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Experts caution against fear as CDC says coronavirus can spread through air – WKOW

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MADISON (WKOW) — After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines indicating coronavirus can spread through the air, experts said people shouldn’t be alarmed.

“This should not instill fear,” Tim Bertram said Saturday. Bertram researches aerosol particles at UW-Madison and is an air quality expert.

Airborne transmission of the virus happens through small particles that can spread beyond the six-foot distance often cited by scientists. That distance protects against respiratory droplets, which are the most common source of COVID-19 spread.

Airborne transmission is also tricky because the virus can linger.

“These viruses are very small particles, and they can stay in the air for more than 30 minutes, maybe even several hours,” infectious diseases expert Ajay Sethi said.

Though the virus can exist in the air for a while. Bertram said airborne transmission isn’t very likely in short interactions between people.

“It’s not necessarily something you’re thinking about when you’re just passing someone in a grocery store and you might still be six feet apart,” he said. “It’s the environment when you’re sitting in a conference room with 10 or 15 people for an hour.”

In situations like that, particularly if there is poor ventilation, virus particles build up in the air, which can lead to transmission.

Bertram said he often explains airborne transmission as being similar to being around someone who is smoking.

“You know you don’t want to stand right next to that person smoking because that’s where you’re going to inhale the most smoke,” he said. “But if you’re standing in the corner of the room, you’re still going to kind of smell it, and maybe it’s okay if you’re there for a few minutes, but you wouldn’t want to hang out there for a super long time.”

Bertram said good ventilation is a key element in avoiding airborne transmission, so outdoor spaces reduce the risk of viral spread.

However, Sethi said an even better bet is avoiding contact with others as much as possible.

“In Wisconsin, where we have a really high incidence of COVID right now, the chance that you’re going to come across somebody who’s carrying the virus is much higher today than it was in the middle of summer when we were doing a little better,” he said.

Sethi said airborne transmission can be tied to superspreader events, like choir rehearsals, weddings and parties.

He said people should be careful in the coming weeks and months to avoid unintentionally creating superspreader events.

“The Packers are doing really well, and I’m sure there are a lot of people watching games together,” he said. “During the holidays we celebrate, people are tempted to host gatherings. All of those things are going to facilitate transmission.”

Both Bertram and Sethi said existing COVID-19 precautions like wearing masks, avoiding indoor gatherings, good hand hygiene and maintaining social distancing will help mitigate possible airborne transmission.

“If they take those precautions, then they’re covered,” Sethi said. “They’re safe.”

As the pandemic presses on, scientists continue to learn about the coronavirus. Bertram said this increasing knowledge is good.

“The more we lean about this, the better it prepares us to be able to come up with strategies to reduce transmission,” he said. “It enables us to make the best decisions, and it enables us not to be afraid of being able to go out and do things if we can take the best precautions as we go forward.”

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11 things to do in Calgary this week: October 26 to 29 | Listed – Daily Hive

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Things are warming up in Calgary this Halloween week.

Whether its scaring yourself silly at a haunted house, picking out the perfect pumpkin, or simply exploring some of the city’s newest, coolest spots, we’ve got some suggestions to jumpstart your weekend plans.

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Go Skiing at Mount Norquay

While it may have meant an early end to fall, the snowfall Alberta has been seeing over the past week hasn’t been all bad.

The early arrival of winter has also meant that Alberta’s local ski hills have been seeing plenty of the white stuff, so much so that Mount Norquay has opened early this season.

Check out any of these brand new Calgary restaurants

New Calgary restaurants? Our three favourite words.

There is a lot of chowing down for us to do in Calgary, and these spots make our to-eat lists longer than ever.

Just opened, opening soon, or newly reopened, here are all the new delicious Calgary restaurants to try this month.

Check out The World’s Largest Dinosaur in Drumheller

Touted as the World’s Largest Dinosaur, the enterable attraction that is a must-visit for anyone hitting up the Royal Tyrell Museum officially turned 20 on October 13.

As part of the celebrations, town organizers decided it was high time to give the 82-foot-tall sculpture a name, and they reached out to the public to decide.

After counting 568 votes, it was determined that the World’s Largest Dinosaur would be deemed “Tyra.”

Where: 60 1st Avenue W, Drumheller
Time: Daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm
Tickets: $4 per person

Road trip to an abandoned ghost town in Alberta

Abandoned church in Alberta (Shutterstock)

They may not officially be haunted, but the eerie silence of Alberta’s ghost towns is still enough to make the skin crawl.

