NBC renews 'Law & Order: SVU,' 'Chicago' dramas for 3 years

LOS ANGELES — NBC is giving three-year renewals to its drama series from veteran producer Dick Wolf, including the perennial “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

The pickups for the “Law & Order” series and Wolf’s three Chicago-set dramas are part of a new five-year deal to keep his Wolf Entertainment production company at Universal Television.

Universal Television has been his studio home base for 36 years, NBC said Thursday.

“Dick Wolf has proven time and time again that he makes shows audiences love,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy said in a statement.

“Law & Order: SVU,” which stars Mariska Hargitay and is in its 21st season, already holds the record for longest-running, live-action prime-time TV series. The other renewed series, “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Med,” are relative kids, ranging from five to eight seasons so far.

Wolf’s deal follows his recent agreement with NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service, Peacock, which will make the “Law & Order” and “Chicago” series franchises available to its users.

Wolf's series produced for other networks include CBS' “FBI” and newcomer “FBI: Most Wanted."

The Associated Press

  • Venezuela elderly feel 'sentenced to euthanasia' under coronavirus quarantine

    Venezuela elderly feel 'sentenced to euthanasia' under coronavirus quarantine

    Venezuelan retirees Carlos Blanco, 81, and Olga Rodriguez, 78, have for more than a year been unable to purchase the diabetes medication they need, as the country's hyperinflation has left their monthly pensions insufficient to buy even a loaf of bread. Already at high risk in the coronavirus pandemic because of their age, the couple's untreated Type 2 diabetes leaves them at greater risk of any type of infection, as well as complications including blurred vision or diabetic comas. "Senior citizens have been sentenced to euthanasia," said Blanco, who lives on the fourth floor of a building in the Coche neighborhood of western Caracas.

  • One month in: Looking back at how Alberta has handled COVID-19

    One month in: Looking back at how Alberta has handled COVID-19

    Alberta's chief medical officer of health delivered news on March 5 that Albertans did not want to hear. The province had reported its first presumptive case of COVID-19."We are taking this extremely seriously," Dr. Deena Hinshaw said. "Public health measures are already being put in place to prevent the spread of the virus."That day, the Alberta government asked anyone who had taken a Grand Princess cruise in the previous two weeks to self-isolate for 14 days after their return. That marked the beginning of a series of increasingly stringent restrictions on social and economic activities that have changed daily life in Alberta.A month later, it's amazing to look back and ponder the unprecedented speed at which those measures were implemented."They really have been doing things on the fly and doing things astonishingly quickly," said Lori Williams, a political science professor at Mount Royal University. "Anyone familiar with government, the pace and the evolution of policies, will be aware that this is something that can take years."That lightning-fast decision-making, on both the federal and provincial levels, has changed Canadians lives in previously unimaginable ways. Travel restrictions. Provincial and local states of emergencies. Businesses closed. Financial aid for those out of work. University campuses closed.And in what Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange called an "unprecedented" decision, the province shut down schools and daycares on March 15.Those decisions sparked a societal shift in how people interact with one another. The closure of schools and childcare centres forced many parents to work from home.Over the course of the last month, social gathering limits have progressively been scaled back from 250 people, to 50 people, to the current 15.Then on March 27, Premier Jason Kenney ordered all non-essential businesses to close. "The actions we are taking are tough but necessary to protect public health," the premier said that day. "We understand that behind every such decision lies tens of thousands of jobs and businesses, that will throw people into economic and financial anxiety."Over the past month, thousands of Albertans have been laid off. And the already bleak forecast for the oil industry has worsened, with record-low oil prices. But health experts emphasize that the social restrictions, the public health orders, are necessary.Most of Alberta's initial cases of COVID-19 were travel-related. But as the virus spread, health officials raised the alarm about community transmission, and those cases became an area of focus for health officials trying to slow the spread of the virus.The province reported its first COVID-19 death on March 19."As heartbreaking as this news is, it was expected," Hinshaw said that day. "This is a dangerous virus."We are doing all we can to fight the spread of this virus. But to do this, we will need everyone's help. Take this seriously. Stay home, unless it is essential for you to go out. Now is not the time for social gatherings."Public health modelling predicts the number of COVID-19 cases could peak in Alberta in early May.> This is a dangerous virus \- Dr. Deena HinshawAt that peak, the model predicts, about 250 people would be in Alberta intensive care unit beds with COVID-19.Kenney called last week was the "toughest" so far in dealing with the virus in Alberta. "Things will get worse before they get better," he cautioned.What about the next few weeks?Kenney has said the province expects the peak of the outbreak will likely come in mid-April, and drastic measures aimed at keeping the spread in check may need to be in place until the end of May.What is certain, according to experts, is the need for governments to provide the public with timely and complete information.So far, Williams said, federal and provincial governments seem to have earned the public's confidence, and many Albertans seem satisfied with the work being done by the province."I was struck by the fact that it looks like people would be appreciative of what both the federal and provincial governments were trying to do," she said. "And again, this is somebody who's watched the rollout of policies at the government level for some time being really struck by how much they're doing and how quickly. How amazing it is that they're able to put together the kinds of responses that they are."Now it's down to the implementation that might be different."

