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Ski hills can open – under any colour zone – once shutdown restrictions lift – OrilliaMatters

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Downhill ski resorts in Ontario can start up the ski lifts again once the province lifts the shutdown restrictions in their region.

Downhill skiing is permitted, with distancing, capacity restrictions, and mask wearing, in all five colour-coded “zones” contained in the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework, including in the grey/lockdown category. 

According to Paul Pinchbeck, president of the Canadian Ski Council and former Blue Mountain staffer, ski hills were always permitted to remain open within the grey/lockdown framework.

The province’s shutdown order that took effect Dec. 26, however, required ski hills to close. 

According to Premier Doug Ford’s announcement today, the shutdown orders will remain in effect in Simcoe Muskoka and Grey Bruce Health Unit until Feb. 16, meaning ski hills can’t open until next week at the earliest.

Pinchbeck said ski hills are looking forward to getting people back to work and back on the hill. While there’s no official word yet from the province on new restrictions for ski resort operations, Pinchbeck said each resort will have to work with their local public health unit to determine what will be required for their reopening. 

Under the safety plans created by Canadian Ski Council and the Ontario Ski Resorts Association, ski hills that opened were requiring guests to wear masks on chair lifts, and had limited access to indoor facilities with physical distancing measures in place and outdoor warming centres available. 

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"We are in the worst situation during this pandemic" – Dr DeMille – Net Newsledger

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Assume that COVID is There!

Thunder Bay – COVID-19 Update – The surge in COVID-19 numbers has Thunder Bay District topping the province with the most cases per 100,000 of population.

There are reports of COVID-19 at the Real Canadian Superstore and at Walmart locations in Thunder Bay. Staff members have been confirmed with the virus.

“This virus is having an easy time spreading from one person to the next,” says Dr. DeMille. Many times people are spreading the virus without knowing they have the virus.

“We are seeing people going out, hanging out with others even before they know they have COVID,” added DeMille.

This evening Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) and Schoolhouse Playcare Centre (Ecole Elsie MacGill School location) confirm that an outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at the facility in Thunder Bay.

Consistent with provincial guidelines, an outbreak is declared in a child care centre when there are two or more COVID-19 cases that can be linked within the setting. At this time, one additional individual associated with the child care centre has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is deemed to have acquired the infection in the facility.

The announcement of the outbreak at Schoolhouse Playcare Centre (Ecole Elsie MacGill) does not mean the child care centre is closing. Only those identified as having had close contact with the case will be excluded from attending. In collaboration with the Schoolhouse Playcare Centre (Ecole Elsie MacGill) TBDHU will continue to monitor and assess the situation until the full risk period has passed.

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COVID-19 outbreak at Schoolhouse Playcare Centre – Tbnewswatch.com

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THUNDER BAY – A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at the Schoolhouse Playcare Centre located at the Ecole Elsie MacGill School, public health authorities announced Monday.

Two individuals have tested positive at the facility, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit reported in a statement.

The second case was deemed to have been acquired at the centre, prompting an outbreak declaration according to provincial guidelines.

The centre is not required to close, the health unit noted.

“Only those identified as having had close contact with the case will be excluded from attending,” its statement read. “In collaboration with the Schoolhouse Playcare Centre (Ecole Elsie MacGill) TBDHU will continue to monitor and assess the situation until the full risk period has passed.”

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Former Canora resident enjoying excitement of mission to Mars – Canora Courier

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As a youngster growing up on a farm near Canora, Tim Haltigin, son of Linda Osachoff, had plenty of opportunities to look up in amazement at the seemingly endless prairie sky.

Haltigin later pursued his interest in science and is now the Senior Mission Scientist in Planetary Exploration at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Saint Hubert, Quebec, near Montreal.

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He said he has been working on planning the Mars 2020 mission since 2014, leading the team in charge of designing the science program to bring back samples from Mars. The first step was the February 18 landing of the rover Perseverance.

“Lots of things went through my mind when the landing was successful,” said Haltigin, “including excitement, elation, relief, along with the realization that we have a lot of work ahead of us, and that work has just started.”

The Perseverance was launched in July 2020, and flew almost 500 million km (over 300 million miles) to reach Mars. Haltigin said the successful landing was a huge relief because so many different things could have gone wrong during the entry, the descent and the actual landing.

“Probably the riskiest aspect was slowing it down from 20,000 km/h to two km/h in seven minutes,” marveled Haltigin. “The craft entered the Martian atmosphere, slowed down, then the parachute slowed it down even more. It hovered about 20 m above Mars, lowered the rover on a tether and settled it on its wheels.”

The landing on Mars is only the first step in an interplanetary relay to identify and bring samples back to Earth for further, more detailed analysis. They have many different instruments to analyze the rocks on earth, instead of just the basic tools available with the mission on Mars.

“The samples will be collected by another spacecraft and returned to earth,” explained Haltigin. “I like to refer to this type of a mission as a gift that keeps on giving. For instance, scientists are still making discoveries from samples taken from the moon during Apollo missions that took place about 50 years ago.

“This mission has the potential to extend our science team to every scientist on earth for years to come. As time goes on, they’re basically learning what questions to ask.”

Following this mission, a smaller “fetch rover” rocket will launch the samples from Mars, but it’s not powerful enough to get them home to Earth. A following mission will be responsible for catching the sample rocket and bringing it back home for further analysis. If all goes according to plan, Haltigin expects the samples gathered by Perseverance to be back on Earth sometime in 2031.

“It’s exciting to think about this mission and what it means for the future,” detailed Haltigin. “We are potentially going to be answering some of the most fundamental questions in science regarding the origins of life. About four billion years ago there was a standing lake in the crater around the Perseverance landing site, over time it eventually turned to rock. Life leaves different kinds of clues in rocks. By bringing back and analyzing those rocks we could potentially find signs of life on another planet.”

“These samples could be paving the careers for generations of future scientists over the long term, including Canadians. By making samples available around the world, people that haven’t been born yet could be making major discoveries.”

A high priority has been place on planetary exploration in recent years, and now scientists have the equipment available to do it. As an added bonus, Haltigin said the planets have lined up perfectly for exploration.

Haltigin has fond memories of growing up on the family farm outside Canora, and recognizes that it definitely had an effect on his future career choice.

“Absolutely. I would go outside at night and look up at the blanket of stars and wonder how we could explore it. And now, all these years later, we’re actually exploring one of those dots. It’s incredible.”

Haltigin continues to enjoy his chosen career. He encourages any Canora and area students who read his story and are interested in the Mars mission, and space exploration in general, to explore those interests further.

“Never stop asking questions. In science it’s not about always being right, it’s about always asking questions. If I can do this, you can too.”

 

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