Fantasy Football Podcast: Packers & Titans post-mortem, Eli retiring, and ranking the QBs in 2020

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This is it. The matchup is set. The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will meet for all the marbles at Super Bowl LIV. Who ya got?

Liz Loza and Matt Harmon give their initial thoughts on the matchup in the latest fantasy football podcast.

But we can’t forget about the teams the Chiefs and 49ers beat to get here. Liz and Matt give their thoughts on both the Titans and Packers — two squads that probably played beyond their means in these playoffs. (1:10) 

[Yahoo Sportsbook powered by BetMGM: Deposit $10, Get $100 in Free Bets. NJ only. 21+. Terms apply]

Elsewhere in the NFL, the offseason has continued chugging along, especially in East Rutherford. After hiring Jason Garrett as their new offensive coordinator, the Giants are now linked to Freddie Kitchens. (13:15)

Speaking of the Giants, Eli Manning announced his retirement on Wednesday, and almost immediately the Hall Of Fame debate began — which side are you on? (19:40)

The Jaguars hired Jay Gruden as their new OC, but head coach Doug Marrone has kept talks of a 2020 starter at quarterback under wraps thus far. (28:00)

Our fantasy analysts published their way too early top 10 ranks at every position this week. Liz and Matt compare their notes on quarterbacks, and debate between Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes for the 2020 fantasy season. (32:00)

We’ll be back next week, live from Radio Row in Miami at Super Bowl LIV!

Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes are the consensus top 2 QBs in early 2020 fantasy rankings, but in what order? (Photos L to R by: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images; Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Please remember to rate, review and subscribe on your podcast provider of choice and send us your questions for future episodes on Twitter @YahooFantasy.

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Follow Matt @MattHarmon_BYB

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  • U.S. officials redistribute protective gear seized from alleged hoarder
    News
    Reuters

    U.S. officials redistribute protective gear seized from alleged hoarder

    U.S. officials said on Thursday they would distribute a stockpile of personal protective equipment, including 192,000 N95 respirator masks, which they seized this week from an alleged hoarder. The departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) said the equipment had been seized by a task force set up to crack down on coronavirus-related hoarding and price gouging. The material included 130,000 surgical masks, 598,000 medical grade gloves, surgical gowns, disinfectant towels and bottles of hand sanitizer and spray disinfectant.

  • Now Isn’t The Time To Question Chinese Numbers On Coronavirus: Trudeau
    News
    HuffPost Canada

    Now Isn’t The Time To Question Chinese Numbers On Coronavirus: Trudeau

    The health minister chastised a reporter for “feeding into conspiracy theories.”

  • Premier to release 'really stark' projections Friday as Ontario confirms 401 new COVID-19 cases
    News
    CBC

    Premier to release 'really stark' projections Friday as Ontario confirms 401 new COVID-19 cases

    Recent developments: * Ontario confirmed 401 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. * Total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the province now at 2,793. * Ontario's official death toll from COVID-19 now at 53. * 831 cases are considered resolved. * Premier promised a full briefing from province's health experts on Friday. * Three COVID-19 related deaths reported at Toronto long-term care home. * Ontario Hospital Association sounds alarm about dwindling supplies. * Royal Canadian Legion adapting services to support veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. * COVID-19 crisis results in power grid concerns. * Outbreak of COVID-19 at Lakeridge Health Oshawa. * Torontonians will now risk $5,000 fine if they stand less than two metres apart.Ontario confirmed 401 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the provincial total to 2,793.The tally includes 16 new deaths, putting Ontario's official death toll at 53, as well as 831 cases considered resolved.Another 2,052 people are awaiting test results, 1,083 fewer than the previous 24 hours. A total of 62,733 tests have been administered.Speaking at a news conference Thursday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford promised to release data Friday showing how many Ontarians could die from COVID-19 in various scenarios, warning that the projections will be hard to hear.Ford had resisted calls to release that modelling as recently as Wednesday, saying there were many different scenarios, but said medical experts will now provide a public briefing."Over the next little while, we will all have to make some very, very difficult decisions and you deserve the same information I have," Ford said."You deserve to see the same data that I see when I'm making decisions. You deserve to know what I know when you're making decisions for yourself, your family and your community."Numbers may be 'a real wake-up call,' Ford saysFord said the numbers may be "a real wake-up call" to people who may be tempted to pack the beaches and the parks as the weather gets nicer."The truth is, the situation is extremely, extremely serious," Ford said. "Right now, our best defence is to stay home, self isolate and don't go out. It is a matter of life and death.""People are going to see some really stark figures tomorrow," Ford said.The premier said the situation is "extremely serious," and again implored people to stay home.The updated figures from the province are a snapshot of the COVID-19 situation as of 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, meaning the current death toll is higher.A Bobcaygeon nursing home, for instance, reported two more deaths of residents in a COVID-19 outbreak there early this morning, bringing the total to 16 in that facility. The local health unit believes the outbreak at Pinecrest Nursing Home is the largest in the province, with at least 24 staff members also infected.For the first time, Ontario is also reporting data on hospitalizations, how many COVID-19 patients are in intensive care units, and how many cases have required a ventilator: * 405 infected people have been hospitalized. * 167 of those are in ICUs. * 112 patients are on ventilators.Numbers will be 'challenging'Meanwhile, without going into specifics, Dr. David Williams, the chief medical health officer, said some people might find the numbers challenging.At a Thursday afternoon news conference, Williams said his office has had scientists working hard at the modelling to get the information to provincial authorities."The more data we can give them, the more able they are to make some better projections and forecast in that sense. My point always with those things [is that] they give us an idea of what we should prepare for," Williams said."I really feel that by what we're doing we can still bend the curve. I think the numbers as always will be challenging as people see what might progress."COVID-19 outbreak at Lakeridge Health OshawaLate Thursday night, Lakeridge Health and Durham Region Health Department confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at an inpatient unit.at Lakeridge Health Oshawa.The individuals who have tested positive have been appropriately isolated, are receiving care and being monitored, they said in a joint statement.The unit is temporarily closed to admissions, the statement continued.3 deaths at long-term care home in TorontoMeanwhile, CBC News has learned of three deaths at a long-term care home in Toronto.Mary Hoare, CEO of St. Clair O'Connor Community Nursing Home, told CBC News the three deaths — all related to COVID-19 — happened Thursday morning.These are the first COVID-19-related deaths at the home since the outbreak of the deadly respiratory illness. On Thursday, City of Toronto officials announced a new bylaw that prohibits people from standing within two metres of each other in city parks and public squares — and failing to comply could mean a fine of up to $5,000. Watch The National's report on how COVID-19 is already putting stress on ICUs in Ontario:Health officials also offered the following breakdown of cases since Jan. 15, 2020: * 48.5 per cent are male, while 50.9 per cent are female. * 32.3 per cent are 60 years of age and older. * Greater Toronto Area public health units account for more than 53 per cent of cases.The newly confirmed cases in Ontario push the Canada-wide total to 10,132.Ford also announced Thursday that the province is pledging $12 million to online mental health supports for those who are struggling as isolation measures continue. "You are not alone. We're listening. We care," Ford said.How have you been affected by the coronavirus? Let us know by emailing covid@cbc.ca, and include the words "personal story" in your subject line.The association that represents Ontario's hospitals is sounding the alarm about dwindling supplies of personal protective equipment.The Ontario Hospital Association says it is "extremely concerned" that many of the facilities are running low.It says that as the number of COVID-19 cases in acute care units rise, many hospitals are experiencing a shortage, especially of masks.The association is calling on the federal and provincial governments to clearly communicate when new supplies will be provided to specific hospitals.Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey today announced $2.7 million for community agencies to support victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.The province is also investing $1.3 million in technology to help courts and tribunals operate remotely.Support for veteransMeanwhile, Royal Canadian Legion branches are adapting their services to support veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic.But it's also warning that financial pressures could result in the closure of some branches.The head of the national veterans and community service group says that despite the shut down of most branches, volunteers continue preparing hot meals, delivering groceries and providing online social links to struggling veterans.Dominion President Thomas Irvine says the efforts come at a time when legion branches themselves are under considerable financial strain because of the pandemic.He says their main sources of income — in-house restaurants and bars, as well as hosted events — have been cut off.Power grid concernsA group of personnel key to keeping Ontario's electricity system functioning may end up locked down in their control centres due to the COVID-19 crisis.This according to the head of the province's power operator.Independent Electricity System Operator CEO Peter Gregg says the measure has so far proven unnecessary.He says that while about 90 per cent of staff were sent to work from home on March 13th, another 48 control-room operators deemed essential are still going into work.He says it could come to a point where they can't leave the workplace because without them, the power grid would fail.

