EVH earnings call for the period ending December 31, 2020.
Ukraine's defence minister said on Saturday his country could be provoked by Russian aggravation of the situation in the conflict area of Ukraine's eastern Donbass region. The minister, Andrii Taran, said Russian accusations about the rights of Russian-speakers being violated could be the reason for the resumption of armed aggression against Ukraine. "At the same time, it should be noted that the intensification of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine is possible only if an appropriate political decision is made at the highest level in the Kremlin," he said in a statement.
The coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa can "break through" Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine to some extent, a real-world data study in Israel found, though its prevalence in the country is low and the research has not been peer reviewed. The South African variant, B.1.351, was found to make up about 1% of all the COVID-19 cases across all the people studied, according to the study by Tel Aviv University and Israel's largest healthcare provider, Clalit. But among patients who had received two doses of the vaccine, the variant's prevalence rate was eight times higher than those unvaccinated - 5.4% versus 0.7%.
B.C. RCMP are seeking witnesses and dashcam footage related to a homicide in West Kelowna in March. On March 21, a 35-year-old man was shot and killed near Highway 97 between Butt and Grizzly roads. RCMP said that the shooting appeared to be targeted. Investigators are still seeking eyewitnesses and dashcam footage from everyone who travelled in the area between 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. that Sunday. Investigators said in a written statement that they believe a vehicle headed toward West Kelowna stopped in the intersection for a brief time. They say they would like to speak to the occupants of the vehicle, which is described as a dark coloured and, possibly, smaller-style SUV. Police ask everyone with information to contact the B.C. RCMP Southeast District Major Crime Unit tipline at 1-877-987-8477.
OTTAWA — Former central banker Mark Carney says he'll do whatever he can to support the federal Liberal party.Until now, Carney has avoided any overt show of partisanship, as required in his former roles as governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England.But he's telling Liberals at their convention that he's committed to public service and helping the governing party.It's not clear whether that means Carney intends to run for the party in the next election.Liberals have long touted Carney as a possible leader one day.He flirted quietly with the idea of a leadership run back in 2012 but eventually squelched the idea by suggesting he would just as soon become a "circus clown."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Yukon government has issued a potential COVID-19 exposure notification for a flight into Yukon Sunday evening. The possible exposure was for Air Canada flight 8889 from Vancouver to Whitehorse at 6:30 p.m. that evening, landing in Whitehorse at about 8:49 p.m., according to a news release issued Friday. The release says "new information" became available regarding a previous case, where a person was infected with the variant B117 while outside Yukon. The person had originally been cleared to travel but, based on new information, the person was determined to be infectious while on the flight. The release says contact tracing with passengers seated in close proximity to the case is underway. The risk of exposure is low on flights, the release says, but the territory says it's taking a precautionary approach. So far, no other exposures of concern have been identified in Yukon. The infected person followed public health advice and is deemed to be recovered. There are no confirmed active cases in Yukon as of Friday evening. Health officials say anyone who thinks they are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms should self-isolate and remain at home, take the online self-assessment and arrange to get tested either by calling 867-393-3083 or booking a test online.
After seven years on the job, Estevan’s police chief, Paul Ladouceur, is to step down April 16 amid mounting pressure by the police union, which is urging changes after votes of non-confidence in his role as chief. Conversely, the city’s chairman of the board of police commissioners, Roy Ludwig, who’s also the mayor, says the union lacks “all the information,” alleging it has engaged in “conjecture.” Ladouceur tendered his resignation with Ludwig on Thursday afternoon. He resigns following union pressure for how he and the board of police commissioners allegedly handled Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) claims made by the late Jay Pierson, a former Estevan police constable. Ladouceur did not return the Leader-Post’s request for comment. Citing confidentiality, Ludwig said he couldn’t provide details about Ladouceur’s or the board’s handling of mental health concerns officers raised. “Unfortunately some of these people do not have all the information,” he said. “We cannot release confidential information. “As a result, some people will conjecture and make up their own opinions, not knowing all of the background, all of the facts and of course there's nothing we can do to prevent that.” Three different medical professionals diagnosed Pierson with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He died on March 5 of natural causes, his family says. Pierson first filed benefit claims for his PTSD in 2017. Estevan police administrators appealed those claims through a WCB appeal process. In June 2020 a Court of Queen’s Bench Justice ruled Pierson should have his benefits reinstated after they were denied through the WCB appeal. Casey Ward, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers (SFPO), told the Leader-Post he heard from Estevan police members “there was a real lack of support with mental health issues … They saw how Jay was treated. There are members that are hurting and they thought there would be no support if they came forward.” Two EPS members last week called Ward, he said, to tell him “‘we're not eligible for retirement, but we're quitting, we can't work there anymore.’” The SFPO president said Estevan members have twice called non-confidence votes for the chief over the past 12 months. In the fall of 2020, they voted — at the SFPO’s urging — to keep Ladouceur on board to work with him. This year shortly before Pierson’s death, Ward said all but four Estevan members voted for a non-confidence motion against Ladouceur. After their colleague’s death, they “came back to the (local) president (Kevin Reed) and said 'we want to change our vote,' and they had 100-per-cent agreement of non-confidence.” Reed did not respond to the Leader-Post’s phone calls for comment. The SFPO on Tuesday sent a letter to Saskatchewan’s policing and corrections minister, Christine Tell, requesting “a formal review of the leadership of the Estevan Police Service (EPS),” Ward said. Tell’s office confirmed it received the letter. In an emailed statement, Tell said, “at this time no decisions have been made regarding an inquiry into the Estevan Police Service.” She said her ministry “places a high priority on mental health for our police services and corrections staff.” Ludwig commended Ladouceur’s work in his service with the city. He said the chief’s securing “carbine (rifles)” for its members, getting funding through SGI to pay for new police cruisers and obtaining speed radar cameras are examples of that. “He was able to find revenue streams that we did not have the opportunity to even be aware of in the past. He had a great relationship with SGI and with the provincial government.” Ladouceur joined the Estevan Police Service as chief in April 2014, after working as a detective-sergeant with the Brockville, Ont. police service. Before that, he was with the London, Ont., police force for about 11 years. Sgt. Warren Morrical is to serve as the interim police chief, until the city finds a permanent replacement, Ludwig said. firstname.lastname@example.org Evan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post
