A Windsor elementary school outbreak with 49 cases set the "precedent" for asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in the province, according to one expert.Biostatistician Ryan Imgrund, who is based in Newmarket, Ont., and works with a number of public health units across the province, told CBC Radio's Windsor Morning that the outbreak at Frank W. Begley Public Elementary School set the example of what should be done. "At the time that they found those cases, Windsor was not one of those super danger zones like Toronto, Peel and some other areas like that," Imgrund said. "So I don't think it was expected by anyone that a school that is in a lower-risk area would find up to 50 cases ... I think Begley set the precedent for the whole entire province what we should be doing." After three staff members tested positive for the disease, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit dismissed the entire school on Nov. 17 and advised everyone to get tested. COVID-19 testing was prioritized for the entire school population, with a temporary testing site set up in the school's gymnasium. Overall, 40 students and nine staff members have tested positive. In the same week that Begley was declared an outbreak, W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School also went into outbreak and dismissed all students after two positive cases. Testing was prioritized for all members of this group, with a temporary testing site set up in the school, and seven people were confirmed positive. Despite this, and the fact that Begley is the largest school outbreak in the province, Windsor was not included in the launch of an asymptomatic testing pilot project announced last week. Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Thursday that the pilot is available for students and staff in the province's COVID-19 hotspots of Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa. "Right now, the next four weeks are targeting the highest-risk regions," he said at the time. "We're following the advice of public health. If they determine, they provide a recommendation it should be expanded or we should augment the list, of course we will continue to follow that direction and implement it swiftly."Lecce told reporters that 99.85 per cent of students in the Windsor-Essex region remain COVID-free, and he and his staff are in contact with school board and public health officials to keep transmission down.Though Begley remains closed, superintendent of education at the Greater Essex County District School Board Sharon Pyke told CBC News Wednesday that the board is working with the health unit and hopes to announce a reopening date this week. A letter sent out to parents in regards to the outbreak had asked them to have their child tested, even if they were asymptomatic. When asked whether she'd like to see asymptomatic testing in schools available in the region, Pyke said it might be best to spare our resources. "I think that if we can keep on top of doing our self-assessments, I think that we perhaps may be better served in terms of our resources in our area, we want to make sure that we're able to test the people that need to be tested," she said."So do I agree? Any kind of preventative measure is good for anyone so of course I want the best for students, I want the best for our staff. I just want to make sure that they're allocated in the right space and the right spot." An investigation by the local health unit is still ongoing to determine how COVID-19 transmission was so widespread in Begley.
Le Centre de ressources pour hommes Optimum annonce un partenariat avec le duo humoristique Nouveaux pères, afin de mieux faire connaître ses services et inciter davantage d’hommes dans la région du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean à demander l’aide dont ils ont besoin. Optimum espère avec ce nouveau partenariat fera rayonner davantage ses différents services offerts dans la région. Rappelons que l’on compte parmi ceux-ci le service Trajectoires, qui offre de l’entraide psychosociale, Maison Oxygène, qui propose de l’hébergement avec ou sans enfants pour les hommes, ainsi que Cran d’arrêt, qui aide les hommes à mettre un terme à leurs comportements violents ou impulsifs. Le duo d’humoristes de Dolbeau-Mistassini a été choisi puisqu’il rejoint un nombre important de parents dans la région. Samuel Tremblay et Maxime Pearson partagent sur les réseaux sociaux les anecdotes de leur quotidien depuis quelques années déjà pour valoriser le rôle des pères de la nouvelle génération. « Malheureusement, encore en 2020, trop peu d’hommes souffrant de détresse psychologique se tournent vers les services professionnels dont ils ont besoin. Nous croyons que les gars de Nouveaux pères — par leur approche humoristique et positive — contribuent à faire tomber les barrières. Nous sommes très fiers de pouvoir désormais les compter dans notre équipe », souligne Sébastien Ouellet, directeur général du Centre de ressources pour hommes Optimum, par voie de communiqué de presse. Samuel Tremblay et Maxime Pearson considèrent les services offerts par le Centre de ressources pour hommes Optimum comme essentiels, mais également méconnus et souhaitent les faire rayonner davantage. « Encore aujourd’hui, la demande d’aide chez les hommes représente un défi important. Avec ce partenariat, nous espérons convaincre davantage d’hommes à entrer en contact avec l’organisme. Les gars, ne traversez pas seuls les moments difficiles. Appelez ! », soutiennent les cofondateurs, dans un courriel envoyé au Quotidien. Les pères admettent que dès leur première discussion avec le directeur général de l’organisme, ils ont été témoins de l’importance que le Centre de ressources a dans la région. Ils sont fiers d’offrir un coup de main à cet organisme, et du même coup, avoir un impact positif sur leur communauté. Plusieurs actions de communication seront déployées, au cours des prochains mois, afin de faire la promotion des différents services reliés par Optimum. Une campagne de financement pour les différents services de l’organisme sera aussi organisée dès janvier.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
HALIFAX – Boylston residents won’t be rocking Netflix around-the-clock anytime soon, but they and about 1,000 other rural residents of Antigonish and Guysborough counties are set for unexpected upgrades to high-speed Internet by 2023 – adding to communities announced by Develop Nova Scotia in September. “They’re getting new coverage as a result of scope expansions,” Braedon Clark, a Develop Nova Scotia official, told the The Journal in an email last week. “The number of homes and businesses to be connected is 1,342.” The upgrades now include: Southside Antigonish Harbour, Monks Head, Kenzieville (Keppoch Mountain, Addington Forks, Ohio, Hillcrest, Ashdale, Pinevale, South Salt Springs, Beech Hill), Fairmont, Pleasant Valley, Caledonia Mills (Lower Springfield, Roman Valley), Brierly Brook (James River), Mulgrave (Aulds Cove, Pirate Harbour, Middle Melford, Hadleyville), and Guysborough (Boylston, North Riverside, Manchester, Glenkeen). Other rural communities scheduled for scope expansion along the Eastern Shore include: Musquodoboit Harbour (Lower West Jeddore, Quinlan Dr., Ostrea Lake Rd., Anderson Rd., Innis Cove, West Petpeswick), Lake Charlotte (Clam Bay, Upper Lakeville, Ship Harbour, DeBaies Cove, Southwest Cove, Little Harbour, Clam Harbour, Clam Bay), Goffs (Old Guysborough Rd., Devon), and Chezzetcook (Lawrencetown, Leslie Rd.). The new $24-million initiative through the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust (with an additional $9 million from other levels of government and the private sector) will connect 6,700 homes and businesses across the province with high-speed Internet at speeds higher than Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) targets by late 2023. “These scope expansions will reduce the number of remaining unserved or underserved homes and businesses by over half,” said a Develop Nova Scotia press release on Nov. 23. “Preparatory and engineering work will begin immediately on the contract extensions.” It’s not clear whether the scope expansions are part of a planned connection program or an ad hoc response to areas overlooked during the second round of high-speed rural Internet enhancements in the fall. “They (the communities) were identified as still needing connection after our Round 2 announcement in September,” Clark said. According to Develop Nova Scotia, since the first round began in February, more than 21,000 of a targeted 81,500 homes and businesses now have networks in place to provide new or improved high-speed Internet. It also says projects are being completed about 50 per cent faster than industry standards. So far, the Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust, other levels of government and the private sector have invested about $263 million the initiative with a goal of hooking up 97 per cent of rural communities in the province with high-speed Internet by summer 2022.Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
VIENNA — Austria will allow skiing to start on Dec. 24, but will limit the capacity of ski lifts and keep restaurants, bars and hotels largely closed until early January, officials said Wednesday. It also will require many people entering the country over the Christmas period to go into quarantine.Tough lockdown measures took effect Nov. 17 and are due to expire on Sunday. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said a limited curfew that has applied around the clock will be eased, and from Monday will apply only between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.Schools will be reopened next week, except for older students, as will nonessential shops, museums, libraries and some other businesses. But restaurants will remain closed for all but takeout and deliveries, as will bars, and hotels will remain closed except to business travellers.Austria has been hard hit by the resurgence of coronavirus infections in Europe, though its infection rate has declined over recent weeks. It currently is recording 335 new infections per 100,000 residents over seven days, down from around 600 last month — but still more than twice as many as in neighbouring Germany, which is in a milder partial shutdown.Kurz said that progress over recent weeks, and the expectation of more before Christmas, allows “cautious” reopening steps. But he said the tourism and catering sectors won’t start reopening until Jan. 7.That will effectively mean that, over the holiday season, skiing is possible in most cases only on day trips for those Austrian residents who live fairly close to the Alps. Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler said there will be mask-wearing and distancing requirements, and the capacity of cable cars will be limited.Kurz said that allowing skiing for locals but keeping the catering sector closed is “absolutely justified.”“Skiing is a sport that takes place in the open air, an individual sport, so epidemiologically it must be assessed differently from catering, where we know that there can time and again be infections,” he said.Kurz added that he, as a resident of eastern Austria, won't benefit but “for a large part of our population it will then be possible to go skiing at least for the day.”France and Germany, which has closed its ski resorts, are pushing for similar measures to be taken in other European countries, like Italy and Spain, for the Christmas season. Ski resorts are already open in neighbouring Switzerland, which has allowed skiing.Kurz rejected suggestions that Austria's limited reopening was a response to pressure from abroad.“We decide according to our infection situation, and our expectation is that we can push down our infections very, very strongly by Christmas,” he said.Austria also plans tougher border controls and quarantine rules in an effort to dissuade people from travelling abroad over the Christmas period. Austrian residents' summer trips to see relatives in the western Balkans, in particular, were blamed as a significant source of the resurgence of infections this fall.The quarantine rules will be imposed by mid-December and will apply “if you're coming from a country that exceeds a certain limit of infections,” Kurz said. He didn't specify that level.The requirement will be for new arrivals to go into quarantine for 10 days, which they can cut short by taking a test after five days, Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.___Geir Moulson reported from Berlin.Geir Moulson And Philipp Jenne, The Associated Press
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The head of the European Parliament delegation representing Hungary’s ruling party is being targeted for expulsion from his political group in the European Union legislature after comparing the group's leader to the gestapo.Members of the European People’s Party have called for a vote on expelling Tamas Deutsch, the head of the Hungarian delegation to the centre-right group. Deutsch is a founding member of Hungary’s right-wing ruling party, Fidesz, which belongs to the European People's Party.In a Monday letter addressed to the leader of the EPP in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, and delivered to all group members, EU lawmakers referenced their “growing dismay and impatience (with the) increasing radicalization and verbal abuses of certain Fidesz MEPs."The signatories demanded that a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion be held at the group’s next meeting on Dec. 9.Weber, who represents Germany, has been critical of Hungary and Poland’s decision to veto passage of the EU’s next seven-year budget and coronavirus recovery fund, which the two countries oppose due to a so-called rule of law mechanism which would link payment of EU funds to countries’ adherence to democratic standards.Weber had called the veto “irresponsible,” and said if media freedom and judicial independence were upheld in Hungary, the country's leaders had no reason to fear the rule of law mechanism.Deutsch told two Hungarian news outlets last week that Weber’s comments were reminiscent “of the Gestapo and (Hungary’s communist-era secret police) the AVH.”In the letter demanding a vote on Deutsch’s expulsion, EPP lawmakers called his remarks “shocking and shameful.”“Comparing our support for the rule of law with Gestapo or Stalinist methods is an insult to all of us in the EPP group,” the letter reads.Deutsch told pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet on Tuesday that the effort to oust him from the EPP was proof that Hungary must “use all means” to prohibit adoption of the rule of law mechanism.The Hungarian delegation to the European People's Party also is facing fallout from the news that another senior lawmaker had attended an illegal lockdown party in Brussels. Fidesz MEP Jozsef Szajer resigned Sunday after police broke up a party that media reports described as a sex orgy.The EPP suspended Fidesz’s membership in 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary and engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric. In a weekend interview with Belgian newspaper De Standaard, Weber said the EPP would have already made a decision on expelling Fidesz from the group were it not for the coronavirus pandemic.A spokesperson for the EPP confirmed to The Associated Press that Weber had received the letter, and said that it would be up to the EPP’s presidency when to hold a vote on Deutsch’s exclusion.Justin Spike, The Associated Press
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — The Supreme Court of Slovakia on Wednesday increased the prison sentence of a former soldier convicted of killing an investigative journalist and his fiancée, a case that triggered a political crisis and brought down the country’s government. In April, a lower court gave Miroslav Marcek a 23-year prison term for the contract killings of Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova in February 2018. The high court increased the sentence to 25 years. Marcek had pleaded guilty to fatally shooting the two but appealed as did the prosecutors. The verdict by the Supreme Court is final. In September, a court acquitted a businessman, Marian Kocner, who was accused of masterminding the slayings, and one of his co-defendants. Prosecutors appealed the verdicts but the Supreme Court has yet to rule on that. Kuciak, 27, was shot in the chest and Kusnirova, also 27, was shot in the head at their home in the town of Velka Maca, east of Bratislava, on Feb. 21, 2018. Kuciak had been investigating possible government corruption. The killings prompted major street protests and a political crisis that led to the government’s collapse. Two other defendants have been sentenced in the case. One received 25 years in prison in September for his role. The other, who had acted as a go-between, agreed to co-operate with prosecutors in exchange for a lesser sentence and received a 15-year prison term in December. The Associated Press
NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA: Local communities continue to report a number of active COVID-19 cases. On Sunday, November 29th, the Durham Region Health Department reported the highest number of new cases of the virus in the region, at 130. As of press time, the Durham Region Health Department is reporting Uxbridge continues to have the highest number of active cases in North Durham, with five people listed in isolation. The Durham District School Board reports three cases have been confirmed at Uxbridge public school, with two classes listed in isolation. The Uxbridge community has had 131 confirmed cases to date, with 105 listed as resolved and 21 deaths. Scugog currently has one case listed in isolation, and 28 resolved cases. Brock Township also has one case in isolation, and 20 resolved cases. Meanwhile, the Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health unit is reporting Kawartha Lakes currently has six unresolved cases of the virus, 174 resolved cases, and 32 deaths.Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper
Ontario reported another 1,723 cases of COVID-19 and 35 more deaths linked to the illness Wednesday.Five public health units recorded 100 or more new cases: * Peel Region: 500 * Toronto: 410 * York Region: 196 * Durham Region: 124 * Waterloo Region: 103Other areas that saw double-digit increases were: * Hamilton: 74 * Windsor-Essex: 60 * Ottawa: 46 * Halton Region: 45 * Simcoe Muskoka: 45 * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 20 * Niagara Region: 18 * Chatham-Kent: 15 * Southwestern: 12 * Thunder Bay: 10(Note: All of the figures used for new cases in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry's COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)At the province's daily news conference Wednesday, Health Minister Christine Elliott said Ontario has "plateaued at a very high level." She also said case numbers went up after lockdowns were enacted in certain regions "largely because of some of the events in certain communities."The province should be seeing the results of lockdown period reflected in its case numbers in the next week or so, Elliott said."That's what we all want to see," she said.The health minister also said that the province's chief medical officer, Dr. David Williams, is now talking with medical officials in communities that are seeing spikes in cases to see if they should be moved into different zones of the province's COVID-19 restriction plan.Also included in today's new cases are 166 that are school-related: 140 students and 26 staff members. Some 742 of Ontario's 4,828 publicly-funded