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Public health unit in Ontario reinstates COVID-19 measures amid surge of cases – Powell River Peak

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WINDSOR, Ont. — A public health unit in southwestern Ontario said Sunday that it would soon reduce gathering limits and encourage work-from-home measures as the region faces a surge of COVID-19 cases. 

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, medical officer of health for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, issued a letter of instruction on Sunday detailing the new measures. 

“Given the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on the region of Windsor-Essex … I am issuing these instructions to control the spread of COVID-19,” Nesathurai wrote. 

The new measures, which go beyond provincial regulations, take effect on Friday at 12:01 a.m. and will remain in place until further notice, Nesathurai said. 

They impose a maximum of 10 people allowed to participate in a social gathering indoors, with exceptions for weddings and funerals, and a maximum of 25 people if the gathering is held outdoors. 

Gatherings associated with a wedding, funeral or a religious service or ceremony must ensure assigned seating for all attendees and that everyone wears a mask or face covering, except when at their assigned seat and consuming food or beverages. Capacity is limited so physical distancing can be maintained. 

People should also keep a list of the names and numbers of all attendees of a social gathering and make them available immediately upon request by the public health unit. 

Among other measures, businesses and organizations must review workplace safety plans with their employees at least once per month and make adjustments as needed. They must also enable remote work for employees, where possible, and limit the gathering of employees. 

Restaurants and bars, along with meeting and event spaces, must limit their indoor capacity to 50 per cent to enable physical distancing and post visible signage indicating the number of people permitted based on this limit. 

Nesathurai noted that failing to comply with provincial requirements and those identified under the letter of instruction is an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act, for which a person, business or organization may be liable. 

The new measures come in the wake of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, along with three local hospitals and local paramedics, warning about strained acute care and hospital capacity issues. 

In a joint statement released Friday, the groups said there’s been a recent surge in both COVID-19 patients and other respiratory ailments. 

They said patients should expect wait times and treatment for anything other than emergencies to be much longer than usual, and that those who do not have emergencies should seek care elsewhere, such as family doctors and clinics, to help alleviate pressure on the hospitals. 

They also said they’re seeing a dramatic increase in young children with severe respiratory issues needing an immediate higher level of care, noting that 11 children with respiratory syncytial virus had to be transferred from the Windsor Regional Hospital to hospitals in either London, Ont., or Detroit. 

“We must work to preserve capacity in our healthcare system for patients. Our local partners will continue to collaborate to ensure our regional system is able to handle an influx of patients that will challenge our capacity to ensure timely access to care,” the groups said in the statement. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2021. 

–By Noushin Ziafati in Toronto 

——— 

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. 

The Canadian Press

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Truckers fighting government vaccine mandate march to Canadian capital

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A convoy of truckers started their march from Vancouver on Sunday to the Canadian capital city of Ottawa protesting the government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers, which the industry says would create driver shortages and fuel inflation.

Truckers under the banner Freedom Convoy 2022 had raised C$2.7 million ($2.2 million) by Sunday through a gofundme campaign to fight the mandate. The funds raised would be used to help with the costs of fuel, food and lodgings, the gofundme page said. The convoy is expected to reach Ottawa on Jan. 29.

The trucking industry is vital to ensure smooth flow of goods since more than two-thirds of the C$650 billion ($521 billion) in goods traded annually between Canada and the United States travels on roads.

But as many as 32,000, or 20%, of the 160,000 Canadian and American cross-border truck drivers may be taken off the roads due to the mandate https://www.reuters.com/business/canada-us-supply-chain-still-could-face-disruptions-due-vaccine-mandates-2022-01-13, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) estimates.

The CTA, however, said in a statement on Saturday it does not support any protests on public road ways and the only way to cross the border on a commercial truck is by getting vaccinated.

Canada imposed the vaccine mandate for the trucking industry from Jan. 15, under which unvaccinated Canadian truckers re-entering Canada from the United States must get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine themselves.

