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P.E.I. reports five new COVID-19 cases Sunday, active total rises to 18 – CTV News Atlantic

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HALIFAX —
Prince Edward Island is reporting five new COVID-19 cases on the island Sunday, with the active total rising to 18.

In an unscheduled media conference on Sunday, P.E.I. Chief Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said she is concerned about the fact that there does not appear to be a clear source of the recent outbreak.

Sunday’s five new cases involve two males in their 20s, and three females – two in their 20s, and one in her 50s.  

Three are from the recent Charlottetown outbreak, one is linked to Summerside, and Public Health is still trying to determine the source for the last.  

“I remain concerned about the increasing number of cases in P.E.I., and the fact that we have not been able to identify a link to travel,” she said. “There may be more cases that will be identified in the coming days. “

This comes as P.E.I. announced new measures Saturday, which took effect Sunday.

According to Morrison, there are 190 close contacts of these cases, and more are expected to be announced.  

NEW LOCK DOWN MEASURES ANNOUNCED

Prince Edward Island is entering a 72-hour lockdown starting at midnight as the province struggles to contain the outbreak. These measures are a tighter version of the ‘circuit breaker’ regulations announced just Saturday.

Premier Dennis King says he’d rather go “harder and stronger” with public health restrictions now — giving health officials a chance to get caught up on contact tracing and testing — than wait for the outbreak to worsen.

“Yesterday we introduced some new circuit breaker measures,” King said. “I know it’s not what everyone wanted to hear, but it’s what is necessary to keep our province safe — and today, we have announced we’re going a little further.”

The three-day lockdown requires residents to stay home as much as possible and will close all kindergarten to Grade 12 schools, with post-secondary education moving online only.

Only essential services will be allowed to remain open, at half of their standard operating capacity.

The other new measures are as follows:

  • No personal gatherings will be allowed
  • Each household can associate with two consistent people, for what Morrison called essential support
  • People who live alone can associate with one other household
  • No organized gatherings will be allowed
  • Funerals can have no more than 10, plus officiants
  • All recreational facilities are closed – including gyms, fitness facilities, bingo halls, casinos, musuems, and libraries
  • No organized sports or recreational activities will be permitted
  • Only essential services and businesses are allowed to be open to the public, and at 50 per cent of their standard capacity
  • Examples of services allowed to stay open: medical and dental services, childcare, grocery stores, pharmacies, takeout and food delivery, utility services, manufacturing processing and transportation services, gas stations, banks and essential financial institutions, public safety services and liquor stores.
  • For essential retail services, they can operate at half of standard operating capacity as long as entrances and exits monitored

In Sunday’s media conference, Premier Dennis King urged cooperation from employees and employers to allow for time off to get tested for COVID-19.

“Your absence at work may cause a minor disruption – I get that, but we are living in a period of distruption,” said King. “Missing a day or two at work while you have symptoms while you get tested is a heck of a lot less of a disruption than a circuit breaker.”

NEW POTENTIAL EXPOSURE SITES

Morrison also announced new public exposure sites.  She said anyone who visited or worked at the following locations is asked to immediately self-isolate and seek a COVID-19 test. After a negative test, Morrison said there is no need to keep isolating, but it’s important to monitor symptoms and seek a second test if any appear.

  • Superstore in Montague, P.E.I.
  • Feb. 24 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Tailgate Bar and Grill in Montague
  • Feb. 25 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
  • Domino’s Pizza in Summerside
  • Feb. 15 11:00 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Burger King in Summerside
  • Feb. 18 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Charlottetown city bus #1
  • Feb. 20 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Taste of India in Charlottetown
  • Feb. 22 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Feb. 25 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Feb. 26 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Superstore at 465 University Ave. in Charlottetown
  • Feb. 23 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Feb. 24 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Jungle Market in Charlottetown
  • Feb. 24 from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Walmart in Charlottetown
  • Feb. 24 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 27 2:00 to 2:30 p.m.
  • Christmas Discounters in Summerside
  • Feb. 25 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