  • Florida emerging as new COVID-19 hotspot
    CBC

    Florida emerging as new COVID-19 hotspot

    As the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States exceeds 5,000, Florida is reporting the largest day-by-day increase in cases. President Donald Trump says the federal medical equipment supply is nearly depleted.

  • 'This has been a nightmare': Canadian passengers on virus-stricken cruise finally headed for home
    News
    CBC

    'This has been a nightmare': Canadian passengers on virus-stricken cruise finally headed for home

    An ill-fated cruise that has had a COVID-19 outbreak and four deaths has finally come to an end after politicians in Florida agreed to allow its passengers — including 247 Canadians — to disembark in Ft. Lauderdale."I couldn't begin to tell you how happy we are," said passenger Chris Joiner, 59, of Orleans, Ont.He and his wife, Anna are on board the MS Zaandam, a Holland America Line cruise ship that had been sailing off the coast of South America and in the Caribbean for more than two weeks, looking for a place to dock."It's been a long, long journey — the worst experience of our lives," said Joiner. "Thank God, it's finally over."The Zaandam and its sister ship, the Rotterdam, are carrying 1,243 passengers, including the 247 Canadian passengers and one Canadian crew member. They docked at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday afternoon.  Local officials previously resisted allowing the two ships to dock as the Zaandam has confirmed COVID-19 cases on board and several passengers in need of hospital care. Four passengers on the Zaandam have died after the ship was hit with a flu-like illness in mid-March. Two of the deceased later tested positive for COVID-19, and Holland America has not yet said how the other two died. Several others on board have tested positive for disease that is caused by the coronavirus.The Rotterdam and its crew joined the Zaandam last week, taking on more than half of its passengers to provide some relief. "Local Americans lined the canal waving and cheering us as we entered — an emotional moment to be sure," said passenger Catherine McLeod, 69, from Nepean, Ont., who is on the Rotterdam. "I'm relieved. I can't wait to get back to my own bed."Holland America said in a statement that passengers will undergo health screenings and clear customs and immigration in Port Everglades, then will disembark by Friday evening. Ten passengers will be taken to a local hospital for immediate care, while those deemed healthy will be bused directly to the airport for mainly charter flights home, said Holland America. The company said 45 passengers who are still showing symptoms will remain on board until they are cleared for travel.  'This has been a nightmare'The Zaandam began its South American cruise on March 7, but the trip was cut short a week later, on March 14, amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The plan was to allow passengers to quickly disembark and fly home. But Holland America struggled to secure a place to dock as nearby countries, such as Chile and Peru, closed their borders to foreigners in response to the pandemic.Following the illness outbreak, the ship's passengers were forced to spend the past 12 days confined to their cabins as a safety precaution. They've spent more than two weeks not knowing if and when they were going to get off the ship and be permitted to return home."This has been a nightmare from March 14, when the first port in Chile closed. [Then] all the ports in Chile closed and all of South America closed," said Joiner. After a series of rejections, the Zaandam and Rotterdam planned to dock in Fort Lauderdale. But as the COVID-19 outbreak in Florida worsened, concerns grew that the sick passengers would drain resources needed for local citizens."We have enough to deal with, with our folks in Florida," Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference on Monday. "We don't want [the ships] to come in."U.S. President Donald Trump, however, advocated for the passengers and their swift return home."We have to help the people — they're in big trouble no matter where they're from," he said during a news conference on Wednesday. "We have to do something; they're dying and the governor knows that, too."Joiner said he was surprised but pleased when Trump weighed in on the matter."We never thought Mr. Trump would come to our rescue," he said. "But, you know, you start to think, this is a humanitarian mission. Now, we have people that are sick, including Americans."Joiner's wife, Anna, has been suffering from a cold. But he's hoping they both pass their health check so they can leave the ship. He said he won't feel full relief until he and Anna are buckled in their seats on that flight home."Until we're on that plane … that's when we can relax," he said.

  • COVID-19 in Quebec: Legault tells police to be 'less tolerant' of those not obeying restrictions
    News
    CBC

    COVID-19 in Quebec: Legault tells police to be 'less tolerant' of those not obeying restrictions

    * Quebec has 5,518 cases and 36 deaths attributable to COVID-19. There are 365 people in hospital, including 96 in intensive care. * Montreal remains the hardest hit region, with 2,642 cases — a jump of 545 cases since Wednesday. * More than 500 long-term care facilities in the province have reported at least one confirmed case.Premier Francois Legault is asking police forces across the province to crack down on Quebecers who are ignoring the new rules aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.Legault said while most people are respecting physical-distancing directives, there are significant numbers of businesses that are still open and some people continuing to meet in large groups."If someone still thought this wasn't serious, it's time to wake up," Legault said at his daily news conference Thursday in Quebec City. Quebec now has 5,518 cases and 36 deaths attributable to COVID-19. There are 365 people in hospital, including 96 in intensive care. In Montreal, there are now a total of 2,642 cases — a jump of 545 cases in a single day.Legault said police across Quebec received some 7,000 calls Wednesday about potential violations of the rules against gathering in public. He reminded Quebecers people must stay two metres apart from each other, and they may not gather in groups.Police in Quebec have been authorized to hand out fines ranging from $1,000 to $6,000 to anyone who violates the rules.Outside of Montreal, officers are also enforcing travel restrictions in just about every region in the province, as authorities seek to limit the movement of people to an absolute minimum.Quebec ready to pay cash for more medical suppliesLegault also used Thursday's news conference to strike a bullish tone as he explained Quebec's efforts to secure enough medical supplies — especially masks and gloves — for health-care workers on the front lines of the outbreak.With most other countries facing similar shortages, competition is fierce for bulk orders of personal protective equipment. There have been reports in recent day of the U.S. outbidding and diverting shipments destined for other countries."We'll play the game," Legault said. "If [suppliers] want cash, we'll pay cash."Health-care workers have complained about shortages of protective equipment, and earlier this week Legault acknowledged supplies had dwindled and what Quebec had on hand wouldn't last more than a week.He said Thursday the scenario remains the same.The premier also announced the province will boost the pay of health-care workers who are in contact with people who are infected with COVID-19.More details about the pay raise — worth about $287 million — will be released at separate news conference later today."I think there is a group that has ever been more deserving of a pay raise," Legault said.

  • Chief medical officers are leading Canada through COVID-19 crisis — and many are women
    News
    CBC

    Chief medical officers are leading Canada through COVID-19 crisis — and many are women

    There they are on Canadian televisions and smartphones day after day — chief medical officers tirelessly updating the country on the COVID-19 pandemic and what needs to be done to fight it.Many of them are women who were unknown to most Canadians prior to the pandemic, but are becoming household names, earning respect and even fan clubs along the way.Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, is leading the charge to not just "flatten the curve" but "plank it." She provides the daily media briefings, and she's the one featured in the government's public awareness campaign, not Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or Health Minister Patty Hajdu.Indeed, several provinces have women leading their responses: Dr. Bonnie Henry in B.C., Dr. Deena Hinshaw in Alberta, Dr. Jennifer Russell in New Brunswick, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald in Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. Heather Morrison in P.E.I., Dr. Kami Kandola in Northwest Territories and Dr. Barbara Yaffe in Ontario.At a more local level, Ottawa has Dr. Vera Etches, Toronto has Dr. Eileen de Villa and Vancouver has Dr. Patricia Daly.Women who work in medicine say these chief medical officers are points of pride and inspiration for their field."They all come across as fierce advocates for public health, but they are combining it with calm, expert, compassionate dispositions and that increases their ability to influence change," said Dr. Clover Hemans, president of the Federation of Medical Women in Canada.Hemans, a family doctor who is currently working in a COVID-19 assessment clinic, said it's unfortunate that it's taken a public health crisis to show these women can shine. But she said their skills are on full display."They represent something that now other women can aspire to, and young girls for that matter. I love it."Some people 'revere them' Dr. Sandra Landolt, president of a grassroots group called Canadian Women in Medicine, agreed these medical officers are role models and said her and her colleagues "feel proud" to share a profession with them. "They truly are inspirational."She's also happy that Canadians are taking note of their roles and are showing their gratitude."People are starting to almost revere them. They feel comfortable, they feel they can trust these women," Landolt said. "There is something really geeky-cool about these women becoming icons."Sarah Elder-Chamanara owns a Calgary-based clothing company called Madame Premier, which teamed up with artist Mandy Stobo, who created portraits of Tam, Hinshaw, Henry and de Villa that are featured on T-shirts. (Proceeds are going to food banks and charities.)The first batch of 400 quickly sold out online. Then another 800 sold out.Elder-Chamanara said that while Canadians seem to be rallying around the entire medical community, it's significant that so many women are guiding the country through this pandemic."I think we are so used to seeing men in these roles. There's never been a time like this, there's never been an experience like this and we've never had such incredible women at the forefront of something like this," she said.'She is so calm'Admiration through art is also on display in Vancouver, where murals of Tam and Henry were painted on a boarded-up store.Others are expressing their appreciation for the doctors online, especially on Twitter. There's a "Dr. Bonnie Henry Fan Club" account with more than 8,000 followers, and someone started an anonymous account to pay homage to de Villa's signature fashion accessory — scarves.Not all commentary online is favourable for the doctors. For example, some Canadians have questioned their decisions and found their messaging, especially on the use of face masks, confusing.Others, however, praise them and their communication styles."She is so calm. She makes me feel safe when I listen to her," one person tweeted about Hinshaw. Another called her "an Alberta Treasure."Henry a 'brilliant communicator'Henry, who worked in Toronto during the SARS crisis and has also battled against Ebola, H1N1 and polio, has been lauded for her calmness, honesty and humanity.Following an outbreak at a long-term care home in] B.C., tears welled in Henry's eyes during a media briefing when she talked about the risk of COVID-19 to seniors. People responded with appreciation that she showed compassion."Bonnie is a brilliant communicator," said Isobel Mackenzie, B.C.'s seniors advocate. Mackenzie emphasized that Henry's demeanour is low-key, but she's no pushover. "I admire her more and more all the time."Mackenzie also noted how elected officials are often deferring to these medical experts, and letting them communicate directly with Canadians.One of those politicians, Toronto Mayor John Tory, said in an interview that these top women doctors have helped Canadians understand the pandemic."They speak in a way that is obviously informed, is articulate, is straightforward," he said. "I think that is what people are looking for, people they can trust."WATCH | Dr. Eileen de Villa speaks to the public about the COVID-19 outlook for TorontoTory described de Villa, his city's top doctor, as smart, fair and collegial, but added that "she is the original iron fist in the velvet glove.""When it comes to speaking up for the public's interest, speaking up for public health … she does it, and she does it as firmly as anybody I've ever seen."

  • N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Province could run out of test supplies within 1 week
    News
    CBC

    N.B. COVID-19 roundup: Province could run out of test supplies within 1 week

    New Brunswick could run out of COVID-19 testing supplies within a week with ramped up testing and personal protective equipment within three or four weeks, says Premier Blaine Higgs."But we have orders that are pending and hoping to arrive," he told CBC's Power and Politics on Thursday night.Higgs said he planned to raise the issue of supplies during the premiers' evening conference call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.The federal government can play a "big role" in the supply requirements, he said, and offer a consistent approach across the country.New Brunswick has 10 new cases of COVID-19, including the first confirmed case in the Miramichi region, the chief medical officer of health announced on Thursday, bringing the province's total to 91.Three people remain in hospital, including the first case in intensive care, Dr. Jennifer Russell said during her daily news conference in Fredericton.A possible imminent shortage of test kits and other supplies was not mentioned by Higgs nor Russell during Thursday's news conference.On Wednesday, they told reporters they were confident the province will have enough supplies to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.But the supplies will have to be used "appropriately," they said, and protective equipment will have to be prioritized for health-care workers, who will be instructed on "judicious use."Higgs told Power and Politics New Brunswick is conducting about 500 tests a day and plans to increase the number over the next few days to 600 or 700."Granted, if we went to 1,000 tests a day we would be looking at supplies needed within about five days."The global competition for scarce supplies is "very concerning," he said."And I think that, you know, certainly lends to the credence of the federal government playing a key role here in sourcing."We can't compete with each other here, one province to another, and we certainly aren't in a position of the United States as out there competing with the same suppliers."Higgs previously called on the federal government to declare a national state of emergency. On March 23 he said he believed Canada needed a consistent, national approach to stop the spread of the virus.Most premiers did not think it was necessary to invoke the federal Emergencies Act and give the federal government sweeping powers, Trudeau had said after their conference calls. But provinces could be called upon to share critical pandemic supplies, such as ventilators, with other provinces, he told reporters. We need to make sure we have enough supplies for our citizens and do that equally across this country. That's the way we work together and that's the way we survive together. \- Blaine Higgs, New Brunswick premierAlthough New Brunswick manufacturers are retooling to produce some much-needed supplies, such as hand sanitizers and gowns, and other provinces, such as Ontario, are stepping up mask fabrication, none have immediate solutions, said Higgs."So I think the point is that the federal government has to be that sole sourcer for us and then providing a supply to us throughout the country," he said."We don't need to be hoarding in our own province. I mean that doesn't help our neighbours and our friends"We need to make sure we have enough supplies for our citizens and do that equally across this country. That's the way we work together and that's the way we survive together."New fine for getting too closePremier Blaine Higgs announced revisions Thursday to the state of emergency declaration, which prohibit anyone from knowingly approaching within six feet of another person, except members of their household or as needed for work."Those who don't follow advice and who won't respond to warnings now face the risk of being charged for violating the order," he said.Under the changes, owners and occupiers of land are now responsible to "take all reasonable steps to prevent social or recreational gatherings."In addition, campgrounds have been added to the list of business operations that are prohibited from admitting patrons for a two-week period, said Higgs.The owners and managers of premises that permit the seasonal docking of multiple recreational vessels must either prohibit docking or take steps to ensure minimal interaction of people.Adjustments have also been made at the new provincial border control points to allow people to get to work, to see their children, and to access necessities, he said.And open fires are prohibited until May 1."We know that people will continue to get sick and that some will likely die. These steps we take now as individuals and as a government have the power to make a difference."The province's enhanced pandemic operational plan will likely be released next week, he said.Here is a roundup of other developments.Church has 5 confirmed casesThere is a church community in New Brunswick with five COVID-19 cases.All members of the church have been notified, chief medical health officer Dr. Jennifer Russell said Thursday. The church was not identified.The 10 new cases of Covid-19 include:Zone 2, Saint John: * One individual in their 70s.Zone 3, Fredericton: * Three individuals between the ages of 20 and 59. * Three individuals between the ages of 50 and 69.Zone 4, Edmundston: * Two individuals in their 70s.Zone 7, Miramichi: * One individual in their 20s.The data is based on where people are tested, not necessarily where they live, Russell reiterated.Of the 91 cases, 49 are travel-related, 25 are close contacts of confirmed cases, three cases are from community transmission and 14 cases remain under investigation.Two people have been discharged from hospital. A total of 22 people have recovered.Tele-Care 811 is getting about 450 calls a day, said Russell.Roughly half of the calls are "focused on COVID-19," she said. About 45 of them meet the current criteria for testing.Faster test results now possible at 7 hospitalsNew Brunswickers will soon have access to faster test results, thanks to a donation from the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation's COVID-19 emergency fund that will enable testing at seven hospitals across the province in both regional health authorities.The sites are in Edmundston, Campbellton, Bathurst, Miramichi, Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John.Until now, all testing has been handled by the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton.Two portable machines that oxygenate the blood, allowing the lungs to rest, are also being purchased with funds from the foundation, Premier Blaine Higgs announced Thursday.As COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, lung capacity and function can be severely affected."This donation is one example of how the people in this province are coming together to support one another," he said.Education minister lays out plans for rest of school yearSchools in New Brunswick will remain closed for the rest of the school year Education Minister Dominic Cardy announced Thursday. At a news conference, Cardy said the school calendar "will not be extended" unless the situation of COVID-19 changes.All students who were "on track" to graduate from Grade 12 this spring will graduate and receive a diploma. Other students will also move on to the next academic year when school resumes.The Department of Education has been working on a possible virtual learning plan for students during the COVID-19 outbreak.All public schools closed almost three weeks ago because of the coronavirus. The closure was initially for two weeks, but now schools have been closed indefinitely.Cardy has not been available for interviews since he announced the school closure.However, Premier Blaine Higgs has applauded Cardy's decision foresight in sending students home early on in the pandemic in this province."Here in New Brunswick we made the tough decision to implement these measure early on," Higgs said at a COVID-19  briefing this week. "Taking action before … the pandemic may have seemed extreme at the time, but I know it was the right think to do."Increased screeningNursing homes workers will now be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and have their temperatures taken before starting their shifts, Premier Blaine Higgs announced Thursday.Nursing homes are also being equipped to test residents with symptoms, he said.Provincial government employees are also having their temperatures checked every day, sometimes twice a day, before they enter the building, said chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell.50,700 apply for income benefitHiggs said 50,700 workers or self-employed people who have lost their jobs have registered for the $900 one-time income benefit so far."This number illustrates just how critical this program is," he said.The province will continue to find ways to cover any gaps to protect New Brunswickers and the economy, he added.Police chief worries over safety of officers Police forces across New Brunswick are working together to respond to calls.Fredericton police Chief Roger Brown said all nine police agencies in New Brunswick are co-ordinating shifts to make sure there's a reserve of police officers ready to aid other departments."Should anything happen anywhere in the province, all policing agencies are able to work together to help each other," Brown said.Police are still responding to urgent calls, such as break-and-enters, but have switched other operations to online, such as criminal background checks.Because some services have switched online and can be done remotely, Brown said he has only 30 per cent of staff working on a daily basis. "We've manoeuvred our shifts to meet the demands. Where we have low call volume, we have lower numbers," he said. "Where we have high call volume, we have higher numbers."Local police stations are also working more closely with New Brunswick RCMP to respond to calls.Police have equipment, like masks and gloves, to protect themselves, should they have to respond to a call involving COVID-19.Brown said some calls, like those involving impairment, can make it hard for officers to maintain a safe physical distance.He's worried about his officers becoming sick and unable to work."My ability to police or our ability to do core police functions would be limited."More people are relying on community kitchens in MonctonThe number of new people visiting community kitchens in Moncton is continuing to rise, according to homeless advocates in the area.  "We're getting a number of new people coming with their children and a lot of new seniors and a few people that are basically out of work that are coming to eat now," said Charlie Burnell, founder of the Humanity Project, a social services organization that runs a free meal program.Organizations that help the homeless are trying to address the many problems that come with not having a home when there's a need to practise physical distancing."The ability to be able to wash your hands, use your bathroom, be able to isolate properly is a very privileged capability," said Lisa Ryan, community development coordinator for the Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee.Some of the most urgent problems facing the homeless population in Moncton include a lack of public garbage cans and washroom facilities. Since stores are closed and many businesses aren't allowed to let anyone inside, homeless people are forced to use the washroom outside. There's only one portable toilet in the city, at the Avenir Centre, which is being cleaned and maintained at the moment."I'm hearing that they have to use the bathroom outside, which is a major inconvenience for them," Burnell said."It's going to lead to an even bigger problem for our community."Online hub established for businesses in Moncton areaThe Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton has created an online information hub with economic development agencies to help businesses in the region respond to COVID-19.John Wishart, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton, wanted to create a space to share clear, credible and comprehensive information for struggling businesses."There's such a dizzying array of programs announced on almost a daily basis and it's hard to keep up with what's the latest," Wishart said. The online hub provides information about where business owners can find applications for receiving money from the provincial and federal governments. "The platform is really meant just to ease the stress of finding the right information."The hub also includes tabs for municipal resources, advice for businesses and updates from the World Health Organization.Fredericton's Chamber of Commerce has set up a similar platform for business. Its website includes a daily update post, a resource page and a list of businesses that are open.The Saint John Chamber of Commerce posts regular updates on its website as well, and shares webinars and advice for businesses.School districts offer online, phone support  Anglophone and francophone school districts are offering telephone and online support to students from kindergarten to Grade 12 and their families during the COVID-19 pandemicThe service will be offered Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through phone and email.Emails have been sent to parents across the province, which detail how to access the services.Staff will not be able to answer questions about the length of the closure, exams, school work or graduation.Online journal created after poetry readings cancelledBook launches and poetry readings may be cancelled for the foreseeable future, but a New Brunswicker has stepped up to give poets a place to share their work during the pandemic.Nathaniel Moore created an online poetry journal called Meltdown to display the work of poets from across the country."This is an opportunity to take a look at what poets in Canada are doing right now," Moore said. Moore says the site will also include videos and audio of poets reading their work.What to do if you have symptoms?Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough or breathlessness. In this case, residents should: * Stay at home. * Immediately call Tele-Care 811. * Describe symptoms and travel history. * Follow instructions carefully.

