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‘We’re going to run out of time’: Health experts sound alarm as Canada’s coronavirus cases rise – Globalnews.ca

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On Tuesday, Ontario recorded 203 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily total in three weeks.

Quebec reported 180 cases, the most since mid-June.

On Monday, B.C.’s medical officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, warned that the province was teetering on the brink of an “explosive growth” in cases after she reported more than 100 cases over the weekend.

Read more:
Ontario reports 203 new coronavirus cases, highest single-day increase in 3 weeks

While Ontario’s numbers on Wednesday were a bit lower, overall, the number of Canadian cases reported each day has begun to tick upward — which is the opposite of what health officials want.

“We were averaging about 300 cases a day,” said Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer of Canada, at a briefing Tuesday. “More recently, that’s increased to 350. And now we’re in the neighbourhood of 450, 460 cases per day over the last four days or so.

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“That is of concern.”

Overall, Canada added 445 new cases on Tuesday, continuing a steady upward trend.

“I am quite concerned that the numbers are going back up,” said Robyn Lee, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.

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The average number of people to whom each infected person spreads the virus, called “R0” by epidemiologists, has been rising recently, too. It’s now above one, according to the most recent weekly report from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which means that on average, each person spreads the virus to more than one other person.

In other words, the virus is spreading rather than shrinking.

Read more:
‘Explosive’ growth in COVID-19 cases could be on the way in B.C. if behaviour doesn’t change

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“If this number keeps going, if it keeps increasing, that means that more people are being infected for each person who has this virus,” Lee said. “We could very rapidly end up in the same spot that we were in a few months back where we were concerned about the hospital bed utilization and ICU bed availability.”

Dr. Matthew Pellan Cheng, an infectious disease doctor and medical microbiologist at the McGill University Health Centre, says he’s not too concerned about the rise in case numbers yet.

We shouldn’t be alarmed at numbers from individual days, he said, but instead keep an eye on overall trends.

“I think we need to look at the general trajectory in that the number of cases is, indeed, slightly increasing but not at very, very elevated levels,” he said. “And it was expected that there’s going to be a slight uptick in the number of cases as most of the country reopens.

Read more:
Ottawa health officials trace coronavirus spike to ‘shift’ in youth social behaviour

“I think the more important question is, what are we doing now with this information? Are we implementing appropriate contact tracing? Are we reinforcing important public health mitigation strategies? Are we going to let it continue or are we going to start planking the curve?”

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Lee doesn’t believe that we can continue to let cases rise for long without seeing serious consequences.

“We’re going to run out of time. I think we need to do stuff now,” she said. “There is going to hit a point where it spins out of control and we don’t have the resources to keep up with it.”






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Coronavirus: Ford pleads with young people to follow health guidelines as uptick in cases rise


Coronavirus: Ford pleads with young people to follow health guidelines as uptick in cases rise

Many recent cases of COVID-19 have to do with younger adults attending indoor events, like house parties, and not restaurants and bars reopening, Njoo said.

“I don’t have any actual proof, but the thinking might be that as bars and restaurants and society opens, that is maybe in some ways a signal for people to think, ‘Oh, OK, I can let go.’

“Things are returning to normal and, therefore, they are getting together at indoor parties, probably with lack of social distancing and so on.”

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Read more:
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There’s still time to stop the trend if we act now, Lee said, but people have to remember to maintain physical distance, limit their contact with others and follow other such public health measures.

“I think we all need to recognize we’re in it for the long haul,” she said. “Unfortunately, until there’s a vaccine, this is something that is a part of our lives, meaning we do have to keep up with the physical distancing and we do have to keep going with the same precautions.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada reports 220 Coronavirus new cases, 6 more deaths

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Canada reported 220 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, as well as six more deaths.

Saturday’s numbers bring the country’s total COVID-19 infections and fatalities to 119,187 and 8,976, respectively. As of Aug. 8, a further 103,566 — or 86 per cent — of patients infected with the coronavirus have recovered. Over 5.12 million tests have also been administered across the country.

