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The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for Nov. 19 – CBC.ca

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A sign expressing thanks in several languages is displayed outside Trillium Hospital’s emergency department in Mississauga, Ont., on Thursday. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Manitoba bans visitors to homes, in-store sales of non-essential items

Manitoba, dealing with the highest per capita daily COVID-19 case numbers among Canadian provinces, is enacting new orders effective Friday to limit the spread of the virus.

The public health orders will forbid people from having anyone inside their home who doesn’t live there, with limited exceptions, and prohibit businesses from selling non-essential items in stores. In addition, large retailers are to restrict capacity at a given time to 25 per cent of their normal limit or a maximum of 250 people, whichever is lower.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said previous, less strict measures clearly hadn’t proven effective, and he pleaded with Manitobans to stay home in the near future and only go out for essential items.

There were 475 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths in the province on Thursday, with a significant five-day test positivity rate at 14 per cent.

A record 263 patients are in hospital, up 14 from the previous day, and 43 people are in intensive care as a result of COVID-19, also a new high.

Click below to watch more from The National

An infectious disease expert and epidemiologist answer questions about navigating the holiday season during the COVID-19 pandemic, including what lessons may have been learned from Thanksgiving. 5:51

IN BRIEF

Ontario reaching ICU threshold, which could leave surgical patients waiting again

There are now 150 patients in Ontario intensive care units being treated for COVID-19, according to a report Thursday morning to critical care stakeholders, which means the province has hit a key threshold that makes it harder for hospitals to support other patients and procedures.    

The metric comes from a Critical Care Services Ontario report, obtained by CBC News, which is based on an end-of-day Wednesday tally of adults in ICUs with COVID-19-related critical illness.   

Provincial modelling, released in September by the Ministry of Health, noted that with fewer than 150 COVID-19 patients in ICUs, Ontario would be able to maintain non-COVID capacity and all scheduled surgeries. 

Dr. Brooks Fallis, medical director and critical care physician at a hospital in Peel region, warns the prospect of more surgery cancellations is a real concern with COVID-19 cases spiking.  

“Inevitably, resources have to be diverted to COVID,” Fallis tells CBC’s Lauren Pelley. “And that will inevitably mean that other things can’t get done, such as elective surgeries.” 

Toronto resident Rochelle Roberts finally had surgery to remove non-cancerous tumours on Wednesday after a delay of months for a procedure date, but other patients may have to wait.

Read more about what’s happening in the province

Sask. doctors question decision to leave bars, nightclubs open

Doctors in Saskatchewan say the provincial government’s refusal to temporarily close bars and other high-risk venues will cause COVID-19 to spread unnecessarily. 

“If we can only have a few people at home, and there’s a good reason for that, I’m not sure why we would gather in much larger groups in other settings, especially without masks,” Saskatoon trauma specialist Dr. Brent Thomas said in an interview with CBC News this week. 

Currently, there is a 10 p.m. curfew for restaurant and bar alcohol sales. But patrons of bars, nightclubs and restaurants don’t have to wear a mask when seated. 

Last week, more than 400 doctors signed a letter saying the COVID-19 restrictions announced by the province to that point needed to be stricter. The doctors called for a 28-day closure of bars, bingo halls, gyms and places of worship. 

There was mixed news Thursday in the daily provincial report: There were 34 more virus recoveries than new cases, but seven additional COVID-19 hospitalizations pushed the current total to 83.

Read more about the situation

Nunavut outbreak highlights longstanding health inequities in Canada’s North

Nunavut has entered a two-week lockdown in an effort to get a handle on its first serious outbreak — which stands at 74 cases on Thursday — and to avoid overwhelming Nunavut’s small, isolated health-care centres.

None of the Nunavut communities with COVID-19 infections has a hospital. The only hospital in the territory, in Iqaluit, is more than 1,000 kilometres east of Arviat — the community with the most infections — and doesn’t have an intensive care unit.

“The thing that everyone is worried about is the fact that medical infrastructure to care for people who are severely ill is really quite limited in some places,” says Barry Pakes, a University of Toronto professor who was previously Nunavut’s medical health officer.

Hospitalizations have yet to occur, but sending seriously ill patients to Manitoba in the south may not be an option as that province is also dealing with limited capacity.

So far, Nunavut has not asked for help from the federal government. But Nunavut Health Minister Lorne Kusugak says the territory is in constant communication with Ottawa, and the federal government is able to send the military as a last resort.

Read more about what’s happening in Nunavut

(CBC News)

Stay informed with the latest COVID-19 data.

THE SCIENCE

AstraZeneca vaccine shows promise in elderly patients

AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s potential COVID-19 vaccine produced a strong immune response in older adults, data published on Thursday in the Lancet medical journal showed, with researchers expecting to release late-stage trial results by Christmas. 

The data thus far suggests that those aged over 70, who are at higher risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19, could build robust immunity. Late-stage, or Phase 3, trials are ongoing to confirm the findings, researchers say.

