Alberta is moving forward with a slow reopening of its economy, despite growing concerns about highly contagious COVID-19 variants being spread in communities and extends quarantine for those who’ve had contact with a positive variant case.
Alberta is moving forward with a slow reopening of its economy, despite growing concerns about highly contagious COVID-19 variants being spread in communities and extends quarantine for those who’ve had contact with a positive variant case.
Most provinces, including British Columbia, announced this week they expect every adult will receive a first COVID-19 vaccine dose by June or July. The move came after a recommendation by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) to delay a second dose for four months, following evidence of high levels of protection from one dose. All provinces have adopted the recommendation, potentially accelerating Canada's vaccination timeline by two months. But where does that leave kids? Close to one million people in B.C. are 19 or younger, and they make up nearly one-fifth of the province's population. Here's what you need to know about where they fall in the vaccination plan. Can kids get vaccinated? Not yet. Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people aged 16 and older, while the Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those 18 and up. Health Canada's chief medical adviser, Supriya Sharma, has said there's not enough data from the initial clinical trials to know how the vaccines affect kids. So far, B.C.'s immunization plan is focused on residents 18 and older. B.C.'s health ministry said it will administer Pfizer vaccines to teens between the ages of 16 and 17 who are severely clinically vulnerable, and whose care provider has determined vaccination is the best course of action. Do kids need to be immunized? Dr. Manish Sadarangani, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and director of the Vaccine Evaluation Centre at B.C. Children's Hospital, said it's not yet not clear whether all kids need to get vaccinated. He is currently leading research that is testing children across B.C. for COVID-19 antibodies to understand asymptomatic infections and better estimate the true infection rate among younger people. Experts will also have a clearer picture once most adults are vaccinated, Sadarangani said. At that point, health officials can look at the number of cases among kids, whether severe cases are showing up and whether kids are a source of ongoing community transmission. Researchers are testing children across B.C. for COVID-19 antibodies to understand asymptomatic infections and better estimate the true infection rate among younger people.(Ben Nelms/CBC) Fiona Brinkman, a professor in the molecular biology and biochemistry department at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, said children should "definitely" be vaccinated. "Getting COVID is much worse in terms of potential for long-term side effects than getting the vaccine," said Brinkman, who is also working on Canada's variant containment efforts through the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network. When will kids receive a vaccine? The four pharmaceutical companies are at all different stages of testing the vaccines on kids. It's unclear when exactly those vaccines could be approved for kids. Sharma said Friday that data from teenagers will come first, followed by kids under 12. "Potentially, by the end of the calendar year, we might have some answers for children." Clinical trials are underway to determine vaccine effectiveness on children.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Sadarangani said the first clinical trial data from older kids is expected to come by the end of August. If the Health Canada approves the vaccines on kids, NACI will then recommend how to best deploy the doses, he said. Sadarangani said rolling out the vaccine as part of school immunizations will be far more efficient than immunizing adults, noting the system is "better set up" to vaccinate kids. Is achieving 'herd immunity' possible without vaccinating kids? Some experts have suggested that achieving "herd immunity" — the point at which the virus can no longer spread in the community because enough people have either been infected or vaccinated — may not be feasible without vaccinating kids. Brinkman said it's a reasonable concern, but the degree of protection to society from vaccines make them a powerful tool, even before they're available to children. "We have vaccines that have incredible efficacy. In fact, they're astounding," she said. "When you have vaccines that work that well, you don't actually have to vaccinate as many people in the population to have it be effective." A nurse administers a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination in Vancouver on March 4. B.C. says it expects every adult to receive a first vaccine dose by July.(Ben Nelms/CBC) Anna Blakney, an assistant professor at University of British Columbia's school of biomedical engineering, said herd immunity is often thought of as a percentage of a population that must be protected to ensure safety for all. But it's actually a more dynamic concept, she said, especially since it's unknown how long immunity from COVID-19 will last. "With herd immunity, you don't just reach that level and then it's there forever," she said. "People can lose their immunity over time, so most likely what's going to happen is that it will be a combination of natural infections and the vaccine that get us to that kind of steady state of herd immunity." Are there safety concerns for kids? Blakney, who also runs a popular TikTok account that educates viewers about COVID-19, said she's received many questions about the safety of the vaccine in children. She said clinical trials are generally designed with less vulnerable populations in mind — those between the age of 18 and 55. (Because