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'We were dreading it': Ottawa businesses brace for month-long shutdown – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
An Ottawa small business advocate calls the pending month-long Ontario shutdown “crushing” news, adding there may be more pushback to the new rules from businesses.

Sources tell CTV News that the province will implement an “emergency brake” starting on April 3. As part of the shutdown, some non-essential businesses will be forced to close, including in-person dining at bars and restaurants, personal care services and gyms.

“We were dreading it. I think we were expecting it,” Michael Wood, owner of Special Events Ottawa, told CTV Morning Live on Thursday.

“Last night, I didn’t sleep very much. The social media reaction from small business owners was upsetting. There’s a lot of people, this is potentially their last go,” said Wood.

“I got a message this morning asking if I knew a lawyer for liquidation and closing their business. I think this is going to affect a lot more people this time than it has in the past.”

Essential stores will be allowed to open at 50 per cent capacity, while non-essential retail, including shopping malls, can operate at 25 per cent capacity.

On Wednesday, medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said she recommended to Ontario chief’s medical officer of health that Ottawa move into the Grey-Lockdown level.

“We are at a point that we have never seen before in this pandemic,” Etches said. “We are seeing what we feared. The vaccine hasn’t arrived in time to outpace the growth in our community.”

CTV Morning Live host Leslie Roberts asked Wood if Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services needs to worry about compliance to the shutdown rules.

“100 per cent, you are correct. So there is way more pushback this time than I’ve seen ever before and I think that compliance could be something that our Bylaw is going to have to deal with,” said Wood. “I think that the idea of mounting more protests across, not only Ottawa, but Ontario we’re going to see it.”

The shutdown in Ottawa comes as Ottawa sees seven consecutive days of triple-digit COVID-19 case numbers. On Wednesday, the positivity rate was 5.9 per cent for the pervious seven days.

Wood says he spoke to Ottawa Public Health several times this week, and was asked for possible recommendations to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“I think the one thing that people are struggling with is the restaurants and small business have taken these precautions, and when we start closing those places people are going to inherently go home and people are going to go with them,” said Wood.

“We’re taking people out of a controlled environment into a non-controlled environment. So I think one of the big issues right now is how do we control this because the numbers are going up.”

This is a developing story. CTV News Ottawa will have the latest as it becomes available.

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Exclusive-Canada’s Ontario to expand use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine as epidemic rages

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By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian province of Ontario will begin offering AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday to people turning 40 or older this year, according to a government source.

The change will broaden access to vaccines as a third wave of infections threatens to overwhelm hospitals in Canada‘s most-populous province, and should make it easier to use doses that in some cases have been accumulating at pharmacies.

The change will be announced on Monday and go into effect across the province on Tuesday, according to the source. The vaccine has already been distributed to pharmacies but currently can only be given to people turning 55 or older this year.

Ontario announced new public health measures on Friday, promising checkpoints at provincial borders, new police powers and closing outdoor amenities, while leaving many workplaces open. The measures were widely criticized by doctors and public health experts, and the province quickly reopened playgrounds and modified the new police powers.

On March 29, Health Canada said it would review reports of serious blood clots and bleeding in a small number of people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries, and an independent panel called the National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI) recommended that it only be given to people 55 and older. All provinces followed that advice.

But NACI’s recommendations are not binding. Last week, Health Canada, the country’s drug regulator, said it had reviewed all available evidence and would not restrict the use of the vaccine, because its benefits outweigh its potential risks. Health Canada said at the time that NACI was reviewing its recommendations.

On Sunday, NACI’s chair told Reuters that the panel would make a new recommendation on Tuesday.

Health Canada said regulators in the UK had estimated the risk of clots to be very small, roughly four in a million people who receive the vaccine. It also said the complication was treatable. Two people have developed it in Canada, and both are recovering.

Several other countries have limited the use of the vaccine to older people. Denmark has withdrawn the shot, and Norway said on Thursday it would take more time to decide whether to resume use.

Ontario reported 4,250 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The Ontario Hospital Association said 59 patients were admitted to intensive care on Saturday, bringing the number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs to 737.

Health Canada says those who receive the vaccine should seek medical attention immediately if they experience shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent belly pain, neurological symptoms like severe headaches or blurred vision, or skin bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection.

 

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Diane Craft and Peter Cooney)

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Trudeau mobilizes federal workers to battle COVID-19 in Toronto and rest of Ontario

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday he would send federal healthcare workers to help Toronto and the province of Ontario battle a third wave of COVID-19 infections that has forced shutdowns of schools and businesses.

“We are mobilizing federal healthcare workers from across government departments to deploy on the front lines in Ontario and specifically the Greater Toronto area where the situation is most critical,” Trudeau said in a video posted on Twitter.

Other provinces, especially on the Atlantic coast, are working “to determine what human resources and equipment they could free up over the coming days,” Trudeau said, adding that the federal government would cover the costs of that help.

The government will also seek to boost rapid testing, especially for essential workers, Trudeau said.

The government of Ontario, Canada‘s most-populous province and industrial powerhouse, has moved schools online and announced more stringent public health measures on Friday, including shutting the provincial borders to non-essential travel.

On Saturday, federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair deployed two mobile health units to set up more hospital beds in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, and the prime minister said he stood ready to send the Red Cross to staff mobile vaccination clinics in Ontario if help is requested.

Canada‘s seven-day average of new infections was 8,669, the chief medical officer said on Sunday, a 26% increase compared with the previous seven days. Ontario reported 4,250 new cases on Sunday.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

More than 48 million doses are to be delivered by the end of June, which is enough for all of Canada‘s population of some 38 million to receive at least one shot, with a total of 100 million doses expected by the end of September.

 

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Canada has second case of rare blood clots after AstraZeneca vaccin

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(Reuters) – Canada on Saturday reported a second case of rare blood clots with low platelets after immunization with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in a week, while it said it still recommended the use of the shot.

The person who experienced the very rare event has been treated and is recovering, Canada‘s health ministry said in a statement, adding that the person lives in the province of Alberta.

Based on the evidence available, Canada still maintains that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the potential risks, the statement said.

Canada health authorities “will continue to monitor the use of all COVID-19 vaccines closely and examine and assess any new safety concerns,” the statement said.

Canada reported a first blood clotting associated with the vaccine on Tuesday, and a day later, after a review, health authorities said they would not restrict use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

A separate advisory council had earlier recommended Canada stop offering the vaccine to people under 55. That panel is in the process of reviewing its advice.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign, but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

Amid a spiking third wave of infections, Ontario, Canada‘s most populous province, announced new public health restrictions on Friday, including closing the provinces borders to domestic travelers.

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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