These potential exposure sites are in addition to those announced Saturday, which are as follows:

  •   Pita Pit (425 Granville Street)
  • Friday, February 19  between 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
  • Sunday, February 21 between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm
  • Monday, February 22 between 12:00 pm and 9:00 pm
  • Tuesday, February 23 between 12:00 pm and 9:00 pm
  • Wednesday, February 24 between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm
  • Friday, February 26 between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm
     
  • Callbecks Home Hardware (614 Water Street)
  • February 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, and 25 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm
  • Burger King (511 Granville Street)
  • Sunday, February 14 between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday, February 17 between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm
  • Thursday, February 18 between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm
  • Saturday, February 20 between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm
  • Sunday, February 21 between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm
  • Monday, February 22 between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm
  • Wednesday, February 24 between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm
  • Thursday, February 25 between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm
  • Dominos Pizza (505 Granville Street)
  • Wednesday, February 17 between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm
  • Monday, February 22 between 4:00 pm and 11:00 pm
  • Tuesday, February 23 between 4:00 pm and 1:00 am
  • Wednesday, February 24 between 4:00 pm and 1:00 am

Late Saturday night, P.E.I. health announced more potential exposure sites. The same recomenddations apply to those who visited or worked at the following: immediately self-isolate and seek a COVID-19 test.

  • Dollarama in Summerside (454 Granville Street)
  • Saturday, February 20 between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm
  • Walmart/Burger King in Summerside (511 Granville Street)
  • Saturday, February 20 between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm
  • Shoppers Drug Mart in Summerside (454 Granville Street)
  • Sunday, February 21 between 10:00 am and 11:00 am
  • Superstore in Montague
  • Wednesday, February 24 between 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm
  • Thursday, February 25 between 4:30 and 5:30 pm
  • Tailgate Bar and Grill in Montague
  • Thursday, February 25 between 9:30 pm to 11:30 pm

Morrison said she is expecting more positive cases to be announced in the coming days

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Robinhood Flirts With Worst Debut Ever for IPO of Its Size – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Robinhood Markets Inc. wanted to make history with its initial public offering, and now it might — for the wrong reason.

Shares in the broker behind the meme-stock revolution fell as much as 12% below the IPO price in the company’s first trading session. That puts the stock in the running to rank as the worst debut on record among U.S. firms that raised as much cash as Robinhood or more, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Shares rebounded and were last trading 1% lower at $37.52 mid-afternoon in New York.

Robinhood must finish Thursday’s session at $34.90 or higher, or else it will replace the 2007 IPO by another brokerage, MF Global Holdings Ltd., as the worst debut among qualifying firms. MF Global ended its first day down 8.2%.

Read more: Robinhood Loses More Ground in Trading Debut After Muted IPO

The stock opened at the $38 initial public offering price. For an IPO of Robinhood’s size and larger, that’s the weakest opening trade since Uber Technologies Inc. in May of 2019 among U.S. firms. Uber finished its debut session down 7.6%.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Google and Facebook will require U.S. workers to be vaccinated to return to the office – CBC.ca

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Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened.

The more highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is driving a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Google’s announcement Wednesday was shortly followed by one from Facebook, which also said it will make vaccines mandatory for U.S. employees who work in offices. Exceptions will be made for medical and other reasons.

“With regards to our Canadian offices, we don’t have specifics to share yet,” a spokesperson for Facebook told CBC News. “We will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves.”

In an email sent to Google’s more than 130,000 employees worldwide, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning Oct. 18, instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1.

The decision also affects tens of thousands of contractors who Google intends to continue to pay while access to its campuses remains limited.

“This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it,” Pichai wrote.

Pichai disclosed that once offices are fully reopened, everyone working there will have to be vaccinated. The requirement will be first imposed at Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters and other U.S. offices, before being extended to the more than 40 other countries where Google operates.

