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Rise in COVID-19 cases results in more surgeries being postponed in Alberta – CTV News Calgary

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CALGARY —
Alberta Health Services (AHS) is taking further steps to ease the burden on the province’s health care system, now that COVID-19 cases are spiking once more.

Starting Friday morning, the agency says it will be postponing scheduled non-urgent surgeries and procedures across all five of Alberta’s health zones.

The move comes approximately a week after AHS said it would be delaying 30 per cent of non-urgent surgeries in the Edmonton and North zones.

“The number of Albertans needing ICU care has increased rapidly in the past week,” said AHS CEO Dr. Verna Yiu Friday. “While our front line teams are doing an incredible job in caring for Albertans, we need your help.”

AHS released the following details on the scheduled postponements:

  • Up to 60 per cent of surgeries in the North zone;
  • Up to 40 per cent of endoscopy procedures and up to 30 per cent of schedule surgeries in the Central Zone and;
  • Up to 30 per cent of scheduled surgeries, endoscopy and outpatient visits in the Calgary and South zones.

The Edmonton zone will also see delayed procedures and surgeries increase to about 50 per cent, 20 per cent more than what was previously announced.

All urgent and emergent procedures will still occur, as will priority cancer surgeries.

“The specific number of postponements will be determined by the zone. All patients affected will be contacted directly by Alberta Health Services,” Yiu said.

PATIENTS CONTINUE LONG WAIT FOR PROCEDURES

Gail Langley has been waiting for a hip replacement surgery for more than 18 months and is taking desperate measures to improve her quality of life.

“I’ve sold my house hoping for a big profit so I could access private surgery, moved into a condo, and downsized due to a decline in my mobility,” she said.

“As a senior on a fixed retirement budget even with the sale of my small home I cannot afford the $35,000-$45,000 fee for what has now become an issue with my knee and both hips.”

Langley says her doctors are continuing to encourage her to contact her local MLA or explore private care at her own expense.

“I’ve explored going to Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and even rural hospitals, but I’m just told I’m on a list and would not be put on more than one list in Alberta.”

Hospital

ALBERTA’S ICU CAPACITY AT 95%

While Yiu pressed the importance of Albertans getting vaccinated and the changes to surgical times, she also revealed that the province’s intensive care units are close to capacity.

“It was 95 per cent provincially. I think one of the benefits of an integrated provincialized system is that we are actually able to work provincially to make sure we are able to spread the resources across the province.

“While Edmonton may be very tight, we know that we potentially have more spaces in Calgary and in South zone. So understanding that we are able to shift the resources to make sure we’ve got adequate resources across the province.”

Changes are also being made to add care beds in Calgary and Edmonton to improve access for patients.

They include five beds in the Pandemic Response Unit (PRU) at Calgary’s South Health Campus for day medicine patients. Edmonton’s PRU at the Kaye Edmonton Clinic is also being looked at as a way to free up more beds in the next few weeks.

calgary, alberta, edmonton, surgeries, procedures,

AHS is also asking staff members, both part-time and casual, to consider taking extra shifts, as it says hospitals and care centres are still facing a staffing crunch.

“We do not make these decisions lightly and we acknowledge that postponing procedures and surgeries has a very deep impact on impacted patients, their families and loved ones,” Yiu said. “But it is imperative that we maintain capacity in our hospitals, not just for patients with COVID-19, but for any Alberta who needs care.”

‘WE’VE BEEN ASKING GOVERNMENT TO STEP UP’: UNITED NURSES OF ALBERTA

The United Nurses of Alberta are expressing concern and disappointment with provincial health leadership in the province as a result of the decision to postpone non-urgent surgeries.

Local 115 President, Kevin Champagne says the government should have anticipated this and been proactive in taking measures beforehand.

“Because this decision was made within the last 48 hours to reassign nurses, there isn’t a time to provide orientation or buddy shifts for nurses so that means you have to utilize the human resources that had previous training in those areas and those nurses need a break,” he said.