COVID-19 disproportionately affects the elderly, older people were included in vaccine trials.) Once a vaccine is found to be safe in those populations, they're expanded out to children and pregnant women. "It's routine for children and babies to get vaccines. That's when you get the most vaccines in your life. They're just waiting for that safety to be proven," Blakney said. "We want to first test it in the less vulnerable population in case there are any side effects. That doesn't mean we expect there to be — that's just how it's evolved over time." Sadarangani explained that the dose may be adjusted to ensure the best protection possible for children. "Some vaccines do need a bit more because they need a bit more to stimulate their immune systems than adults do. And some vaccines, they need a bit less," he said. "This is one of the reasons in the trial for going down through the age groups, starting with the older kids that are likely to be most like adults." What about parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their kids? In a UBC study last fall, about 43 per cent of 2,500 families across Canada surveyed said they would accept less rigorous testing and expedited approval of a vaccine for their kids. Blakney said she finds some degree of vaccine hesitancy normal, especially because people are not accustomed to the speed with which the vaccine was developed. A B.C. COVID-19 vaccination immunization record card. Sadarangani says school immunizations will be far more time efficient than immunizing adults.(Ben Nelms/CBC) But she said the vaccine research involved an unprecedented level of funding and effort from scientists, doctors, and governments alike. "We have lots of safety data on this because not only were they trialled in tens of thousands of people, but now they've been implemented to millions of people," she said. "So we have a pretty good idea of the safety profile of them thus far, which is what gives us that extra confidence to go into other populations. These vaccines are incredibly safe in the data we have so far." What can parents do in the meantime? Brinkman said, for now, parents can ensure that their children's other vaccinations and booster shots are up to date, while also following public health orders until restrictions can safely be lifted. "That will help protect them and give their system the best chance against other diseases," she said, adding some people may have fallen behind schedule on immunizations while B.C. has been partially shut down. "It's very important at this stage that we keep the numbers of cases as low as we can because we really need to reduce the chance of the viral variant spreading."
Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada's chief public health officer expressed optimism over vaccines ahead of the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 crisis.The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March 11, and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said it's been a difficult 12 months marked by hardship and sacrifice."Yet, as the months have gone by, I have also witnessed the remarkable courage, strength, and generosity demonstrated by Canadians," she wrote in a statement."Through it all, it is the incredible support that Canadians have shown for one another that has impressed me the most."Tam expressed optimism that brighter days were coming, thanks to the recent approvals of the Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines."This week has been a very good week for Canada's COVID-19 vaccination programs," she wrote.The anniversary comes as all provinces are expanding their mass vaccination programs and some are loosening restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick are among the provinces preparing to lift restrictions on Monday after weeks of stable or declining cases. A stay-at-home order in Ontario's Toronto, Peel and North Bay regions will lift on Monday, while five Quebec regions, including Quebec City, will be downgraded from red to orange on the province's colour-coded regional alert system.All of New Brunswick will transition to the less-restrictive "yellow" alert level Sunday at midnight, meaning residents can expand their contacts from 10 to 15 people and team sports activities may resume.Canada's two biggest cities will remain under fairly strict restrictions, however. Toronto — and neighbouring Peel Region — will enter the "grey lockdown" category, which will allow more retailers to open, with restrictions, but leaves gyms, personal care services and indoor restaurant dining closed.The greater Montreal region remains a red zone, which means an 8 p.m. curfew is still in effect.Tam said the addition of the two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster and help ease the worries surrounding supply disruptions or setbacks.In a long message, Tam said it is not that it is not possible to directly compare the efficacy of different vaccines to one another."Each vaccine was studied in a separate trial conducted at different times, using different populations and conditions," she wrote.She said the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, manufactured by Janssen, was shown to be 66 per cent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, while the AstraZeneca vaccine was found to have an efficacy of 62 per cent in generally preventing "symptomatic COVID-19." Both vaccines, she said, were found to protect against severe disease, meaning that those who got COVID-19 after the shot were much less likely to get seriously ill. Currently, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization does not recommend that the AstraZeneca vaccine be given to those aged 65 or over due to limited data, but Tam stressed that the recommendations could change.She noted both the new vaccines are easier to transport than those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which require