VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — If you need to get tested for COVID-19, you no longer have to have a swab put deep into your nose.
The BCCDC says saline gargle testing is now available for adults at community COVID-19 collection sites across the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.
But if you are getting tested this way, you shouldn’t eat drink, chew gum, brush your teeth, or smoke or vape for at least an hour before.
Saline gargle tests for COVID-19 are now available to adults.
No eating, drinking, smoking or teeth brushing 1 hour prior to.
Where are they provided?
Urban areas: Test collection centres
Rural areas: Wherever tests are being collected
— Vancouver Coastal Health (@VCHhealthcare) November 18, 2020
The less invasive option has been available for kids since September.
– With files from Ria Renouf
Enforcement ramps up in parts of Ontario as province logs 1708 new COVID cases – KitchenerToday.com
Officials in southern Ontario fined businesses, charged anti-maskers and busted at least one massive party over the weekend as the province recorded another 1,708 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.
The enforcement in York, Hamilton and Peel came after a week that saw record-setting viral case counts and the introduction of more stringent public health measures in some regions.
In Mississauga, Ont., a part of Peel Region which is currently under lockdown, police said authorities had broken up a party with 60 attendees at a short-term rental unit.
“It’s a tough time for everyone,” Deputy Chief Marc Andrews of the Peel Regional Police tweeted. “These antics help no one.”
He said bylaw officers issued 27 fines of $880, and three Part 3 summons to the hosts, who he said could face at least $10,000 in fines if convicted.
In York Region, officials continued an enforcement blitz at businesses to make sure they were following public health protocols for the province’s “red” zones.
The rules limit indoor dining to 10 customers at a time with physical distancing in place. Gyms, meanwhile, can only have 10 patrons inside at once, while 25 people can attend outdoor classes.
Officers inspected 256 businesses on Sunday and issued charges at 16, a news release said.
An L.A. Fitness location in East Gwillimbury, Ont., and the Trio Sportsplex in Vaughan, Ont., are among those facing charges.
Authorities have inspected 867 businesses since Friday, laid 32 charges and completed 1,151 “compliance education activities,” the release said.
Farther west, Hamilton Police announced they had charged three men — aged 26, 48 and 72 — at a “Hugs over Masks” protest in the city’s downtown area on Sunday.
Police said 35 people attended the event, exceeding the maximum number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings.
“Prior to the event, Hamilton Police identified the organizer and informed him that the planned gathering would breach offences under the Reopening Ontario Act and leave him open to charges, police said in a written statement. “The organizer went ahead with the event.”
All three men — one of whom police said was the organizer — were charged under the Act, and would face a fine of at least $10,000 if convicted.
The charges came as the province logged 24 new deaths linked to COVID-19 on Sunday.
Of the new cases reported on Sunday, 503 came from Peel Region and 463 were identified in Toronto, Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a tweet. Those are the only two regions under the “lockdown” phase of the province’s tiered, colour-coded pandemic response framework.
She said another 185 were in York Region, which is at the red alert level, the next most stringent under the provincial system.
The province said nearly 54,000 tests were completed since the last daily update, and 1,443 cases are newly considered resolved.
The numbers came a day before more stringent COVID-19 measures were set to take effect in five Ontario regions.
Windsor-Essex will be moved to the red level, Haldimand-Norfolk to orange, and three others — Hastings Prince Edward, Lambton and Northwestern — to yellow.
Provincial data released on Thursday suggested case counts were flattening somewhat, but Ontario recorded its highest number of daily infections the next day, at 1,855.
Officials have said it could take up to two weeks after new restrictions are imposed to see any improvements.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.
Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
Alberta records 1,608 COVID-19 cases Sunday, 9 seniors die including 5 at Edmonton care centre – Global News
Alberta announced another 1,608 cases of COVID-19 Sunday and reported nine deaths, all of whom were seniors.
There are now 15,692 active cases in the province, mainly in the two largest metro centres, with 7,230 or 46 per cent of active cases in Edmonton zone and 5,756 or 36 per cent of all active cases in Calgary zone.
Sunday’s nine reported deaths bring the provincial fatality total to 533.
Five of the nine seniors who died were at the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre.
The Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre was added to the provincial outbreak list on Oct. 20. The last public update the centre gave was on Saturday, when it said 32 residents were positive with COVID-19. There are also 36 staff members at the centre with active COVID-19 cases.
Those connected to the centre who died were two women — one in her 80s who died on Nov. 25 and another in her 90s who died on Nov. 27 — as well as three men, one in his 70s who died on Nov. 26, one in his 80s who passed away Nov. 25, and one in his 90s who died Nov. 27. All five had comorbidities — underlying health conditions that may have contributed to their death — according to Alberta Health.
There were four other deaths reported in the province: a man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Clifton Manor in Calgary zone on Nov, 29, with unknown comorbidities. A man in his 90s in South zone, believed to have comorbidities but not connected to any care centres, died on Nov. 28. A man in his 80s with no known comorbidities and linked to the Laurel Heights Retirement Residence outbreak in Edmonton zone died on Nov. 28.
A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Westlock Continuing Care Centre in North zone passed away Nov. 27. It is not known if he had any comorbidities.
There are now 435 Albertans in hospital, 95 of whom are in intensive care.