  • 'Mask wars' risk setting back global fight against coronavirus

    'Mask wars' risk setting back global fight against coronavirus

    When the crisis is over, there will be tough questions to be answered and explanations to be sought over how so many leading countries found themselves short of masks and other life-saving protective equipment.For now, the Western world must contend with the consequences of their lack of foresight: including the unsightly "mask wars" that have pitted neighbouring countries, even U.S. states and levels of government, against each other in the rush to acquire them — prompting accusations of modern piracy.The country most often accused of undercutting the efforts of its allies in the so-called mask wars is the U.S., which not only attempted to halt exports of U.S.-made N95 masks to Canada and Latin America last week, but also stands accused of scuttling European deals to purchase them in China and elsewhere. But it isn't the only country out for itself.With the outbreak of the mask wars across shuttered Western borders, and alongside outright bans of exports of medical equipment, any hint of a unified global effort to fight the coronavirus is absent, beyond the work of scientists cooperating on a possible vaccine.The selfishness isn't a surprise under the circumstances, but the apparent desperation of some of the wealthiest countries on Earth is. It's a revelation that has justifiably raised eyebrows in less fortunate parts of the world, where some are now bracing for a similar spike in cases but with a fraction of the resources.Selfishness striking, says professorThe cutthroat tactics of the mask wars risks making this crisis worse for everyone. Rich countries on the front lines of the melee have learned early lessons about the vulnerability of their supply chains and about their neighbours and allies. What the competition looks like when the number of infected and dead rises further in the weeks to come is unsettling to contemplate."It's normal for countries to take care of their own citizens first," says Roland Paris, professor of international affairs at the University of Ottawa and former foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.But the selfishness and lack of coordination among leading countries, he says, "is striking." Instead of an international response "we're unfortunately seeing a mad scramble to grab whatever's available, to hell with the other guy."WATCH | Trudeau slams Trump's order to halt N95 masks to Canada:Closest to home, "to hell with the other guy" translated into Trump ordering Minnesota-based company 3M to halt exports of its masks to Canada and Latin America, using his authority under the Defence Production Act. The move caught Canada off guard, while the company pushed back against the order.European countries have shuttered their borders, with some like Italy and Germany among others cancelling deals to sell equipment to neighbours or blocking shipments at the last minute. Even more stark, the mask wars have seen American and other buyers scuttling European and Brazilian deals, some even snatching shipments already promised to other jurisdictions by outbidding them—even "on the tarmac" as planes prepared to take off. Some shipments reportedly just disappear.Lasting damageAmong a number of examples, officials alleged that 200,000 masks en route to Germany were intercepted in Bangkok to redirect them to the U.S., prompting Andreas Geisel, Germany's Secretary of Interior to call it an "act of modern piracy." The details of the disputed case are still murky and the company, 3M, has said it had no indication of any wrongdoing. Trump insisted there had been "no act of piracy."WATCH | Can cloth masks protect you from COVID-19? Two doctors weigh in:Berlin Mayor Michael Müller tweeted, accusing Trump of failing to show solidarity, and that such actions are "inhuman and unacceptable." The Brazilian health minister described it all as "a problem of hyper demand." Translation of Müller's tweet: The behaviour of the U.S. president is anything but solidarity [promoting] and responsible. It's inhumane and unacceptable. Even in the time of the corona epidemic, the German government must insist that the U.S. comply with international rules.European Union officials wouldn't comment on the specific allegations but called for better international co-operation."Now is the time for international solidarity and leadership, not isolation," said Brice de Schietere, chargé d'affaires of the EU delegation to Canada. The everyone-out-for-themselves behaviour prompts yet more questions: if this cutthroat competition is happening over protective equipment and tests, what happens when there's a vaccine? Reports in the German press that the U.S. was seeking exclusive access to a possible vaccine in development by a German company was an early ominous sign.  But even before we get there, the selfish approach now could lead to setbacks in the fight to flatten the curve and minimize the virus's spread, says Sarah Cliffe, director of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University.Understandable, says Cliffe, that each country wants to protect its own citizens. But that could backfire when countries right on the front line "don't get the medical equipment they need," because "it's more likely the virus will spread in the future."WATCH | Dr. Samir Gupta explains what you should consider before putting on a mask against COVID-19:Worse, says Cliffe, the cutthroat competition seems to be echoing the experience of the 2007-2008 global food price crisis — when the price of food, initially pushed up by droughts and higher oil prices, only truly skyrocketed globally when countries began to compete to stockpile."When everyone is doing that at the same time, the unintended consequence could be to make the overall situation worse," she says.Naturally, the countries that suffered most — and waited the longest — were the poorest.Plenty of lessonsIt's proving the same in the struggle to find and buy masks. Now, the price of masks and other protective equipment has skyrocketed too, with buyers in some cases offering several times the high prices on offer.A French official likened the search to procure equipment abroad as a "treasure hunt." The Spanish health minister described the market as "crazy." All of it calls for a more co-ordinated international approach, said Cliffe.One possibility is the rotation of priority for global equipment to countries and regions that are at the height of their battle, "because if we help them to stop the spread, it helps countries that are next in the firing line," says Cliffe.There is little indication that will happen during this crisis. There is little evidence to indicate much cooperation among western countries at all. But there have been plenty of lessons.The Associated Press reported that Spain, which has suffered more than 130,000 infected and more than 12,000 dead, has started three weekly flights to China, the world's largest manufacturer of masks. The same report says Italy is using military planes to secure its shipments from China and other countries.WATCH | Ontario Premier Doug Ford reacts to U.S. clampdown on mask exports:The mask hysteria will lead to further more permanent changes in how countries source their medical supplies, says Cliffe. Many countries and regions will realize "they made a mistake in being so reliant on one unique global supply and that they want to, at the very least, diversify their sources of supply to avoid that problem in the future."The European Commission is centralising the stockpiling of ventilators, masks and other equipment to help member states, said de Schietere, and is, for the first time creating a European reserve of emergency medical equipment.It's also looking at other measures that could increase the EU's self-reliance, including the repurposing of existing factoriesFor Canada, the "sad lesson," says Roland Paris, " is that we can't rely even on our closest partner. "For better or worse, that lesson that will guide Canada's future decisions about supply chains and stocks of vital medical supplies."

  • Canadians Can Wear Non-Medical Masks To Prevent COVID-19 Spread: Feds
    HuffPost Canada

    Canadians Can Wear Non-Medical Masks To Prevent COVID-19 Spread: Feds

    But let’s save the N95 and surgical masks for our health-care workers.

  • How to apply for federal COVID-19 benefits

    How to apply for federal COVID-19 benefits

    The federal government has launched a website and phone number where Canadians facing unemployment due to the COVID-19 crisis can apply for emergency income support benefits.

