As aerosol transmission of COVID-19 becomes more widely acknowledged, schools and businesses are looking for new ventilation solutions to guard against it.
As aerosol transmission of COVID-19 becomes more widely acknowledged, schools and businesses are looking for new ventilation solutions to guard against it.
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to reassure Canadians on Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccines will start to arrive in the coming months even as he acknowledged that other nations are likely to start inoculating their citizens first."One of the things to remember is Canada no longer has any domestic production capacity for vaccines," Trudeau said during his regular COVID-19 news conference outside his home in Ottawa."We used to have it decades ago, but we no longer have it. Countries like the United States, Germany and the U.K. do have domestic pharmaceutical facilities, which is why they're obviously going to prioritize helping their citizens first."At the same time, Trudeau underscored the importance of getting inoculations to Canadians.“We know we're not going to get through this pandemic without a vaccine," he said.The federal government has signed orders for millions of doses from a variety of foreign pharmaceutical companies in recent months, he said, and Canada has been pushing the international community to ensure equal access for all.“The very first vaccines that roll off an assembly line in a given country are likely to be given to citizens of that particular country,” he said.“But shortly afterwards, they will start honouring and delivering on the contracts that they signed with other countries, including with Canada. We've secured millions of doses of the vaccines of the various vaccine candidates around the world.”The expectation is that doses will start to arrive in Canada in the first few months of 2021, he added.At the same time, Trudeau said, "we've begun to invest once again in ensuring that Canada will have domestic vaccine production capacity because we never want to be caught short again, without the ability to support Canadians directly.”The federal government announced in August that it was contributing $120 million over two years to build a biomanufacturing facility in Montreal that includes the National Research Council.Ottawa previously committed $23 million to Saskatoon’s VIDO-InterVac operations in March and pledged $175 million to Vancouver-based AbCellera Biologics in May to boost its research and production capabilities.Trudeau said it will take time for Canada’s own vaccine-production capability to get up to speed. Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner blasted the Liberals later Tuesday for not moving faster on that front. She also called on the government to provide a timeline for when Canadians can start to see vaccines in the country."Because until we have that information, there's no certainty for Canadians and I think that's leading to a lot of mental health issues, it's leading to business closures," she said.During a separate news conference, Public Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Canada has signed contracts for more doses per capita than any country in the world and that efforts are now underway to prepare for their arrival in the next few months.That involves buying 126 freezers, including 26 ultracold ones, to hold millions of doses of vaccines. Ottawa is also seeking private bidders to run the logistics and considering what role the military could play.Health Canada has started work on approving three vaccines, Anand added, and deliveries won’t start until a vaccine candidate gets that green light.The number of new COVID-19 cases across the country continued to grow, with more than 1,000 each in Ontario and Quebec along with nearly 60 new deaths.Alberta brought in new restriction Tuesday as it also announced more than 1,000 new cases of its own and 16 deaths.Under the new rules, indoor private social events are illegal. Students in Grades 7 through 12 will transition next week to at-home learning and the school holiday break will be extended from Dec. 18 to Jan. 11.But Premier Jason Kenney opted to keep business, including retail and clothing stores open, with 25 per cent capacity. Casinos will be allowed to run their slot machines at 25 per cent capacity and churches will still be allowed to hold services with one-third their normal audience. Restaurants can still offer in-person dining. To justify avoiding a stricter lockdown, Kenney used the example of a Venezuelan refugee who he said had sunk all her money into her small food stand and broke down in tears as she told him she would be ruined if forced to close."I would ask people who have the certainty of a paycheque -- particularly a government paycheque -- to think for a moment about those individuals whose entire life savings are tied up in businesses such as that," Kenney said."For some, perhaps, it is a little bit too easy to say just flick a switch. Shut them down."In neighbouring Saskatchewan, another 175 new cases were reported and 471 in Manitoba, where chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin warned the provincial health-care system is being pushed close to capacity.The Manitoba government also reported it had issued one ticket — with more expected — in connection with a Sunday church service in a rural area near Steinbach, southeast of Winnipeg, that allegedly violated a ban on public gatherings. There were 37 new cases were reported in Nova Scotia, with new restrictions set to come into effect in Halifax. Five new cases were reported in New Brunswick and two in Newfoundland and Labrador. Yukon was also adopting mandatory mask orders despite no new cases being reported. “There are more regions of the country with high infection rates,” Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Tuesday.“And it is clear that COVID-19 knows no bounds. Communities, jurisdictions and whole regions that were little, if at all, impacted in the past (are) now seeing community spread. Some areas are experiencing very high rates of infection for the first time.”Meanwhile, the Ontario government said it would start distributing rapid tests for COVID-19, adding that the new tools are already being used in some hospitals and long-term care homes.Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province would continue to deploy the 98,000 ID Now tests and 1.2 million Panbio tests it has received from the federal government in the coming weeks.The Quebec government clarified its plan for the Christmas holidays Tuesday, saying citizens can attend only two events in a four-day window.Premier Francois Legault's government initially announced it would permit gatherings of a maximum of 10 people for four days between Dec. 24 and 27, and asked Quebecers to voluntarily quarantine themselves for a week before and after in exchange.On Tuesday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister decided to weigh in on Quebec's plan, which he called "dangerous.""I don’t want to get into quarterbacking other provinces. There are premiers there doing their absolute best, except to say this: I think it’s dangerous what the Quebec premier has decided to announce on Christmas," Pallister said. In response, Legault said the number of new cases per million residents is currently lower in Quebec than Manitoba.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.—With files from Steve Lambert in Winnipeg, John Chidley-Hill and Paola Loriggio in Toronto, and Morgan Lowrie in Montreal.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Tay council will consider a proposal put forward by the Simcoe County District School Board. The board is offering the township the chance to purchase a piece of surplus school property in Waubaushene. A letter included in the agenda for Wednesday's council meeting indicates that the school board has decided to go ahead with the disposal of the approximately one acres property on 199 Pine St. in the township's hamlet. Further in the letter from the board, the former Waubaushene Pines Elementary School property is being offered to the township at fair market value, which requires an appraisal from a qualified real estate agent at the time of the potential sale. The piece of land is zoned as institutional and has a 6,800 sq. ft. vacant building included in the deal. This proposal, which was forwarded on Nov. 12, will lapse within 90 days of being presented, so council has to consider all aspects and make a decision about its intentions around the property by Feb. 10. Also on the agenda is a request from the Parks, Recreation, and Facility Services division to submit a funding request of $39,500 to the Ontario Trillium Foundation's (OTF) Resilient Communities Fund. The pot of money was created to support non-profit organizations in their medium- to long-term COVID-19 recovery and rebuild efforts. The parks and recreation department would like to use the money to provide modified summer day-camp programming in 2021 in compliance with the provincial and public health guidelines related to COVID-19. The library has submitted a list of COVID-19 related expenses to be included in the grant ask. They're looking for washable keyboards for public computers, money for a Zoom Pro membership, mobile divider screens, personal protective equipment and sanitizing supplies, and wipeable chairs, all for the cost of $5,600. However, the staff report says that with the exception of the wipeable chairs, the rest of the items do not qualify for the OTF grant category. For those items, staff recommends the library be given money from the safe restart funds already received by the township. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and can be viewed online or an audio-only version is available via phone at (705) 999-0385 using the meeting ID 858 8639 0753.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
