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Hamilton, Niagara, Brant and Haldimand-Norfolk students return to in-person classes Monday –



Students in Hamilton, Niagara, Brant and Haldimand-Norfolk will be returning to in-person classes this Monday according to the province.

They haven’t been in class since late December.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon.

Before and after school child care programs will also resume on Feb. 8, which means this Friday will be the last day for local emergency child care.

The province is making asymptomatic testing available for students and staff. There will also be mandatory masking for students between Grade 1 and 12. High schools will also get enhanced screening and eligible student teachers can use temporary certificates to help boards deal with staffing issues.

But the province is also discouraging students from getting together before and after school.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, the city’s medical officer of health, previously said schools are the safest places for students to be.

Pat Daly, chair of Hamilton’s Catholic School Board, said the board is “pleased” students and staff will return to classes soon. He also said the short turn-around time of four days shouldn’t be a problem.

“Our staff have been anticipating it could happen Monday or the following Monday, so all that preparation has continued. We’re just relived and pleased it’s happening,” he said.

Data error leads to just 4 new cases being reported

Hamilton Public Health Services is reporting only four new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths linked to the virus on Wednesday.

The city says due to a delay in the uploading of new cases into CCM on Feb. 2, cases reported today are under-representative of the true case count. 

Cases reported on Feb. 4, will be over-representative to correct the issue.

There are currently 496 active cases, while the total number of resolved cases now stands at 8,405.

Hamilton’s weekly rate of new cases per 100,000 people continues to fall and is at 75.

The four new deaths take to 260 the number of people who have died since March, after contracting COVID-19.

Status of vaccine distribution

As of the end of day Feb.2 a total of 19,587 vaccines had been administered — 5,185 at mobile clinics and 14,402 at the fixed clinic at Hamilton Health Sciences                    

The mobile vaccination clinic is currently vaccinating residents of long-term care and high-risk retirement homes.

The fixed-site vaccination clinic is currently vaccinating staff from long-term care and high-risk retirement homes, essential caregivers, and healthcare workers from high-risk areas.


The county of Brant has 37 active cases according to data online. There were six new cases in the last 24 hours.

There have been 1,361 cases since March and nine deaths. There are five people hospitalized with COVID-19.

A total of 1,315 cases have been marked as resolved. 


Haldimand and Norfolk Counties are reporting seven new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday with a total of 56 active.

There have been 1,340 cases throughout the pandemic. Of those 1,241 have recovered.

The local public health unit has linked the virus to 38 deaths.

On Jan. 29 public health officials from Haldimand and Norfolk counties said the COVID-19 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom (U.K.), had been identified in the region.

On Wednesday director, corporate communications Matt Terry told CBC News that there was nothing further to add to the announcement.

The details around how it was identified are still unclear, but it prompted an immediate warning from the public health unit.

Meanwhile, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, Norfolk General Hospital and paramedic services in both counties are collaborating to deliver second doses of COVID-19 vaccine to residents of long-term care and retirement homes this week. 

This effort is in collaboration with community physicians who provide care at these facilities.

More than 1,100 long-term care and retirement home residents received the first dose of vaccine starting Jan. 13.

The second round of vaccinations is scheduled to begin Wednesday and should be completed by the end of next week.


The number of COVID-19 cases in Halton rose by 56 on Wednesday, for a total of 8,524 so far.

Data indicates 360 of those cases are active.

Thirteen of the new cases were in Burlington, which has seen 2,252 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. There are 116 active cases in the city.

A total of 163 people across the region have died after being infected with the virus, 40 of them in Burlington.


Niagara reported 53 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. The region has seen 8,026 cases over the course of the pandemic, including 963 that are active.

There were eight new deaths over the last 24 hours for a total of 332 as a result of COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, 6,731 cases are now marked as resolved.

Six Nations

Six Nations of the Grand River had 10 active COVID-19 cases as of Feb. 2, according to Ohsweken Public Health.

There have been 154 cases reported over the course of the pandemic and two deaths.

A total of 143 cases have been marked as resolved.

Six Nations is encouraging members who attended recent midwinter’s ceremonies to come forward and get tested, after Ohsweken Public Health (OPH) identified positive COVID-19 cases in some individuals.

The cases were identified in members that attended midwinter’s ceremonies from Jan. 15 to 26, Six Nations of the Grand River said in a news release.

Ontario reports 1,172 new cases of COVID-19

Ontario reported 1,172 new cases of COVID-19 and the deaths of 67 more people with the illness on Wednesday. 

While the number of additional cases is again well below the recent average, it’s not clear whether the figure is especially reliable. The province cautioned yesterday that instability caused by a data migration of Toronto Public Health (TPH) to Ontario’s centralized COVID-19 tracking system could affect counts for several days.

Ontario’s network of labs completed 52,418 tests for the virus and recorded a test positivity rate of 3.3 per cent. The positivity rate has been trending downward in the weeks following a provincewide lockdown order that began on Dec. 26. 

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After 45 years, NASA's Voyager 1 space probe encounters mystery issue – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



(CNN) — The Voyager 1 probe is still exploring interstellar space 45 years after launching, but it has encountered an issue that mystifies the spacecraft’s team on Earth.

Voyager 1 continues to operate well, despite its advanced age and 14.5 billion-mile distance (23.3 billion kilometers) from Earth. And it can receive and execute commands sent from NASA, as well as gather and send back science data.

But the readouts from the attitude articulation and control system, which control the spacecraft’s orientation in space, don’t match up with what Voyager is actually doing. The attitude articulation and control system, or AACS, ensures that the probe’s high-gain antenna remains pointed at Earth so Voyager can send data back to NASA.

Due to Voyager’s interstellar location, it takes light 20 hours and 33 minutes to travel one way, so the call and response of one message between NASA and Voyager takes two days.

So far, the Voyager team believes the AACS is still working, but the instrument’s data readouts seem random or impossible. The system issue hasn’t triggered anything to put the spacecraft into “safe mode” so far. That’s when only essential operations occur so engineers can diagnose an issue that would put the spacecraft at risk.

And Voyager’s signal is as strong as ever, meaning the antenna is still pointed to Earth. The team is trying to determine if this incorrect data is coming directly from this instrument or if another system is causing it.

“Until the nature of the issue is better understood, the team cannot anticipate whether this might affect how long the spacecraft can collect and transmit science data,” according to a NASA release.

“A mystery like this is sort of par for the course at this stage of the Voyager mission,” said Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager 1 and 2 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in a statement.

“The spacecraft are both almost 45 years old, which is far beyond what the mission planners anticipated. We’re also in interstellar space — a high-radiation environment that no spacecraft have flown in before. So there are some big challenges for the engineering team. But I think if there’s a way to solve this issue with the AACS, our team will find it.”

If the team doesn’t determine the source of the issue, they may just adapt to it, Dodd said. Or if they can find it, the issue may be solved by making a software change or relying on a redundant hardware system.

Voyager has already relied on backup systems to last as long as it has. In 2017, the probe fired thrusters that were used during its initial planetary encounters during the 1970s — and they still worked after remaining unused for 37 years.

The aging probes produce very little power per year, so subsystems and heaters have been turned off over the years so that critical systems and science instruments can keep operating.

Voyager 2, a twin spacecraft, continues to operate well in interstellar space 12.1 billion miles (19.5 billion kilometers) from Earth. By comparison, Neptune, the farthest planet from Earth, is, at most, only 2.9 billion miles away. Both probes were launched in 1977 and have far exceeded their original purpose to fly by planets.

Now, they have become the only two spacecraft to gather data from interstellar space and provide insights about the heliosphere, or the bubble created by the sun that extends beyond the planets in our solar system.

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Boeing's Starliner ready to launch to space station on 2nd test flight –



Boeing’s new Starliner capsule was set for launch on Thursday on a do-over uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station, aiming to deliver the company a much-needed success after two years of delays and costly engineering setbacks.

The gumdrop-shaped CST-100 Starliner was scheduled for liftoff at 6:54 p.m. ET from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, carried atop an Atlas V rocket furnished by the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture United Launch Alliance (ULA).

ULA said Wednesday evening forecasts called for a 70 per cent chance of favourable weather conditions for an on-time launch.

If all goes as planned, the capsule will arrive at the space station about 24 hours later, docking with the research outpost orbiting some 400 kilometres above Earth at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday.

The Boeing craft is to spend four to five days attached to the space station before undocking and flying back to Earth, with a parachute landing cushioned by airbags on the desert floor of White Sands, New Mexico.