Alberta has dozens of ghost towns stretching throughout the province, most the result of a booming coal industry that were abandoned when operations failed, resources were depleted, or the world simply moved on to other forms of energy.

Check out our list of spooky places to visit this October.

Go sledding on a City of Calgary approved hill

Winter is still a few months away, but someone must have forgotten to tell Mother Nature because Calgary has already seen quite a bit of snow over the past week.

While YYC may be going through its usual freeze, snow, thaw routine at the moment, it’s only a matter of time before the white stuff is here to stay for good.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as the snow covering actually lends opportunity for anyone looking to slip and slide down some hills.

Calgary actually has a bylaw in effect stopping would-be tobogganers from sliding down any hills that haven’t been officially given the green light, but lucky for us there are quite a few on that list.

Take stunning photos at this 2D cafe

94 Take the Cake

@94takethecake/Instagram

94 Take the Cake might just be the cutest thing outside of Calgary we’ve ever seen.

The 94 Elma Street W cafe is located in Okotoks, just a short 30-ish-minute drive from YYC, and it’s definitely worth the drive if you ask us.

In addition to sweet treats and caffeinated beverages, 94 offers patrons the ultimate photo-op, as it’s decked out in an awesome 2D colouring-book style design done by local artists.

Address: 94 Elma Street W, Okotoks

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Get your flu shot

It’s officially flu season.

Alberta Health Services has announced that the annual flu shot is now available throughout the province, with Albertans being encouraged to get immunized to protect both themselves and their at-risk neighbours.

According to the Alberta Health Services website, influenza immunization will be offered through AHS to children under five and their family or household members, though the vaccine will need to be booked through an online tool that will become available as of October 13.

All other Albertans should contact their pharmacist or physician to arrange for their own free vaccinations.

Check Out High Park

high park Calgary

High Park parkade/Beltline Neighbourhood Association

Talk about a picnic with a view.

Calgary’s newest park may not have the grass, trees, or ponds you’d come to expect from an outdoor public space, but what it lacks in nature it makes up for in colour, views, and originality.

High Park opened to the public this week, offering a space for Calgarians to check out (while safely physically distancing) at the tip top of a six-storey parking garage.

Kick back and binge some Netflix

Stay indoors and stay safe this week by making some popcorn and having some Netflix and Chill time.

Here are a few new releases worth checking out on the streaming giant this weekend.

Explore the city’s newest murals

This year’s BUMP Festival was a little different than usual due to pandemic restrictions, but that didn’t stop over a dozen artists from turning some of downtown Calgary’s exposed walls into works of art.

A total of 20 murals were completed this past September as part of the project, bringing BUMP’s lifetime total to over 50 since it began back in 2017.

The organization also noted in a release that over 5,000 people had downloaded their self-guided walking tours showcasing murals new and old, a significant increase over the 500 or so guided mural tour participants from 2019.

Hit up a pumpkin patch

Courtesy of Dixie Orchards

There are plenty of great pumpkin patches in or around Calgary where you’ll be able to find that perfect pre-Jack-o’-lantern! The Calgary Corn Maze and Fun Farm is open this weekend, and admission is just $18.

When: Open Thursdays through Sundays
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm — 284022 Township Road 224
Tickets: Free for kids two and under, $18 for adults, youth and senior discounts available online

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Thanksgiving festivities may have affected COVID-19 numbers in hot spots: Ont. govt – BayToday

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Health officials in Ontario and Manitoba are pointing to recent Thanksgiving celebrations as they continue to see high numbers of new COVID-19 infections despite strengthening restrictions in hot spot areas.

In Ontario, where new cases reached a peak over the weekend, Health Minister Christine Elliott said the holiday took place around the same time as the province imposed stricter health measures in three regions, including Toronto. The tighter rules were applied to a fourth region more than a week later.

While the number of new daily infections is starting to decrease in some areas, such as Ottawa, in the other regions, “we’re not seeing that happen quite as quickly as we’d like to,” Elliott said.

“We’re also seeing some of the impacts from Thanksgiving several weeks ago, so we’ve got that adding to the increase in community transmission, but we are also starting to see some of the numbers in some of the modified areas,” she said.

Elliott’s comments came a day after Ontario — one of the two provinces hit hardest by the pandemic — recorded 1,000 new cases, its highest single-day increase since the start of the global health crisis. The number of new infections dropped to 851 new cases on Monday, a level comparable to last week.

Of those, 281 cases were in Toronto, 215 in Peel Region, 90 in York Region and 76 in Ottawa.

Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said the current case counts reflect infections that were acquired about two weeks ago so it’s likely Thanksgiving played a role, but it’s not possible to say how significant an impact it had.

