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Possible COVID-19 exposures at 4 Halifax sites – CBC.ca

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Nova Scotians were warned of four possible COVID-19 exposures in Halifax on Friday as the province announced people can now schedule a COVID-19 test online.

Premier Stephen McNeil said Friday it will greatly reduce how long it takes to set up a test, as well as shorten the time to receive results. 

Tests can be scheduled for all primary assessment centres in the province and the IWK Health Centre. The swish, gargle and spit test is now also available for children at all primary testing sites.

“Our message to all Nova Scotians is if they feel unwell, go online and do the online assessment,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health.

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The province said there were four new possible COVID-19 exposures in Halifax:

  • Economy Shoe Shop Bar & Restaurant on Argyle St. on Nov. 8 between 8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.  Anyone at the bar during this time should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. It is expected that anyone exposed to the virus here may develop symptoms up to and including Nov. 22.
  • John W. Lindsay YMCA Gym at 5640 Sackville St. on Nov. 9-10 between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Anyone who was in the gym section of the facility during this time should monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. It is expected that anyone exposed to the virus here may develop symptoms up to, and including, Nov. 24.
  • The Local Restaurant and Bar at 2037 Gottingen St. on Nov. 9 between 4 p.m. to close. Anyone at the bar during this time should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, which may develop up until Nov. 23.
  • Tim Hortons at 36 Verdi Dr., Bedford Commons, Bedford on Nov. 12 from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Anyone at this spot during this time should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, which may develop up until Nov. 26.

2 new cases; active total of 19

Two new cases of COVID-19 were also reported Friday in Nova Scotia, bringing the total number of active cases to 19.

One new case was in the northern zone and related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. That person has self-isolated.

The other case was in the central zone and remained under investigation, according to a news release. The province said there was no link to the cluster in Clayton Park.

Strang said he was “feeling less anxious” about the Clayton Park cluster, where there were 11 cases. There have been no new cases associated with that area since Tuesday.

He also said the province has decided against opening up a testing site in Bayers Lake to deal with those cases because it’s no longer considered necessary.

Strang said Nova Scotians need to look at decreasing their social contacts over the next six to eight weeks in the effort to keep case numbers down.

“All of us need to think about, how many people are we in contact with in our day?” Strang said.

“Here in Nova Scotia it’s not about flattening the curve, it’s actually being in front of the curve so we don’t need to flatten it. It’s a preventative measure for us.”

He also said a point person has been established to work with guidelines in the continuing care centre, looking to bring in periodic testing of long-term care staff.

More on Christmas rules

As the Christmas holidays approach, Strang said Public Health is working with students, the restaurant sector and businesses to help prevent the spread of the virus.

He said more details and clear direction for how businesses can safely operate will be coming soon, adding that malls will have to figure out how to manage the growing number of people and stay within the Public Health rules.

“Ultimately it’s the responsibility of Nova Scotians. If you’re going to a mall, what are you doing to make sure you’re physically distanced? What are you doing to make sure that unless you don’t have a valid reason, that you’re wearing a mask and wearing it properly?”

Strang said any student who leaves the Atlantic bubble will have to isolate for 14 days, but they have been working with colleagues in education to support them.

Any student from outside of the bubble who wants to return for Christmas will also have to quarantine, but Strang said they should strongly consider not coming back for the holidays.

He said as tough as that may be, the best choice would be for them to remain where they are studying.

Strang said they have also made sure international students who do not have health insurance are able to be tested for COVID-19 for free.

“Our collective fate for COVID is in our own hands,” Strang said.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority completed 1,260 tests on Thursday.

On Thursday afternoon, the province sent out an advisory for a potential COVID-19 exposure at Atlantic Superstore in Halifax.

Anyone who was at the Barrington Street store between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Nov. 7 should self-monitor for COVID symptoms.

Atlantic bubble

Overall, Nova Scotia has recorded 1,136 positive cases and 65 deaths related to the virus.

The latest numbers from around the Atlantic bubble are:

  • New Brunswick reported two new cases Friday. It has 14 active cases. Asymptomatic workers in nursing homes and adult residential facilities are now able to request a COVID-19 test online once every two weeks
  • Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case Friday related to travel. It has six active cases.
  • P.E.I. reported one new case Wednesday. The province has four active cases.

