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COVID-19 in B.C.: New case counts remain above 850; Phase 3 vaccinations begins; 16 flight exposures; and more – Straight.com

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New case counts may be slightly lower than the weekend but they’re still extremely high, hovering not far from the 1,000 mark.

Meanwhile, B.C.’s immunization program is advancing to Phase 3 ahead of schedule tomorrow, with a new online booking system available (more details below).

Controversy arose when two Vancouver restaurants announced that they would defy provincial health orders to close all indoor dining.

In response, Vancouver Coastal Health ordered one of the establishments, Gusto in the Olympic Village, to shut down.

The president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association issued a statement to condemn the actions of these restaurant owners.

Today, the City of Vancouver temporarily suspended the business licenses for both restaurants, which includes Kitsilano’s Corduroy.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced, in a joint statement, that there were 1,889 new cases over the past two days.

From April 3 to 4, there were 999 new cases, followed by an additional 890 cases from April 4 to 5.

By region, that includes:

  • 986 new cases in Fraser Health;
  • 579 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
  • 129 in Interior Health;
  • 100 in Island Health;
  • 95 in Northern Health;
  • no one from outside of Canada.

In addition, Henry and Dix stated that the previous case counts provided on April 3 (1,018 from April 1 to 2, and 1,072 cases from April 2 and 3) and have since been adjusted to 1,074 cases from April 1 to 2 and 1,077 cases from April 2 to 3 (setting a record high for new cases in one day), for a total of 2,149 cases from April 1 to 3.

The cumulative total for the Easter long weekend was a total of 4,040 new cases over the past four time periods.

Currently, there are 8,490 active cases, which is an increase of 919 cases since April 1 (the last date that active case numbers were provided).

At the moment, there are 318 individuals hospitalized (22 more people since April 1), and 96 of those patients are in intensive care units (17 more patients since April 1).

Public health is monitoring 11,989 people for exposures to identified cases (381 more people since April 1).

Tragically, there were 23 COVID-19-related deaths over the past four time periods. That brings the total fatalities during the pandemic to 1,486 people who have died in B.C.

A cumulative total of 94,806 people (91 percent) have now recovered.

B.C. has recorded a cumulative total of 104,061 cases during the pandemic.

Since April 1, there have been 916 new variant cases, which brings the cumulative total to 3,559 cases. Of these, 588 cases are currently active.

The total includes:

  • 2,771 cases of the B117 (U.K.) variant;
  • 737 cases of the P1 (Brazil) variant;
  • 51 cases of the B1351 (South Africa) variant.

As of today, 893,590 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca-SII vaccines have been administered in B.C., and 87,472 of those are second doses.

Once again, B.C. is ahead of its vaccination schedule.

The province is now advancing to Phase 3 of its immunization plan.

People who were born in 1950 and earlier (71 years old and above) can begin booking vaccine appointments (in addition to Indigenous people who are 18 years and above, as well as those who are clinically vulnerable), starting at 8 a.m. tomorrow (April 6).

Appointments can now be booked in three ways:

  • a new online booking system;
  • by calling a provincial call centre (toll-free) at 1-833-838-2323;
  • in-person at the nearest Service BC location.
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix
Province of British Columbia

Northern Health declared an outbreak in the West Pod at Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert, where two residents have tested positive.

The good news is that there aren’t any new community outbreaks, and none of the five regional health authorities added any new public exposure events.

Sobeys added one store to its list of locations with staff who have tested positive.

At the FreshCo located at 7450 120th Street in Surrey, an employee who tested positive last worked there on April 1.

Loblaw added four locations of Real Canadian Superstore to its list of locations with staff members who tested positive, including:

  • one employee who last worked on March 22 at 7550 King George Boulevard in Surrey;
  • two employees who last worked on March 22 and 31 at 14650 104th Avenue in Surrey;
  • three employees who last worked on March 25 and 27 at 333 Seymour Boulevard in North Vancouver;
  • one employee who last worked on March 27 at 9800 Lougheed Highway in Pitt Meadows.