“Certainly the timing lines up appropriately,” she said.

Meanwhile, Manitoba’s top doctor urged residents Monday to stop gathering in large groups, saying many of the 100 new cases reported by the province that day were linked to Thanksgiving festivities.

The vast majority of the new infections were in Winnipeg, which was placed under enhanced restrictions following a recent spike in cases.

So far, there have been 4,349 cases in Manitoba, 2,117 of which are active, and 55 deaths.

“The trajectory is in the wrong direction and if we continue at this pace, we are likely going to see over 5,000 cases by the end of this week,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer.

Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto, said it’s challenging to know exactly what was driving the case numbers over the last few days.

The timing suggests Thanksgiving played a role “but it’s probably not the sole factor,” he said. “It certainly would be somewhat reasonable to think that part of that rise in cases was related to Thanksgiving, or people getting together for whatever reason.”

At the same time, it would take at least two weeks to see any change as a result of new restrictions, and case counts would be expected to continue rising in that time, he said.

The next few weeks will be “very telling” when it comes to how the second wave is playing out, he added.

Either way, health officials should begin to prepare the public for Christmas — a holiday that involves even more gatherings and travel than Thanksgiving, he said.

“No one wants to say publicly that it’s unlikely that the numbers will be down in many of the hot spots in Canada in a sufficient enough way to say it’s OK to get together for Christmas.”

Alberta also imposed a 15-person limit on social gatherings in its two biggest cities on Monday, as cases in Calgary and Edmonton continue to climb.

The province reported 364 cases on Friday, 572 on Saturday and 506 on Sunday, along with seven additional deaths over the weekend. 

Unlike Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec, the Alberta government is not toughening rules for restaurants and bars because few infections seem to be connected to those venues.

In Quebec, Premier Francois Legault told a news conference in Montreal that the province’s rates of new, daily infections and deaths linked to the virus were too high to ease restrictions that have been in place since Oct. 1.

The partial lockdown on regions in maximum pandemic-alert zones was imposed until Oct. 28. But Legault said the forced closure of gyms, bars, restaurant dining areas and entertainment venues in the province’s biggest cities — such as Montreal and Quebec City — will be extended until Nov. 23. 

“We have stabilized the number of new cases but we still have a big challenge in front of us,” he said.

The province, which has been leading the country in cumulative cases, surpassed 100,000 confirmed infections over the weekend. Quebec reported 808 new cases on Monday and 10 more deaths.

“We can’t continue to have 800-1,000 cases per day,” Legault said.

Earlier in the day, a coalition of gyms and other fitness-related businesses vowed to reopen Thursday regardless of the health orders.

Legault rejected their threat outright. He said those businesses won’t reopen and owners of gyms and other companies who violate lockdown orders risk being fined. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Monday, Oct. 26, 2020.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – moosejawtoday.com

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

6:30 p.m.

British Columbia’s top doctor is cracking down on the spread of COVID-19 with a new public health order that restricts gatherings in private homes to a maximum of six guests.

The so-called “safe six” rule came as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported the highest-ever three-day jump in infections in B.C. with 817 cases confirmed between Friday and Monday.

Henry is also upping what she called her “expectation” that people wear non-medical masks or face coverings in public spaces at all times, though it’s not an order.

She says two schools have been closed temporarily after cases of COVID-19 were detected and there is a new community outbreak associated with the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre.

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5:50 p.m.

Alberta is imposing a mandatory 15-person limit on social gatherings in Edmonton and Calgary.

Voluntary measures are also being recommended in the two cities, with people being advised to wear masks at work and limiting their circles to three cohorts.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical health officer, says the warning bell is ringing.

She says she’s concerned about increasing case numbers.

The province is reporting 1,440 cases over the last three days.

____

5:20 p.m.

Quebec is extending its partial lockdown order for another four weeks.

Premier Francois Legault told a news conference today that the rates of new, daily COVID-19 cases and deaths linked to the virus are too high.

Legault said gyms, bars and most entertainment venues will remain closed until Nov. 23 in the province’s biggest cities.

The premier said businesses that refuse to obey lockdown orders will be fined.

____

3:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia public health officials are warning passengers on an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Halifax of a potential exposure to COVID-19.

Air Canada Flight 626 on Oct. 24 left Toronto at 9:30 p.m. and landed in Halifax at 12:15 a.m. on Oct. 25.

Officials are asking passengers who sat in rows 18 to 24 and in seats A, B and C to call 811 for advice and to continue to self-isolate. 