freezer storage. With Canada set to receive more than 900,000 COVID-19 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this week, many provinces are ramping up their vaccination campaigns.Health authorities across British Columbia will start booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments Monday for people 90 years old and older and Indigenous residents over the age of 65.Quebec, which has been booking vaccine appointments for seniors 70 or 80 and over depending on the region, will speed up the pace this week as more mass vaccination centres open across the province after focusing mainly on hard-hit Montreal last week. Quebec counted 707 new cases of the virus on Sunday, and seven more deaths. Ontario reported administering 30,192 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, for a total of 890,604 doses handed out so far. That province logged 1,299 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and 15 added deaths. Manitoba counted 56 new cases of the virus and two more deaths. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 116 more cases and two more deaths due to COVID-19, including a person who was under 20 years old. Alberta logged roughly 300 new cases of the virus Sunday, though the province said a system upgrade meant precise numbers weren't available. Farther east, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island each recorded two new cases of COVID-19. The government said it would receive more than 14,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, which will be sent to five different parts of the province.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021 Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
Trois-Rivières – À l'aube de la Journée internationale des droits des femmes, les combats demeurent légion afin de faire en sorte que «l'égalité concrète» soit atteinte, selon la directrice de la Table de concertation du mouvement des femmes de la Mauricie. Joanne Blais estime que l'autonomie économique de celles-ci, comme l'accès égalitaire à l'emploi ou le travail à temps partiel figurent encore et toujours sur la pile de travail à accomplir. Sans parler de l'impact de la pandémie sur les femmes. Déjà fortement touchées avant que la COVID-19 ne surgissent dans leurs vies, les femmes doivent, depuis plus d'un an, composer avec ce nouvel ennemi. «Certaines femmes n'ont pu retourner sur le marché du travail et sont plus dépendantes de leur conjoint parce qu'elles ont perdu leur emploi», souligne Joanne Blais. La situation est encore plus préoccupante lorsqu'il s'agit de femmes issues de l'immigration. «Ces femmes vivaient déjà d'autres questions par rapport à leurs origines. C'est la même chose pour celles qui sont réfugiées ou monoparentales.» Cette insécurité, elle ne se fait pas seulement ressentir sur le plan économique, mais aussi sur le plan physique. «Il y a encore beaucoup de travail à faire pour vivre dans un monde sans violence faites aux femmes, pour qu'elles n'aient pas peur de marcher dans la rue, de prendre le transport en commun, qu'elles n'aient pas à vivre de violence conjugale ou de comportements inappropriés au travail. Bref, pour qu'elles puissent vivre dans un monde qui est plus paisible», insiste-t-elle. Pour Mme Blais, chaque 8 mars est une occasion de rappeler les gestes qui restent à poser pour les droits des femmes. «Il y a l'autonomie économique, les femmes gagnent encore moins que les hommes; l'accès égalitaire à l'emploi, certaines femmes sont discriminées en raison de leur sexe; le travail, elles sont souvent à temps partiel; elles se retrouvent souvent dans des conditions difficiles parce qu'elles travaillent dans le domaine des soins ou des services», énumère la directrice. Ces «soins ou services» peuvent comprendre les hôtels par exemple, la restauration etc. «On n'a pas encore atteint l'égalité concrète, dans les faits», rappelle-t-elle. Joanne Blais souligne également que la situation délicate dans laquelle se retrouvent les soins de santé et de services sociaux avait été rapportée plusieurs années en avance par des groupes de femmes, sans pourtant être prise en considération. «Ça fait des années qu'elles dénoncent la situation», observe-t-elle, soulignant au passage que la thématique de l'édition 2021 de la Journée internationale des droits des femmes est «Écoutons les femmes». Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
The Saskatchewan Coroners Service and police in Regina are investigating after a man died Sunday morning. Authorities are treating the death as a homicide, but no further details are available at this time. Officers were called to the 100 block of St John Street, at the corner of Fifth Avenue North, for reports of an injured man just after 4:15 a.m. CST Sunday. EMS was also dispatched but it was determined the man was "beyond help," according to a news release. He was declared dead at the scene. Anyone with information that could help police is asked to call the Regina Police Service or Crime Stoppers. More from CBC News:
VICTORIA — Health authorities across British Columbia will start booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments Monday for people 90 years old and older and Indigenous residents over the age of 65. The province says vaccine call centres will open at 7 a.m. at the Fraser, Island, Interior, Northern and Vancouver health authorities to make appointments for seniors to receive their shots. The B.C. government website says people can book appointments for themselves or their spouse, and family members or friends are also permitted to make a booking on someone else's behalf. The website says callers to health authorities will be asked to provide the person's first and last name, date of birth, postal code and personal health number. The website says people born in 1936 or earlier can start calling for appointments on March 15 and those born in 1941 or earlier can start scheduling their shots on March 22. Island Health says in a statement Sunday it will operate 19 community clinics where more than 40,000 people will receive their first COVID-19 vaccines over the next month. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
