Check out what happens when you love your sister but also love your space... Wait till the end!
Check out what happens when you love your sister but also love your space... Wait till the end!
In March 2020, Minakshi thought her journey to Canadian citizenship was coming to a close, as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada set a date for her test. Then the world changed before her eyes on March 11, exactly a week before her scheduled citizenship exam, as the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The IRCC cancelled all tests, including hers, except for what it called a few "urgent" exams, held virtually. "We understood, we tried to co-operate," Minakshi said. But several months passed before the department resumed tests, shifting them online at the end of November. Testing backlog grew during pandemic Data obtained by CBC News shows Minakshi is one of hundreds of thousands of people stuck in a waiting pattern. In a series of internal IRCC emails, employees acknowledge that the backlog of those permanent residents who are ready to take a citizenship test grew from 87,000 people in March 2020 to 102,000 by the start of this year. The information also shows there were 311,259 people waiting to go through the entire application process for citizenship at the end of January. Of those, 102,989 had been waiting between 13 and 18 months — and 865 for more than four years. "One hundred and two thousand applicants, that's just like the size of a mid-sized city in Canada," said Ahsan Umar, the head of an ad-hoc advocacy group, Advocates for Citizenship Test. The group lodged the access to information request that revealed the figures and the internal department emails. "We all understand reasonable delays because of this whole situation we are in," Umar said. "But when it gets to lack of transparency and unreasonable delays, that instils a lot of deep sorrow in itself." The cost of waiting For Minakshi, who came to Canada 10 years ago and lives in London, Ont., it also compounded job-seeking issues. She has only a first name, not uncommon for the part of India where she's from. She would like to start a career in real estate in Canada and obtain a surname. But to legally do that, she would first need to pass her citizenship test. Since 2018, she estimates she's paid up to $600 to renew her permanent resident card and an Indian passport — and to get her fingerprints scanned three times to help with the IRCC's criminal background check, which must be periodically redone as a citizenship application is being processed. Although she started her Canadian citizenship application in 2018, Minakshi said she has yet to receive a new test invitation, and she doesn't understand why it's her responsibility to pay for new scans, since her actions haven't caused the delay.. "Every morning, you know, instead of doing my regular work, I'm checking my phone. Everyday, have I got the email yet? Do I need to prepare for my citizenship test?" Ben Mansoura was among the 5,000 applicants to receive an online citizenship test invitation by the end of 2020. He had to submit an access to information request to find out he passed. (Mark Bochsler/CBC) Toronto resident Ben Mansoura, another permanent resident, managed to be among the first 5,000 candidates to receive an invitation to take an online test in December. But the senior IT manager had to file an access to information request about himself just to find out he passed. He's still waiting on criminal background and language eligibility results, with no indication of when those might arrive. "The agents on the phone would almost be like: 'Why are you calling us?'" Mansoura said, whenever he called the IRCC to get updated information. For some permanent residents who thought they were close to becoming Canadian citizens, the prospect of further delays raises the possibility they may be unable to vote in the next federal election, expected later this year.(Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press) In 2019, he didn't have the right to vote in the federal election, and he's worried he may still be unable to cast a ballot in the next election, expected later this year, if delays continue indefinitely. "I do want to take part in the betterment of this country," said Mansoura, who arrived in Canada in 2012 from the Czech Republic. "I feel unwelcome here, I feel like I'm not being treated equally." More digital tests coming 'very soon': minister Some of the internal IRCC emails in the 353-page document obtained by Ahsan Umar's group date back from before the online test launch, with employees settling on what one referred to as an "aggressive plan" to begin the pilot project with 5,000 test invitations by the end of 2020. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino was unavailable for an interview on the subject, but at a recent news conference, he asked those still waiting to "keep the faith." "More digital testing and citizenship ceremonies are coming to you very soon," he said. Immigration MInister Marco Mendicino shown at a news conference last June, asks those still waiting for an online citizenship test invitation to 'keep the faith.'(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press) In a followup statement to CBC News, the IRCC said it had sent out 65,893 online test invitations by the end of April, and 43,697 people had completed their citizenship tests. "Immigration officers have had to scramble for this last year as well," said Raj Sharma, a Calgary-based immigration lawyer. Glimpsing at the numbers obtained by CBC News, he said he had expected the backlog to be worse due to the pandemic. But Sharma said there was no explanation for the large number of people waiting for such a long time. "It appears to be clear there were delays on some applications well before this pandemic, well before the excuse of this pandemic," he said. WATCH | Essential workers, graduates to get new pathway to permanent residency: "It does look like there's some promising signs of spring ahead," Sharma said, referring to the online testing process flowing more smoothly now. But it is little comfort for Minakshi: "If I get the fourth fingerprint request next year, I'm going to withdraw my file," she said.
FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas man who authorities say fatally shot an 87-year-old neighbor was trying to lure residents of his apartment complex outside before someone shot and killed him, according to witnesses. “He was yelling and screaming: ‘You guys get out here, come out here, everyone get out of this building right now,’" Janey Peugh, who lives at the complex, told KFSM television station. Police in Fort Smith, Arkansas, located on the border with Oklahoma, say that after Zachary Arnold, 26, fatally shot Lois Hicks on Saturday morning, he continued to shoot at neighboring apartments with a semi-automatic rifle. Another resident, who has not been named, retrieved a hunting rifle and shot and killed Arnold, police said. Resident Amber Lane told the television station that Hicks and Arnold lived in the same building. She said Hicks and another neighbor had gone outside before running back into their apartments. “There were two older women, both had come out," Lane said. “One of them had ran back in, and the other one ran back in, but she didn’t close her door, then he walked in and did what he did." Police said that Hicks was shot multiple times inside her apartment. Lane said she was grateful for the neighbor who shot Arnold. “If he didn’t do that, who knows how much worse it could have gotten,” Lane said. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Canada is set to receive a large infusion of COVID-19 vaccines this week, even as questions swirl around how the immunization drive will be affected by the sudden departure of the man tasked with overseeing it. The federal government says it expects around 4.5 million doses to arrive this week thanks to planned deliveries from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Pfizer and BioNTech had been scheduled to deliver around 2 million doses this week as their vaccines continue to flow into Canada on a regular basis after early hiccups in February and March. But the federal government says the two companies will ship an additional 1.4 million shots, which were originally slated to land next week but are now expected to arrive before the upcoming holiday weekend. Moderna is also expected to deliver 1.1 million doses this week. The large influx comes as the Liberal government faces questions about who will now lead the vaccination campaign after Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin was sidelined suddenly on Friday and reassigned from his role presiding over the national inoculation effort. The Department of National Defence has said Fortin is under military investigation, but otherwise refused to provide any details. The government, meanwhile, has yet to name a replacement. There are also ongoing questions about the government's plans for the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson and Johnson vaccines. More than 655,000 shots of AstraZeneca arrived through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX on Thursday, but most provinces have temporarily paused their use for first doses amid supply issues and the potential risk of rare blood clots. As a result, the federal government has yet to distribute those shots to the provinces, though Ottawa says it expects to still receive another 1 million doses by the end of June. About 2.16 million Canadians had received one dose of AstraZeneca as of May 8, and those additional doses could be used to give those people a second jab. Health Canada also continues to review the quality of 300,000 Johnson and Johnson shots that were delivered last month, but have yet to be distributed. The doses have been held back over concerns of possible tainting at a Baltimore production facility. Health Canada chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma told CTV on Sunday that it could be weeks before the review is complete. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Ontario is reporting 2,199 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday as well as 30 deaths. That's down from 2,584 new cases reported on Saturday, but up from 24 deaths. The new case count includes 633 cases in Toronto, 547 in Peel Region, 172 in York Region, 143 in Durham, and 129 in Hamilton. The seven-day average continues to decline and is now sitting at 2,576. As of 8 p.m. on Saturday, 7,064,815 vaccine doses have been administered across the province to date, according to Health Minister Christine Elliott. Friday's vaccination tally marked a milestone for Ontario. With 154,104 doses administered, the number is the highest single-day total to date, according to Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases doctor who is a member of the province's COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday May 17, 2021. There are 1,328,582 confirmed cases in Canada. Canada: 1,328,582 confirmed cases (70,341 active, 1,233,293 resolved, 24,948 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 4,903 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 185.08 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40,721 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,817. There were 40 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 306 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 44. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 33,482,165 tests completed. Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,193 confirmed cases (89 active, 1,098 resolved, six deaths). There were nine new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 17.05 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 55 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 255,378 tests completed. Prince Edward Island: 191 confirmed cases (10 active, 181 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 6.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of five new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 154,113 tests completed. Nova Scotia: 4,736 confirmed cases (1,531 active, 3,133 resolved, 72 deaths). There were 126 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 156.33 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 819 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 117. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.01 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 7.35 per 100,000 people. There have been 719,049 tests completed. New Brunswick: 2,063 confirmed cases (117 active, 1,905 resolved, 41 deaths). There were 11 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 14.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 61 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 5.25 per 100,000 people. There have been 322,461 tests completed. Quebec: 363,296 confirmed cases (7,312 active, 344,950 resolved, 11,034 deaths). There were 716 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 85.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,162 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 737. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 47 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 128.68 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,838,292 tests completed. Ontario: 509,316 confirmed cases (26,656 active, 474,175 resolved, 8,485 deaths). There were 2,199 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 180.91 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17,013 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,430. There were 30 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 177 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 25. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.17 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.59 per 100,000 people. There have been 14,586,270 tests completed. Manitoba: 45,149 confirmed cases (4,440 active, 39,699 resolved, 1,010 deaths). There were 534 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 321.91 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,200 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 457. There were four new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 17 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 73.23 per 100,000 people. There have been 740,345 tests completed. Saskatchewan: 44,531 confirmed cases (2,082 active, 41,932 resolved, 517 deaths). There were 167 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 176.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,390 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 199. There was one new reported death Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 15 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.86 per 100,000 people. There have been 817,641 tests completed. Alberta: 218,961 confirmed cases (22,280 active, 194,538 resolved, 2,143 deaths). There were 1,140 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 503.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,171 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,453. There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 33 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 48.46 per 100,000 people. There have been 4,379,989 tests completed. British Columbia: 138,304 confirmed cases (5,717 active, 130,953 resolved, 1,634 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 111.06 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,762 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 395. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 16 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 31.74 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,623,522 tests completed. Yukon: 84 confirmed cases (one active, 81 resolved, two deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,129 tests completed. Northwest Territories: 121 confirmed cases (38 active, 83 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 84.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 22 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 21,730 tests completed. Nunavut: 624 confirmed cases (68 active, 552 resolved, four deaths). There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 172.79 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 59 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 14,170 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A league of Muslim nations on Sunday demanded that Israel halt attacks killing Palestinian civilians amid heavy fighting between it and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, even as fissures between countries over their recognition of Israel emerged. A statement by the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation hewed closely to previous ones issued by the Saudi-based group, including backing the decades-old call for Palestinians to have their own nation with East Jerusalem as its capital. However, recent normalization deals between Israel and some nations in the group — as well as their own concerns about Hamas — saw diplomats at points instead criticize each other. “The massacre of Palestinian children today follows the purported normalization,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said. “This criminal and genocidal regime has once again proven that friendly gestures only aggravate its atrocities.” The past week has seen some of the worst violence across Israel and the Palestinian territory since the 2014 war in Gaza, with militants launching missiles and Israel pounding the blockaded coastal strip home to 2 million people with heavy fire. At least 188 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza with 1,230 people wounded. Eight people in Israel have been killed. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation statement called on Israel to respect Muslims' access to Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, as well as stop settlers from forcibly evicting Palestinian families from their homes. “The plight of the Palestinian people is the bleeding wound of the Islamic world today,” Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar said. But the videoconference meeting saw some delegates instead turn their fire toward countries like Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, Muslim nations which reached normalization deals last year to recognize Israel. While Egypt and Jordan earlier reached peace deals, supporters of the Palestinians criticized the new countries for recognizing Israel before the formation of an independent Palestinian state. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu joined Zarif in criticizing the normalization, though Israel maintains diplomatic ties with Ankara. “There are a few who have lost their moral compass and voiced support for Israel,” he said. “If there are half-hearted statements within our own family, how could we criticize others? Who will take our words seriously?” Zarif also accused Israel of “genocide and crimes against humanity.” “Make no mistake: Israel only understand the language of resistance and the people of Palestine are fully entitled to their right to defend themselves,” Zarif said. Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in 2007, didn't take part in the meeting, which came before consultations at the United Nations over the crisis. Across the Arabian Peninsula, reactions to the fighting similarly has been mixed. In Qatar, home to the Al-Jazeera satellite network, hundreds turned out late Saturday night to listen to a speech by Hamas’ top leader Ismail Haniyeh. Kuwait's parliament speaker reportedly spoke with Haniyeh on Saturday, as did Qatar's foreign minister. Meanwhile, in Bahrain and the UAE, government-linked media hasn't been covering the current flare-up of violence nonstop like other networks in the region. There are murmurs of dissent though. In Bahrain, civil society groups signed a letter urging the kingdom to expel the Israeli ambassador. In the UAE, where political parties and protests are illegal, Palestinians have expressed their anger quietly, worried about losing their residency permit. Some Emiratis also have expressed concerns. “The region’s only democracy," tweeted the Emirati writer and political analyst Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi in writing about Israel's strike on a Gaza building that housed the offices of The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera. Hussein Ibish, a senior scholar at the Washington-based Arab Gulf States Institute, said most Gulf Arab leaders fear Hamas' rocket fire as "cynical, dangerous, unnecessarily provocative and endangering Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza alike.” That takes the pressure off those Gulf leaders to respond, unlike in other confrontations involving the Al-Aqsa Mosque or when Israeli settlers force Arab families out of their homes, he said. “There won’t be much sympathy for what is widely viewed in the Gulf as Israel’s heavy-handed and disproportionate retaliation," Ibish wrote, "but it will be much easier for Gulf leaders and many citizens to regard the exchange as a tragic conflagration at the expense of ordinary people brought about by two leaderships over which they have neither control nor responsibility.” ___ Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy and Malak Harb in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this report. Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has broken ground on a controversial park being built on land it originally acquired to be turned into an arena. The Franklin and Main Park Project will take up the majority of a block in downtown Fort McMurray. Featuring a basketball court, playground and community event space, the $4.92 million park is expected to be completed in the fall. Its completion will also mark the end of an eight-year journey that featured big civic dreams, hard economic realities and mixed emotions among downtown businesses that were affected by the municipal expropriation process. The municipality purchased the land in 2013 as part of a plan to build a downtown arena. The municipality expropriated five properties at a total cost of $34.1 million, which includes associated costs like legal fees and tearing the buildings down. The municipality backed away from the idea in 2015, after oil prices crashed and it faced public backlash. One of the buildings acquired by the city housed Longshots, a downtown bar co-owned by Gord Pederson. When he opened the bar in 2006, he knew there was a possibility the land would be wanted by the municipality. He said he's not bitter about the land deal but he is bothered that the building sat empty for about 18 months. "It's just another scar on Fort McMurray that I don't think it deserves." Pederson wasn't against the idea of the arena, but thought the municipality had "excess and grandiose plans." "Downtown Fort McMurray needed that little bit of a boost," said Pederson. Since then, the land has been a parking lot. Draw for downtown? In 2018, council decided make downtown revitalization a priority, then in March of this year, council voted in favour of the Franklin and Main Park Project in an 8-3 vote. Mayor Don Scott and councillors Claris Voyageur and Keith McGrath were opposed. Steven Niehaus, owner of Stacs Fine Food, said he is excited about the park, as it would be across the street from his restaurant. "I know it might not be ideal for everybody, but the park is an exciting thing for us because it's going to give a chance for people to hopefully congregate downtown," said Niehaus. In the winter, the park will have skating trails, he said. Workers during construction should also be good for business. Jon Tupper, former president of the Chamber of Commerce, has been to half a dozen symposiums to talk about downtown revitalization. He said the municipality's strategy for downtown in recent years hasn't been successful. The park is expected to be completed in fall of 2021.(Jamie Malbeuf/CBC) "We razed more structures than we've brought up and that's kind of where we're at today," he said. He said doing something with the space is better than doing nothing, but he doubts it will be an ongoing draw to bring people downtown in a municipality that already has many parks. "Yes, a park is better than a parking lot, but I don't think it fills the gaps and the needs that the city created through their own overzealous expropriation," he said. Pederson agrees with Tupper's assessment. Downtown has been empty ever since expropriation, he said, and a park isn't likely to be the solution. Frances Squire, 82, used to frequent one of the pubs that was torn down during the expropriation. She said the municipality should be spending money on more important things, like flood mitigation. "It's a waste of money," said Squire.
Two more ransomware operators appear to have disappeared from the web, a cybersecurity researcher said on Sunday, in another potential aftershock following this month's hack of U.S. fuel transport company Colonial Pipeline. The sites, run by groups dubbed "AKO" and "Everest", appear to have become unreachable over the weekend, according to Allan Liska, a researcher with cybersecurity firm Recorded Future. Other ransomware groups - who make money by scrambling companies' data and demanding hefty payments in digital currency to unlock it - have said they were shutting down or scaling back operations as the U.S. government ramped up pressure.
Saskatchewan's premier wants to see the province cheering on "North America's greatest football team" in person when the season kicks off in August. Both Premier Scott Moe and Minister Jeremy Harrison said as much as the most recent session of the legislature concluded on Friday. When questioned about tax implementation, Harrison touted — among other things — the government's work in creating a robust vaccination strategy which he said led to the creation of the provincial roadmap to reopening that would see the province return to normal including a "full Mosaic Stadium." "I'm not certain that we will get it right full, but we most certainly do want people to get into Mosaic here this summer," Moe said after Friday's question period. "We'll achieve that in the same way that we're achieving our reopening plan here in Saskatchewan, and that is very similar to turning up the lights with a dimmer switch." Moe said the province was looking into a plan that would see some fans return to the stadium in a limited capacity before essentially "turning up" the restricted capacity. Randy Ambrosie, commissioner of the Canadian Football League, announced in April that he intended to get the league back in action in 2021 and set a "target date" of August 5 for the 14-game season. Ambrosie's April statement said two things need to happen before the season can start: approval from public health officials across the country and permission from governments to allow fans in stands. "We know [those fans] will come from far and wide, across western Canada and from North America, to cheer on what we believe is the greatest football team in North America," Moe said. The commissioner's statement said contingency plans were in place and the league was open to the idea of a flexible schedule that would see teams play in front of fans in either eastern or western Canada, when they're able to.
