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Musicians barred from regular shows get creative during COVID-19 – CTV News



COVID-19 measures have made the world a little quieter, as public health measures limit large-scale performances for bands, choirs and musicians, but some Manitoba musicians are finding ways to keep the music going.

At Oak Park High School in Winnipeg, students can’t sing ‘O’ Canada’ in the classroom, but band practice is still going on. It’s just being held outside.

“The goal is to try and have as many extracurriculars go forward as possible,” Principal Troy Scott told CTV News. “We’ve had to say no to a lot of things over the last six months and we want to start saying yes.”

The pandemic has changed the way music programs function.

Many schools have cancelled choir and band classes, but even on windy days, teachers and students at Oak Park have found a way to keep playing together, at least for now.

“It’s been strange, but I’m really grateful that we have it,” said Isabelle Buisson, a student at Oak Park.

Others have found more unique ways to play.

Kara Heckford, a 17-year-old high school student and clarinetist, decided to start a virtual ensemble because she missed performing.

After she put out a call for help online, she received responses from around the world, with musicians from countries including Spain, Estonia and Portugal signaling their desire to be a part of the project.

Musicians recorded their own parts of several symphonies, which were then edited together to create videos of the ensemble working together.

“Performing is my life. When I play, I really connect with people I play to,” Heckford told CTV News. “It’s sort of like this bond, but with people you’ve never met before.”

Musical performances are one of those bonding experiences that have been fundamentally altered by the pandemic, and as the months drag on, some are calling for change.

The Manitoba Choral Association (MCA) started a petition requesting the provincial government review its recommendations for instrumentalists and vocalists, calling the existing measures too restrictive for choirs. The Manitoba ChoralFest, one of the MCA’s “flagship programs,” had to be cancelled in August ahead of its upcoming November dates, something the MCA announced with “great sadness.”

“We have thousands of singers here in Manitoba that would love to get back to choir, and of course, we all want to do it safely,” Jenny Steinke-Magnus, executive director of the Manitoba Choral Association, told CTV News.

Right now, the COVID-19 guidelines in Manitoba state singing and playing brass or wind instruments carries a higher risk of transmission, due to performers projecting their voices or breath as part of the performance. Performances are allowed, but the province recommends they occur in smaller groups, at outdoor venues where physical distancing is possible.

But with cool weather setting in, outdoor performances will soon become impossible.

The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, which had been doing virtual performances, will begin live performances again this fall.

In order to make the experience safer, a significantly smaller audience will be permitted into their concert hall, which seats 2,300 people at capacity.

“We’re able to have a really reduced number of audience members,” Julian Pellicano, WSO associate conductor told CTV News.

For those who love to play, the music will continue. The question going forward into winter is whether or not the audience will be able to participate in the same way. 

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COVID-19: B.C. officials say step back from social interactions, as 223 cases announced – Standard Freeholder



On Friday, officials reported 223 new cases of COVID-19, including five epi-linked cases for a total of 12,554 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began. There were no new deaths.

B.C.’s provincial health officer is urging British Columbians to “step back” from social gatherings, as 223 new cases of COVID-19, but no additional deaths, were announced Friday.

“This is our opportunity and the time to take a step back from our social interactions and keep our groups small this weekend,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement. “In doing this, we show our appreciation and support for the important work of contact tracers.”

As of Friday, there are 2,009 active cases of the coronavirus, while another 4,637 individuals are being monitored following identified exposures to confirmed cases.

There remain 75 people hospitalized as a result, 24 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining active cases are at home in self-isolation.

A total of 10,247 people have recovered from the virus, while 256 have died.

Two new health-care facilities are experiencing outbreaks: Laurel Place in Surrey and Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge.

Outbreaks that have been declared over include those at PICS Assisted Living, Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre, Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Residence and Thornebridge Gardens Retirement Residence.

There remain 16 active outbreaks at long-term care or assisted-living facilities, and two at acute-care facilities.

New outbreaks were declared at two companies — Coast Spas Manufacturing and Pace Processing — along with exposure events around the province.

“In recent days, we have seen a number of new outbreaks of COVID-19 in the community and in long-term care facilities,” said Henry.

“Contact-tracing teams throughout our province are working around the clock to stop further spread, but it requires all of us to do our part to be successful in these efforts.”

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Coronavirus Canada Updates: BC shatters records with 274 new COVID-19 cases, social gatherings blamed – lintelligencer



Coronavirus Canada Updates: More than a quarter of inmates at Calgary jail infected

For the second day in a row, British Columbia has announced a record-breaking number of new COVID-19 cases.

At a Thursday briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 274 new cases — shattering the previous record, announced Wednesday, of 203.

B.C. is now facing 1,920 active cases, nearing the previous record of 1,987 set in September. In addition, 4,425 people were in isolation due to possible exposure.

The province’s death toll was unchanged at 256.

Despite surging cases, the situation in B.C. hospitals has remained relatively stable since early October.

Seventy-one people were in hospital, 24 of them in critical or intensive care.

About 82 per cent of B.C.s 12,331 cases have recovered.

Much of the surge in new cases has been driven by social gatherings, such as weddings and funerals, which Henry described as “high risk.”

A small percentage of the new cases were also linked to “large” Thanksgiving gatherings.

Many of the events have been concentrated in the Lower Mainland, but their effects have since spread province-wide as attendees returned to homes outside the region, Henry said.

They have also spread into the healthcare system and workplaces people who were exposed returned to work, she added.

“People are not sticking with their COVID-19 safety plans for social gatherings, particularly ones like weddings and funerals,” Henry said.

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Take a step back from social interactions, says B.C.'s top doctor –



VICTORIA – British Columbia reported 223 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, tipping the number of active infections over 2,000.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says in a statement infections have been detected at two more assisted-living or long-term care homes and there are two new community outbreaks.

The latest health-care outbreaks are at Laurel Place in Surrey and Fair Haven Homes at Burnaby Lodge, while the community outbreaks involve Coast Spas Manufacturing and Pace Processing in Langley.

Outbreaks at a number of other care homes have been declared over, leaving 16 homes and two acute-care facilities with active infections.

Seventy-five people are in hospital, including 24 in intensive care, but no one else has died from the illness since the province’s last update.

Henry says contact tracing teams throughout the province are working around the clock, but their success depends on everyone taking a step back from social interactions.

There are nearly 4,640 people under public health monitoring as a result of exposure to a known case.

B.C. has confirmed 12,554 cases of COVID-19 so far.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020.

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