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Health unit records highest single-day increase of COVID-19 infections – Windsor Star

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Six of the new cases are being attributed to community spread, 13 are close contacts of confirmed cases, and 32 are related to outbreaks. The transmission sources for the remaining 199 cases are still under investigation by public health unit staff.

There are currently 1,305 active cases of COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex.

If residents fail to follow provincial rules prohibiting social gatherings over the holidays, Ahmed said he is “absolutely” anticipating an even higher jump in new infections.

“I don’t know what other measures that I can put forward, or the province can put forward, to contain it — all of these measures are completely and entirely dependent on everyone’s behaviour.

“Every day, reporting two or three deaths is not a good sign for our community. We have to remember, we all have our loved ones who could be vulnerable, who could die if they contract COVID.”

Public health and provincial regulations prohibit any indoor social gatherings with people from different households, with an exception for those who live alone. Only those people may join one other household.

In local hospitals, 76 patients have confirmed cases, with 16 of them in intensive care. An additional 129 patients have suspected cases of COVID-19 and are awaiting their test results.

There are 35 locations across the region with active COVID-19 outbreaks.

WINDSOR, ON. Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020 -- This chart from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit shows all of the long-term care and retirement homes with active outbreaks in the region as of Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (VIA THE WECHU / WINDSOR STAR)
This local health unit chart shows all long-term care and retirement homes with active outbreaks in the region as of Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. Photo by Via the WECHU /Windsor Star

Fourteen are long-term care and retirement homes. In Windsor, there are outbreaks at Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, Huron Lodge, Banwell Gardens Care Centre, The Shoreview at Riverside, Berkshire Care Centre, The Village at St. Clair, and Village of Aspen Lake. In Tecumseh, there are outbreaks at Chartwell St. Clair Beach and Extendicare Tecumseh.

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Calgary company begins human clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate – Business News – Castanet.net

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Human clinical trials have begun in Toronto for a proposed COVID-19 vaccine made by a Canadian company.

Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says 60 subjects will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected next month.

The group of healthy volunteers aged 18 to 65 have been divided into four groups of 15. Three of the groups will get three different dose levels, while a fourth group gets a placebo.

Pending regulatory approval, the company’s CEO Brad Sorenson says a larger Phase 2 trial may start in May with seniors, younger subjects and pregnant people.

Providence uses messenger RNA technology for a product it calls PTX-COVID19-B.

Sorenson says if successful, the vaccine could be released by the end of the year.

“We are thrilled to begin human clinical trials of PTX-COVID19-B. Having a made-in-Canada solution to address the global COVID-19 pandemic will augment the reliability of vaccine supply for Canadians, contribute to the global vaccine supply and position a Canadian company on the global stage as a contributor to the solution,” Sorenson said Tuesday in a release.

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Rich couple took COVID vaccine meant for Indigenous: Charges – Al Jazeera English

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Canadian couple charged with flying to rural, First Nations settlement and posing as residents to take vaccine.

Great Canadian Gaming CEO Rod Baker has resigned, the company said on Monday, after he and his wife were charged with travelling to a northern Canada settlement that is majority Indigenous and misleading authorities in order to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp, which first reported the incident, said Baker, 55, and his wife Ekaterina Baker, 32, had travelled from Vancouver to the Yukon territory and posed as local workers in the remote community of Beaver Creek in order to receive a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The Canadian census says in 2016, 85 of the 93 individuals who lived in the Beaver Creek settlement were Indigenous, part of the White River First Nation.

“We are deeply concerned by the actions of individuals who put our Elders and vulnerable people at risk to jump the line for selfish purposes,” White River First Nation Chief Angela Demit wrote on Facebook.

Beaver Creek is found in northwestern Canada, where rural communities are being given priority for vaccinations, as government data shows they face higher rates of infection, the Yukon News reported.

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Documents filed in the Yukon court registry show the pair were charged on Thursday with having failed to behave in a manner “consistent with (their) declaration”.

They also were charged with failing to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Yukon and each was fined 1,150 Canadian dollars ($905.12), according to the tickets.

Baker did not immediately return Reuters’s request for comment.

Great Canadian Gaming said in a statement it received the chief executive officer’s resignation on Sunday but offered no details, saying it did not comment on personnel matters.

Yukon’s Community Services Minister John Streicker said in a statement he was “outraged” and found it “disturbing that people would choose to put fellow Canadians at risk in this manner”.

A spokesman for the Yukon government said it would implement new requirements for proving residency in the territory.

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BlackRock's shift to 'net-zero' investments is accelerating, CEO Larry Fink says – The Globe and Mail

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Larry Fink, founder and chief executive of the investment firm Blackrock, at his offices in New York, on Aug. 10, 2016.

DAMON WINTER/The New York Times

BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest fund manager, is accelerating its push to reduce the risks of climate change for clients, asking corporate leaders to disclose how their companies will fare in a “net-zero” economy and selling its stakes in those that fail to live up to heightened standards.

BlackRock chief executive officer Larry Fink said in his annual letters to the CEOs of companies in the firm’s portfolio and to BlackRock clients that the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the reallocation of capital to investments with lower-climate risk. Activity boomed as countries made new pledges to get to net zero – when greenhouse gas emissions are simultaneously reduced and offset – as they plotted economic recovery.

From January to November last year, investors around the world plowed US$288-billion into mutual funds and exchange-traded funds with sustainable assets, nearly double the the tally of 2019, he said.

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Mr. Fink’s comments show how New York-based BlackRock, which manages US$8.7-trillion in assets on behalf of pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and other clients, has quickly built on its market-moving pronouncements of a year ago. Mr. Fink made headlines by saying BlackRock would part ways with companies that generate more than 25 per cent of their sales from thermal coal, and set up new ETFs that filter out fossil fuel investments.

It was seen as a wake-up call for the corporate world, and several other major investors have since made similar announcements. On Tuesday, Mr. Fink described the change in investor preference for more sustainable opportunities as a “tectonic shift.”

“Given how central the energy transition will be to every company’s growth prospects, we are asking companies to disclose a plan for how their business model will be compatible with a net zero economy – that is, one where global warming is limited to well below 2 degrees Celsius, consistent with a global aspiration of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” Mr. Fink wrote in his letter to CEOs.

“We are asking you to disclose how this plan is incorporated into your long-term strategy and reviewed by your board of directors.”

Governments in the European Union, China, Japan, South Korea and Canada have pledged to achieve net-zero emissions in the coming decades. Under new President Joe Biden, the United States has committed to rejoining the Paris Agreement on battling climate change. No company will be unaffected by the transition, and gathering and assessing data will be key, Mr. Fink said.

“Of course, investors cannot prepare their portfolios for this transition unless they understand how each and every company is prepared both for the physical threats of climate change and the global economy’s transition to net zero,” Mr. Fink said.

Last year, BlackRock asked all companies in its portfolio to disclose information about climate-change risk and social and governance issues in step with guidelines established by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

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Mr. Fink said he is urging all companies to begin disclosing climate data in line with the TCFD standard before regulators begin to mandate such reporting. Last week, an Ontario government task force recommended the Ontario Securities Commission require companies to adopt such disclosure.

In its active investing portfolios, BlackRock is adopting a “heightened scrutiny model,” applying its risk-management tools to identify particularly high climate risk among companies owing to high carbon intensity and insufficient preparation for the energy transition.

“Where we do not see progress in this area, and in particular where we see a lack of alignment combined with a lack of engagement, we will not only use our vote against management for our index portfolio-held shares, we will also flag these holdings for potential exit in our discretionary active portfolios because we believe they would present a risk to our clients’ returns,” Mr. Fink wrote in his letter to clients.

“Conversely, we believe companies that distinguish themselves in terms of their emissions trajectory, transition preparedness and governance will often represent an opportunity for our clients.”

Jeffrey Jones writes about sustainable finance and the ESG sector for The Globe and Mail. Reach him at jeffjones@globeandmail.com.

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