The Manitoba government is asking parents to have their say about its back to school plan.
Education minister Kelvin Goertzen and chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin are hosting a telephone town hall Aug. 18 at 6:45 P.M. Participants can register online.
The province released its roadmap for reopening schools on Thursday. The government is recommending students in Grace 5 to 12, along with staff members, to wear masks but is not making them mandatory.
PETITION AGAINST PLAN
Thousands of Manitobans have already signed a petition against the province’s plan, saying it doesn’t go far enough to protect students and school employees.
“We are deeply concerned about the Manitoba Government’s insufficient and under-resourced plan to reopen schools during the COVID-19 global pandemic, especially while Manitoba is experiencing a surge in new cases,” reads the petition started by the group ‘Safe September MB’.
‘Safe September MB’ is urging the government to mandate masks, accommodate school employees who want to work remotely, inspect ventilation and filtration systems in schools and reinstate the mandatory two week self-isolation order for all out province visitors.
Three new outbreaks, 8 additional cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region – CTV Toronto
The Region of Waterloo is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19, and three new outbreaks in the community.
Public Health added 13 cases to the region’s total on Saturday. Eight of those cases are considered new, while the remaining five are part of a revision to the previous tally.
The total number of positive cases in Waterloo Region is now 1,571, with 1,357 cases considered resolved and no new deaths.
Public Health is also reporting three new outbreaks.
One is at the YWCA St. Paul Childcare Centre on Birchcliff Ave. in Kitchener. Public Health has confirmed to CTV News that there is one case reported in a child. The centre remains open, but the region says other students in the cohort are currently isolating at home.
Another outbreak has been declared at Lanark Heights Long-Term Care Home in Kitchener, after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
The operator of the home says they are both asymptomatic cases and the employees “have been off work and will continue to be off work for the next 14 days.”
Lanark says essential visitors will still be allowed in the home, as long as they comply with screening measures.
The region’s COVID-19 dashboard also shows a new outbreak at a “congregate setting.” According to the province, this refers to a shared space which could include shelters, group homes and correctional facilities.
The latest update brings the total number of local outbreaks to six.
On Friday, the region announced an outbreak at a gym after three people tested positive for COVID-19. CTV News has confirmed that it was the F45 Waterloo location on Glasgow Street.
The University at Village Gates, a retirement home in Waterloo, has been listed on the region’s dashboard since Sept. 5 after a staff member had a positive COVID-19 test.
An active outbreak has also declared at second unnamed “congregate setting.” According to the region, there are a total of two active cases between these two locations and both involve staff members.
In addition to these locations, Goodlife Fitness has confirmed to CTV News that two of its members have contracted COVID-19. Both were members at its Williamsburg location. This latest announcement was not included in the region’s daily update.
NEW SOCIAL GATHERING RULES
The number of COVID-19 cases continue to climb, with 407 infections reported across the province on Saturday.
That’s the highest total since the beginning of June.
Premier Doug Ford calls the latest results “alarming.”
“Folks, the alarm bells are ringing,” he said at Saturday’s news conference. “Too much of it is being tied to people who aren’t following the rules. People who think it’s okay to hold parties, to carry on as if things are back to normal. They aren’t.”
In response, the province is imposing new restrictions in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
Social gatherings are now limited to 10 people in an indoor setting, or 25 people outdoors.
The new rules only apply to private gatherings, and don’t include movie theatres, restaurants, banquet halls, places of worship and gyms.
Saturday’s announcement comes just days after similar rules were put in place for Ontario’s worst COVID-19 hotspots, and after top doctors in Waterloo Region and the Guelph-area urged the province to take more action.
Anyone who breaks the social gathering rules could face a fine. The province says organizers may have to pay $10,000, while attendees would be fined $750.
“With more and more people returning to work, children returning to schools, and students going back to college or university, we need to ensure we are doing everything we can to minimize the risk of spread,” said Health Minister Christine Elliot at the press conference.
But not everyone is happy with the premier’s announcement.
The NDP Deputy Leader put out a statement today criticizing the plan, saying it’s a sign of poor planning. They would also like to see lower limits not just in social gatherings, but in school classrooms too.
The new rules will remain in effect for the next four weeks.
One confirmed COVID-19 case reported at L'Essor – Windsor Star
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Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens issued as statement late Satuday morning encouraging residents to comply with the newest restrictions.
“We are all in the drivers seat when it comes to the regulations and limitations that are imposed on Windsor and Essex County,” Dilkens said. “The stronger our collective response, the more flexible guidelines I am confident our region will be permitted.
“To ensure that our region is not further restricted, I would strongly urge all residents to take this news to heart and to follow these guidelines strictly.”
Locally, Conseil Scolaire Catholique Providence has confirmed one case of COVID-19 at L’Essor high school.
The school board released the information Friday, saying in the interest of privacy it will not identify the student or staff member who tested positive for the virus but will immediately notify parents, students and staff if a class, cohort or school is ordered closed by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
The health unit reported eight additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday in the region.
The new cases bring the cumulative total to 2,623 since March.
Three outbreaks continue at long-term care or retirement homes.
Those homes are Dolce Vita in Windsor, where there are four residents and two staff members who have tested positive for the virus.
Two Leamington homes have positive cases – Rosewood Erie Glen with one staff member testing positive and New Beginnings with 21 residents and seven staff members testing positive.
There are currently no workplace outbreaks.
A total of 76 people in Windsor-Essex have died as a result of COVID-19.
Also as of Saturday, 2,452 cases in the region have been categorized as resolved, two more since Friday.
For more information on COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex, including public exposure notifications, visit www.wechu.org/cv.
VIDEO: BC to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids – Goldstream News Gazette
A new made-in-B.C. test will soon be available for children and youth to help make COVID-19 testing easier and more comfortable, the province’s top doctor has announced.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters Thursday (Sept. 18) that B.C. will be one of the first places in the world to implement a new saline gargle test to diagnose the novel coronavirus.
“Unlike the [nasal] swab, this is a new saline gargle where you put a little bit of saline water, that is sterile water, in your mouth, you swish it around and spit it into a little tube,” she explained.
“This test is kind of cool and something we’ve had in the works for a while. This new method is more comfortable, particularly for our younger children.”
Henry said the new alternative will soon be made available to health officials across the province, noting the test has some key benefits ahead of influenza season: it is more efficient and can be done without a doctor or nurse involved.
Currently, the province has been using a nasal swab test – the gold standard for confirming if someone has COVID-19 – which involves putting a six-inch long Q-tip into the cavity between the nose and mouth for 15 seconds and then rotating it several times. A swab is repeated on the other side of the nose.
For now, the test will be available for those aged four to 18.
The less-intrusive swab comes as B.C. sees an ongoing rise in daily COVID-19 cases. There have been a total 7,663 confirmed cases in B.C. since January.
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