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Sudbury moving into yellow zone of Ontario's COVID-19 response – Toronto Star

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Public Health Sudbury & Districts will move into the yellow zone of the Ontario government’s new COVID-19 response framework on Monday.

The news came hot on the heels of the Sudbury health unit’s Friday announcement of eight new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of active cases in Public Health’s service area to 66.

Moving into the Yellow-Protect zone will mean changes for local businesses and organizations, additional enforcement enforcements and fines, and enhanced education in high-risk settings.

Bars, restaurants, and other food and drink establishments will have to limit operating hours, and sports and recreational facilities will begin operating at reduced capacity.

All changes will take effect on Monday at 12:01 a.m.

“Our number one priority right now is getting the numbers down and keeping people safe,“ Premier Doug Ford said in a release. ”That’s why, on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we’re updating the framework with new thresholds so we can slow the spread of this virus.

“These adjustments are necessary to respond to the latest evidence we’re seeing, and we are prepared to make further adjustments as the health experts continue to review the current public health restrictions. We must do whatever it takes to stop our hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect our most vulnerable.”

The Ontario government announced it would lower the thresholds for each level on the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the province on Friday.

The latest modelling shows that if the number of new cases continues to grow at its current rate, the province could register up to 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December.

Within the next two weeks, the province will likely exceed its intensive care threshold of 150 beds, under any potential scenario, experts warn.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts will join Huron Perth Public Health, the Middlesex-London Health Unit, Southwestern Public Health, and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in the Yellow-Protect zone.

Under the new guidelines, all food and drink establishments must close at midnight. Liquor can only be sold or served from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

A limit of six people seated together will come into effect and establishments must collect contact information for all seated patrons.

Sports and recreational fitness facilities will have the following capacity limits: 10 people indoors, 25 people outdoors, and 50 people indoors in an area with weights or exercise equipment.

Patrons must maintain a distance of three metres apart, and facilities must collect contact information for all patrons and attendance for team sports. Reservations will be required for entry.

“Our case counts are at al all-time high with 40 of our 204 total cases reported in the last week alone. We are averaging about 12 high-risk contacts for each case so far. These numbers combined with how stretches our public health and health care systems are mean that stronger protection measures are needed,” said Sudbury’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe.

“The Yellow-Protect restrictions must be accompanied by a recommitment of everyone to the basic public health prevention measures. How this surge in cases evolves and the measures and restrictions that will be necessary to control it are in our hands.

“Make no mistake, our everyday actions either allow the virus to spread or allow us to contain it. We can choose wisely and dig deep.”

Of Public Health’s newly reported cases, five of them are outbreak-related and three of them are under investigation. The individuals are self-isolating and following directions from Public Health.

The health unit has reported 204 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

There are currently eight patients admitted to Health Sciences North who have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting their results. There are currently no admitted patients who have tested positive for the virus.

As the number of positive cases of the virus continue to climb in the Sudbury region, more businesses are reporting confirmed cases in their employees.

The Real Canadian Superstore located at 1485 Lasalle Blvd. recently confirmed that “three team members tested positive on a presumptive test for COVID-19.”

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The grocery store’s parent company Loblaw Companies Limited posted on its website that the employees were tested on Nov. 7, and the last time they worked was on Nov. 2 and 3.

“For transparency, we regularly update the sections below with all positive COVID-19 cases in our stores, by province, in the last 15 days,” said Loblaw on their website.

“Given the important role we play in our communities, we are prepared for all possible situations, including a positive test for COVID-19 in our stores. In these cases, we work closely with Public Health and follow their guidance to ensure proper notification of close contacts and required cleaning and sanitization in our stores.”

Walmart in Sudbury is reporting eight cases at its two locations, according to reports.

The Rainbow District School Board also confirmed on Friday that a positive case of COVID-19 had been reported at Northeastern Elementary School in Garson.

Through contact tracing, Public Health will notify all close contacts of local cases directly. If you are not contacted by Public Health, you are not considered a close contact.

A close contact of a confirmed cases is someone who has been within six feet or two metres of an infected person for longer than 15 minutes.

As of October 3, the Province of Ontario paused social circles and is advising that all Ontarians allow close contact only with people living in their own household and maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else. Individuals who live alone may consider having close contact with another household.

Although it is still permissible for 10 people to gather indoors and 25 people to gather outdoors under Yellow-Protect zone restrictions, in-person gatherings of any size should be limited and should always include distance and masking when distancing is not possible.

Limiting our contacts and in-person interactions as much as possible is critical in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Unless people are from the same household, keep 2 metres or 6 feet apart and wear a face covering if distancing is not possible. Face coverings must be worn in all indoor public spaces and workplaces, and they must also be worn in other indoor spaces where distancing is not possible.

It’s also important to remember to stay home if you are ill. A mild illness could be COVID-19 and may be much more severe for someone else who might catch it.

For more information on the province’s new COVID-19 response framework visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open.

For more information on local cases visit www.phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705-522-9200.

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Alberta records 1,608 COVID-19 cases Sunday, 9 seniors die including 5 at Edmonton care centre – Global News

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Alberta announced another 1,608 cases of COVID-19 Sunday and reported nine deaths, all of whom were seniors.

There are now 15,692 active cases in the province, mainly in the two largest metro centres, with 7,230 or 46 per cent of active cases in Edmonton zone and 5,756 or 36 per cent of all active cases in Calgary zone.

Sunday’s nine reported deaths bring the provincial fatality total to 533.

Five of the nine seniors who died were at the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre.

The Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre was added to the provincial outbreak list on Oct. 20. The last public update the centre gave was on Saturday, when it said 32 residents were positive with COVID-19. There are also 36 staff members at the centre with active COVID-19 cases.

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Those connected to the centre who died were two women — one in her 80s who died on Nov. 25 and another in her 90s who died on Nov. 27 — as well as three men, one in his 70s who died on Nov. 26, one in his 80s who passed away Nov. 25, and one in his 90s who died Nov. 27. All five had comorbidities — underlying health conditions that may have contributed to their death — according to Alberta Health.

There were four other deaths reported in the province: a man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Clifton Manor in Calgary zone on Nov, 29, with unknown comorbidities. A man in his 90s in South zone, believed to have comorbidities but not connected to any care centres, died on Nov. 28. A man in his 80s with no known comorbidities and linked to the Laurel Heights Retirement Residence outbreak in Edmonton zone died on Nov. 28.

A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Westlock Continuing Care Centre in North zone passed away Nov. 27. It is not known if he had any comorbidities.

Read more:
Coronavirus cases are soaring but Trudeau’s approval ratings hold steady: Ipsos

There are now 435 Albertans in hospital, 95 of whom are in intensive care.

The province said it tested 23,282 Albertans for COVID-19 on Saturday.

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Jason Kenney said in an interview on The Roy Green show Sunday that he continues to hope Albertans recognize the seriousness of the situation and follow new restrictions.

“We are concerned about the recent spike in COVID-19 in Alberta,” Kenney said.

“And that’s why we felt — in order to avoid a situation where we have to engage in widespread cancellation of surgeries and non-urgent hospital care, in order to ensure we have capacity with our health-care front line personnel — we’ve had to bring in more stringent measures. Strong, but we think balanced.”


Click to play video 'Alberta announces new restrictions, but those on the front line say it doesn’t go far enough'



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Alberta announces new restrictions, but those on the front line say it doesn’t go far enough


Alberta announces new restrictions, but those on the front line say it doesn’t go far enough

Read more:
Alberta enacts 2nd COVID-19 state of public health emergency. Here’s what it means

He added the “main thing” for Albertans to be careful with is in-person socializing.

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“When you’re at home, people let down their guard, people aren’t wearing a mask in their living room, they’re not frequently sanitizing, they’re not sitting two metres apart,” Kenney said.

“It’s family gatherings, hugging… those at-home social activities are the highest vector of transmission.”

Kenney also stressed this weekend that when the province starts to receive COVID-19 vaccinations there will be no rule that makes them mandatory in Alberta. 

The province is currently expected to receive about 680,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year. Kenney said Sunday officials are already working on the roll-out plan.

“We would be starting with the most vulnerable such as seniors in nursing homes as well as health-care workers,” Kenney said.

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Many students in province shifting to online learning Monday

Alberta students in Grades 7-12 will shift to online leaning on Monday as part of the province’s attempt to limit the spread of the virus among older students.

Parents preparing for the change have mixed reactions to having their kids learn online for the second time this year.

Ibrahim Cobanoglu was out shopping for laptops for his two sons so that they have more reliable technology now compared to their first round of distance learning.

“If they like to study it, it’ll be okay for them,” said Cobanoglu. “If they don’t like to study, [online learning] is a problem but I think it’s okay for them because of COVID-19.”

On the other hand, parents like Karen Beckford are upset at the change, and believe the messaging from the province is unclear.

Read more:
‘I was immediately saddened and surprised’: Alberta mom voices concerns over return to online learning

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“I think it’s hard for the kids. I don’t understand why I can go to a shopping mall with thousands of people, but my son can’t go to school with 300 kids in his high school.”


Click to play video 'Edmonton high school students concerned about going back to online learning'



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Edmonton high school students concerned about going back to online learning


Edmonton high school students concerned about going back to online learning

Christopher Usih, the chief superintendent for the Calgary Board of Education said teachers have been already doing both online and in-person learning due to the number of students having to isolate.

“Our staff and our teachers have been certainly maintaining that [online] presence,” Usih said. “For us, it’s a pivot and this time around is less challenging as it was when we did this in the spring.”

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6, and early childhood learning, will begin online learning on Dec. 18 until their winter break begins.

Diploma exams were also made optional for the rest of the school year, meaning students can choose to write them, or be exempt from the April, June and August 2021 examinations.

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–With files from Michael King, Global News

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Ottawa extends rules and restrictions for travellers amid rising COVID-19 case counts – Toronto Star

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A slew of travel restrictions and rules meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 will be extended into January, the federal government said Sunday, as case counts continued to rise steadily across the country.

In a statement, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the measures would be in effect until Jan. 21, 2021 for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States.

The rules were first imposed near the start of the global outbreak.

“We have introduced a number of policies to keep Canadians safe but must remain flexible and adapt to the evolving COVID-19 situation,” Blair said in a statement.

The ministers said restrictions for visitors crossing the border from the U.S. are currently in place until Dec. 21, but may be extended.

Among the new rules is a requirement for anyone entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days.

But the ministers also said they’re looking to make it possible for “high-performance, amateur sporting organizations” to hold major international events on Canadian soil.

They said the successful applicants would need to present a public health plan as well as show they’ve secured the support of provincial and territorial governments and health authorities.

The Department of Canadian Heritage will issue authorizations in consultation with the Health Agency of Canada, the ministers said.

The announcement comes as COVID-19 case counts continued to mount, though at levels slightly below the record-setting daily tallies seen in several regions in recent weeks.

Public health officials in Quebec reported 1,395 new cases on Sunday, while Ontario recorded 1,708 new infections — pushing the provincial totals since the pandemic began to 141,038 and 114,746, respectively.

Cases also have gone up steadily in Atlantic Canada, with New Brunswick reporting 14 new diagnoses on Sunday and Newfoundland and Labrador recording four additional infections.

Public health officials in Nova Scotia logged 10 new cases, all in the province’s central zone, which includes Halifax.

Manitoba reported 365 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and 11 new deaths — almost all of which were linked to outbreaks in care homes.

Health officials said nine of the 11 deaths were people in their 80s and 90s, one was a man in his 60s and one was a man in his 70s.

The case count in Nunavut also rose by 13, while Saskatchewan reported 351 new infections.

Alberta reported its second highest number of new COVID-19 cases, logging 1,608, with nine more deaths.

Canada’s top public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the highest rate of infection is among people aged 80 and over, while more outbreaks are happening in long-term care homes.

“Cases are increasing among older adults,” Tam said in a statement.

Both Quebec and Manitoba reported new, significant outbreaks at such facilities.

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A Montreal public health agency on Sunday transferred 20 residents of a long-term care home to two local hospitals after a COVID-19 outbreak drew widespread concern this week.

Officials said 30 residents had tested positive for COVID-19 at Maimonides Geriatric Centre. Ten residents there have died during the pandemic’s second wave, according to the latest Quebec Health Department data.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.

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Canada public health officials urge reduced contacts as COVID cases continue to rise – Kamloops This Week

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The federal government says it’s extending a slew of travel restrictions and rules meant to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic into the new year as case counts continue their steady rise across the country.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu say the rules, first imposed near the beginning of the global outbreak, will now be in effect until Jan. 21, 2021 for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States.

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The ministers say restrictions for visitors crossing the border from the U.S. are currently in place until Dec. 21, but may be extended.

Among the rules is a requirement for anyone entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry into Canada.

But the ministers also say they’re looking to make it possible for “high-performance, amateur sporting organizations” to hold major international events on Canadian soil.

They say the successful applicants would need to present a public health plan as well as show they’ve secured the support of provincial and territorial governments and health authorities.

The announcement comes as COVID-19 case counts continued to mount, though at levels slightly below the record-setting daily tallies seen in several regions in recent weeks.

Public health officials in Quebec are reporting 1,395 new cases in the past 24 hours, while Ontario is reporting 1,708 new infections.

The provincial totals since the pandemic began now stand at 141,038 and 114,746, respectively.

Cases are also rising steadily in Atlantic Canada, with New Brunswick reporting 14 new diagnoses on Sunday and Newfoundland and Labrador recording four additional infections.

Public health officials in Nova Scotia logged 10 new cases, all in the province’s central zone, which includes Halifax.

Authorities in Manitoba reported 365 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and 11 new deaths — almost all of which were linked to outbreaks in care homes.

The case count in Nunavut also rose by 13.

Canada’s top public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the highest rate of infection is among people aged 80 and over, while more outbreaks are happening in long-term care homes.

Both Quebec and Manitoba are reporting new, significant outbreaks at such facilities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.

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