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Etches unconcerned by 1-day spike in COVID-19 cases – CBC.ca

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Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged 91 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the highest single-day rise since late October, but the city’s medical officer of health says she remains confident the city’s heading in the right direction.

The news comes on a day when Ontario broke yet another one-day record, though Ottawa’s share remains proportionally small.

I’m encouraged by the numbers we’re seeing, and you should be too.– Dr. Vera Etches

Ottawa’s latest cases are split evenly between people over and under age 40. OPH has declared 85 more cases resolved, and reported one more death from COVID-19. 

Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches told reporters Thursday that she doesn’t read too much into a one-day spike in cases, but instead looks at weekly trends. The number of active cases in Ottawa continues to decline week over week.

“I’m encouraged by the numbers we’re seeing, and you should be too,” Etches said. 

Still, there’s “work to do,” she said. There’s been no decline either in the number of patients being treated in hospital for COVID-19, or in COVID-19 levels in Ottawa’s wastewater, at a time of year that’s particularly risky for transmission, Etches said.

“Right now we’re needing everyone to do their part because we’re heading into the fall where there’s more contact potentially indoors,” she said. 

Etches encouraged people to keep up with physical distancing and to get tested even if they have only mild symptoms such as a slight sore throat or unusual headache.

Getting tested in Ottawa is “really easy,” she said. With online booking, there are many slots available each day, and most people are in and out in about 20 minutes. Test results are normally reported within two days, she said. 

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, says optimistic news about a COVID-19 vaccine may offer hope for residents who are tired of pandemic restrictions, though loosening those measures too early would lead to a rapid rise in cases. 1:03

2 more deaths in western Quebec

A total of 7,725 Ottawa residents have now tested positive for COVID-19, including 495 known active case, 6,880 resolved cases and 350 deaths. With two more fatalities in western Quebec, the death toll in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region has now surpassed 500.

Fifty-nine patients are being treated for COVID-19 in Ottawa hospitals, including eight in intensive care.

An outbreak at The Ottawa Hospital’s General campus is over, as is another at the Ottawa Islamic School.

There are ongoing outbreaks at seven long-term care homes, five schools and three hospital wards.

Researchers checking Ottawa’s wastewater for signs of the coronavirus as another way to monitor its spread started seeing a rise around the start of the month, but say that on its own doesn’t indicate a surge is coming.

Elsewhere, the medical officer of health for the Kingston, Ont., area said that region is seeing a bump in cases, including some spillover from Toronto and Ottawa.

Kingston and the surrounding area is still classified as a green zone on Ontario’s pandemic alert scale. Dr. Kieran Moore said people should only leave the region for essential reasons.

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Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen reportedly Biden pick for Treasury Secretary – Yahoo Canada Finance