Some Islanders have been booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments through a bot on Twitter, but few seem to know who is behind the mysterious service. P.E.I. reported one new case of COVID-19 on Saturday, a close contact of a previous case connected to a Charlottetown daycare. The new case is an individual in their 20s. People between the ages of 20-39 have accounted for about 60 per cent of P.E.I. 's overall number of cases. Some veterans on P.E.I. say holding a protest — any protest — in front of a cenotaph dishonours the veterans who fought to give them that very freedom. Masked-up shoppers browse items at the flea market at the Charlottetown seaport. The flea market runs Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.(Shane Ross/CBC) The province announced it would be extending border restrictions for another two weeks on seasonal residents, family connections and for some moving to P.E.I. An Island woman who was recently escorted out of a store by police is asking Islanders to be more understanding of people like her who can't wear masks. Charlottetown restaurants have started gearing up for patio season and many see patios as a solution to their COVID-19 problems. P.E.I. continued to be a leader among the provinces in population growth during the pandemic, but not at the pace it was previously. P.E.I. has 10 active cases of COVID-19. There have been 191 positive cases in total over the past 14 months, with two hospitalizations and no deaths. Elsewhere in the Atlantic region: Also in the news These Islanders are currently eligible for a vaccine People over 16. Islanders over 40 can book an appointment for a Moderna vaccine at a pharmacy. You can find more information about how to get a vaccine here. Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
TORONTO — Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine effort shifted into high gear on the weekend, administering its seven millionth dose as it prepared to accelerate immunization efforts even further in the coming week. Premier Doug Ford, meanwhile, offered hope that the province's summer camps would be given the green light to operate this season, though without providing any details. Ford stated camps would be able to open for the coming summer, though did not specify whether he was referring to day or overnight facilities. A spokesman from his office later said details would be revealed before the provincial lifts if current stay-at-home order, which was recently extended to June 2 in a bid to help combat the pandemic's third wave. Ford's remarks came at a large vaccine clinic held west of Toronto that operated overnight in a bid to provide shots to those who could benefit from extended hours. Organizers of Doses After Dark, which they dubbed the first mass overnight vaccination clinic in Canada, said it was well attended but may not have achieved the goal of vaccinating between 4,500 and 5,000 people through the night. Paul Sharma, co-lead of Peel Region's mass vaccination program, said the overnight clinic aimed to attract a wider range of people from across a region that's long been one of the province's most active COVID-19 hot spots. "This was really targeted toward essential workers who are working non-traditional hours," he said in an interview on Sunday. "Shift workers, taxi drivers, truck drivers … but also to the younger age group, you know, the 18 to 39 (demographic), which we opened up a few weeks ago." Although a formal count of shots administered at the clinic was not immediately available, Sharma estimated that it reached 60 to 70 per cent of its target. Despite the shortfall, however, Sharma said there was only a brief stretch between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. when the clinic wasn't operating at full capacity. "People are interested in getting their vaccine. They're willing to come in all different hours," Sharma said. In addition to essential workers, Sharma said international students without provincial health cards and people aged 65 and above who had been eligible for some time also attended the clinic. It took place ahead of the latest effort to speed up Ontario's broader vaccination program, which is set to begin including all residents 30 and older later this week. Monday will also see the province revert back to a per capita model of vaccine allocation after diverting half its supply to hot spots with high daily case counts over the past two weeks. The province announced last week that it aims to have all willing adults in Ontario fully immunized with two doses by Sept. 22. All adult residents should be eligible to register for their first jab by the end of May. Vaccine expansion efforts were already reaching new heights over the weekend, according to Health Minister Christine Elliott, who reported the province had delivered more than seven million doses as of Sunday morning. More than 139,000 of those were injected on Saturday alone, she added. The province also reported 2,199 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 30 more virus-related deaths. Those figures were based on 33,142 tests administered over the previous 24 hours. There were 1,292 COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals as of Sunday morning, a decline of 254 from the day before. Of those patients, 714 were in intensive care and 509 were on ventilators. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2021. David Paddon, The Canadian Press
RCMP in Nova Scotia say they have fined a church and members of its congregation with violating health protection rules forbidding large gatherings for the second time. Officers went to Weston Christian Fellowship Church on Brooklyn Street, outside Berwick, shortly after 11 a.m. Officers had been called to the church on the previous two Sundays and charged the church and those in attendance on May 9. RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Marshall said officers saw people gathered for a faith-based gathering in contravention of the Health Protection Act. Police issued tickets to seven people for $2,422 and the church was fined $11,622.50. Marshall said there were children present at the gathering but only the adults were charged. He said charging an organization a second time is uncommon. "It's incredibly rare that we've charged a person or even an organization multiple times since the pandemic has started," he said. " I can't think of any other circumstances where this has happened." There were 26 fines issued to individuals for the May 9 gathering. The church was fined as well. MORE TOP STORIES