The province said it tested 23,282 Albertans for COVID-19 on Saturday.
“We are concerned about the recent spike in COVID-19 in Alberta,” Kenney said.
“And that’s why we felt — in order to avoid a situation where we have to engage in widespread cancellation of surgeries and non-urgent hospital care, in order to ensure we have capacity with our health-care front line personnel — we’ve had to bring in more stringent measures. Strong, but we think balanced.”
Alberta announces new restrictions, but those on the front line say it doesn’t go far enough
He added the “main thing” for Albertans to be careful with is in-person socializing.
“When you’re at home, people let down their guard, people aren’t wearing a mask in their living room, they’re not frequently sanitizing, they’re not sitting two metres apart,” Kenney said.
“It’s family gatherings, hugging… those at-home social activities are the highest vector of transmission.”
Kenney also stressed this weekend that when the province starts to receive COVID-19 vaccinations there will be no rule that makes them mandatory in Alberta.
The province is currently expected to receive about 680,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year. Kenney said Sunday officials are already working on the roll-out plan.
“We would be starting with the most vulnerable such as seniors in nursing homes as well as health-care workers,” Kenney said.
Many students in province shifting to online learning Monday
Alberta students in Grades 7-12 will shift to online leaning on Monday as part of the province’s attempt to limit the spread of the virus among older students.
Parents preparing for the change have mixed reactions to having their kids learn online for the second time this year.
Ibrahim Cobanoglu was out shopping for laptops for his two sons so that they have more reliable technology now compared to their first round of distance learning.
“If they like to study it, it’ll be okay for them,” said Cobanoglu. “If they don’t like to study, [online learning] is a problem but I think it’s okay for them because of COVID-19.”
On the other hand, parents like Karen Beckford are upset at the change, and believe the messaging from the province is unclear.
“I think it’s hard for the kids. I don’t understand why I can go to a shopping mall with thousands of people, but my son can’t go to school with 300 kids in his high school.”
Edmonton high school students concerned about going back to online learning
Christopher Usih, the chief superintendent for the Calgary Board of Education said teachers have been already doing both online and in-person learning due to the number of students having to isolate.
“Our staff and our teachers have been certainly maintaining that [online] presence,” Usih said. “For us, it’s a pivot and this time around is less challenging as it was when we did this in the spring.”
Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6, and early childhood learning, will begin online learning on Dec. 18 until their winter break begins.
Diploma exams were also made optional for the rest of the school year, meaning students can choose to write them, or be exempt from the April, June and August 2021 examinations.
–With files from Michael King, Global News
Ottawa extends rules and restrictions for travellers amid rising COVID-19 case counts – Toronto Star
A slew of travel restrictions and rules meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 will be extended into January, the federal government said Sunday, as case counts continued to rise steadily across the country.
In a statement, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the measures would be in effect until Jan. 21, 2021 for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States.
The rules were first imposed near the start of the global outbreak.
“We have introduced a number of policies to keep Canadians safe but must remain flexible and adapt to the evolving COVID-19 situation,” Blair said in a statement.
The ministers said restrictions for visitors crossing the border from the U.S. are currently in place until Dec. 21, but may be extended.
Among the new rules is a requirement for anyone entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days.
But the ministers also said they’re looking to make it possible for “high-performance, amateur sporting organizations” to hold major international events on Canadian soil.
They said the successful applicants would need to present a public health plan as well as show they’ve secured the support of provincial and territorial governments and health authorities.
The Department of Canadian Heritage will issue authorizations in consultation with the Health Agency of Canada, the ministers said.
The announcement comes as COVID-19 case counts continued to mount, though at levels slightly below the record-setting daily tallies seen in several regions in recent weeks.
Public health officials in Quebec reported 1,395 new cases on Sunday, while Ontario recorded 1,708 new infections — pushing the provincial totals since the pandemic began to 141,038 and 114,746, respectively.
Cases also have gone up steadily in Atlantic Canada, with New Brunswick reporting 14 new diagnoses on Sunday and Newfoundland and Labrador recording four additional infections.
Public health officials in Nova Scotia logged 10 new cases, all in the province’s central zone, which includes Halifax.
Manitoba reported 365 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and 11 new deaths — almost all of which were linked to outbreaks in care homes.
Health officials said nine of the 11 deaths were people in their 80s and 90s, one was a man in his 60s and one was a man in his 70s.
The case count in Nunavut also rose by 13, while Saskatchewan reported 351 new infections.
Alberta reported its second highest number of new COVID-19 cases, logging 1,608, with nine more deaths.
Canada’s top public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the highest rate of infection is among people aged 80 and over, while more outbreaks are happening in long-term care homes.
“Cases are increasing among older adults,” Tam said in a statement.
Both Quebec and Manitoba reported new, significant outbreaks at such facilities.
A Montreal public health agency on Sunday transferred 20 residents of a long-term care home to two local hospitals after a COVID-19 outbreak drew widespread concern this week.
Officials said 30 residents had tested positive for COVID-19 at Maimonides Geriatric Centre. Ten residents there have died during the pandemic’s second wave, according to the latest Quebec Health Department data.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.
ICU admissions near 100 in Alberta, 1,608 new COVID-19 cases – Calgary Herald
Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca
Law professor endured racist taunts in wake of social media clash with UCP staffers – Edmonton Journal
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