A 29-year-old man from Sainte-Marie-Saint-Raphaël, N.B., has been found dead near Lamèque. RCMP searched for for Justin Savoie after he was reported missing on Thursday. Savoie was last seen Monday at a business on Rue de L'Église in the village where he lives on New Brunswick's Acadian Peninsula. Police believe he was heading toward Lamèque or Tracadie on a snowmobile. A snowmobile matching the description of the one driven by Savoie was located underwater by police near the bridge on Route 113 between Haut-Lamèque and Lamèque. The RCMP Underwater Recovery Team conducted searches in the area on Friday. Police worked with the Canada Border Services Agency on Saturday to locate and remove the body from the ice. It was identified as the missing man, RCMP say. Several organizations assisted in the operation, including the Lamèque and Shippagan fire departments, Ambulance New Brunswick, the Department of Justice and Public Safety and the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. RCMP continue to investigate.
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony Blinken is proposing a series of steps to help jumpstart Afghanistan’s stalled peace process between the government and Taliban, according to a letter from Blinken to Afghanistan’s president Ashra Ghani published Sunday by Afghanistan’s TOLONews. The letter calls for bringing the two sides together for a U.N.-facilitated conference with foreign ministers and envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and the United States “to discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan.” Blinken also calls for holding talks between the Afghan government and Taliban in a senior-level meeting in Turkey in the coming weeks to hammer out a revised proposal for a 90-day reduction in violence. The secretary of state has also called on special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to share with both the Afghan government and Taliban written proposals to help accelerate discussions, according to the TOLONews report. Blinken also made clear in the letter that the Biden administration continues to consider a “full withdrawal” of the roughly 2,500 U.S. forces in the country by the May 1 deadline negotiated by Trump administration. The State Department declined to comment on the TOLONews report. “We have not made any decisions about our force posture in Afghanistan after May 1,” the State Department said in a statement. “All options remain on the table.” Afghanistan presents one of the new administration’s most difficult foreign policy decisions. The U.S. public is weary of a war nearly 20 years old, but pulling out now could be seen as giving the Taliban too much leverage and casting a shadow over the sacrifices made by U.S. and coalition troops and Afghan civilians. Blinken urged Ghani to quickly embrace the proposal and underscored his concern that the security situation in the country could quickly deteriorate as the weather warms in Afghanistan “Even with the continuation of financial assistance from the United States to your forces after an American military withdrawal, I am concerned that the security situation will worsen and the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains,” Blinken wrote in the letter. The Associated Press
Three deaths related to COVID-19 reported Saturday All three deaths were reported in the Saskatoon zone and were in the 80 plus age group, 70 to 79 age group and 50 to 59 age group. There were 163 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the province on Sunday. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported 20 new cases. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 38 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 38 active cases and North Central 3 has 20 active cases. Three cases with pending residence information were added to North Central.Two cases were found to be out-of-province residents and were removed from the counts. There are currently 142 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 120 reported as receiving in patient care there are eight in North Central. Of the 22 people reported as being in intensive care there are two in North Central. The current seven-day average 155, or 12.7 cases per 100,000 population. Of the 29,593 reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 1,613 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 27,584 after 52 more recoveries were reported. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,593 of those 7,539 cases are from the North area (3,065 North West, 3,309 North Central and 1,165 North East). There were 3,577 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 90,456. There were 967 doses administered in the North Central reported, the most of any zone reporting. Doses were also administered in the Central East, North West, South East, Saskatoon and Regina. There were 2,744 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on March 5. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Chinese drone giant DJI Technology Co Ltd built up such a successful U.S. business over the past decade that it almost drove all competitors out of the market. Yet its North American operations have been hit by internal ructions in recent weeks and months, with a raft of staff cuts and departures, according to interviews with more than two dozen current and former employees. The loss of key managers, some of who have joined rivals, has compounded problems caused by U.S. government restrictions on Chinese companies, and raised the once-remote prospect of DJI's dominance being eroded, said four of the people, including two senior executives who were at the company until late 2020.