McDonald’s has listed five new locations with staff members who tested positive, including:

  • an employee who last worked on March 31 at 12930 96th Avenue in Surrey;
  • one employee who last worked on April 2 at 2330 Ottawa Street in Port Coquitlam;
  • one employee who last worked on April 2 at 101–1940 Oxford Connector in Port Coquitlam;
  • an employee who last worked on April 2 at 3310 15th Avenue in Prince George;
  • two employees who last worked on April 2 at 32983 South Fraser Way in Abbotsford.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added the following 16 domestic and international flights to its lists of public exposures:

  • March 23: Air Canada/Jazz 8550, Vancouver to Regina;
  • March 25: Philippine Airlines 116, Manila to Vancouver;
  • March 26: Air Canada 123, Toronto to Vancouver;
  • March 26: Air Canada 124, Vancouver to Toronto;
  • March 28: Air Canada 115, Toronto to Vancouver;
  • March 28: Air Canada 8211, Vancouver to Prince George;
  • March 29: WestJet 706, Vancouver to Toronto;
  • March 29: WestJet 139, Calgary to Vancouver;
  • March 31: Air Canada/Jazz 2279, Terrace to Vancouver;
  • March 31: Air India 185, Delhi to Vancouver;
  • March 31: Air Canada 115, Toronto to Vancouver;
  • April 1: Air Canada 234, Vancouver to Edmonton;
  • April 1: WestJet 3290, Prince George to Vancouver;
  • April 1: Air Canada 103, Toronto to Vancouver;
  • April 1: Air Canada 8413, Kelowna to Vancouver;
  • April 2: WestJet 706, Vancouver to Toronto.

Affected row information is available at the BCCDC website.

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3 Ways to Incorporate CBD Into Your Spring Wellness Plan

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Canada’s cannabis market has grown significantly since it first became legal in 2018 — when the federal government legalized the plant for recreational use. Since that time, the market has developed into a variety of avenues. From edibles to beverages and beyond, the number of legal products available continues to grow.

As spring weather takes over from the cold winter months, there is an opportunity for novice and experienced CBD users to incorporate this newly legal plant into their diets and wellness routines. Let’s take a look at three popular ways to incorporate CBD into your spring diet.

1.   Food & Drink

The food and beverages we consume have a significant impact on our overall health and wellness. The incorporation of edibles is one of the fastest-growing avenues of legal CBD production in Canada. Consumers are gravitating towards the discretionary and efficiency functions of edibles.

As more licenced businesses begin to set up shop across the country, the variety of products available shows genuine promise — whether it’s with gummies or a sweet chamomile herbal tea, this is where Canada’s entrepreneurs are shining.

The CBD properties in edibles are becoming a go-to for many consumers looking to regulate their appetites, improve muscle function, and treat mood irregularities. Incorporating CBD into your spring diet may be a gradual process, particularly if you’re new to the experience. The easiest way to experiment is with the smallest dosage recommended and gauge your body’s reaction — as time goes on, you may be able to incorporate a higher dosage into your food or drink.

2.   Improving Sleep

Developing a healthy sleep pattern is a crucial part of your mental and physical health. The conversation around CBD and improved sleep is ongoing, though it shows promise. Since CBD is a non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant, it could offer therapeutic benefits without the attached high that comes with the same plant’s THC compounds.

Oils are one of the most popular ways to incorporate CBD into a sleeping ritual — consumers can choose to add the oil directly to their skin or add a few droplets to their diffusers while they sleep. The way the CBD compound reacts to the body’s serotonin receptors and the brain’s receptors is continuously studied. Consumers can use the available research and reports to decide whether adding CBD to their nighttime routine is the right choice for their lifestyle.

3.   Fitness Routine

Incorporating CBD has been a growing fundamental practice for anyone looking to improve their physical fitness. We know CBD is one of the many chemical compounds found in cannabinoids. Still, Cannabinoids actually exist in our bodies via our endocannabinoid system — which is known to regulate various functions in our body from appetite and mood to sleep and memory.

For those looking to add a therapeutic remedy to their active lifestyle, topical CBD products could be the answer. Massage oil or body cream has the potential to improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, and aid in the recovery of soft tissue injuries.

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Rogers Communications revenue boosted by cable power

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(Reuters) -Canadian telecoms operator Rogers Communications Inc trumped first-quarter revenue estimates on Wednesday, buoyed by strong demand in its cable unit that provides internet and cloud-based services.

