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Gatherings restricted, schools closed: What's being done to fight COVID-19 – Brandon Sun

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every province and territory. Canada’s chief public health officer and her provincial counterparts are encouraging people to wash their hands, give each other space and wear a mask if they are sick or a homemade one if they believe they could have been exposed to the virus and are not showing any symptoms.

Ottawa has put money into health-care research and the economy. It has also put restrictions on international travel and is mandating 14-day quarantines for travellers returning to Canada to try to limit spread of the novel coronavirus.

Classes are suspended or cancelled at schools throughout the country.

Each province and territory also has its own emergency measures to detect cases and prevent spread of the virus.

Here’s a look at some of the ways different jurisdictions are responding:

British Columbia

B.C. declared a provincial state of emergency on March 18, a day after announcing a public health emergency, and it has been extended to April 28.

The measure gives the province authority to take any action necessary to protect people and communities, including charging people who ignore public health orders.

The province has also prohibited reselling essential supplies such as food and cleaning material.

All parking fees at B.C. hospitals have been cancelled during the pandemic to ensure safer access for patients and staff.

Officials have prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people in one place, including restaurants, schools, places of worship, theatres, casinos, sports arenas and outdoor venues.

That has forced the cancellation of the annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival in June.

All provincial parks are also closed.

The Vancouver park board says cars are being banned from most roads in Stanley Park to give cyclists, walkers and joggers more room.

Officials have also issued fire restrictions as the wildfire season begins.


Alberta

Alberta declared a public health emergency on March 17.

The province has given law enforcement agencies full authority to enforce orders and issue fines for violations.

There are restrictions on mass gatherings of more than 15 people, both indoors and outdoors at places of worship, weddings or funerals. Any gathering must allow people to keep the two-metre distance from others.

All non-essential businesses have been ordered closed, including personal service providers, clothing stores and furniture stores.

Albertans are prohibited from attending public or private recreational and entertainment facilities. Restaurants have been ordered closed, except for takeout or delivery. Casinos are closed.

Vehicle access to provincial parks and public lands is prohibited to visitors.

Albertans who have been ordered to quarantine cannot leave their property for 14 days. And if they live in apartment buildings they are not allowed to use the elevators.

There’s also a new restriction on visitors at nursing homes, long-term care facilities and hospitals — although exceptions could be made if a child is in hospital or a woman is about to give birth.


Saskatchewan

Premier Scott Moe declared a provincial state of emergency on March 18.

It directs all orders from the chief medical health officer be followed and gives police the authority to enforce them.

Public gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people.

Nightclubs, bars and lounges are closed, but they are allowed to provide takeout food or alcohol.

Recreational and entertainment facilities are closed. Personal service providers such as tattoists, hairdressers, estheticians and relaxation masseuses cannot operate.

Dental, optometrist, chiropractic and podiatry clinics are closed — except for emergencies.

Saskatchewan has updated its public health orders to say long-term and personal care homes should ensure staff only work at one facility.

All employees at long-term care facilities are having their temperatures checked and are being monitored for COVID-19.

Health officials say there’s no evidence livestock or pets can be infected with or transmit COVID-19, but it hasn’t been ruled out. They suggest anyone with the virus avoid contact with animals, as well as people, until more information is available.

The Saskatchewan government is promising one-time emergency bursaries to post-secondary students whose studies and jobs have been affected the pandemic.


Manitoba

The Manitoba government declared a provincewide state of emergency on March 20.

The province has limited public gatherings to no more than 10 people.

That includes any indoor or outdoor spot, places of worship or family events such as weddings and funerals.

No visitors are allowed in long-term care facilities and hospitals, though exceptions may be made in hospitals for compassionate reasons.

Public events marking the province’s 150th birthday have been postponed and the long running Dauphin Countryfest is cancelled this year.

The province is instituting fines for people who don’t follow public safety orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Non-essential travel to the province’s north and to remote communities is being restricted to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

There are some exceptions, including for people who travel for medical care or work, people who share child custody, and people who deliver goods and services.

Non-essential businesses have been ordered to close. Salons, spas, bars and other establishments were closed as of April 1. Restaurants can remain open for takeout or delivery only.

The closures do not affect health-care facilities, government services and other institutions.

Bingo and gaming venues as well as wellness centres and gyms are closed.

The province is letting people hurt by the COVID-19 economic fallout avoid penalties and interest on some utility payments and property taxes. There’s also a freeze on all rent increases until at least May 31.


Ontario

Ontario has extended its state of emergency for another 28 days.

The order closes non-essential businesses and child-care centres until May 12.

Premier Doug Ford says Ontario’s schools will not re-open on May 4.

All business except those deemed essential have been shut down.

The province will allow curbside pick up and delivery of cannabis.

All industrial construction except for essential projects, such as hospitals, has been halted.

All bars and restaurants, except for takeout and delivery, have been closed.

Also closed are recreational facilities, public libraries, private schools, licensed child-care centres, movie theatres and concert venues.

Any public events of more than five people, including parades, events and services at places of worship, are prohibited, and provincial parks are closed.

The City of Toronto has also closed playgrounds, sports fields, off-leash dog parks, skateboard parks and picnic areas. Parking lots attached to parks are closed.

The province says it will also quadruple COVID-19 testing capacity to 16,000 by May 6.

On April 17 the province expanded eligibility for free emergency child care to include workers in developmental services, victim services, violence against women services, children’s aid societies, probation and parole officers and staff in homeless shelters. The program was initially set up for health-care workers, first responders and correctional officers.


Quebec

Quebec declared a public health emergency on March 13 and renewed it a week later.

The government has reduced non-priority services and prohibited indoor and outdoor gatherings.

All festivals, sporting and cultural events scheduled for this summer are cancelled or postponed.

Tennis Canada says the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament scheduled for Aug. 7 to 16 in Montreal will return to the city in August 2021.

Police set up checkpoints curtailing access to eight remote regions. All non-essential travel to much of cottage country north of Montreal, and to Charlevoix, northeast of Quebec City is also banned.

Quebec has prohibited non-essential visits to hospitals, residential and long-term care centres or between children in foster families and their biological families.

Designated clinics have been opened for anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

To give retail employees a break, stores are closed on Sundays in April, with only pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and takeout restaurants remaining open on those days.

Montreal’s mayor has also declared a state of emergency to help authorities better manage the spread of COVID-19 among the city’s homeless.


New Brunswick

A state of emergency was declared in New Brunswick on March 19.

Businesses serving food and beverages have been restricted to takeout and delivery. Lounges and clubs are forbidden from allowing customers to enter.

Customers are not allowed to enter retail businesses, unless they serve food, medication, fuel or other essential supplies.

Many health services — such as chiropractors, dentists and optometrists — are prohibited from seeing patients in person unless absolutely necessary.

No gatherings larger than 10 people are allowed and residents are urged to stay home as much as possible. They are also asked to delay non-essential errands.

Any unnecessary travel into New Brunswick is prohibited.

All playgrounds in the province are closed, but some public parks and walking trails remain open as long as physical distancing measures are followed.


Nova Scotia

The province of Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency on March 22 and it has been extended to April 19.

It set out a 14-day rule for self-isolation and self-quarantine for people returning from outside Canada.

All schools and daycares are closed. Long-term care facilities and care homes are closed to visitors.

Casinos have closed and no business is allowed to operate a video lottery terminal.

Restaurants are restricted to takeout and delivery service only. Drinking establishments are closed.

There are also restrictions on health professionals such as chiropractors and dentists.

Two mobile assessment centres have been established to do community-based testing.


Prince Edward Island

Premier Dennis King declared a public health emergency on March 16.

It included an order to Islanders to refrain from attending any public gatherings and a closure of libraries, child-care facilities, gyms and schools.

Hospitals have restricted visitors — although one visitor is allowed at a time to see patients in palliative care, intensive care, neonatal intensive care, obstetric and pediatric units.

All long-term care facilities continue to fully restrict visitors.

Measures also include fines for anyone who doesn’t comply with a direction to self-isolate.

The public health officer recommends people who are self-isolating stay on their own property when outside.

The government is working to open an out-patient clinic to allow for increased testing and to ease the load on hospitals.

Officials have also deferred provincial property tax and fee payments until the end of the year.


Newfoundland and Labrador

The province declared a public health emergency on March 18.

It includes the closure of most businesses — with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and other stores considered essential.

Gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed. That includes funerals and weddings.

Anyone arriving from outside the province is required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Health officials have the authority to restrict the rights and freedoms of people in a time of crisis. People who violate orders face fines.


Yukon

Yukon declared a state of emergency on March 27.

The government has placed enforcement officers at the Whitehorse airport and at its boundaries to get details of travellers’ self-isolation plans, their contact information and to look for any symptoms of COVID-19.

Yukon residents flying into Canada with COVID-19 symptoms must quarantine at their arrival destination, and those without symptoms are ordered to self-isolate for 14 days when they get home.

Yukon has asked everyone arriving in the territory, including mine workers, to self-isolate for 14 days.

Yukon beefed up its border control measure on April 17, giving enforcement officers the authority to deny non-essential travellers from entering.

The government has closed bars and limited social gatherings to 10 people or less.

Recreation facilities, libraries, museums and visitor centres are closed.