A Toronto non-profit organization that promotes trade between Canada and India says it has raised $440,220 to send oxygen to India "in all shapes and forms" as the country fights a deadly wave of COVID-19. The Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) has begun to hold virtual fundraisers called "Oxygen for India" on Sundays. Its goal is to raise $2 million. Its first event was on Sunday and a total of $88,220 was raised between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. It will hold three more virtual fundraising events, with the final one on June 6. All money collected will be used to send oxygen concentrators and oxygen generators to India and to help the country create capacity in its hospital system. About 1,500 oxygen concentrators it has purchased are already on their way to hospitals in India. "We want people to know that India does need help," Vijay Thomas, president of the ICCC, told CBC Toronto on Sunday. "This is something that the best of nations, if they got hit with what hit India, they would not be able to do it on their own as well. They would need help as well. This is help that is probably temporary in nature," he added. "If anybody does donate, I'm pretty sure there's going to be a big IOU from the Indian nation, from Indians, from Indo-Canadians, and I'm pretty sure you can call upon India to assist if any time there was a need. And what we've seen in history, it doesn't take long." Thomas noted that Canada accepted vaccines from the Serum Institute of India two months ago and now it is Canada's turn to step up. He said the ICCC has decided that it will send oxygen because that is what the country needs. "There is no oxygen in India. Right now, we're not sending money to India. We're sending oxygen in all shapes and forms," he said. "If we can get oxygen to India, that is what can help. That is what can save lives. People are dying of COVID, but people are also dying from not having oxygen, which is kind of indirectly COVID. The lack of oxygen got them. And that is the part that we think we can help and that's what we really want people to help us with." 'We are all in this together,' ICCC president says Thomas said the organization has enlisted the help of more than 82 other Indo-Canadian organizations. "The world is a small place. We are all in this together," Thomas said. The fundraising events run across a number of social media platforms and television channels. To double the impact, Thomas said certain donors will match up to $1 million in donations. Vic Fedeli, Ontario economic development minister, said during Sunday's virtual fundraising event that the provincial government extends its sympathies to India. "We grieve with India in the lives that it has taken and the families it has devastated," Fedeli said. Suwarsha Minocha contracted COVID-19 in India and died on May 4, 2021 at age 83. Her grand-daughter, Kriti Sehgal, who lives in Toronto, said fundraisers for India may mean people get to spend more time with their loved ones and may give those who are suffering the help they need.(Submitted by Kriti Sehgal) For Toronto residents who have lost family members in India, the efforts to raise money for oxygen to help people who are still suffering are appreciated. Kriti Sehgal, a project manager in Toronto, said her grandmother, Suwarsha Minocha, contracted COVID-19 last month in India and died five days later on May 4, 2021, She was 83. Her grandmother was like a second mother to her. Sehgal lived in India for 10 years and spent much time with her. "She was the most loving and nurturing person in my life," she said. It was definitely very shocking when all of this was happening. It happened so fast. She was just this wonderful person. "She took so much pride in giving to her family and anyone that was in need that met her." Sehgal said she is getting married next year and had "high hopes" that her grandmother was going to attend, be part of the wedding and meet her new family. "Just the thought of her not being here and not being able to see her just feels really heartbreaking," she said. Sehgal said her grandmother was healthy — "she's never even had a cavity" — and the family had trouble finding a hospital bed, medical help and medicine when she got sick with COVID-19 in India. Help came too late, she said. "I wish we were there near her when all of this was happening," she added. Sehgal said efforts to send oxygen to India may mean people get to spend more time with their loved ones and may give those who are suffering the help they need. "It just makes me feel hopeful and it makes me feel like there is a brighter future," she said. India has reported more than 24 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 270,000 deaths due to the virus.
One Vancouver man decided to beat his pandemic boredom by starting a new art project, where he draws 'COVID cards' to represent the number of days it's been since the pandemic began. David Laird is a land development planner and engineer, but in his free time he paints and draws. Laird says he's had an interest in art ever since he was a child. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone into their homes in March 2020, Laird decided to pick up the old hobby to fill his time. "It was just purely just to, you know, amuse myself and distract myself from the world," Laird told CBC Vancouver. Laird said he started drawing the COVID cards on the day B.C. first began lockdown last March, and has continued making them nearly every day since. Laird says every card has a number on it to represent how many days it's been since the pandemic started.(Ben Nelms/CBC) "I didn't know how long I was going to do it, but, you know, COVID continued on and obviously still is. And with the help of my neighbour, I decided to go 150 days," he said. Laird says every card has a number on it to represent how many days it's been since the pandemic began. He says the design pictured on the front of the card changes every day, depending on his mood. In a previous interview with CBC, Michelle Winkel, an art therapist in Victoria said she believes art can help people cope with the anxiety many face from the pandemic. "Obviously with COVID, life is pretty stressful," Winkel said, "I believe that art-making is therapeutic," Winkel said. Winkel says she has seen first-hand through her patients, the success art therapy can bring in relieving stress and anxiety. As for Laird, he says he uses his art as a way to escape from negative news and the current reality the world continues to face. Laird says he uses his art as a way to distract himself from distressing news. (Ben Nelms/CBC) "These were starting to take three, sometimes four hours in the morning because I have nothing better to do. They're completely whatever comes into my mind." Laird said. Laird says after 150 days passed and the pandemic still wasn't over, he decided to continue on with his drawings. His neighbour assisted him in making little boxes to stores the cards. He says the art has become a habit and something he'll continue to do until the pandemic is over. "Hopefully you won't come back to see me in a year because we'll all be well."
Vancouver police say they deployed an RCMP Air One helicopter and a marine unit to disperse people gathered on downtown beaches Saturday night. According to a statement from police, thousands of people gathered on Vancouver's beaches Saturday to enjoy the warm May weather. The statement said officers patrolled the beaches to ensure people were not drinking, and began asking people to leave at 10 p.m., when the beaches officially close. Police said while most complied, some people refused to leave, and a small group threw bottles at officers, prompting more police to be called to the scene. Police then used spotlights from the helicopter and marine unit to disperse people. No arrests were made. B.C. health officials are currently encouraging people to socialize outdoors only, as the risk of COVID-19 transmission is significantly reduced outdoors compared to indoors.
