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Inside an isolation hotel: What to expect in quarantine –



Not far from the country’s largest airport near Toronto, a Peel Region hotel has been converted into an isolation centre for anyone exposed to COVID-19, including those confirmed to be infected.

Almost anyone is eligible to stay — free of charge — with one big exception. This quarantine facility isn’t for returning travellers.

“We’re hoping to fill the place,” said Leslie Moreau, who runs three other hotel sites in Brampton and Mississauga, now giving the region a total isolation capacity of 373 rooms.

While the federal government ramps up a requirement for inbound travellers to stay at least three days in a hotel, at their own expense, Peel Region has been scaling up its own local isolation operation, opening three hotel sites in just over a month. The fourth started accepting people on Monday.

The area has consistently had one of the country’s highest rates of COVID-19 infections. Public health authorities point to a concentration of health and long-term care workers, as well as communal work settings like e-retailing warehouses and manufacturing, as contributors to the spread of the virus in the community.

Peel also has a significant number of large multigenerational households, where elderly grandparents may live alongside working parents and school-age grandchildren.

“It’s very hard to safely isolate,” said Moreau of Peel’s multigenerational homes, “so if they’re here [at the hotel] in their own room, then it’s safer and we’re going to be able to control the spread.”

Persuading the skeptical to leave home to isolate

Though the region has requested that the exact location of the hotels not be revealed publicly, the four sites are located in East Brampton, South Brampton, North Mississauga and now, South Mississauga.

The cost to rent and staff the hotels is paid for entirely with emergency money from the federal and provincial governments. As a result, guests requiring isolation pay nothing for their stay.

Rebekah Brant Garcia, with the Salvation Army, lays out a meal package on Feb. 1 ahead of the arrival of guests at a hotel converted into a voluntary COVID-19 isolation facility near Pearson Airport. Peel Region started the initiative to help reduce community spread of the coronavirus, particularly in multigenerational homes that are common in the area. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

With transportation to the facility available in a specially sealed mini-bus, 24-hour on-site nursing staff, temperature checks, security, and meals delivered right to the door, Peel Region is trying to remove any inconvenience, fear or stigma from the isolation process.

“Racialized Canadians are most impacted by COVID-19. It requires a nuanced approach,” notes nurse Ameek Singh.

“To hear a common language … their anxiety goes way down. It starts not only with us as the health care providers here, but the food that’s offered, the facilities that are offered, and the cultural norms that are understood.”

Nurse Ameek Singh, part of a group of health care and hospitality workers, prepares a room for the arrival of a guest at a hotel converted into a voluntary COVID-19 isolation facility in Peel Region on Feb. 1. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Families are, for instance, able to drop off food or other supplies should a guest ask for anything. Menu options offer everything from hamburgers to vegetarian biryani, and mild jerk chicken to fish tandoori.

The catch, of course, is the isolation. By checking in, a guest is agreeing to stay inside their room with rare opportunities to go outside, and they can’t mingle with others or see anyone other than staff. Guests are forbidden. Even for those who remain asymptomatic, cable TV and wifi only stave off boredom to a certain degree.

Others who come to an isolation hotel will also be COVID-positive, and could become very ill during their time there. Those who test positive are kept on a separate floor, and nursing staff conduct regular health checks to ensure wellbeing. Anyone needing hospitalization is offered transfer by ambulance.

The keys to the success of the program are twofold — persuading people of the benefits of isolation outside their homes, and timing.

Health authorities want those potentially exposed to COVID-19 to come here immediately, rather than returning home or to a workplace where the risk of transmission jumps.

Guests at Peel Region’s isolation hotel are offered menu options ranging from hamburgers to vegetarian biryani. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Having restricted who could access an isolation hotel earlier in the pandemic, the criteria has recently been loosened in the hopes more will use the service. Anyone who learns of a potential exposure through public health, or contacts them directly, is now told of the isolation hotel if they report not having a suitable place to quarantine apart from others.

“We’ve done a lot of work in the past week … getting out to assessment centres,” said Moreau, Peel’s manager of Human Services.

“What we really want is people to come here when they’re looking to book a COVID test, not once they’re already positive. So we would like to get them here sooner rather than later.”

Isolation hotels similar to what incoming travellers will soon face

While guests are strongly encouraged to stay for their entire 14-day quarantine period, this is not an obligation at the Peel Region facility and the other three isolation hotels in the area.

That is not the case at another hotel in Mississauga operated by the Public Health Agency of Canada, which may serve as the model for the mandated isolation period that returning or arriving international travellers could soon face.