  • World
    The Canadian Press

    First COVID-19 case surfaces in northwestern Ontario Indigenous community

    A military hospital is needed in a remote Ontario Indigenous community now that the COVID-19 pandemic has reached the area, the chief of the First Nation said Monday.Harvey Yesno said word that a resident of the Eabametoong First Nation has tested positive for the virus has struck fear into the community 300 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, since fear of further spread is compounded by knowledge that the local health-care and social system is not able to cope with the strain of a serious outbreak.Yesno said that although Eabametoong has been preparing for COVID-19 for weeks, including restricting entry into the fly-in community and declaring a local state of emergency, military intervention is necessary now that the pandemic has struck."EFN requires a field hospital with medical supports to provide in-community isolation and treatment, since there is no adequate infrastructure or housing options for membership to self-isolate," Yesno said in a statement. "... EFN Chief and Council are not willing to wait around as limited resources are expended and under-resourced nurses at the local clinic are suddenly faced with life and death triage decisions."Yesno said the field hospital should have the capacity to isolate and treat between 50 and 100 patients. The Armed Forces did not immediately respond to request for comment.The community is also calling on governments to establish a testing centre, along with the staff and kits needed to make it operational. Neither the Department of National Defence nor the Ontario Ministry of Health immediately responded to request for comment.Eabametoong is one of the communities comprising the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, a collection of 49 First Nations spanning about two thirds of the province.NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said the local COVID-19 patient recently returned to Eabametoong from Thunder Bay, where cases of the virus have already been confirmed.He said the man is self-isolating at home, but said the emergence of the virus is sounding alarms across NAN territory."This makes it even more real for all of us," Fiddler said in a telephone interview from Thunder Bay. "The urgency of it all, and the importance of our communities to continue practising what we've been told by public health experts."But Fiddler said heeding that advice is more difficult in Indigenous communities than elsewhere in Canada.The time-honoured advice to wash hands regularly, he said, will be difficult to follow in Eabametoong, which has been under a boil-water advisory since 2001.Self-isolation, too, poses a problem in communities plagued by housing shortages and chronic overcrowding.Fiddler said numerous NAN communities are looking into converting empty classrooms and vacant community centres into spaces where prospective patients could be kept isolated if needed.But public health officials warned that even with preventative measures in place, the medical system serving northern communities does not have the capacity to deal with the crushing load COVID-19 has placed on other parts of Canada's health-care apparatus.Dr. Natalie Bocking, a physician with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, said most Indigenous communities wrestle with a shortage of personnel and equipment at the best of times. No communities, for instance, currently have ventilators on-hand.During a pandemic, she said, those shortages will be exacerbated and an already vulnerable population will face a heightened threat."Communities like Eabametoong experience a disproportionate burden of other chronic health conditions that put them at higher risk of becoming more sick with the virus," she said. "The worst-case scenario we are concerned about where there are multiple people getting quite sick without the care that they need."Bocking and Fiddler both said talks are underway with various levels of government to secure key supplies, including the personal protective equipment that's currently scarce across the province.Premier Doug Ford said Monday that Ontario is at risk of depleting its stock of masks, gowns, gloves and other gear within a week without a renewal of supplies.Canada's top doctor, meanwhile, acknowledged that the public health advice guiding the rest of the country can't be applied in the same way across Canada's Indigenous communities."We've issued guidance for public health actions in more remote and rural settings as well, and those do have to be adapted to the realities of what's on the ground," Dr. Theresa Tam told a Monday news conference without providing specific details of how guidelines have been revised.Bocking said health authorities have received acknowledgment that self-isolation is not possible in many homes in remote communities, such as three-bedroom houses with as many as 20 people living in them. Such messages, she said, have shaped conversations about how to create additional spaces for self-isolation.Fiddler said remote communities are increasingly concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19, which has surfaced in a number of cities that serve as key gateways to more remote First Nations. He said those include northern urban centres such as Timmins, Sioux Lookout and Dryden.The sorts of physical distancing measures that have transformed daily life across much of the country, he said, have taken hold in more remote areas over the past week-and-a-half."There's a growing sense that this is a real threat to our communities," he said. "We have to do everything we can to try and prevent it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 6, 2020.Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

  • P.E.I. landlords say missed rent due to COVID-19 will add to financial pressures

    P.E.I. landlords say missed rent due to COVID-19 will add to financial pressures

    Some Island landlords say they'll be hit hard if they don't receive payment of their residential or commercial rents because of COVID-19 fallout.Ian Walker owns several properties, in both Charlottetown and Montague, and said there's been a lack of clarity on whether those who are struggling to pay their rent, have to pay it at all. "A lot of tenants took it as they don't have to pay the rent and they won't have to actually pay it, even after this is over, which is in fact not the case, you do have to pay the rent," said Walker.  Walker said the majority of his tenants have stable incomes, so can still make the rent. And for those who can't, he's arranged for them to defer their rent and pay it over the course of a year once things return to normal.Currently, tenants unable to pay their rent due to COVID-19 can apply for the province's Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit. Those eligible will receive $500 in the first month, and $250 for the following two months. 'Added stress, pressure'Walker said some Island landlords dealing with tenants who can't pay, will quickly accumulate debt as a result. "It is added pressure, it is stress for sure," said Walker. "Because you have to make your payment just like anybody else, and some of my buildings include utilities, so at the moment I'm also paying that heat and light, which makes it a little more difficult." Walker said for those who have been in the business of owning rentals for decades, and have paid off their mortgages, there's a lot more room for flexibility, but for the most part he said, landlords rely heavily on rent payments to meet their own monthly mortgage obligations. Monique Foulem rents out both commercial and residential property, and purchased two buildings in recent months. She said the early years of paying off your mortgage, when the majority of that payment goes to interest, is the hardest time to not have rent money coming in. "Some landlords can afford to do that if they have their mortgage paid and they can sustain that, and that's great, but most of us can't do that," said Foulem.She'd like tenants to know that the COVID-19 global health pandemic is hard on everyone, landlords included. 'Rent is still due'"We are struggling just like they are. We are willing to work with them, but that rent is still due," said Foulem. She said the majority of her tenants are long term, and said she's made arrangements for rent deferrals with those currently unable to pay their rent. But said for some Island landlords, there's a worry that when things return to normal, some tenants may simply decide to leave without settling up. "The biggest fear is those tenants that will not pay for three months, or however long this pandemic will go on, and then leave," said Foulem."And you'll have those three months of no rent coming in ... that's a big concern."Landlords are also without tools now to enforce evictions due to non-payment of rent. The P.E.I. Supreme Court ruled that sheriffs would not have to enforce rental evictions in the province. The Director of Residential Rental Property also suspended all hearings for non-payment of rent, including eviction hearings, unless they are urgently needed for health and safety reasons.Foulem said she'd like the provincial government to come up with some sort of support for landlords that offers reassurance that when everyone gets back to work, deferred rent will actually be paid. "Hopefully we don't have those kind of tenants that would take advantage of this situation and just leave us in a bind," said Foulem. "Especially when those are our plans for retirement. They don't bring us anything right now. But in the future, when we've paid that mortgage, we were relying on that for our retirement." COVID-19: What you need to knowWhat are the symptoms of COVID-19?Common symptoms include: * Fever. * Cough. * Tiredness.But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.What should I do if I feel sick?Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.How can I protect myself? * Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. * Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. * Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

  • Banff seniors treated to delivery of high-end meals as shuttered restaurant gives back to community

    Banff seniors treated to delivery of high-end meals as shuttered restaurant gives back to community

