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Nova Scotia businesses want clarity, confidence from government to reopen – CTV News

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HALIFAX —
More than two months after being forced to close because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still no plan in place by the Nova Scotia government to reopen industries like gyms and dentists.

“I don’t think they’re dragging their heels but I think what they’re doing is not being clear,” said Patrick Sullivan, CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.

“Clarity would be important. I think the signals that I’ve heard would be that June 8 daycares open, businesses, many businesses that were ordered closed will be allowed to reopen.”

Restaurants have also been hit hard by the pandemic restrictions, only able to do takeout and delivery.

As the province sees a significant drop in the number of new and active cases, many are eager to reopen their doors.

“A restaurant’s a little different than other businesses. We can’t quite simply flick a switch and start. You know, we’re going to need time to develop individual operating plans, order food, put in any precautions we need to put in,” said Luc Erjavec, vice-president of Restaurant Canada for the Atlantic region.

The organization has been working with the Nova Scotia government and health officials to develop a plan that will protect both the public and staff.

“You have to remember, we already have a significant track record in terms of sanitation, hygiene, disinfection. That’s part of our regular course of business. So I think the biggest difference people will see will be some of the physical-distancing requirements,” said Erjavec.

As for the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, they believe it’s time to start opening up.

“I think what I’m really looking for is clarity on the date that businesses ordered closed can reopen, but I’m also looking for confidence from the premier and from Dr. Strang that consumers can get out in the marketplace again,” said Sullivan.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said this week that the province won’t be taking a phased approach to reopening and that all businesses that were forced to close will be allowed to reopen at the same time.

He said work is underway to provide public-health protocols to all the associations that represent those businesses so they can reopen safely.

“From one sector to another, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to say, this sector should open, or that sector should open two weeks later, if they’ve done their work and they’ve met the protocols of public health,” said the premier.

“Why should I decide that? They’re investing their own money. When we see that the curve is flattened and that the economy is going to open up, let’s not pick winners and losers. Let’s make sure that everyone is following public health protocol.”

McNeil said Strang has completed another week of consultations with businesses and associations that were ordered to close and many are preparing to reopen, though no dates have been announced.

He also said businesses that were not forced to close, but chose to, can open at any time, provided they have a plan that complies with public health guidelines.

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Small percentage of Ottawa residents infected with COVID-19: Ottawa Public Health – CTV News Ottawa

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OTTAWA —
Ottawa Public Health is reminding residents that COVID-19 is still circulating in our community, and everyone needs to do their part to help limit the spread of the virus.  

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brent Moloughney says Ottawa Public Health estimates approximately one per cent of Ottawa residents have been infected with novel coronavirus.

“Through everyone’s actions, we’ve been successful in reducing the number of infections that would have otherwise occurred,” said Dr. Moloughney.

“Overall, we estimate that only a small percentage of Ottawans have been infected with COVID so far, perhaps as low as one per cent but perhaps a bit higher.”

As of Thursday, Ottawa Public Health reported 1,985 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 248 deaths.

“Regardless of the specific number through, the key implication is that the vast majority of us remain susceptible to infection,” said Dr. Moloughney, noting the new cases reported daily show COVID-19 is still circulating in the community.

“In order to track cases within Ottawa and to limit transmission, please seek testing if you think you may be infected with the virus.”

The Ontario Government announced in May that asymptomatic residents of Ontario could present for COVID-19 testing.  Ottawa Public Health says residents can visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena and the two COVID-19 care clinics for testing.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches says the data from the expanded testing criteria has been “educational” as more people present for COVID-19 testing.

“What we’ve found was as the number of people tested grew, we didn’t find a lot more cases. That per cent positivity hasn’t grown,” said Dr. Etches.

“It’s telling us that population out there without symptoms, the general population, may not be where we’re going to find most of our cases.”

The medical officer of health says Ottawa Public Health and health officials in eastern Ontario will test all staff in long-term care homes twice in June.  That would be 8,000 COVID-19 tests this month.

“Our goal is to use all of the testing capacity we have,” said Dr. Etches, adding Ottawa Public Health will look to “test in a smart way”, including workplaces and congregate care settings.

Limit your contacts

With warm weather in the forecast for the weekend, Ottawa Public Health is reminding people to practice physical distancing and limit interactions with people outside your household.

“As more activities become possible, the new normal will be to consider how risky an activity is and how you can reduce the risk of transmission for yourself, your family and others,” said Dr. Moloughney.

“In general, outdoor activities are less risky than indoor ones. The more people that are involved and the closer the contact, the higher the risk.”

Ottawa Public Health has issued a graphic looking at “least safe options” and “safer options” for activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Coronavirus: Two new cases in Winnipeg Friday brings total to 300 – Globalnews.ca

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This story will be updated as the press conference continues.

Two new cases of the novel coronavirus were announced Friday, both of them in Winnipeg.

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The latest cases include one man in his 20s, and another in his 30s, according to the province. One is a truck driver, and the other man was a close contact.

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As of Thursday an additional 671 laboratory tests for the virus were performed. The total number of tests performed since early February is now 47,372.

“Each Manitoban is going to have to decide the level of risk they’re going to take [going forward],” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial health officer.

But people who are sick should still stay home, he said.

Roussin added workplaces need to look at their policies and practices when it comes to staying home because they’re ill.

“We need to make it easy as possible … the alternative is people come to work sick.”

Lanette Siragusa reminded people that hospitals and health care centres will start allowing a designated visitor, but some may not start until Monday or later.

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Shared Health’s Chief Nursing Officer said people should call before they go.


READ MORE:
Safety officers heading to Manitoba beaches amid COVID-19, no new cases reported Thursday

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

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COVID-19 roundup: new case reported in Owen Sound Friday – Owen Sound Sun Times

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This undated transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like.

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One new case of COVID-19 was reported in the region Friday according to the Grey Bruce Health Unit’s daily situation report.

The most recent case was reported in Owen Sound, according to the health unit’s data.

Eighty-eight of the region’s 98 total cases have recovered. None of the active cases are currently hospitalized, and no deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 locally.

Twenty-four cases of the disease have been reported in healthcare workers. No local long-term care or retirement homes are currently under a declared COVID-19 outbreak.

* * *

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is recommending people use virtual forms of participation such as signing petitions, donating to groups, and learning more about racism and how to address it as anti-racism protests spread throughout the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Racism is a public health issue. Racism, in its many forms, profoundly impacts the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities,” said a Grey Bruce Health Unit news release. “We recognize that, at this time, people may want to gather to march and express themselves with respect to supporting efforts to end racism.”

The release did list several considerations for people who must participate in any local rallies including spreading out to maintain proper physical distancing, staying outside, wearing a face covering, and bringing hand sanitizer.

The health unit is asking older adults, the immunocompromised, and those living with vulnerable people who are more susceptible to serious complications should they contract COVID-19, to reconsider the need to be present in a large crowd.

“The Grey Bruce Health Unit has the responsibility to identify risk associated with any public health threat, including COVID-19. We remind people that gatherings increase the risk of transmission of disease,” the release said.

* * *

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is encouraging all municipalities to adopt bylaws restricting the use of beach and waterfront spaces after rescinding the beach closure order enacted on May 14.

However, municipalities in Grey-Bruce can now open beaches fully, allow only walk-through access, or maintain a full closure of the beach.

In a bulletin on their website the health unit recommends people check with their local municipality to confirm the status of the beach, waterfront, and river access points before planning to use them.

Even if some public waterfront spaces do reopen, amenities such as public washrooms, change rooms, and water refill stations may still be closed, a health unit media release explained. Therefore, the health unit is recommending beachgoers bring their own water jug with a spigot, soap and paper towels to wash their hands – or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Public health is recommending people wear a non-medical face mask or face covering in places where proper physical distancing measures cannot be controlled. They’re also recommending people bring reusable water bottles and individual containers for food to prevent sharing, and their own garbage bags.

Public health is asking residents to be patient with visitors and tourists who do not know the local guidance information and to politely inform them what is allowed at local beaches, and the proper guidelines to follow.

“We all want to have an enjoyable summer on our beautiful beaches in the safest and most sustainable way possible. We’re in this together,” the bulletin reads.

* * *

Community lab collections at South Bruce Grey Health Centre’s Chesley and Durham sites will resume on Monday.

Appointments will be required to ensure proper physical distancing for patient safety. Patients can begin booking appointments for June 15 and beyond by calling Patient Registration for Chesley (519-363-2340) or Durham (519-369-2340) between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

People are asked to have a health card and lab requisition ready when calling. A high volume of calls is expected and some waiting may be necessary, according to an SBGHC media release.

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