Whale researchers on Vancouver Island say a humpback known as Kayak was found dead on a beach on Haida Gwaii Saturday. Officials with the Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) said in a Facebook post that the 14-metre-long animal was found on a beach near the Tlell River on Haida Gwaii, an archipelago of 150 islands off the North Coast of B.C. MERS said a society member gave the female whale its nickname due to a marking on the upper right side of its fluke that looks like a person in a kayak. The society said it was able to identify the whale from pictures shared by locals. Seen since 2004 It said the whale had been sighted around Northeast Vancouver Island since 2004 but also in southeastern Alaska, the Salish Sea, the Central Coast and in the waters off southwestern Vancouver Island. The Department of Fisheries and Ocean said Sunday that officials from the department and local First Nations would collect photos and samples of the animal. The department did not say if a necropsy would be conducted. The society said the whale was around 18 years old and had never given birth to offspring. It said the whale's death was premature and could have been caused by trauma from a collision, an infection, or complications from a possible pregnancy. It is not uncommon for humpback whales to wash up dead on beaches along B.C.'s coast. A report from the society in 2019 said the humpback whale population off northeastern Vancouver Island had been increasing, most likely due to an abundance in prey in B.C. waters.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday May 17, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 317,066 new vaccinations administered for a total of 18,415,536 doses given. Nationwide, 1,410,762 people or 3.7 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 48,590.732 per 100,000. There were 21,060 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 20,376,264 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 90.38 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 33,429 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 235,651 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 450.033 per 1,000. In the province, 1.89 per cent (9,881) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland and Labrador for a total of 279,010 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 53 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.46 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 8,000 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 67,758 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 427.148 per 1,000. In the province, 7.20 per cent (11,429) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 84,915 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 54 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.8 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 58,592 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 415,570 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 425.833 per 1,000. In the province, 3.98 per cent (38,830) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 21,060 new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 519,550 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 53 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.99 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 53,192 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 355,454 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 455.687 per 1,000. In the province, 4.21 per cent (32,838) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 415,935 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 53 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.46 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 92,520 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,323,040 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 505.226 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 4,578,079 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 54 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 94.43 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 139,583 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,064,815 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 480.957 per 1,000. In the province, 2.92 per cent (429,636) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 7,843,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 53 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.07 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 11,022 new vaccinations administered for a total of 649,264 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 471.505 per 1,000. In the province, 5.89 per cent (81,151) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 759,870 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 55 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.44 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 18,995 new vaccinations administered for a total of 590,952 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 501.166 per 1,000. In the province, 4.12 per cent (48,609) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 637,115 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 54 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 92.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 45,719 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,189,999 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 497.496 per 1,000. In the province, 7.46 per cent (328,414) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 2,355,255 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 54 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 92.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,393,265 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 466.38 per 1,000. In the province, 2.43 per cent (124,880) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 2,740,590 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 53 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 87.33 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 50,652 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,213.774 per 1,000. In the territory, 56.73 per cent (23,673) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 57,020 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 140 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 88.83 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 49,811 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,103.992 per 1,000. In the territory, 49.87 per cent (22,501) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 60,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 83.02 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 29,305 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 756.727 per 1,000. In the territory, 33.26 per cent (12,879) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 45,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 120 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 64.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
Procurement Minister Anita Anand tells guest host of The West Block Mike Le Couteur that conversations are happening right now about what to do with millions more doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine set to arrive over the coming months. Those arrivals come as some provinces have paused the use of the vaccine over extremely rare blood clots that can occur in some individuals after getting the shot, but as global demand for vaccines remains high and cases continue to soar around the world. “We have committed to donating excess doses,” Anand said. “Our prime minister has mentioned this, I have, and [International Development Minister Karina] Gould and [Health Minister Patty] Hajdu are all on the same page in terms of the need to donate excess doses that Canadians aren’t using, so we are thinking of all of the options relating to any excess doses.”