Maxine Koskie says when she heard she wouldn't be getting the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as planned, she broke down and cried. The Regina resident is waiting for surgery and required a vaccine for the procedure — one she's been waiting for since last October. She made an appointment online for vaccinations for her and her husband at the Evraz Place immunization site in Regina, which, based on previous Saskatchewan Health Authority information, she believed was offering the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. But just before she was set to receive the shot, the nurse informed Koskie she and her husband would be getting the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine instead. "It was a complete surprise to both of us," she said. "They're acting more like a dictatorship, because they're taking away the freedom of choice," she said. "I made the conscious choice to go for a Pfizer vaccine and that was not an option for me." Koskie says she ended up receiving the shot out of necessity, but the experience left her feeling let down by the government. 'It's been very underhanded' Premier Scott Moe and Health Minister Paul Merriman need to be transparent with the people of Saskatchewan, she says. "My concern is that it's been very underhanded," she said, adding the experience left her feeling appalled. "I was so upset with the disrespect." The Saskatchewan Health Authority announced "vaccine delivery changes" in an online notice on Friday. "The SHA has re-allocated the AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the Regina mass immunization sites at the International Trade Centre and the University of Regina to allow for the administration of Pfizer vaccines through the drive-thru starting Friday, while vaccine supply is available," the health authority said online. One of the province's first mass vaccination clinics at the International Trade Centre at Regina's Evraz Place. One Regina resident is fuming after only discovering at her appointment that she wasn't getting the brand of vaccine she expected.(Matt Duguid/CBC) Koskie thinks patients should be notified directly about any changes to their appointment or vaccine plan before they arrive for their appointments. She says she wasn't alone in her anger and frustration, as others around them also expressed concern when they were informed of the change. "They need to be honest and when they change things on the spur of the moment, they need to get that information out to the public that it is going to affect." Efficacy concerns She said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was her shot of choice because she feels it provides better protection. AstraZeneca has said its vaccine had a 76 per cent efficacy rate at preventing symptomatic illness — compared with rates of about 95 per cent for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, and about 67 per cent for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which was the fourth and latest approved by Health Canada. As well, data from one small trial suggested the AstraZeneca vaccine did not protect against mild to moderate illness from the B1351 variant of the coronavirus, which was first identified in South Africa. However, Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, told CBC in a February interview that "Where it matters the most, against severe disease, hospitalization and death … [AstraZeneca] seems to be quite effective against the variant." Sharma also said laboratory tests and real-world evidence suggest the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine seems to be "quite effective" against the B117 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom. The clinical trials of both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech were completed before the variants of concern took off worldwide. 'Safe and effective': health ministry In a statement sent to CBC, Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health said vaccine availability is dependent on numerous factors, including the increasing presence of coronavirus variants of concern in the Regina area. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization guidelines suggest the AstraZeneca vaccine should be used only for people older than 55. But the presence and transmission of variants of concern in Regina has required the province to "accelerate the vaccination program" for those under 55, the health ministry said. "All vaccines approved by Health Canada are safe and effective at preventing the most serious forms of COVID-19 illness and death. All residents have been asked to take the vaccine that is available to them," the ministry said. "If those receiving the vaccine have concerns regarding a certain brand of vaccine due to their medical history, they should speak to their primary care physician or a public health nurse directly prior to their appointment." The ministry also said patients are informed about the brand of vaccine they will receive, noting they are free to refuse the vaccine if they have concerns. However, Koskie says she thinks the government is "not accepting responsibility or ownership" for the fact people may be caught off guard when they're told they'll be receiving a different vaccine once they're at an appointment. "They're in a position where they have no choice," she said. She's already made a call to the ministry on the issue, and now plans to file a formal written complaint. 'Any vaccine is a good vaccine': health minister Health Minister Paul Merriman addressed questions about vaccines on Saturday, following a rare weekend sitting of the legislature. He said a "very minimal" number of people out of the thousands who have booked appointments at Evraz Place have refused a vaccine because they didn't want to take a specific brand. "Any vaccine is a good vaccine, unless there are very certain circumstances where a doctor or a health-care provider has recommended you don't do that," he said, noting people can rebook later if they're concerned about the type of vaccine offered to them. He says the province is not in a position to "pick and choose" when it comes to vaccines, and pointed out Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab has already received the AstraZeneca shot. Merriman said the province will work to accommodate people who are unable to get a certain vaccine due to medical conditions outlined by a doctor, encouraging them to call into the province's vaccine line at 1-833-727-5829 beforehand. But he said there are no plans moving forward for the government to inform members of the public about which vaccines will become available to them, as supply fluctuates. "There will be, to my knowledge, no advance warning of what you are getting," he said. "People assume that they're getting one vaccine or not, but any vaccine is a good vaccine right now."
