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Mixed reactions to new COVID-19 rules as Manitoba hits highest infection rate among provinces –



Reactions have been mixed so far to Manitoba’s latest public health orders targeting kids in sports, unvaccinated churchgoers in the southern part of the province and hospital capacity.

But for many, one thing is certain: as Manitoba again becomes the COVID-19 hot spot among Canada’s provinces, something needs to be done.

The middle province secured that title on Friday, when its running seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 people rose to 84 a week — or 12 cases per 100,000 people a day. The province previously became Canada’s COVID-19 hot spot during the third wave in May.

The next highest provincial rate is currently in neighbouring Saskatchewan, which as of Friday had a seven-day case rate of 79 per 100,000 people.

For now, however, Saskatchewan still has a higher 14-day case rate (172 per 100,000) than Manitoba (146).

Manitoba now has the highest seven-day rate of COVID-19 cases among Canadian provinces, with a rate of 84 cases per 100,000 people. (Government of Canada)

With Manitoba’s cases rising most rapidly among people under 20, some say it makes sense that new rules announced by the province Friday target kids over 11 who aren’t yet vaccinated.

Starting Dec. 6, anyone age 12 to 17 will have to have proof of at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose — or a negative rapid test result from the past 72 hours — to play indoor sports in Manitoba.

“I guess we’re not that surprised. There has been some indication that there has been some spread through youth sport activities,” Janet McMahon, president and CEO of Sport Manitoba, said following Friday’s announcement.

Janet McMahon is the president and CEO of Sport Manitoba, which oversees about 70 sport organizations across the province. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Sport Manitoba oversees about 70 different organizations across the province, all of which are eager to do what they can to make sure they can keep operating safely, said Janet McMahon, the organization’s president and CEO.

McMahon said the province has indicated the percentage of eligible kids who are already vaccinated is quite high, so she’s optimistic the mandate won’t have a major impact on sports that are already underway.

Parent Courtney Blocker is among those who are glad to see the new measures.

His 12-year-old daughter plays hockey in Winnipeg, and he approves of safety precautions to keep her and her teammates safe.

“There’s been experiences where teams have had outbreaks at hockey arenas, so it happens. We just have to do what we can to protect them,” he said.

Peter Woods, executive director of Hockey Manitoba, said while he guesses more than 80 per cent of his organization’s members are already immunized against COVID-19, the new rules will affect those still unsure about getting the jab.

He said Hockey Manitoba is supportive of the new rules, but he still expects to get some pushback from unvaccinated parents.

Currently, Manitoba’s public health order says anyone who is 18 or older must be vaccinated to enter an indoor sports or recreational facility.

Peter Woods is the executive director of Hockey Manitoba. He says he’s preparing for pushback from some parents over the new rules. (CBC)

Some parents, though, might argue they should have the option of getting tested instead of proving they’re vaccinated, like their kids will have, Woods said.

Since those tests have to be done at pharmacies, they may be hard to access for people in some areas, Woods said.

“That could create some problems and there could be a fallout,” he said.

“Some kids will probably step away from the sport.”

Meanwhile, the principal of Maples Collegiate in Winnipeg said he’s glad the province finally brought in a vaccine mandate so it doesn’t fall to individual school divisions to introduce their own rules.

“I think it’s a smart move to keep our kids safe and also to move forward to get back to the normalcy that we’re all trying to get to,” Scott Shier said.

Church rules in effect

The new public health orders also cut down gathering sizes for religious events in the Southern Health region that don’t require proof of vaccination from attendees.

The new rules in that part of Manitoba, which has some of the province’s lowest vaccination rates and highest test positivity rates, kicked in Saturday at midnight.

The mayor of Winkler said the new restrictions might be difficult for people who rely on church services in the region. But he hopes to see the southern Manitoba city’s churches — and people — follow the rules.

“Personally, I think the churches need to step up to the plate as well and say, ‘Yeah, we will comply,’ and not skirt the system, because I think that only adds to the problem,” Martin Harder said on Saturday.