The first two sets of interim data from vaccine trials from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have previously been released, with promising results so far but several issues still unknown. 

Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots, both of which use new technology known as messenger RNA (mRNA), AstraZeneca’s is a viral vector vaccine made from a weakened version of a common cold virus found in chimpanzees. 

Canada has struck deals to access the vaccines of Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zeneca, among others, should they gain regulatory approval.

AND FINALLY…

Fisher River Cree Nation students get free laptops and internet access for online learning

Grade 12 student Koby Wilson is one of 230 students in Fisher River Cree Nation who received a laptop and MiFi box for online schooling. (Submitted to CBC)

Manitoba high schooler Koby Wilson says school has been stressful at times this fall, a sentiment no doubt shared by students across the country amid the pandemic.

But now Wilson is one of 470 students who attend the two schools in Fisher River Cree Nation to receive a laptop to keep and a connection device from the local school authority, which made the change after a positive coronavirus test and inefficiencies with sending out and receiving bulky homework packages.

“It’s a great thing … because not every family actually has the money to afford a laptop,” the Grade 12 student says.

According to Kelly Selkirk, the Fisher River post-secondary co-ordinator, the online education that students are receiving is “leaps and bounds above the pen and paper homework that they were getting.”

While the Grades 5-12 students in Fisher River have received laptops, those up to Grade 4 will soon be receiving their own iPad to connect with their teachers and fellow students.

Read more about the initiative here

Find out more about COVID-19

Still looking for more information on the pandemic? Read more about COVID-19’s impact on life in Canada, or reach out to us at covid@cbc.ca if you have any questions.

If you have symptoms of the illness caused by the coronavirus, here’s what to do in your part of the country.

For full coverage of how your province or territory is responding to COVID-19, visit your local CBC News site.

To get this newsletter daily as an email, subscribe here

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3 Nova Scotians appointed to the Order of Canada – CBC.ca

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Three Nova Scotians have been appointed to the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours.

They are among the 114 appointees announced Friday.

The list includes eight companions, 21 officers, one honorary member and 84 members. The full list can be found here.

“Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation,” said a statement on the office of the Governor General’s website.

Appointments are made by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. More than 7,000 Canadians have received the honour since its inception.

Jeff Dahn of Halifax, who has led groundbreaking research on lithium-ion batteries, was appointed as an officer.

Dahn is considered a pioneer of lithium-ion battery research. (Jill English/CBC)

In 2017, he won the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering for his work in making batteries increasingly efficient. He also won a Governor General’s Award for Innovation in 2016.

Dahn works out of a lab at Dalhousie University. He also began a five-year research partnership with Tesla In 2016.

In the statement, the Governor General’s office also commended him for “his mentorship and adroit bridging of academia and industry.”

Dahn could not be reached for comment Sunday.

‘It’s humbling’

Meanwhile, Dr. Ken Wilson and John Eyking were appointed as members.

Wilson, a plastic surgeon in the Halifax area, was appointed “for his nationally recognized expertise in reconstructive and plastic surgery, and for his volunteer work on international medical missions.”

“It’s humbling, but a very nice addition to a great career,” Wilson said of the honour.

In the mid-80s, Wilson became the first person east of Montreal to dedicate himself to doing plastic surgery for children.

“It was a very satisfying thing for me to be able to look after a lot of the children who have either had to travel, or that hadn’t had, sometimes, the attention they would’ve had otherwise,” he said.

Wilson has spent more than 30 years doing plastic and reconstructive surgery for children. (Submitted by Ken Wilson)

In the mid-90s, Wilson began working with Operation Smile, an organization that provides surgeries and dental care to children with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. He travelled a couple times a year to do surgery in underdeveloped countries, and he estimates he went on about 46 missions.

In the late 1990s, Wilson became the chief of surgery at the IWK children’s hospital in Halifax, a position he held for more than a decade.

He stopped practising five years ago, but Wilson now works as a medical consultant for Doctors Nova Scotia and is chair of the board for Operation Smile Canada.

“It was a wonderful career,” said Wilson. “I gotta say, I’ve been very lucky over the years to have the opportunity to do what I did.”

While there is no ceremony this year due to COVID-19, Wilson was mailed his snowflake insignia, as well as a “lovely book” detailing the history of the Order of Canada and the many recipients over the years.

‘All in a day’s work’

Eyking, a farmer and entrepreneur who founded Eyking Farms, was recognized for his “personal and professional dedication to the Cape Breton community, particularly within the agriculture industry.”

Eyking, of Millville, N.S., immigrated to Canada in 1963 from the Netherlands. He started a farm, which later grew into a family operation run by him, his wife and their 10 children.

He is also an inductee of the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Reached by phone Sunday, Eyking, 89, was modest about his appointment. He credited his farm’s accomplishments to the work of his large family.

“For me, it was all in a day’s work and I enjoyed it,” he said.

He, too, received a parcel from the Order of Canada, and said he enjoyed the book.

“There’s quite a few Cape Bretoners in there,” he said.

The recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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