The White House on Sunday urged computer network operators to take further steps to gauge whether their systems were targeted amid a hack of Microsoft Corp's Outlook email program, saying a recent software patch still left serious vulnerabilities. "This is an active threat still developing and we urge network operators to take it very seriously," a White House official said, adding that top U.S. security officials were working to decide what next steps to take following the breach. The White House official, in a statement, said the administration was making "a whole of government response."
An unfair labour practice application brought on by the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU) against the Government of Saskatchewan over the use of a fitness test — which was previously found to be potentially discriminatory — was dismissed late last month. In 2012, Saskatchewan implemented a fitness test called the WFX-Fit test, developed by the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre for Type 1 wildland firefighters across Canada. People are tested in their ability to complete a series of physical, strenuous tasks within a set minimal time, called a cut score. After the union filed a grievance, an arbitrator found the WFX-Fit test cut score as it was previously set had "a potential discriminatory adverse impact on females and older males," and was not a reasonable measure of their fitness to perform the job. An appeal court upheld that finding, and in March 2019 the Supreme Court of Canada refused the Saskatchewan government's request to appeal the ruling. The Ministry of Environment previously told CBC that across Canada, SGEU was the only union to complain about the test. It noted the arbitrator had not criticized the test itself or its use — but that the cut score itself is arbitrary and could be discriminatory. The government said it got opinions from experts who designed the test that the cut score could be validly lowered from 17 minutes and 15 seconds to 18 minutes and 10 seconds. The labour board decision, published on Feb. 28, showed discussion about how to move ahead in the 2019 wildfire season took place shortly after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the case. There, the government told SGEU representatives it intended to use the slower cut scores. The Labour Relations Board decision showed SGEU asked the government to consider using an arduous test, which it had used until 2012. The government stuck with the WFX-Fit test in 2019. SGEU took the government to task over its use of the test that year. But a unanimous decision by the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board vice-chair Gerald Tegart and board members Joan White and Maurice Werezak found an "enforceable agreement" was never reached by both parties.. The labour board decision said the WFX-Fit test was deemed to be valid in all respects, aside from the use of its original cut score due to its discriminatory impact on women and older men which the government had accounted for. The board also found the government was not obligated to negotiate the general terms of the WFX-Fit test with the union. Because the board determined no formal enforceable agreement was reached between the two parties, the labour board found three of the orders the union sought from the board were not available. The union asked the labour board to order the government to comply with the previously-agreed upon arbitration award, but the board found the government had already met its obligations there and did not dispute the fact the WFX-Fit testing was discriminatory. The union was also unable to prove the government had failed to comply with the arbitration award during the labour board hearing. The labour board ruled there was no basis to prohibit the government from requiring wildland firefighters to complete the WFX-Fit testing, as no agreement was reached between SGEU and the province, and the tests' use with the revised cut score was not shown to be in contravention with the previous arbitration award. The union also asked for financial compensation in the form of damages but that was also dismissed as the board's determination meant damages would not be available. A request for comment from SGEU was not returned by deadline.
