As daily case numbers begin to decline across Canada, a number of provinces are starting to lift some COVID-19 restrictions. As Mike Drolet reports, health officials say new infectious strains could cause cases to surge.
As daily case numbers begin to decline across Canada, a number of provinces are starting to lift some COVID-19 restrictions. As Mike Drolet reports, health officials say new infectious strains could cause cases to surge.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau signalled Wednesday that Canada will stand up for an Ottawa sociology professor facing trial in France as human-rights advocates renewed calls for the Liberal government to intervene. The prime minister's words left Hassan Diab's supporters wishing Trudeau had been more forceful in pledging assistance. In late January, France ordered Diab to stand trial for a decades-old synagogue bombing, a move his lawyer called the latest misstep in a long odyssey of injustice. The Canadian government has been communicating with officials in France about the case and will continue to do so, Trudeau said during a news briefing Wednesday. "It has been a priority for us to make sure that we're standing up for our citizens all around the world, with countries that are challenging, but also with our allies," he said. "And those conversations will continue." Canadians would rightly expect their prime minister and government to stand up for a falsely accused citizen, said Donald Bayne, Diab's Ottawa lawyer. "But what does that ambiguous phrase mean?" Born in Lebanon, Diab became a Canadian citizen in 1993, working in Ottawa as a university teacher. The RCMP arrested him in November 2008 in response to a request by France. French authorities suspected Diab was involved in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four people and injured dozens of others, an accusation he has consistently denied. After lengthy proceedings that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, Diab was extradited to France, where he spent three years behind bars, including time in solitary confinement. In January 2018, French judges dismissed the allegations against him for lack of evidence and ordered his immediate release. Trudeau said later that year that what Diab went through "never should have happened." Diab's supporters have long argued he was in Beirut — not Paris — when the attack took place and that his fingerprints, palm prints, physical description and age did not match those of the suspect identified in 1980. Earlier this year, Bayne called the French move to have Diab stand trial "a travesty of justice," saying the latest analysis of handwriting evidence in the case makes the argument for pursuing his client even weaker. Diab, 67, is now back with his wife and young children in Ottawa as his lawyers in France appeal the latest decision. Alex Neve, former secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, said in January it is "cruel and baffling" that French authorities continue to suspect Diab. Neve said the Canadian government must become involved at the highest political levels and not simply stand aside on the grounds that justice must be allowed to run its course. Justin Mohammed, a human rights law and policy campaigner with Amnesty Canada, said Wednesday the organization was encouraged by Trudeau's remarks but stressed that Canada must not co-operate with extradition requests that prolong Diab's ordeal. "It would be unconscionable to return him to face trial in France given the way his case has proceeded.” The Ottawa-based International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group has called on Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau to intervene with their French counterparts "to put a stop to this endless, Kafkaesque affair." The group, which represents dozens of civil-society voices, also wants the prime minister to commit to not extraditing Diab to France a second time. It also says Canada must reform its extradition laws to ensure no one else is forced to go through what Diab has endured. Tim McSorley the group's national co-ordinator, said Wednesday that while the prime minister's words were encouraging, Trudeau missed an opportunity to "clearly and publicly denounce the ongoing miscarriage of justice being faced by Hassan Diab." Early last year, Diab filed a lawsuit accusing the Canadian government of negligent investigation and malicious prosecution, saying federal officials violated his constitutional guarantees of freedom of movement, liberty and security of the person. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
(ANNews) - On Saturday Feb. 20, hundreds of people gathered at the Alberta Legislature to protest COVID-19 restrictions, but the rally raised concerns over racism in the province. A similar "anti-lockdown" rally was held in Calgary on Feb. 27. Both rallies included people holding lit tiki torches as they marched through the streets. Although the rallies were attended and organized by members of known hate groups, Edmonton’s police chief says the department doesn’t have evidence of racist intent behind the use of tiki torches at the rallies. On March 2, Chief Dale McFee said that the EPS doesn't condone tiki torches but "some people didn’t know why they were carrying them at the legislature." He added that if the real intent of the torches was racist, he'd like to see the evidence. Premier Jason Kenney, Mayor Don Iveson, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, former Premier Rachel Notley and MLA David Shepherd are among those who condemned the rallies as having racist intent. Mayor Nenshi stated that there is “no lockdown to protest in Alberta, schools are open, restaurants are open… It’s been clear for some time that the regular demonstrations against pandemic public health measures are also a vehicle for spreading hate. “When we see people advertising these marches using pictures from Charlottesville, we know what that means. We know who that’s meant to intimidate,” he said. “And I will tell you right now, as a person of colour in this city, I will never be intimidated by that.” Regarding the suggestion that marchers were using the tiki torches for purposes other than hatred, Nenshi tweeted, “It's not for light, it's not for heat – don’t be ridiculous.” "What are those torches used for?" he added. "They're used to light crosses on fire. This is disgusting behaviour and frankly we need to denounce it and we need to denounce strongly." I don't accept this, tweeted Notley, about the suggested naiveté of the torch bearers."These marches have been advertised using images from the racist, hate-filled Charlottesville march. There is a long history of racist hate groups using torches to intimidate, going back to the Nazis and the KKK." The convoy, which was organized by the “Walk for Freedom Alberta” group, began in Lethbridge and travelled up North through Calgary and Red Deer before arriving in Edmonton. The group claims to stand up for rights and freedoms and “peacefully promote breaches to civil liberties across Alberta.” Saturday morning before the convoy gathered, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson released a statement, saying “COVID-19 is not a joke nor a hoax.” “We are in the middle of a global public health crisis,” Iveson said. “Wearing a mask and following other public health measures keeps people safe and saves lives.” Iveson also said he had been “made aware” that some of the organizers “may be associated with known hate groups.” “Edmonton unequivocally condemns racism, misogyny and other forms of hate — such speech is not welcome in our community,” said Iveson. The protest was attended by those who organized it, as well as other groups. Concerns about racism were raised after some of the attendees started carrying lit tiki torches during their “walk for freedom.” The tiki torch is a symbol that is historically linked with white-supremacists such as the KKK and was recently used by white-supremacists chanting racist rants at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. On Monday Feb. 22, Premier Jason Kenney released a statement which condemned the event’s connection to hate groups. “Albertans value the constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and assembly. This weekend, protesters gathered at the Alberta Legislature to oppose our government’s public health measures that are in place to protect the vulnerable, and our hospitals, from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kenney stated. “I understand that publicity for this event incorporated an image apparently taken from the notorious 2017 Charlottesville torch rally, which was an explicitly white supremacist event. “Prominent racists promoted Saturday’s protest at the legislature, and individuals attended the event from known hate groups like the ‘Soldiers of Odin’ and ‘Urban Infidels.’ I condemn these voices of bigotry in the strongest possible terms. “Albertans believe in the dignity of every human being and have no time for these voices of division and hate, or the symbols that they represent.” Kenney then went on to say that there were likely people with varying views at the protest, mentioning some who came only because they were opposed to the public health restrictions. “Like any large public protest, there was likely a range of perspectives and motivations amongst those who attended. There is no doubt that some people came just to register their opposition to public health measures, which is their democratic right.” “But these people also have a responsibility to disassociate themselves from the extremists who peddle hatred and division, and who played a role in this event,” Kenney said. David Shepherd, MLA Edmonton City Centre, also released a statement, “I'm saddened. I'm frustrated. I'm angry.” “It's clear it was not a march about freedom. It was about anger, hatred and fear.” “As others have ably explained, the symbol of crowds marching with torches has a long-standing history of threat towards racial minorities as clearly demonstrated by the white supremacist hate rally in Charlottesville in 2017, which was included on this event's poster,” said Shepherd. EPS Chief Mcfee reiterated that the rally / protest was “largely peaceful” even though four police officers were assaulted during the protest after attempting to conduct an arrest. No officers were injured; however, Edmonton police are looking at protest footage in order to identify the culprits. Sgt. Mike Elliot, president of the Edmonton Police Association, said “Right now we’re reviewing video footage to identify the suspect or suspects involved in this.” “Usually, it’s best to try and identify and then contact that person later instead of in a heated, dynamic situation.” Before the Feb. 27 protest in Calgary, police chief Const. Mark Neufeld assured there would be a large police presence. “The vast majority of these events pass uneventfully with the members of our service working with groups of all sorts to facilitate the expression of constitutional rights in a way that is not only safe but in a way that minimizes the impact on the public and the broader community,” said Neufeld. Irfan Chaudhry, director of the office of human rights, diversity and equity at MacEwan University, told the Edmonton Journal that downplaying the significance of racist symbols is “disheartening.” “Symbols are power in right-wing extremism, and the power in itself is by being able to deny that it’s connected to any type of … hateful ideology,” he said. “Acknowledging the impact that the symbols have on communities of colour — whether or not there’s enough evidence to proceed with any charges, I think that’s another consideration — but it’s that support for the community that I think is missing.” Jacob Cardinal is an LJI reporter for Alberta Native News. Jacob Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
Canadian librarians and educators are reassessing several Dr. Seuss titles that are being pulled from publication because of racist and insensitive imagery.The business that preserves the legacy of Dr. Seuss says it's ceasing sales of six titles — including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” — that portray people in ways that are hurtful.In response to the decision, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board in southern Ontario says it's removing these "harmful" books from its libraries. A Toronto Public Library spokeswoman says a group of librarians are reviewing the titles, and if they identify racial or cultural representation concerns may recommend to pull the books from the stacks or move them out of the children's section.A spokesman for Vancouver Public Library says it's also launching a review of the materials to determine if further action is needed.Books by Dr. Seuss, who was born Theodor Geisel in 1904 and died in 1991, have faced mounting criticism in recent years over the way Blacks, Asians and others are depicted.— With files from The Associated PressThis report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed allegations of sexual harassment against him Wednesday, saying he feels awful and embarrassed by his actions, but intends to remain in office.
There were two deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the province on Wednesday. Both deaths were in the 80 plus age group and were located in Regina and Saskatoon. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in the province is now 389. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This was among 121 new cases reported in Saskatchewan. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 19 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 30 active cases and North Central 3 has 15 active cases. There are currently 153 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 133 reported as receiving in patient care there are 14 in North Central. Of the 20 people reported as being in intensive care there is one in North Central. The current seven-day average 154, or 12.5 cases per 100,000 population. The high was 312 reported on Jan. 12. Of the 29,059reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 1,431 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 27,239after 180 more recoveries were reported. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,059 of those 7,437 cases are from the North area (3,024 North West, 3,259 North Central and 1,154 North East). There were 1,358doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 81,597. There were 232 doses administered in the North Central zone yesterday. The other zones where vaccines were administered were in the North West, Far North Central, Central East, Far North Central, Far North East, Saskatoon and Regina. According to the province as of March 2, 50 per cent of Phase 1 priority healthcare workers received a first dose. This percentage includes healthcare workers from long term care and personal care home facilities. Pfizer shipments for the week of March 1 have arrived in Regina (3,510) and Saskatoon (3,510). North Battleford (2,340) and Prince Albert (4,680) shipments are expected by end of day March 3. There were 2,588 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Feb. 28. As of today there have been 582,829 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Saskatchewan reported 121 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths on Wednesday. Both deaths were people in the 80-plus age group, with one each from the Regina and Saskatoon zones. There were also 180 recoveries reported Wednesday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 27,239. There are 1,431 known active cases in the province. So far there have been 389 COVID-related deaths. The new cases Wednesday are in the following provincial zones: Far northwest (two). Far northeast (40). Northwest (six). North central (six) Northeast (three). Saskatoon (17). Central west (two). Central east (seven). Regina (35). Southwest (one). There are 153 people receiving care in hospital, with 20 of them in intensive care. The Regina zone has the most known active cases in the province with 431. Saskatoon zone active cases have dropped to 264. The province processed 2,588 COVID-19 tests on Tuesday. Saskatchewan's per capita rate is 489,658 tests performed per million population. The national rate is 647,827 tests performed per million population. The seven-day average of daily new cases in Saskatchewan is 12.5 new cases per 100,000. Vaccinations The province administered 1,358 more COVID-19 vaccine doses over the past day in the following zones: far north central (21), far northeast (11), northwest (six), north central (452), central east (351) Saskatoon (391) and Regina (126). The total number of vaccine doses administered in the province stands at 81,597. As of March 2, 50 per cent of Phase 1 priority health-care workers had received a first dose, the province said. Pfizer shipments for the week of March 1 have arrived in Regina (3,510) and Saskatoon (3,510). North Battleford (2,340) and Prince Albert (4,680) shipments are expected by the end of Wednesday. (CBC News Graphics) CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
MONTREAL — Quebec provincial police say a man in his 50s is dead after the small plane he was flying crashed into a lake in Gore, northwest of Montreal. Provincial police spokesman Sgt. Stephane Tremblay says the man was the only person aboard the plane. He says witnesses who saw the crash, which took place around 8:30 a.m., called emergency services. The pilot was removed from the plane by the local fire department and transported to hospital, where he was declared dead. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it has sent a team of investigators to determine the cause of the crash of the Wag-Aero amateur-built aircraft. Tremblay says provincial police investigators are on the scene to determine whether any crimes were committed and the coroner's office is also investigating to determine the cause of the death. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — A lawyer for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is accusing former U.S. president Donald Trump of co-opting her extradition proceedings in an effort to use her as leverage in trade negotiations with China. Richard Peck told the British Columbia Supreme Court that Trump's words to media after Meng's arrest amount to an abuse of process and a "stain" on proceedings in Canada. Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of U.S. officials on charges of fraud that both she and Huawei deny. The argument hinges on remarks by Trump 10 days after the arrest when he was asked if the United States would intervene in Meng's case to get a better deal with China.Peck quotes Trump as saying he would "certainly intervene" if he thought it was necessary.Lawyers for the attorney general of Canada, who are representing the United States in the case, have said in legal documents that they will say the argument is irrelevant now that Trump is out of office. "With that utterance, Ms. Meng became a bargaining chip, a pawn in this economic contest between these two superpowers. Those words amount to the opening salvo in this trade war," Peck told the court. Today marks the beginning of arguments by Meng's legal team that she was subjected to an abuse of process and that the proceedings against her should be stayed.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Parents accessing child-care services are now eligible to receive a one-time $561 per child under the new working parents benefit, unveiled by Alberta Children’s Services last week. The benefit is meant to help parents cover the costs of childcare, including licenced and unlicenced daycares, day homes and pre-schools, used between April and December 2020. “I think there will be quite a few (local families) who will benefit from this program,” said Alysha Martin, Beaverlodge Daycare executive director. Martin said Beaverlodge Daycare currently has 55 to 60 children enrolled but is uncertain as to how many families will benefit from the program, because it depends on their income. The $561 may be a small help, but better than nothing, she said. Families with annual household incomes of $100,000 or less and have receipts for three months of childcare between last April 1 and Dec. 31 will be eligible, according to the Alberta government. If local families have thrown out their receipts, they may still be able to benefit. “They can always get a receipt from us upon request,” Martin said. Families can apply for the benefit with a MyAlberta Digital ID at alberta.ca/Working- ParentsBenefit now, with applications closing March 31, according to Alberta Children’s Services. Families of up to 192,000 children across the province may be able to benefit from the program, according to the Alberta government. According to Alberta Children’s Services, the benefit has a $108 million budget and is an expansion on the critical worker benefit, which provides $1,200 payments to front-line and essential workers. As of Feb. 12, 2,739 daycare programs across the province remain open while 102 are closed. Childcare operators across the province have also received more than $100 million in relief to go toward meeting health, cleaning and safety guidelines, according to the Alberta government. Martin said Beaverlodge Daycare has received some financial support via grants during the pandemic. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
The Town of Kensington is reminding snowmobilers in the area that sidewalks and roads are off-limits. The Kensington police chief and the mayor have both noticed snowmobiles that aren't keeping to their designated paths within the community, and they want to raise awareness about what's allowed. "I suspect that it could be just a matter of not being ... informed as well as they need to be and not recognizing that there's a safe corridor to travel off the streets in Kensington," said Mayor Rowan Caseley. The mayor believes having snowmobiles travelling on the sidewalks is dangerous. "You could be hitting somebody that's walking," he said. "It also packs down the snow on the sidewalks and makes it slippery for the other people." Kensington Mayor Rowan Caseley stands by the sign that tells snowmobilers where they can safely travel in the town. (Laura Meader/CBC) Casely stressed that the town and its businesses do appreciate having snowmobiles around. "We do have a corridor marked off between the train station and the downtown … where operators can travel and get to the downtown core to get their gas and coffee, etc.," he said. "Travelling on streets is certainly frowned upon — and I think it's actually probably illegal." New snowmobilers less familiar? The president of the Kensington Area Snowmobile Association said the snowmobilers who are cutting away from the designated corridor could be unaware of where they're allowed to go. "We're seeing a lot of new snowmobiling this year, a lot of people that haven't snowmobiled in years or haven't snowmobiled at all," said Russell Jollimore. "These people need to be made aware of the dos and don'ts." Jollimore said that as soon as the Kensington police chief spoke to him about the issue, he posted a reminder on the group's Facebook page. He noted that the town has set aside parking for machines near the gas station and the train station. "People can walk, you know, a few hundred feet to get to their restaurant or down for their coffee or or whatever. They don't need to be going up and down the side of the road. That's just not acceptable." More from CBC P.E.I.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Public health officials said Wednesday the change will help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey says the decision is a game changer for the province's vaccination prospects. British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry raised eyebrows Monday when she announced her province will delay the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to four months. Henry said Monday she expected the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to issue a statement in the coming days aligning with B.C.'s decision. Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today and say all are linked to previously reported infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government has ordered a review of mental health crisis care following the suicide of a teenager who waited eight hours at a hospital emergency room without being helped. Health Minister Dorothy Shepard says she has asked Norm Bosse, the province's child, youth and seniors' advocate, to conduct a review, although the terms have not been set. Lexi Daken, 16, took her own life on Feb. 24, less than a week after seeking help at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton. Shephard says the regional health authority has also been asked to identify possible improvements and report back by the end of the month. Green Leader David Coon was seeking a public inquiry into the care Lexi received and says urgent action is needed. Chris Daken, Lexi's father, says he hopes her death is not in vain and that it prompts government to make changes that will help others in the future. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Trois-Rivières – À la suite de sa rencontre avec la direction du CIUSSS mercredi matin, Jean Beaulieu prendra le week-end pour déterminer la suite des choses en lien avec ce qu'il qualifiait d'intervention «sauvage» de la Santé publique régionale qui a fermé une résidence pour aînés en donnant 48 heures d'avis aux résidents pour se trouver un nouveau logis. «Je dois réfléchir à ce qu'ils m'ont dit. Ils m'ont présenté une affaire de fonctionnaires», qualifie M. Beaulieu d'entrée de jeu. «Je ne veux pas poser de geste trop vite», a-t-il ajouté. Rappelons que M. Beaulieu demandait au CIUSSS d'assumer la différence des coûts mensuels de loyer de sa mère après l'intervention de la résidence Saint-Pie X où elle habitait, soit une somme de 900$. Selon ses dires, le CIUSSS lui a proposé un plan B qui consiste à déménager sa mère dans un CHSLD, ce qu'il se refuse à accepter. «Il n'y en aura pas de plan B. Ma mère ne bougera pas d'où elle est actuellement. Dans leur tête, ils vont m'aider pour trois mois et ils m'ont même offert de m'aider à trouver l'endroit. Ils m'ont dit qu'ils regarderaient ce qu'ils pouvaient faire pour les frais supplémentaires», raconte M. Beaulieu, qui a tout de même qualifié la direction de «sympathique». «Je me sens comme un quêteux», a-t-il laissé tomber, exaspéré. Jean Beaulieu espérait également, lors de cette rencontre virtuelle, obtenir quelques réponses concernant la fermeture de la résidence Saint-Pie X, laquelle aurait reçu une plainte pour mauvais traitements physiques et psychologiques, deux éléments qui n'ont jamais été constatés par le principal intéressé, qui assure que sa mère adorait l'endroit. «Ils disent qu'ils avaient de bonnes raisons, mais ils ne nous les donnent pas», a-t-il déploré. Affirmant qu'il a été «assez patient», Jean Beaulieu veut maintenant se donner le week-end pour réfléchir à son prochain geste. «Ça pourrait être réglé demain s'ils voulaient. Je vais étudier ça en fin de semaine», a-t-il conclu. Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
JUNEAU, Alaska — A state vaccine task force on Wednesday vastly expanded eligibility for people to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Alaska, adding those 55 to 64 and people 16 and older who meet certain criteria. That criteria includes being considered an essential worker, living in a multigenerational household, being at or at possible high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or living in communities lacking in water and sewer systems, the state health department said in a release. Gov. Mike Dunleavy called expanding eligibility significant in efforts to protect Alaska residents and to help restore the state's economy. State health officials previously emphasized vaccinating those 65 and older. Individuals who have previously been eligible remain so. More than 100,000 first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are expected for the state and Indian Health Service allocations this month, the department said. Also, 8,900 doses of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson Janssen vaccine are expected to arrive within the next two weeks, the department said. The number of vaccines do not include military allocations or those for programs involving pharmacies and federally qualified health centres. The state's chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said the vaccine supply is not yet sufficient to make it widely available to everyone who wants it. She said it is being offered to groups “who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, who are at risk for severe illness or death or who work in essential jobs." She added: "Some Alaskans may be more vulnerable to this disease than others due to their unique health or life circumstances. Offering vaccine is one step we can take now to help address these inequities.” The Associated Press
Some Hythe Regional School students will be isolating until Wednesday, March 10 after a COVID-19 case there was confirmed Friday. This is the first time a COVID case has been detected at HRS, said Angela Sears, Peace Wapiti School Division (PWSD) communications officer. The individual last attended HRS Tuesday, Feb. 23, according to PWSD. HRS remains open for in-person learning. School administration contacted families and staff on Friday after learning about the positive test result from Alberta Health Services. Despite the news, Beaverlodge mom Emily Friesen said she feels HRS has been diligent with its cleaning and safety measures. “I feel perfectly safe sending my kids to school there,” Friesen said. Hythe mom Michelle Crichton Huey concurs. “I have great faith that (my son’s) safety, and every student’s and staff’s, is of upmost importance at HRS,” Huey said. “There are sanitizer stations throughout the school, masks are provided for anyone requiring one, janitorial staff are present all day continuously wiping down high traffic areas (and) rooms are sterilized every night.” Remote learning is available to isolating students and the school has been disinfected, according to PWSD. Those not identified as close contacts were allowed to return to school Monday. PWSD is not disclosing further details about the case, citing respect to the individual. PWSD credited plans to create cohorts with allowing AHS to complete contact tracing. Currently Whispering Ridge Community School is on alert for having two COVID-19 cases confirmed in February and two in January. Beaverlodge Regional High School has also had four cases One case was also confirmed at Robert W. Zahara Public School in February, with close contacts allowed to return to school Feb. 26. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
Residents may see a new roundabout in Paradise just a moment’s drive from the Topsail Road - McNamara Drive roundabout. “The provincial government is in the process of constructing a new intermediate school near the Diane Whalen Soccer Complex,” explained councillor Alan English. “Upgrades are required to the access road and the intersection at McNamara Drive. The current soccer complex access road would be upgraded with allowance for a future bypass road and the intersection at McNamara Road will be enhanced with an allowance for a two-lane roundabout in the future.” That soccer complex access road, which is marked by both a sign proudly announcing the land as the site of the new school and a sign promoting the soccer complex, is across from the Rotary Paradise Youth and Community Centre. To allow for the upgrades, the town has to purchase a portion of a piece of land referred to as ‘Lot 9.’ “Lot 9 is located at the corner of the access road and McNamara Drive and the Town required a portion of Lot 9 to facilitate area improvements,” said English. “The lot will be impacted by the construction of the roundabout and improvements to the access road. As well, the property access will be negatively impacted due to the plans to install a median on the access road when upgraded to a by-pass road.” To allow access to Lot 9 from the access road, the town also needed to deed a piece of the town-owned land to the owner of Lot 9, which can only be done with ministerial approval. “Council discussed the negotiations extensively in privileged meetings of council, and are unanimously in favour of the offer,” said English. That offer was $100,000, and the motion was passed unanimously to purchase a portion of Lot 9 near McNamara Drive for that sum. A second motion, for the Town to request ministerial approval to dispose of a portion of town-owned land located alongside the access road to the Diane Whalen Soccer Complex, also passed unanimously. All in all, English applauded the decision. “The town is making a strategic move here by acquiring this piece of property, because in the event that we don’t, we will actually block access to the land owner and be subject to legal action, possibly, for devaluing their property, and the town has taken the initiative to negotiate an agreement with the landowner, and while the amount is significant, $100,000, the end result is much, much cheaper than going the legal route,” said English. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today. They involve two people in their 20s in the Fredericton region and both cases are travel-related, as well as a person in their 50s in the Miramichi region which is under investigation. Officials have identified a list of locations in Miramichi where there may have been public exposure, and a mass testing clinic will be held to determine if there has been any further spread in the area. The clinics will be held tomorrow and Friday at the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School. There are now 37 active cases in the province and three people are hospitalized, including two in intensive care. There have been 28 COVID-19-related deaths in the province since the onset of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Alberta government launched Step 2 of eased restrictions Monday, allowing libraries to re-open at 15 per cent capacity and some indoor fitness activities to resume. The measures fall short of plans to ease restrictions on retail and community halls, but Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Travis Toews said the government is exploring further changes. “If (COVID) numbers stay manageable, I am hopeful we can continue to reduce and eventually eliminate all public health measures,” Toews said. In February the government eased restrictions on indoor dining and children’s sports when hospitalizations across the province dropped below 600. The intent was to further ease restrictions in three weeks at 450 hospitalizations, with current hospitalizations at 261. Indoor gatherings may be allowed under Step 3 in three weeks if hospitalizations remain at under 300. “COVID has been difficult to navigate, as we look to balance ensuring the health care system is fully operational with the economic effect of public health measures and the effect on individual freedom,” Toews said. “The bottom-line goal is to ensure our health care system can continue to function, so folks who need cardiovascular or other surgeries can access it. “In December we came close to overrunning our health care system.” Libraries can be open at 15 per cent of the fire code occupancy, not including staff, according to the Alberta government. Tracy Deets, Beaverlodge Public Library manager, said she is hoping to re-open the library next week. In the meantime, it remains available for curbside service. In Sexsmith, Shannon Municipal Library is open with mandatory masks and up to six people in the library at a time. Patrons are asked to cap their visits at 15 minutes. Elmworth Community Library is also open for in-person visits, with curbside service still available. “Low-intensity” indoor group fitness is allowed by appointment, with three-metre social distancing and masks. The government defines low-intensity exercises as including weightlifting, dance, yoga, barre and indoor climbing, as well as some use of treadmills and ellipticals. During Monday’s press conference health minister Tyler Shandro said eased restrictions on retail and community centres may not be delayed until Step 3, potentially three weeks from now. Based on hospitalization numbers and with the advice of chief medical officer Deena Hinshaw, the restrictions may be eased sooner, he said. Premier Jason Kenney said diminishing new cases and evidence the spread of COVID variants is controlled could result in expediting the easing of retail and community hall restrictions. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
LOS ANGELES — Detectives are looking at data from the so-called “black box” of Tiger Woods' SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash that seriously injured the golf star, authorities said Wednesday. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said traffic investigators executed a search warrant Monday to retrieve data from the device from the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving. There was no immediate information regarding what was found in the black box, Deputy Trina Schrader said in a statement. The 2021 GV80, made by the Hyundai luxury brand, is likely to have a newer version of event data recorders nicknamed “black boxes” after more sophisticated recorders in airplanes. The devices store a treasure trove of data for authorities to review. Woods suffered a serious leg injury when the SUV he was driving went off a Los Angeles County road and rolled over on a downhill stretch known for crashes. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was not drunk and was driving alone in good weather when the SUV hit a raised median, went across oncoming lanes and rolled several times. The crash injured his right leg, requiring surgery. Deputies will review data from the black box to “see if they can find out what was the performance of the vehicle, what was happening at the time of impact,” said Villanueva, who previously faced criticism for almost immediately calling the crash “purely an accident.” During a live social media event on Wednesday. the sheriff said the new data could provide more information on the cause of the accident. “And that’s all it is, and we’ll leave it at that,” he said. California law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for data recorders that were involved in motor vehicle crashes that result in death or serious bodily injury. Law enforcement must show that the recorders could have evidence of a felony or misdemeanour in the crash, and detectives must limit their review of the data to information directly related to the offence. USA TODAY first reported the search warrant. A black box is a computer that stores data from a vehicle’s sensors, which can be downloaded. The boxes usually are below the centre of the dashboard or beneath seats to be protected from damage. There aren’t any federal regulations requiring the boxes, but the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says nearly all vehicles have them now. The government does require the recorders to store 15 data points including speed before impact and whether brake and gas pedals were pressed. __ Associated Press Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report. Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press