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The first court test of whether local governments can ban police from enforcing certain gun laws is playing out in a rural Oregon county, one of a wave of U.S. counties declaring itself a Second Amendment sanctuary. The measure that voters in the logging area of Columbia County narrowly approved last year forbids local officials from enforcing most federal and state gun laws and could impose thousands of dollars in fines on those who try. Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions have been adopted by some 1,200 local governments in states around the U.S., including Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Illinois and Florida, according to Shawn Fields, an assistant professor of law at Campbell University who tracks them. Many are symbolic, but some, like in Columbia County, carry legal force. The movement took off around 2018, as states considered stricter gun laws in the wake of mass shootings, including a high school shooting near Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and made survivors into high-profile gun control activists. After President Joe Biden took office, conservative lawmakers in several states proposed banning police from enforcing federal gun measures, and at least one proposal in Arizona has been signed into law. The movement hasn’t yet faced a major legal challenge. The Oregon case was filed by Columbia County under an unusual provision in state law that allows a judge to examine a measure before it goes into effect. No timeline has been set for a court hearing. “This will allow the court to tell us whether the county can actually decline to enforce certain state laws, and it will tell us how to abide by the will of the voters to the extent that we can,” said Sarah Hanson, who serves as counsel in the conservative-leaning county in deep-blue Oregon. Supporters of the ordinance include the Oregon Firearms Federation, which said in a November statement that “extremists” and “big city radicals" were trying to curtail gun rights. The group referenced Portland protests opposing police brutality that occasionally turned violent last summer and called the ordinance a “common sense” step that would “ensure your right and ability to defend your life and the lives of your loved ones.” The ordinance would ban the enforcement of laws like background check requirements and restrictions on carrying a gun, though it would have exceptions for others, including keeping firearms from convicted felons. The Oregon Firearms Federation didn’t respond to a request for comment on the court case. Sheriff Brian Pixley has expressed support, saying in a March statement that one of his responsibilities is to uphold people's Second Amendment rights and that he's eager to “move forward with the will of the voters.” The measure is divisive locally, though, and four residents filed court documents opposing it. One, Brandee Dudzic, referenced the strict gun safety drills she learned in military medic training, saying she values the right to own a gun but believes it should come with safety measures like background checks and secure storage. A gun shop owner in Columbia County said he supports background checks and believes that “state law trumps the county law." But he voted in favor of the Second Amendment measure on principle. “We need to make sure that people are safe. We need to make sure that people are responsible," he said. “But as more rules are in place, we just need to make sure that we’re not overregulated.” He spoke on the condition he not be identified because some of his customers take a hard line against gun restrictions and he didn't want to lose their business. The group Everytown for Gun Safety is pushing for the measure to be overturned. Managing director Eric Tirschwell said it would be the nation’s first court test of a Second Amendment sanctuary law. Everytown argues that the ordinance violates the U.S. Constitution, which says federal law supersedes state law, as well as the state Constitution and an Oregon law that gives the state power to regulate firearms. The decision won't have a direct effect outside Oregon but could send a message. “This case is important and should send the message that where state or local jurisdictions attempt to unconstitutionally or unlawfully nullify gun safety laws, we are prepared to and will go to court,” Tirschwell said. Other laws trying to blunt the effect of federal gun restrictions haven’t fared well in court, including a 2009 Montana measure that made guns and ammunition manufactured in the state exempt from federal law and a similar 2013 measure in Kansas. Many of the latest wave of measures, though, take a different tack by focusing on the actions of local police, including punishments like fines. In terms of federal law, gun rights advocates may have a successful legal argument under the so-called anti-commandeering doctrine, which says the U.S. government can’t make state and local officials enforce federal law, said Darrell Miller, a professor of law at Duke Law School and co-faculty director of the Duke Center for Firearms Law. He agreed that the Oregon case is the first of its kind. Local enforcement of state law, meanwhile, is another matter. Most states don't have similar provisions in their own legal codes, and Oregon's attorney general said in court documents that the Columbia County ordinance is “incompatible” with criminal law and the duties of county officials. “To the extent the local government is trying to say, ‘We’re also not going to enforce state law either’ .... that’s a much more difficult and complicated position,” Miller said. “The authority of the state over localities is much, much stronger.” ___ Whitehurst reported from Salt Lake City. Lindsay Whitehurst And Andrew Selsky , The Associated Press
At least two people are in hospital with COVID-19 after having attended a large demonstration in Montreal earlier this month to protest public health restrictions. Public health authorities in Chaudière-Appalaches, the region south of Quebec City, had expressed concern about chartered buses that took residents to the May 1st demonstration near the Olympic Stadium. Two weeks ago, the authorities asked people on board two buses in particular — about 50 people in total — to get tested because several people with COVID-19 had made the trip with them. It takes more than two hours to drive from Lévis, Que., to the Olympic Stadium. Dr. Liliana Romero, the Chaudière-Appalaches public health director, told Radio-Canada they have linked five cases, and two hospitalizations, to the trips to Montreal for the protest. She added that the people who took part are offering little collaboration with the contact tracing efforts. "We remind people of the importance of collaborating with contact tracing in order to protect other citizens and stop transmission," the Chaudière-Appalaches public health authority said in a statement. Quebec's epicentre Chaudière-Appalaches currently has the second highest case rate in the province, with 167.6 cases per cases 100,000. The region to the east, Bas-Saint-Laurent, has the highest rate, with 200.7 cases per 100,000. The Bas-Saint-Laurent cases are concentrated in and around the Rivière-du-Loup area. Elected officials there have attributed the spike to the combination of more contagious variants and an economy dependent on manufacturing, where few workers can work from home. A meat factory in Rivière-du-Loup, Viandes du Breton, was closed last week after an outbreak led to more than 100 workers testing positive for COVID-19. A further 80 workers tested positive at the Aliments Asta meat factory in Saint-Alexandre-de-Kamouraska, Que, authorities said Friday. "Transmission is certainly high within the business, but it is also very high in the community and the Rivière-du-Loup area in general, which means the two situations reinforce each other," Dr Sylvain Leduc, the Bas-Saint-Laurent public health director.