Driver shortages are further expected to fuel red-hot inflation https://www.reuters.com/business/canadas-annual-inflation-rate-hits-48-dec-highest-since-sept-1991-2022-01-19 which is running at a three-decade high, industry lobby groups gave said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has resisted industry pressure to delay the mandate since it was first announced in November.

($1 = 1.2572 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Denny Thomas; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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P.E.I. reports another COVID-19 death; 9 people in hospital – CBC.ca

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P.E.I. has announced announced another death related to COVID-19, raising the province’s total to six.

The person was over age 80, according to a release from the Chief Public Health Office on Sunday. No further details were released about the death.

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 increased to nine as of early Sunday. One person is in intensive care.

Four other people in hospital for other reasons have also tested positive for the virus.

The province has declared a new outbreak at the Summerset Manor long-term care facility in Summerside. 

There are currently six long-term care facilities, two community care facilities, 19 early learning and child-care centres and five other congregate settings with outbreaks:

  • Andrews of Park West.
  • Atlantic Baptist.
  • Beach Grove Home.
  • Clinton View Lodge.
  • Garden Home.
  • Summerset Manor.
  • Bevan Lodge.
  • Miscouche Villa.
  • Nineteen early learning and child-care centres. Five open, six closed and eight operating at reduced capacity.
  • Population that accesses shelter and outreach services in Charlottetown.
  • Prince County Correctional Centre.
  • Provincial Addictions Treatment Facility.
  • Provincial Correctional Centre.
  • St. Eleanor’s House.

There are 209 new cases and 214 recoveries in Sunday’s update. On average, 279 cases per day have been reported over the last week.

P.E.I. has 2,484 active cases and there have been 6,125 cases since the pandemic began.

Hundreds of vaccination appointments are still available this week, according to the release, including dedicated appointments for children.

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New Brunswick reports two additional deaths related to COVID-19 Sunday – CTV News Atlantic

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Health officials in New Brunswick said Sunday that a person in their 80s in the Moncton region and a person in their 70s in the Bathurst region have died as a result of COVID-19.

HOSPITALIZATIONS

In a news release Sunday, public health reported there are a total of 126 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province. Ten people are currently in intensive care.

Of those currently hospitalized, 74 were admitted for reasons other than COVID-19.

Of those in hospital, 101 are 60 or over, and six people are on a ventilator. Public health said Sunday that three people 19 and under are currently hospitalized.

The province said the rate of people hospitalized and in ICU continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated and those who are over six months from their second dose.

PARENTS ENCOURAGED TO CHILDREN VACCINATED

Officials are urging parents and guardians to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for their child’s first or second dose if they have not yet done so.

Children aged five to 11 who have already received their first dose of the vaccine are eligible to receive their second dose once eight weeks have passed since their first dose.

“Children are expected to return to in-person school by the end of the month and will benefit greatly from vaccination,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health in a news release Sunday.

“I’m calling on all parents with kids in this age group to book an appointment now for their child’s first dose if they are not yet vaccinated, or for their second dose if they are eligible.”

BOOSTER SHOTS AVAILABLE

The New Brunswick government is encouraging those eligible for a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to book their appointment to help slow the spread of the virus.

Booster doses are available to everyone 18 and older, as long as five months have passed since their second dose.

To date, 62.3 per cent of the eligible population of people 50 and older have received their booster dose.

Appointments can be booked online at vaccination clinics offered through the Vitalité and Horizon health networks.

Many pharmacies across the province are also offering vaccine clinics. Appointments can be made by contacting a participating pharmacy directly.

Those unable to book an appointment online, or who otherwise need assistance booking through a health authority clinic or pharmacy, may call 1-833-437-1424.

Since Jan. 10, more than 44,000 appointments have been booked for booster doses of an mRNA vaccine.

LEVEL 3 RESTRICTIONS

New Brunswick is currently in Level 3 phase of the winter plan to manage COVID-19.

Premier Blaine Higgs said Friday that vaccinating more children against COVID-19 and ensuring more adults receive their booster dose over the next week will help New Brunswick return to Level 2 of the winter plan on Jan. 30 at 11:59 p.m.

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