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Health charities in Canada hit with historic loss in revenue during COVID-19



Canada’s health charities expect to raise less than half of their normal funds this year because of COVID-19.

The pandemic has led to the cancellation of many in-person events that charities rely on for fundraising, and the financial hit means delays in disease research and fewer supports for people with a variety of illnesses.

The Health Charities Coalition of Canada is an umbrella group of national health charities that typically host walkathons, galas and other major fundraising events which raise around $650 million a year. Its members report that revenues have fallen more than 50 per cent as physical distancing requirements during the COVID-19 crisis curtailed those events.

Tammy Moore chairs the board of directors of Health Charities Coalition of Canada and is CEO of ALS Canada, where she says the decline in donations has delayed getting mobility chairs, hospital beds and ceiling lifts to help people with ALS, who can experience progressive paralysis over the span of two to five years before death.

“This has been so critical because caregivers are seeing an increased burden as the personal support workers are not able to go in the home in the same way,” Moore said. “Making sure that people physically can stay safely in their homes is an important part of the equipment provision that we have.”


Sam Hanna, owner of Rehab Medical Mobility Equipment, repairs a wheelchair with employee Nabeel Saleem, left. The company works with ALS Canada to provide mobility devices during the COVID-19 crisis. (Craig Chivers/CBC)


Moore said they’re having a hard time picking up and delivering donated devices in the midst of the pandemic, with fewer volunteers. The group turns to Rehab Medical Mobility Equipment to repair the devices, a service that’s become more critical now.

The Canadian Cancer Society expects a drop of between $80 and $100 million in donations this year. It’s been forced to cancel hundreds of events such as its Relay for Life, which was “reimagined” as a virtual version that raised around $4.2 million, compared to more than $20 million in each of the last two years. The organization also anticipates its virtual Run for the Cure in October will raise less money than it has previously.

Grassroot efforts stifled

Andrea Seale, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, said the group delivers support to people going through cancer and to their caregivers, runs summer camps for children living with cancer, and advocates on health policies. All of those areas have been hit by what Seale said is likely the greatest financial challenge in the organization’s 80-plus-year history.

“We’re supported by a tremendous amount of grassroots effort from volunteers in the community,” Seale said from Vancouver. “Some of that effort can go online, but certainly not all of it. ”

About 60 per cent of net proceeds go to client services in the province in which the funds were raised, and the rest supports research, which Seale said has been deferred and slowed during the pandemic.

Seale hopes that determination and creativity in finding online ways for people to support the charity will help it get through the pandemic. But, she said, it is hard to predict how long it will take for services to return fully.

Smaller charities hard-hit

Smaller charitable organizations like the Sickle Cell Association of Ontario have also faced a tough year. The group receives no government funding and serves more than 500 people with the inherited disorder that hampers how vital red blood cells function.

The group said it receives around $2,000 a month in donations on average. That’s dropped to $400 a month since March.


Alvin Merchant says people in the sickle cell community feel particularly isolated during COVID-19. (Craig Chivers/CBC)


Alvin Merchant, a board member in Toronto who lives with the disease, said being immune-compromised puts people in a “serious quandary” during COVID-19.

Support groups for adults used to gather in person for yoga warm-ups, physical activity, massage services donated by a local college and child-minding.

“People in the sickle cell community already feel isolated; they’re dealing with a disease that no one understands,” Merchant said.

Merchant said his group hopes to tap into the federal government’s $350-million Emergency Community Fund for community organizations serving vulnerable people during COVID-19. But, he said, the organization will have to find unique ways to raise awareness.

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COVID-19: B.C. brings in new mask enforcement policy as cases spike – Peace River Record Gazette



Masks are required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older, in most indoor places

Update: On Nov. 25, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province had reported incorrect COVID-19 case totals from Nov. 17 to 24 due to “data transfer errors” within the Fraser Health Region.

After reviewing the data, the province now says the total number of new cases from Monday to Tuesday was actually 695 and not 941, the number originally reported by Henry.

Original story: British Columbia set a single-day high of 941 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and recorded 10 additional deaths from the respiratory disease.

According to the B.C. Centre of Disease Control, the vast majority of the new cases are in the Fraser Health region which reported 678 cases between noon Monday and noon Tuesday, while a further 174 were recorded in Vancouver Coastal Health.

The provincial total of those who have tested positive now stands at 28,348, with 7,732 active cases.

The dramatic jump in cases comes less than a week after the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, tightened restrictions on social gatherings and introduced a mandatory mask policy for indoor public settings.

On Tuesday, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth introduced new enforcement measures within the Emergency Program Act that will give law enforcement officers the power to issue $230 fines to anyone not wearing a mask in an indoor public place.

“This new order … will ensure we have the tools necessary to enforce the mask mandate as recommended by (Henry),” said Farnworth, who also further extended the provincial state of emergency until Dec. 8.

Masks are required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older, in most indoor places including malls, drug stores, restaurants (except when seated and eating), public facilities and post-secondary institutions. The province says masks are encouraged for younger children, age two to 12, in public settings but they are not mandatory.

There are also medical exemptions for people unable to wear a mask due to psychological, behavioural or health conditions or physical, cognitive or mental impairments. Those incapable of putting on or removing a mask are also exempt.

The mask order also does not extend to schools which is something that the B.C. Teachers Federation continues to demand.

BCTF president Terry Mooring asked parents in an open letter on Tuesday to encourage their children to wear masks in school.

“By talking to your children about wearing their masks in school, you can help us create that respectful culture of mask wearing,” said Mooring, who conceded that there are some staff and students who, for various reasons, can’t wear masks and some learning situations where masks are inappropriate.

Henry said Monday that students are in schools with a group of people they see day-to-day, unlike businesses where people interact with others they don’t know, necessitating wearing a mask. She did say she supports mask wearing in common areas and by adults at schools.

B.C. health officials say there are currently 10,283 people who are under public health monitoring as a result of exposure to known cases. A further 19,605 people who tested positive have recovered.

A total of 358 people have died from COVID-19 in B.C. since the pandemic began, while 284 people are currently being treated in hospital, including 61 who are in critical care.

The province announced two new health care facility outbreaks at Valley Haven Care Home in Chilliwack and Little Mountain Place care home in Vancouver, while outbreaks at Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge in Richmond and Agassiz Seniors Community have been declared over.

Fraser Health said Tuesday that 55 patients and 40 staff members have tested positive at Burnaby Hospital where a COVID-19 outbreak was first declared on Nov. 9. There have been five patient deaths linked to the outbreak.

“All patients, staff, support staff and medical staff are tested for COVID-19. As a precaution, the hospital is not accepting new admissions at this time, with the exception of the intensive care unit (ICU), maternity, and community palliative care,” Fraser Health said.

Meanwhile, Vancouver Coastal Health has issued a COVID-19 exposure alert for a popular downtown Vancouver pub. The health agency says anyone who visited The Morrissey at 1227 Granville Street on either Nov. 12 or 13, between 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on both days, may have been exposed to the virus and should monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.

With a file from The Canadian Press

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What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Nov. 26 –




  • 738 new cases of COVID-19 were announced on Wednesday, along with 13 more deaths.
  • There are now 29,086 confirmed cases in the province to date.
  • 294 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, including 61 in intensive care.
  • 371 people have now died of the disease.
  • Masks are mandatory for everyone in indoor public spaces and retail environments.
  • Anyone who does not comply could face a $230 fine.

British Columbia added another 738 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as the province continued to urge everyone to pause social interactions and said there could be fines for those who don’t wear masks.

The Fraser Health region continued to drive the spike in new infections, with 443 or 60 per cent of Wednesday’s new cases.

Data correction

On Wednesday, Provincial Health Minister Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced a data correction for results from Fraser Health over the past week due to an data glitch.

Daily numbers from Fraser Health changed from Nov. 16 to Nov. 24. On Tuesday, 678 cases were originally announced for the region. The accurate number is 432. That meant the overall number of new cases in B.C. on that day was revised down to 695 from what was reported as a record high of 941.

The B.C. government has published a full list of corrected data online.

Overall, the corrected data still showed the province’s COVID-19 curve trending up, but at a slower rate than originally reported.

Fraser Health spike ‘didn’t happen’: health officer

Fraser Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin said the correction shows that the case numbers in that health authority have stabilized rather than spiking.

“That spike […] didn’t happen. Our case counts are fluctuating at around 500 cases a day. That number has been stable for a couple of weeks,” she said on CBC’s The Early Edition.

Brodkin said the majority of transmission in Fraser Health continues to be in private homes, with individuals becoming infected in the community and passing the virus on to their household contacts. She said transmission is also occurring in essential workplaces and gyms, and that in 20 per cent of cases the source of transmission cannot be identified.

But she said there has been no transmission as a result of community events like Diwali, and that contact tracers are still able to find 95 per cent of contacts within 24 hours.

“The current restrictions are working. The exponential climb has stopped,” she said.

Brodkin said the glitch in reported numbers happened as a result of an error with a lab information system, and was a one-time incident that was “identified quickly and has been corrected.”


What’s happening elsewhere in Canada

There have now been more than 348,944 cases of COVID-19 in Canada.

A vaccine is expected to become available in the coming year, but Canada has not yet specified how it will be distributed, aside from a promise to work with provinces and territories to buy cold storage. 

The federal government has procured 358 million doses of vaccine from seven companies, an insurance policy of sorts in case some of the vaccines in development prove to be ineffective in clinical trials.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Loss of taste or smell.
  • Headache.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they’re mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or o​​​​​​ther extreme symptoms should call 911.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep your distance from people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.

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COVID-19 update for Nov. 26: B.C. records deadliest day so far in pandemic with 13 deaths – Standard Freeholder



The latest case numbers, exposure alerts and guidelines: Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C.

The latest case numbers, exposure alerts and guidelines: Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C.

Handout via REUTERS

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Nov. 26, 2020.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


As of the latest figures given on Nov. 25:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 29,086 (7,616 active)
• New cases since Nov. 24: 738
• Hospitalized cases: 294
• Intensive care: 61
• COVID-19 related deaths: 371 (13 new)
• Cases under public health monitoring: 10,270
• Recovered: 19,814
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 63

IN-DEPTH: COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


3 p.m. – Health officials are set to share latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Health officials are expected to update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

12 a.m. –B.C. records 738 new cases, 13 additional deaths

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday that a further 738 people tested positive for COVID-19 and an additional 13 people have died from the respiratory disease. It was the pandemic’s deadliest day so far in British Columbia.

Of the new cases, 443 were recorded in the Fraser Health District, while 169 tested positive in Vancouver Coastal Health.

There are 294 people being treated in hospital with 61 in critical care.

There has been total of 29,066 positive tests and 371 COVID-19 related deaths in B.C. since the start of the pandemic. There have been more than 100 deaths in November alone.

There are 7,615 active cases in B.C.


COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press

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