“It’s just unfair to continue to put unfair pressure on us, we have nurses more than ever going  to physicians at this point in time because their mental health has been impacted and they’re burning out.”

Champagne adds that vacations are also being cancelled for nurses to ensure proper staffing for ICU beds.

“If it’s okay for our premier to take vacation for his burnout. You would think it reasonable for nurses to take a vacation.”

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How to unwind after a long day at the office

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Whether you are returning to the office after working from home or starting a new job. Being among other hardworking people and maybe even having a boss breathing down your neck can be nerve-wracking. You might even experience that you’re more tired than usual when you climb into bed at the end of the day.

 

That’s why it is important to find the right way for you to unwind and clear your mind after a long day of hard work.

 

Stay active

A quick run is great for clearing the mind. A trip to the gym can help you relieve some aggressions you might have developed throughout the day. Kicking a ball around with your friends can help you calm down. The possibilities are endless, but the results can be great.

 

Exercise is wonderful for your mind as well as your body. If you even bring along a couple of friends, you are sure to have a great time and forget what was bothering you to begin with.

 

Forget the world with online gaming

Sometimes, what you need is a distraction. A great book can help you forget the world but maybe you are too wound up to focus. In that case, a great alternative is trying an online casino in Canada. You do not even need to stay focused to have fun and forget your troubles.

 

The best part is that you can enjoy online casinos anywhere. On the couch in front of the TV, on the train ride home, or in bed before you go to sleep. Playing on your phone is convenient and easy. Before you realize it, you completely forgot about your stressful day.

 

Cook a nutritious meal

You might not feel like cooking if you are agitated after a long day. But something about creating beautiful, delicious food can be almost therapeutic. Eating meals that you love can help shift your mood without you even realizing it. At the same time, you might be able to get rid of some irritations by taking your frustrations out on the vegetables that need to be chopped. Just remember to protect your fingers.

 

Spend time with a loved one

Being able to vent about your day or simply get a hug can be all you need. If you live with your significant other, try to let them be there for you when you need some extra love and understanding. If you live alone, try to make time to get a cup of coffee with a friend or family member. Do not underestimate the effects of human contact. Soon, you will feel recharged and ready to take on a new day.

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5 Ways to be Productive at Work

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Concluding a long day with all the items on your list ticked off is the most satisfying and rewarding feeling in the world.  In addition, knowing that you have worked on top of your game with optimal efficiency and a high sense of gratification is the perfect way to cap a workday. But, on the other hand, there are moments that we are not winning in the productivity game. Instead, we spend most days fire-fighting, exhausted, and slumped with unfinished tasks. Good thing there is a way to change this.

Productivity killers are bad habits we are unable to shake off that disrupt our workflow. Similarly, the lack of proactivity hinders us from progress. Here are five ways to be more productive at work to get yourself out of the rut of unsatisfactory workdays and performance.

 

Segment tasks accordingly, take on the hard ones at your most active time of the day.

 

Plan your day by categorizing tasks from the most mentally or physically demanding to the least. Next, take on the tasks that consume too much thought, emotions, or energy depending on the dayparts that you are typically at your best. For example, if you are a morning person, best to do most of the heavy lifting in the morning and reserve mental breaks for chores, playing online casino Canada or answering emails after lunch. But, of course, these would all fail if you are a night owl. Ultimately, gauge yourself and identify your most productive time of day and take on demanding tasks at this point.

 

Build a to-do-list every night

To-do lists are fantastic productivity tools because they encourage planning and organization. Planning and organization are the building blocks of productivity. As you go through the day, they provide clarity and focus, tackling tasks from the significant to the mundane. A simple list on paper will do, or you can even utilize the notes app on your phone. For next-level productivity aids, explore applications like AnyDo or Trello, for they can be synched with calendars and with other people like family and colleagues. Finally, creating and updating a to-do list every night is the best way to take on the following day. It provides the proper head start rather than scrambling on finding things to do at the beginning of the workday.

 

Delegation is the key.

 

Strategic delegation is the machinery behind productivity.  Delegation of jobs and tasks to capable hands can free up time for you to take on tasks that require more focus and creativity.

 

Veer away from distractions

 

The key to optimal productivity is shutting down the noise and actively eliminating them. Distractions in this day and age are social media and emails. For tasks that demand focus, best to turn off your phone or notifications.

 

Never multitask

 

Multitasking is the most effective productivity killer because it takes too much energy and resources to switch tasks from one to the next. In addition, multitasking negatively impacts the focus, accuracy, and precision of the job at hand. Therefore, be at your best by taking on tasks one at a time.

 

Bottomline

 

Ultimately, to be the best version of yourself at work requires impeccable planning, organization, seamless focus, and delegation. In addition, allowing yourself a few mental breaks throughout the day keeps you healthy mentally and ready to take on tasks.

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How Canada is exposed to ripple effects of Evergrande debt crisis – The Globe and Mail

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Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is seen in Montebello, Que., on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.

Justin Tang/The Globe and Mail

Canada’s largest pension funds and banks have limited direct ties to the Evergrande Group debt crisis, a review of their investment holdings shows, but there’s little question the Chinese company’s collapse would have painful knock-on effects, even if those indirect reverberations are difficult to quantify.

It would be “naive to think that the turmoil in the market doesn’t have the potential to have second-order and third-order impact,” Noel Quinn, chief executive officer of HSBC Holdings PLC, told a conference Wednesday. “Clearly with the changes that are taking place in the Evergrande situation, it’s concerning.”

Also Wednesday, after Evergrande’s inability to meet interest payments sent global markets tumbling, the company reached an agreement with domestic bond holders that appeared to ease investor concerns about contagion. Meanwhile, China’s central bank injected US$18.5-billion in liquidity into the banking system, which brought further calm.

Canadian banks have no direct lending exposure to Evergrande or to China’s real estate sector, and the Big Six banks have less than 1 per cent of their equity capital – about $1.4-billon combined – in legal entities in China, according to a research note by Sohrab Movahedi of BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc.

Banks could have indirect exposure to counterparty risk in capital markets or to equity markets through wealth management, “but we estimate these to be insignificant to balance sheet and/or the earnings profile of the banks,” he wrote.

Life insurers have no direct exposure to Evergrande’s debt or real estate and the risk from contagion is limited, Mr. Movahedi said. Investments in China account for only about 10 per cent of Manulife Financial Corp.’s $1.9-billion in invested fund assets in Asia, for example.

What’s behind Evergrande’s debt struggle and why it’s rattling investors around the world

China’s Evergrande mess is spreading and hurting big mining companies. The iron ore and steel party is over

Some pension funds such as Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec have held small equity stakes in Evergrande, and in other Chinese real estate companies such as China Vanke Co. Ltd. But some of the holdings Canadian asset managers held in Evergrande were required to satisfy index funds.

A subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada, British-based BlueBay Asset Management, held a small number of bonds issued by Evergrande worth tens of millions of dollars, but sold some of those bonds this year and has immaterial exposure as of July 31, according to data from Refinitiv.

An RBC spokesperson declined to comment on specific fund holdings.

With Evergrande on the hook for US$305-billion to banks, homebuyers and suppliers, the majority of which are in China, the company has been scrambling in recent weeks to unload assets to raise cash.

In addition to managing 565 million square metres of land in nearly 300 cities in mainland China and Hong Kong, according to its latest annual report, Evergrande has its fingers in a sprawling array of industries, from bottled water to electric vehicles.

Much of it is now on the block, which begs the question of how long it will be before Evergrande puts a for sale sign up at its lone Canadian holding, the Fairmont Le Château Montebello.

Evergrande snapped up the historic hotel two hours west of Montreal in 2014, marking its first foray into Canada, leaving many to wonder if China’s second-largest developer was about to join the influx of other Chinese real estate companies reshaping this country’s largest cities.

With Evergrande now buckling under its debt load, roiling global markets this week with fears its collapse could touch off a global credit crisis, it’s no small measure of relief the property giant went no further in Canada than owning the world’s largest log cabin.

Guests arrive by the entrance archway leading to the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello in Montebello, Que., on Sept. 23, 2021. The chateau is the lone Canadian holding of Evergrande Group.

Justin Tang/The Globe and Mail

Genevieve Dumas, general manager of Château Montebello, said she had no knowledge of what Evergrande’s plans for the hotel might be, and directed questions to the company’s representatives in China. Evergrande didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Several hotel industry watchers said they had not heard of any move to sell the Fairmont property. They also said new investment in the Canadian industry from China has been sparse.

“We haven’t seen any meaningful inbound capital from China and in fact have seen some repatriation,” said Alam Pirani, executive managing director with Colliers’s hotel division.

There are also some indications Chinese investors were already reducing their exposure to Canada.

Jia Wang, interim director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, said Chinese investment in Canada was already coming down before the Evergrande crisis and before Beijing started trying to discourage property developers from borrowing too heavily.

Last year, Chinese investment and purchases in Canada totalled $1.98-billion, down from $4.05-billion in 2019, according to the institute, which tracks all Chinese investment in Canada, though that also reflects the pandemic-related slowdown. The institute also said the true value of investment is likely much higher since many investors do not publicly report deal values.

Other Chinese developers that have also been caught up in the Evergrande downdraft have played a much bigger role in North American real estate markets.

Greenland Holding Group, which is developing two major condo projects in downtown Toronto, is under pressure to refinance its debt. On Thursday, Moody’s Investors Service revised its outlook on Greenland to “negative” from “stable” and said the company will “face uncertainty in issuing new offshore bonds at reasonable funding costs to refinance its maturing debt over the next 6-12 months.”

Although the credit rater expects Greenland to have enough resources to repay its US$2.87-billion bonds that are maturing between September and December, 2022, it said the repayment will reduce funding for Greenland’s operations in the near term.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Greenland, like Evergrande, has crossed at least one of the “three red lines” that Chinese regulators put in place last year to cap borrowing to tamp down speculation. Companies that fail to comply with the limits, which govern metrics around asset, equity and debt levels, face restrictions on new borrowing.

In the U.S., Greenland, along with Oceanwide Holdings and China Vanke, which have also fallen short of Beijing’s new rules, are all struggling to develop projects in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

Andy Yan, director of the city program at B.C.’s Simon Fraser University, said the nature of real estate finance means untangling the funding sources and relationships of heavily indebted Chinese developers is like trying to find “poisoned sausage meat” that’s mixed up in the global real estate marketplace.

If credit conditions worsen in China and lending continues to tighten, it is unclear if that will force developers in Canada that rely on money from China to pull back.

Thomas Davidoff, director of the UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, said on the one hand a hit to wealth and liquidity in China could lead Chinese investors to retrench from a city like Vancouver. But with Chinese property developers in turmoil, “Chinese investors might want to relocate their investment of out China, possibly here.”

That mixed picture will take time to sort out.

David Ho, a Vancouver-based executive with real estate service CBRE, said some Chinese real estate developers in Canada sold their properties after Beijing imposed new rules in 2017 to keep capital in the country.

“There is an interest to entertain a sale,” Mr. Ho said. “They are making moves to liquidate or divest their interest, in some cases prematurely,” he said.

Mr. Ho leads a team in charge of bringing Asian capital to Vancouver, Toronto and other major North American cities. He said high-net-worth individuals in Hong Kong are now more open to investing in Canada. Ten years ago, he said his Hong Kong clients would tell him, “I can get an Evergrande bond with a 10-per-cent return so why would I invest in a shopping mall in Canada?” Now with Evergrande’s troubles and other turmoil in the Chinese economy, Mr. Ho is seeing more interest in Canadian real estate.

“We are doing deals,” he said.

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