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5 things to know about Sask.’s Phase 1 vaccine plan — including who decides where early doses go

It’s been just over a month since the Saskatchewan government delivered its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, starting with health-care workers in Regina. Over 27,000 first and second doses have since been administered to people in priority groups in 10 of the regions monitored by health officials, under the first phase of the province’s vaccine rollout plan. However, no vaccinations had been done as of Wednesday in the south central region — which includes Moose Jaw, the fourth-largest city in the province — the central west, or the southwest, to the puzzlement of some. How is the Saskatchewan government making decisions on Phase 1 of the vaccine rollout — and exactly who is making those decisions? Here’s what we know. The daily COVID updates provide some idea of the delivery schedule Bookmark this page, which is home to the COVID-19 updates provided each day by provincial health officials. The updates are typically released at around 1:30 p.m. CST. Recently, at the top of each release, the day’s new cases have taken a back seat to updates about the vaccination rollout, including where doses will be sent. On Tuesday, for example, officials revealed that the week’s shipment of 2,925 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses would be divided between the Regina, Fort Qu’Appelle and North Battleford areas, and would be used to continue vaccinating priority populations — health-care workers, people living in northern or remote parts of Saskatchewan, seniors, and long-term care home residents. No specific locations within those communities were disclosed, however. “We have a great deal of confusion when it comes to who is on the list, who’s in Phase 1,” said Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili. The complete tally of doses administered in the 13 regions is updated daily on this page. Here’s how things looked as of Wednesday: Transmission rates, active case loads and outbreaks are key factors The limited availability of vaccines and the logistics of handling the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — which needs to be refrigerated at extremely low temperatures — play a role in determining where the vaccines will go, said Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority. But so do transmission rates in an area, he added. “One of the other big factors in the distribution is the attack rates, or the current caseload in those areas of the province which also have a high likelihood for us to be successful in … dealing with the most vulnerable,” Livingstone said. The Ministry of Health added that locations are prioritized based on “a combination of risk criteria,” including an area’s outbreak rate. Moose Jaw is located in what the province calls the South Central 2 subzone. As of Wednesday, the subzone, with a population of 43,862, had only 22 active COVID-19 cases. By comparison, the neighbouring Regina and area subzone, with a population of 273,287, reported 575 active cases. Moose Jaw had only three active outbreaks. Regina had dozens. CBC News has asked the ministry what other risk criteria determine where Phase 1 vaccines will go. 4 regional command centres choose where to send vaccines The decisions of two key groups determine where vaccines will go, according to the ministry. “While priority sequencing is determined by the COVID-19 Immunization Planning Oversight Committee, specific locations and facilities are determined by local Integrated Health Incident Command Centres (IHICCs).” These groups are represented on the oversight committee: Ministry of Health. Ministry of Government Relations. Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency. Indigenous Services Canada. Saskatchewan Health Authority. The committee oversees a number of subcommittees, including the COVID-19 Immunization Planning Indigenous Advisory Committee, the COVID-19 Immunization Planning Municipal Advisory Committee and the COVID-19 Immunization Planning Clinical Experts Advisory Committee. These committees “help inform the development of the COVID-19 immunization program in the province,” according to the ministry. CBC News has requested a list of the organizations represented on each committee. The regional command centres that decide on specific vaccine shipment locations date back to the early days of the pandemic. There are four of them: Saskatoon, Regina, rural and north, run according to “a military command and control-based reporting structure,” according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority. The integrated command centres “must operationalize the sequencing framework created by the oversite committee and determine their clinics,” according to the ministry. “Vaccine chiefs” and “vaccine physician co-leads” work with the command centres to review delivery locations, the ministry says. CBC News has asked who is in charge of each command centre and where the vaccine chiefs rank in the pecking order. Vaccines are going to care homes with outbreaks. Some COVID-positive residents are among those getting doses Two facilities run by private home care operator Extendicare have had residents and staff receive COVID-19 vaccines: the Parkside home in Regina, which was the site of the worst long-term care outbreak in the province, and the Preston home in Saskatoon. “Fifty-two of 53 eligible [Preston] residents” were vaccinated as of last Friday, even as other residents were infected, according to Extendicare. All residents vaccinated at Parkside and Preston were either COVID-free at the time or had never tested positive for the virus that causes the illness, according to Extendicare — which is in line with a policy espoused by the Ministry of Health. “You are noteligible to receive COVID vaccine at this time if you have been diagnosed with COVID in the last 90 days,” the ministry recently said in a public service announcement touting the availability of vaccines for seniors living independently. But at least one care home in the province has seen COVID-positive residents vaccinated in recent days. Lakeview Pioneer Lodge, a private care home in Wakaw, Sask., had 28 COVID-positive residents vaccinated on Jan. 15, said Michael Lummerding, the home’s administrator and CEO. The home has been dealing with an outbreak since Dec. 30. “All residents were given the option to be vaccinated as per the medical health officer,” Lummerding said. “Staff members were given the opportunity to be vaccinated to ensure all doses were utilized and none were wasted.” Seventeen staff were vaccinated, along with two workers declining, he added. The vaccination of COVID-19 positive residents at Lakeview occurred three days after a letter saying the Standing Committee on Immunization approved of vaccinating long-term care residents infected with COVID-19. The letter was sent by Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab to medical health officers, public health nurse managers and immunization providers. “Residents of long-term care facilities and personal care homes, and persons aged 80 years and older living in the community, should be immunized, irrespective of whether and when they had SARS-CoV-2 infection,” as long as they had recovered from the acute illness and there were no other factors to prevent it, the letter said. “[T]hey are extremely vulnerable and there is no clear evidence on the length of disease immunity among these populations,” the letter stated. Cory Neudorf, a professor of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan, said that may refer to people who are no longer infectious but may still test COVID-positive. He said the move makes sense. “It is still unclear how long immunity from natural infection lasts, and there is some evidence of people who have been infected twice, though still rare at this point,” Neudorf said. “In order to speed up delivery of the vaccine and ensure people are not missed later on, it makes sense to try to immunize everyone in a long-term care facility regardless of whether they have had prior infection.” The National Advisory Committee on Immunization — from which the province took its cues in choosing priority groups for Phase 1 — made a discretionary recommendation earlier this month stating that if vaccines are in short supply, initial does may be prioritized for those who have not been infected with COVID-19. “In the context of limited supply, to allow for the protection of a larger number of at-risk individuals, vaccination with a COVID-19 vaccine may be delayed for three months [for someone infected with COVID-19], as reinfections reported to date have been rare within the first three months following infection,” the committee wrote on Jan. 12. “However, if challenging from a feasibility perspective, jurisdictions may elect to disregard prior infection status and vaccinate everyone in a given target group.” Visitations won’t resume just because care home residents are getting vaccinated Visitors have been strictly banned at all long-term care homes in the province for months now, with exceptions allowed only for those visiting dying patients. On Tuesday, Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, was asked if those restrictions might be relaxed in homes where people are being vaccinated. Shahab said that while clinical vaccine trials have shown 95 per cent effectiveness, the vaccine may not be that effective for everybody, leaving some residents still susceptible to COVID-19. “Once we have the vast majority of the population vaccinated — especially adults with underlying risk factors, but also broadly all adults — I think then we can cautiously start looking at how we relax our public health measures over the summer,” he said.

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Canada's C-Suite flocks to emerging audio app Clubhouse, but long-term appeal unclear – Toronto Star

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TORONTO – When earnings season rolls around, Duncan Fulton spends days preparing for calls with media, analysts and investors, but hardly ever gets a chance to deliver his messages directly to the people who frequent his Tim Hortons coffee shops or Popeyes drive-thrus.

That changed in February when the chief operating officer of Restaurant Brands International joined chief executive Jose Cil on Clubhouse — an emerging audio platform that gives anyone with an iPhone and an app the ability to host and access discussions on every topic imaginable.

“It’s like reimagined talk radio with calls, but we are the producer,” said Fulton, who hosted an “open kitchen” talk the day after RBI released its latest quarterly earnings.

“Our guests don’t care about our adjusted EBITDA. They care about real stuff, about our food, our brands, and so we said, ‘Why don’t we use Clubhouse?’”

Fulton and Cil are the latest Canadian executives to turn to the app started by San Francisco serial entrepreneurs Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth last spring as a new way to host public conversations.

As COVID-19 spread throughout the globe and lockdowns kept millions of people at home, executives from top venture capital and tech firms began to jockey for access to the invite-only audio platform.

By the start of 2021, hundreds of business leaders and other Canadians had joined Clubhouse, which has offered increasing numbers of invites since late last year.

Members have been able to hear SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discuss whether he believes in aliens, Shopify executives Tobi Lutke and Harley Finkelstein wax poetic about entrepreneurship and Wattpad founder Allen Lau talk about his recent decision to sell the company.

“It’s really democratizing corporate Canada and corporate America in a way,” says Fulton, “because normally consumers wouldn’t get this access to senior business leaders.”

He pitched a Clubhouse talk to Cil after being introduced to the platform by Ottawa restaurateur Stephen Beckta, who got his invite from Finkelstein.

After dipping into music conversations, Fulton found he liked the exploratory nature of the platform and that moderators have control over who can speak and when.

“If you’re a business leader that wants the safety of not taking questions, you can still go on there, share your views, and there’s lots of people that are happy to not participate, not ask questions and just listen,” he said.

Richard Lachman, a digital media professor at Ryerson University, agreed the platform can be helpful for executives wanting to manage their image, but said users will quickly drop out of conversations if a speaker is boring them or recognize when someone is too scripted.

Though executives go through media training, he said a few “embarrassments” will likely arise on the app if people don’t know how to respond to “aggressive” questions or can’t kick someone out of a discussion fast enough.

While the app doesn’t overtly market itself as private, its invite-only nature has built a casual atmosphere, even as its userbase grows.

Clubhouse did not respond to a request for comment, but has a “rule” banning transcribing, recording or sharing personal information heard on the app. The company recently removed a bot it found sneaking into discussions to restream them to people without the app.

Still, a quick search on social media reveals dozens of recordings and quotes from the app available online.

Prominent venture capitalists faced criticism last year when audio leaked of them ridiculing New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz and complaining that so-called cancel culture — sometimes described as withdrawing support for someone caught misbehaving or using outmoded language and expressions — had gone too far.

There have also been privacy complaints from users who opted not to give the app access to their contact lists, but say it is detecting their sign-ups and alerting friends whose numbers they have stored.

Once on the app, some users reported they stumbled upon misogyny and racism in discussions, despite rules against abuse and bullying and a feature to report problematic users.

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“Some of the challenges (Clubhouse) is facing is that this content is very unmoderated and we are not in 2003 in (Facebook founder) Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room, pretending that anything we make we know where it’ll go and we’ll just let the market figure it out,” said Lachman.

“We know what might happen. Online spaces can be incredibly toxic, they can be harsh and we know that things can be taken out context very quickly and easily duplicated on other platforms.”

Despite the issues, Deepak Anand, chief executive of medical cannabis company Materia Ventures, joined the app. He hosts several pot discussions on it every week, but is careful in his approach.

He doesn’t share anything on Clubhouse he wouldn’t be comfortable with if it were leaked, but has seen several instances of people not realizing how public the app is.

“People generally like to share more than they normally would on the platform because it’s easy to get carried away and it almost seems like you’re having a conversation with friends,” he said.

Among the positives, Anand saysClubhouse has helped him discover new ways to network while stuck at home during the pandemic and increased his social media followers.

He’s unsure the app will continue to be his go-to because a competitor, Twitter Spaces, has caught his eye.

Tech Crunch reported that users who mined Twitter’s coding have found Spaces, which is still in pilot mode, experimenting with ways to embed tweets into discussions, offer transcription for users with disabilities and enhance blocking capabilities.

Facebook is said to be developing a similar platform, but hasn’t formally released any details.

The number of emerging audio apps and the flood of new Clubhouse users will make it even tougher for executives to stand out, Lachman predicted.

“This might have value right now, but in a year or two from now, that might get lost.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:QSR, TSX:SHOP)

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Astronaut Chris Hadfield draws from real-life space thrills in debut novel – Yahoo News Canada

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Schitt’s Creek, star Catherine O’Hara win Golden Globes

(NBC/The Associated Press, NBC/Reuters – image credit) Schitt’s Creek won the Golden Globe for best television comedy on Sunday, shortly after star Catherine O’Hara captured the award for best actress for her portrayal of Moira Rose. Dan Levy — who co-created the show with his father, Eugene Levy — accepted the award remotely and paid homage to the Canadian cast and crew. “The incredible work you all did over these past six seasons have taken us to places we never thought possible, and we are so grateful to all of you for it,” he said. “Thank you to the CBC and Pop TV for making the active choice to keep this show on the air and give it the time and space it needed to grow.” The show topped fellow nominees Ted Lasso, The Great, The Flight Attendant and Emily in Paris. “This acknowledgement is a lovely vote of confidence in the messages Schitt’s Creek has come to stand for: the idea that inclusion can bring about growth and love to a community,” Dan Levy said. “In the spirit of inclusion, I hope that this time next year, the ceremony reflects the true breadth and diversity of the film and television being made today because there is so much more to be celebrated.” Earlier, O’Hara thanked Eugene and Dan Levy for creating “an inspiring, funny, beautiful family love story in which they let me wear 100 wigs and speak like an alien.” “Thank you CBC for making this show in Canada,” she said. Eugene Levy, Dan Levy and Annie Murphy were each nominated for acting awards as well. Jason Sudeikis bested Eugene Levy for best actor in a television series for his role in Ted Lasso, John Boyega won the award for best supporting actor for his role in Small Axe over Dan Levy and Gillian Anderson’s turn on The Crown earned her best supporting actress over Murphy. Schitt’s Creek, which aired on CBC and Pop TV, ended its sixth and final season last April. The Ontario-shot show swept the comedy category at the Emmy Awards last fall. Nomadland wins 2 awards, Boseman honoured posthumously Nomadland won best drama film while its director, Chloé Zhao, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director at the Golden Globes. The film follows a woman, played by Frances McDormand, who leaves her small town to join a group of wanderers in the American West. Accepting the best picture award, Zhao paid tribute to all those who have been on difficult journeys, quoting a line from the film: “We don’t say goodbye, we say see you down the road.” Meanwhile, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm won best movie, musical or comedy, while star Sacha Baron Cohen won best actor for his portrayal of the fictional journalist from Kazakhstan. In a major surprise, the Globe for best actress in a drama film went to Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Day played the legendary jazz and blues singer in the biopic directed by Lee Daniels. A tearful and overwhelmed Day spoke through tears as she said she was “in the presence of giants,” naming her fellow nominees Viola Davis, Carey Mulligan, Vanessa Kirby and Frances McDormand. Six months after his death at age 43, Chadwick Boseman won the Golden Globe for best actor in a dramatic film for his final role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Boseman’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award for her late husband, saying “he would thank God, he would thank his parents, he would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices.” Through tears, Ledward added: “I don’t have his words, but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love.” In the Netflix film, Boseman plays an ambitious trumpeter named Levee who aims to launch himself with his own updated version of the songs of Ma Rainey, the powerhouse blues singer played by Viola Davis. Boseman, who starred in the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther,” died in August after privately battling colon cancer for four years. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. The Crown, as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Anderson, Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin. O’Connor and Corrin portrayed Prince Charles and Princess Diana, respectively. The Queen’s Gambit, another Netflix show, won best limited series or TV movie and star Anya Taylor-Joy won best actress in a limited series. Jodie Foster, meanwhile, won her first Golden Globe in nearly three decades. Foster won the Globe for best supporting actress in a film for her role in The Mauritanian. Jane Fonda accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award, praising the “community of storytellers” for their vital role in troubled times, and calling for greater diversity in Hollywood. The 83-year-old actor and activist, star of Barbarella, Klute, Coming Home, On Golden Pond and 9 to 5, received the Globes’ version of a lifetime achievement award, one of the few honorees to accept a Globe in person in Beverly Hills. The DeMille award honours “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” Previous winners include Walt Disney, Judy Garland, John Wayne, Sidney Poitier, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Fonda’s father Henry Fonda. The Fondas become the first parent and child to both receive the DeMille award. Norman Lear accepted the Carol Burnett Award on Sunday at the Golden Globes for his storied career in television, saying he “could not feel more blessed.” The 98-year-old still-working television legend, creator of All in the Family, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time, is the third winner of the award that honours “outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen.” Hosts on different coasts Earlier, co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler began the pandemic-era award show by delivering a split-screen opening from separate coasts. With Poehler at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Fey in New York’s Rainbow Room, the two did an initial gag where Fey reached out through the screen and stroked Poehler’s hair. Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler, opened the show from New York and Beverly Hills, Calif., respectively. When attendees would normally be streaming down the red carpet on Sunday evening, many stars were instead posing virtually. Regina King, resplendent in a dazzling dress, stood before her yawning dog. Carey Mulligan, nominated for Promising Young Woman, said from a London hotel room that she was wearing heels for the first time in more than a year. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama Minari (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. “Minari is about a family. It’s a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It’s a language of the heart. I’m trying to learn it myself and to pass it on,” said Chung. Other awards included Pixar’s Soul for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for I Care a Lot; and Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay for Trial of the Chicago 7. The film, a favourite to win best drama film at the Globes, was sold to Netflix by Paramount Pictures last summer due to the pandemic. “Netflix saved our lives,” said Sorkin. Issues in lead-up to show On a night when the organization that gives out the Golden Globes is facing condemnation for having no Black voting members, the night’s first award went to a Black actor, with Daniel Kaluuya winning best supporting actor in a film for his work in Judas and the Black Messiah. Kaluuya’s acceptance speech could not be heard from his location at first, and he jokingly shouted, “You did me dirty!” once the audio was restored. Kaluuya didn’t mention the issue directly in his acceptance, though he praised the man he played to win the award, Blank Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was was killed in an FBI raid in 1969. The Globes, normally a loose-and-boozy party that serves as the kickoff for Hollywood’s awards season, has been beset with problems beyond the coronavirus leading up to this year’s ceremony. They include a revelation in the Los Angeles Times that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the awards, has no Black voting members in the group. LISTEN | Why the Golden Globes’ shady reputation persists: Fey took a shot at the organization in the show opening, explaining to the two small live audiences made up of first responders and essential workers that “the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 no Black journalists.” This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Judas and the Black Messiah and Da 5 Bloods — were nominated for the Globes’ best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday’s Globes were part apology tour. Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association also appeared on stage to pledge change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.”

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Instagram Expands Live Video to Meet Covid Demand for Content – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Instagram is expanding its real-time broadcast service to allow creators greater freedom to collaborate on videos.

Facebook Inc., Instagram’s parent, debuted a new feature on Monday called Live Rooms, which will allow as many as four people to broadcast simultaneously. Previously, Instagram users could only stream with one other person, according to the company. The photo-sharing app first tested the new tool in India and Indonesia last fall.

Instagram is hoping creators will take advantage of the new feature to stream podcasts, talk shows, concerts and other content at a time when the pandemic is sending more users to the platform for at-home entertainment.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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