    With zero tourism or visitors, Banff's economy has been "decimated" by a nearly complete shutdown of its businesses. But even after laying off nearly 90 per cent of its staff, one restaurant is giving back, providing high-end comfort food to those in need. The mountain town is experiencing up to an 85 per cent unemployment rate as businesses and people react to ordered closures and self-isolation directives, according to MLA Miranda Rosin."That entire economy has really crumbled in the last couple weeks," said the provincial representative for Banff-Kananaskis. "To not have any tourism or any visitors has completely decimated every business in town."But in the close-knit community, even hard-hit businesses are trying to help neighbours.The Grizzly House, an iconic lodge-style building on Banff Avenue, had to lay off 56 employees — many of them long-term staff — keeping just eight as the restaurant closed its doors. The restaurant has been serving its famous fondue for more than 50 years, and on March 17, general manager Francis Hopkins had to close the doors and say goodbye to staff."People raised families while working here," said Hopkins. Determined to make the best of a bad situation, the GM and owner went to the town to see how the Grizzly House and its fully functional but idle kitchen could help.The Town of Banff provided Hopkins a list of 50 people, many of them seniors, who would benefit from a comfort food meal delivered every other day.Sunday night's supper included roasted pork with stuffing and apple sauce, mashed potatoes and glazed carrots. Hopkins says they are feeling the love."It's amazing for us, we feel almost selfish for how uplifting and positive it is," says Hopkins.Restaurants, ski hill, hotels and other businesses in Banff have laid off about 5,000 people, according to Leslie Bruce president and CEO of Banff Lake Louise Tourism.The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, one of the town's largest employers, laid off 75 percent of its staff — 400 employees."This has had an unbelievable, unimaginable impact on people," says Bruce.With the community facing an economic shutdown people like Bruce are turning their minds to what a rebuild will look like. Bruce says travel is a force for good connecting people and she feels strongly, it will come back. But the new culture around connection and physical contact could have long term effects on places like Banff."How do we rebuild trust, how do we feel safe to travel, how do we feel safe to share a meal or a cup of coffee again?" says Bruce."It's not just going to be flipping a switch or turning the tap back on, we're going to have to figure out what's the best way to do this."'Elk poop on every sidewalk'Banff typically attracts about four million tourists a year.Right now, without visitors and a population of less than 10,000 and orders to stay home, the community, according to Rosin is "completely desolate.""It looks like a ghost town."But there is an increase in some foot —or hoof — traffic. The townsfolk say deer, elk and other wildlife are taking over Banff's main streets."There's elk poop on every sidewalk," says Hopkins. Hopkins says he fully intends to re-open the Grizzly House and hire back his staff. "It's not the right time for the people of Alberta to come here right now but we look forward to welcoming them back; we can't wait for them to come back when the time is right."

  • Ontario has only 1 week supply of 'critical' protective equipment left, premier says

    Ontario has only 1 week supply of 'critical' protective equipment left, premier says

    Ontario currently has just one week's worth of critical personal protective equipment for front-line health-care workers stockpiled, Premier Doug Ford said Monday.Ford said American officials recently stopped an order of around three million masks from coming to Ontario, but 500,000 N95 masks are being released today.Those 500,000 masks "will buy us another week," Ford said to reporters Monday."The hard truth is, our supplies in Ontario are getting very low," he said.Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration ordered key suppliers based in the U.S. to stop exporting protective equipment, drawing backlash from other leaders and from 3M, which produces N95 masks.Ford said he's feeling more optimistic that Canada will be exempted from Trump's order, after recent conversations with the U.S. Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland."We're putting pressure on the U.S. government from all sides," said Ford, who says they are "reaching out to everyone in the world" to try to secure equipment.The premier said they are "grateful for anything we can get out of the U.S."Mask production approved in Vaughan, Ont.Ford also said Health Canada has approved Woodbridge Auto in Vaughan, Ont. to produce N96 respirator masks  calling it "good news." He did not have a date for when they would be ready, but said production would be "ramping up."In an earlier statement, Ford said while Ontario-based manufacturers have started focusing on making personal protective equipment (PPE), much of it is still "weeks away" from being in the hands of health-care workers.Ford mentioned that Quebec is sanitizing and re-using masks. While Ontario is not "at that point right now," he said they are thinking about doing the same. Ontario is "desperately" counting on shipments the province has placed through the federal government's bulk purchasing program, Ford said.However, the premier concluded saying he is confident the province will get the necessary supplies."There is light at the end of the tunnel," he said. "We are going to get through this."ANGSTOntario hospital intensive care units now have nearly 2,000 beds equipped with ventilators to help care for COVID-19 patients, a nearly 50 per cent increase from March, according to data obtained by CBC News. On Monday, Ford also said the province is getting 900,000 COVID-19 testing kits from Spartan Bioscience.Emergency responders can see if people have COVID-19Meanwhile, the Ontario government issued a new emergency order that allows police, firefighters and paramedics to see if people they are coming into contact with have tested positive for COVID-19.The government says this is to allow emergency responders to protect themselves and the public, and help stop the spread of the virus."The information disclosed will be limited to an individual's name, address, date of birth, and whether the individual has had a positive COVID-19 test result," a statement said."Strict protocols will be enforced to limit access to this information and will only be used to allow first responders to take appropriate safety precautions to protect themselves and the communities they serve."First responders will not be able to access this information after the emergency declaration is over, the government said.309 new COVID-19 cases in OntarioEarlier Monday, Ontario confirmed 309 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 4,347. Monday's new case numbers are the lowest since March 31, said Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of healthThe official tally includes 132 deaths, however CBC News has counted 150 deaths province-wide based on data reported by local public health units. Williams said he would like to be optimistic about the lower case count, but it's too soon to jump to any conclusions."One day is only one day," he said.Test backlog drops to 329Ontario's test backlog has dropped to just 329 — though some infectious disease experts have been critical of Ontario's testing capacity. The province has the lowest per capita testing rates in Canada. "We need to do better, we need to rapidly expand our testing. Not just in hospitals, but in out-of-hospitals settings as well," said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto.Ontario public health officials have previously said they hope to be completing more than 5,000 tests per day in the near future. Over the last week, the province has been doing fewer than 4,000 tests per day. With less of a backlog, Yaffe said the province can increase testing.They are currently determining the priority groups, she said, such as long-term care residents and health-care workers.Assessment centres know there is now more testing capacity, Yaffe said, and are encouraged to test people they are concerned about.Watch: An infectious disease specialist says Ontario needs to rapidly scale up its testing capacityThe data reported today provides a snapshot of COVID-19 in Ontario as of 4 p.m. ET Sunday.Some 1,624 cases are now considered resolved, or about 37 per cent of all cases reported. Of the total cases in the province: * 589 people have been hospitalized (that's 66 more than the previous update). * 216 are in intensive care units (16 more than last update). * 160 are on ventilators (6 more than last update).At least 451 health-care workers in Ontario have tested positive for COVID-19, representing about 10 per cent of all cases in the provincePublic health units in the Greater Toronto Area account for more than 50 per cent of Ontario's COVID-19 cases.Online learning starts at schools this weekMeanwhile, online learning was set to start at schools across the province Monday to ensure students get some form of education during the COVID-19 crisis.School boards have been preparing for weeks to ensure that parents have devices and internet connections so students can take part.Some schools in the province began assigning work last week.Education Minister Stephen Lecce is asking parents to particularly help younger students through the transition. Parents can now apply for the government's previously-announced one-time support payments of $200 per child up to age 12, and $250 for those up to age 21 years of age with special needs, Ford noted Monday.More long-term care deathsPublic health officials east of Toronto say six COVID-19 patients at a long-term care home in Oshawa have died.The Durham Region Health Department says 21 others at Hillsdale Terraces are confirmed to have the novel coronavirus.Durham has seen 15 deaths in COVID-19 patients thus far, and seven have been in long-term care facilities.At least 46 long-term care facilities in Ontario have been hard hit by the virus, most notably Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon.As many as 26 residents of the 65-bed facility have died of COVID-19, while at least 24 staff members have also tested positive for the virus. Outbreak in Hamilton unit for premature babiesA hospital in Hamilton declared a COVID-19 outbreak after three of its health-care workers in the special care nursery tested positive.St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton has tested one baby and mother for COVID-19 and is the process of contacting two other families whose infants may have been exposed."No babies or parents in the unit are symptomatic. All are being monitored closely," the health unit said in a statement.One person had no direct contact with patients or families, while the other two had either limited contact or contact while wearing a protective mask. Neither were symptomatic while caring for the babies or family, the statement said."Contact tracing is underway to ensure all babies, family members and staff/physicians who had direct contact with the positive health-care workers are tested and appropriate measures will be taken to limit transmission," the statement said.The hospital has created a designated space for infants who may have been exposed, and the unit is being deep-cleaned, the health unit said.COVID-19 cases in remote First NationA remote First Nation in northern Ontario says it is the first such community in the region with a confirmed case of COVID-19.The Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority says someone has tested positive in Eabametoong First Nation, also known as Fort Hope First Nation.The agency says this development is not unexpected, but highlights the unique challenges in dealing with a pandemic in First Nations.Health officials are recommending limiting all non-essential travel in and out of communities, with both road and air entrances under monitoring.1 of Canada's highest-profile court cases delayedA long-awaited murder trial was supposed to begin today but has now been delayed indefinitely.Alek Minassian, the man accused in the Yonge Street van attack that was carried out nearly two years ago, faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.The trial was scheduled to begin in front of a judge alone. However, COVID-19 has closed Ontario's courts, forcing Minassian's trial and many others to be rescheduled.Minassian's lawyer told CBC News that he can't predict when the trial will get underway, and he understands the uncertainty is hard for victims."I'm sure that there are a lot of victims and families who would like to get this matter dealt with as quickly as possible," said Boris Bytensky.  "The impacts on the victims are not lost on me, I don't think they are lost on anybody so for their sake I hope we can get this back as quickly as possible."The judge has said the case will turn on Minassian's state of mind at the time of the attack, as it's already certain he was behind the wheel.