A successful mission will move the long-delayed Starliner a major step closer to providing NASA with a second reliable means of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

Since resuming crewed flights to orbit from American soil in 2020, nine years after the space shuttle program ended, the U.S. space agency has had to rely solely on the Falcon 9 rockets and Crew Dragon capsules flown by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX.

Payload and model passenger

The Starliner will not be flying to orbit empty. The capsule will carry a research mannequin to collect data on crew cabin conditions during the journey, plus 500 pounds of cargo for delivery to the space station’s crew — three NASA astronauts, a European Space Agency astronaut from Italy and three Russian cosmonauts.

Two of the U.S. astronauts will be tasked with boarding the capsule during Starliner’s stay to take measurements of its interior environment and unload the supplies.

Thursday’s launch marks a repeat of a 2019 test mission that failed to achieve a successful rendezvous with the space station because of a flight-software malfunction. Subsequent problems with Starliner’s propulsion system, supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne, led Boeing to scrub an attempt to launch the capsule last summer.

NASA astronauts Suni Williams, left, Barry (Butch) Wilmore, centre, and Mike Fincke, right, watch as an Atlas V rocket with Starliner spacecraft aboard is rolled out to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission. (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The spacecraft remained grounded for nine more months while the two companies sparred over what caused its fuel valves to stick shut and which firm was responsible for fixing them.

Boeing says it has since resolved the glitch with a temporary workaround and plans to redesign the propulsion system’s fuel valves system after this week’s flight.

Starliner was developed with a $4.5 billion US fixed-price NASA contract to provide the U.S. space agency a second avenue to low-Earth orbit, along with SpaceX, and has proven costly to Boeing.

Delays and engineering setbacks with Starliner have led the aerospace giant to take $595 million US in charges since the capsule’s 2019 failure, even as the company strives to climb out of successive crises in its jetliner business and its space-defence unit.

If the second uncrewed trip to orbit succeeds, Starliner could fly its first team of astronauts in the fall, though NASA officials caution that time frame could get pushed back.

NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Mike Fincke had been designated to fly Starliner’s maiden crewed mission. But NASA officials, reluctant to tie down two astronauts to a flight whose launch date is uncertain, said Wednesday the mission could end up carrying at least two of any of the four astronauts now training to test-fly Starliner.

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Dusty demise for NASA Mars lander in July; power dwindling – CGTN



A NASA spacecraft on Mars is headed for a dusty demise. 

The InSight lander is losing power because of all the dust on its solar panels. NASA said Tuesday it will keep using the spacecraft’s seismometer to register marsquakes until the power peters out, likely in July. Then flight controllers will monitor InSight until the end of this year, before calling everything off. 

“There really hasn’t been too much doom and gloom on the team. We’re really still focused on operating the spacecraft,” said Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Bruce Banerdt, the principal scientist. 

Since landing on Mars in 2018, InSight has detected more than 1,300 marsquakes; the biggest one, a magnitude 5, occurred two weeks ago. 

It will be NASA’s second Mars lander lost to dust: A global dust storm took out Opportunity in 2018. In InSight’s case, it’s been a gradual gathering of dust, especially over the past year.

NASA’s two other functioning spacecraft on the Martian surface – rovers Curiosity and Perseverance – are still going strong thanks to nuclear power. The space agency may rethink solar power in the future for Mars, said planetary science director Lori Glaze, or at least experiment with new panel-clearing tech or aim for the less-stormy seasons.

InSight currently is generating one-tenth of the power from the sun that it did upon arrival. Deputy project manager Kathya Zamora Garcia said the lander initially had enough power to run an electric oven for one hour and 40 minutes; now it’s down to 10 minutes max. 

The InSight team had anticipated this much dust buildup, but hoped a gust of wind or dust devil might clean off the solar panels. That has yet to happen, despite several thousand whirlwinds coming close. 

“None of them have quite hit us dead-on yet enough to blow the dust off the panels,” Banerdt told reporters. 

Another science instrument, dubbed the mole, was supposed to burrow 16 feet (5 meters) underground to measure the internal temperature of Mars. But the German digger never got deeper than a couple of feet (a half-meter) because of the unexpected composition of the red dirt, and it finally was declared dead at the beginning of last year.

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