Long-term care facilities are closed to visitors and volunteers, while all non-urgent or routine services, including lab tests, X-rays, physiotherapy and occupational therapy are suspended.

All dentists must also suspend non-urgent treatment until further notice.


Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories declared a public health emergency on March 18, which has now been upgraded to a state of emergency.

It requires anyone who arrives in the territory from outside its boundary to self-isolate for 14 days.

Travel through all points of entry into the territory — both air and road — is prohibited.

The orders exclude essential service workers such as medical professionals or emergency services.

The territory has asked that all indoor and outdoor gatherings be cancelled — regardless of size or number.

Many businesses, including tour operators, gyms, museums and theatres, have been ordered to close.

The government has said it will help Indigenous families who want to head out on the land as an alternative to physical distancing. It will provide a $2.6-million grant to help families buy the proper gear and supplies to head out to fishing and hunting camps.


Nunavut

Nunavut declared a public health emergency on March 20.

It has no known cases of COVID-19, but it has restrictions in place.

There is a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period at one of four locations in southern Canada for any resident that wants to return to Nunavut.

Critical employees who need to return to work must apply for an exemption.

All non-essential medical travel has been cancelled.

Public gatherings, including at playgrounds or parks and at religious, cultural or spiritual services is prohibited.

School staff in Iqaluit are working to ensure students in the capital of Nunavut don’t go hungry because of closed classrooms. They’re continuing to provide breakfasts to children in a way that follows physical distancing rules.


Sources: Provincial and territorial government websites

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2020

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Coronavirus: Two new cases in Winnipeg Friday brings total to 300 – Globalnews.ca

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This story will be updated as the press conference continues.

Two new cases of the novel coronavirus were announced Friday, both of them in Winnipeg.

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The latest cases include one man in his 20s, and another in his 30s, according to the province. One is a truck driver, and the other man was a close contact.

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As of Thursday an additional 671 laboratory tests for the virus were performed. The total number of tests performed since early February is now 47,372.

“Each Manitoban is going to have to decide the level of risk they’re going to take [going forward],” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial health officer.

But people who are sick should still stay home, he said.

Roussin added workplaces need to look at their policies and practices when it comes to staying home because they’re ill.

“We need to make it easy as possible … the alternative is people come to work sick.”

Lanette Siragusa reminded people that hospitals and health care centres will start allowing a designated visitor, but some may not start until Monday or later.

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Shared Health’s Chief Nursing Officer said people should call before they go.


READ MORE:
Safety officers heading to Manitoba beaches amid COVID-19, no new cases reported Thursday

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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COVID-19 roundup: new case reported in Owen Sound Friday – Owen Sound Sun Times

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This undated transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like.

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One new case of COVID-19 was reported in the region Friday according to the Grey Bruce Health Unit’s daily situation report.

The most recent case was reported in Owen Sound, according to the health unit’s data.

Eighty-eight of the region’s 98 total cases have recovered. None of the active cases are currently hospitalized, and no deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 locally.

Twenty-four cases of the disease have been reported in healthcare workers. No local long-term care or retirement homes are currently under a declared COVID-19 outbreak.

* * *

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is recommending people use virtual forms of participation such as signing petitions, donating to groups, and learning more about racism and how to address it as anti-racism protests spread throughout the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Racism is a public health issue. Racism, in its many forms, profoundly impacts the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities,” said a Grey Bruce Health Unit news release. “We recognize that, at this time, people may want to gather to march and express themselves with respect to supporting efforts to end racism.”

The release did list several considerations for people who must participate in any local rallies including spreading out to maintain proper physical distancing, staying outside, wearing a face covering, and bringing hand sanitizer.

The health unit is asking older adults, the immunocompromised, and those living with vulnerable people who are more susceptible to serious complications should they contract COVID-19, to reconsider the need to be present in a large crowd.

“The Grey Bruce Health Unit has the responsibility to identify risk associated with any public health threat, including COVID-19. We remind people that gatherings increase the risk of transmission of disease,” the release said.

* * *

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is encouraging all municipalities to adopt bylaws restricting the use of beach and waterfront spaces after rescinding the beach closure order enacted on May 14.

However, municipalities in Grey-Bruce can now open beaches fully, allow only walk-through access, or maintain a full closure of the beach.

In a bulletin on their website the health unit recommends people check with their local municipality to confirm the status of the beach, waterfront, and river access points before planning to use them.

Even if some public waterfront spaces do reopen, amenities such as public washrooms, change rooms, and water refill stations may still be closed, a health unit media release explained. Therefore, the health unit is recommending beachgoers bring their own water jug with a spigot, soap and paper towels to wash their hands – or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Public health is recommending people wear a non-medical face mask or face covering in places where proper physical distancing measures cannot be controlled. They’re also recommending people bring reusable water bottles and individual containers for food to prevent sharing, and their own garbage bags.