  • Honeybee farmers facing 'desperate situation' as bee imports slow
    News
    CBC

    Honeybee farmers facing 'desperate situation' as bee imports slow

    Canadian beekeepers buy thousands of packages of bees every year to replace hives that died over the winter, but this year those bees aren't getting into the country.And it could have ramifications for honeybee farmers and the agriculture industry. Typically Kelly O'Day, president of Kona Queen Hawaii, sends tens of thousands of bees into Canada. His bees are used to help farmers after their colonies die over the winter.This year, he hasn't been able to send any, as the COVID-19 pandemic has grounded commercial flights that typically fly in the stock. "We're at the mercy of the airlines who are cancelling flights daily," O'Day said. "So even if we get booked on a flight, our confidence is dropping of those flights actually happening." Honeybees need to be flown in on commercial flights, because they have regulated temperature. Queen bees need to be kept between 9 C and 32 C, or they could die or become sterilized. O'Day said the farmers need the queens soon, because they're just finding out how many colonies died over the winter and must work quickly to replenish their stock. "If they don't have the queen, not only can they not get their numbers back, but those hives that do survive will swarm and they will lose those," O'Day said."If these queens do not get to Canada this year ... they're going to probably lose half to three-quarters of their population and it'll take three to five years to rebuild." O'Day said the company is still trying to work with airlines."This is a desperate situation." Pollination problemsRon Greidanus, Canadian Honey Council representative for the Alberta Beekeepers Commission and owner of Greidanus HoneyBee Farms, said it's critical to get the queens into Canada now.The repercussions could damage the agriculture industry, because honeybees are used across the country to pollinate crops. If there's a shortage in hives, there will be a loss in yield for canola, canola seed, blueberry production and orchard production."You're going to go to the grocery store, you're going to look for blueberries, you're paying 10 bucks for a pint of blueberries ... because we can't make them in Canada anymore." Right now there's a demand for 10,000 packages of bees in Manitoba and 35,000 for Ontario, Greidanus said."They're going to be well short of that number."Packages contain bees, a queen and some feed to help start a colony.Right now there are 300,000 hives in Alberta, and if packages don't start coming in, Greidanus said he can see that number shrinking to about 250,000.The Scandia Honey Company pollinates crops, produces honey and imports packaged bees from New Zealand. Echo Chandler, Scandia Honey Company's director and owner, said the operation typically loses between 20 and 30 per cent of its 13,000 hives over the winter, which are replaced with packaged bees. The company also sells packages to farmers and hobbyists. Scandia brings in about 9,500 packages a year, but right now they can't be flown out of New Zealand because the airlines are switching to cargo planes without temperature regulation. "We can't put the bees on there because they won't survive."She said they were able to get a few pallets of bees in March for B.C., but the orders for Alberta and Saskatchewan haven't come in. "It's going to be hard. It's going to be a lot of work, but we can tough it out this year and we can get it back for next year."Chandler said it would be nice if they could get the bees in, but she understands that the airlines can't just send an airplane for the bees. "Those airlines are bleeding right now."Greidanus is encouraging people to reach out to their local representative to have honey bee transportation deemed an essential commodity. The federal department of agriculture and agri-food said in an email statement that the department is "very aware of the importance of pollinators," As well, the department has been "working with industry, as well as with other government departments and logistical partners, to resolve this issue as quickly as possible."Alberta's provincial department of agriculture and forestry does not deal with the import of honeybees. However, department representative Justin Laurence said in an email that the department has several supports for apiculturists, including AgriStability, bee overwintering insurance and honey insurance. There is also $153 million of emergency disaster funding to support "hard-hit producers during the COVID-19 pandemic."

  • Higgs says municipal parks can stay open if physical distancing enforced
    News
    CBC

    Higgs says municipal parks can stay open if physical distancing enforced

    Premier Blaine Higgs has softened his stance on municipal parks, saying they can remain open if physical distancing is enforced to help prevent the spread of COVID-19."I believe that the municipalities are enforcing the rules and the social distancing requirement, and that's what's important," he told reporters on Wednesday."If they are able to maintain that capability … throughout their community, then I would say we'd be comfortable to allow them to enforce their own rules around their own property."The status of parks has been a confusing issue for citizens and municipal leaders alike in recent days.The federal government has closed national parks and the New Brunswick government has closed provincial parks, but most municipal parks remain open.On Tuesday, when Higgs was asked whether he would direct municipalities to close their parks, he said he expected municipalities to follow the province's lead and close them."Our general direction about parks [is] we do not want to keep any places open that would cause a, let's say a gathering, to take place."And I would expect municipalities to follow that same protocol as we're following here," he had said.Fredericton, Saint John parks to stay openFollowing discussions with the province Wednesday, the City of Fredericton will keep its parks and green spaces open, for now, said spokesperson Wayne Knorr."The parks will remain open as long as the public adheres to that physical distancing," he said. "So it's really important that people do pay attention to that."And again we reiterate that no group gatherings in public parks are permitted."But the city isn't actively patrolling, Knorr said. Instead, it's relying on the public to report any gatherings.On Wednesday morning at Odell Park, which stretches over 333 acres and includes 16 kilometres of trails, CBC News observed single cyclists, couples walking and a family out with their dog — all acceptable behaviours under the physical distancing rules.By noon, however, at least five people arrived in four different vehicles and started playing Frisbee together — the type of rule-breaking behaviour that led Higgs to push for municipalities to take action.There are 11 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, bringing the province's total to 81, the chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell announced Wednesday during the daily update in Fredericton.Russell has recommended people go outside for walks or hikes for their physical and mental health during the state of emergency.The City of Saint John plans to keep Rockwood Park and other parks, trails and green spaces open."However, everyone must maintain physical distancing of at least two metres and no group gatherings are permitted," the city posted on social media."These areas will remain open provided the public adheres to these requirements."A spokesperson for the City of Moncton said it's still in talks with the province and hasn't made a decision yet.

  • Canadian Broadway actor Nick Cordero in hospital undergoing COVID-19 test
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Canadian Broadway actor Nick Cordero in hospital undergoing COVID-19 test

    Hamilton-raised Broadway star Nick Cordero is in hospital in Los Angeles undergoing tests for COVID-19 after being admitted with pneumonia.His wife, dancer-turned-celebrity personal trainer Amanda Kloots, made the announcement on her Instagram account Wednesday.She told The Canadian Press via Instagram messenger Thursday afternoon that he was still unconscious and in stable condition with a breathing tube.She said they were awaiting the result of a second coronavirus test, after the first one came back negative. She said doctors believe the first test result was wrong and are treating him with COVID-19 medication.In a post that included a photo of Cordero holding their nine-month-old boy Elvis, Kloots said he had been sick for a while with what they were told last week was pneumonia.Kloots wrote that Cordero, with whom she lives in L.A., was in the intensive care unit and "unconscious so his body can get enough oxygen."She told The Canadian Press via Instagram messenger Thursday afternoon that he was still unconscious and in stable condition with a breathing tube at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.She said they were awaiting the result of a second coronavirus test, after the first one came back negative. She said doctors believe the first test result was wrong and were treating him with COVID-19 medication.Kloots, who hails from Ohio, also told followers on her Instagram story that she needs to prepare herself "for the long haul" because they're "at the beginning of this."Cordero was nominated for a Tony Award for his role in "Bullets Over Broadway," and a Drama Desk Award for his role in the musical "A Bronx Tale."He grew up in Hamilton's west end and attended Ryerson University for acting."Nick is scared too, this has gone from bad to worse," Kloots wrote in the Instagram post, which also noted that she wasn't allowed to be at his bedside during this time. "He isn't allowed to eat or drink, he is very weak and having a hard time breathing. Elvis and I are feeling completely fine. My hubby is fighting like a champ but this is serious. Please stay home everybody."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2020.Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

  • Small-town businesses morphing to survive new pandemic reality
    News
    CBC

    Small-town businesses morphing to survive new pandemic reality

    When you've designed your business around coffee, baked treats, old books and art, the model relies on people not only gathering, but lingering.Which is why NovelTea Bookstore Cafe in Truro, N.S., has been scrambling to adapt to a world where people getting together is not only discouraged, but outlawed during the COVID-19 pandemic."We're trying to adjust as quickly as we can," said co-owner Keith Hazzard.The seven-day-a-week business closed briefly last month, then reopened as a takeout-only café and bakery, with what Hazzard described as "severely reduced hours and severely reduced menu.""We've come back and we've just opened two or three days a week for a takeout and delivery," he said. "So it's been a whole change to our model of doing business."Before the pandemic, half the café's business was eat-in, with people often staying for an hour or two and some even calling it their "second office." Cutting back has meant laying off staff and greatly reduced revenue."It'll be a fraction of what we would normally do," Hazzard said.Down the street, Andrea Munroe is also adapting her business to the new reality. The owner of Enchanted Forest, a toy store and children's clothing shop, has shifted to online sales, after a brief closure to reassess and regroup."I didn't have an e-commerce website set up when I closed my business," said Munroe. "And so it's kind of a mad dash to scramble and build one and try to facilitate those sales in the midst of a lot of uncertainty."The shift has allowed Munroe to generate some revenue and remain connected to her customers."I'm very grateful that we do have the sales," she said. "I feel so blessed because our customers and our community have really rallied."But online sales have not entirely replaced the money the shop was generating as a bricks-and-mortar operation. Munroe figures her business is about 60 percent of what it was before the pandemic hit Nova Scotia.Around the corner, Alicia Simms isn't as fortunate. Her two businesses, Rolling Sea Tattooery and Truro Buzz, are both essentially shut down.Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, Robert Strang, ordered tattoo shops closed as a way to try to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus."My tattoo business, obviously we were ordered to close on March 19th and there's no income coming in from that," said Simms."And my other business, Truro Buzz, is a media promotions company. Most of the businesses have been shut down and the events have been cancelled. So everything I had in my calendar for the next couple of months was effectively cancelled and just completely dried up."'I still haven't been able to even apply for the relief'Simms is instead working for free, using her online newsletter and Facebook page to promote local businesses that remain open, including NovelTea, and providing information about physical distancing and staying active.She's happy to do that, but is worried about paying the bills. She is counting on the federal government's emergency response benefit, which will provide up to $2,000 a month in temporary income support, to help her through the pandemic. But the portal to apply is not up and running yet."My businesses closed down on March 19th and I still haven't been able to even apply for the relief, let alone get it," said Simms. "So that's a lot of payments to be made between then and now."She said that while seeing other businesses adapt to offer online services and contactless delivery "really gives me hope," what she is really waiting for is the day storefronts reopen and there are events to promote.Munroe and Hazzard hope to keep their businesses afloat by cutting expenses to the bare minimum and banking on enough money coming in to cover costs."My goal is to try to keep up with the expenses and see if we can limp our way through until this gets better," said Hazzard. "I'm somewhat optimistic that we might be OK. But we happen to be in the food industry, so no matter how bad it gets people still have to eat."MORE TOP STORIES

  • News
    CBC

    Spring awakening as St. John's overnight winter parking ban is lifted

    In a sure sign of spring in St. Johns's, the city has lifted all winter parking restrictions effective 7:30 a.m. Friday. That includes the overnight parking restriction for residents outside the downtown area, as well as the business district winter parking restriction downtown. The winter parking bans to allow for snow clearing operations went into effect early this year, on Christmas Day, due to the significant snowfall forecast at the time. During the winter season, the city could ticket or tow vehicles in the way of snow clearing or removal operations — the latter involving a $200 towing charge and $50 administration fee. Winter parking restrictions are generally lifted in early April, or whenever the weather is favourable. This winter brought even more restrictions than normal, as a historic blizzard shut the city down and brought about 24-hour parking bans on most St. John's streets.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Here's a list of Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent events postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19
    News
    CBC