Officials say anyone exposed to the virus on this flight may develop symptoms up to and including Nov. 7.

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2 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 and 60 active cases overall.

Two of the new cases are in the Fredericton region and one is in the Campbellton region, where public health officials are battling an ongoing outbreak.

Officials say the two cases in the Fredericton region are travel-related, and the case in Campbellton is under investigation.

New Brunswick has had 331 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the onset of the pandemic, including six deaths.

____

1:30 p.m.

Health officials have announced a woman in her 80s is the latest death connected to Manitoba’s deadliest outbreak at a care home.

Eighteen people at Parkview Place in Winnipeg have died.

There were 100 new infections announced Monday, the vast majority in the capital city, which is under enhanced restrictions after a stark increase in infections during recent months.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, says the increasing numbers have put pressures on the health-care system.

There are 80 people in hospital and 15 people in intensive care.

There have been 4,349 cases in Manitoba, and 2,117 are currently active. 

Fifty-five people have died.

____

1 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19, and five active cases overall. 

The new confirmed case is a woman in her 50s who returned to the province from work in Alberta.

Public health officials say she has been self-isolating and contact tracing is underway.

Newfoundland and Labrador has now had 291 cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, including four deaths.

____

12:40 p.m.

All of the Alberta politicians who came into contact with a provincial cabinet minister infected with COVID-19 have tested negative for the virus.

Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard tested positive for COVID-19 last Wednesday. 

She had interacted during the previous week with Premier Jason Kenney, Transportation Minister Ric McIver and United Conservative MLAs Angela Pitt, Peter Guthrie and Nathan Neudorf. 

Kenney received his negative test result last Thursday, but has said he would continue to isolate at home for a week as a precaution.

Christine Myatt, a spokeswoman for Kenney, says the other four have also tested negative and will continue to self-isolate.

____

12:40 p.m. 

Nova Scotia is reporting one new case of COVID-19 and now has five active cases of the virus.

Health officials say the new case is in the central health zone and the person is a close contact of a previously reported travel-related case.

Nova Scotia has confirmed 1,101 COVID-19 cases and 1,031 cases are now resolved.

There have been 65 deaths since the onset of the pandemic.

____

12:30 p.m.

Officials say an outbreak of COVID-19 at a Manitoba jail began with a guard who worked for two days before developing symptoms.

The outbreak at Headingley Correctional Centre, just west of Winnipeg, now includes 33 inmates and six staff members.

Justice officials say five staff at other facilities and one inmate at a youth correctional facility have also tested positive.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen says the pandemic is being taken very seriously and the province has developed comprehensive plans, including instructional videos for inmates and staff, to deal with the situation.

He says inmates and guards are required to wear masks and interactions between people has been limited.

The opposition New Democrats and union leaders have been critical of the provincial response to the pandemic behind bars, saying it puts inmates and guards at risk.

____

11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 808 new COVID-19 cases and 10 additional deaths linked to the virus.

Two of those deaths were in the past 24 hours, while six were from last week and the two others were from an unknown date.

The number of hospitalizations dropped by eight from a day earlier to 543, and the number of patients in intensive care cases decreased by four to 93.

The province has now recorded 100,922 COVID-19 infections and 6,153 deaths — the highest in the country.

____

11 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 851 new cases of COVID-19 today, and six new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 281 cases are in Toronto, 215 in Peel Region, 90 in York Region and 76 in Ottawa.

The province says it has conducted 28,652 tests since the last daily report, with an additional 17,603 being processed.

In total, 295 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 78 in intensive care. 

Meanwhile, Premier Doug Ford’s office says it will not announce today whether the province will impose stricter COVID-19 restrictions on two Toronto-area regions. 

Ford had said Friday that the experts would look at the caseload in Halton and Durham regions over the weekend to determine whether they need to roll back to a modified Stage 2 of the province’s pandemic recovery plan.

____

10:45 a.m.

A coalition of about 200 Quebec gym, yoga, dance studio and martial arts business owners say they intend to reopen their doors on Thursday in defiance of provincial health restrictions.

The businesses are calling on Quebec Premier Francois Legault to lift COVID-19 restrictions that were imposed on fitness facilities Oct. 8.

In a statement, they say their facilities were not the source of COVID-19 outbreaks and they contribute to the overall physical and mental health of the population.

They say the lockdown measures will force them out of business after they’ve made significant investments to comply with health rules. 

They plan to reopen across the province, but will back down if health authorities are able to demonstrate by Thursday that their operations are sources of outbreaks.

____

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020. 

The Canadian Press

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