NEW YORK — A lawyer for Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite charged with finding girls in the 1990s for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse, said Tuesday that her client is awakened every 15 minutes in jail while she sleeps to ensure she's breathing.Attorney Bobbi Sternheim told a Manhattan judge that Maxwell faces more restrictive conditions than inmates convicted of terrorism or murder. Maxwell has no history of mental health issues or suicidal ideation and no criminal history, either, she said.She asked a judge to intervene on her client’s behalf to improve her conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. In her request, Sternheim made no direct reference to Epstein taking his life in August 2019 in his cell at another federal lockup, in Manhattan.U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan instructed defence lawyers and prosecutors to confer over the next week over Sternheim's request that the Brooklyn facility's warden directly address the concerns.A spokesperson for prosecutors declined comment. A message for comment was sent to the Federal Bureau of Prisons spokespeople.Maxwell, 58, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she procured three girls for Epstein to abuse in the mid-1990s. She has been held without bail while she prepares for a July trial.On Monday, prosecutors notified the judge that Maxwell was put in quarantine last week for 14 days after someone who works in her area of the jail tested positive for the coronavirus. She may not meet with her defence team during that period.In their letter, prosecutors said the 13 hours a day Maxwell gets to review trial materials on a laptop computer is more time than any other prisoner is allotted.The reference bothered Sternheim, who said Maxwell faces burdens unmatched by other inmates and has been mistreated. She noted that the latest production of evidence by prosecutors was over one million documents and Maxwell lacked enough time to study the material.She said Maxwell was initially quarantined without soap or a toothbrush and that medical and psychology staff stopped checking on her, failing to tell her the results of her COVID-19 tests or what to do if she becomes symptomatic. Prosecutors said Monday that her test result for the coronavirus was negative, and she will be tested again at the conclusion of her quarantine.The lawyer said Maxwell is kept in what is, in effect, solitary confinement and she is excessively and invasively searched and monitored 24 hours a day, including camera surveillance in her cell and a camera following her movement whenever she is permitted to leave her cell.“And despite non-stop in-cell camera surveillance, Ms. Maxwell’s sleep is disrupted every 15 minutes when she is awakened by a flashlight to ascertain whether she is breathing,” she wrote.Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press
As expected, the 2020 ski year will be different (by a long shot) than previous years. Get used to seeing more sanitizing stations, increased cleaning by staff and plenty of signage reminding you to be physically distanced. Each B.C. Interior resort is taking its own approach to navigating COVID-19. We took a look at the approaches of a few and compiled some of the important bits below. While there are some differences, there are plenty of commonalities. Namely, if you’re showing symptoms, stay home. For a full run-down of the rules, click on the links below, questions can be directed to a friendly guest services agent. SUN PEAKS RESORT TICKETS There will be a limited amount of day tickets available for sale each day to manage guest numbers.Tickets should be purchased online in advance to guarantee access, as window ticket sales may not be available for the majority of the season. Seasons pass sales were limited this year to facilitate on-mountain social distancing. Use tap payment when possible. WHAT TO WEAR A face covering will be required in lift lines, while riding chairlifts, and any time you’re not seated while visiting outdoor dining facilities. When indoors, guests are asked to wear a double-layered face mask that covers your nose and mouth. Outdoors, a face covering, like a scarf, is acceptable. BAGS There is no indoor storage for belongings available this winter. Guests are asked to leave all personal belongings in their vehicle, and ensure your vehicle is locked and items are secure. Parking lots are being monitored by additional security. LESSONS Private and group lessons are available with limited numbers, children six to nine years and 13 and up can have up to three participants ages 10 to 12 can have a maximum of five students plus the instructor. WHAT YOU WON’T SEE OPEN (AT LEAST FOR NOW) Tube time and bungee trampoline. Childminding is also unavailable until further notice. RIDING THE CHAIR Guests who are travelling or skiing together can be seated together on chairlifts. Groups of guests will not be seated with people outside of their bubble. Two unrelated single skiers may ride lifts together, sitting on opposite sides of the quad chairlift. But singles will not be required to ride with another guest if they are not comfortable and would prefer to ride alone. BIG WHITE PASS SALES Season passes are no longer available. Day tickets will be available for purchase online only. The tickets will be collected at one of 15 pick-up locations around the resort. Big White will be a “cashless resort,” bring your debit or credit card if you’re looking to make a purchase. TRAVEL/PARKING Express bus service from the Central Okanagan and Kelowna will be unavailable this year. On weekends and during peak periods, skiers and boarders will be greeted by a parking attendant, who will guide you to an appropriate place to park. FACE MASKS Wear a mask or face covering in all lift lines, loading and unloading the lifts, and in all indoor spaces. Plexiglass partitions have been installed at all counters where customers and staff interact. SILVERSTAR (Tentatively opening Dec. 4) FACE COVERINGS Coverings required for both staff and guests in all indoor spaces, except when seated to eat or drink. They will also be required outdoors when two metres of physical distance cannot be maintained. When riding a shuttle, waiting in a lift line, loading and riding a chairlift, or entering a facility, you will be required to wear a face covering. OPENING DATE Weather permitting, SilverStar will open for the season on Friday, Dec. 4. The resort stated on its webpage that it’s confident that this this date, which is later than its traditional opening day, will allow more acreage and lifts to be open, helping to spread guests out over the mountain. The resort will also be open to only season passholders at first as it assesses its operations and capacity limits. Information about when day ticket holders can access the mountain will be announced at a later date. PARKING SilverStar is implementing an online parking reservation system, meaning you have to let it know you will be coming in advance. The resort stated the system will help reduce crowds on peak days and enable appropriate physical distancing. LIFTS Guests will notice additional spacing measures, including extended maze designs, more lateral spacing and increased signage, to encourage physical distancing. Guests will self-group and load chairlifts with their party. Lift attendants will not require guests to ride a chairlift with people they do not know. The mountain also stated high-capacity chairlifts and closed cabin carriers “may be the exception, and may be loaded in a way that allows for physical distancing.” SNOW SPORTS To begin the season, SilverStar will offer private lessons for related parties of up to five. The resort said it may revisit offerings based on changes to the government health and safety procedures, with further information provided at a later date. ON MOUNTAIN DINING The mountain will be offering an expanded grab-and-go and take out menu. All purchases will be cashless. The resort is encouraging guests to bring their own lunch and have allocated new additional designated areas for people to eat while remaining physically distanced. REVELSTOKE MOUNTAIN RESORT (Tentatively opening Nov. 27) MASKS AND FACE COVERINGS Masks or face coverings will be mandatory for everyone throughout the resort. This includes in the village base area, all indoor facilities, lift lines and while riding in the gondola and on chairlifts. Revelstoke defined appropriate masks and face coverings are defined as any double-layer material that adequately covers a person’s mouth and nose. On-site ticket sales are being eliminated, with all ticket sales to be done online. Reservations will not be required for season passholders and any pre-purchased lift products. Daily capacity restrictions will be in place. RIDING THE LIFTS Guests will have the option to ride the lifts either in mixed or private cohorts. Mixed cohorts will be loaded onto the gondola with six passengers per gondola cabin, or four people per chair. Private cohorts can load up to eight people per gondola cabin or four people per chair. Gondola cabins have been protected with the Integral Surface Protection Program, which is used to limit the ability of viruses to stay on surfaces. Lift attendants that may need to physically assist with loading/unloading will wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. SNOW SCHOOL Group lessons will not be offered with the exception of Kids Weekend Programs. Weekend programs are being limited to residents within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. Snow School participants will be required to undergo a self-health screening prior to starting their lesson. All Snow School staff and guests will be required to wear a face covering, except when they are moving on skis or snowboards. Private Lessons will be available for ages four and up. FOOD AND BEVERAGE Seating will be reduced in all venues with tables spread out to allow for adequate social distancing. Tables will be sanitized after every use. Face coverings will be required for guests and staff when inside any food and beverage outlet, except when seated at a table and eating or drinking. Expanded outdoor seating will be available at Revelation Lodge. Expanded room service from the Rockford Bar | Grill and Mackenzie Tavern. Online ordering will be available for all food and beverage outlets. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA)broke down where people contracted COVID-19 last week in an update posted online Tuesday. “Saskatchewan has high rates of community transmission. Case counts, active outbreak investigations, hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase,” the media release said. As of Nov. 18, the COVID-19 case was 104 cases per 100,000 people, which was an increase from 78 the previous. As of that report Saskatchewan still had the fourth highest case rate in the country behind Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec. Some areas of Canada have higher case rates than areas of the United States. That’s different from the active case count average, which was over 200 as of Tuesday. According to the federal government, the updated active case count per 100,000 population for Saskatchewan is 244 as of Tuesday. The daily test positivity rate was 6.7 per cent, up from 5.9 per cent last week. The test positivity rate is highest in adults age 20 to 39 and lowest in children under 10-years-old. The most likely acquisition source continues to be households and close contacts. The top source for persons who acquire COVID-19 in the community is recreation/recreational facilities such as ice rinks, bingo halls, bowling alleys and casinos with 25 per cent. Gatherings such as weddings, funerals and house parties are second with 17 per cent. Group homes, shelters and outreach programs were third with 14 per cent. Tied for fourth are educational facilities and food service establishments with eight per cent. In educational facilities cases are more likely teachers or staff and test positivity rates for students are higher in the 14-year-old to 19-year-old age range for students. In food service establishments cases are more likely among co-workers. Long term care, retirement and personal care homes are fifth with seven per cent. Fitness centers and transportation and trades (taxi drivers, meat packing facilities) are tied for sixth with six per cent. Nightclubs are seventh with five per cent. Places of worship are eighth with two per cent. The common risk factors in all of these is shared indoor airspace without masking, physical distancing and frequent hand hygiene, the province said. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has declared a public health emergency in the province, adding enhanced restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 for at least three weeks.
B.C. shattered its single-day record for new COVID-19 cases, confirming another 941 on Tuesday and 10 more deaths within the last 24 hours, as the province continued to urge everyone to put a pause on social interactions.The Fraser Health region continued to drive the spike in new infections with 72 percent of the new cases occurring in that health region.There are currently 284 people in hospital, up from 198 last Tuesday. Of that number, 61 are in intensive care.The death toll now stands at 358, up from 310 a week ago, with 7,732 active cases of people infected with the disease in B.C.Public health is actively monitoring 10,283 people across the province who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure. In total, there have now been 28,348 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since the pandemic began, and 19,605 people have recovered.$230 fines for not complying with mandatory mask orderThe Fraser Health region had the highest numbers of new infections on Tuesday, with 678 or 72 per cent of Tuesday's new cases. There were 174 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, accounting for 18 per cent of new cases, 49 in the Interior Health region, 29 in the Northern Health region, and 11 in the Island Health region.There are two new outbreaks connected to long-term care homes. One is at Little Mountain Place in Vancouver, and the other is at Valley Haven Care Home in Chilliwack.A previous outbreak at Fraserview Intermediate Care lodge in Richmond has been declared over.Meanwhile, the province has extended its state of emergency for another two weeks and announced $230 fines for anyone who does not comply with its mandatory mask order. The mandate requires workers and members of the public to wear face coverings in all retail environments, restaurants and indoor public spaces, including common areas of workplaces, except when eating or drinking.The order for mandatory masks does not include schools.The province says anyone who is not wearing a mask, who does not leave a space when asked, or who responds with belligerent or abusive behaviour is subject to the fine.Burnaby Hospital outbreak tied to 55 cases, 5 deathsIn a news release Tuesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix continued to implore British Columbians to support health-care workers by doing what they can to stop the spread of the coronavirus."Everyone, young and old, needs to pause their social interactions and increase their layers of protection and stay within their local communities as much as possible," the statement said."We need to ease the pressure to allow us to get over this next hurdle, and importantly, give us the ability to once again enjoy those things that are important to all of us."After an outbreak was declared at the Burnaby Hospital on Nov. 9, 55 patients have tested positive for COVID-19 and five people have died, Fraser Health said in a statement Tuesday,The health authority is also investigating 40 cases involving staff to determine whether they are connected to the outbreak.As a result of the outbreak, the hospital is not accepting new admissions with the exception of the intensive care, maternity and community palliative care units. Other measures and restrictionsOn Tuesday, health officials further tightened restrictions to try and prevent the spread of the disease.They ordered dance studios, yoga studios, gymnastics centres and other spaces offering group indoor fitness activity to temporarily suspend those activities across B.C.Social gatherings in B.C. are now restricted to household members only.That means no one should be meeting for social reasons with anyone outside of their immediate household, although a physically distanced walk with a friend or arranging for grandparents to pick up the kids from school is still acceptable.People who live alone can create a small exclusive "bubble" with one or two others, Henry has said.All indoor and outdoor events of any size have been suspended, including popular holiday events.B.C.'s latest public health orders will be in effect until at least Dec. 7.On Monday, Henry compared this pandemic to an Ironman competition, with "three different, strenuous legs."The final leg will only come when a vaccine is available, she said. "We got through the swim — just barely. And now we're on the bike ride and we've got some big hills to climb ahead of us," she said."Right now, we have a distance to go."
Nova Scotia is responding to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases with new restrictions focused on the Halifax area and a massive push for rapid testing regardless of symptoms. The goal is to find every case and preserve the relative safety the province has enjoyed for months.
The Canadian tradition to give thanks on the second Monday in October isn't the only Thanksgiving some in southwestern Ontario celebrate.This year, like almost every other for the last 73 years, members of the Cottam United Church in Essex County will put together a feast.It's normally a big event, even attended by Americans. This year, the COVID-19 restrictions won't allow for that, but the members of the church aren't ready to let go of the tradition."It's more than just a meal. It has been an event that has brought our community together beyond just even the community of the church. It's generally the community of both people who live in the area and our American cousins," said Rick Mayea, an organizer of the event.Deciding to still host the dinner was the easy part, he said. The challenge was how to do it and keep the community safe. In the past, hundreds dined in the 150-capacity hall from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with another 400 to 500 takeout orders. Since that large of a group gathering isn't currently allowed, they came up with a simple plan with the help of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit."Just consider it an average Tim Horton's drive-thru," Mayea said. This year each dinner costs $18. They're filled with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, peas, squash, then a choice of pie, either apple, cherry or blueberry.So far about 800 meals have been pre-ordered, but they expect more. Normally the group serves about 1,200 meals. The event only comes together thanks to dedicated volunteers. Only 50 can be inside of the church at one time, but Mayea said they've been able to make it work. "It'll be a little bit different than trying to serve a person a meal," he said. "People will come through and be packing the meals."He says they can produce and pack 100 meals in about 15 minutes and are prepared for a different traffic situation in the parking lot. "We have people out there controlling things," Mayea said. "We do have people greeting cars as they arrive and kind of directing them where to go."This year all the meals must be pre-ordered for pick up by Tuesday night. Church volunteers will start peeling the potatoes to feed an estimated 1,150 starting Wednesday.
Council will be scrutinizing staff recommendations around budget items at its special council meeting this Thursday morning. One of the items to be added to the operating budget is capacity to bring on a second summer municipal law enforcement student next year. Staff rationalizes the increase in budget by stating in its agenda report that an additional hire in that position would assist in dealing with the increase of a seasonal influx of complaints, as well as provide additional enforcement on weekends and holidays during summer months. The anticipated impact to the 2021 operating budget for the Protective and Development Department would be $12,270. Further in budgeting, council will have the opportunity to indulge in detailed discussions around operating and capital budget recommendations coming forward from the various divisions within the corporation. Part of it involves not increasing wages for council and volunteer firefighters and changing the summer student staff complement from 10 summer students hired for 18 weeks to four positions hired for 26 weeks and two summer students hired for eight weeks changed to three summer students hired for 18 weeks. It's not clear how this affect students away at university or college, who aren't home for more than half the year. The staff report also alludes to discussions being held between the YMCA and township staff about a loan that will be offered to the non-profit, in collaboration with neighbouring municipalities. The staff report goes on to list the total community grants given this year. The number comes out at $251,000 and increases to $290,000 for next year based on requests that have already been received by council. Staff is also recommending deferral of a few capital projects that were identified in bridge inspections reports over the years. The suggestion is to defer the projects for another couple years. The three projects to be deferred until 2022 are the Granny White bridge, Rumney Road culvert replacement and Rosemount Road - north bridge. In concluding the report, staff is still bringing forward a 2.7% increase in tax rate for 2021, unless reserve funds are used to bring it down to the 2% council has requested. In addition, staff is presenting options for acquiring infrastructure funding to support projects such as Oakwood Park improvements, upgrades to Tay Community Rink, Port McNicoll fire hall health and safety upgrades and resurfacing Tay Shore Trail. The meeting can be viewed online or an audio-only version can be accessed via phone at (705)999-0385 using the meeting ID 897 6141 3858.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Independent businesses in Sun Peaks are bracing for the prospect of a potentially devastating Christmas season, as rapidly changing orders around inter- and intra-provincial travel hold the potential of cutting off visitation from the Lower Mainland, as well as Alberta. Earlier this week, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced recommendations against non-essential and recreational travel throughout the province, in addition to an already standing order against travel to or from the Fraser Valley Health (FVH) or Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) regions. Matthias Schmid, owner of McSporties rental and retail, said the prospect of the Lower Mainland and other regions being cut off for the long-term would have a significant impact on local businesses, many of which reported a strong summer season fuelled by domestic travellers after having had to shutter their businesses in March. “During the summer months Sun Peaks saw a ton of traffic front the Lower Mainland. They were coming to do the VRBOs, they were renting bikes and hiking,” said Schmid. “The Lower Mainland really fed Sun Peaks this summer, so I would say that’s a major artery for us that’s cut off.” During a Wednesday press conference, B.C. Premier John Horgan indicated that British Columians can expect more orders from Henry today. Horgan also called for the federal government to implement restrictions on non-essential travel between the provinces. The conference came on a day that B.C. saw a record high of new COVID-19 cases, with 762 cases announced. Horgan also said the two week order against travel outside of the VCH and FVH regions will be extended for an additional two weeks or more. The original two week order, which covered from Nov. 7 to Nov. 23, stated that travel outside of the region should be limited to essential travel only. British Columbia’s tourism agency, Destination BC, has also invested significant amounts of money promoting domestic tourism within the province. Schmid said the rapidly changing situation has caused significant challenges from a planning perspective, as clients from around B.C. and other provinces face uncertainty about whether or not they will be able to come to the resort. “It’s really hard,” he said. “That’s probably the most challenging thing I’d say, it’s the lack of sort of being able to plan.”Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
WASHINGTON — The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):7:15 p.m.Some of Joe Biden’s former colleagues in the Senate who are hoping for a spot in his administration may be out of luck.The president-elect indicated in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt that he was less likely to choose a member of Congress for his Cabinet because of the slim margins in the Senate and House. Choosing a person in either chamber, “particularly a person of consequence,” he said, “is a really difficult decision that would have to be made.”Biden announced his first Cabinet nominations on Tuesday, all Obama administration veterans. But he insisted in the interview that his should not be considered a “third Obama term” because “we face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama-Biden administration,” after President Donald Trump has pushed isolationist policies. In unveiling his national security team, Biden pledged that they would “restore America globally.”The president-elect also expressed optimism about his transition now that the roadblocks put in place by the Trump administration have been removed. He says “it’s a slow start” but “I’m feeling good about the ability to be able to get up to speed” and expects “full co-operation” from the Trump administration on the transition.Biden will deliver a Thanksgiving address in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday before travelling to his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where he’ll spend the holiday with family.___HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN'S TRANSITION TO THE WHITE HOUSE:President-elect Joe Biden formally introduced his national security team to the nation, building out a team of Obama administration alumni that signals his shift away from the Trump administration’s “America First” policies and a return to U.S. engagement on the global stage.Read more:— Biden transition gets government OK after Trump out of options— Biden certified as winner of Pennsylvania presidential vote— Biden win over Trump in Nevada made official by court___HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:5:45 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden says that the transition of power has “already begun” and that he feels his team is “going to not be so far behind the curve as we thought we might be in the past.”He says: “There’s a lot of immediate discussion, and I must say, the outreach has been sincere. There has not been begrudging so far. And I don’t expect it to be. So yes it’s already begun.”Biden made the comments in an interview Tuesday night on “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.”President Donald Trump continues to sow doubt about the outcome of the Nov. 3 election and has not formally conceded but increasingly his administration is preparing for the handover. The General Services Administration gave the green light for the transition to begin Monday evening.Biden says the teams are already working on getting him access to the Presidential Daily Brief as well as planning a meeting between his staff and the Trump administration team overseeing the response to the coronavirus.___5:25 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden will begin receiving classified briefings regularly now that the Trump administration has removed a major roadblock from his transition.Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday that while it’s been offered, he hasn’t yet received the Presidential Daily Brief, the briefing on the most sensitive intelligence offered to top U.S. officials.Biden has been blocked from receiving intelligence briefings, and his team had been barred from contacting their counterparts in the Trump administration, due to the General Services Administration’s refusal to ascertain that Biden won the election while the Trump campaign pursued legal challenges contesting the vote count. That ascertainment finally came Monday night, lifting the roadblocks to co-operation.Biden said he’ll now have the briefing “on a regular basis.” Since the ascertainment, he said, Trump administration officials “have been very forthcoming, offering all access.”Biden also said that he had not yet spoken to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, but that his staff had and that he’s been “very, very helpful.”___4:05 p.m.President Donald Trump has signed off on giving his successor access to the nation’s most secure secrets.An administration official said Tuesday that Trump has allowed President-elect Joe Biden to receive the presidential daily brief, the highly classified briefing prepared by the nation’s intelligence community for the government’s most senior leaders.The official said the logistics of when and where Biden will first receive the briefing were still being worked out.The determination comes a day after the General Services Administration cleared the way for beginning formal transition planning to the Biden administration ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration.Trump continues to sow doubt about the outcome of the Nov. 3 election and has not formally conceded, but increasingly his administration is preparing for the handover.___2:50 p.m.Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says his agency is working to immediately get briefing materials to President-elect Joe Biden’s team and pledged a “professional, co-operative and collaborative” transition to the new administration.Azar said in a news briefing Tuesday that the deputy surgeon general Rear Admiral Erica Schwartz began communicating Monday night with Biden’s team.That communication was triggered by the head of the General Services Administration earlier Monday writing the necessary letter of “ascertainment” acknowledging Biden as the apparent winner of the Nov. 3 election.Azar said his department will provide briefings with Biden’s team to ensure they’re getting information that they feel they need that is consistent with the law and past practice.___2 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden says his creation of a senior climate post on the National Security Council will put climate change “on the agenda in the situation room” for the first time.Biden talked to reporters Tuesday after naming former Secretary of State John Kerry as his climate envoy in national security matters.Biden says the appointment means the U.S. will have a “full-time climate leader” for the first time in top-level meetings to make sure the issue does not get overlooked.Biden’s emphasis on curbing the fossil fuel emissions that cause global warming, and on dealing with worsening natural disasters and other problems of climate change, come in intense contrast to the views of President Donald Trump. Trump has said scientists were mistaken in their warnings on global warming.Biden says he’ll announce a climate-policy co-ordinator and policy-making structure for his administration next month.___1:35 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden says he is “pleased” that his administration has officially been allowed to begin the transition process in filling out a new government.Biden said Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware, that receiving the transitional status known as “ascertainment” would allow his team to “prepare to meet the challenges at hand” in transferring power from the Trump administration to his own.Late Monday, the General Services Administration “ascertained” that Biden is the apparent winner of this month’s presidential election. That process gives the incoming president and his team access to officials at federal agencies and directs the Justice Department to work on security clearances for transition team members and Biden political appointees.Biden spoke as he rolled out his picks to fill top national security slots in his Cabinet including secretary of state, national security adviser and a new, Cabinet-level post dedicated to climate change. He said he hoped his nominees receive a prompt confirmation process.___1:20 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden says his national security team will lead the way in reflecting the fact that “America is back” on the world stage.During a speech Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said that his team would “embody my core beliefs that America is strongest when it works with its allies.”In rolling out his national security picks, including top posts for State Department and Department of Homeland Security, Biden said the nominees show “experience and leadership, fresh thinking and perspective and an unrelenting belief in the promise of America.”The State Department alone has seen a significant number of departures from its senior and rising mid-level ranks during the Trump administration. Many diplomats have opted to retire or leave the foreign service, given limited prospects for advancements under an administration they believed did not value their expertise.___1:10 p.m.A leading Republican political committee has begun airing a campaign ad warning that if a Democratic Senate candidate wins a January runoff election in Georgia, liberals will “control everything” in Washington.The choice of words is noteworthy because it implies that President Donald Trump has been defeated by Joe Biden. That’s a fact that Trump has refused to acknowledge more than two weeks after the election was called for the Democrat, and that many top Republicans have also been loath to concede.The Senate Leadership Fund began airing the ad Tuesday. It attacks Democrat Jon Ossoff, who is challenging incumbent GOP Sen. David Perdue. The ad says Ossoff supports “liberal megadonors’” agenda of “job-killing tax hikes, economy-killing regulations.”The ad says, “The radical left bought Ossoff. Because if he wins, they control everything, and we lose.”The spot began airing the morning after the General Services Administration formally agreed to let the transition to a Biden administration begin. The leadership fund is closely aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.There is also a second runoff in Georgia pitting incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock.Democrats must win both Georgia races to capture the Senate majority. That would create a 50-50 chamber, which Democrats would control because Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking vote.The Associated Press
REGINA — The Saskatchewan Opposition wants Premier Scott Moe to convene a multi-sector working group to deal with the province's increasing spread of COVID-19. NDP Leader Ryan Meili wrote in a letter to the premier Tuesday that more people are falling ill and ending up in hospital because the Saskatchewan Party government's approach isn't working.Health officials on Tuesday reported 175 new daily cases of COVID-19. Some 105 people were in hospital, 20 of them in intensive care. The seven-day average of daily cases in the province stood at 209. Meili said he wants Moe to assemble a group with the NDP, health and education officials, and representatives from business, labour and Indigenous communities. The group would come up with a co-ordinated approach to get the virus's spread under control and to share important information and advice. "The COVID-19 situation is moving quickly in Saskatchewan," Meili wrote. "Every day presents an opportunity to take additional action to slow the spread and provide the support families, communities and businesses need to make it through this challenging time."In a statement, Moe said public-health officials are already listening to the groups Meili listed in his letter for input on virus-prevention guidelines. "We will continue to do so," Moe said. The premier was to provide an update on the province's fight against COVID-19 on Tuesday from his home in Shellbrook, Sask., where he was self-isolating after getting tested for COVID-19. But the briefing was postponed until Wednesday."Further measures are under active consideration and development," communications director Jim Billington wrote in a statement. "The decision was made to postpone the press conference to allow for additional actions to be developed and communicated to the public tomorrow afternoon."Billington said Moe was asymptomatic and waiting for his test results. Public-health officials have spent the last two weeks issuing stark warnings about needing to limit people's number of contacts to slow the virus's spread and relieve pressure on contact tracers.The Saskatchewan Health Authority said the province's daily test positive rate from Nov. 12 to Nov. 18 sat at 6.7 per cent. In an update posted online Monday, the authority said the test positivity rate was highest in adults between 20 to 39 and lowest in children under 10.It also said COVID-19 was primarily spreading through households and close contacts, while 25 per cent of transmission was coming from recreational facilities such as ice rinks, bingo halls and casinos. Weddings, funerals and house parties were the next most likely source of infection.Cases have also been found in different schools across the province, as well as personal and long-care homes.The Ministry of Corrections and Policing said four inmates in jails in Saskatoon and Regina have COVID-19. Twelve correctional staff have also tested positive, eight of whom work at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, while the others are at facilities in Regina and Prince Albert. A spokesman said all offenders are to receive masks.Moe has rejected calls from hundreds of doctors, a nurses union and the Opposition to close non-essential businesses, including gyms, casinos and bars, for two to three weeks to keep the health-care system from being overwhelmed by hospitalizations.On the weekend, he told a radio talk show that a shutdown would mean disaster for small businesses and his government would look at all other options to avoid sweeping closures. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
The Limerick Friends’ Club hosted another takeout dinner to raise money for a worthwhile local cause. The dinner was held Nov. 14 at the Limerick Community Centre, and people came to pick up their meals from 4 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. According to Jo-Anne Carrol, they served over 60 people, down from the number of patrons who came to the takeout dinner back in September, but not bad either, considering the ongoing pandemic. Proceeds from the dinner went towards the Coe Hill Food Bank, to help out with their Christmas baskets. Even though they weren’t able to attend the dinner on Saturday, Councillor Ingo Weise and his wife Bonnie, who is a member of the Friends’ Club, helped set things up the day before. He acknowledged the impact that the Limerick Friends Club has had in raising money for worthy causes in years past, and how difficult it has been this year with COVID-19. “The Friends’ Club has most recently donated money to Wollaston Township for Halloween candy because the children couldn’t go door to door. These dinners have also provided an important social function in the community where people could get out and meet their neighbours. The roast beef dinner on Nov. 14 was held as a take-out so the social aspect will be missing although the volunteers themselves were finally able to get back together. The township of Limerick gratefully acknowledges the important service the Friends Club and all our volunteers provide to our community.” Dawn Lockhart, the chair of the Limerick Friends’ Club was busy in the kitchen on the evening of Nov. 14, but described the menu when she came out to deliver a few dinners to patron Lawrence Hiltz. “There’s roast beef, mashed potatoes, vegetables, a little bit of horseradish in there too, nice fresh homemade bread, coleslaw and gravy,” she says. “We also have a delicious triple layer cake for dessert and when that runs out, we have four different types of pie; apple, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb and cherry.” Jo-Anne Carrol was also helping out in the kitchen, and described the volunteers’ routine getting everything together. “We started yesterday peeling potatoes and things like that, and then the meat was cooked at 8 a.m. this morning. Then we came back at noon to do the rest. We’re getting to be a well-oiled machine. Our first one [the takeout dinner back in September] was a little delayed, but this one worked out really well. It’s a real learning curve,” she says. The price for this takeaway dinner was $15 for adults, $7 for children aged six years to 12 years, and kids under five years old ate for free. Sharon Boomhour was outside the community centre collecting money for the dinners and accepting donations. All told, they ended up raising around $850. Diane Percy explained that they intended to donate the money in the form of gift cards to the Coe Hill Food Bank’s Christmas baskets. “They put them in the baskets and we’ll be giving them a bunch of gift cards for that. And then we’ll also be donating some money to the seniors’ program for the lunches they serve down in Tudor and Cashel,” she says. The people coming by to pick up their meals seemed to be pleased that they were happening, even if it was takeaway versus an indoor dining experience. Nicolette Mitchell came by to pick up a couple of meals. “I think it’s great. I used to come for all the dinners so I try to make it for these,” she says. Geraldine Woodbank agreed with that sentiment. “Oh, yeah! If you want good cooks, you come here,” she says. Margaret Park comes by for all the dinners, as she lives just up the road from the community centre. “I kind of miss it where everyone’s inside because you get to see people and catch up,” she says. Lucy Leftman also came by and said she used to come for these dinners all the time, though not as much as she used to. “This is kind of nice, the fact that they’ve figured out a way to work around the whole thing [COVID-19],” she says.Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times
NEW YORK — Fox News has reached a settlement with slain Democratic National Committee employee Seth Rich's parents, who alleged in a lawsuit that the cable news company exploited their son's death in stories and commentary.Both sides confirmed the settlement on Tuesday.Rich was shot and killed in 2016 in Washington, D.C., in what authorities described as a botched robbery attempt. His parents, Joel and Mary Rich, had objected to a Fox article and commentary falsely suggesting their son had leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign.Internet theories that Rich had been assassinated for leaking emails were contradicted by U.S. intelligence reports.A lower court had thrown out the lawsuit, but the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan last year reinstated it. The court said that the family had plausibly alleged what amounted to a campaign of emotional torture.Rich's parents, in a statement, said the settlement closed another chapter in their efforts to mourn their son, who was 27 when he was killed.“We are pleased with the settlement of this matter and sincerely hope that the media will take genuine caution in the future,” the Riches, of Omaha, Nebraska, said.Neither side disclosed financial terms of the deal.“We are pleased with the resolution of the claims and hope this enables Mr. and Mrs. Rich to find a small degree of peace and solace moving forward,” Fox said in a statement.The Associated Press
TORONTO — COVID-19 rapid tests are now being used in some Ontario hospitals and long-term care homes, with more set to be distributed across the health-care system in the coming weeks, the provincial government said Tuesday. Premier Doug Ford said rapid tests, which can produce results in minutes rather than days, have been sent to 36 long-term care homes and 27 retirement homes, and some hospitals. "People are using them as we speak right now and the more that come in, the more we're going to get throughout the system," Ford told an afternoon news conference. The province will continue to deploy the 98,000 ID Now tests and 1.2 million Panbio tests it has received from the federal government in the coming weeks, he said. The testing kits are earmarked for a total of 22 hospitals, including two hospitals already using them, as well as remote communities and some outbreak areas in hot spot regions, the government said. Some will also be sent to corporations such as Air Canada and Ontario Power Generation, while others will be used over several months in a pilot project involving private, public and non-profit sector employers to gauge the value of antigen testing on asymptomatic workers, it said. Health Minister Christine Elliott said another 1.5 million Panbio tests are expected to arrive in Ontario next month. The premier has repeatedly called the rapid tests "game changers" in the fight against COVID-19. Ottawa began shipping the testing kits to the provinces late last month, but figuring out how to best put them to use has taken some time, and most jurisdictions are also verifying the results of rapid tests with a lab-based test. The "gold-standard" COVID-19 tests need to be processed in a lab, which can take at least a day to process. Rapid tests can be processed right where the patient is tested but are generally considered less reliable than lab-based tests. One type of rapid test looks for the genetic material of the novel coronavirus, like the traditional lab version. The other looks for the specific markers the virus leaves on the outside of a cell, known as antigens. Meanwhile, Ontario reported 1,009 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, but the government said a technical issue means the figure is an underestimate. Elliott said the issue also means Monday's case numbers were an overestimate. Tuesday's figures include 497 new cases in Toronto, 175 in Peel Region and 118 in York Region. The province also reported 14 new deaths related to the virus. In Toronto, now in its second day of lockdown under the province's colour-coded COVID-19 system, restrictions on businesses continued to stir debate and some pushback Tuesday. A west Toronto barbecue restaurant vowed to open for indoor dining in defiance of the provincial rules, which state that restaurants in the grey or lockdown zone can only offer pickup or delivery orders. Asked about the restaurant's decision, Ford insisted everyone should abide by the public health restrictions, but held back from the harsh criticism he has levelled at partygoers and others who have been found flouting the rules in recent months. "I can't get angry at any business person, they're hurting right now and they're struggling, they're doing everything they can to stay afloat," he said. "But if we let everyone open, we're going to be in worse shape." The restaurant was eventually ordered to shut down by the City of Toronto, after bylaw officers, public health inspectors and police were called to the site, city officials said in a statement. It noted many patrons were not wearing masks or practising physical distancing. The city said the restaurant is now also under investigation for compliance with business licensing and zoning rules as well as building and fire code requirements. The provincial government has also faced backlash from small businesses that say they are unfairly targeted by the restrictions while big-box stores that also sell some essential items are allowed to remain open. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020. Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
MADISON, Wis. — Republicans filed a lawsuit Tuesday asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to block certification of the presidential election results even as a recount over President-elect Joe Biden's win over President Donald Trump is ongoing.The lawsuit echoes many of the same arguments Trump is making in trying, unsuccessfully, to have tens of thousands of ballots discounted during the recount. It also seeks to give the power to name presidential electors to the Republican-controlled Legislature.Wisconsin state law allows the political parties to pick electors, which was done in October. Once the election results are certified, which is scheduled to be done Dec. 1, those pre-determined electors will cast their ballots for the winner on Dec. 14.“The litigation filed this afternoon seeks to disenfranchise every Wisconsinite who voted in this year’s presidential election," said Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice will ensure that Wisconsin’s presidential electors are selected based on the will of the more than 3 million Wisconsin voters who cast a ballot.”The lawsuit also rehashes a claim that a federal court rejected in September that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to “illegally circumvent Wisconsin absentee voting laws” through grants awarded by a non-profitcentre he funds.At least 10 cases have been filed across the country seeking to halt certification in parts or all of key battleground states, including lawsuits brought by the Trump campaign in Michigan and Pennsylvania. So far none have been successful.Wisconsin's election results are scheduled to be certified Dec. 1.The Wisconsin lawsuit was filed by attorney Erick Kaardal, a former Minnesota Republican Party official who also represented rapper Kanye West in his unsuccessful lawsuit attempting to get on the ballot in Wisconsin. Kaardal represents a conservative group called the Wisconsin Voters Alliance and a host of Republican voters.Kaardal also filed an unsuccessful federal lawsuit in Wisconsin that attempted to block $6.3 million from being awarded to five heavily Democratic cities from the non-profit Center for Technology and Civic Life, which is primarily funded by Zuckerberg and his wife. A judge tossed the lawsuit that argued the money amounted to bribery to bolster Democratic turnout in Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine.Many of the same arguments alleging the money was illegally awarded and therefore the election results should be nullified are being made in the new lawsuit in state court.Other claims mirror those by Trump's campaign. Those claims allege absentee ballots should not have been counted where election officials filled in missing information on the certification envelope that contains the ballot and that voters who identified as “indefinitely confined” were lying to avoid the state's photo ID law.The Wisconsin Elections Commission advises clerks that they can fill in missing information on the ballot envelopes, such as the address of a witness. That's been the practice for years, and it's never been challenged.The Wisconsin Supreme Court this spring affirmed the state elections commission's guidance that it's up to each voter to decide whether they are indefinitely confined. More than 215,000 voters this year said they were confined, which allows them to cast a ballot without having to present a photo ID. The lawsuit says more than 96,000 self-identified confined voters should not count.Biden won Wisconsin by 20,608 votes, but the lawsuit claims that more than 156,000 ballots should be tossed out.The lawsuit alleges that more than 14,000 ballots “requested in the name of a registered Republican by someone other than that person" were cast and that more than 12,000 “Republican ballots" were returned but not counted. People do not register to vote by political party in Wisconsin so it is impossible to know how many Republicans or Democrats requested absentee ballots.The lawsuit comes as the recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties has resulted in very few vote changes. As of Tuesday morning, Trump had gained just 57 votes. Trump paid for a recount in only the two counties with the largest numbers of Democratic votes.Nearly 400 absentee ballots cast in Milwaukee that were not opened on Election Day were discovered Tuesday, a mistake that the city's top elections official attributed to human error. The county board of canvassers voted unanimously to count the ballots as part of the recount, which must be done by Dec. 1.___Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sbauerAPScott Bauer, The Associated Press
As part of IndigiNews’ ongoing look into Indigenous reproductive healthcare access, we are speaking to people about their birth experiences. As the snow started to fall, marking the beginning of the winter solstice, Estella Carmona was on her way to the hospital to give birth to her first daughter, Katiyana. The all-encompassing birthing process would turn into a life-changing spiritual experience that showed Carmona her “true connection to spirit,” she says. Carmona sees her daughter Katiyana, who’s turning seven on Dec. 21, as her greatest teacher. “I knew that I was bringing in sacred life,” says Carmona who is of Sechelt, Stó:lō and Mexican descent, reflecting on the day her daughter was born. Carmona is a member of shíshálh First Nation, which is located along the Sunshine Coast in Sechelt, B.C., and comes from a strong line of matriarchs. She says it’s the strong cultural teachings from the smokehouse that pulled her through two complicated birth experiences. “It showed the strength of spirit,” she says. “I was raised by my great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mom, and [strong moral teachings are] something that we live, we breathe.” She credits her great-grandmother who was a fluent speaker in her language for instilling these teachings in the family. Carmona was living in Stó:lō Territory in 2013 when she was pregnant with her first daughter. Before Katiyana was born owls and hawks started visiting her, she explains. For many Indigenous people, the connection between birds as a kind of messenger is a part of cultural teachings passed down. “An owl started visiting me throughout my pregnancy. They’ve never come into my life beforehand,” says Carmona. “I had four owls visit me and two owls came the night before she was born.” During the delivery, Carmona explains how her cultural teachings helped assist in the birth. “I did tap into sacred energy, our breath, and prayer,” she says. Carmona used a birthing tub at the hospital during her labour. “Having been surrounded by water, she came into this world in a very peaceful way,” she says. However, after her daughter was delivered Carmona says she lost a lot of blood but was not given a blood transfusion. She left the experience wishing she had known her rights. “If I knew my rights, I would have demanded a blood transfusion,” she says. “They took my blood count after she was delivered. They took my blood count the next morning. And they’re like, well, it’s already increasing. So we don’t think you need one.” After suffering from extreme fatigue for six months, navigating being a new mother, working, and being in school, she didn’t realize the severity of the situation until years later. After requesting to see her medical records she says, “I realized this is how women die in childbirth.” Carmona believes a higher power is what pulled her through this experience. “When I say spirit saved my life, I believe that Katiyana chose me as her mother. She chose her father. And those owls visited me throughout,” she says, “it was spirit all the way.” As they left the hospital, she remembers seeing a hawk on the side of the road. “Her spirit is the owl spirit,” Carmona says smiling. “There’s no question about it, she sees truth.” In 2015, Carmona was pregnant with her second child, a daughter named Ivy. Still living in Stó:lō Territory, she returned to give birth at a local hospital. This time, she says, the delivery was excruciating and there were complications with baby Ivy being delivered. According to her medical records, baby Ivy was born face up, blue and limp with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. While Carmona says her mother and mother-in-law knew what was happening, she was unaware of the severity of the situation. “I did not know the severity of the situation being like you just delivered a baby,” she says. The medical records show that baby Ivy was not breathing when she was born, and Carmona says they called a “code pink” signalling an emergency. “She’s a miracle that she survived,” says Carmona. “My belief in the Creator, my belief in the teaching saved us a hundred percent. We had people watching over us.” Reflecting on the experience, Carmona once again wishes she was given more information in the moment. “There was no, how long was she out of breath for, what’s her cognitive ability kind of thing. Like, your daughter could have died,” she says. “It was, she can sit up in her car seat. You’re fine, go home.” For other expecting parents Carmona says that due to the lack of cultural safety, systemic racism and stereotyping of Indigenous women, it’s important to “trust your intuition.” “Whether it’s the doctor, a white midwife, the stereotyping that you receive, whether it’s in the doctor’s appointments, leading up or in the delivering room, having multiple Indigenous family members there, there’s a lot of racism that happens in these experiences,” she says. Many Indigenous Peoples who access the healthcare system in Canada feel the impacts of systemic racism. On June 19, 2020, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond was appointed by Health Minister Adrian Dix to lead an investigation into Indigenous-specific racism in the B.C. health care system. “If I could say anything to a woman who would be giving birth or in this process, trust your intuition, pray for protection and guidance,” says Carmona. With two healthy young girls, now one of the most important things for Carmona is that her kids are raised traditionally so that they too are equipped to navigate the world. “I can say that practicing our cultural teachings benefits new mothers and their babies, that little plant, that little seed,” says Carmona, “Every thought, every feeling that we think our baby experiences and my daughters are very cultural beings.” Our series on reproductive health access is made possible in part with funding from First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and Thunderbird Partnership Foundation. Their support does not imply endorsement of or influence over the content produced. Chehala Leonard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
The province has put Grey-Bruce into the “yellow” stage of its framework, based on the numbers and trends in COVID-19 cases. There were 47 confirmed active case in the two counties as of Nov. 24, with about 250 “close contacts.” “We have been seeing a deeply concerning trend of a significant increase in the number of cases locally, and in the number of close contacts of these cases.,” the press release said. “These findings are indicative of fatigue related to following public health measures.” The shift came into effect Monday. The following are the provincial restrictions in the yellow zones, provided for information for the general public. Those operating in each sector should seek guidance directly from Public Health. The limits in numbers for private gatherings, organized public events and religious services, weddings and funerals remain the same. Among changes are more restrictions on bars and restaurants, sports and rec facilities, personal care services, retail spaces and other businesses private gatherings. Bars and restaurants must only sell liquor from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and must close between midnight and 5 a.m. A limit of six people may be seated together. Limits to the numbers in sports and rec classes are lower: 10 instead of 50 indoors, with spacing increased to three metres. The description of league play remains the same – modified to avoid contact, 50 people per league. In retail, the change is that a mall must have a safety plan, as do personal care service providers, who must take contact-tracing information. “Collectively, it is in our control to change our designation back to Green as soon as we can – but it will take an effort from all of us,” the media release from the Grey-Bruce Health Unit said. The release also reinforced the following: Wash your hands frequently; Watch your distance (ideally 2 m); Wear your face covering correctly; Avoid Crowds; Arrange for outdoor activities instead of indoors whenever possible; Stay home if you are sick. Avoid close contact (unprotected contact within 6ft of each other) with those from outside your household; Avoid travel to areas with higher transmission and minimize non-essential travel. “Be kind, be calm, be safe,” the press release said.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
For the last three years, the Steveston Historical Society has presented Songs in the Snow, a series of evenings celebrating the holidays with live music and entertainment. This year, the event will be presented virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Cancelling was not something we ever considered,” says executive director Rachel Meloche. “We figured that if we could find a way to make it virtual and do something, somehow, that at least we could still have the event and it would give people some of the magic.” Thanks to help from loyal sponsors, the historical society team was able to pivot this year. The Richmond Arts Coalition sourced all the musicians and performers, and local cartoonist Cartoon Katie will do live caricature drawings of participants watching on Zoom. “I know that the music industry has really suffered this year, and we had the funding so we wanted to get it into the hands of the artists who need it the most right now,” says Meloche. Registration is free or by donation, and people can also pre-order and pick up free craft kits as well as hot drink and cookie packages. Meloche says the driving force behind Songs in the Snow is that the holidays are expensive, and so many events have a fee associated with them. The event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. on three Saturdays (Dec. 5, 12 and 19). Each night will have different crafts and performances so people can register for all three. Performers will be live through their own individual broadcasts. And Meloche is heartened by the ability to bring some holiday cheer to people’s homes. “That’s what we wanted to do, just bring a little bit of the magic of Songs in the Snow to people,” she says. “I’ve heard from a family that they’re all participating from their own houses—so we’re bringing people together, just differently. “It’s going to be a really different and difficult holiday season for a lot of people. If we can bring some brightness, then I’ve done my job.” To register for tickets, visit www.historicsteveston.ca.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel