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Obsolete COVID-19 information continues to circulate in Okanagan – Keremeos Review

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The B.C. government says a COVID-19 fact sheet, downplaying the effectiveness of a mask in keeping oneself safe from viral infection, is outdated.

This comes after the one-page fact sheet, bearing the logos of the provincial ministry of health and the BC Centre for Disease Control, circulated social media in the South Okanagan.

A copy was recently received at the Summerland Review.

The sheet, titled Coronavirus Protection, lists seven suggestions in point form.

The first six are items which have been mentioned time and again, including washing hands, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces and staying home when sick.

The seventh point states, “wearing a mask is not an effective measure to keep yourself safe from viral infection.”

The fact sheet, although originated from the BC Centre of Disease Control, is now an obsolete document, according to the government.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Shannon Greer said the COVID-19 fact sheet was created by the BC Centre for Disease Control, but was removed from the website and from distribution in May after public health began recommending the use of non-medical masks in situations where one cannot keep a safe distance from others.

READ ALSO: Wearing non-medical masks now recommended in public: Canada’s top doctor

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Masks now mandatory on public transit, ferries in B.C.

The province and the BC Centre for Disease Control have advocated wearing non-medical face masks as a way of slowing the spread of the virus.

The BC Centre for Disease Control also has information about the use of non-medical masks, stating that masks do not replace other preventative measures.

“Masks, face coverings and gloves are the least protective measures for reducing transmission of COVID-19. Masks, when worn properly and for short periods, may offer some protection especially when you are not able to keep a 2 metre distance from others,” a statement on the BC Centre for Disease Control website reads.

The centre includes information on cloth masks, other cloth face coverings including bandanas and scarves, industrial respirators and medical personal protective equipment.

They explain cloth masks should cover the nose and mouth and should fit snugly and securely, yet still allowing the wearer to breathe easily.

Medical personal protective equipment, such as medical and surgical masks and medical N95 respirators are listed by the BC Centre for Disease Control as well, but these pieces of equipment should be reserved for health care workers, not the general public.

“Non-medical masks are meant to protect other people in case you are infected and are recommended to be used in situations when physical distancing is challenging (i.e…public transportation),” said Greer.

“COVID-19 is spread through infected droplets from a sick person’s mouth or nose. Wearing a mask when you are sick, helps protect people around you from the droplets that carry the virus. It does not guarantee that you, as the wearer, are protected.”

For those who are healthy, wearing a non-medical or cloth mask or face covering can help to protect others. This is because some people can spread the virus when they have very mild symptoms or may not know that they are infected. In this case, wearing a mask can help protect others by containing your own droplets when talking, coughing or sneezing.

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Dozens of McGill students living in student neighbourhood test positive for COVID-19 – Yahoo News Canada

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Dozens of students at McGill University are testing positive for COVID-19 according to their peers, but the university is not counting most of those cases in its official tally, because they happened off-campus.

Jacob Rothery, a student living in the so-called McGill ghetto in Montreal’s Milton Park neighbourhood next to the university, tested positive for COVID-19 this week. So did his three roommates.

Rothery says he knows of at least 20 other students who tested positive, and suspects more numbers are going to come from the popular and crowded student neighbourhood.

“There were a decent amount of students going to student bars,” he said. “And then on top of that, you don’t necessarily know who the people that you think you’re in your bubble with are seeing, so they could be seeing a bunch of other people, who are putting themselves in riskier situations.” 

Rothery says he and his friends did not violate public health guidelines, but that didn’t stop an outbreak in his group of friends.

“People may have had it, but had no symptoms. So they had no reason to get tested. And then you have gatherings that aren’t that big, maybe fifteen people or 10, but those 10 people see other people and their bubbles are a lot bigger than they think they are,” he said. 

Submitted by Jacob Rothery

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Submitted by Jacob Rothery

Thom Haghighat is another McGill student who is self-isolating, after he and his roommate tested positive for COVID-19.

He figures he caught the virus from one of the students returning to the “ghetto” from Toronto or elsewhere in Montreal.

Haghighat says he also knows of at least 25 students living in the area who tested positive, with a dozen in his immediate group of friends.

Like Rothery, Haghighat says he and his friends were limiting personal gatherings and keeping a small circle of people to interact with.

Despite this, he said, he still saw cases rise among his peers in the past week. He believes false negatives are part of the problem. 

“The first time we got tested, we tested negative. We still self-isolated, but I know a lot of people who would think they were in the clear to go see other people,” he said, noting that he knew others who also got false negatives. 

Rothery had also received a false negative test result earlier this week, before testing positive.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Only "on-campus" numbers” data-reactid=”45″>Only “on-campus” numbers

Despite these anecdotal reports, McGill University has officially recorded just six COVID-19 cases this week on campus, and says there is no evidence of community transmission on its campuses.

McGill’s main campus is downtown. The Macdonald campus, which houses agricultural and nutrition programs among others, is in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue in the West Island.

A spokesperson for the university said the number includes staff and students who were present on campus in the week preceding their positive COVID test. 

Most classes at McGill have moved online, which means far fewer people are frequenting the campus. 

Justin Hayward/CBCJustin Hayward/CBC

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Justin Hayward/CBC

Some students say the university should include the numbers of students who test positive off-campus, as well.

“It’s important for them to at least take responsibility for the things that are going on in their student body, whether or not they’re technically on campus, because I think that distinction is pretty useless,” said Rothery.

For its part, McGill says it is working with public health authorities on strict protocols to limit the spread.

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NASA astronaut plans to cast her ballot from space station – 570 News

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ATLANTA — NASA astronaut Kate Rubins told The Associated Press on Friday that she plans to cast her next vote from space – more than 200 miles above Earth.

Rubins is just outside Moscow in Star City, Russia, preparing with two cosmonauts for a mid-October launch and a six-month stay at the International Space Station.

“I think it’s really important for everybody to vote,” Rubins said. “If we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground, too.”

Most U.S. astronauts live in Houston. Texas law allows them to vote from space using a secure electronic ballot. Mission Control forwards the ballot to the space station and relays the completed ballot back to the county clerk.

“It’s critical to participate in our democracy,” Rubins said. “We consider it an honour to be able to vote from space.”

NASA astronauts have voted from space before. Rubins and Shane Kimbrough cast their votes from the International Space Station.

Rubins, the first person to sequence DNA in space, plans to work on a cardiovascular experiment and conduct research using the space station’s Cold Atom Lab.

While she’s there, she’ll celebrate the 20th anniversary of continuous human presence on the space station, and welcome the crew of the second SpaceX commercial crew mission, expected to arrive in late October.

_____

Follow Alex Sanz on Twitter at @AlexSanz.

Alex Sanz, The Associated Press

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Teenage British activist stages climate protest on Arctic ice floe – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Natalie Thomas

ABOARD ‘ARCTIC SUNRISE’ (Reuters) – Like many of her generation, Mya-Rose Craig feels strongly that adults have failed to take the urgent action needed to tackle global warming and so she has headed to the Arctic Ocean to protest.

Armed with a placard reading ‘Youth Strike for Climate”, the 18-year-old British activist is staging the most northerly protest in a series of youth strikes worldwide.

The strikes, made famous by Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg, are resuming after a lull caused by the global coronavirus pandemic to draw public attention back to the threat posed by climate change.

“I’m here to… try and make a statement about how temporary this amazing landscape is and how our leaders have to make a decision now in order to save it,” she told Reuters Television as she stood with her placard on the edge of the Arctic sea ice.

“I absolutely think that my generation has always had to think about climate change… which is why as we’ve got older there’s been this massive wave of just this need for change, this demand for change when we realised the grown-ups aren’t going to solve this so we have to do it ourselves.”

Craig, from southwest England, is known as “Birdgirl” online, where her blog chronicling her bird-watching experiences has attracted thousands of followers.

She has travelled hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle aboard a Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise.

Climate data shows the Arctic is one of the fastest changing ecosystems on the planet, with serious consequences for wildlife from polar bears and seals to plankton and algae, while the melting sea ice contributes to rising sea levels worldwide.

Warming in the Arctic shrank the ice covering the polar ocean this year to its second-lowest extent in four decades, scientists said on Monday.

For Craig, getting to the ice floe involved a two-week quarantine in Germany, followed by a three-week voyage to the edge of the sea ice.

Craig said those who dismiss the youth protests as just a rebellious phase by her generation are wrong, and she wants those in power to stop treating climate change as a low-priority issue, raised only to appease “the lefties in the corner”.

“It’s everything now and it has to be treated like that,” she said.  

(Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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