937, has expanded their accepted payment methods, and now passengers can pay for their flights using Interac. According to the airline’s official website, the Interac Online service lets consumers pay for their tickets via the internet directly from their bank account. 

Not only that, but Interac is also available at Walmart. In November 2020, the two organizations partnered together to expand in-store and online payment options. Walmart has adapted well to the digital trend, with American Banker reporting that they’ve opened Interac Flash sale points throughout their stores. 


Source: Unsplash

Aside from the above, Interac has also taken the digital world by storm. Following its rapid rise to prominence, the solution has also altered the online casino industry, with platforms like Genesis Casino now accepting the transaction type. The provider, which features Interac Canadian casino options, uses the popular payment method to enhance transaction speeds of deposits and withdrawals, as well as security. Players can use Interac Online and Interac e-Transfer to make deposits or withdrawals from their desktops or mobiles as the platform is fully optimized. 

A Reflection of Modern-Day Society 

In recent times, Interac recorded a 55 percent increase in transactions between April and August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year, as per BNN Bloomberg. These figures somewhat reflect the current state of e-Commerce and modern consumerism. Following the rise of Interac and other payment methods, it’s now less troublesome for consumers to complete in-store and online purchases. 


Source: PxHere

There’s an ever-growing perception that land-based businesses need to adapt within the digital era and accept forward-thinking payment methods. According to Cision, Interac is of utmost importance to the Canadian economy, and a year-on-year increase in Interac Debit payments of 333 percent reflects that. Not only that, but Interac e-Transfer payments are growing at 52 percent each year. This Interac-oriented trend appears unlikely to fade over the coming years, with the network being selected as the country’s provider for a new real-time payment system, as per Lexology. 

Consumer Habits are Changing 

There can be no doubt that consumerism has changed drastically over the past decade. The popularity of Interac suggests that a cashless future may be on the horizon, with increasing numbers of shoppers enjoying the security of online payment methods. While it’s currently unclear if that will happen, Interac appears to be prevalent for the long run.

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Your Education and Certificates Need to Align the Job Requirements

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After your professional experience, your education/certifications (verified skills) will be the next section on your resume the reader will use to judge whether you go into the “to be interviewed” pile. 

Many job seekers apply to job postings knowing they don’t have the education/certification requirements. They believe their “experience” will compensate. With so many highly qualified job seekers now on the job market this is rarely the case. If your education/certifications align with the job requirements, the education section of your resume will play a critical part in setting you apart from all the “spray and pray” job seekers.

Suppose a job posting for a Director of Finance lists as a qualification “Canadian Accounting Designation (CPA).” You have a university degree and 15 years of experience managing a mid-size company’s finances, but no CPA—don’t bother applying. Job postings generate an influx of applicants. Undoubtedly there’ll be many applicants who possess a CPA applying. There’s also the employer’s ATS to consider, which likely has been programmed to scan for “CPA.”  

Education background information you should provide:

  • Degree/certification obtained 
  • School’s name
  • Location of school
  • Period of attendance
  • Relevant coursework
  • Honors, academic recognition, extracurricular activities, or organizations participation worth mentioning

When it comes to presenting your educational background keep your ego in check. You may have impressive education background; however, it may not be impressive for the job you’re vying for. Prioritize relevancy over perceived prestige.

Here’s my suggestion how to present your education/certificates (there’s no hard formatting rule):

BS Biomedical Science

University of Calgary, Calgary, AB — 09/1992 – 06/1996

Courses:

  • Principles of Human Genetics
  • Organismal Biology
  • Principles and Mechanisms of Pharmacology
  • Advanced Bioinformatics

PMP® Certification

Ryerson University Continuing Education, Toronto, ON — 10/2001 – 04/2003

Courses:

  • Planning and Scheduling
  • Leadership in Project Management
  • Project Cost and Procurement Management
  • Project Risk and Quality Management

As I’ve pointed out in previous columns— there’s no universal hiring methodology. No two hiring managers assess candidates the same way. Depending on the job requirements respective employers search for different things when it comes to a candidate’s education. Read the qualifications in the job posting carefully. Then present your education/credentials accordingly. Don’t hesitate to add/remove courses to better tie in your education towards the job. It’s for this reason I suggest you list courses, not just your degree/certification. Listing of courses is rarely done, doing so will give your resume a competitive advantage.