Symptoms

Anyone with one of the following symptoms should visit the COVID-19 self-assessment website or call 811:

  • Fever.
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.

Anyone with two or more of the following symptoms is also asked to visit the website or call 811:

  • Sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny nose.
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First COVID-19 vaccine could be delivered to distribution points as early as end of December, Fortin says – CBC.ca

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Federal officials today explained how they plan to roll out millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the coming weeks as Ottawa launches its mass inoculation campaign.

The initial supply of the doses will be limited — just three million Canadians are expected to get a shot in the first three months of 2021. Millions more doses are expected to arrive as the supply chain stabilizes.

One of the principal challenges facing the immunization effort is the distribution of vaccines that must be kept at very low temperatures – well below those that a standard commercial refrigerator can offer.

The Pfizer product, which is expected to get the green light from Health Canada as early as this month, needs to be kept at approximately -80 degrees Celsius to remain stable. The Moderna product, another vaccine that uses groundbreaking messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, must be kept at -20 degrees Celsius.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, a former NATO commander in Iraq, is leading vaccination logistics and operations at a new national operations centre in the Public Health Agency of Canada. While the country is facing unprecedented “logistical complexities,” he said, the military and its partners will be ready to deploy vaccines as soon as they are approved in Canada.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the commander of Canada’s military pandemic response. (Radio Canada)

He said the national operations centre isn’t waiting for Health Canada’s sign-off to begin preparations. The Pfizer product will be delivered by that company directly to provincial and territorial distribution points as early as the end of the month.

The federal government already has secured the cold storage required for this product. All of the provinces have indicated where the Pfizer-specific fridges should be placed and 14 distribution points nationwide will be ready to receive the vaccine starting on Dec. 14, Fortin said.

Eventually, there will be 205 “points of issue” locations across the country where health care professionals can administer the vaccine, the general said. It will be up to the provinces and territories to specify where and when individual Canadians will be inoculated.

Fortin said at least one “dry run” has been executed so far, with more planned in the days ahead, to ensure things run smoothly once this vaccine hits our shores from manufacturing hubs in the U.S. and abroad. These practice runs will ensure officials are comfortable with what Fortin called the “very unique requirements” of this vaccine.

Fortin said he’s actively planning for multiple worst-case scenarios, such as bad weather, cyber attacks and fires at distribution hubs.

“We’re very much executing a whole-of-nation approach. The size and scope and scale of this problem is unprecedented and there’s a number of factors at play,” he said. “I like the idea of being ready before the Christmas timeframe, so we are certain to be ready when it comes in January.”

The general said his team is in daily contact with Pfizer and the company is “comfortable” with the plan that Canada has crafted. Pfizer has said it won’t ship product to a country that isn’t ready to receive a vaccine that is so temperature-sensitive.

Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said Thursday that the regulatory review of Pfizer’s vaccine is “progressing really well” and her department has the “majority of information” it needs from the company to certify that it’s safe and effective.

In an interview with CBC’s Power & Politics, Sharma said the final approval could come in the next 7 to 10 days. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to meet on Dec. 10 to decide on an emergency use authorization (EUA) for that shot and Sharma said Canada is following a similar timeline.

Canada has placed orders with Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for 20 million doses of the two-dose vaccine, with options for millions more in the months to follow.

The company has reported its vaccine was 95 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 among clinical trial participants who had no evidence of prior infection.

Preparing for the worst

The Moderna vaccine, which is expected to secure regulatory approvals after the Pfizer product, will be imported into Canada by the federal government, largely through private shipping companies. Ottawa will in turn divide up the product for the provinces and territories.

The government is now finalizing “end mile” contracts with logistics firms — the companies that will transport the Moderna vaccines to centres where Canadians can go for a shot.

On Monday, the Massachusetts-based company applied to the FDA for its EUA for the American marketplace.

