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‘It’s hospital policy’: Masks mandatory at Bluewater Health – Sarnia Observer

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Bluewater Health has been ranked 38th on a list of Canada’s top hospitals. File photo/Sarnia This Week

jpg, SW

The lack of a mandatory mask policy in Lambton County has led to some confusion at the local hospitals.

The county, under guidance from its council, opted to encourage wearing masks in indoor settings rather than mandate it.

“Because we haven’t (made it mandatory) we’ve had several individuals come to the hospital and refuse to wear masks,” Julia Oosterman, Bluewater Health’s communications chief, said Sunday. “It’s hospital policy.”

The issue has been polarizing across the province, with regions making different decisions as they advance into the third stage of the province’s reopening framework.

Regardless, Bluewater Health, with hospitals in Sarnia and Petrolia, requires all patients and visitors to wear masks because of the ongoing global pandemic. This will continue to be the case despite the organization not having a COVID-19 patient for nearly five weeks.

“That’s amazing,” Oosterman said. “But we’re not out of the woods.”

The hospitals have been continually ramping back up and offering elective procedures and surgeries after the Ontario-ordered spring shutdown. They’re now at about 80-per-cent capacity.

“That’s where we’re trying to stay right now as part of the province’s guidelines and mandates so that we could ramp up if we get into a surge or a crisis situation like a sudden influx of COVID,” she said.

But all of the operating rooms are being used.

“In fact, we’re trying to run out surgeries even more than a hundred per cent of our traditional pre-COVID,” Oosterman said. “Because running at a hundred per cent just means that we’re keeping up to date with now, but we need to actually make up the backlog.”

But some patients are still hesitant to come into the hospitals because of the pandemic, something Dr. Michel Haddad, Bluewater Health’s chief of staff, recently discouraged. Oosterman said that continues to be a problem.

“And the reason it’s a problem (is) it’s not just about today,” she said. “I think that we’re in a valley between two mountains, two spikes. And if people continue to wait then they might wait right into the next spike. So then their three-month delay has now potentially become six, nine, ten months. In some cases that can be quite harmful for their clinical outcomes.”

Another person tested positive for COVID-19 in Sarnia-Lambton on the weekend, according to Lambton public health. It’s the third positive test to surface in the region since Tuesday. Prior to Tuesday’s announcement by Lambton public health, there hadn’t been a confirmed case since July 3. There were 289 confirmed cases as of Sunday afternoon.

Testing across Sarnia-Lambton has now eclipsed 15,000, with just 1.9 per cent – a slight drop from the previous day’s report – coming back positive. A total of 260 people have recovered from the virus and 25 have died.

The majority of Ontario advanced Friday into stage three of the province’s reopening framework, but Lambton was one of 10 regions held back. Local officials anticipate an announcement could be made on their status early next week.

@ObserverTerry

tbridge@postmedia.com

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Earth is 2,000 light years closer to the Milky Way's supermassive black hole than previously thought – CBS News

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A new map of the Milky Way created by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan shows Earth is spiraling faster and is 2,000 light years closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy than was previously thought. 

In 1985, the International Astronomical Union announced that Earth was 27,700 light years away from the black hole, named Sagittarius A*. But a 15-year analysis through Japanese radio astronomy project VERA found that the Earth is actually only 25,800 light years away. They also found that Earth is moving 7 km/s faster than they previously believed.

Sagittarius A* and black holes of the like are dubbed “supermassive” for a reason — they are billions of times more massive than the sun. 

But the NAOJ said there is no need to worry, as the latest data does not indicate the planet is “plunging towards the black hole.” It just means there is now a “better model of the Milky Way galaxy.” 

Position and velocity map of the Milky Way Galaxy. Arrows show position and velocity data for the 224 objects used to model the Milky Way Galaxy. The solid black lines show the positions of the Galaxy’s spiral arms. The colors indicate groups of objects belonging the same arm. The background is a simulation image. 

NAOJ


Using the VERA Astrometry Catalog, scientists created a position and velocity map that lays out the center of the Milky Way galaxy and the objects that reside within. The first VERA Astrometry Catalog was published this year and includes data for 99 objects. 

Positioning indicates that Earth orbits the Galactic Center, where the black hole is located, at 227 km/s. Astronomers originally thought the orbit was at a speed of 220 km/s.

“Because Earth is located inside the Milky Way Galaxy, we can’t step back and see what the Galaxy looks like from the outside,” NAOJ said in a press statement. “Astrometry, accurate measurement of the positions and motions of objects, is a vital tool to understand the overall structure of the Galaxy and our place in it.”

