Fox News’ Bryan Llenas talks with small business owners in Florida hit by coronavirus.
Fox News’ Bryan Llenas talks with small business owners in Florida hit by coronavirus.
A look at what’s happening around European soccer on Tuesday: ENGLAND Leicester can be the latest team to take first place in the Premier League with a win at home to Chelsea. Three points would lift Brendan Rodgers' third-place team above Manchester City and current leader Manchester United, at least until Wednesday when the Manchester clubs are back in action. Leicester has only lost one of its last 10 games in all competitions. Chelsea is down in seventh after just two wins from its last seven league games. West Bromwich Albion, which is in next-to-last place, looks to win back-to-back games for the first time this season when it visits West Ham. In the FA Cup, third-tier Shrewsbury heads to Southampton for a rearranged third-round match without its manager, Steve Cotterill, who is in the hospital as he recovers from COVID-19. The original game was postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak in the Shrewsbury squad. SPAIN Sevilla can move into fourth place with a win at Alavés, which is coming off two straight league losses and a demoralizing 5-0 defeat against second-division club Almería that eliminated the club from the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey. Sevilla will be without central defender Diego Carlos after he tested positive for the coronavirus. Also Tuesday, Valladolid hosts Elche in a match between relegation-threatened clubs, while and Levante visits Cádiz in a game between midtable teams. GERMANY Bayer Leverkusen hosts Borussia Dortmund for a Bundesliga duel between two teams out to make amends for disappointing results in their previous games. Leverkusen lost 1-0 to Union Berlin and has now lost three of its last four games. It was previously unbeaten. Dortmund was held 1-1 at home by then-bottom team Mainz on Saturday and watched as the gap to Bayern Munich at the top grew to seven points on Sunday. Dortmund coach Edin Terzic rued his team’s missed chances against Mainz. “In the end, games are decided by goals,” said Terzic, who faces a dilemma in midfield with Axel Witsel injured and Emre Can suspended. Highly talented youngster Florian Wirtz is back for Leverkusen. Hertha Berlin hosts Hoffenheim for game between two sides that have consistently disappointed this season. Both could only draw 0-0 against relegation rivals at the weekend. Mainz next faces Wolfsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach gets the round underway at home to Werder Bremen. ITALY High-flying Roma will be looking to bounce back from last week’s derby defeat when it hosts promoted Spezia in the Italian Cup's round of 16. The winner of the single-elimination game will face Napoli in the quarterfinals. Roma, which is fourth in Serie A, lost 3-0 at Lazio on Friday. Spezia managed to hold Torino to a 0-0 draw this past weekend, despite playing more than 80 minutes with 10 men. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Despite a deep recession and the world's second-deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, candidates backed by Brazil's right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro are expected to win control of Congress next month, politicians and analysts said on Monday. Bolsonaro is openly supporting center-right Congressman Arthur Lira for speaker of the lower chamber against centrist Baleia Rossi, who has the backing of current Speaker Rodrigo Maia and lawmakers keeping their distance from the president. With more than 8.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 209,000 deaths - second only to the United States - the second wave of Brazil's outbreak is likely to raise pressure on the government to spend more, widening its huge budget deficit.
GENEVA — The World Health Organization chief on Monday lambasted drugmakers' profits and vaccine inequalities, saying it’s “not right” that younger, healthier adults in wealthy countries get vaccinated against COVID-19 before older people or health care workers in poorer countries and charging that most vaccine makers have targeted locations where “profits are highest.” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus kicked off the WHO’s week-long executive board meeting — virtually from its headquarters in Geneva — by lamenting that one poor country received a mere 25 vaccine doses while over 39 million doses have been administered in nearly 50 richer nations. “Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest income country -- not 25 million, not 25,000 -- just 25. I need to be blunt: The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure,” Tedros said. He did not specify the country, but a WHO spokeswoman identified it as Guinea. “It’s right that all governments want to prioritize vaccinating their own health workers and older people first," he said. “But it’s not right that younger, healthier adults in rich countries are vaccinated before health workers and older people in poorer countries. There will be enough vaccine for everyone.” Tedros, an Ethiopian who goes by his first name, nonetheless hailed the scientific achievement behind rolling out coronavirus vaccines less than a year after the pandemic erupted in China, where a WHO-backed team has now been deployed to look into origins of the coronavirus. “Vaccines are the shot in the arm we all need, literally and figuratively,” Tedros said. “But we now face the real danger that even as vaccines bring hope to some, they become another brick in the wall of inequality between the worlds of the world’s haves and have-nots.” He noted the WHO-backed COVAX program, which aims to get vaccines out to all countries, rich or poor, based on need, has so far secured 2 billion vaccine doses from five producers and options on a billion doses more. “We aim to start deliveries in February,” he said. "COVAX is ready to deliver what it was created for.” That target date could be a tall order, because a key producer of vaccines for the developing world — the Serum Institute of India — has not confirmed a date and predicted that its rollout might not happen before March or April. In his opening remarks, Tedros aired some of his toughest public words yet toward vaccine makers, criticizing “bilateral deals” between them and countries that the WHO says can deplete the effectiveness of the COVAX facility — and went further to raise the issue of profits. “The situation is compounded by the fact that most manufacturers have prioritized regulatory approval in rich countries, where the profits are highest, rather than submitting full dossiers to WHO,” he said. That appeared to allude to a shortage of data the U.N. health agency says it has received from vaccine makers so that the WHO can approve their shots for wider emergency use. Dr. Clement Martin Auer, a board member from Austria, had sharp words and questions for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, that also with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations is leading the effort on COVAX. While calling its principles of equal access to vaccines a “fantastic idea,” Auer faulted COVAX as being “slow” and unable to close “crucial numbers" of contracts. He defended the European Union, which counts among its 27 members many of the world's richest countries, for getting vaccines for its 450 million citizens and being “the single largest donor” in supporting COVAX. “We were, in the European Union, skeptical that GAVI-COVAX had the means and the capabilities to fulfil its tasks and negotiate the necessary contracts and to secure the needs of our citizens,” Auer said, adding that COVAX management had “rejected” proposals negotiated by GAVI and the EU. He said GAVI-COVAX early last year had not included mRNA vaccines like those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna in the COVAX portfolio. “This was a major mistake, taking into account that the mRNAs are the early ones on the market and the gold standards when it comes to COVID vaccines,” Auer said. The WHO has approved Pfzier-BioNTech for emergency use against coronavirus and could approve Moderna this week. Dr. Bruce Aylward, a special adviser to Tedros, said that the WHO was in “detailed discussions with Pfizer. We believe very soon we will have access to that product.” He said the mRNA vaccines are “important” but are “extremely difficult” — alluding to cold-chain requirements, among other things, and are “extremely expensive." “What we are gunning for is to get 20% of the world, at least, vaccinated this year, and more ideally,” Aylward said. "We are in a strong position to move out with vaccines globally. We just need the assistance of our member states in particular to make sure that becomes the reality.” In related vaccine news, Israel has struck a deal with Pfizer, promising to share vast troves of medical data with the international drug giant in exchange for the continued flow of its hard-to-get vaccine. Proponents say the deal could allow Israel to become the first country to vaccinate most of its population, while providing valuable research that could help the rest of the world. But critics say the deal raises major ethical concerns, including possible privacy violations and a deepening of the global divide in access to coronavirus vaccines. Due to the ultra-cold storage needed for the Pfizer vaccine, it is more expensive and harder to use than some rivals, including the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, but studies show it is very effective. Israeli media have reported that Israel paid at least 50% more than other countries for the Pfizer vaccine. ___ Ashok Sharma in Delhi and Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem contributed to this report. __ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic,https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press
Despite a request from the provincial Ministry of Highways, the Buckland Bridge will remain closed. The RM of Buckland considered the request during council’s regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 11. “The Ministry of Highways wondered if we could open up the bridge to single lane traffic and so our thoughts to them were well who is going to take responsibility for it and how do you open it to one lane of traffic and monitor it,” Reeve Don Fyrk explained. Fyrk explained that the decision to close it was because of the safety issue and the decision would not change. “And the thing is that we closed it because an engineer’s report said it was unsafe so that is why we closed it. We have no intentions of opening it again even to single lane traffic,” he added. The bridge was closed beginning Nov. 2 and is closed to all traffic. Alternate routes are on McLeod Road and Greig Road. Due to the questionable condition of the bridge and in the interest of public safety, council made the decision to close the bridge to traffic until the road lift and bridge replacement is complete. According to administrator Cori Sarginson during council’s August meeting, they have received their funding from the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP) which was for $485,083 and was approved by the provincial government in July. They are awaiting approval so they can tender out bridge design, which would be completed by the engineering firm. The bridge was damaged last spring due to ice buildup. The goal is to have the bridge project completed and open at the conclusion of the next construction season. Council also discussed another matter involving the Ministry of Highways. “We tried to get them to put up some city lights like Red, Green and Yellow where that accident happened on the Shellbrook highway. They are not interested in that,” Fyrk explained. Fyrk clarified that the decision comes down to the provincial Ministry. During the meeting the council also renewed the retainer with Buckland Fire and Rescue until 2022. They also discussed the Prince Albert and District Planning Commission budget for 2021 and delivery of a new grader which they recently purchased. “It was a short meeting, we didn’t have any delegations or anything. It was just a lot of housecleaning,” Fyrk explained. According to Fyrk it was a typical meeting for the beginning of a new year. “Just to get everybody on the same track and a few things came up when we were doing our budgets just opening discussion on it, Just what we actually need and what we can do without just your basics,” he said. At this point they continued challenges arising from COVID-19. “It is going to be a tough year again,” Fyrk said. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
It's that time of year again when Alzheimer Awareness comes to the fore, and even in the midst of a pandemic the Alzheimer's Society of Kenora/Rainy River District is doing their best to raise awareness and educate others about dementia. January is Alzheimer Awareness month for the society, and in the Kenora and Rainy River Districts, the organization will be holding a number of COVID-safe virtual events for the general public and other sessions for those living with dementia, their families and caregivers. It's not ideal, but Alzheimer's Society client services co-ordinator Mary O'Connor said that by this point, the society is well versed in taking its programs online. "Through the whole year we've gotten more familiar with Zoom, and we're familiar with OTN," O'Connor said. "We've already done stuff between Dryden and Kenora and Fort Frances." At this point last year O'Connor was talking about in person workshops and learning sessions, and hinting at preparations for the pair of fundraising dinners that are traditionally held early in the calendar year. Of course, at this time last year COVID was just a blip on the horizon, one that eventually impacted almost every facet of life in the district. Still, O'Connor and the Alzheimer's society are working just as hard as they always have, and even with an ongoing pandemic, there will be several opportunities for members of the public to tune in and learn a bit about navigating dementia in and around their lives though a number of educational sessions. The first session has already gone ahead. Titled "Visiting Dementia," O'Connor explained that it was all about how to have an enjoyable visit with someone who is living with dementia, regardless of how far along they are. "Everybody in the early stages of dementia, they are at home," she said of the session. "What I am going to do is talk generically about what you need to do to have a good visit for everybody. You want to have good lighting, you want to remove the distractions. Then I'm going to focus on early-stage dementia, where there are little things that aren't making sense. How you can make it a great visit, regardless. I'm going to do early, middle, and then I'm going to do late-stage dementia." O'Connor said the late-stage portion of the educational sessions would go over having those meetings in a care-home setting like Rainycrest, where the majority of people living with late-stage dementia would be, including those who are non-verbal or non-communicative entirely. The benefit of combining visiting tactics for all three stages is that, due to the progressive nature of the disease, all the information will eventually be relevant. The next information session will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26 and is titled "Brain Health and You." Hosted by Heidi from the Dryden office, O'Connor said this session will be all about brain health for everyone, not just those living with dementia. "This is not geared to dementia, it is geared to how to have the best possible brain health that we can," O'Connor explained. "At every age we need to take care of our brain, and there will be things that we can do to maximize our brain health. That one will be really good." The final two sessions will round out that final week in January with a 2:00 p.m. session on Thursday, Jan 28 and Friday, Jan 29. The first of the two sessions is all about the warning signs of Alzheimer disease, which O'Connor stressed are more than just forgetting where you put your car keys. "What I'll look at are the ten warning signs and the difference between normal aging and what could be the beginning of Alzheimer disease," she said. "What happens if I don't do that is people say 'I have six of those [warning signs]. It's going to be really good at clarifying what normal aging is and what could be the beginning of something that is Alzheimer's." The final public session could wind up being the most valuable to people who do have a loved one living with dementia. Titled "Lost and Alone - Finding Your Way," O'Connor said it will be about wandering, which is a common occurrence among those living with dementia, and some practical ways to keep loved ones safe. "Three out of five people with dementia wander at some point during their disease progression," she explained. "It's being run by Rylee at the Kenora office, and what she's going to do is she's going to look at prevention. She's going to look at things we can do to make life better, and what do you do if all of a sudden your loved one is missing. You would not believe the number of people who call me and say 'my husband just took off for the hills, what should I do?' Call the police. And then I tell them to know what you want from the police and to use specific wording; do not say 'agitated,' do not say 'aggressive.' Say 'dementia' and say 'confused.' Things like this are what people need to know." Hand in hand with these public information sessions, O'Connor said that the society's usual private sessions are still going strong, offering a connection for those living with dementia and the people who care for them, something she said has been especially important in the midst of a difficult pandemic. "It's been so hard for the caregivers," O'Connor said. "It doesn't matter if you have your loved one at home, and then you can't go out, can't do things, but if they're in Rainycrest it's even worse because you can't go and see them. It makes it really hard, and that's why we're trying to do so much online,” she said, All of the sessions offered to the public this month are free to participate in, though anyone interested in attending is asked to register by calling the Alzheimer Society at 807-486-1516 or toll free at 1-800-682-0245. Ken Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
A legendary figure in the world of hockey who carried a love of his hometown wherever he went has died. Art Berglund, a well-known hockey legend both at home and in the U.S., where he is remembered for spending years helping to build the sport, died Saturday, December 19 in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was 80 years old. The news of Berglund's passing was shared by the Fort Frances Sports Hall of Fame, where Berglund served both as an inspiration and a two-time honoree, having been inducted as part of the Hall's inaugural class in 2015 for his individual contributions, and then again in 2017 as a member of the team that won the 1959 Manitoba Schoolboy Curling Champions, alongside teammates Peter McLeod, Bob Grattan and Leonard McQuarrie. Due to an injury at the time of his induction, Berglund was unable to attend his second ceremony in person, though he was patched into the festivities via FaceTime. In its email sharing Berglund's passing, the Sports Hall of Fame committee celebrated Berglund for his influence and his longtime love for his hometown. “Art was the inspiration for our local hall of fame,” the release read. “After being inducted to several prestigious halls of fame, Art made the following statement: 'Don’t get me wrong, this is all very nice, but do you know where I’d really like my picture hung? Fort Frances!'” In addition to finally having his picture hung in the town's own Sports Hall of Fame, Berglund was also honoured with inductions into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, the Colorado College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006, the Colorado Springs Hall of Fame in 2008, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. Additionally, Berglund was also awarded the National Hockey League's (NHL) Lester Patrick Award in 1992 in recognition of his “outstanding service to hockey in the United States” according to a statement released by the league in recognition of his death. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman noted in a release on NHL.com that without Bergland, the game of hockey in the United States would likely been left sorely lacking in talent and scope. “We are saddened to learn of the passing of Art Berglund, one of the true builders of the game in the U.S. for more than 40 years,” Bettman said. “So many NHL players have had the opportunity to star on the world hockey stage playing for their country because of the passion, dedication and commitment that Art brought to USA Hockey. We owe him a large debt of gratitude for his countless contributions to the growth and development of the game at all levels. The game has lost a dear friend.” While Berglund got his start in Fort Frances, his professional playing career brought him to Switzerland and Austria before he returned to the States to take a job at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, where he served as a manager for 13 years. During that time Berglund also managed the 1973, 1974 and 1975 national teams, and took on his first Olympic team assignment in 1976, when he served as the general manager. He was also appointed to the Olympic team again in 1988 and was serving as the director of player personnel for the men's Olympic team when they won the silver medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Berglund also served as the general manager for the United States National Junior Team eight times, including the first official team in 1977. (Though the U.S. sent teams to World Junior tournaments in 1974 and 1975, those tournaments and the one held in 1976 are not considered official by the IIHF.) Apart from Olympic hockey, in the 1970's and '80's Berglund also served as a scout for the St. Louis Blues and the director of player recruitment for the Colorado Rockies, the former NHL team that eventually became the New Jersey Devils in 1982. As part of the USA Hockey organization, Berglund was named the director of national teams and international activities in 1984, a role he served in for 11 years before becoming the senior director of international administration in 1996. Berglund retired from his full-time work for the organization in 2005, but continued to serve as a consultant to the international department of USA Hockey for several more years. USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher expressed his condolences over Berglund's passing and underlined his significance to the greater world of the sport of hockey. “Art's passing is mourned not only by USA Hockey, but the entire hockey world,” Kelleher said. “His influence on both American hockey and the international game was profound and his charisma and passion will never be forgotten. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his entire family, but especially his step-daughters Jossie and Cathy and his niece Linda.” Ken Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
The Village of Big Valley will look into allowing residents to use sea cans as storage facilities. The discussion was held at the Dec. 30 regular meeting of council. Mayor Clark German opened the discussion on the use of “sea cans,” which are known by a plethora of names, including “c cans,” as storage facilities. in residential neighbourhoods. For readers who may not be familiar with sea cans, they are large metal shipping containers principally used in overseas cargo transport, which can be easily stacked at ports and loaded or unloaded from trains. After being decommissioned for reasons including age or rusting, they are sometimes sold as storage containers in residential, commercial or industrial settings. German stated he’s heard questions in the community about the use of sea cans for residential storage. The mayor noted Big Valley council, about 14 years ago, decided to prohibit sea cans in residential neighbourhoods because they don’t add to the aesthetics of the community. German stated he felt that if sea cans were presented properly, they could be a viable option for residential storage. Coun. Harry Nibourg agreed that the idea has merit, and noted that sea cans are being used widely and can be customized with roofs, trusses, windows and many other options. Nibourg stated the metal structure of the sea can also makes it a very secure storage option, if available. Mayor German added that sea cans are also very durable. Coun. Art Tizzard stated he felt sea cans had the potential to be made much more attractive looking than than so-called “soft shell garages,” which are already permitted in Big Valley. Soft-shell garages are tent-like structures marketed and sold as portable garages for light vehicles. Some communities don’t permit them usually because some critics feel the garage’s appearance harms the aesthetics of the community. ECA Review readers may recall the Town of Castor looked into sea cans as a residential storage option in 2020. After town staff researched the issue, Castor council decided against it based on aesthetics and to a lesser extent safety. Some fire departments have pointed out the steel structures could pose a serious obstacle in certain emergencies. Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Sandra Schell, stated if councillors approved sea cans as residential storage options the village should have some rules in place because she felt there would likely be complaints about the sea-cans from other community members. Mayor German agreed, and stated village staff could examine how other communities have handled sea cans as storage containers in residential areas. Coun. Nibourg stated that some counties allow residents to bury sea cans. Schell pointed out that county rules are often different from urban rules. It was decided that village staff would look into how other communities handle sea cans as storage in residential areas and report back at a future meeting. Coun. Nibourg added that sea cans could turn out to be a good option for residents. “You can make some of those sea cans pretty neat,” he added. Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
As the province awaits its next vaccine shipment, the province continues to see declining rates of COVID-19. On Monday, Alberta reported 474 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. There are 739 people in hospital with the disease, 120 of whom are in intensive care. The province also reported 11 more deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,447. "Over the last month we've seen active cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and our transmission rate decline," Dr Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference. "This is a testament to the hard work and sacrifices of so many." But Hinshaw emphasized that case numbers in Alberta are still very high. Three months ago, on Oct. 18, the active case count was just over 3,000, while on Monday it was 11,923. "Critically, on Oct. 18, there were 120 people in hospital with COVID-19," she said. "Today we have more than six times that total. "All of this means we are making progress but we are not out of the woods yet. "So as we ease the restrictions on three provincewide measures today, please continue to take every precaution you can, and make good choices — choices that will help reduce the spread of COVID-19, choices that will help save lives and our health-care system, and choices that will help lead us in a direction where we may be able to safely relax more measures in the weeks ahead." WATCH | Dr. Hinshaw describes province's approach to easing restrictions Alberta began easing some public health restrictions Monday, allowing hair salons, barbershops, esthetics, manicure and pedicure businesses, reflexology, piercing and tattoo shops, and other personal and wellness services to reopen by appointment only. But not everything is going as hoped in the fight against COVID-19. In a Monday morning news conference, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the province's ability to issue vaccines will have outstripped supply by early Tuesday at the latest. The next shipment of the vaccine isn't expected until later in the week, Kenney said. When the vaccine does arrive, it will be used for second doses that have already been booked, Hinshaw said. "What I can tell you is that at the moment it does seem like we have enough vaccine in hand, as well as what's been committed, even with the reduction in the Pfizer supplies, to be able to offer that second dose to all who've booked it." As of Monday, 89,814 doses of vaccine have been administered in the province. Both Kenney and Hinshaw said that first-dose vaccinations have wrapped up at all 357 long-term care and designated supported living facilities in the province. The Pfizer vaccine supply has been temporarily slowed because the pharmaceutical giant is cutting production to upgrade its manufacturing capacity at its facility in Belgium.
The Deninu Kųę́ First Nation on Monday asked visitors and non-essential workers to refrain from travel to the community, resuming a roadblock on the highway entering Fort Resolution. In a Facebook post, the First Nation tie the action to the current cluster of COVID-19 cases in Fort Liard alongside concern about the virus in Yellowknife and Hay River. “Due to the recent reports of COVID-19 cases in the surrounding communities and the high number of calls received by concerned Elders and community members, we will be monitoring all incoming travellers until further notice,” the post stated. The First Nation previously set up a checkpoint on the highway in April last year. Leaders in Jean Marie River and Sambaa K’e had already asked visitors to stay out of their communities. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
Hospitals in Ontario have received a triage protocol that lays out the criteria to be used if intensive care units fill up and medical resources are scarce.The memo by the province's critical care COVID-19 command centre says patients will be scored on a short-term mortality risk assessment that assigns a percentage to the odds a patient will live a year. It says patients who have a high likelihood of dying within a year will be lower priority and may not receive treatment at all if ICUs are full.The document also says random selection for life-saving care could also be used if there is no difference in score when ICUs are overwhelmed.The province warned last week that ICUs could be full by mid-February.Several ICUs in Toronto-area hospitals are already transferring patients to other hospitals to help ease the burden.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A review of the CBC's licence renewal applications entered its second phase Monday, with some organizations and individuals presenting their call for greater accountability and transparency from the public broadcaster. The Canadian Association of Broadcasters, which represents private broadcasters, expressed concern about the public broadcaster "being market-driven rather than mandate-driven," arguing it's focusing too much on attracting more viewers and advertisers. "CBC/Radio-Canada's avowed focus on a market-driven strategy comes at a significant public policy cost," Kevin Desjardins, president of the CAB, said in the virtual hearing run by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Desjardins also said that by selling ads on TV and its digital services, the CBC is disrupting the advertising market negatively for private broadcasters. "It diverts from its core mandate and disrupts private broadcasters' ability to meet their regulatory obligations," he said, noting "the ad market right now is incredibly tight, especially in local advertising." The hearing began Jan. 11 with the CBC asking Canada's broadcast regulator for greater "flexibility" as it tries to meet audience needs and makes a bigger push into the digital world. CBC chief executive Catherine Tait said last week that if the public broadcaster is to remain relevant, it must "embrace change." "If we do not move with our audiences, we risk becoming dinosaurs on a melting ice cap,'' Tait said. The CBC is asking that the corporation be free of detailed financial reporting obligations around resources put into online content, such as the CBC Gem streaming platform and CBC Listen app. The watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting was among the other intervenors who presented Monday. In an interview before the hearing, Friends executive director Daniel Bernhard said the CBC's request for less scrutiny over its digital activities, and its performance at the commission thus far, signals "they don't fully appreciate that public service media is about public service." He expressed concerns about the CBC's accountability, its declining news expenditures, and its advertising and commercialization initiatives, including the paid-partnership division Tandem. "Hopefully these critiques from the commission will result in conditions of licence that keep CBC management on the straight and narrow and prevent them from diverting down unhelpful tangents like Tandem or other hyper-commercialization initiatives that betray and undermine CBC's public purpose," Bernhard said. CBC management has stressed a critical need to generate revenue amid big financial pressures, and insisted that editorial and advertising content, such as that produced by Tandem, would remain separate. CBC/Radio-Canada is asking for a five-year renewal of its current licences, which expire on August 31. The public broadcaster's last license renewal was in 2012. In fall 2019, the CRTC invited Canadians to share their views on the CBC as part of its decision-making process. Other groups set to present at the hearing this week include the Indigenous Screen Office and Quebecor Media Inc. Desjardins called for an ad-free CBC/Radio-Canada at Monday's presentation. "At minimum, CBC/Radio-Canada should be prohibited from selling local TV and online advertising in markets where local private radio and TV stations are present," he said. The CAB also criticized the CBC's request that its digital services be exempt from regulatory scrutiny. "We observe the CBC/Radio-Canada leaning in towards becoming more commercial, and less distinctive," Desjardins said. "A mandate-driven public broadcaster can complement our shared broadcasting system well. A market-driven CBC/Radio-Canada negatively disrupts an already challenged private broadcasting sector, and undermines all of our ability to appropriately serve the public." The public hearing, which will last nearly three weeks, was originally set to be held in May of 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CBC presented in last week's proceedings, which touched on everything from the corporation's advertising and obligations, to its digital expenditures and its financial constraints that have grown during COVID-19. Bernhard said Friends of Canadian Broadcasting also opposes the CBC's request to operate its digital activities outside of the public eye. The group wants the CBC to be fundamentally non-commercial, and that the corporation deal "with the massive crisis in journalism that is plaguing the country." "These are questions of major national importance," Bernhard said. "It's important for us to remember that this is not really just a regulatory hearing, this has real implications for the CBC, which could be basically the last truly national media organization of consequence within the next couple of years." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
BUCKHORN -- A Buckhorn, Ont. area man successfully rescued a fawn from Lower Buckhorn Lake on Thursday. The man, known only as Rob, who many of which are calling a hero, told his neighbour, Shelley Fine, that the deer had fallen through the ice. “He went out in his kayak and broke the ice and with a rope, tried to get the deer out for an hour,” Fine said. The deer was exhausted, cold and scared and began to struggle. After a continued attempt to rescue the deer from his kayak, Fine said Rob saw the ice start to close and he decided to get out of it and lay on the ice on his stomach and pulled the deer out while his wife held his legs. “He got the deer out and they carried her to their shed. They wrapped up the deer, they dried it off, and let it lay in their shed, and it stayed there for about three hours,” Fine said. Rob is a private person and didn’t initially want Fine posting about the rescue on social media, Fine said. “I said, ‘Rob, I have to share this. This is one of the nicest stories people have heard in like the whole year. Like, come on,’” Fine said. With some convincing from Fine and Rob’s wife, he agreed to let Fine post the pictures and story of the rescue. The posts have received hundreds of likes and shares on various social media platforms. Fine said the story has reached thousands of people, some even in Newfoundland and Labrador. Fine said Rob’s been her neighbour for about two years since she first purchased her cottage. She said she’ll usually come from the city and stay at her cottage a lot during the winter months. Rob’s a selfless guy, Fine said. “Without me even asking, he’ll plow my driveway,” she said. Last November during a bad rain and wind storm, Fine said her daughter had forgotten to tie up their canoe on the dock. “I get a call from Robs saying our canoe was in the middle of the lake and he went out in his paddle boat with a rain coat and pulled it back in for me. I didn’t even ask him…. That’s the kind of guy he is. He’s selfless. He’s empathic. He’s just got such a kind heart. He didn’t even think twice about the deer, he just went. He just did it,” she said. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick reported 26 new COVID-19 infections Monday as the Edmundston region entered the province's highest pandemic-alert level.Health officials said New Brunswick had more than 300 active reported infections. The largest number of new cases on Monday were identified in the Edmundston region, located in the northwest of the province, bordering Quebec.The move into the "red" alert came after the province reported 36 infections Sunday — the highest single-day number since the start of the pandemic. Red-level rules require businesses to close or to reduce operations to essential activities. Residents are asked to stay home in single-family bubbles as much as possible, though schools remain open. Outdoor gatherings are limited to five people or fewer, while in-person dining at restaurants is prohibited.Many of the cases identified in the Edmundston zone are at the Nadeau Poultry plant in the community of Haut-Madawaska, west of Edmundston and near the border with Maine and Quebec."There is a problem at the Nadeau plant," Haut-Madawaska Mayor Jean-Pierre Ouellet said in an interview Monday. "There are about 20 workers that have been diagnosed positive with COVID-19.""The plant is closed until Friday in order for the management to clean the facility," he said.Representatives of the company could not be reached for comment, but Public Health officials confirmed the outbreak and said a second round of mass testing will occur at the facility on Tuesday."We have kept the avalanche of cases out of New Brunswick so far," Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement Monday afternoon."We must act now to keep this virus from doing even more damage than we are already seeing, especially with transmission now in workplaces. We cannot keep COVID-19 out completely, so we must do absolutely everything we can to prevent it from spreading within our province," she said.On Sunday, Russell said Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton are close to moving into red alert. Public Health also reported several new cases in schools Monday. Officials reported a case at Ecole Elementaire Sacre-Coeur in Grand Falls and another at a daycare located in the school. There is also a positive case at Quispamsis Middle School in Quispamsis. Colin Furness, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, said if New Brunswick is to control the rise in new cases it needs to redouble efforts to reduce travel from outside the Atlantic region."If the province keeps doing what it's doing, you'll have more cases — plenty more — but not at the level that will get out of control," Furness said in an email Monday. "New Brunswickers should feel confident and optimistic, and of course, vigilant — drop your guard and you can get swamped between now and the summer."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
The New Brunswick Teachers' Federation says it does not support keeping schools open during red phase, a change that took both teachers and district officials by surprise. The province did not consult teachers before changing the rules, said federation co-president Rick Cuming. "We've been directed to prepare for a transition to at home learning if red occurs. And that's been the plan for months, until yesterday," he said in an interview. Minister of Education Dominic Cardy and Dr, Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, announced Sunday 36 new cases of COVID-19, a new single-day record. The cases include 24 in the Edmundston and Grand Falls region, or Zone 4, which is moving to the red phase. At the same news conference, Cardy said schools in Zone 4 will stay open under new phase-red guidelines. The guidelines previously said if a zone moved to the red phase, all non-essential businesses and schools must close. In an interview Monday, Cardy said the possibility of different red-phase rules were discussed for months, and staff were trying to finalize and roll them out "in the near future," but the spike in cases caused them to be rolled out more suddenly. Cardy apologized to teachers for not communicating the change earlier, but said he could not delay following Public Health recommendations. "I still want to extend my apologies for not having been able to communicate this earlier," he said. "I was left with a recommendation from Public Health and was left with the choice of either following that or bluntly politicizing the decision, and choosing to lighten the load on me and my office by sticking with a plan Public Health no longer said reflected the best science," he said. Cuming said the federation, which represents both anglophone and francophone teachers, plans to address its concerns with Cardy, including asking how suddenly changing the rules could help "foster a climate of stability," and how students, teachers and staff will be kept safe. Cardy said students will be safe at school, even during phase red, as there will be daily screening of staff and people showing one symptom will be asked to stay home. Cuming said the one-symptom rule could cause a staffing issue. "We don't understand how we're going to be able to have the human resources to meet the criteria of having no symptoms in a red zone and be able to safely run schools," he said. Cardy said he made the decision to change the red-phase rules based on Public Health recommendations. He said the way schools have been run during the pandemic makes it so they're "one of the safest places," for students. He said the way schools have been run since they reopened has been "very effective" at keeping COVID-19 at bay. The virus was recently detected in 14 schools and six early childhood learning facilities. Superintendent on side Francophone North-West School District superintendent Luc Caron held a media conference Monday afternoon supporting the government's decision. "[If] schools are open that means schools are safe and that is Public Health's message that they're sending out," he said. "We will continue to do our best to give the kids the best education, best quality of service possible." Caron said the new rules came as a surprise to the district as well. He said staff have been working on red-phase plans for months, but had to pivot when they learned that they will remain open in red. Caron said if parents want to keep their kids at home because they don't feel safe, they are free to do that. But if they do, "they become the teacher." He said he hopes parents will understand the district is keeping the students and staff safe by following Public Health guidelines of cleaning and masking. He said the district will step up active screening of school personnel, and screen employees on a daily basis. Extracurricular activities will be cancelled, and if employees or students experience only one symptom they are asked to stay home and get tested, he said. "We encourage our parents to take a look on our health measures in place and I hope they realize that means we are strict and our measures are safe," he said. "We would invite them to bring back their kids to school."
Backlash over a plan to expand open-pit coal mining in the Rockies has prompted the Alberta government to pause future projects. One coal lease on the eastern slopes is being challenged in court by a group accusing the government of making the policy change quietly and without consultation.
ROME — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte won a crucial vote in Parliament's lower house Monday night after a coalition defector's lawmakers abstained in the balloting, but he must clear a much tougher hurdle less than 24 hours later in the Senate to hold on to power. Lawmakers in the Chamber of Deputies voted 321 to 259 in approval of Conte's government, after the premier sought their backing to overcome a political crisis — lamenting that it had left Italian citizens bewildered in the midst of the pandemic. There were 27 abstentions. Conte lost his coalition majority with the defection of Cabinet ministers belonging to former Premier Matteo Renzi’s tiny but key Italia Viva (Italy Alive) party, that threatened to collapse his government. The open ballot in the Chamber was tantamount to a confidence vote on the government. Conte's chances of prevailing in the vote received an important boost when a lawmaker in Renzi's party announced in Parliament after Conte's speech that Italy Alive's deputies would abstain in the balloting. But a much tougher hurdle looms Tuesday in the Senate where Renzi’s party has 18 members, meaning Conte would seek support from outside his wobbly coalition to stay in power — even if Renzi's party again abstains in that vote. Even should Conte's government survive in terms of numbers in Parliament, Renzi's party pullout last week highlighted the coalition's fragility. Conte would likely need backing from the thin ranks of centrists outside his coalition or the opposition to be able to get legislation passed, including vital economic measures to rescue an economy that was already stagnant before the pandemic pummeled it. Renzi has faced harsh criticism for the power play during a pandemic that has killed more than 82,000 Italians. But with billions of European Union recovery funds expected to flow into the country, he has defended the move as necessary to prevent Conte from amassing too much power. “Did we always take the best decisions? Everyone can make their evaluations,” Conte told the lower house. “For my part, I can say the government worked with the utmost care and attention for the delicate balances, including constitutional ones,” while keeping in mind the heavy implications for ordinary Italians. “If I can speak in the name of the whole government, with head high, it is not out of the arrogance of someone who believes not to have made errors,” Conte said. “It is out of awareness of how the whole government put all of its physical and mental energy into best protecting the nation.” He expressed perplexity at the political crisis for which he saw “no plausible basis” at a moment when “the pandemic is still in full course.” He said the developments in Rome had provoked “deep dismay” in the country, when the priority should be fighting the virus and relaunching the economy. . The interest rate Italy pays on its public debt has nudged up in recent days, but it is nowhere near the high levels reached during Italy’s 2011 political crisis. During the debate, Conte used his follow-up speech to pitch to centrists, who might be wary of backing a government whose senior party is the populist 5-Star Movement. After avowing to keep his government solidly pro-European Union, Conte promised his coalition would be aligned with the agenda of the incoming U.S. administration of Joe Biden, whose presidency, he said, is viewed with “great hope.” “I already have had a long and warm phone conversation with him,” Conte told the Chamber. He added that the Biden agenda is “our agenda.” During his speech to lawmakers, Conte conceded one point of contention, that he would give up the secret services portfolio. But he also made clear that it would be hard to mend fences with Renzi. "We can't forget what has happened, and you can't think of regaining the climate of trust,'' Conte said. Italia Viva lawmaker Ivan Scalfarotto accused Conte of setting up too many tasks forces during the pandemic, and not taking enough action. Conte, a lawyer by training hailed for his mediation skills, was tapped by Italy’s 5-Star Movement to run the government after the indecisive 2018 election led to a governing coalition of the 5-Stars with a right-wing group led by League party leader Matteo Salvini. That government fell when Salvini, then interior minister, mounted a failed power grab. Conte was able to form a new government with the support of the left-wing Democratic Party, which then included Renzi. Renzi later defected from the party he once ran, giving himself the ability to shake up the government by yanking loyal ministers. Renzi acted after Conte unveiled a plan to manage the EU recovery funds himself, which was widely seen as accumulating too much power. ___ Barry reported from Milan. Frances D'Emilio contributed from Rome. Colleen Barry And Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
In a short video, Gina Boyd presents a woman’s dainty shoe with a hand-painted floral design and a light pink high heel. While her downtown Brighton store is currently closed to walk-in patrons, the sharply-dressed entrepreneur is inside doing promotional videos that she then uploads to her social media pages. G. Boyd Boutique carries a variety of leather and handmade shoes, wallets, handbags and jewellery. Promoting her store online and creating the videos are efforts she has ramped up lately as she and other retailers face another shutdown because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Non-essential businesses, like G. Boyd Boutique, are permitted to offer curbside pickup of orders placed online or on the phone. However, Ontario is also now under a stay-at-home order, which requires residents to stay put unless they’re headed out for essential items, medical appointments or work. While Boyd said she and other store owners are feeling the weight of another closure, she is embracing the additional ways to sell. Non-essential businesses were also closed in mid-March 2020 for several weeks as a measure aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. They were then permitted to open with safety measures until the province announced another lockdown starting Dec. 26, 2020. The stay-at-home order then came into effect Jan. 14. “I’m doing my best,” Boyd said. “Curbside is the only weapon we have.” There’s frustration in the small business community because some big-box stores can stay open because they sell food and other essentials, but they also sell products like clothes and housewares. At press time, Boyd was attempting to access a recently-announced small business grant from the province. Just before the stay-at-home order was announced, Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander encouraged residents to consider local businesses if they were making purchases. “If you need to purchase anything, please reach out to a local business to request curbside or porch delivery,” Ostrander said. There was also a big push before Christmas to promote shopping locally. From hosting Old St. Nick, to launching a shop local incentive to introducing a holiday decorating contest, the Municipality of Brighton, the Downtown Business Improvement Area and others kicked off the holiday season in high gear. Boyd said while the holiday season for her wasn’t as busy as previous ones, she definitely saw the community step up and shop locally, which she and other merchants she spoke with greatly appreciated. She said her heart goes out to business owners of hair and nail salons and restaurants, noting she bought gift certificates for people on her Christmas list and encourages others to consider doing the same for upcoming occasions. “We want the downtown to survive and thrive,” Boyd said. Andreas Becker, who owns Read and Green, a second-hand bookstore on Main Street, is also using social media and the phone to take orders while his doors are closed. “The closing and reopening of the store and re-closing have certainly disrupted the flow of things,” Becker told the Independent. “However, by early autumn I started considering that another closing would come so I started posting extra online through my Facebook page and figuring out how to turn the page into a business page where you can click the button and make a purchase… I’m still working on that part,” he noted. “Using social media is the way in which I’ve adapted. I’ve also begun to call-forward my store number to my cell phone and that allows me to take calls when I’m not there and I’ve made a number of sales just by phone and arranging for a pick-up time. “I think adaptability is the most important thing, I do recognize that one of the challenges for many businesses is a chain of supply, which puts a bit more stress on foreseeing and pre-ordering. I’m very fortunate with Read and Green that I have a very large inventory in the store, which will help me ride out any supply challenges. This is a difficult time, but it opens the door to some creative solutions.” Brighton is fortunate its downtown business owners support each other, work together as a team and have loyal customers, Boyd said. “The only way we can stay alive is with the blessings of our community and thank goodness they are knocking on our doors. We’ve got to keep the small town going.” Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News
It might be time to put 2020 in the rearview mirror, and while no one in town might be happier to do so than the mayor, there are still some successes to be celebrated and lessons to be brought forward into the new year. Fort Frances Mayor June Caul and her council have faced a difficult calendar year that kicked off with the final death throes of the former mill and an unruly budget before being thrown into the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic. What followed that March outbreak has been months of uncertainty and fear surrounding the new virus, but also successful partnerships and initiatives undertaken by the town and community partners. "When you look back on 2020 and you think about the uproar of COVID and everything, I look back and think 'gee, we did pretty well through the year,'" Caul said. "I'm pleased with the amount that we were able to still get done. We've continued our talks with our First Nation partners and neighbours in trying to get closer to rectifying the whole situation with the Point Park and the lands surrounding that. It's been a really positive dialect between us for the most part, good and respectful discussions. That's a really big takeaway that we've continued to do a good job of as council during 2020." The mayor also notes that the town has been able to make some progress on tackling the issue of homelessness in Fort Frances. In addition to coming onboard and working with the homelessness committee, the town has also helped to finance the Out of the Cold Warming Centre on Victoria Ave. She also noted that the town was able to meet with concerned homeowners and other stakeholders throughout the year to begin to address concerns on all sides, though she said the work will need to continue in the future. Caul said that the issue itself shouldn't be relegated to one committee or organization as homelessness is a community problem and needs to be addressed on a larger scale. She also encouraged the public to understand that there are many factors that could play into someone experiencing homelessness, and that those individuals are still deserving of compassion. "I know a lot of people feel threatened by these people but for the most part they're no different than you or I," she said. "They're down on their luck and they've got addictions to deal with but they deserve the respect that the rest of us have." Mayor Caul also noted that the town should be receiving "shortly" the final reports on the Shevlin Woodyard and Gateway to Fort Frances projects that began in earnest in 2020, even as a number of public input sessions were adapted to fit into lockdowns and other COVID related restrictions. The reports will be a collection of the input that the consultants received from the second round of public consultations that came once they had released rough outlines for what could be done with the former woodyard and the downtown space. "I'm looking forward to that and getting started there," Caul said. "First of all, I'm really excited about making Fort Frances look a lot more desirable when you come in from the U.S., whenever that border does open. Anyone coming from the west end of the town and through the border of the United States and Canada needs to see something that looks appealing to get them to stop, and we haven't had that for many, many years, so that's a big deal." In terms of the woodyard itself, Caul said the town will be looking for community partners and other businesses who will be interested in developing the space for their needs, whether it be for apartments, seniors housing, or commercial space. She called the whole lot "a huge opportunity" for the town going forward, and said she's hoping that some work will be able to get underway this calendar year. The Shevlin Woodyard is not the only game in town when it comes to new residential spaces either. Caul noted that this year could show some growth in that sector from a number of projects, including an organization interested in bringing a seniors housing complex to town, an apartment complex going up on the former Dough and Deli lot and the new Erin Crescent subdivision. "It takes the town and a town council to push something like that [subdivision] forward when you don't have construction workers or businesses who are wanting to take that dive into trying to start building complexes, for whatever reason," she said. "There's a lot of years that have gone by where I found that has happened with the town, so I truly believe it's up to the town to push that kind of thing if we want to make our town a better place to live, a place where we have more opportunity for people to live and play and work. That's our responsibility as a council, I believe." Caul also pointed towards the redeveloped economic development sector of the town, noting that in the past, economic advisory committees have worked hard to come up with suggestions but had little ability to act on those ideas. A newly formed economic advisory executive committee will have more council involvement and will hopefully include residents and business owners as members, and will also include community stakeholders who had not previously been part of the economic development such as Fort Frances Power Corporation (FFPC), which Caul said didn't help things. "We need to be able to find out where are the power lines, how does that impact the rest of the town?" she said. "That's a big important deal for me, for that to be going forward this year as well. With the mill being torn down now, we have to do economic development. Wehave to get people coming in here, whether it's to stay and play or live and play, we need to not only grow our population but we need to grow ourselves in another way, and the best way to do that is through tourism, because of this beautiful area we live in. We need to be supporting tourism and that in turn supports our businesses." Caul also stressed that town council can't do or think up everything alone, and encouraged the public to speak up with their own ideas or suggestions for ways the town can capitalize on different opportunities that might so far have gone untapped. One of the largest differences around town when comparing January 2020 to January 2021 is the absence of a large portion of the old mill buildings, with the rest continuing to come down throughout the rest of the year. Even as much of the potential for the site – once demolition and clean-up is complete – is still up in the air, Caul said that council needs to continue working in a positive manner towards finding new opportunities for the town. I think the most important thing that we as a town council need to always work toward is working positively with whoever is influencing or doing anything in our community," she said. "It was a huge controversy when we went after Resolute trying to get them to let businesses come into the mill and take over the property and that just didn't happen, and I'm proud of council for standing their ground and fighting for that. That was important to me, that we fought to get something done and not just have it sitting there empty like it was five years ago. The demolition is the start of moving forward." Going forward into 2021, Caul said that the town is aware of opportunities that are out there for new business and investments into the town of Fort Frances, including but not limited to exploring other uses for fibre from the Boundary Waters Forest. "We're getting more and more information on what we can and should be able to approach," she said. Overall Caul said she's excited for the possibilities that exist in 2021, even as the town, province and country are continuing to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as it seems to worsen in our neck of the woods. Still, the mayor said there are opportunities available for the town and it will require the continuing hard work of town council and administration to seize in order to secure a good future for everyone in town. "I live by this: no matter what difficulties come into our lives, always think of the positive," Caul said. "There is always something positive that comes out of everything, and if we look to the future and work together in that respect, Fort Frances can become an even better place to live." Ken Kellar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
MONTREAL — Some provincial authorities saw encouraging signs in the fight against COVID-19 on Monday, even as experts warned that it's too soon to draw conclusions from the data and urged Canadians not to relax their efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Officials in both Quebec and Manitoba noted that case numbers have dropped slightly in recent days and suggested that their populations' efforts to control the virus could be paying off. Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief public health officer, said case numbers in his province appeared to be dipping. "We’re definitely not out of the woods," he told a news conference as the province reported 118 cases. "We certainly still have a long way to go before we can return to normal." Roussin said the province is looking at easing some restrictions in the coming days, but that any changes would be gradual. Quebec reported 1,634 new COVID-19 cases, which included about 200 from the previous day that weren't noted because of a delay. The province had broken the 3,000-case mark in early January and has a seven-day rolling average of more than 1,900 cases a day. Health Minister Christian Dube noted on Twitter that the Quebec City region in particular had seen a decline in the number of new infections recently, which he saw as a sign that "the sacrifices that we're asking of Quebecers are bearing fruit." However, he asked Quebecers to continue their efforts in order to reduce the number of hospitalizations, which rose Monday after three straight days of decline. Universite de Montreal public health professor Benoit Masse said it will take another week or two to know whether the downward trend will be sustained and to gauge the impact of the recently imposed curfew. He said the province should know more by Feb. 8, when curfew restrictions are set to lift. Ontario also reported its lowest number of COVID-19 cases since early January, with 2,578 new infections, but the province completed a little more than 40,000 tests Sunday, compared with more than 60,000 the day before. Nova Scotia also reported no new cases for the second time this month. The news was less positive in New Brunswick, where the Edmundston region entered the province's highest pandemic-alert level, ushering in new restrictions on businesses in the region after a record-breaking number of new cases on Sunday. The province reported 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday after Sunday's all-time high of 36. Ontario announced that a new hospital set to open in Vaughan, Ont. would be used to relieve a capacity crunch because of rising COVID-19 admissions. Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott said the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital would add 35 new critical care beds and 150 medical beds to the province's bed capacity. Hospital capacity has been a concern in many provinces, with doctors in Ontario and Quebec being told to prepare for the possibility of implementing protocols to decide which patients get access to life-saving care in the case of extreme intensive care unit overcrowding. Nationally, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are still increasing, according to Canada's chief public health officer. Dr. Theresa Tam noted that hospitalizations tend to lag one or more weeks behind a surge in cases. "These impacts affect everyone, as the health-care workforce and health system bear a heavy strain, important elective medical procedures are delayed or postponed, adding to pre-existing backlogs," she wrote in a statement. She said an average of 4,705 COVID-19 patients a day were being treated in Canadian hospitals during the last seven days, including an average of 875 in ICUs. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021 -- With files from Steve Lambert, Shawn Jeffords and Sidhartha Banerjee Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
As confusion spreads regarding what is essential and what is not following the latest stay at home order, local officials have a clear message. Stay home. While Chatham-Kent’s top doctor agrees the definition of what is essential and what is non-essential is not particularly clear, he is asking people to respect the spirit of the law and to stay home. According to Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, the problem happens when people don’t look at the spirit of the law, and they look at the letter of the law instead. “They say ‘exactly what am I allowed to get away with here?’,” said Colby. “The purpose of this is to encourage people to stay home and stay safe.” Colby clarified the spirit of the law. “The spirit of the law is unless you’ve got a good reason to leave your home -- a necessary reason -- stay home,” said Colby. He said employers are encouraged to have their employees work at home whenever possible. He also added that people need to maintain the necessities of life and get out for food, medicines, health appointments and more. Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire admitted the municipality had been encouraged by the province to take a stronger role in doing enforcement. Shropshire said people could no longer say after 10 months, they were unaware of the rules. “I would expect if someone were to do something like have a party or disrespect the five people maximum gathering, and so on, that’s the sort of thing I think people are going to be called upon,” said Shropshire. Ultimately, Shropshire said they are not running around trying to find tickets. “I don’t see the bylaw enforcement officers waiting outside of the paint store for someone to pick up that gallon of paint,” said Shropshire. In fact, Chatham-Kent Police issued a statement on Jan. 14 saying they won’t be actively pursuing those breaking the latest stay at home order by the province. However, they will continue to educate the public about Covid-19 measures and respond to complaints. This means the Chatham Kent Police Service will not be randomly stopping vehicles or pedestrians for the sole purpose of checking for compliance with the stay-at-home order. Police are asking the citizens of Chatham-Kent for their cooperation and to use common-sense in these challenging times. They are pleading with the public to limit their trips outside of the home, wear a mask, social distance, and wash their hands. Police added, now more than ever, the community needs to rally together for everyone’s health and safety in Chatham-Kent. “Community safety has been and remains our number one priority throughout this pandemic. Our Police Service is committed to working with community partners in balancing overall public safety and health. Officers will continue to engage and educate the citizens of our community in an effort to seek compliance, with enforcement being used as the last resort,” said Chief Gary Conn. Complaints and concerns regarding COVID-19 violations should be reported by calling 311 or by emailing COVID19Enforcement@chatham-kent.ca. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News