  • Should you wear a mask to prevent COVID-19? What experts say
    Yahoo News Canada 360

    Should you wear a mask to prevent COVID-19? What experts say

    The use of a mask is one of the most divisive issues for countries battling the spread of coronavirus. While some have managed to flatten the curve with mandatory mask-wearing orders, other countries are staying away from mandates to conserve the supply of medical equipment.

  • New federal aid and COVID-19 survival instinct; In The News for April 6
    The Canadian Press

    New federal aid and COVID-19 survival instinct; In The News for April 6

    In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of April 6 ...COVID-19 in Canada ...OTTAWA — Applications open today for the new federal emergency aid benefit for Canadians who have lost their income because of COVID-19.The Canada Revenue Agency will open its application portals this morning to those born in the first three months of the year, with those born in other months able to apply later in the week.The agency is trying to keep demand from overwhelming its online and telephone systems.More than two million Canadians lost their jobs in the last half of March as businesses across the country were forced to close or reduce their operations to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.Others are unable to work because they are required to self-isolate at home, or need to look after children whose schools and daycares are closed.Canadians who sign up for direct deposit could get their first payment before the end of the week, while those who opt for printed cheques will get money in 10 days.\---Also this ...MONTREAL — When a Quebec couple recently travelled to the far reaches of Yukon in a bid to escape the novel coronavirus, only to be turned away, it seemed a textbook case of pandemic-generated panic.But while it was an extreme example, experts say the daily assault of information about COVID-19 can distort people's estimation of the risk the virus poses to them, which leads to both good and bad behaviour.McGill University psychology professor Ross Otto says there is a well-established psychological principle that may explain the couple's decision to flee to the North.In the early 1970s, psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman posited that humans have trouble estimating the likelihood of something happening to them because they are influenced by examples that come readily to mind.People may overestimate their chances of dying of terrorism, for example, because of how often that kind of violence is reported on the news. And, Otto said, they may underestimate their chances of dying of more common — but less talked about causes, such as bowel cancer.Today, Otto says there is such a deluge of information about COVID-19 infections and deaths that "people are going to overstate or overestimate their own chances of dying of coronavirus-related causes."\---COVID-19 in the U.S. ...WASHINGTON — The U.S. surgeon general says Americans should brace for levels of tragedy reminiscent of the Sept. 11 attacks and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, while the nation's infectious disease chief warned Sunday that the new coronavirus may never be completely eradicated from the globe.Those were some of the most grim assessments yet for the immediate future and beyond. But hours later, President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence tried to strike more optimistic tones, suggesting that hard weeks ahead could mean beginning to turn a corner."We're starting to see light at the end of the tunnel," Trump said at a Sunday evening White House briefing. Pence added, "We are beginning to see glimmers of progress."The president, however, added that he thought the next two weeks "are going to be very difficult."Earlier Sunday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CNN, "This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives, quite frankly."The number of people infected in the U.S. has exceeded 337,000, with the death toll climbing past 9,600. More than 4,100 of those deaths are in the state of New York, but a glimmer of hope there came on Sunday when Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state registered a small dip in new fatalities over a 24-hour period.\---COVID-19 around the world ...LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to a hospital with the new coronavirus.Johnson's office says he is being admitted for tests because he still has symptoms, 10 days after testing positive for the virus.Downing St. says the hospitalization is a "precautionary step" and he remains in charge of the government.Johnson, 55, has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26.\---NEW YORK — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says there's been "a horrifying global surge in domestic violence" in recent weeks as fear of the coronavirus pandemic has grown along with its social and economic consequences.The U.N. chief, who appealed on March 23 for an immediate cease-fire in conflicts around the world to tackle COVID-19, said in a statement Sunday night it is now time to appeal for an end to all violence, "everywhere, now."Guterres said that "for many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest — in their own homes.""And, so, I make a new appeal today for peace at home — and in homes — around the world," he said.The secretary-general said in some countries, which he didn't name, "the number of women calling support services has doubled."At the same time, he said, health care providers and police are overwhelmed and understaffed, local support groups are paralyzed or short of funds, and some domestic violence shelters are closed while others are full.\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 6, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Entertainment

