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Manitoba mandates more mask use, COVID-19 numbers continue to grow – Kamsack Times



WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is requiring more people to use masks as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.

Starting Sept. 1, all visitors to health-care facilities will be required to wear non-medical masks upon entering.

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“As we move towards the fall, additional proactive and preventative measures are needed to ensure the risk of exposure to this virus is minimized for patients and our dedicated front-line clinical staff who care for them,” Health Minister Cameron Friesen said in a release Monday.

The order came on the same day that new rules, announced last week, took effect in the Prairie Mountain health region, which covers much of western Manitoba including Brandon, the province’s second-largest city.

Public gatherings in the region are being capped at 10, and people are required to wear masks in indoor public places and at gatherings.

The province reported 49 new COVID-19 cases across the province Monday, after a record-setting 72 the previous day. To date, there have been 993 cases in Manitoba.

Many of the cases in recent days have been linked to a few Hutterite colonies in different regions as well as ongoing clusters in Brandon.

Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said proactive tracing and testing has been underway on the colonies, so more positive test results are expected.

“As we’re reaching out, working with the communities — communities are co-operative and have a lot of interest in this — then we’re going to see cases that are related to that,” Roussin said.

In Brandon, dozens of cases in recent weeks have involved workers at a Maple Leaf Foods processing plant. A group that represents migrant workers reiterated calls Monday for the plant to be temporarily closed.

“We feel the employer and the government are discriminatory towards migrant and immigrant workers, and that our health concerns are being ignored,” read the open letter from Migrante Manitoba.

Maple Leaf Foods said it was open to constructive suggestions, and has already enacted safety measures.

“People safety will remain our top priority and we will continue to conduct daily health and temperature screenings, require masks and other personal protection equipment, use social distancing in the plant and use plexiglass separators between work stations,” company spokesperson Janet Riley said in an email.

Roussin has repeatedly said there is no evidence the novel coronavirus is spreading at the plant. He repeated Monday that Maple Leaf has taken all the needed precautions, and agencies such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have been keeping an eye.

“The protocols in place are above and beyond what we would normally see,” Roussin said.

The workers at the plant who have tested positive are part of a larger cluster in Brandon, Roussin said. And there are other clusters in the city.

“We’ve seen a number of different clusters develop, which (are) not necessarily connected to that original cluster. And then on top of that, we see some community transmission,” Roussin said.

The province has no plans to delay the Sept. 8 start of school in the Prairie Mountain region, Roussin said, although no measure is completely off the table if numbers change.

The Progressive Conservative government offered up more money Monday to help schools across Manitoba prepare for a return to classroom learning. School divisions will be offered $52 million for masks, enhanced cleaning, extra busing and more staff.

The money is in addition to $48 million that school divisions saved during the spring when schools were closed, and which can now be used, Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said.

Under rules announced earlier this month, masks will be mandatory for students and staff in Grades 4 to 12 where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2020.

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Toronto shuts down three King Street restaurants after COVID-19 violations – The New Hamburg Independent



Separately, Toronto Public Health issued a notice Saturday to patrons of Warehouse on Yonge Street, where seven people — five employees and two customers — recently tested positive for the virus. An estimated 1,700 people are believed to have visited the venue between Sept. 10 and 17, and the health unit said it has followed up with all known close contacts during that period. Those who have not been contacted by health officials are considered low risk.

A Toronto resident who asked not to be named told the Star she reported King Taps to public health authorities earlier this week, after socializing with an employee who later informed her they had tested positive for the virus after a workplace exposure.

In response to questions from the Star, a spokesperson for King Taps said it had “absolutely not” pressured any employees to work while sick and it said it goes to “great lengths” to screen workers before each shift. The restaurant is “not aware” of any employees working at multiple establishments.

King Taps is now conducting a deep cleaning of its premises and a “review of on-site practises and protocols.” Its statement said guests who visited the venue on Sept. 6, 9,10 and 11 “may wish to contact Toronto Public Health.”

While the restaurant said it would work with authorities to determine a reopening date, it said it was also “seeking clarification” about the order to close. A company spokesperson forwarded the Star a copy of an audit conducted by TPH dated Sept. 22 that described its health and safety, screening, and disinfection measures as “satisfactory.” The report said “education” was provided about physical distancing measures at the establishment, and that the restaurant was advised to use directional arrows on the floor.