You’ll have noticed my examples indicated start and end dates. Many “career experts” advise against this. The thinking being dates, even just the graduation year, will give employer’s a sense of your age, which if your over 45 can hinder and prolong your job search. This advice is supposed to be a workaround to ageism. However, these same “career experts” unanimously agree employment dates (month/year) need to be indicated. To me, this is a mixed message.    

I believe in complete transparency from both sides of the hiring process. Full transparency ensures the likelihood of there being a solid fit for both parties. At some point, whether when the employer checks your digital footprint or interviews you, your interviewer will have a good indication of your age. Besides, not mentioning dates, which I call “obvious” information, is a red flag. 

If your age is a deal-breaker with an employer, they aren’t the employer for you. The job search advice I give most often: Seek employers who’ll most likely accept you, where you’ll feel you belong—look for your tribe.

Some professions, such as finance or healthcare, require specific certifications or degrees. In such cases, show you have the necessary “must-have” (a deal-breaker if you don’t) credentials by placing your education at the top of the page just below your contact information before your professional experience.

One last note: Often overlooked is education in progress. If relevant, this should be included in your resume. In this case, list pertinent courses and the month/year you intend to graduate.

Using suggestions in this and previous columns you are now able to create a resume that “WOWs.” Next week, I’m going to begin discussing cover letters. Yes, many hiring managers, like myself, do read cover letters, which have one purpose—to give the reader a reason to read your resume.

______________________________________________________________

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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4 Simple Reasons Why Doing Business With the Right Safety Equipment Supplier Matters

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photo of woman writing on tablet computer while using laptop

As a business owner, you know the value of working with suppliers that offer what your operation needs. With many options to consider, it can take some effort on your part to find the right industrial safety equipment supplier and set up an account. If you need some incentive to choose one supplier that’s right for you, consider these reasons

One-Stop Shopping For What You Need

You have plenty of things to do each day. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to compare the pricing that different suppliers charge for things that you need. Your best bet is to do the research up front and identify the supplier that has all of the industrial safety supplies that you use while providing reasonable unit pricing.

Instead of spending an hour or more checking multiple sources, you make one call or submit one online order to the supplier that you’ve already vetted. The time that you save can be spent taking care of other important tasks.

Items are Always in Stock

Competitive pricing is great, but it doesn’t help a lot when the items you need to buy are out of stock. While this is likely to happen from time to time, it should not be a common occurrence. What you need is a supplier who has strict procedures in place for restocking whenever the number of units available reaches a minimum level.

This type of vendor will ensure that the odds of not being able to fill a customer order immediately are somewhere between slim and none. That’s good news, since you don’t want a lack of essential industrial safety products to interfere with your ability to take care of your customers in a timely manner.

Only the Highest Quality is Available

Price does matter, but it’s not the only consideration. When you look for a vendor who offers the type of industrial safety equipment and supplies that you need, pay close attention to the quality. Ideally, you want to spend money on items that do more than meet the minimum requirements in your area. Those products should exceed the minimum and offer your team more benefits.

One of the more important is effectiveness and the impact on safety. You do want the safety supplies and equipment to work quickly while also limiting the potential for damage to the property. They should also minimize the risk to your employees. The right supplier will offer products that provide you with all of these benefits.

And Your Orders Arrive in a Timely Manner

A supplier who offers multiple options for delivery times is exactly what you need. There will be times when standard shipping that comes with a three or four day delivery is fine. You may also have a need for something to be delivered by the following business day. That would call for expedited shipping.

Whatever your need, it helps to work with a supplier who can process your orders and have them delivered in the time frame you desire. This can be especially important if a recent event exhausted one or more of the products you use for industrial fire safety and need to replace them without any delays.

Take an inventory of what the type and quantity of fire safety supplies and equipment you keep on hand. Check with a quality supplier like HerbertWilliams.com and see what’s available. Your likely to find the pricing as well as the shipping options will be just what your business needs.
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