Data from the company’s final clinical trial are encouraging, demonstrating the vaccine is 94.1 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 and 100 per cent effective at preventing severe cases of the disease.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said the federal government is now refining who is best suited to get an early dose of a vaccine — early guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) suggests seniors in long-term care homes and frontline health care workers will be among the first to get a shot.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is pushing the federal government for more details on its vaccine rollout plan. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and his party’s health critic Michelle Rempel Garner held a news conference this morning to discuss an opposition day motion that will call on the government to release its plan by Dec. 16.

O’Toole accused the government of failing to provide Canadians with a plan and a timeframe for vaccine distribution.

“Without a concrete timeline for vaccines, businesses won’t have the confidence to reinvest in their operations and rehire Canadians who have been laid off during the pandemic,” he said.

“Without a reliable timeline, or details, provinces have the impossible task of establishing complex supply chains with no lead time.”

The motion calls for a status update on:

  • How each type of vaccine will be safely delivered, stored and distributed to Canadians.
  • The date on which each vaccine type will be first deployed in Canada and the rate of vaccinations anticipated by month.
  • Any planned federal guidance with respect to the deployment of the vaccine by priority group, such as front-line health workers and seniors.
  • The plan to distribute the vaccine to Indigenous communities, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and veterans.

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Ontario reports 1,824 new COVID-19 cases including record high in Peel – CityNews Toronto

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Ontario is reporting 1,824 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, an increase from 1,723 cases the day before.

Fourteen new deaths were also reported. This brings the provincial death toll to 3,712.

Due to a data processing error, Thursday’s provincial case count includes 127 cases from the Middlesex-London Health Unit that were reported over the previous three days, the government said.

Peel Region set a new record with 592 new cases reported. The City of Toronto reported 396 new cases, followed by York Region with 187.

The province says it has conducted 52,873 tests since the last daily report.

In total, 666 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 195 in intensive care.

The province also says 107 people are on ventilators in hospitals.

The latest figures bring the total of COVID-19 cases in Ontario to 121,746 and 103,239 cases resolved.

In the province’s long-term care homes, 707 residents currently have COVID-19 and eleven new deaths have been reported today.

The province says 116 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.

The province also reported 122 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 94 among students.

Those bring the number of schools with a reported case to 755 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about coronavirus

 

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With files from the Canadian Press

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TD posts big Q4 beat as provisions sink, wholesale profit triples – BNN

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Toronto-Dominion Bank closed out earnings season for Canada’s Big Six lenders on Thursday on the same note as its rivals: a big profit beat driven in part by spectacular growth in capital markets and far less cash set aside for loans that could go bad.

TD’s net income for the three months ending Oct. 31 totalled $5.1 billion, compared to $2.9 billion a year earlier, amid a $2.3-billion gain stemming from the stake it held in TD Ameritrade prior to the brokerage’s takeover by The Charles Schwab Corp.

On an adjusted basis, TD earned $1.60 per share in the fiscal fourth quarter. Analysts were expecting $1.27 in adjusted profit.

The bank booked $917 million in provisions for credit loss in the quarter, compared to $2.2 billion in the previous quarter and $3.2 billion in the fiscal second quarter.

“TD delivered solid results in the fourth quarter, capping off a year that demonstrated the strength of our business model and balance sheet, and the resilience of our people throughout the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic,” said TD CEO Bharat Masrani in a release.

“While 2020 was not the year we expected it to be, we learned from the experience and demonstrated the speed and agility of our organization,” he added. “We will continue to adapt to the current environment to deliver for all of our stakeholders and support an inclusive and sustainable recovery.”

TD’s capital markets operations saw profit more than triple from a year earlier as net income reached $486 million in the final quarter of 2020.  The bank attributed the growth to higher revenue from trading activities as well as a jump in debt underwriting fees. The profit growth for the division stands in stark contrast to its condition less than two years ago when it posted a surprise loss in the first quarter of 2019.

The bank’s bread-and-butter retail operations in Canada were a pillar of strength in the fiscal fourth quarter as profit rose three per cent year-over-year to $1.8 billion.

TD’s operations south of the border struggled in the quarter, as profit from U.S. retail banking slid 41 per cent year-over-year to US$403 million. The decline came amid an uptick in provisions for credit losses and as income from fees and lending margins came under pressure.

Programming note: Don’t miss BNN Bloomberg’s conversation with TD CEO Bharat Masrani Friday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT.

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