schools, or about 15.4 per cent, currently have at least one case of COVID-19, while six schools are currently closed because of the illness.The new infections drive the seven-day average to a record high of 1,720.There are currently about 14,526 confirmed, active cases of the COVID-19 throughout the province, also a new high. They come as Ontario's network of labs processed 44,226 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a provincewide positivity rate of 4.7 per cent. Another 49,574 tests were added to the queue to be completed.The number of patients in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased to 656, while the province reported 183 people are being treated in intensive care. Of those, 106 are on ventilators. Elliott acknowledged that some hospitals are feeling the strain of the virus."There's no question that many Ontario hospitals are under stress right now, particularly in the lockdown areas," she said.But, she added, "To say that they are in crisis is not the case."The 35 additional deaths push the official toll to 3,698. Twenty-two of the 35 deaths in today's update were residents of long-term care.Premier Doug Ford returned to the press conference after missing Tuesday's briefing. Ford said he had "zapped" his back, but is now feeling better.Ford was asked why he isn't forcing big box stores, which are allowed to stay open in Ontario while small businesses in some areas are forced to close, to cordon off non-essential goods, as is being done in other jurisdictions."What the health table is trying to do is limit the amount of visits when you're out there," Ford said. "I know it's not fair, but it limits people from going out and [making stops] on the way home."
Supporters thronged buses taking Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong to jail after he was sentenced to more than 13 months in jail for organizing a protest.
RIO DE JANEIRO — A large gang of heavily armed bank robbers invaded the Brazilian city of Cameta just one day after a similar force struck another mid-sized city on the opposite side of the country, taking residents hostage as they looted a bank.Para state’s public security secretariat said in a statement Wednesday that more than 20 criminals with assault rifles attacked a branch of the state-run Bank of Brazil in the city in the Amazon region overnight.Neither the bank nor officials immediately said how much money might have been stolen.Video on social media showed a line of roughly a dozen hostages being led away from a square in Cameta, a city of 140,000 people, and shots ringing out in the night. Local media reported that a military police station was attacked, preventing officers from responding.“They drove around shooting at the police and at the houses. It was a horrible scene to see,” said Junior Gaia, who lives nearby, in an interview with television network Globo News. “We were all laid out on the floor, afraid they would invade the homes.”The co-ordinated attack came a day after a similar overnight robbery of a Bank of Brazil branch in Brazil's southern region. In the city of Criciuma, dozens of gunmen armed with assault rifles seized the city and took hostages as they used explosives to rob a bank.As in Cameta, they took actions to impede police response and fired shots into the air, apparently to scare people and keep them at home.The robberies took place at the start of December, when bank coffers are filled in anticipation of employees withdrawing their year-end bonuses, according to Cássio Thyone, a council member of the non-profit Brazilian Forum on Public Safety. Many Brazilians get an extra month’s salary paid out in December, known as the 13th salary.“It doesn't happen without planning,” Thyone told the Associated Press by phone. “It's another demonstration that everything is planned. They think of the location, and the timing.”Thyone added it isn't possible at this stage to say whether the two incidents might have been co-ordinated by the same group. Brazil’s powerful organized crime and drug trafficking rings have been suspected of involvement in such attacks in the past.Bank of Brazil said in a statement that it is collaborating with police investigations, and has yet to begin evaluating the structural damage to its branch. Images published by online media outlet G1 showed the facade blown open and shards of glass littering the ground.In Cameta, tactical forces as well as police from other areas were dispatched to reinforce the police. Authorities located the criminals’ abandoned truck and found explosive devices within it, according to the security secretariat.Two people were shot, including one hostage, a young man, who was killed. The other has been hospitalized with a leg wound.Cameta Mayor Waldoli Valente offered his condolences for the victim on Facebook.“Our city was always peaceful and I ask that everyone stay at home,” he posted about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.___Associated Press writer Marcelo Silva de Sousa contributed to this reportDavid Biller, The Associated Press
SCUGOG: Scugog councillors have decided not to send their 2021 cost of living wage increase back to the municipality, opposing a motion intended to lessen the tax impact on the community. At a meeting on Monday, November 23rd, Regional Councillor Wilma Wotten made a motion to have “council members support the donation of their 2021 cost of living wage increase back to the municipality to reduce the 2021 tax impact for Scugog Township.” The motion noted how the COVID-19 pandemic “continues to negatively impact economic realities for residents, businesses, non-profit organizations and charities.” Councillor Wotten explained why she decided to go this route instead of recommending a wage freeze. “I feel firmly we would be moving backwards if we were to do a full freeze. Originally I thought it would be good to donate it to a charity of choice, but I think it is better to donate it back to the township, so it can go into our revenue,” she said, adding this money would go towards all taxpayers in Scugog, rather than one charity. Ward 4 Councillor Deborah Kiezebrink supported Councillor Wotten’s motion. “I really appreciate Councillor Wotten’s heart and her thoughts. These have been extremely difficult and painful times for so many people. It’s hard because the services the township has to provide cost more. We’re all affected by this,” she said. But, the majority of councillors rejected the motion. “I’m one of those people who [doesn’t] have a problem donating back, but I’d like to donate