Total revenue rose 2% to C$3.49 billion ($2.77 billion) in the quarter, compared with analysts’ average estimate of C$3.35 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Telecom providers have benefited from a surge in demand for high-speed internet from the COVID-19 pandemic caused shift to remote working and entertainment.

Revenue from the media segment, which includes television, radio broadcasting and digital media, rose 7% to C$440 million, boosted by the return of live professional sports broadcasting.

Cable service revenue increased 5% during the quarter.

Rogers, which is looking to expand its 5G infrastructure, said in March it was buying Canadian telecom services provider Shaw Communications Inc for about C$20 billion ($16.02 billion).

However, the company’s wireless service reported a 6% drop in revenue, hit by lower roaming revenue from fresh pandemic-induced travel curbs.

Net income rose to C$361 million, or 70 Canadian cents per share, from C$352 million, or 68 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 77 Canadian cents per share, while analysts had expected 66 Canadian cents.

U.S.-listed shares of Rogers, which did not provide second-quarter forecast due to pandemic-led uncertainty, rose nearly 1% in low pre-market trading volumes.

($1 = 1.2596 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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Canadian National challenges Canadian Pacific with $33.7 billion Kansas City bid

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By Shreyasee Raj

(Reuters) -Canadian National said on Tuesday it had offered to buy Kansas City Southern railroad for about $33.7 billion, and shares of U.S. company soared as investors anticipated a potential bidding war with Canadian Pacific.

Canadian Pacific had agreed a deal to acquire Kansas City Southern for about $25 billion last month. Either combination would create a North American railway spanning the United States, Mexico and Canada as supply chains recover from being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The acquisition interest in Kansas City Southern also follows the ratification of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement last year, that removed the threat of trade tensions which had escalated under former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kansas City said it would evaluate Canadian National’s offer. If it found it could lead to a better deal, Canadian Pacific will be given the opportunity to raise its bid.

Canadian National’s cash-and-stock offer, worth $325 per share, is at a 26.8% premium to Kansas City Southern’s offer as of Monday’s trading close.

“We are surprised by this move given the healthy valuation Canadian Pacific had already offered to Kansas City Southern shareholders,” Stephens analyst Justin Long wrote in a note to clients.

Kansas City Southern shares rose 15.8% to $297.12, indicating most investors deemed it unlikely the company would stick with Canadian Pacific’s offer.

One investor that took a different view is Chilton Investment Co, which has a less than 1% stake in Kansas City Southern. Citing regulatory hurdles, it said it preferred a deal with Canadian Pacific.

“There’s more overlap with Canadian National deal which makes it harder to get (regulatory) approval. The Surface Transportation Board (STB) doesn’t like overlap,” Chilton CEO Richard Chilton said.

Canadian National CEO Jean-Jacques Ruest said his network and that of Kansas City Southern are “highly complementary networks with limited overlap.” They only run parallel for 65 miles, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Kansas City Southern has domestic and international rail operations in North America, focused on the north-south freight corridor connecting commercial and industrial markets in the central United States with industrial cities in Mexico. Calgary-based Canadian Pacific is Canada’s No. 2 railroad operator, behind Canadian National.

The STB updated its merger regulations in 2001 to introduce a requirement that Class I railways have to show a deal is in the public interest. Yet it provided an exemption to Kansas City Southern given its small size, potentially limiting the scrutiny that its acquisition will be subjected to.

Canadian Pacific agreed in its negotiations with Kansas City Southern to bear most of the risk of the deal not going through. It will buy Kansas City Southern shares and place them in an independent voting trust, insulating the acquisition target from its control until the STBLatest clears the deal. Were the STB to reject the combination, Canadian Pacific would have to sell the shares of Kansas City Southern, but the current Kansas City Southern shareholders would keep their proceeds.

Canadian National said it was willing to match these terms. It said its offer does not require approval from its own shareholders because of how much cash it has, eliminating a condition in Canadian Pacific’s offer.

Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment, which is Canadian National’s biggest investor with a 14.25% stake, said it fully supports the combination.

A private equity consortium led by Blackstone Group Inc and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) made an unsuccessful offer last year to acquire Kansas City Southern. But it was Canadian Pacific’s announcement of a deal with Kansas City Southern that spurred Canadian National into action, as it raised the prospect of losing out to its rival, according to people familiar with the matter.

(Reporting by Shreyasee Raj and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Anil D’Silva and David Gregorio)

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