The new numbers, however, do not reflect all regions across the country as several provinces — including British Columbia, Alberta, P.E.I. and all the territories — do not report new COVID-19 data on the weekends.

Quebec, the hardest-hit province in Canada, reported 126 new cases of the virus on Saturday raising its total infections to 60,367. Five more deaths, including one that occurred before July 31, were also announced.

Ontario announced 70 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, raising its total confirmed cases to 39,967. Saturday marks the sixth day the province has seen daily case counts below the 100 mark. One more death linked to the coronavirus was also reported by the province on Aug. 8, raising its death toll to 2,784.

Manitoba recorded an additional 16 lab-confirmed or “probable” cases of the coronavirus on Saturday. The new numbers were not reflected in Global News’ tally as only lab-confirmed cases are counted. Saturday’s reporting brings the province’s total lab-confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases to 507.

Saskatchewan announced an additional 24 cases of the virus, raising its provincial total to 1,433. No new deaths were reported by the province, with its COVID-19 death toll standing at 20. A further 1,245 patients have also recovered from the virus in Saskatchewan.

No new cases were announced by Nova Scotia on Saturday, with the province only having two active cases of the virus.

New Brunswick also reported zero new cases on Saturday, with the province only grappling with six active cases. The Maritime region has seen a total of 176 cases and two deaths.

Newfoundland and Labrador also recorded zero new cases of the virus on Saturday during its daily briefing. The province has seen 267 cases and three deaths from the virus and currently has one active case.

 

In a statement Saturday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that an average of 48,360 people were tested daily over the past week, with one per cent testing positive. According to Tam, there has been an approximate average of 400 new cases reported daily across the country.

Tam’s statement also highlighted her previous remarks on the upcoming school season in September.

“Across the country, jurisdictions are announcing plans for reopening schools, which take into account the local context and epidemiology of COVID-19,” read her statement.

 

“Now that our collective efforts have flattened the curve and brought COVID-19 spread under manageable control, with increased capacity and public health measures in place to keep it that way, we must now establish a careful balance to keep the infection rate low, while minimizing unintended health and social consequences.”

Worldwide, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 19.4 million people, according to a running tally kept by John Hopkins University. Over 723,000 people have died from COVID-19 as well.


The United States, Brazil, India and Russia continue to be among the countries with the highest amount of coronavirus cases in the world.

Source: – Global News

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Family of Ontario man who died of COVID-19 in U.S. custody are angry with Canadian Embassy – CBC.ca

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The family of an Ontario man who died from COVID-19 while in U.S. custody awaiting deportation to Canada is blaming the Canadian Embassy for not doing enough to bring him home. 

“They did not do their job. They did not protect my uncle, who was a free Canadian citizen,” said Jessica Marostega, the man’s niece.

Her uncle, James Hill, died this week after contracting COVID-19 while at a detention facility run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He was scheduled to fly to Toronto on July 9 after being held at the facility in Farmville, Va., since April. A judge ordered his deportation in May.

But his departure for Canada was delayed due to “medical reasons.” 

“My cousin got an email from the Canadian Embassy saying that his travel had been postponed due to medical reasons, and that’s all they would tell us at that time,” Marostega said. It was later confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19.

Formerly a practising doctor in Louisiana, Hill had been serving more than 14 years in prison for health-care fraud and distributing a controlled substance before being transferred to the detention centre.

He was 72 and considered at high risk when he was transferred to Farmville. After contracting the coronavirus, Hill was taken to a local hospital, where he died about a month later. Almost every single detainee at the detention facility has contracted COVID-19.  

“It was devastating,” Marostega said. “Fourteen years waiting, we find out he is finally going to be released.” 