Public health is asking residents to be patient with visitors and tourists who do not know the local guidance information and to politely inform them what is allowed at local beaches, and the proper guidelines to follow.

“We all want to have an enjoyable summer on our beautiful beaches in the safest and most sustainable way possible. We’re in this together,” the bulletin reads.

* * *

Community lab collections at South Bruce Grey Health Centre’s Chesley and Durham sites will resume on Monday.

Appointments will be required to ensure proper physical distancing for patient safety. Patients can begin booking appointments for June 15 and beyond by calling Patient Registration for Chesley (519-363-2340) or Durham (519-369-2340) between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

People are asked to have a health card and lab requisition ready when calling. A high volume of calls is expected and some waiting may be necessary, according to an SBGHC media release.

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Long-term care company cuts ties with executive after comments made during meeting – OttawaMatters.com

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A long-term care provider’s decision to cut ties with an executive who made disparaging remarks about the relatives of residents struck by the COVID-19 pandemic falls short of the mark, family members said Friday as they continued to push for greater accountability.

They said Sienna Senior Living’s decision to part ways with former executive vice-president of operations Joanne Dykeman does little to address their concerns about the care their relatives are receiving. Dykeman’s comments, they added, raise questions about the company’s overall commitment to residents and their families.

Sienna announced Dykeman’s departure a day after she was overheard mocking family members of seniors living at a home in Woodbridge, Ont., which has been grappling with a deadly COVID-19 outbreak.

Immediately following an online video conference to discuss the situation at Woodbridge Vista Care Community, attendees reported hearing Dykeman refer to them as litigious and blood-sucking when she thought the call had been disconnected.

Sienna declined to verify the substance of Dykeman’s comments, but said they “fell far short of our expectations” and apologized to members of the Woodbridge Vista community.

For Mike di Donato, whose 92-year-old grandmother was hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 at the home, the company’s actions weren’t good enough.

“There’s a culture problem there,” the 43-year-old said in a telephone interview. “There needs to be change.”

Di Donato said his grandmother moved to the facility last fall and received excellent care for the first several months of her residency.

He said his family did not become truly concerned until early May when the first positive cases were identified at the facility.

Di Donato said his grandmother tested positive for the virus on May 17, but he did not receive an update from Woodbridge Vista’s resident doctor until more than a week later.

That call, he said, came hours after the Ontario government released a damning military report about horrific conditions in five long-term care homes where soldiers had been deployed to provide support, including another facility owned by Sienna. The report detailed a litany of disturbing findings, including improper hygiene practices and inadequate efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Di Donato said he learned last weekend his grandmother was one of 18 Woodbridge Vista residents sent to hospital with the virus. In the days since, he said her condition has deteriorated and his family was forced to say what they fear will be their final goodbyes via video.

Dykeman’s comments, he said, came Wednesday night during a Zoom call with dozens of concerned relatives.

He described her conduct during the meeting as “callous,” saying she did not seem truly engaged with the family’s concerns and declined to answer specific questions about the ongoing outbreak.

Once the call had officially concluded, he said, he and several attendees overheard her remarks. Di Donato and others present reported hearing Dykeman refer to relatives as “blood-sucking class-action lawsuit people” and mock concerns expressed by some at the meeting.

Dykeman, who did not respond to request for comment, no longer worked for Sienna as of Thursday afternoon.

That same day, the Ontario government said management of Woodbridge Vista was being reassigned to William Osler Health System, a nearby hospital where patients were already receiving treatment. Data from the local public health authority indicated more than 20 residents had died from the virus, while more than 100 had fallen ill. More than 40 staff members were also infected.

“Despite receiving hospital support, Woodbridge Vista Care Community has been unable to contain the spread of COVID-19,” read a statement from the Ministry of Long-Term Care. “These steps will enable a rigorous management structure to help contain the spread of the disease and assist in returning their home to normal operations.”

Sienna said it has developed a six-point plan to protect residents, noting Dykeman’s remarks were not consistent with those efforts.  

“Our residents and their loved ones are deserving of our respect at all times and as a company we will ensure this respect guides our every action,” Sienna said, adding its “renewal” efforts include improving communication with families.

Di Donato said he questions Sienna’s commitment to change, but hopes the Dykeman controversy will force the company’s hand. 

“If she had disconnected properly from that Zoom call, would we be talking today? Probably not,” he said.

“They would have just kept doing what they’re doing.”

Sienna Living also owns Red Oak Retirement Homes located in Kanata.

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