VERA, Very Long Baseline Interferometry Exploration of Radio Astrometry, was created in 2000 and uses interferometry to aggregate data from radio telescopes located throughout Japan. Through the project, scientists can create the same resolution as a 2,300 km diameter telescope, which “is sharp enough in theory to resolve a United States penny placed on the surface of the moon,” NAOJ said. 

NAOJ scientists are hoping to gather data on even more objects, with a focus on those that are close to Sagittarius A*. 

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Watch a Lunar Eclipse, or at Least Try To – The New York Times

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This evening as you sneak some late-night Thanksgiving leftovers, take a moment to marvel at the full moon. Do you notice anything different? It’s subtle, but on early Monday (Sunday night if you’re on the west coast), the full moon should appear a bit darker than usual. That’s because you’re witnessing a penumbral lunar eclipse, a celestial occurrence in which the moon dips behind Earth’s faint, outer shadow, or penumbra.

Penumbral eclipses are slight, verging on imperceptible in some cases, says Jackie Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. “It’s not something that’s going to slap you in the face.”

So Sunday night’s eclipse will not be as dramatic as a total lunar eclipse, in which the moon plunges into Earth’s dark inner shadow, called the umbra, turning its surface blood red. Nor is it as striking as a partial lunar eclipse, in which the moon slides behind part of the umbral shadow and looks as if some space monster took a gigantic cookie bite out of it.

And it is not as awe-inspiring as a total solar eclipse, in which the new moon glides in front of the sun, leaving a wispy, white halo shining in the daytime sky.

But the penumbral eclipse could still be worth your time as a chance to test how attuned you are with the night sky, Dr. Faherty said. For our ancestors who lived without city lights or streetlamps, the moon provided the majority of useful light at night. If it dimmed ever so slightly, people noticed.

But that perceptiveness has been lost in part as our dependence on the moon’s glow has waned. Dr. Faherty suggests using the penumbral eclipse to test your senses.

“Take the lunar challenge,” Dr. Faherty said. “Really look at it. Bask in the moonlight and see how it feels. Can you perceive the difference?”

The penumbral eclipse will be visible across North and South America, parts of eastern Asia, and Australia and the Pacific, according to Space.com. It will begin around 2:32 a.m. Eastern time.

The best time to take the lunar challenge will be at “greatest eclipse,” or 4:43 a.m. Eastern time, when 83 percent of the full moon is within the Earth’s penumbral shadow, according to NASA.

But if you’re still not sold on watching the penumbral eclipse, then perhaps you can take away this nifty fact from its appearance: It is the harbinger of the next total solar eclipse. Lunar eclipses and solar eclipses are celestial peas in a pod. Once one appears, the other will follow two weeks later. And on Dec. 14, there will be a total solar eclipse whisking over parts of Chile and Argentina.

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How and When to Spot a Lunar Eclipse This Weekend – Lifehacker

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Photo: Athapet Piruksa (Shutterstock)

As the holiday weekend winds down and we prepare to go back to work for these awkward weeks between holidays when it seems like everyone else is out of the office, but we’re all very much still here, we have another chance to catch something interesting in the night sky. First of all, there will be a full moon. And, as an added bonus, there will also be a partial lunar eclipse. Here’s what to look for and when to head outside.

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What to know about this full moon

Eclipse aside, this will be a pretty exciting full moon—the last before the winter solstice on December 21. For this reason, it has traditionally been an important full moon in a variety of cultures around the world, and goes by many names, including: the Cold Moon, Frost Moon, Winter Moon, Beaver Moon, Oak Moon, Moon Before Yule, Child Moon, Kartik Purnima, Karthika Deepam and Tazaungdaing Festival Moon and Ill Poya.

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This full moon will shine directly in front of Taurus the Bull, so you’ll also have the chance to get a decent view of this constellation.

How to spot the partial eclipse

A few days ago, we discussed how to see the Earth’s shadow: that shadow is involved here, as well. Specifically, the partial eclipse will happen when full moon passes through the Earth’s light shadow, according to EarthSky.org. But don’t expect anything too dramatic: it’ll be more like a subtle shading on the moon.

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The eclipse will only be visible without telescopes or other equipment for about an hour tonight/early tomorrow morning. Your best bet at seeing the eclipse is at its mid-point, which will be at 4:43 a.m. EST on Monday, November 30th. As usual, the darker the sky, the better your chances are of seeing more of the lunar eclipse.

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