“I would appreciate some grace for our community and just want to make sure that they realize we’re working together to try and get to the end game.”   

Winkler Mayor Martin Harder says he hopes his city’s churches comply with the new rules. (Rudy Gauer/CBC)

Strained ICUs

Manitoba’s latest pandemic measures also include cancelling some surgeries starting next week to free up more space in the province’s strained intensive care units.

One ICU doctor says the new rules are welcome measures as the province sees a surge in COVID-19 patients landing in critical care — but they’re still likely not enough.

“The problem is that there is [less] ICU bed capacity now than there was when we had to flex up tremendously at the time of the third wave,” said Dr. Eric Jacobsohn, an attending physician at St. Boniface Hospital and Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg.

“Can we sustain another massive increase? It’s difficult to imagine how.”

Dr. Eric Jacobsohn, a Winnipeg ICU physician, said the new rules are welcome but likely still not enough to do what’s needed. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

He said the province needs to prepare for the worst and communicate that plan with health-care staff better than it did in the pandemic’s third wave.

“[It] is again appearing that what exactly the plans are and how to engage the front-line health-care workers is going to be ad hoc again, one day at a time — which is perplexing, to say the least,” Jacobsohn said.

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Drop-in vaccination clinic goes Friday – Prince George Citizen



Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) is partnering with Northern Health for a COVID-19 and flu vaccination clinic Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The clinic will be at CSFS’s main office in Prince George located at 987 – 4th Ave. (at the corner of Queensway and Fourth, across from the Plaza 400 building). Everyone ages 12 and up are able to attend and no appointment is necessary. Identification is required.

The first, second and booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as well as the annual flu shot. As the different vaccines do not interfere with each other, residents will be able to receive both the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot at the same time.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will be available.

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COVID-19 shows up in Canadian wildlife for first time with three Quebec deer infected – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



OTTAWA – For the first time, the COVID-19 virus has been detected in Canadian wildlife.

Environment Canada says the virus was detected late last month in three wild white-tailed deer in Quebec.

The department says the deer all appeared healthy and showed no clinical signs of COVID-19.

The discovery follows recent reports of the virus spreading among white-tailed deer in the United States.

There has so far been no known transmission of COVID-19 from deer to humans and Environment Canada says it remains “largely a disease of human concern and typically spreads from human to human.”

Still, until more is known, it says anyone exposed to respiratory tissues and fluids from deer should wear a well-fitting mask and avoid splashing of fluids as much as possible.

COVID-19 has infected multiple species of animals, including dogs, cats, farmed mink and zoo animals. But this is the first time in Canada that it has spilled over into wildlife.

Deer in the Estrie region of Quebec were sampled Nov. 6 to 8. The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease confirmed the virus in three of them on Monday. The World Organisation for Animal Health was notified on Wednesday.

“As this is the first detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife in Canada, information on the impacts and spread of the virus in wild deer populations is currently limited,” Environment Canada said in a news release Wednesday.

“This finding emphasizes the importance of ongoing surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife to increase our understanding about SARS-CoV-2 on the human-animal interface.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2021.

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KFL&A reports 34 new COVID-19 cases, 304 active –



The Kingston region is once again over the 300 active cases mark, as Wednesday’s 34 new cases bring the daily active case count to 304.

Of the new cases, 10 are in the five-to-11 age group.

Nineteen people remain in hospital, with 11 of those cases are in the intensive care unit. Six people are on ventilators.

Read more:

COVID-19 — Influx of cases causing strain on Kingston hospitals

The cases per 100,000 over the past week is up slightly to 104.7, from 102.8 Tuesday.

The rise in cases locally has also forced the postponing of at least one local event. The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was scheduled to have its grand opening on Dec. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have significant impacts throughout our communities, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is committed to supporting the community through this time of heightened risk and uncertainty,” the Marine Museum said in a statement Wednesday.

“We consider the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors paramount.”

Click to play video: 'As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts'

As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts

As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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