‘The stuff that needs to be done’

Google has extensive operations in Canada, but the company did not immediately reply to a request for comment as to when such a policy may be implemented for its Canadian work force. Pichai’s letter, however, makes it clear that it is not just a U.S. policy.

“We’re rolling this policy out in the U.S. in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months,” he said.

WATCH | How social media is helping spread misinformation like a virus:

U.S. officials say misinformation has plagued the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and case counts across the country are rising. 2:02

Public health experts are lauding the move.

“This is the stuff that needs to be done, because otherwise we are endangering workers and their families,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University and a former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore.

“It is not fair to parents to be expected to come back to work and sit shoulder-to-shoulder with unvaccinated people who could be carrying a potentially deadly virus.”

Because children under the age of 12 aren’t currently eligible to be vaccinated, parents can bring the virus home to them from the office if they are around unvaccinated colleagues, Wen said.

Various government agencies already have announced demands for all their employees to be vaccinated, but the corporate world so far has been taking a more measured approach, even though most lawyers believe the mandates are legal.

Most employers hesitant to require vaccines

Delta and United airlines are requiring new employees to show proof of vaccination. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are requiring their employees to disclose their vaccination status, but are not requiring staffers to be vaccinated.

Less than 10 per cent of employers have said they intend to require all employees to be vaccinated, based on periodic surveys by the research firm Gartner.

Although the vaccination policy is only in effect in the U.S. for now, Google makes it clear it plans to expand it to other countries where it operates too. (Mark Lennihan/Associated Press)

While other major technology companies may follow suit now that Google and Facebook have taken stands on vaccines, employers in other industries still may be reluctant, predicted Brian Kropp, chief of research for Gartner’s human resources practice.

“Google is seen as being such a different kind of company that I think it’s going to take one or two more big employers to do something similar in terms of becoming a game changer,” Kropp said.

Google’s vaccine mandate will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulations of each location, Pichai wrote, and exceptions will be made for medical and other “protected” reasons.

“Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead,” Pichai explained.

The rapid rise in cases during the past month has prompted more public health officials to urge stricter measures to help overcome vaccine skepticism and misinformation.

It’s unclear how many of Google’s workers still haven’t been vaccinated. In his email, Pichai described the vaccination rate at the company as high.

Remote work still going strong

Google’s decision to extend its remote work follows a similar move by another technology powerhouse, Apple, which recently moved its return-to-office plans from September to October, too.

The delays by Apple and Google could influence other major employers to take similar precautions, given that the technology industry has been at the forefront of the shift to remote work triggered by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Even before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic in March 2020, Google, Apple and many other prominent tech firms had been telling their employees to work from home.

WATCH | Business travel particularly slow to bounce back:

A recent study from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company predicts that business travel won’t return to pre-pandemic levels for years. Many companies and business travellers are finding that they can cut costs by switching to virtual events and meetings, which could hurt businesses which rely on corporate travel. 1:59

This marks the third time Google has pushed back the date for fully reopening its offices.

Google’s vaccine requirement also could embolden other employers to issue similar mandates to guard against outbreaks and minimize the need to wear masks in the office.

While most companies are planning to bring back their workers at least a few days a week, others in the tech industry have decided to let employees do their jobs from remote locations permanently.

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TSX closes at all-time high, U.S. markets up after big jump in commodities prices – CBC.ca

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Canada’s main stock exchange closed at an all-time high as commodities like gold and oil benefited from a weaker U.S. dollar on Thursday.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 81.38 points at 20,311.78.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 153.60 points at 35,084.53. The S&P 500 index was up 18.51 points at 4,419.15, while the Nasdaq composite was up 15.68 points at 14,778.26.

The Canadian dollar traded for 80.32 cents US compared with 79.58 cents US on Wednesday.

The September crude oil contract was up $1.23 US at $73.62 US per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up 9.2 cents at nearly $4.06 US per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was up $31.20 US at $1,835.80 US an ounce and the September copper contract was up nearly 4.2 cents at $4.52 US a pound.

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