    P.E.I. picks up 2 Canadian Folk Music Awards

    Island artists have won two Canadian Folk Music Awards, which were handed out virtually Saturday.The awards had been scheduled for Charlottetown, but were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.Irish Mythen was named Solo Artist of the Year for her album Little Bones.Daniel Ledwell was named Producer of the Year for Lennie Gallant's Time Travel album.Small Glories of Manitoba were the only multiple winners on the night, with awards for Ensemble of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year.More from CBC P.E.I.

  • Business

    Some Vancouver stores not accepting cash, and that's a problem for low-income people, councillor says

    A Vancouver city councillor says she's hearing some stores are not accepting cash over COVID-19 fears and she's worried about how that will impact low-income residents.Coun. Jean Swanson said she's heard from multiple Downtown Eastside residents who have had difficulty buying food for themselves and their pets because the stores would not accept cash."It leaves you very frustrated and angry," Swanson said. "They were really ... hurt and thinking this isn't fair."Swanson said many low-income people don't have bank accounts, debit cards or credit cards, meaning cash is their only option. When stores don't accept cash it leaves them with fewer options to buy food.Swanson said she is looking into whether there are any legal remedies to persuade stores to take cash.'It's humiliating'Downtown Eastside resident Charlotte Zesati, 44, and her mother, 66-year-old Bronwyn Elko, said they were turned down by four stores Thursday in Mount Pleasant after they tried to pay with cash.Zesati describes herself as a person with a low income. She works at a pizza parlour and keeps most of her money in cash. She had little money accessible on her debit card that day and doesn't have a credit card."It makes me feel less valued as a person," Zesati said. "I'm actually feeling a little bit more shut out than I normally would be."It's humiliating and it makes you feel scared about where can you go next?"Elko said she understands the need for caution when it comes to handling money during a pandemic but feels cash should still be an option.Push for contactless paymentsKarl Littler, a spokesperson for the Retail Council of Canada, said his organization is pushing for shoppers to use contactless payment systems, like the tap function on debit or credit cards, but added retailers should still accept cash."It's not that cash is inherently all that problematic, but you are still touching surfaces," Littler said.More important, he said, is for workers to be able to wash or sanitize their hands frequently and for customers to maintain appropriate physical distances."We're pushing, obviously, respect for retail workers working hard under difficult circumstances," he said.Cash risks lowThe B.C. Centre for Disease Control on its website says the risk of transmitting COVID-19 via cash is low, and is "expected to be similar to other common surfaces, such as doorknobs and handrails."The centre recommends frequent handwashing for those handling cash. "Refusing cash could put an undue burden on people who depend on cash as a means of payment," the website reads.Swanson said while she wants retailers to keep cash as an option in Vancouver, workers need to have adequate protections, like gloves and handwashing opportunities.

  • World

    COVID-19 in Quebec: With caution, Legault says we can 'see light at the end of the tunnel'

    * Quebec has 8,580 cases and 121 deaths attributable to COVID-19. There are 533 people in hospital, including 164 in intensive care. Quebec Premier François Legault says the modest increase in the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 is good news, even though the total of number of cases climbed to 8,580 Monday.The death toll from COVID-19 in Quebec climbed to 121, up from 94 a day earlier.But the number of hospitalizations, which many experts say is the most accurate measure of the virus's spread, increased by only eight, for a total of 533. The number of patients in intensive care went up by 10, to 164. At Monday's briefing, Legault said it appears the social-distancing measures put in place last month are working. But he stressed the next month will be crucial in containing the outbreak."We may see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we must continue to do everything we can to win the battle against the virus," Legault said.He said if the trend toward a slower increase in the number of hospitalizations continues for several days, it will be a positive sign.The province is set to release projection models Tuesday that will give an idea of various scenarios.Health experts in Ontario revealed last Friday they expect COVID-19 could kill 3,000 to 15,000 people in that province over the course of the pandemic, the ramifications of which could last as long as two years.Quebec public health director Horacio Arruda said he is still working with staff to prepare the province's projections. He stressed the margin of error will be wide, given all the unknown elements."It will be a challenge," he said. "But I think it's normal that people want to have information."$100M to train Quebecers nowQuebec Minister of Labour Jean Boulet announced Monday afternoon that the government has earmarked $100 million to cover the cost of training employees in new skills.The aim, he said, is to have an even stronger workforce once the economy is restarted.Boulet said the province will cover as much as 100 per cent of employee salaries while those workers improve their skills — be that worker a chef learning a new culinary technique or a window-installer learning to do that job more efficiently.Independent businesses of all sizes are eligible for up to $100,000 in subsidies, with the goal of retaining employees and improving their skills and abilities.This funding is complementary to other economic programs introduced during the pandemic, such as the program to pay essential workers up to $100 extra per week during the economic shutdown, Boulet said."We are living in a knowledge-based economy, and what is important is to improve the skills of our workforce," he said, encouraging business owners to get started immediately. He said the province will pay the subsidies retroactively, as needed.All training must respect public-health guidelines during the pandemic, Boulet said. Though it is expected that most training will be done online, Boulet said, in-person training may be possible in exceptional circumstancesQuebec seeks paramedicsWith the outbreak taking its toll on front-line workers, the province is asking teachers in paramedic programs in four colleges to bolster that workforce, allowing some students to join the effort as well.The Education Ministry sent a letter to the four colleges around Montreal and Laval — two areas hardest-hit by the virus — asking teachers to go back to work as paramedics.The Health Ministry is allowing third-year students to lend a hand, as well.Letters were sent to John Abbott College, Collège Ahuntsic, Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe and Collège Ellis in Drummondville.New online materialAs universities and colleges grapple with how to administer exams remotely, younger students — with three months left in the school year — are trying to pick up where they left off, online.For students in elementary and high school, the government is rolling out video capsules in collaboration with Télé-Québec, to be broadcast online and on television starting next week. But Quebec CEGEP students are worried that measures to fight the novel coronavirus may make it impossible for them to complete their winter session.Some are calling on the semester to be cancelled as the province announced last week that students and staff would not be able to retrieve their materials from school buildings.JGH maternity ward restrictions criticizedMore than 50 law professors have added their voices to those opposing a ban on all visitors to the maternity ward of the Jewish General Hospital.In a letter published Monday in Le Devoir, the professors write that "the health of women and of unborn children should not be overlooked" amid the pandemic.As part of its measures to stop COVID-19, the McGill University-affiliated hospital extended its restrictions Friday to include a prohibition on all visitors to the delivery room and maternity ward — including a mother-to-be's partner or designated support person. The hospital made the decision, which goes further than that imposed by all other hospitals and birthing centres in Quebec, after an infected partner entered the hospital's maternity ward.Legault said Monday the move was "fair and reasonable" under the circumstances, and pregnant women are welcome to transfer to another hospital, if possible.More cases in NunavikThe remote northern Quebec region of Nunavik now has five confirmed cases of COVID-19. Three new cases announced Sunday evening are in the village of Puvirnituq.Travel between communities in the region has been restricted to essential personnel since Friday, but some fear that restriction may have come down too late.There are now four confirmed cases in Eeyou Istchee, the territory of the James Bay Crees. Travel between most of Quebec's regions is now restricted. On Saturday, the government announced two more restricted areas: Charlevoix and Rouyn-Noranda.