back to the community by donating the money to the food bank. These are lean times for all of us, and especially for food banks and especially here in Scugog,” Ward 5 Councillor Lance Brown said. Ward 3 Councillor Angus Ross said this motion does not do enough to help the community. “I support council giving back to the community 100 per cent, but I don’t support this motion because I don’t believe it actually gives back to the community. I think it is a gesture, and that’s fine and I think [there are] times for gestures, how be it though I don’t think this is time for one,” he said. Scugog finance staff estimated the collective wage increase to be about $4,128. Councillor Wotten stated it would be improper for one councillor to decide what one charity these combined funds should be donated to. “How do we choose which one is more important?” she said. Councillor Wotten’s motion failed four to two. Councillors were instead encouraged to give back to charities of their choice. “I know this year I have stepped up my contributions to different organizations, especially in town, and I would just encourage everyone to do the same,” Mayor Bobbie Drew said.Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper
BROCK: The Township of Brock is continuing its battle against a proposed supportive housing development in Beaverton. At a meeting on Monday, November 23rd, councillors voted to pass an interim control bylaw “to prohibit the establishment of Supportive Housing and Modular Construction, including Manufactured Dwelling Houses, for a period of twelve (12) months, in order to allow for the appropriate completion of further research and consultation.” The supportive housing project is being spearheaded by the Region of Durham, and was announced earlier this year as an expedited development project. According to the Region of Durham, the project is expected to include about 50 units, and will be designed as an apartment building for “single, bachelor-style living only.” The facility is also expected to offer “supports and wrap-around services to residents in the north and the greater Durham community.” But the project has been controversial within the Brock community, with several local residents and councillors recently speaking out against it. Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble stressed the importance of establishing this bylaw measure. “This is really just an important step in better preparing for the future of Brock Township, and making sure we do our due diligence in terms of the planning study, to make sure any supportive housing projects we choose to move forward with are done in a way that is setting them up for success,” she said. Ward 1 Councillor Michael Jubb also supported passing the bylaw. “This is a new reality of life that’s upon us, and it’s very important right now we get this right,” he said. But Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell was concerned about the potential legal ramifications of the bylaw. “It’ll have a real financial impact on our taxpayers if it turns into a legal battle, so I can’t support this,” she stated. Regional Councillor Ted Smith said negotiations between the township and the Region of Durham will continue on this development. Ward 3 Councillor Walter Schummer called this new bylaw “good forward looking planning.” Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper
Following the province’s daily COVID Measures update on Dec 1, 2020, Big Lakes County has been upgraded to Enhanced Status. As the Towns of Swan Hills and High Prairie are within Big Lakes County; both communities have also been upgraded to Enhanced Status. This means, effective immediately and until at least December 15th, the following protocols must be followed along with all previous COVID social distancing measures. The following measures went into effect across Alberta on Nov 24, 2020: • No indoor social gatherings in any setting • Outdoor gatherings have a maximum attendance of 10 • Weddings and funeral services have a maximum attendance of 10, with no receptions permitted • No festivals or events • Working from home should be considered, where possible • Grades 7-12 will be doing at-home learning between November 30, 2020 to January 11, 2021 • ECS-Grade 6 at-home learning after break until January 11, 2021 The following measures for Enhanced Status regions now also apply to Swan Hills: • Places of worship must operate at one-third capacity with mandatory masking in place • Restricted access to some businesses and facilities Swan Hills currently has one active case of COVID-19. Detailed information about the restrictions to some businesses and facilities can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx.Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Two seniors in Windsor-Essex have died due to COVID-19, the local health unit reported Wednesday.The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said the two deaths were a man in his 90s who was living in a long-term care home and a woman in her 80s."We have lost 82 people to COVID-19," health unit CEO Theresa Marentette said, adding that 56 deaths have occurred in retirement and long-term care homes.There were 41 newly diagnosed cases announced Wednesday, bringing the cumulative total to 3,740. About 11 per cent — 410 cases — are currently active.Fifteen people are in hospital, with two in the intensive care unit.Of the 41 cases announced across the region, 13 are close contacts of a confirmed case, one is community acquired and 27 are still under investigation. There are 18 outbreaks in the community, including seven at workplaces. * Three in Leamington's agriculture sector. * One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. * One in a Leamington place of worship. * One in Leamington's finance and insurance sector. * One in Windsor's manufacturing sector.Two community outbreaks are still active: one at Victoria Manor Supportive Living in Windsor and another at Riverplace Residence in Windsor. Two schools — Frank W. Begley Public School and W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School — also remain in outbreak.There are five long-term care and retirement homes in outbreak: * Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh with one staff case. * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with one staff case. * Chartwell Royal Oak Residence in Kingsville with one staff case. * Riverside place in Windsor with 17 resident cases and three staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 18 resident cases and three staff cases.