    Here's a list of Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent events postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19

    Multiple events previously scheduled to take place over the next few months in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent are being postponed or cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.Pelee Island Unplugged cancelledThe Pelee Island Unplugged Music Festival was cancelled with the hope of it returning next year. The not-for-profit two-day music festival, run by volunteers, takes places on Pelee Island in the summer. This year would've marked the festival's seventh year. "Being on an island and planning a large event is a challenge, even in the best situation," said Cathy Miller, festival chairperson.She said with everything going on right now, the team figured it was best to get ahead of the situation and cancel the event scheduled for Aug. 14 and Aug. 15. "Cancelling the event this year allowed us to be able to preserve some of our finances to maybe go ahead next year," Miller said. "It's a tough decision."She said organizers had already planned out the lineup and were about to book the production crew, but wanted to be responsible and give people notice of the cancellation. Right now, Miller said a lot of local sponsors are closed and a lot of volunteers and people who attend the festival aren't working."We can't really expect them to prioritize the festival in a time where they have to prioritize their own health, their own safety and their own financial situation," Miller said.Full refunds have already been authorized, so anyone who bought tickets or campsites will see refunds in the next five to 10 business days."We ask that you continue to support the arts where you can and purchase our artists' music online if you're able to," Miller said. "And when this is all over, get out and support your local arts, support local festivals and hopefully we can all come together in a really great way when it's safe to do so."Caesars Windsor reschedules eventsBelow is a list of events rescheduled by Caesars Windsor: * Pitbull — Thursday, June 25, 2020 * Sebastian Maniscalco — July 8, 9, 10, 2020 * REO Speedwagon — August 21, 2020 * Tony Bennett — September 3, 2020 * Styx — September 4, 2020 * Jason Derulo — September 11, 2020 * Ice Cube — October 15, 2020 * Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons — May 7, 2021       Bill Burr, Loverboy and George Thorogood concerts have yet to be rescheduled.Caesars Windsor said tickets will be honoured for new show dates. Refunds for postponed shows will be available. All other shows at the casino will remain scheduled on their original date.Festival of NationsChatham-Kent's Festival of Nations has also been cancelled over COVID-19 concerns.Mayor Darrin Canniff said the festival was held last year after not having it for 20 years. He said there were well over 10,000 attendees who attended the free festival last year, adding that the municipality had great plans for 2020."Unfortunately given the situation we're in, we had to cancel this year," he said.This year's festival was originally scheduled for July 3 to July 5."We're already laying out some ground work and planning for it and it's 15 months away," Canniff said. "So we really want to have an amazing event next year."In 2016, Chatham-Kent was the first federally recognized Welcoming Community. Canniff said it's important to celebrate diversity in the municipality, where over 60 languages are spoken."We will always celebrate it, it's just one of those events [where] we can celebrate the diversity and the culture and differences between each and everyone of us," he said.Still scheduled eventsThe Kingsville Folk Music Festival is still scheduled for Aug. 7 to Aug. 9, but Michele Law, the festival's co-founder, said it's still wait and see.If the government continues to ban gatherings of large groups, festival organizers will have no choice but to cancel.Pelee Island's Stone & Sky Music & Art Series is still scheduled with events happening in June 13 through to August 23.CBC News has reached out to Bluesfest, Carrousel of Nations and Hogs for Hospice for comment. According to each event's website, the festivities are still scheduled to move ahead as planned.

  • News
    CBC

    Walpole Island First Nation restricts access to non-residents due to COVID-19

    Walpole Island First Nation began restricting access to non-residents Wednesday as a means of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.Non-resident entry through the Walpole Island First Nation bridge is only permitted for those looking to access essential services and businesses, and only between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. "For those individuals who will be crossing onto Walpole to access essential services — be advised that you must go directly to the service that you are accessing and leave immediately with no stops or visits," reads an excerpt from a Wednesday media release. Residents will be able to cross the bridge unimpeded at all times. Additionally, only residents and emergency services will be able to access the bridge between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.The community established a 24-hour checkpoint as of 7 p.m. Tuesday to enforce the new access restrictions. Anyone without a valid reason to enter the community will be turned away.The Walpole Island Emergency Control Group also said cottagers should avoid the community "until further notice.""Our hearts and thoughts go out to our neighbouring communities who have begun to see cases or are seeing an increase in cases of COVID-19," said Walpole Island First Nation Chief Dan Miskokomon in the news release."We are taking the action of limiting access to non-residents in order to further protect our members from the spread. Given the high prevalence of underlying health conditions, our community is especially vulnerable to this virus."A similar measure was implemented by Delaware Nation at Moraviantown near Thamesville earlier this week.

  • Rush of new clients in COVID-19 pandemic keeping Charlottetown food bank busy
    News
    CBC

    Rush of new clients in COVID-19 pandemic keeping Charlottetown food bank busy

    The Upper Room Food Bank in Charlottetown is working to help many new clients, and a lot of them have never seen the inside of a food bank before.With businesses closing and layoffs across the province as P.E.I. tries to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, a large new group of Islanders has been thrown into financial crisis. Some of them are turning to a food bank for the first time."We're getting calls and questions about the whole realm of what we do," said Upper Room Food Bank manager Mike MacDonald, to CBC Radio: Island Morning on Thursday."The middle of March, people started to become more aware of the crisis, and people started to use our services."Physical distancing required during the pandemic has made the work at the food bank more difficult, he said. Typically, food bank staff will sit down with new clients, get some information about what their situation is, and guide them through what they can offer."We usually would like to take some time, especially with each of our new clients, and let them know that we're here for them," said MacDonald."Of course during this time we can't do that face to face. We want to get people in and out of our building as quickly as possible, so we're doing a lot of that over the phone."People with questions can reach the food bank by phone, email or through Facebook, he said.New supportSupplies have been holding steady for the food bank, MacDonald said, through their regular grocery store partners and Food Banks Canada.Food banks were among the first to receive provincial support, with $100,000 announced by P.E.I. on March 17. MacDonald said the public has also been extra generous with donations in the last couple of weeks.With that support, the food bank has been able to offer hampers twice a month to clients, instead of the usual once.Adding to the burden of work at the food bank are new cleaning procedures."We're being very careful throughout the food bank, throughout the soup kitchen, following all procedures and wiping things down," said MacDonald."Obviously disinfecting all surfaces here every couple of hours, and not welcoming too many people into our building at once."MacDonald wanted to let people know that the food bank is in this for the long haul, and they will remain open.COVID-19: What you need to knowWhat are the symptoms of COVID-19?Common symptoms include: * Fever. * Cough. * Tiredness.But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.What should I do if I feel sick?Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.How can I protect myself? * Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. * Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. * Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

  • Jasper residents rally to rescue dog after nine days
    News
    CBC

    Jasper residents rally to rescue dog after nine days

    A woman and her dog in Jasper, Alta., have been reunited thanks to the efforts of a group of residents who spent days tracking the missing pet.Sandra Birks, 78, and her dog Willow were separated for nine days after the dog got off its leash, was lightly hit by a vehicle and ran off.Calls to find the dog gained traction on social media but no one was able to catch it.When Wendy Hall drove by Birks and saw her searching alone for her pet, she pulled together about a half-dozen people to catch the shy dog."That was the moment I knew this was now my job and we were going to keep going until we brought Willow home," Hall said.Hall was inspired to help both to extend a hand to Birks, who doesn't have family in town, and because she and many of the other searchers are also dog-owners.Observing physical distancing protocols during the effort was easy, as the group was small and searched in different areas, Hall said.A live trap, baited with pet food was set on March 27 in an area where the dog had been seen along the edge of town.Two days later, those efforts were successful and the dog was caught."We raced up the hill and there she was in the cage. It was an amazing experience," said Hall.A video taken by Hall shows Willow excitedly vibrating in the cage and licking the hand of Birks as she says "Oh, I'm happy to see you."Birks has lived in Jasper for nearly 70 years.Her daughter Linda Birks told CBC News in Calgary that pandemic isolation rules were behind her decision not to drive to the mountain town to help her mother find the dog that she adopted from a rescue a year ago.She was hopeful the dog would be found based on the responses she saw on social media and the rescue group organized by Hall."We have the best people there (in Jasper)," Linda Birks said. "We just want them all to know how much we appreciate it. My mom appreciates it. We're just so thankful."Willow and Sandra Birks are now isolating at home, together.