  • What you need to know about Ontario's at-home learning program, which launches today

    What you need to know about Ontario's at-home learning program, which launches today

    Schools in Ontario remain closed, but classes are technically back in session today as the province's at-home distance learning program begins.The program is led by teachers, but students will need to learn independently and receive direction and support from parents, according to Minister of Education Stephen Lecce.Lecce said the plan includes online learning, but telephone calls and mail-out packages are also an option.He said while the program isn't perfect, it gives students the opportunity to engage in learning, be on track to graduate and reconnect with teachers."We have to be focused on ensuring learning always happens irrespective of the circumstances thrown at us," Lecce said in an interview with CBC News Sunday. Lecce also said students will be able to access mental health resources, including psychologists, psychotherapists and social workers. Watch | How online learning is rolling out across Canada:The program: flexible, differing requirements, year-end report cardsThe education ministry has set out different requirements when it comes to the amount of hours of work and what subjects are being focused on.  * Kindergarten to Grade 3 — Students will complete five hours of work each week, focusing on literacy and math. * Grades 4 to 6 — Five hours of work each week, focusing on literacy, math, science and social studies. * Grades 7 to 8 — 10 hours of work each week, focusing on math, literacy, science and social studies. * Grades 9 to 12 — Three hours of work per course each week for semestered students, or 1.5 hours per course each week for non-semestered students.Lecce told CBC News unconventional teaching and learning methods will be used and it'll be up to teachers to decide what assignments look like and how students will be engaged. He said work is underway to get students electronics if they don't have what's needed at home, and that households without internet access won't be left behind."We will not create any barrier to learning," he said. "If it means we have to literally send a bus driver to courier printed materials to your home …  we will do that. We are doing that."All students will receive an end-of-the-year report card.Lecce said the program is in place to ensure the pandemic does not compromise graduation for high school seniors.As it stands now, schools will remain closed until May 4, but that could get extended based on advice from the province's health officials. Lecce said at this point there's no need to cancel or extend the remainder of the school year, but that could change.Students on Prince Edward Island also started a similar learning program today.'I am nervous,' one parent saysKarla Ghartey, a mother of two in Sudbury, Ont., said she's worried about juggling working from home and helping with her elementary school childrens' education."I'm very, very worried that my kids are not going to have the access they need to the electronic devices in order to get all the material," she told CBC's Fresh Air from her home.The family has one working computer in the home that she uses for work."If anything is really scheduled, I'm not really sure how I'm going to be able to manage that," she said. Ghartey said the program is more "realistic" than she expected. She was afraid students would have to login online and be present for a regular school day.Toronto mother Saba Al Mathno called the province's plan a good start, but doesn't think five hours a week is enough for children in Grades 4 to 6."I am nervous," she told Fresh Air. "My own two kids, each one of them learns differently." Both Ghartey and Al Mathno said their childrens' teachers have been proactive about communicating and sending out activities and lessons.Lecce said the program is based on flexibility and communication between teachers, parents and students."It's enabling an educator to build a program that best works for students," he said. "The educators have already reached out to build timelines that work for the parents."Teachers ensuring a sense of classroom communitySince schools closed in mid-March, teachers have been connecting with parents and students and preparing for distance learning. Dixon Grove Junior Middle School teacher Kimberly Liang has been checking in on her Grade 8 students and speaking with parents about the distance learning program. "It was nice to have parents give us a little input on how their children will learn best," the Etobicoke teacher said.Toronto public schools are using e-learning sites like D2L, which was already used in some classrooms before schools were closed. They're also using Google Classroom to share information, handout assignments and communicate with students.Liang said many teachers will also be checking in with students and parents through email and phone calls.She and her teaching partner have been creating instructional videos for students by writing on virtual whiteboards. Liang has assigned her students a project to make encouraging signs during the pandemic to display in their windows, if they choose. The signs are shared to a slideshow for all the students to see, which she said is a way for them to contribute to a new sense of classroom community. "It's nice to see that they're not all alone" she said. "It's not something that we would count toward any sort of mark, but I think those kinds of things help keep their spirits high and help keep them motivated."Liang also plans to hold live "office hours" when students can contribute to the same document at once, ask questions and simply communicate as a group. Liang said the six students in her class who have special needs will get more one-on-one attention from teachers who don't have their own classes, such as music and gym teachers. They'll be calling students and parents more frequently to offer additional support.Liang said she feels excited, nervous and hopeful about the program rolling out."I'm hoping having things online and having this more one-on-one contact through phone, and with parents involved, might help me reach kids perhaps I hadn't reached before," she said.