James Hill’s family and friends donated items to help him settle back in after returning to Ontario from prison in the U.S. Marostega, his niece, says the family now has to return the items. (Ellen Mauro/CBC)

She said the family was told in April it would take only a few weeks before Hill could come home. But his return was pushed back to the beginning of July.

“It shouldn’t have taken this long,” she said. “We blame the Canadian [Embassy] for that when they could have asked, ‘Why is he not coming home earlier?’ I think [they] should have advocated for that a little more for him. To me, that’s their job.” 

In a statement, Global Affairs Canada offered “sincere condolences to the family,” but it did not respond to the family’s criticism.

“To be honest, all the emails that my family sent that got responses back, they were all very blanket responses — somebody else was looking into it…. And in terms of the embassy, I felt like they just passed a message back and forth but there was no saying to ICE this wasn’t OK,” Marostega said.

“Our family offered to pay for transportation, medical check, everything — and it was all brushed under the table.”

WATCH | Family speaks out after Canadian man dies of COVID-19 is ICE custody:

James Hill died of COVID-19 while in the custody of U.S. immigration enforcement while awaiting deportation to Canada. 2:11

Marostega also reached out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and to her local MP but said the responses were inadequate.

Now, she and her family are left to clean up the room they had set up for her uncle’s arrival and return items that were donated from relatives.

While she knows Hill won’t be coming home, she said she hopes a situation like this won’t happen to someone else. 

“I can’t bring my uncle home, but if I can bring somebody else’s home, right?”

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Kootenay region pitched as winter roost for Canadian snowbirds – CBC.ca

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The Columbia Valley region of British Columbia can’t claim the warm winter temperatures of Palm Springs or Phoenix.

But regional officials are hoping the area’s other charms will be enough to attract Canadian snowbirds whose annual migrations to a warmer climate are on hold because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s a great place for Canadians, and hopefully snowbirds to spend two, six, eight weeks or more,” Ryan Watmough, the economic development officer for Columbia Valley, told CBC Daybreak South host Chris Walker.

The plan to promote the region to sun-loving retirees is also envisioned as a strategy to help local businesses survive the pandemic, Watmough said. 

An Invermere, B.C., bakery delivers pastries by bike in April. (Ryan Watmough)

In mid-March, Canadian snowbirds flocked back early from their winter sojourns in the U.S. and other warm destinations as the first wave of COVID-19 spread around the world.

In the latest newsletter from the Canadian Snowbird Association’s official publication, the CSA News, association President Karen Huestis expressed optimism that the annual migration will be back in full swing by fall. 

“It is our belief that our border with the United States will open again to leisure travel toward the end of the summer,” Huestis wrote. 

“For those travelling, the key to staying safe in our winter homes shouldn’t be that different from the protocols which we observe here in Canada: maintaining a two-metre distance from those whom we don’t live with; wearing face coverings; avoiding touching your face, frequent hand washing; and disinfecting high-touch surfaces,” she wrote.

Winter RV camping is among suggestions in a proposal to market the Columbia Valley as a winter destination for Canadian retirees who might not be heading to their usual southern destinations this year. (Ryan Watmough/Regional District of East Kootenay)

Watmough said he doesn’t believe most Canadian retirees will be eager to return to U.S. sun belt destinations any time soon as high levels of COVID-19 infections and deaths continue. 

“They’re not going to likely want to go down to Florida, Arizona, Texas or California this winter. Perhaps not going to be able to,” he said. “So it’s a matter of let’s show them what they can do, and what they can discover in Canada.”

Watmough expects some of the snowbirds who will spend winter in the Columbia Valley are local residents who will opt to stay home this year. In addition  local families who may invite retired parents and grandparents who may fill hotel rooms, longer-term rentals or perhaps bring their RVs for winter camping.

Watmough estimated that if even 500 to 750 of the estimated 300,000 Canadian snowbirds spend a good part of the winter in the Columbia Valley, it would make a major difference in bringing the local economy through the pandemic. 
 

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