  • Putin extends Russia's coronavirus non-working period until April 30
    News
    Reuters

    Putin extends Russia's coronavirus non-working period until April 30

    President Vladimir Putin on Thursday prolonged until April 30 a paid non-working period across Russia, stepping up measures to stem the spread of coronavirus just a week after the Kremlin said there was no epidemic. Russia, which has reported 3,548 cases and 30 deaths, has already imposed a partial lockdown on many regions, including the capital Moscow, which has become the epicentre of the country's outbreak. In a televised speech on Thursday, Putin said the partial lockdown and this week's non-working period had helped slow the contagion, but an extension was needed.

  • News
    CBC

    Citing pandemic, Alberta suspends environmental reporting rules

    The Alberta government has suspended a number of environmental reporting requirements through a ministerial order signed by environment minister Jason Nixon, saying industry is likely to face hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak if forced to comply with those rules.The order, which was signed on Tuesday, suspends environmental reporting requirements for the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), the Water Act and the Public Lands Act, except in cases of drinking and wastewater facilities.The move follows a step taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday, which also cited the coronavirus pandemic as the reason behind it waiving enforcement on a number of environmental protections.Alberta's order is not due to lapse until August, unless terminated sooner. The province said operators are still required to fully comply with all other environmental regulations during this period and report any emergencies to the government."To be clear, monitoring, record keeping and other activities will continue. Due to the pandemic, we are simply temporarily waiving filing deadlines to report this information," said Jess Sinclair, press secretary to Nixon in an email to CBC News.'What's the intention here?'Martin Olszynski, an associate resource law professor at the University of Calgary, said the EPA's policy, though not identical, is stricter in some ways compared to what is being introduced in Alberta."There's a requirement [in the EPA move] that's tied back to, you're unable to do this because of public and health and safety concerns in relation to COVID-19. Whereas this one doesn't do that at all," Olszynski said."This one is almost like a blanket exemption."In the order, the Alberta government says industry must still "record and retain complete information relating to any reporting or return requirements" — data gathering activities which Olszynski said could pose risks from a public health perspective."But it doesn't prohibit those. It just doesn't require the proponents to submit that information, which, you know, in this day and age, with few exceptions, usually just means filing and pressing a couple buttons on a computer to submit electronically, your report," he said."So it's left a lot of us scratching our heads a bit. What's the intention here, and what's the rationale?"Olszynski cited Alberta's announcement on Tuesday that it had agreed to invest approximately $1.1 billion US as equity in the Keystone XL project as a reason why, in his opinion, the order hadn't been explained sufficiently."Construction on Keystone XL is going to begin immediately. So, if you can begin construction on a pipeline immediately, it's hard to understand how, from any kind of public health perspective, you can't have proponents submitting reports of their environmental data," he said.Possible outcomesThe order will reduce costs, Olszynski said, given that analyzing, organizing and readying data to be submitted has a price tag."That's my most generous interpretation that I can give it," he said. "But I'll be frank, I've read a lot of approvals, and I've read a lot of the reports that are submitted as part of these approvals. These are not hugely sophisticated exercises."On the flip side, Olszynski said a months-long interruption in data could undermine reliability and researchers' ability to infer anything from that data."The thing that probably some of us fear is that some proponents will see this as a licence or an invitation to not actually do the gathering," he said. "In this context, when you send a message to your regulatory community that, 'This is not as important to us right now, because we're dealing with this other thing.'"There's a danger there that people will see it as an invitation or a licence to play fast and loose with the rules."Project examplesAn example of what regulations are involved in these types of scenarios is illustrated in the case of Fortress Mountain Resort, which in October of 2019 was allowed to change its water license.Shaun Fluker, environmental law professor at the University of Calgary, said the reporting requirement of that approval required Fortress to regularly report flow rates — something the new order pauses."Yes, they still have to record the information. But nobody's going to know, until it's long after the fact, whether or not the flow rate was where it needed to be," Fluker said. "So, routine reporting requirements are arguably, in some cases, the bedrock of the regulatory apparatus."Fluker said the moves run the risk of looking like an overreach given how quickly they were enacted."The risk of any of these powers, is that they're exercised without democratic dialogue," he said. "Time is of the essence, no doubt, but another day or two to debate whether or not we've got enough mechanisms in here to ensure we're not creating more problems than we're solving — I think we would have that time."

  • Whitehorse council balks at cost to buy and demolish house in landslide zone
    News
    CBC

    Whitehorse council balks at cost to buy and demolish house in landslide zone

    Some Whitehorse city council members don't want to spend more than $450,000 to buy — and then tear down — a downtown home.The home on Seventh Avenue is in an area that was designated as unsafe in the 1970s. A number of properties were determined to be in the path of potential landslides and some residents took advantage of a program at the time to relocate to safer areas.Others, however, chose to stay in their homes.Since then the city has been buying properties in the unsafe zone as they become available and then tearing the homes down. There are only a few left.After longtime Whitehorse resident Alphonse Kowalkowski died last year, the city began negotiating with his estate to purchase his Seventh Avenue home.The city's policy on the escarpment homes has been to pay the market value of similar homes in other parts of the city, said city official Mike Gau.In this instance, the negotiators settled on $333,000 for the property. The house contains asbestos and lead, and demolition and landscaping are expected to add more than $100,000 to the cost of the project. City staff are requesting a total of $451,000.Several councillors — who met by phone and videoconference on Monday — are unhappy with the cost."Seems like a lot of money to pay for a tear-down," Councillor Laura Cabott said."What is the value to the city if we acquire it?" Cabbott asked. "What possibly would the land be used for?"The property is next door to a community garden. Gau said the land could be used for something similar, or perhaps a park.Cabott questioned that as well."I'm just wondering, if it's not safe to have a house there, why would it be safe also have the public utiliizing it?" Cabott asked.Gau said a landslide could catch residents in a home while they were asleep. People outdoors would see it coming, he said.Cabott also asked what would happen if the city decided not to buy the home.Gau said the current zoning means it likely could not be sold. He said people could remain living there, but would not be allowed to rebuild or add on to the existing home.Landslide risk 'still there,' council hearsGau also reminded the council of why the city wanted to buy the property."The risk of a slide is still there," said Gau. "That's why the city has been purchasing these properties through time."Councillor Dan Boyd is unconvinced."The people that remained have enjoyed the use of those lands, knowing full well there would be problems down the road of being able to sell your property because of the environmental reserve zoning that has been laid over top of this area," said Boyd."So they went in and stayed there with their eyes wide open for 45 years as well," he said.Other councillors questioned whether, with the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, this is a good time for the city to make a purchase like this.The council directed city staff to come back later with more information. Boyd said staff can talk to councillors informally if they need more direction.

  • Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in a 'holding pattern'
    News
    CBC

    Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in a 'holding pattern'

    Music fans will have to wait a little longer to find out how Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival organizers plan to top last year's lineup, which brought rock legend Robert Plant and folk/country icon Lucinda Williams to Fredericton. Normally festival organizers are eager to announce the lineup in April, but given the COVID-19 pandemic, they are delaying plans to share the details of the September shows. "Well, I think, like everybody right now, we're in a holding pattern waiting to see what the future brings," said Brent Staeben, the festival's director of music programming.There have already been 1000 "Ultimate Passes" sold for this year's festival, which was scheduled for Sept. 15-20. This is the 30th anniversary of Harvest Jazz and Blues.Although organizers won't be making any announcements about the lineup just yet, Staeben said the schedule is nearly finished."I know people are anxious, we'd love to be able to be more definitive about what our plans are right now, but like all of us, we're taking it one day at a time," he said.Staeben said the festival will take its direction from the federal and provincial governments on how to proceed with Harvest Jazz and Blues over the coming months."There are going to be people that are going to be, you know, a little bit nervous about large gatherings — we know this virus is not going to go away."Staeben said it's an advantage that the festival is not until September, compared to many others that happen earlier in the summer. "It's certainly giving us the time that we need to understand how this is all going to shakedown," he said."What we're seeing is a lot of events that are being postponed right now in the U.S. and in Canada — and we're seeing that start to push out now into the summer."Community comfortHarvest Jazz and Blues prides itself on being an extension of the community, and Staeben said it wouldn't be the first time the festival gave music fans a sense of normalcy.He pointed to September, 2001, when the festival went ahead, just days after the September 11 terrorist attacks shook the world."People needed the comfort, the bond, the good emotions, the positive feelings of getting together as a community."Staeben is paying close attention to the bands that are booked to see if any are impacted by the coronavirus, and said no one has cancelled yet,  but that could change over the next few months.  "If we look at the numbers in the United States right now — it would be a miracle that the musician community would somehow be protected from what's happening in the United States."Staeben said some acts have already reached out to the festival, hoping to land a spot in the lineup if others cancel.He said he expects more details about this year's festival will be available later in April.

  • Review: Reissue of 1982 Nina Simone disc a work of contrasts
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Review: Reissue of 1982 Nina Simone disc a work of contrasts

    Nina Simone, “Fodder On My Wings” (Verve/UMe)Nina Simone's “Fodder On My Wings” is an album of contrasts and extremes — personal traumas and world sounds, joy and despair, harmony and defiance, the carnal and the spiritual.Recorded in Paris in 1982, as Simone's enduring restlessness and creeping mental illness kept her life seemingly barely tethered to anything but her music, it's a considerable triumph of personality and genius.The album opens with the gleeful “I Sing Just To Know That I'm Alive,” a horn-filled tune in which Simone bids farewell to the year gone by while fondly recalling Trinidad, one of the many places — Barbados, Liberia, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands among them — where she lived after leaving the U.S. in the early 1970s."Fodder In Her Wings” appears to depersonalize the album title, but the references to self are clear and the weariness deeply intimate — “fodder in her wings" and “dust inside her brains” as “she flitted here and there.” With an African-inspired introduction ceding to harpsichord and piano, her worlds appear together but separate. “Oh, how sad” — indeed.The repetitive, direct approach of “Vous etes seuls, mais je désire etre avec vous” — You are alone, but I want to be with you — leaves no room for doubt, while “Il y a un baume à Gilead” and “Heaven Belongs To You” are the spiritual expressions in the equation“Liberian Calypso” is another sparkling composition recounting a carefree night of dancing, followed in brutal contrast by one of the bonus tracks, a bitter yet stately reworking of Gilbert O'Sullivan's “Alone Again (Naturally),” more depressing even that the original.Narrating her father's agonizing death, it rails against bad but lasting marriages, betrayals and childhood deceptions, yet includes a most understandable lament: “I loved him then and I loved him still/That's why my heart's so broken.”The string of ups and downs continues with another horn-driven dancefloor filler — the caustic and empowering “I Was Just a Stupid Dog to Them,” which claims that “now everything will change.”At the end, the brief “Stop” and the even briefer “They Took My Hand” are in playful, Mose Allison mode, the former undressing the tragedy of “Send In the Clowns” and the latter a rollicking Bob Marley salute.“Fodder On My Wings” is not an album for casual listeners or day trippers but one which shows how clearly Simone could fold her inescapable anguish and raw honesty into her art.Pablo Gorondi, The Associated Press

  • Netflix leads on downloads, but YouTube Kids grabs more hours
    News
    Reuters

    Netflix leads on downloads, but YouTube Kids grabs more hours

    YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc's Google, collected $110 million in in-app spending during the same time period, the highest among major streaming apps globally, according to a report by analytics firms Apptopia and Braze. The report did not give actual hours of usage, but ranked YouTube Kids first, followed by Netflix. YouTube itself was in third place.

  • Dav Pilkey launches new "Cat Kid Comic Club" series
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Dav Pilkey launches new "Cat Kid Comic Club" series

    NEW YORK — Dav Pilkey is going to the cats.The million-selling author of the “Captain Underpants” and “Dog Man” series is starting the “Cat Kid Comic Club,” Scholastic announced Thursday. The first book will be released Dec. 1.“The launch of this new series marks Dav Pilkey’s 34 years of publishing bestselling and award-winning books for children in various formats all with his trademark humour and heart,” according to Scholastic.The “Cat Kid” series will feature “Pilkey’s fan favourite character Li’l Petey who, along with friends Flippy the Fish and Molly, try to teach twenty-one baby frogs how to create their own comics,” the publisher announced. “As the story unwinds with mishaps and hilarity, kids and families reading together will unleash their own creativity, learn different art forms and approach to storytelling, and see the progress, mistakes, and improvements that come with practice and persistence.”The Associated Press

  • Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne dies from coronavirus
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne dies from coronavirus

    Emmy and Grammy-winning musician and songwriter Adam Schlesinger, known for his work with his band Fountains of Wayne and on the TV show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” died Wednesday after contracting the coronavirus.Schlesinger died at a hospital in upstate New York, his longtime lawyer Josh Grier told The Associated Press. It is not clear where or how Schlesinger, a 52-year-old father of two daughters, contracted the virus. He had been sedated and on a ventilator for several days.Schlesinger was nominated for 10 Emmys for writing comical songs across several television shows, winning three.He was also nominated for an Academy Award for writing the title song for the 1997 movie “That Thing You Do," written and directed by Tom Hanks. The snappy pop ditty was the fictional one hit for a Beatles-esque band called the One-ders, later changed to the Wonders, on a label called Playtone, a name Hanks adopted for his production company.“There would be no Playtone without Adam Schlesinger, without his ‘That Thing You Do!’” Hanks, who is himself recovering from the coronavirus, said on Twitter. “He was a One-der. Lost him to Covid-19. Terribly sad today.”Raised in New York and Montclair, New Jersey, Schlesinger formed Fountains of Wayne, named for a lawn ornament store in Wayne, New Jersey, in 1995 with his classmate from Williams College in Massachusetts, Chris Collingwood.With Schlesinger playing bass and singing backup and Collingwood playing guitar and singing lead, and the two men co-writing songs, the band known for its sunny harmonies and synthesis of pop, rock punk and comedy would have hits in 1996 with “Radiation Vibe” and 2003 with “Stacy's Mom." The latter was nominated for a Grammy.The band was more New Jersey than New York. While most rock bands live for the city, Fountains of Wayne and Schlesinger's writing embraced the suburbs with finely-etched tales of lives like a floor installer who's convinced his crush will come back looking for him and a commuter who's sure about his “Bright Future in Sales.”"That's a real Randy Newman thing," Schlesinger told the AP in 2003. “That's a trademark of his writing that I was always amazed by — the sort of unaware narrator, where you learn more about him than he does himself inside of a few verses.”New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said on Twitter that Schlesinger's death is a “sad, sad loss for Jersey's music scene.”Stephen King, Fran Drescher and many others were also singing his praises on social media.After Fountains of Wayne's main run was done, Schlesinger would then drop behind the scenes and go on to be known for his writing.He won the 2009 Grammy for best comedy album for co-writing with David Javerbaum the songs on “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!” a companion to a TV Christmas special with songs performed by Stephen Colbert and Elvis Costello.Colbert said on Twitter Wednesday night he that he was “so saddened” to learn of the death of “a great (and patient) and talented artist with whom it was my good luck to work.”In recent years he was known along with the show's star Rachel Bloom as one of the songwriters behind “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” the musical comedy series on the CW.Last year, Schlesinger, Bloom and Jack Dolgen won an Emmy for the show's song, “Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal."Bloom was in the hospital having a baby girl while Schlesinger was another hospital across the country with the virus. She said in an Instagram post Wednesday that she, her husband and her baby had returned home safely but it had been the most "emotionally intense" week of her life to be having her daughter while her “dear friend” was suffering 3,000 miles away.“I have so much to say about Adam Schlesinger that I am at a complete loss for words,” she tweeted Wednesday night. “He is irreplaceable.”Working again with Javerbaum, Schlesinger won a 2012 Emmy Award for writing the song “It's Not Just for Gays Anymore,” performed by Neil Patrick Harris to open the Tony Awards telecast. They wrote another song for Harris that won them another Emmy the following year.___This story has been corrected to show Schlesinger was 52, not 51.Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press