WASHINGTON — The State Department on Friday unveiled new rules for U.S. government contacts with Taiwan that are likely to anger China but appear to reimpose some restrictions that had been lifted by the Trump administration. The department announced the changed policy in a statement that said the Biden administration intends to “liberalize” the rules to reflect the “deepening unofficial relationship” between the U.S. and Taiwan. However, the revised guidelines don’t include all the changes put in place by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the waning days of the Trump administration. Pompeo had lifted virtually all restrictions on contacts with Taiwan, including allowing Taiwanese military officers to wear uniforms and display the Taiwanese flag at meetings with U.S. officials. Friday’s changes were silent on those matters, although the rules do continue to permit U.S. officials to meet their Taiwanese counterparts in federal buildings. China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and opposes any attempt to treat the island as an independent country. China had condemned Pompeo's easing of the restrictions that had been in place since the U.S. recognized Beijing and dropped formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979. “These new guidelines will continue the U.S. government’s longstanding practice of providing clarity throughout the U.S. executive branch of how to implement our ‘one China’ policy,” the department said. “This new guidance is a step forward from earlier versions, including the contact guidance that was in place for virtually all of the previous administration, by encouraging engagement with Taiwan counterparts and removing unneeded restrictions.” Yet the statement contained no details about the new “contact guidance” and congressional aides briefed on the matter said the changes were actually more restrictive than those Pompeo had rolled out just 11 days before the end of the Trump administration. The department said Pompeo's changes had not made engagement with Taiwan easier but rather “had the practical policy effect of impeding our unofficial engagement with Taiwan — a problem that we are rectifying today with this new guidance.” It was not immediately clear how the new guidance rectified the matter. On Jan. 9, Pompeo issued a sweeping order that rescinded almost all U.S. restrictions on contacts with Taiwan. “The United States government took these actions unilaterally, in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing. No more," Pompeo said in a statement that announced the “lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions.” He said the U.S.-Taiwan relationship should not “be shackled by self-imposed restrictions of our permanent bureaucracy.” Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Last month, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet took part in a split-screen Instagram livestream with blogger Sarah Nicole Landry, known by the handle @thebirdspapaya to her 1.9 million followers. You won't find much talk of Canadian politics in Landry's posts, if any. They tend to focus instead on motherhood, empowerment and health. Singh stuck to much the same themes in his talk with Landry, which focused on her ideas and struggles through the pandemic — placing Singh, who has over 600,000 Instagram followers, in the role of empathetic listener. The conversation typified the NDP's digital strategy to reach Canadians between the ages of 18 to 40 — a strategy that puts Singh's personality and personal brand ahead of granular policy debates. Through social media influencers, the party wants to bypass traditional forms of advertising to project Singh's image to an audience that's hard to reach through conventional political messaging. WATCH: NDP turns to influencers Singh appears to be working to become a pervasive presence on digital platforms like TikTok and Clubhouse in the coming months. He recently put out an online call for Canadians to text him on the Community social media platform. The party is also planning to place ads in video games and wrap buses with colourful ads featuring Singh front and centre. "It's really taking a look at where people are spending a lot of their time and using that as a motivation for where we are spending money, so people get to know who Jagmeet is," said Mélanie Richer, Singh's director of communications. Building Singh's brand The party is making big plans to build Singh's brand. It's preparing to spend nearly $12 million just on ads for the next campaign — roughly what the NDP spent for its entire campaign in the 2019 election. The NDP is launching a new series of ads today, starting with one airing during tonight's game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators. The ads are unconventional by Canadian party standards. Singh himself doesn't say a word in them. WATCH: Using untraditional ways to reach young voters Instead, the ads use text and images to tell a story about the party fighting for working people during the pandemic. They're aimed at those who might feel disenchanted by the results of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promise of a new kind of politics. The challenge for the NDP is in translating digital likes into votes — especially since it's focusing on an age group that historically tends not to cast ballots in large numbers. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh takes photos with university students in Toronto on Oct. 8, 2019.(Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press) Campaign insiders argue the NDP is playing a long game. "Rather than trying to chase votes directly from younger people, we only need to find a small subset of hyper-engaged young people," said Zain Velji, a former campaign manager for Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and former digital director for Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley. "Give them disproportionate access, disproportionate skin in the game, perhaps even disproportionate titles on the campaign so that they can be the standard bearers to their social network." WATCH: Singh's version of a viral rendition of Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams' Velji said the NDP needs an approach to campaign advertising that will keep it from becoming mere noise on social media. He said the party needs to find a way to keep Singh's brand and message fresh so it continues to echo through social media influencers — giving a $12 million campaign $50 million worth of reach. Will the strategy pay off? The party needs this strategy to work if it's to make significant gains in the next federal election. The NDP is trailing the Liberals in the 18 to 34 age group by six points, said CBC polling analyst Eric Grenier —but those voters still represent opportunity for New Democrats. "Those voters might ... be the ones who are most likely to be disillusioned by the Liberals, that they're not as progressive as maybe Justin Trudeau might have said he was back in 2015," he said. "Getting younger voters to the polls in big numbers — and if they vote for the NDP — would help them a lot, particularly in a lot of urban ridings where the NDP was shut out in the last election." WATCH: Singh says young people will make history in the next election Singh told reporters on Friday he believes young people are going to make history in the next election because they're at the forefront of so many social justice movements, from the fight against climate change to Black Lives Matter. "I love the idea of young people asking their parents and their grandparents to say, 'Hey, we need help. New Democrats are the ones offering this help for us to make our future better. Please lend us your votes so that we can bring in the changes that we need to help us out,'" Singh said. "Young people can influence people around them and I'm excited for what's going to happen." Singh will rally the NDP base with a keynote speech Sunday to wrap up a three-day virtual policy convention. Today, British Columbia Premier John Horgan — the only NDP leader who currently heads a government — and veteran Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath are addressing the convention. The 2,000-plus delegates assembled virtually around the country today are debating resolutions on social security, green programs and issues of human rights and discrimination.
Several thousand people blocked traffic in front of the Serbian parliament on Saturday in a protest against lack of government action to prevent water, land and air pollution by industries such as the mining sector. Protesters, who came to Belgrade from all over Serbia, held banners reading "Cut corruption and crime not forests," and "Young people are leaving because they cannot breathe". In recent years Serbia has started selling its mining resources to foreign companies, despite opposition by local residents who had warned that increased ore exploration could cause greater pollution.
BEIJING — Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, was fined 18.3 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) by Chinese regulators on Saturday for anti-competitive tactics, as the ruling Communist Party tightens control over fast-growing tech industries. Party leaders worry about the dominance of China's biggest internet companies, which are expanding into finance, health services and other sensitive areas. The party says anti-monopoly enforcement, especially in tech, is a priority this year. Alibaba was fined for “abusing its dominant position” to limit competition by retailers that use its platforms and hindering “free circulation” of goods, the State Administration for Market Regulation announced. It said the fine was equal to 4% of its total 2019 sales of 455.712 billion yuan ($69.5 billion). “Alibaba accepts the penalty with sincerity and will ensure its compliance with determination,” the company said in a statement. It promised to “operate in accordance with the law with utmost diligence.” The move is a new setback for Alibaba and its billionaire founder, Jack Ma, following a November decision by regulators to suspend the stock market debut of Ant Group, a finance platform spun off from the e-commerce giant. It would have been the world's biggest initial public stock offering last year. Ma, one of China's richest and most prominent entrepreneurs, disappeared temporarily from public view after criticizing regulators in a November speech. That was followed days later by the Ant Group suspension, though finance specialists said regulators already had been worried Ant lacked adequate financial risk controls. Alibaba, launched in 1999, operates retail, business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer platforms. It has expanded at a breakneck pace into financial services, film production and other fields. The government issued anti-monopoly guidelines in February aimed at preventing anti-competitive practices such as exclusive agreements with merchants and use of subsidies to squeeze out competitors. The next month, 12 companies including Tencent Holdings, which operates games and the popular WeChat messaging service, were fined 500,000 ($77,000) each on charges of failing to disclose previous acquisitions and other deals. Regulators said in December they were looking into possibly anti-competitive tactics by Alibaba including a policy dubbed “choose one of two,” which requires business partners to avoid dealing with its competitors. Also in December, regulators announced executives of Alibaba, its main competitor, JD.com, and four other internet companies were summoned to a meeting and warned not to use their market dominance to keep out new competitors. Joe McDonald, The Associated Press
Multiple people have been arrested at a demonstration in response to Ontario's police watchdog's ruling to not lay criminal charges against police in the death of Ejaz Choudry, a 62-year-old man with schizophrenia who was shot and killed by Peel Regional Police last summer. Choudry's family and community members gathered in Mississauga on Saturday around 1 p.m. outside his apartment building, at the intersection of Morning Star Drive and Goreway Drive, where he was killed while in crisis. Ahead of the planned demonstration, Peel police in a tweet Saturday morning recognized people's right to peacefully protest. A few hours later, they tweeted that demonstrators were occupying the roadway of the intersection of Morning Star Drive and Goreway Drive. They encouraged drivers to use alternate routes. At 4:30 p.m., however, they said demonstrators were trying to "push through police safety lines." "For the safety of all involved and those in the community, this is no longer considered a peaceful gathering," they said, tweeting shortly after that arrests had been made for various offences at the gathering. Spokesperson for Peel police Akhil Mooken could not say how many people were arrested or if anyone had been charged. He said there are no further updates at this time and that police will tweet out any more information they receive. The demonstration was organized by the Malton People's Movement, a group that was formed in response to Choudry's death, to fight against police brutality and support families of those killed or injured by police.