On Jan. 28, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that mandatory testing for the coronavirus would soon be required for people returning to Canada, on top ofpre-departure test requirements implemented earlier this year. Travellers will then have to wait up to three days at a government-approved hotel for their results, which Trudeau said must be paid by the traveller and could cost upwards of $2,000.

Ottawa isn’t banning non-essential travel; it’s making it as inconvenient and expensive as possible. Now, in addition to existing requirements, returning travellers will need to quarantine in a hotel for three days at their own expense, at a likely cost of at least $2,000. 2:33

“It’s not an experience that I would pay to have,” Hyunseo Cho said.

Cho and her husband, JT Stubbs, returned from South Korea in the early months of the pandemic. At the time, they were sharing a home with a pregnant relative and, unable to afford temporary accommodations, asked border officials if there was an alternative. They were transported to a hotel room where they spent 23 hours a day.

Unlike the regional isolation hotel, the young couple was not permitted to leave the hotel unless seeking urgent medical treatment. They were required to remain in their room for 14 days after arrival, with the exception of one hour of walking time each day in the fenced-off parking lot.

“Boredom was my big issue,” Cho recalled.

The couple is now strongly opposed to any international travel, except for emergency reasons.

Their experience — confined by security guards, seeing only cleaning staff passing through the peep-hole in the hotel door — may be indicative of what Canadians returning from abroad will now experience.

Saving lives in hotel isolation

While federal authorities are sending a message of discouragement through their new hotel quarantine urging Canadians to stop travelling abroad, regional officials are sending a very different message.

Peel Region is encouraging those who’ve been exposed to isolate safely with them. And besides the desire to protect their families and community, the care and monitoring people receive at Peel’s isolation hotel may help attract those who have been exposed or infected.

At the regional facility for local residents, nurse Rasheen Oliver is a veteran of isolation hotels. Just before Christmas in one of the hotels, she was caring for a woman whose health was rapidly deteriorating, but the woman’s anxiety about going to hospital was also high.

Nurse Rasheen Oliver says the work at isolation hotels is stressful, but also rewarding. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Oliver called an ambulance and coaxed the woman to leave the hotel. The patient ended up hospitalized for 21 days.

“If she would have stayed in the hotel room … she probably would have died. So she was very grateful. She sent me flowers and a beautiful card saying she would pray for me for the rest of her life.”

Oliver is now working at the newest of the four hotels, part of a team going door-to-door in full personal protective equipment (PPE) to regularly check on residents and respond to their concerns. As she does so, she remembers that one woman.

“It reminds me of why I’m here. The work in itself sometimes can be a little stressful, but it’s rewarding when you have moments like that.”

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Police describe car with ‘multiple’ explosives involved in B.C. bank shooting



SAANICH, B.C. — RCMP have described a vehicle linked with two robbery suspects killed in a shootout with police outside a bank in Saanich, B.C., where six officers were wounded.

Cpl. Alex Bérubé said Thursday that multiple explosive devices were placed inside a white 1992 four-door Toyota Camry with two black racing stripes over the hood and roof.

He asked anyone who may have seen the vehicle before the robbery on Tuesday to contact police.

The RCMP explosive disposal unit dealt with a highly volatile and dangerous situation, and a number of firearms were found at the site, Bérubé said.

He told a joint news conference with the Saanich Police Department that the coroners service is trying to identify the two male suspects who were killed outside a Bank of Montreal.

“Once that is completed, our first priority will be to speak with the next of kin and then we’ll be going forward on determining more about them. I mean their backgrounds, who they are, their history, and how that may relate to what took place.”

Saanich Chief Const. Dean Duthie said police happened to be nearby when the armed suspects left the bank.

Duthie said he did not have an update on the three officers who remain in hospital.

Officers who provided emergency first aid to their critically injured colleagues before an ambulance arrived likely helped save their lives, he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022.


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Royal Canadian Navy relieves Pacific fleet ship commander for ‘inappropriate conduct’



OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Navy says it has relieved the commanding officer of a warship in the Pacific Fleet.

In a release Thursday night, the navy says it has lost confidence in the judgment of Lt.-Cmdr. David Dallin of HMCS Regina.

The navy says it took action after an incident that recently took place on another vessel during a naval training exercise.

Details of what happened were not released.

Commodore David Mazur, commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific, says in the release that the incident remains under investigation, but involved “inappropriate conduct.”

The navy says Cmdr. Meghan Coates has now assumed command of HMCS Regina, a Halifax-class frigate based at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, B.C.

“The RCN expects all its members to exercise institutionally appropriate judgment at all times, especially when in clear leadership or command roles,” the navy said in the release.

The navy says Dallin will serve in other roles within Maritime Forces Pacific at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt until the conclusion of the investigation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022


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Canada Day Ottawa: Ottawa police prepare for festivities, possible protests | CTV News – CTV News Ottawa



Police officers in cruisers and on bicycles are patrolling downtown Ottawa and the Parliamentary Precinct today, as the city prepares for Canada Day festivities and possible protests against COVID-19 mandates and the federal government.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit downtown Ottawa and the LeBreton Flats area over the next few days to celebrate Canada’s 155th birthday. Canadian Forces veteran James Topp will also complete his cross-country march at the National War Memorial, as he protests the remaining COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

At LeBreton Flats, there was a very strong security presence Friday morning as preparations continued for the Canadian Heritage Canada Day festivities. The Canada Day daytime show begins at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, while the evening show begins at 7:30 p.m. 

Ottawa police interim Chief Steve Bell says the increased police presence will remain in place through the weekend.

“We’ve talked for a number of days about all the planning and preparation we have and the expectation of people attending,” Bell told CTV News Ottawa. “I think what you’re seeing is those plans coming into action and us being out there and vigilant around who’s attending, and trying to make sure people that understand it’s a safe place on Canada Day and you should come down and enjoy the festivities.”

On Wednesday, officers stopped a small convoy of vehicles in the area of Pinecrest Road and Hwy. 417 and several tickets were issued.   Bell defended the actions of officers to stop vehicles in the capital region.

“We actually have good legal grounds for the plans we’ve put in place. We make sure that we stay on legal grounds because that’s very important as a police service,” Bell said. “We’re comfortable with the posture we’re taking and the actions officers are taking, and it’s all in the name that we ensure public safety and we can have a good, festive Canada Day.”


Canadian Forces veteran James Topp will finish his cross-country march to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates this evening at the National War Memorial.

The final leg of his journey began at 1811 Robertson Road at 10 a.m. Topp is scheduled to arrive at Hog’s Back Park at 1:30 p.m. and finish his march at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at 6 p.m.

“We have been in contact with Mr. Topp and his group and have plans in place to ensure that he can safely and lawfully move from the west end of the city down to the Parliament Hill buildings,” interim chief Bell said on Monday.

Speaking in Ottawa last week, Topp said a number of groups that formed out of the Freedom Convoy had come together to protest the federal government.

“What I would like to see with the establishment of C3 – the Canadian Citizens Coalition is for us to have further conversations about the way forward, about the way of the future, of what we see Canada being and becoming,” said Topp.


The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will not be taking part in Canada Day festivities in Ottawa.

The Royal Canadian Air Force announced the Snowbirds fly-past over Ottawa on Friday has been cancelled, following a problem with the aircraft’s emergency ejection parachute that grounded the fleet for nearly a week.


Visitors to Parliament Hill will need to pass through a security checkpoint, and be searched by a Parliamentary Protective Service officer.

A sign on the fence along Wellington Street says several items are restricted, including tables, speakers, barbecues, aerosols, weapons, fireworks and sporting equipment.


A motor vehicle control zone remains in effect around the Parliamentary Precinct, downtown Ottawa and roads near LeBreton Flats.

The zone stretches from Colonel By Drive/Sussex Drive in the east, Booth Street in the west, Laurier Avenue in the south and Wellington Street in the north, along with the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and Albert Street west of Booth Street.

The roads in the motor vehicle control zone are not closed today; however, motor vehicles taking part in any form of demonstration, event or protest will not be permitted in the area. There will be no on-street parking or stopping on roads in the control zone.

The city of Ottawa says a motor vehicle control zone will be in effect from Wednesday at 8 a.m. until July 4 at 6 a.m. (City of Ottawa/Twitter)


Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services says officers are out ensuring all parking regulations are observed in the motor vehicle control zone.

“All vehicles found failing to observe the no-stopping zones will be ticketed and towed. Parking time limits and no parking zones outside the centre core will also be strictly enforced,” the city said.

Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Ottawa Bylaw says 120 parking tickets were issued and 28 vehicles were towed in the vehicle control zone.

Ottawa Bylaw will also be focusing on the following bylaws to ensure residents and visitors obey the rules over the Canada Day weekend.

  • No unnecessary motor-vehicle or other noise, including speakers or shouting
  • No unnecessary motor-vehicle idling
  • No encumbering a sidewalk or roadway by any means, including setting up tents or other illegal structures
  • No public urination and defecation
  • No open air fires
  • No littering
  • Discharging of fireworks – contravening any regulations under Fireworks By-Law.


Ottawa City Hall and the underground municipal parking facility will be closed all weekend.

City Hall and the parking structure will be closed from 5 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. on Monday.

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