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The Canadian Press

AP source: US agency allows formal Biden transition to begin

WASHINGTON — The General Services Administration has ascertained that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from President Donald Trump’s administration.An official said Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, most recently in Michigan, which certified Biden’s victory Monday.The move clears the way for Biden aides to begin co-ordinating with federal agencies on plans for takeover on Jan. 20.THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.Pressure is increasing on President Donald Trump’s administration to authorize a formal transition process for President-elect Joe Biden as an increasing number of Republicans, national security experts and business leaders say it is time for that process to move forward.Retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who has repeatedly called for the transition to begin, released a new statement Monday saying that Trump should “put the country first” and help Biden’s administration succeed.“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” Alexander said.Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Monday called for the head of the General Services Administration to release money and staffing needed for the transition. Portman, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also said Biden should receive high-level briefings on national security and the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.Alexander and Portman, who have both aligned themselves with Trump, joined a growing number of Republican officials who in recent days have urged Trump to begin the transition immediately. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., also urged a smooth transition, saying in a statement Monday that “at some point, the 2020 election must end.”Meanwhile, more than 160 business leaders asked GSA chief Emily Murphy to immediately acknowledge Biden as president-elect and begin the transition to a new administration. “Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk,” the business letters said in an open letter to Murphy.Separately, more than 100 Republican former national security officials — including former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte — said in a statement that Trump’s refusal to concede and allow for an orderly transition “constitutes a serious threat” to America’s democratic process. The officials signing the letter worked under four Republican presidents, including Trump.The statement called on “Republican leaders — especially those in Congress — to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election.”The parade of daily statements from Republicans who are gently urging Trump to concede and move on comes as Murphy, whom he appointed, has yet to certify Biden as the winner of the presidential election, stalling the process of officially launching the transition. Trump has publicly refused to accept defeat and has launched a series of losing court battles across the country making baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and seeking to overturn the election results.Murphy missed a deadline on Monday set by House Democrats to brief lawmakers about the delay in beginning the transition, which is usually a routine step between the election and the inauguration. A spokeswoman for the GSA said that a deputy administrator would instead hold two separate briefings for House and Senate committees on Nov. 30.In response, the Democratic chairs of four committees and subcommittees said they could reschedule the meeting for Tuesday, but no later.“We cannot wait yet another week to obtain basic information about your refusal to make the ascertainment determination,” the Democrats said in a letter to Murphy. “Every additional day that is wasted is a day that the safety, health, and well-being of the American people is imperiled as the incoming Biden-Harris administration is blocked from fully preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s dire economic crisis, and our national security.”Portman said it was “only prudent” for GSA to begin the transition process immediately.”Donald Trump is our president until Jan. 20, 2021, but in the likely event that Joe Biden becomes our next president, it is in the national interest that the transition is seamless and that America is ready on Day One of a new administration for the challenges we face,” Portman wrote in an op-ed calling for the transition to begin.When Murphy ascertains that Biden won, it will free up money for the transition and clear the way for Biden’s team to begin placing transition personnel at federal agencies. Trump administration officials also say they will not give Biden the classified presidential daily briefing on intelligence matters until the GSA makes the ascertainment official.Among those signing the letter from business leaders were Jon Gray, president of the Blackstone private equity firm; Robert Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Inc.; Henry Kravis, the co-chief executive of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., another private equity giant; David Solomon, CEO at Goldman Sachs; and George H. Walker, CEO of the investment firm Neuberger Berman and a second cousin to former President George W. Bush.The renewed calls for an official transition came as Biden is building out his administration with key picks for national security and foreign policy roles. Former Secretary of State John Kerry will lead the incoming administration’s effort to combat climate change, while Alejandro Mayorkas will be nominated as homeland security secretary.Biden also plans to nominate veteran diplomat Antony Blinken as his secretary of state..Matthew Daly And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press

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Toronto and Peel Region enter lockdown for at least 28 days – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Premier Doug Ford is standing behind his government’s decision to suspend in-person shopping at all non-essential retailers in Toronto and Peel amid criticism from small business owners who say they are being unfairly singled out.

Toronto and Peel officially entered the lockdown stage of Ontario’s framework for COVID-19 restrictions at 12:01 a.m., on Monday. As a result personal care services, like barbers and salons, have been forced to close and restaurants can only do takeout and delivery.

Retail stores are also limited to curbside pickup only with some exceptions for grocers, hardware stores, corner stores and discount and big box retailers selling groceries.

Speaking with reporters during his regular briefing on Monday, Ford said that he knows it is “not fair” that some big box retailers like Walmart can continue to operate while smaller businesses have to shut down but he said it would have been a “logistical nightmare” to require large retailers to cordon off non-essential goods, as is the case under a similar order in Manitoba.

“I know this is not fair and that’s why we put the additional $300 million into supporting small businesses and took care of their property taxes, their energy costs,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can as a province but the quicker we can get through this, the quicker we can get this vaccine out there, then we can get people back and open up,

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is calling on the Progressive Conservative government to allow three customers at a time into small retail stores.

Ford, however, told reporters that he is not considering any changes to the lockdown rules at this point, much to the dismay of some retailers.

“How does it make sense to shut down the small flower store but allow people to line up at Walmart to buy a bouquet of flowers? To shut down the small independent bookseller but allow them to go to Costco, line up and buy books there? How does that help prevent COVID? Never mind how fair it is,” Dan Kelly, who is the president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, told CP24 earlier on Monday. “These rules make no sense at all.”

Kelly said that the CFIB had already forecast that 160,000 small business in Canada would close following the first wave of the pandemic and that the situation has gotten even more critical since then.

He said that something needs to be done to help shuttered retailers in Toronto and Peel and soon or more will be “toast.”

“We think we have seen a hollowing out of the retail sector but we have seen nothing compared to what will happen if they miss out on Christmas,” he warned.

Tory urges people to stay home

The province announced the added restrictions for Toronto and Peel on Friday as new cases of COVID-19 continued to surge in both jurisdictions.

In anticipation of the rules going into effect, several malls extended their hours over the weekend and there were reports of long lineups at stores.

Speaking with CP24, on Monday morning Toronto Mayor John Tory said that the strict new rules are an important, even if there is not a lot of data pointing to widespread transmission in settings like retail stores, for example.

“We don’t really know in every single case exactly where people picked up this virus, we just know it is spreading and was spreading in a fashion last week and the week before and the week before that that was clearly unacceptable in terms of the trend line we were on,” he said. “Look it is a sad day today just to see this kind of thing having to happen but again the choice was to not do these kind of things and have a much longer, much broader, much worse kind of lockdown happen latter when we had completely lost control of this thing as you have seen elsewhere in the world.”

While the lockdown will shutter a number of businesses across Toronto and Peel, schools and childcare centres will remain open as will services deemed essential like dentist offices and physiotherapists.

Several industries that were mostly brought to a halt in the spring, like film and television production and construction, are also exempt.

“I am a little bit concerned that this shutdown doesn’t focus on the largest area of spread. In Brampton our largest source of transmission is industrial settings. Our largest two sectors are transportation logistics and food processing and neither of those sectors are shut down because they are considered essential,” Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown told CP24 on Monday. “So this isn’t truly a lockdown for Brampton. Small businesses have been shut down but with the largest portion of our workforce being essential workers nothing has really changed.”

In addition to the new rules in Toronto and Peel, Durham Region and Waterloo have also been moved into the red category alongside York Region as of today. The rules for that category limit restaurants, gyms and food courts to 10 indoor patrons at a time.

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Atlantic bubble bursts as P.E.I., N.L. exit coronavirus pact – Global News

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The provincial governments of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador announced Monday morning that they are taking a break from the Atlantic bubble as COVID-19 cases rise in the region.

The two regions backed out after Nova Scotia and New Brunswick saw an increase in cases, reporting 44 and 77 active COVID-19 cases, respectively, as of Sunday.

Read more:
N.B. asks travellers from Halifax to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms

N.L. Premier Andrew Furey said the Atlantic bubble has been a source of pride for the region, but the situation has changed.

“I have made the tough decision to implement a circuit break,” Furey said.

“As your premier, as a physician and as a concerned father and citizen, I must do what I promised: protect the best interest of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

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As of Wednesday, all travellers from the Atlantic bubble to N.L. will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Non-essential travel will not be permitted.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Newfoundland and Labrador implements ‘circuit break’ from Atlantic bubble, suspends all non-essential travel'



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Coronavirus: Newfoundland and Labrador implements ‘circuit break’ from Atlantic bubble, suspends all non-essential travel


Coronavirus: Newfoundland and Labrador implements ‘circuit break’ from Atlantic bubble, suspends all non-essential travel

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King announced the province has made the same decision after talking to other Atlantic premiers over the weekend.

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As of Monday, the province is temporarily suspending all non-essential travel to and from P.E.I. for at least two weeks, King said.

King said he doesn’t think this is a step backward.

“I feel it is a proactive measure, a preventative step,” he said.

He said the decision is in the best interest of those in P.E.I., Canada’s smallest province.

“We have a health system that is strong, that is ready,” but King said the system has limitations. A COVID-19 outbreak may put pressure on the system, which could easily become overwhelmed.

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Read more:
8 new coronavirus cases reported in N.S., largest single-day increase since May

For the next two weeks, King said he will be monitoring the situation and then decide if this break needs to be extended.

In a Monday morning statement, the Nova Scotia government said the Atlantic premiers have discussed “the need for extra caution on non-essential travel in the region.”

“Some provinces may take additional measures,” the statement read.

The Atlantic bubble began in July, and this is the first time that a member has backed out.

More to come.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: New Brunswick breaks record for new COVID-19 case numbers'



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Coronavirus: New Brunswick breaks record for new COVID-19 case numbers


Coronavirus: New Brunswick breaks record for new COVID-19 case numbers

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