Allison Garber says from the outside it looked like she had it all together. The communications business owner and mother of two may not have looked like a problem drinker. But she says she found herself willing the clock to hit 5 p.m. every day so she could open a bottle of wine and pour a glass. Then "not so patiently" waiting for her kids to go to bed so she could have a few more. Garber decided she had a problem with drinking in 2018 and sought help. She's been sober now for more than two years and is thankful her recovery came before the pandemic did. "I am so glad that I was not still stuck on this train where I viewed alcohol as a reward for getting through a tough day," she said. "[The pandemic] just amplified everything. It has amplified how we use alcohol as a form of self-medication, as a form of self care. "And that message is reinforced almost everywhere you go. You've had a long day, pour yourself a glass of wine." WATCH | Allison Garber says it was hard to come to the realization she had a problem with alcohol: Drinking among women has increased steadily in recent years. In 2018, the Report on the State of Public Health from Canada's chief public health officer identified alcohol use in women as one of the most pressing concerns of our time. The report highlighted that from 2011 to 2017, deaths attributed to alcohol increased by 26 per cent among Canadian women, while alcohol-related deaths in men increased just five per cent. The pandemic has led to soaring alcohol sales and some Canadians are reporting increased binge drinking. A Statistics Canada survey released in January shows many Canadians are not just pouring themselves a single glass. Almost one in five who responded to the survey said they consumed five or more drinks — the equivalent of a bottle of wine — on the days they reported drinking alcohol in the previous month. The agency says this is higher than before COVID-19 hit. When women drink, the health effects can be staggering. Drinking three to six alcoholic beverages a week increases the risk of breast cancer in women by 15 per cent. Women who drink two glasses of wine daily have a 50 per cent increase in their risk of breast cancer. "What we might consider to be very modest amounts of alcohol are still really significant from a health perspective," said Dr. Jennifer Wyman, associate director of the Substance Use Service at Women's College Hospital. Right now, Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines recommend no more than 10 drinks per week for women and 15 for men. The agency in charge of these guidelines, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, is looking now at whether they should be changed. The current guidelines need to be revised to reflect the risks, said Dr. Wyman. WATCH | Dr. Jennifer Wyman talks about why she feels the low-risk alcohol guidelines need to change: One drink a day or seven a week would likely be more reasonable, she said, adding that the guidelines are meant to be a maximum even though they may not always be treated that way. Dr. Wyman says she thinks some people view the guideline's 10-drinks-a-week maximum and interpret that as being what the average person is drinking. "And therefore, if that's what they're drinking, then they're sort of within the middle of the spectrum and they're doing OK, as opposed to that's really the maximum number that you should be thinking about," she said. "And it doesn't mean that you should be aiming to hit that every week. That should be the tops." Just as the upper limits for alcohol consumption are different for women and men, so are the reasons why they drink. The pressure put on women to fill several different roles has many counting down to the time that they can pour a glass of wine, Dr. Wyman says. "I think that women tend to drink as a coping mechanism," she said. A report from Canada's chief public health officer identified alcohol use in women as one of the most pressing health concerns, with deaths attributed to alcohol increasing by 26 per cent among Canadian women from 2011 to 2017. Since then, the pandemic has led to soaring alcohol sales.() Alcohol is often seen as the quickest decompression tool, says Ann Dowsett Johnston, who wrote the book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. "If you can't get to a yoga class, if you can't figure out how you're going to fit that in, or a long bath, or a walk around the block — you're making dinner, you're at the vegetable chopping block, you pour a glass of wine." Alcohol consumption is reinforced socially as well. Girls nights out, popping champagne for a celebration, wine at a book club. It's how we celebrate, relax and reward ourselves, Dowsett Johnston said. It has also become a social media phenomenon that moms need wine to cope. There are wine glasses emblazoned with "mom juice" and "because kids." "I think the whole notion of mommy drinking has become a meme, and I think that there's far too much humour about it. I think it's a serious social issue." Dowsett Johnston says the pandemic has only added to the burdens many women carry. WATCH | Ann Dowsett Johnston discusses the challenges facing women that may influence their alcohol consumption: The "mommy juice" marketing to help cope is something life coach Alexis McCalla resents. "You're making an assumption that they can't handle their life, so they have to go out and drink," the Whitby, Ont., mother said. "And now you're normalizing it." McCalla never drank an amount even close to the 10 drinks a week upper limit, but said she found herself having a glass of wine to unwind during the pandemic more often than she normally would. Previously, opened wine bottles would go unfinished. But she says she found herself making more frequent trips to the liquor store to numb the fear she was feeling about COVID-19. She says she journaled and asked herself tough questions, and in the end realized she was drinking more because she worried about her family getting sick during the pandemic. Once McCalla got to the root of her fears, she says she decided to stop drinking, doing an alcohol-free period with a few of her clients. She's also working with some of them to address the anxieties at the core of their alcohol consumption. McCalla has had a single glass of wine since then and found she wasn't interested in restarting, realizing she was getting a better night's sleep and a harder workout the next day if she didn't open a bottle. "I could have gone and read another book. I could have spoken to friends or journaled and learned more about myself." Life coach Alexis McCalla said once she decided to cut out alcohol altogether, she realized she was getting a better night's sleep and a more effective workout the next day.(Alexis McCalla) McCalla and the women she has helped are not the only ones questioning their drinking. Dawn Nickel is based in Victoria, B.C. She's the founder of SheRecovers, an addictions recovery program tailored to women. Nickel says in the last year, the number of women who have reached out has exploded. "Our Facebook group went from 2,000 people to 7,800 in the last year." Nickel says not every woman contacting the program has an alcohol abuse disorder. For some, abstinence is the goal, for others it could be cutting back. "We just talk about, like, what are your goals? What's your intention? Do you want to slow down? Do you want to stop? You pick it and we'll support you to get there." The pandemic may have led to more drinking, but with so many recovery programs now online, Nickel says finding help is also easier and more convenient than ever. So is finding a safe space to question why they need alcohol to cope. "There's so much support for them now," Nickel said. "We're having these conversations for the first time in society around what we're being influenced by, and who says we have to have a bottle of wine every evening to unwind." For Garber, recovery involved a more traditional 12-step program. "I knew that if I continued down this path, I was going to face some dire consequences. I could see it clearly. And so I made a choice to reach out to a friend who I knew was in recovery herself." Now, Garber is supporting other women who reach out and need help. She joined a running club and trains for races. She runs on the waterfront every Saturday and on the days when Halifax's famous clouds part, she takes a moment to stop and take a picture of the sunrise, grateful for how far she's come. "I stop at the same place every time," she said. "It's just this chance to say thank you to whatever it is out there that helped me stay here." Watch full episodes of The National on CBC Gem, the CBC's streaming service.
Liberal delegates to the party's policy convention have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling for the establishment of a universal basic income (UBI) in Canada, while also rejecting a call to hike the capital gains tax. By a vote of 77 per cent, Liberal members on hand for the policy plenary today backed a call to permanently implement an income program similar to the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), which kept millions of people afloat with monthly cheques during the first wave of the pandemic. With 8.7 per cent of Canadians living below the poverty line and thousands more struggling to make ends meet, backers of this policy say a UBI would "ensure that communities at risk (including Indigenous peoples) are able to feel financially secure." "Given the success of the CERB program, a UBI will assist seniors and low-income Canadians maintain an adequate standard of living, regardless of working status," the resolution reads. Speaking to delegates assembled online, Alex Spears of the Young Liberals of Canada said a UBI would ensure the country's "strong and robust social safety net is adapted to the 21st century," adding that a program to send cheques to all families is "completely consistent with our values as a party." He said the program would "put more cash in the hands of working Canadians and families" and could lift millions out of poverty. "UBI is not a silver bullet and it ought to be done in conjunction with many other progressive policies, but it is a critical step," he said. Would a UBI work? The resolution does not say how such a costly program would be designed and implemented. Few jurisdictions around the world have successfully enacted programs that make regular payments to all citizens without means tests or work requirements. The parliamentary budget officer last week concluded that a universal basic income could almost halve Canada's poverty rate in just one year, but at a steep cost: $85 billion in 2021-22, rising to $93 billion in 2025-26. While the resolutions are non-binding — the government ignored a 2018 convention vote to decriminalize all illicit drug use, for example — the policy endorsements could help inform future government spending and the Liberal Party's election platform. The government has said it's preparing to spend up to $100 billion this year to kick start the post-pandemic economy even after it reported a record-high deficit of $381 billion in the last fiscal year. While the idea of a UBI has gained traction in progressive circles — supporters maintain the massive price tag of such a program could be offset by dismantling existing provincial social welfare schemes — academics who study poverty reduction are split on its value. A 529-page report authored by researchers at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Calgary concluded after a three-year investigation that a basic income for all is not the best way to address poverty and other social problems. Instead, the report said, governments should boost existing social support programs for vulnerable groups through improved disability assistance, dental care programs and more money to help the working poor pay rent. A more targeted approach to help the disadvantaged, as opposed to a universal program like UBI, would do more to lift people out of poverty, the report concluded. Conservative MP Ed Fast, the party's finance critic, said pursuing a UBI would be a "risky and unknown experiment that will leave millions more Canadians behind." He said the Liberal Party is trying to "reimagine" the Canadian economy while the country is still struggling with the pandemic. "The fact that UBI was supported at the convention this weekend is par for the course with Justin Trudeau and the Liberals. Instead of focusing on creating jobs, they are fixated on implementing risky, expensive and untested economic policies," Fast said. Delegates endorse pharmacare, 'green new deal' Liberal delegates also supported other progressive policies, such as the creation of a national pharmacare program and a "green new deal" to dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions. B.C. members backing the new green-friendly policies say Canada needs a "10-year national mobilization" plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 because "a changing climate threatens human life, healthy communities and critical infrastructure." While this proposal is also light on specifics, its supporters are calling for an "urgent, transparent and inclusive consultation process" with workers, labour unions and businesses affected by the shift to cleaner fuel sources. Delegates agreed there should be a "just transition" for energy workers who will lose their jobs as a result of move to renewable energy. Inheritance tax, capital gains hike rejected At a time when all levels of government are searching for new revenue streams to offset the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, Liberal delegates rejected a resolution from the party's Ontario chapter to hike the capital gains tax. Currently, when an investment is sold — a stock, a mutual fund or any one of a number of other assets — 50 per cent of any increase in value is taxed as income. For example, if a person buys a share in a publicly traded company for $20 and sells it for $40 at a later date, then $10 will be added to a person's income for tax purposes; the other $10 earned goes untaxed. This preferential tax treatment is designed to encourage people to make investments to drive economic growth and provide companies with easy access to capital. Critics maintain this unfairly benefits the rich. The Ontario chapter proposed reducing the capital gains tax exemption to zero — meaning all investment gains would be taxed as income. As part of the same proposal, the Ontario chapter pitched an "inheritance tax" on all assets over $2 million. That proposal did not specify the rate at which these assets should be taxed, or how and when such a system would take effect. Delegates rejected the idea along with the suggestion to increase the capital gains tax by a 62-38 margin. 'Please make me pay more taxes' One delegate, Jake Landau, the president of the Don Valley West Young Liberals, said he considers himself "upper middle class" and he believes the current system is tilted toward the wealthy. "I am asking everyone, please make me pay more taxes. I want to pay my fair share," he said. Another delegate named Linda — who also did not give her last name — said she worries that a change to the capital gains tax might open the door to the federal government taxing the sale of primary residences. In the last election, the Conservative Party warned that a Liberal government would look to cash in on rising home values by levying a capital gains tax on home sales to raise funds — a charge the Liberals have denied. Delegates to the Liberal Party's virtual policy convention rejected a call to increase the capital gains tax.(Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press) Right now, sales of primary homes are exempt from capital gains taxes — meaning the owners don't have to pay taxes on any increase in a home's value when it's sold. The same rules do not apply to secondary, seasonal or investment properties, which are taxed like other investments. "My concern with this is it is a blanket resolution," said Linda. "There are many people relying on capital gains in their home in order to retire and not live in poverty." 'Long-term care can be a nightmare' Party members also overwhelmingly backed a policy proposal — with 97 per cent in favour — to reform the country's long-term care home system, which has been hit hard with death and disease throughout this pandemic. "The pandemic has shown us that long-term care can be a nightmare," said one unnamed Liberal delegate. "Seniors will do anything they can to stay out." The policy calls on the federal government to introduce new legislation to set "enforceable" national standards to prevent a repeat of the COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities that have claimed the lives of thousands. Kathleen Devlin of the Senior Liberals' Commission said Canadians have been "horrified" by the conditions reported in long-term care homes throughout this health crisis. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are shown at Residence Yvon-Brunet, a long-term care home in Montreal, Saturday, May 16, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world.(Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press) She said the Canadian Armed Forces report last summer from the pandemic front lines "embarrassed us all." Soldiers reported that residents in some long-term care homes were bullied, drugged, improperly fed and in some cases left for hours and days in soiled bedding. "While it's a provincial responsibility to deliver it, there needs to be federal leadership to give all Canadians equity when they're at their most vulnerable," Devlin said. "Sometimes we need a crisis to face what we already know." According to the resolution, these new standards would address accommodation conditions, staffing levels, qualifications and compensation. The proposed legislation also would demand greater transparency in how homes are operated "and public accountability through random inspections and annual public reporting."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attacked Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole’s political stances on cutting CERB support during the pandemic, gun control and women’s reproductive rights during the Liberal National Convention keynote speech on Saturday.
With spring break upon us, Ottawa's health experts and politicians are advising residents to abide by the province's stay-at-home order and not travel. That means no trips to the family cottage and keeping kids close to home, according The Ottawa Hospital's Dr. Doug Manuel, who does the modelling of the local COVID-19 numbers. "We see movement and mobility as, this is how the variants spread," he said. "So the idea is staying close to home, staying at home." Manuel noted Ottawa's health-care system is being tested by record levels of hospitalizations. As of Saturday, Ottawa hospitals were caring for 73 COVID-19 patients, including 24 in intensive care. Manuel predicted those numbers will continue to rise. He said anyone who contracts the virus and then travels to their cottage risks spreading the virus further, and putting unnecessary strain on smaller regional hospitals. Dr. Doug Manuel says people should abide by the stay-at-home order and not travel during spring break.(Submitted by Dr. Doug Manuel) According to the stay-at-home order, no one should travel outside their province or region unless absolutely necessary. "You shouldn't be crossing the bridge to go to Quebec, you shouldn't be leaving your neighborhood just to go and traipse around and in other areas," said Anthony Di Monte, the general manager responsible for the City of Ottawa's vaccine rollout, during a news conference on Friday. "This is serious." The mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau have also discouraged residents from crossing the interprovincial border. "It's a large piece of geography," said Mayor Jim Watson during the same meeting. "We have lots of city and NCC trails on this side, as well as parklands. So we really encourage people not to go over to a cottage or to Gatineau Park. Our best advice is please respect the borders and stay within your community." Manuel said it's important people take that advice seriously if there's any hope of reopening schools after spring break. On Friday, Ottawa's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said it's unlikely schools will reopen following the break. Manual suggested parents looking to take advantage of the time off should take their children outside but follow health protocols including wearing masks and keeping their distance from others. "People are doing a good job, but unfortunately ... it's just with the variants, we need to do a great job," he said.
Premier Doug Ford's government has frequently altered its COVID-19 strategies, but none of those changes have seemed quite so abrupt as this week's announcement that everyone in Ontario's hardest-hit neighbourhoods aged 18 and up can get vaccinated. The province had previously signalled there would be some extra vaccination push directed toward the places most affected by the pandemic. But all the documentation released by the Ministry of Health until this week showed that those efforts would focus on older age groups. On Tuesday morning, senior government officials in charge of the vaccination rollout gave a detailed briefing on the timeline for April through June. It declared the start of targeted vaccinations in hotspots, but only for people aged 50 and up. Barely 24 hours later, Ford announced that all adults in those hotspots would be eligible to get vaccinated immediately. "As we speak, mobile vaccination teams are being organized to get vaccines to where they will have the greatest impact," Ford said Wednesday, during his news conference announcing Ontario's new stay-at-home order. The implication in Ford's words "as we speak" was that the move had come about with lightning speed — not typical for the provincial government apparatus. So what really happened? The neighbourhoods in and around Toronto with the largest proportion of racialized workers have throughout the pandemic borne a disproportionate burden from COVID-19. Yet Ontario's vaccination campaign was failing to reach those very neighbourhoods. The shift in strategy notably came just days after a change of leadership in the province's vaccine task force. Orlando Mosca, 71, gets his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at St. Fidelis Parish church, in Toronto, on Apr. 7. Nurses from Humber River Hospital run clinics in the church as part of a community outreach program to vaccinate seniors at their place of worship.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Always planned The province's own COVID-19 Science Advisory Table has for weeks called for a concerted vaccination push in the most-affected areas. Such a campaign would "directly address the inequitable impact of COVID-19 on disadvantaged populations in Ontario," said a briefing issued by the Science Table in February. The province had always planned to pour more vaccines into high-risk areas, said Dr Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist, member of the provincial vaccination task force and one of the co-authors of that Science Table briefing. That still leaves open a question for the Ford government: if a full-court press in hardest-hit neighbourhoods was always the plan, why was it absent from Tuesday's detailed vaccination timeline yet suddenly present in Ford's news conference on Wednesday? "The variants and COVID are moving at record speed and we have to be nimble in adapting to it and responding to it," said Health Minister Christine Elliott in an interview Friday. "That's why you see sometimes these changes in plans that we just have to make because of the way COVID is moving." WATCH | Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario's designated high-risk zones: Change of leadership Ontario paid retired general Rick Hillier $20,000 a month to be head of the vaccine distribution task force. He left the post at the end of March. One of the final efforts of Hillier's tenure was the rollout of vaccines at more than 300 pharmacies in Toronto, Kingston and Windsor. It turned out that vaccines were not allocated to pharmacies in most of the northwest and northeast portions of Toronto, the neighbourhoods worst-hit by COVID-19. Retired general Rick Hillier finished his term as chair of Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force at the end of March(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press) For weeks after Hillier's planned departure became public knowledge, senior government officials said that he would not be replaced. The officials said Hillier had accomplished the mission of setting up vaccine distribution channels, the system was running smoothly, and the two deputy ministers on the vaccination task force would handle things from here on in. The government then quietly reversed course and appointed a replacement for Hillier. By contrast with the fanfare around Hillier's arrival last fall, or his departure, the government didn't even issue a news release about the new chair of the vaccine distribution task force. He's Dr. Homer Tien, CEO of the province's air ambulance service Ornge. Tien has a lengthy background as a trauma surgeon and a three-decade career as a military physician in the Canadian Armed Forces, rising to the rank of colonel, with a role as chief of military medical and surgical specialities. Dr. Homer Tien, CEO of the province's air ambulance service Ornge and a veteran trauma surgeon, was named head of Ontario's COVID-19 vaccination task force earlier this month, replacing retired general Rick Hillier.(Submitted by Ornge) He later became medical director for the Tory Regional Trauma Centre at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, then chief medical officer for Ornge before becoming its CEO in 2019. Dr. Peter Jüni, the head of the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, is giving Tien significant credit for the shift to vaccinating all adults in the most-affected communities. "The first conversation we had, the two of us, was directly related to that," said Jüni in an interview Thursday. "He [Tien] wanted to know more about our strategy that we laid out in February and whether it would indeed make sense to enhance this strategy." The Science Table has done further data analysis showing that a concerted effort to vaccinate all adults in the high-risk neighbourhoods would result in "a dramatic increase in the control of the pandemic," said Jüni. "Tuesday afternoon we had the science table meeting where we presented the results of our analysis. Dr. Tien was at this meeting and the results were very convincing." CBC requested an interview with Tien, but it was declined by a spokesperson for Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, whose ministry is responsible for the vaccine task force. Public health caught by surprise The move to put greater emphasis on vaccinations in the places most affected by COVID-19 has widespread support from experts. "You should really pour your water on where the fire is burning hardest to help quell the pandemic," said Bogoch in an interview this week with CBC News. He said the shift was made possible by the recent ramp up of vaccine supplies. The move came as startling data revealed far lower vaccination rates in neighbourhoods worst-hit by COVID-19 compared with the wealthier areas where the virus has had little impact. Sources in the provincial health ministry and local public health units tell CBC News the declaration that all adults in the hotspots would be eligible for vaccinations caught them unawares. Plans to vaccinate younger adults in the most-affected areas were not on the table in any official health ministry documents issued before Wednesday. This COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Downsview Arena is run by Humber River Hospital in conjunction with the City of Toronto. (Paul Smith/CBC) For adults living in COVID-19 hot spot communities, "vaccination should begin with the oldest individuals and decreasing in age until reaching those aged 50," says the province's guidance document on priority populations for the current phase of the vaccination campaign, dated March 23. The 22-page vaccination plan provided to journalists Tuesday does not mention vaccinating all adults regardless of age in the hard-hit neighbourhoods. "Adults aged 50+ in 'hot spot' communities in 13 PHUs [public health units] are prioritized as part of Phase 2 of Ontario's vaccine distribution plan," the document reads. All this could suggest the shift in emphasis and the change in leadership of the vaccine task force are not a coincidence. Ontario administered more than 100,000 doses of vaccine per day on three consecutive days this week. More than 2.6 million people have received at least one shot, roughly 22 per cent of the province's adult population.(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press) 113 high risk postal codes Those aged 50 and up in all the areas designated as high-risk — 113 postal code areas stretching from Windsor to Ottawa — can now make vaccination appointments via Ontario's booking portal. It's not yet clear how people younger than 50 will be able to sign up for vaccinations in the hardest-hit areas. A message on Ontario's COVID-19 vaccination web page says, "If you are aged 18-49 and live in a designated hot spot, find your public health unit and check their website for details about vaccination in your area." Nor is it clear when the vaccination campaign will extend to all younger adults in all of the designated zones. For the moment, the push for vaccinating people younger than 50 starts in Toronto and Peel, due to high transmission rates. Mobile teams and pop-up clinics will be established to administer vaccines to people aged 18 and up in high-risk areas in Toronto and Peel, as supply allows, the government said in a statement. The government's plan allocates 920,000 additional doses of vaccine to the most-affected areas. It is far from certain that this is enough to cover the bulk of the adult population in the target areas. CBC News asked the Ministry of Health of Friday for an estimate of the adult population in the 113 designated postal codes, but officials said they could not provide an answer until Monday. However, using census data from 2016, CBC calculated that more than 4.2 million Ontarians live in the areas. If roughly 80 per cent are adults, vaccinating 75 per cent of the adult population with one dose would require about 2.5 million doses. Ontario administered more than 100,000 doses of vaccine per day on three consecutive days this week. More than 2.6 million people have received at least one shot, roughly 22 per cent of the province's adult population.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday called for the "worrying" developments in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region to come to an end after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart in Istanbul, adding Turkey was ready to provide any necessary support. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy held more than three hours of talks with Erdogan in Istanbul as part of a previously scheduled visit, amid tensions between Kyiv and Moscow over the conflict in Donbass. Kyiv has raised the alarm over a buildup of Russian forces near the border between Ukraine and Russia, and over a rise in violence along the line of contact separating Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists in Donbass.
Parts of northwestern New Brunswick will go into lockdown in response to a surge in cases of COVID-19. The Edmundston and Haut-Madawaska areas will be placed under the tighter restrictions effective Saturday at 11:59 p.m. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell urged residents of the region to stay home and said an effort is being made to send more vaccine to the area. "The new variants of COVID-19 have changed the course of this pandemic," she said. Saint-Léonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls will remain under the Red level. The Saint-Quentin and Kedgwick regions will remain in the Yellow level. Public Health is reporting 19 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, with 15 in the Edmundston region. The other four cases are spread out across the Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John regions. The province also reported its 33rd death from COVID-19, an individual in their 70s in Zone 4. Twenty patients are hospitalized in the province, including 13 in intensive care. Most are at the Edmundston Regional Hospital, which was forced to redirect admissions after reaching capacity this week. High school delay New Brunswick is reversing a controversial decision to send students back to high school full-time on Monday. New Brunswick's teachers' union has been calling on the province to delay full-time, in-person classes that are expected to resume on Monday. Zone 4 is not included under the red phase. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard announced plans to delay the return across the province as a "precaution." "We need to be quite confident that we're not contributing to the problem, and this gives us time to watch the cases," she said. École Saint-Jacques in Edmundston reported two cases of COVID-19 on Friday. (Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada) High school students have been following an alternate-day system since September, aiming at reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. On days where they are not present in-person, students have been learning virtually from home. Vaccine clinics were held at schools in preparation of the change, offering the shot to teachers and school staff. But some educators and parents criticized the decision. Zone 4 was not expected to follow the change. The update comes as hundreds of households in the Edmundston area are self-isolating after a school confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant first reported in the U.K. École Saint-Jacques confirmed two cases on Friday. The District Scolaire francophone du Nord-Ouest told all students, staff and anyone they live with to self-isolate until Sunday at 11:59 p.m. There are about 300 students at the elementary school. The self-isolation directive applies to anyone who was at the school April 6-8. Family members are asked to remain in their homes over the weekend while contact tracing is underway. Public Health will reach out directly to close contacts. Hundreds of families are self-isolating after two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at École Saint-Jacques in Edmundston.(Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada) École Saint-Jacques will move to virtual learning on Monday and Tuesday. Classes are expected to resume in person on Thursday, after a previously scheduled day off. A childcare facility within the school will also close on both days. A case was also confirmed at an Edmundston daycare on Friday. With the rise in cases, the Edmundston hospital has been forced to restrict admissions and redirect patients to other facilities. Variants prompt lockdown New Brunswick's hardest-hit region is returning to a lockdown for the second time this year. Under those measures, all non-essential businesses in the region must close. People must continue to maintain a single-household bubble and non-essential travel in or out of the area is not permitted. Schools in the area will move entirely to virtual learning. The Edmundston region is continuing a series of large-scale vaccine clinics and is expected to be prioritized for additional doses in the coming weeks. There have been 16 cases of transmission of COVID-19 variants in Zone 4. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said she is concerned about the presence of variants of COVID-19.(Government of New Brunswick) Russell said every COVID-19 case is now being treated as a highly contagious variant moving forward. She said three vaccinated people are currently in hospital. One person was fully vaccinated with two doses and more than two weeks had passed, one person had not passed 14 days, and another had only received one dose. Health officials are closely monitoring the Saint John and Moncton regions as areas of concern for the variant. More than 200 people in Saint John are currently self-isolating after possible exposure at a church service. Russell would not specify which presumptive variant is involved until lab results return in the next few days. 148 active cases New Brunswick now has 148 total active cases. The new cases on Saturday are as follows: In the Edmundston and Grand Falls region (Zone 4), there are 15 new cases. Public Health said 15 are contacts of previous cases, and the other three are under investigation: Three people 19 and under. Two people in their 20s. Two people in their 40s. Three people in their 50s. Four people in their 60s. A person in their 70s. The Fredericton region (Zone 3) is reporting two new cases: Two people in their 30s, both travel-related. The Saint John region (Zone 2) has one new case: A person 19 and under, travel-related. In the Moncton region (Zone 1), there is one new case: (CBC News) New Brunswick has confirmed 1,713 total cases, including 1,531 recoveries. There have been 33 deaths. Public Health conducted 1,386 tests on Friday, for a total of 266,621. Possible exposure in Saint John Public Health has identified possible public exposure to the virus at the following locations in Saint John: Thursday, April 8 between 1:15-2 p.m. – Service New Brunswick, 15 King Square North. Friday, April 9 between 5-6 p.m. and Thursday, April 8 between noon-1 p.m. – McAllister Place, 519 Westmorland Rd. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: Fever above 38 C. New cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
Even as the Atlantic bubble is scheduled to bring down barriers in the Atlantic provinces in a little more than a week, many P.E.I. tourism operators are still trying to decide whether to open this season. Coffee shops in Charlottetown are delicately discouraging "computer campers" from taking up tables for hours at a time when space is at a premium. Now with the bubble scheduled to reopen April 19, two brothers from P.E.I. now living in New Brunswick are reviving a P.E.I.-themed beer in hopes of luring Islanders to the mainland. P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office announced one new case of COVID-19 Friday, bringing the province's 13-month total to 162. Prince Edward Island's seesawing unemployment rate went down to 8.1 per cent in March, a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began to take a bite out of jobs. That's according to Statistics Canada data released Friday. A message issued by Buckingham Palace Friday asked Commonwealth citizens to refrain from gathering to mourn Prince Philip's death at 99, citing the need to avoid further COVID-19 outbreaks. P.E.I.'s condolences over the death of the Duke of Edinburgh will be collected online only; Lt.-Gov. Antoinette Perry said Islanders could find a link at www.lgpei.ca. Continuing pandemic restrictions have quashed any hope of staging Anne of Green Gables — The Musical at the Charlottetown Festival this summer. Organizers announced the Anneless 2021 lineup on Thursday. Prince Edward Island recorded its 162nd case of COVID-19 Friday, with news of a case linked to travel outside the Atlantic region. Elsewhere in the Atlantic region: Also in the news These Islanders are currently eligible for a vaccine People over 60. People over the age of 55 may book for an AstraZeneca vaccine at a pharmacy. People providing health care services to the public — including optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists — and their support staff. Firefighters, police officers, power-line workers. Residents and staff of long-term care homes. Adults living in Indigenous communities. Residents and staff of shared living facilities. Truck drivers and other rotational workers. 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.