ATHENS, Greece — Greek police clashed with more than 500 protesters in an Athens suburb on Sunday evening, using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. The crowd was protesting police violence, but views of what happened earlier Sunday diverge widely. In an announcement, police say that a motorcycle patrol went to suburb Nea Smyrni’s main square just before 3 p.m. Sunday to investigate “multiple reports” of violations of lockdown measures and that they were set upon by a group of 30 people who injured two police officers. Police reinforcement detained 11 from among the group, police say. But videos uploaded on several websites show a different picture: peaceful citizens arguing with police and suddenly being thrown to the ground and attacked with batons. It was to this incident that the protest rally was held about four hours later. Police say that an administrative inquiry will be held in response to the video uploads. Opposition parties have entered the fray, denouncing the “police repression.” “It wasn’t an accident. The government and (Prime Minister Kyriakos) Mitsotakis wanted this,” said Pavlos Christidis, the spokesman for socialist party Movement for Change. With the number of new cases of the coronavirus still well above 1,000 daily, the Athens area as well as others across Greece are under a strict lockdown and police patrols conduct checks to see if people are keeping social distancing and refrain from travelling unnecessarily. Police say that they, on Saturday alone, they conducted 71,177 checks across the country, finding 2,025 violations; 1,627 concerned unauthorized movement, 304 non-wearing of masks and 91 illegal operation of businesses. Demetris Nellas, The Associated Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Atlantic Canada reported seven new cases of COVID-19 today, including two in Prince Edward Island. Officials in that province say both new patients are men in their 20s who are now self-isolating. With 26 active reported cases, chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says there are more active infections on the Island now than at any other point in the pandemic. The province is under so-called circuit-breaker measures until March 14, which require all businesses and services to operate at reduced capacity and keep records for contact tracing. Public health authorities in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia reported two new cases in their respective provinces and say all infections are connected to travel or to previously known infections. Officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new travel-related case, marking the province's 10th consecutive day with single-digit infection numbers following an outbreak last month in the St. John's region. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
Durham Region’s medical officer of health says the region is in “very good shape” with vaccine distribution and administration. In a recent update to the region’s health and social services committee, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Kyle says clinics opening Monday, all those ages 80 and older can now book their appointment to be vaccinated, noting the vast majority of seniors living in long-term care and high-risk retirement homes in Durham Region, as well as most healthcare workers, have been vaccinated. “We were tasked by the government to develop a plan that when fully operational, will allow vaccination of approximately 10,000 clients per day,” says Kyle, noting there will be at least one clinic in each of the eight municipalities. As of Monday, March 8, two clinics will be open: Durham College and Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, and the other in Pickering. “The staging of the opening dates (of the other clinics is) a sign that we are ramping up, staffing up,” he adds. According to the Durham Region Health website, The Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex in Clarington will open on Tuesday, March 9, followed by the opening of the McKinney Centre in Whitby on Monday, March 15. Uxbridge Arena, Scugog Arena and Rick MacLeish Memorial Community Centre Arena will open on a rotating basis beginning March 15. Finally, the Audley Recreation Centre in Ajax will open on Tuesday, March 16. The mobile clinic will also continue to vaccinate additional Phase 1 populations as required, Kyle notes. However, he says the region can’t get too far ahead of the vaccine supply. “While I say the maximum capacity is 10,000 clients per day, the number of clinic sites and available appointments will depend on vaccine supply,” Kyle continues. Furthermore, Kyle says the region’s communications plan is “robust” and has been developed to “promote vaccine awareness, accurate evidence, informed information, and timely and accurate information.” “We’re building on key messages from the Ministry of Health and the go-to place for all things COVID vaccine is durham.ca/covidvaccines,” he says, noting the website is updated on an ongoing basis. Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
The first death in the 19 and under age group related to COVID-19 was reported by the province on Sunday. The death was reported in the North West zone, which includes such communities as North Battleford and Lloydminster. This was among two deaths reported on Sunday the other was in the 40 to 49 age group and in the Far North West zone. There were 116 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the province on Sunday. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported eight new cases. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 40 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 37 active cases and North Central 3 has 22 active cases. Three cases with pending residence information were added to North Central. Two cases were found to be out-of-province residents and were removed from the counts. There are currently 136 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 114 reported as receiving in patient care there are 10 in North Central. Of the 22 people reported as being in intensive care there is one in North Central. The current seven-day average 152, or 12.4 cases per 100,000 population. Of the 29,709 reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan,1,518 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 27,793 after 52 more recoveries were reported. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,709 of those 7,553 cases are from the North area (3,071 North West, 3,317 North Central and 1,165 North East). There were 1,428 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 91,884. There were 226 doses administered in the North Central reported. Doses were also administered in the North West, Saskatoon and Regina. There were 2,263 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on March 6. As of today there have been 594,116 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Here's a sight most airline passengers don't get to witness! Watch as this flight soars right above the cloud deck.