NAIROBI, Kenya — In a breakthrough a month after deadly conflict cut off Ethiopia’s Tigray region from the world, the United Nations on Wednesday said it and the Ethiopian government have signed a deal to allow “unimpeded” humanitarian access, at least for areas under federal government control after the prime minister’s declaration of victory over the weekend.This will allow the first food, medicines and other aid into the region of 6 million people that has seen rising hunger during the fighting between the federal and Tigray regional governments. Each regards the other as illegal in a power struggle that has been months in the making.For weeks, the U.N. and others have pleaded for access amid reports of supplies running desperately low for millions of people. A U.N. humanitarian spokesman, Saviano Abreu, said the first mission to carry out a needs assessment would begin Wednesday.“We are of course working to make sure assistance will be provided in the whole region and for every single person who needs it,” he said. The U.N. and partners are committed to engaging with “all parties to the conflict" to ensure that aid to Tigray and the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions is “strictly based on needs."Ethiopia’s government did not immediately comment.For weeks, aid-laden trucks have been blocked at Tigray’s borders, and the U.N. and other humanitarian groups were increasingly anxious to reach Tigray as hunger grows and hospitals run out of basic supplies like gloves and body bags.“We literally have staff reaching out to us to say they have no food for their children,” one humanitarian worker told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.“We have been urging, waiting, begging for access,” another aid official, Jan Egeland with the Norwegian Refugee Council, told the AP. “We're ready to go tomorrow. ... It has been heartbreaking to be forced to wait."More than 1 million people in Tigray are now thought to be displaced, including over 45,000 who have fled into a remote area of neighbouring Sudan. Humanitarians have struggled to feed them as they set up a crisis response from scratch.Communications and transport links remain almost completely severed to Tigray, and the fugitive leader of the defiant regional government this week told the AP that fighting continues despite Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's declaration of victory.It remains almost impossible to verify either side’s claims as the conflict threatens to destabilize both the country and the entire Horn of Africa.“It is critically important to get objective information as to what is going on,” the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, told the BBC. “The active military phase is basically over. I’m not saying the fighting is over. So at this point, the humanitarian phase is the most important one.”Nagy added that “now the danger is this evolving into a long-term insurgency." He also disagreed with Ethiopia's description of the conflict as a “law enforcement operation” to arrest the Tigray leaders, saying that “it was obviously a military operation.” The fighting between two heavily armed forces has seen airstrikes, rocket attacks and tanks.For weeks, the U.N. and others have been increasingly insistent on the need to reach some 600,000 people in Tigray who already were dependent on food aid even before the conflict.Now those needs have exploded, but Abiy has resisted international pressure for dialogue and de-escalation, saying his government will not “negotiate our sovereignty.” His government regards the Tigray regional government, which dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition for more than a quarter-century, as illegitimate after months of growing friction as he sought to centralize power.Amid the warring sides’ claims and counter-claims, one thing is clear: Civilians have suffered.The U.N. says food has run out for the nearly 100,000 refugees from Eritrea whose camps close to the Tigray border with Eritrea have been in the line of fire as the fighting swept through. Reports that some refugees have been killed or abducted, if true, “would be major violations of international norms,” the U.N. refugee chief said over the weekend in an urgent appeal to Abiy.These are “extremely vulnerable people” who fled persecution in Eritrea, Egeland said. “It’s been extremely frustrating to lose access and communication.”With infrastructure there and elsewhere in Tigray damaged, the U.N. has said some people are now drinking untreated water, increasing the risk of diseases.In the largest hospital in the Tigray capital, Mekele, staff had to suspend other activities to focus on treating the large number of wounded from the conflict, the International Committee for the Red Cross said.The ICRC, the rare organization to travel inside the Tigray region and its borderlands, has reported coming across abandoned communities and camps of displaced people.No one knows the true toll of the fighting. Human rights and humanitarian groups have reported several hundred people killed, including civilians, but many more are feared.Inside Tigray, and among the majority ethnic Tigrayan refugees in Sudan, people are exhausted.“The world hasn’t seen anything like this year. I have never seen anything like this,” said one refugee who gave his name as Danyo, standing on the edge of a river that people on Tuesday were crossing to seek safety.“When Dr. Abiy came, we saw him as a good thing,” he said. “Our hopes were fulfilled, because his talk in the beginning was as sweet as honey, but now the honey has gone sour.”___Fay Abuelgasim in Hamdayet, Sudan, contributed.Cara Anna, The Associated Press
Union representatives want to be involved in reforming a “toxic, racist” environment at York Children’s Aid Society (CAS). The Province is looking into allegations of harassment and racism, which surfaced this summer. In July, the government announced an operational review of YRCAS “Our government has been unwavering in our position that we have zero tolerance for racism, bullying and harassment. We want to ensure the health and well-being of staff at YRCAS. We also want to ensure that the children, youth and families of York Region are receiving the services they need and deserve.,” said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says front-line workers must have a real voice in finding solutions to address those toxic working conditions at York CAS. An independent probe has delivered a scathing review of the management at the CAS. Thomas says the society’s board of directors must include members of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 304 in drafting a 30-day work plan ordered by the provincial government. "An independent review has made it clear: the leadership at York CAS has failed the organization and the children it serves,” said Thomas. “Thanks to the tenacity and determination of the front-line workers at the agency, those leadership failures have now been exposed and confirmed. “If the agency is going to heal and begin moving forward again, those front-line workers must have a real say in the reforms that are long overdue.” The independent report ordered by the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services found that senior management at York CAS has created a “toxic” environment in which a pervasive “culture of fear” and “racism and anti-Black racism” have left workers traumatized. The ministry ordered that report after the executive of OPSEU Local 304 did a survey of staff that found an overwhelming number were experiencing depression, panic, and emotional breakdowns because of the workplace culture. The agency now has 30 days to issue a work plan addressing the toxic workplace. The chair of the agency’s board of directors, Tahir Shafiq, held a meeting with staff about the report, but many were left disappointed. “For years, we’ve been telling the employer that we and the services we provide are hurting. And for months, the board has stood behind the senior managers,” said OPSEU/SEFPO Local 304 President Andrew Harrigan. “Even with this damning report in his hands, the board chair did little this morning to reassure us that the board is ready to take real action against the harassment and racism we face.” Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO first-vice president/treasurer said the board would be negligent not to involve the front-line workers in its plan for the future. “With courage and conviction, these front-line workers have been fighting for months to fix their broken agency,” said Almeida. “They’re a credit to children's aid because they're putting the families and children they care for above their own safety and security. “To not involve them in the needed reforms would be as shameful as the management malpractice that they helped expose.” Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
Toronto saw 438 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, after two earlier consecutive days of record highs.The city saw 761 new confirmed cases of the virus on Tuesday and 643 cases on Monday.As of Wednesday, there are also 235 people in hospital as a result of the virus with 51 in intensive care in the city.Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa was not present at the news conference due to a death in her family, Mayor John Tory said. De Villa did speak on CBC's Metro Morning Wednesday morning.At Wednesday's news conference, fire chief Matthew Pegg, who is leading Toronto's preparedness and response to COVID-19, said 49 outdoor ice rinks have now opened. Spaces can be booked online, with limited walk-on spots for those who can't book ahead. A maximum of 25 people are allowed on the ice.Officials were also asked about a Toronto Star report that revealed the owner of Adamson BBQ operated his Leaside-area restaurant for years without a business licence. Pegg said owner Adam Skelly was ticketed three times but that it is up to the court to decide on penalties.Carleton Grant, the head of the city's municipal licensing and standards division, added it was "disappointing" that Skelly has been flouting the law and added the city is working to bring him into compliance.The news conference comes as Ontario reported another 1,723 cases of COVID-19 and 35 more deaths linked to the illness Wednesday.
Shawn Mendes, “Wonder” (Island)On his 14-track fourth album, Shawn Mendes is airy, grand, intense and rapturous. It is the sound of a man totally and hopelessly in love.Adoration is baked into “Wonder,” from the almost religious-sounding title track as Mendes sings “I wonder what it’s like to be loved by you," to the last song, where, with a voice shaking with emotion, he sings over acoustic guitar: ”I can’t imagine what a world would be without you." The album's cover captures Mendes ecstatic, floating in waves.Though she is mentioned only once — in the liner notes, thanked right after his family — it's not hard to find the source of this ardour: Mendes’ longtime romantic and quarantine partner, singer Camila Cabello. Whatever happens to this couple in the future, she has inspired a hopelessly romantic set.“Teach Me How to Love” flirts with ’80s disco (with Anderson .Paak on drums) and “305” (the area code to Cabello's Miami) is a candy-colored piece of '60s doo-wop in which Mendes sings to his lover, “If there’s a door to heaven, baby you’re the key.” The lovers are finding a new home to share in “24 Hours” — “It’s a little soon but I wanna come home to you,” he sings.Mendes' falsetto soars with pure glee atop a pillow of strings on the standout “Look Up at the Stars” (where Mendes sings “the universe is ours” in a Coldplay “Yellow” way) and “Always Been You” is both soaring and triumphant. This is music you’d hear in a mall in heaven.The only tune that veers out of the love zone is Mendes’ duet with Justin Bieber, “Monster,” an outstanding moody banger about how early fame messes with you, sung by a rising heartthrob singer-songwriter and an established one.In-demand producer Kid Harpoon, who took Harry Stiles to new heights on “Fine Line,” is all over this gooey album. There's little of the urgency Mendes has shown before — no “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” or ”In My Blood" — and “Wonder” is sometimes hard to take during extended plays — especially its pointless intro — but to find fault with it is to find fault with love itself.___Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwitsMark Kennedy, The Associated Press
Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting one new case of COVID-19 and four new recoveries on Wednesday, as the province's chief medical officer of health says vaccine distribution will be slow going in its early days.The federal government is preparing to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine, once it receives necessary approvals, as early as January.Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald and the public health team is working to build a plan for distribution in Newfoundland and Labrador. Fitzgerald said the province will be getting shipments fairly slowly at first, and in the beginning its distribution will be able to go through the already in place vaccine distribution system. "I think we need to also consider how we're getting this vaccine is not have we've gotten, for example, flu vaccine where we get quite a large amount all at one," said Fitzgerald."I want to temper people's expectations for what's going to happen when we get a vaccine. It's going to be slow in the beginning and we'll get more doses as the months go on."Premier Andrew Furey told reporters he had spoken with federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc on Sunday about distribution. He said Newfoundland and Labrador's challenges differ from those seen in other jurisdictions, and the province has accepted military advice and expertise in the distribution. "We hope to have a broader announcement with more detail about a vaccine distribution committee, which will have military representation on it as such that we can operationalize, and plan and stress test, the plan prior to receiving the vaccine," Furey said. New caseThe new case reported on Wednesday is a man in the Eastern Health region between 20 and 39 years old who returned home from work in Nunavut.According to the Department of Health the man is self-isolating and contact tracing by public health is underway.Because of this case the Department of Health is asking passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 696 from Toronto to St. John's arriving Tuesday, Nov. 24 to call 811 to arrange COVID-19 testing.In the event of a negative test result, public health is encouraging all passengers to continue monitoring themselves for symptoms for a full 14 days from the time of their arrival in the province.The province's active caseload is now 30.Watch the full Dec. 2 update:During Wednesday's live COVID-19 briefing Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said she continues to hear about workplace Christmas parties being planned, after many days of warning against them and other gatherings over the holidays. "As I've said before this is just one year, and things will have to be different," said Fitzgerald. Health Minster John Haggie also said he has heard of New Year's Eve parties being planned, with virtual tickets suggesting patrons refrain from taking photos or even leave their cellphones at home."What I would suggest for the people who are seriously thinking of going to those, you are actually putting yourselves in harm's way," said Haggie. "There is no conceivable reason why a legitimate establishment would want you to not take a phone or not take photographs unless they're worried about the repercussions of what you might see and record on social media. We are much better than that, and you'll go home from a place like that with more than a hangover if you're not careful."Close eye on clustersOver the last couple of weeks the province has seen three small clusters of COVID-19 crop up in different areas of the province. On Wednesday Fitzgerald said the province is still following up on those clusters in Deer Lake and Grand Bank. "Some people in Grand Bank have gotten through their isolation periods, but not everyone has. So we're still following up, and same for Deer Lake — we're only about half way through that," she said. "We're watching things closely. Anyone who was a close contact may go on to develop symptoms, so that's certainly something we're watching out for. But, by and large, we know what's happening there and we feel comfortable with where we are now."Furey said an update on potentially returning to the Atlantic bubble will be provided on Monday. Travel formAs of Tuesday, the province increased its information-gathering from anyone arriving into Newfoundland and Labrador from elsewhere in Canada. All travellers, including rotational workers, must fill out an online form up to 30 days prior to their arrival. They will then receive a reference number that must be presented to border officials when they get to the province. People crossing the border between Labrador West and Fermont, Quebec will not have to fill out the form electronically in advance.Fitzgerald reassured anyone who already has a travel exemption, noting that it remains valid, but those people still need to fill out the online form to ensure smooth entry into the province.Newfoundland and Labrador's total caseload overall is now 340, with 306 recoveries.In total, 63,163 people have been tested since March — an additional 322 since Tuesday's update.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Hanover Deputy Mayor Selwyn Hicks has been elected as Grey County's warden for 2021. “I believe that my credentials speak for themselves. I'm an early riser with a strong work ethic and I have the capacity to build relationships that promote progress,” Hicks said while addressing county councillors during the virtual inauguration session held Tuesday afternoon. The position of warden is voted on by fellow county council members and holds a one-year term. Hicks was nominated for the position by Southgate Deputy Mayor Brian Milne and seconded by Meaford Mayor Barb Clumpus. Hicks was born in South American country of Guyana and moved to Toronto when he was nine. He moved to Hanover in 2003 and he entered politics in 2006, serving as a councillor from 2006 to 2014 and then as deputy-mayor since 2015. Hicks served as warden of Grey County in 2019. He is a lawyer by trade with offices in Hanover and Walkerton, which he operates with his wife of 24 years, Barbara. They have four children: Selwyn IV, Rylee, Connor, and Chloe. At Tuesday’s meeting, Hicks defeated current Grey County Warden Paul McQueen, who is the mayor of Grey Highlands. In the coming months, Hicks says he plans to meet with each lower-tier council representative to build relationships and seek out priorities. “I will also immediately reach out to our provincial and federal representatives to schedule a minimum of one formal meeting each quarter to build relationships and plan how we can work together to address important priorities for the people of Grey County,” he said. “I'm also now a member of the Western Ontario Wardens Caucus," Hicks added. "I have strong relationships from my first year as warden and I plan to continue to build those relationships.” For the coming year, Hicks said he would like to focus on affordable housing, rural broadband programs, and regional transportation. “We've got a number of things on the go. We're still in a COVID environment and we have to figure out how we pull out of this thing together, how to keep people safe, keep our good track record in public health, and take care of our seniors,” he added.Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca