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Kelowna school at centre of COVID-19 outbreak may have to close due to staff shortage, says superintendent – CBC.ca

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The superintendent of the school district at the centre of B.C.’s first COVID-19 school outbreak says the school may have to close while many of its students and staff self-isolate.

About 160 students and staff are staying home after B.C. health officials declared an outbreak Wednesday at Kelowna’s École de l’Anse-au-sable.

Five cases have been confirmed at the school as of Thursday. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said both students and staff have tested positive. 

Interior Health has shut down all classes between pre-kindergarten and Grade 3 at the school, and ordered students and some staff to self-isolate for 14 days. 

Michel St-Amant, the superintendent of School District 93, which oversees all of B.C.’s French-language schools, said the school had to quickly enlist extra staff the day after the outbreak was declared, and that decisions will be made day to day.

“I’m expecting that at one point we’re going to have to make the choice to close the school just because we don’t have enough staff,” he said.

Investigation underway

Henry said health officials are containing the spread to the involved cohort. The timing of the first exposure isn’t known, but the investigation started on Sunday, she said.

Health officials determined someone brought the virus in from outside, and it spread within the school.

Interior Health said students and staff were exposed Oct.13, 14 and 15.

“While it is obviously not what any of us want to see, it is not unexpected as we know COVID-19 is still circulating in our communities,” Henry said. 

Public health teams are on site and piecing together how students and staff were infected, Henry said.

If their investigation finds other exposures, it may mean another cohort might isolate or the school will close, but Henry said those options are unlikely. 

She said the school is working with families to make sure they can continue with lessons. 

‘Best to stay positive’

Brigitte Diemand, who has two kids in grades 2 and 8 at the school, said some parents are surprised that not all students have been asked to stay home, given there are siblings in different grades. 

But she said she’s happy overall with how the school responded.

Brigitte Diemand and her son Joseph, who’s a Grade 8 student at École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Submitted by Brigitte Diemand)

“The school did everything it could to keep our kids safe,” she said.

“And unfortunately, we just happened to get the first case in Kelowna at a school.” 

Her son Joseph, a Grade 8 student, said he’s still waiting on school work, and is filling his time with video games, books and board games. 

“There’s really nothing else we can do, so it’s best to stay positive about it,” he said.

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The reason why liquor and cannabis stores are considered essential services in Manitoba – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
With high COVID-19 case counts, many in Manitoba are asking why certain businesses are still open – including liquor and cannabis stores.

On Monday, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health official, said taking liquor stores and cannabis stores off the list of the essential services and shutting them down could cause more harm than good.

“Unintended consequences of not allowing access to theses types of products,” Roussin said.

For more than 40 years, Mitch Bourbonniere, a community outreach worker, has been working with those who are impacted by mental health and addiction. He says those untended consequences can be physical, emotional, and psychological withdrawals, and it could be life-threatening.

“Addiction has no demographic. Anyone and everyone can be afflicted by addiction in the wrong circumstance,” he said.

Addiction is an illness, he said, that causes intense suffering usually brought on by trauma. If the stores are closed, people are most likely to turn to more dangerous substances.

“Whether it is home brew, whether it is crack, whether it is meth, prescription drugs, anything they can get their hands on, if they can’t get a safe, viable, government-run product,” Bourbonniere said.

Bourbonniere also says closing stores opens the door for organized crime to take over the sales.

“People are absolutely going to get desperate and go to organized crime, they are going to go to the street, they are going to go to gangs,” said Bourbonniere.

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Manitoba reports record spike of more than 540 new COVID-19 cases on Monday – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG —
Manitoba has once again set a record of COVID-19 cases, with more than 540 people testing positive for COVID-19 as of Monday morning.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, reported 546 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, though three cases were removed from the total due to an error. This is the highest single-day spike of cases the province has seen yet.

The majority of the cases were reported in the Winnipeg region, which had 368 new cases as of Monday morning. The five-day test positivity rate in Winnipeg is now at 13.8 per cent.

The Southern Health region also reported a significant spike in cases, with 118 more cases.

The other cases include:

  • 21 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region;
  • 27 cases in the Northern health region; and
  • 12 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

The new cases bring Manitoba’s total since March to 14,087 and raises the five-day test positivity rate to 14 per cent.

DEATHS SURGE IN PAST 23 DAYS IN MANITOBA

Along with the cases, Roussin reported seven more people had died of COVID-19.

These people include:

  • A woman in her 90s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the Maples Long-Term Care Home outbreak;
  • A woman in her 70s from the Winnipeg health region, linked to the Holy Family Personal Care Home outbreak;
  • A man in his 80s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region, linked to the Menno Home outbreak;
  • Two women in their 80s, and a man in his 60s from the Winnipeg health region; and
  • A man in his 70s from the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region.

Since March, 236 Manitobans have died of COVID-19. Deaths caused by COVID-19 have been surging in recent weeks. Roussin said the past 23 days, 161 people have died due to the virus.

“It might be easy just to think of these as numbers, but we all know these are Manitobans. These are people who were loved, who are missed right now,” Roussin said.

Hospitalizations also saw a jump as 296 people are now in hospital with COVID-19, 52 of whom are in the intensive care unit.

On Monday, 160 more Manitobans had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 5,353. The number of active cases in Manitoba is reported to be 8,498.

TOP DOCTOR SEES SOME RESULTS OF RESTRICTIONS

This Thursday it will be two weeks – one full incubation cycle of the virus – since the entire province was placed under code red restrictions, which included closures of non-essential business and further restrictions on gathering sizes.

Roussin said health officials are starting to see some positive results from these restrictions.

“We have a fewer number of contacts per case right now, which can certainly be an early indicator that our restrictions are having their intended benefit,” he said. “It is expected that that is going to translate into fewer cases in the next week or 10 days.”

Roussin said three weeks ago, there was an average of seven contacts per case, which has gradually dropped to between four and two contacts in some cases.

“Certainly the trend is in the right direction.”

He said the province is still at a critical point, once again urging Manitobans to stay home.

“We have these critical restrictions in place for a reason – we are seeing these numbers that we cannot sustain in our health care system,” he said. “We need to bring these numbers down, and we need to act now to do so.” 

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Coronavirus: Manitoba reports record-breaking 543 new cases, 7 additional deaths | Watch News Videos Online – Globalnews.ca

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Manitoba’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Brent Roussin on Monday reported a record-breaking 543 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and seven additional deaths. It is the highest single-day increase the province has seen since the pandemic began, breaking the previous record of 494 cases announced Nov. 15.

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