A recent survey revealed most British Columbians want to end heckling during Question Period, and if the first week of the 2021 legislative session was any indication, the Speaker is no fan either. The session began with two days of restrained civility, led by Interim Opposition Leader Shirley Bond and Premier John Horgan as they parried through each day’s Question Period openers. The wheels flew off the bus on day three, Mar. 3, when heckling, desk banging, and insults throughout Question Period caused Speaker Raj Chouhan to issue a rare admonishment to MLAs in the Chamber afterwards. “Members, you may think that making a big noise is a good way of doing Question Period. The Chair doesn't appreciate it,” he said. Chouhan, the NDP MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds since 2005, was appointed Speaker last December after serving as Deputy Speaker since 2017. “I heard the words competence, incompetence, incompetent, numerous times,” Chouhan said. “So?!” fired back a member of the Liberal caucus. “So, the point is… let's be temperate in our language in our debate, because the public is watching,” Chouhan said. “Opposition members have every right to ask questions. I understand their passion and all that, but be careful. Be careful.” His comments followed a 32-minute long Question Period in which ‘incompetent’ or its derivative was used in every question asked by a Liberal Opposition member and in one response by a government minister, for an average of once every two minutes. Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, was in the hot seat for much of the week about his ministry’s handling of COVID-19 relief funding for small and medium-sized businesses which, at that point, had disbursed $50 million of the total budgeted $300 million. By the time the last questioner, Liberal House Leader and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar, unleashed a string of insults and the Premier forcefully responded, the Chamber reverberated with shouts of support and heckling on both sides of the aisle. A far cry from the previous day’s Question Period, which Horgan had hailed for its “respectful dialogue” and wrapped up with a team-building, all-party unity message about how progress could be made on the opioid crisis if every MLA took responsibility and worked together. According to recent survey results, most British Columbian want their legislators to work together, and heckling, a long-held acceptable partisan behaviour in the political theatre known as Question Period, no longer enjoys popular public support. “Desk banging, heckling, a majority of people say, we don't want to see this happening,” said Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., a Canadian public opinion polling and research company. “The appetite’s not there.” Research Co recently polled 800 British Columbians for their opinion on heckling, desk banging, reform of parliamentary decorum, and several other recommendations made by former Speaker Darryl Plecas in his final report to the B.C. Legislative Assembly entitled, Speaker’s Forum on the Role of Members: Actioning Proposals for Change. Aimed at legislative reform, the Plecas report made dozens of recommendations including the formation of an all-party committee to consider how to discipline unacceptable behaviour in the Chamber and whether to eliminate heckling, desk banging, clapping and interruptions during Question Period. “Improving decorum during proceedings of the Legislative Assembly has been a hallmark of my tenure as Speaker,” wrote Plecas in his December 2020 report. In the Research Co survey, 57 per cent of British Columbians thought an all-party committee to examine parliamentary decorum was a good idea. Of the BC Green supporters who responded, 57 per cent were in favour, while 62 per cent of NDP voters and 66 per cent of Liberals were supportive. “Ultimately, this is about figuring out a way to discuss policies that is not going to be drowned by clapping or heckling,” said Canseco. It’s unclear whether the government would consider these reforms, but change could begin with the Speaker establishing rules with the house leaders, said Canseco, likening it to when a judge speaks privately with the defence and prosecution lawyers to curb courtroom overacting. “Where the Speaker discusses this with the house leaders pre-emptively and says, ‘This is the way it's going to go from now on, so please advise your sides,’” Canseco said. “But it's definitely something that people want,” said Canseco. “People want to see some sort of decorum back in the legislature.” Fran@thegoatnews.ca / @FranYanor Fran Yanor, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Rocky Mountain Goat
OBERSTDORF, Germany — Canadians Antoine Cyr and Russell Kennedy posted top-30 finishes in the 50-kilometre classic ski mass event Sunday at the world nordic championships.Cyr, of Gatineau, Que., finished 27th in the race, one spot ahead of Kenned of Canmore, Alta."For sure I wanted more (Sunday) but I made a few tactical mistakes that cost me a lot of energy," said Kennedy, who appeared ready for the world event before suffering an ear infection. "I'm stoked with how well I recovered and was able to perform."And it was fun to watch Antoine have a really good race and make some really good moves out there."Cyr, 22, completed the eight laps in two hours 15 minutes 31.2 seconds. He was the third-fastest athlete under the age of 23 in the field of 57."I haven’t done much racing at the World Cup level and I don’t have a lot of mass start experience," Cyr said. "Mass starts are chaos here in Europe."It is nothing like we race at Canada and I learned so much."Kennedy, 30, finished in 2:15:45.6. Remi Drolet, 20, of Rossland B.C., was 31st in 2:17:05.7 while Philippe Boucher, of Levis, Que., did not finish.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
Charlottetown's manager of planning and heritage says his department is seeing an unprecedented number of applications. "It's everything," said Alex Forbes. "There's building permits. There's applications to the planning advisory committee for variances, subdivision, rezonings, amendments to the zoning bylaw, sign permits, subdivisions." Forbes said it's been busy in the development industry for three or four years, with no slowdown during the pandemic. Even 2020 was a record year for building permits in the city, he said. "COVID has certainly impacted some businesses, but the construction industry is very busy," he said. It's consistent across all kind of construction as well, from single-family dwellings to office buildings to commercial use. Phenomenal growth province-wide in 2019 Province-wide, investment in building construction, year over year from January to November as measured by Statistics Canada, was virtually flat in 2020. But that followed phenomenal growth in 2019, a 57 per cent increase in residential construction investment and 30 per cent in non-residential construction. The focus shifted from residential to non-residential development, with a five per cent decline in residential investment and 20 per cent increase in non-residential. In September, building permit values on the Island crushed a monthly record with $98,991,000 worth of permits, 45 per cent higher than the previous record set in May 2019. The high volume in Charlottetown continues even as the planning department is down a position. "To get another person back in our office and up to speed takes a little bit of time. But if people could be patient, that would be much appreciated."
MONTREAL — Quebec reported 707 new cases of COVID-19 and seven more deaths on Sunday, as much of the province prepared to transition to the lower orange alert level of pandemic-related public health restrictions. Two of the deaths occurred in the past 24 hours, while the rest happened earlier or at an unknown date. Hospitalizations declined by nine to 592, with 107 people in intensive care, which is two fewer than the day before. The Quebec government announced last week that it would ease restrictions in most of the province on March 8, with the exception of Montreal and the surrounding regions where restaurant dining rooms will stay closed and an 8 p.m. curfew remains in effect. Quebec City and four other regions will move to the lower, "orange'' pandemic-alert level of the province's response framework, which means more businesses can open and the start of the nighttime curfew will be pushed back to 9:30 p.m. Health Minister Christian Dube asked Quebecers to stick to their own regions, writing that "now is not the time" for non-essential travel. But for some, the loosened restrictions didn't go far enough. A high-school football player led a protest in front of Quebec City's legislature on Sunday, demanding the resumption of all organized sports. The province announced last week that school athletics could resume as of March 15, as long as students stay within classroom groups. Police, meanwhile, announced that they had issued tickets totaling more than $1,500 to 36 people who gathered at a cottage north of Quebec City on Saturday evening. Local police said they broke up the gathering at the residence in Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury, Que., after being contacted by citizens at about 8:30 p.m. The province administered 15,329 doses of vaccine on Saturday, and has promised to ramp up its campaign this week as more regions begin mass vaccination of the general public, beginning with older seniors. Mass immunization began last week but has been concentrated in the Montreal area due to a higher number of cases and the risk posed by more contagious virus variants. The age of eligibility for a vaccine ranges from 70 to 80, depending on the region. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021 Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press