In an Instagram post Friday night, MARBL said it would be closed for the weekend due to “unforeseen circumstances.” In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the restaurant said it was “fully complying” with health officials’ orders.

“We have done everything within our power to protect staff and guests and now we must reassess and work alongside public health to ensure a safe and prompt reopening. We will be keeping everyone apprised of any updates and next step,” the statement said.

Earlier this summer, MARBL attracted criticism — and an investigation from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario — when a video appeared to show a crowded indoor party that violated COVID-19 regulations. Last week, a staff member tested positive for the virus, according to CP24.

A spokesperson for Casa Mezcal said they could not comment on the order to close.

Toronto reported more than 200 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. According to the Star’s daily count, the city has averaged 167 new cases each day this week, the highest seven-day average since early June. The province moved this week to tighten restrictions on bars and restaurants, including implementing an 11 p.m. last call.

“New data shows that unsafe social activity at a select number of bars and nightclubs is contributing to the rise in COVID-19 cases in our city. That’s why our Medical Officer of Health is taking swift action to shut down four high-risk establishments until further notice,” said Joe Cressy, councillor for Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York and Toronto Board of Health chair.

Earlier in the week, the Board of Health unanimously passed a motion to request detailed, publicly available information on workplace outbreaks from TPH. Medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa said the health unit was exploring how to provide data in “a manner that appropriately protects privacy.”

“Right now, we need to stop the spread of COVID and keep people safe while also making it possible for kids to go to school, people to go to work and public services to operate safely,” Cressy said in a statement Saturday.

“This isn’t easy, but together we can do this.”

Sara Mojtehedzadeh is a Toronto-based reporter covering labour-related issues for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @saramojtehedz

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Quebec reports 698 new COVID-19 cases, seven more deaths – Wiarton Echo



That’s the highest single-day count since May 21.

Quebec has recorded 698 new cases of COVID-19 — the highest single-day count since May 21 — bringing the province’s total to 71,005 as of Saturday.

Seven new deaths have been reported, all of which occurred between Sept. 19 and 24. The province’s death toll now stands at 5,821.

The number of hospitalizations increased by 18, for a total of 217. Of those, 33 were in intensive care.


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19 new coronavirus cases reported in Saskatchewan, hits single-day testing record – Global News



Winnipeg police say a woman has died and several other people have been injured in a collision involving a vehicle that was fleeing police.

The crash happened at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the area of Salter Street and Boyd Avenue, police said in a statement.

According to police, officers tried to pull over a vehicle for a traffic stop but the driver “took off at a high rate of speed.”

Read more:
Vehicle-pedestrian collision on Portage Ave. leaves one person in critical condition

Seconds later, the vehicle hit another car in the nearby intersection of Andrews Street and Boyd Avenue.

Four people in the vehicle that was struck — including an infant and a child — were sent to hospital.  A woman who was in that vehicle has died from her injuries, police said.

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Two people from the vehicle that had fled police were also transported to hospital.

No injuries reported after school bus crashes into hydro pole in downtown Winnipeg

No injuries reported after school bus crashes into hydro pole in downtown Winnipeg

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba, which investigates serious incidents involving police, has been called to investigate.

In a press conference Saturday evening, Winnipeg Police Const. Rob Carver said that almost everyone in the collision was in either serious or critical condition.

“Incredibly tragic, we’ve got an infant in the vehicle, a child in the vehicle, a woman who was killed in this crash, tragic all around,” said Carver, who also stressed that the incident was not a result of a police pursuit.

A photo of the crash scene near Salter Street and Boyd Avenue.

A photo of the crash scene near Salter Street and Boyd Avenue.

Global News

“We pulled up, we attempted to have this vehicle spoken to, and the vehicle fled. We did not pursue it.”

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For the two people in the fleeing vehicle, Carver said he does not have an idea on their injuries, but that they will at some point be taken into custody “when their medical condition allows for that.”

“In the space of less than half a minute … what started out as a routine incident ended up with multiple people in the hospital and a woman killed, and these people were not connected at all.”

— With files from Global News’ David Lao

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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