  • Isolation a double-edged sword for West Bank’s Bedouin herders

    Isolation a double-edged sword for West Bank’s Bedouin herders

    Bedouin herders in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, already isolated by virtue of their nomadic lifestyle, have become more cut off than ever from ordinary Palestinian life since the coronavirus outbreak began.

  • Canadian Forces call back ships, cut missions short due to COVID-19

    Canadian Forces call back ships, cut missions short due to COVID-19

    The Canadian military is taking what it calls "unprecedented measures" to protect its members from COVID-19 and prevent the spread of coronavirus, all while making sure it can still conduct essential operations.To do that, it has cut missions short, recalled ships, sequestered sailors in a hotel and put in a range of self-isolation rules.The worldwide spread of COVID-19 is impacting operations across all regions, Andrée-Anne Poulin, a spokesperson for the Department of National Defence, said in an email."We will do everything we can to ensure our sailors return home as safely as possible," she said.DND has more than 2,000 personnel deployed on approximately 20 missions, many of which have had to alter their activities in response to the pandemic.Four navy ships with a total of about 160 people on board had to scrap the remainder of their international missions and head home from Africa, the Caribbean and the eastern Pacific.The sailors aboard HMCS Glace Bay and HMCS Shawinigan are returning from Africa after two international military exercises were cancelled. Those ships will arrive in Halifax by mid-April.Meanwhile, the crews of HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Whitehorse are on their way home from the Caribbean basin and eastern Pacific Ocean, where they were helping American forces stop trafficking by organized crime. They weren't originally supposed to be back in Canadian waters until mid-May, but will now drop anchor off the B.C. coast in early April.But it's unclear if the sailors will stay aboard their ships in case they're needed, or whether they will return home and self-isolate for 14 days."Our chain of command is discussing the different options for the crews' return to Canada and consulting with our health-care team on what is best for our sailors and their families," Poulin said.Why ships aren't great for physical distancingThe tight quarters aboard ship make navy crews especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because it's very difficult to stay two metres away from others."Modern warships are not designed to permit ideal social distancing. Navy leadership and individual command teams are using common sense to create physical distance onboard ships to the greatest extent possible," said Poulin.To keep the virus off vessels, personnel are being screened prior to sailing. Sailors are checked for symptoms of COVID-19, their recent travel history is examined and they're scrutinized to see if they have had any potential contact with someone who had the coronavirus.Some navy crews have even been sequestered in a Halifax hotel to help prevent exposure to COVID-19 before they sail.How experience is helpingPoulin said the military has a lot of experience successfully managing infectious diseases on bases, camps and on ships.In the past six months of deployments, Canadian Armed Forces Health Services workers have managed some cases of influenza and gastroenteritis, and the same techniques are being applied to the coronavirus.Staff have been educated about the virus, all units are encouraging their teams to practise a high level of personal cleanliness and a ship cleaning routine is followed twice a day focusing on high-touch surfaces such as handles and handrails.Task forces that have been deployed are also not participating in training activities, exercises, events or public gatherings that will put personnel at risk or contribute to the spread of COVID-19.At home, only skeleton crews are at work at military bases because the majority of Canadian Armed Forces personnel has been ordered to work from home. Civilian employees are expected to do the same. Only DND staff who are physically required to conduct critical tasks are allowed on DND property.As of Nov. 30, 2018, there were 67,453 regular forces personnel, according to a 2019-20 departmental plan.DND would not say how many people across the country are working from home and how many are still working on site.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Apple supplier Foxconn's sales down 7.7% in March

    Apple supplier Foxconn's sales down 7.7% in March

    Sales at Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry, a key supplier of Apple Inc's products known by its trade name Foxconn, were down by 7.7% in March. The world's largest contract electronics maker reported revenues of T$347.7 billion dollar ($11.51 billion) in March, falling from T$376.6 billion from a year earlier, it said in a filing to the Taiwan stock exchange on Monday. Last month, Foxconn reported a 23.7% fall in profit in the last three months of 2019 as it braced for the impact from the coronavirus pandemic that hit demand from key customers.

  • N.S. municipality warns against annual Easter weekend canoe trip amid COVID-19

    N.S. municipality warns against annual Easter weekend canoe trip amid COVID-19

    In the midst of a pandemic, a Nova Scotia municipality is cautioning against a popular canoe trip that draws hundreds of people to local waters every April.The two-day event in the Municipality of the District of Clare happens over Easter weekend and has been held since 1973.But it isn't organized by any particular person or group, so there is no way to officially cancel it."It's an organic event that happens every year … people just show up with their canoes and four-wheelers, and there's hundreds and hundreds of people," said Warden Ronnie LeBlanc.The municipality put out a statement Friday discouraging participation. LeBlanc said the municipality wanted to send out a "strong reminder" that the province is under a state of emergency, and people should not be attending large gatherings."It's a fun event, it's just not the time to have it with what's going on," LeBlanc said.Concerns had been raised within the business community, LeBlanc said. If employees took part they could be exposed to the virus and then return to work after a long weekend.But after putting out the release, LeBlanc said people are listening. "A lot of people that go every year have decided not to participate this year, which is good," he said.Robbie Aggas has only been on the canoe trip once after moving to the municipality three years ago, but this year he's bowing out."It was amazing," he said. "It's two long days of paddling your butt off and hanging out with friends, sharing stories and drinks, and running some awesome rapids."Despite the canoe trip's "legendary" status, Aggas said he's glad the municipality is warning against it.There are stops all along the route where hundreds of people gather to eat and drink before moving on to the next leg. Aggas said there would be "no way" to keep those gatherings to five people or fewer.RCMP in the area go to the event every year, LeBlanc said, to keep an eye on what's going on."I'm pretty sure if it gets out of hand, or if it happens at all, they'll be there to issue fines if they have to," he said.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Canada, U.S. farms face crop losses due to foreign worker delays

    Canada, U.S. farms face crop losses due to foreign worker delays

    WINNIPEG, Manitoba/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Mandatory coronavirus quarantines of seasonal foreign workers in Canada could hurt that country's fruit and vegetable output this year, and travel problems related to the pandemic could also leave U.S. farmers with fewer workers than usual. Foreign labor is critical to farm production in both countries, where domestic workers shun the hard physical labor and low pay. In Canada, where farms rely on 60,000 temporary foreign workers, their arrivals are delayed by initial border restrictions and grounded flights.

  • Families, children with autism 'struggling' with isolation amid COVID-19 outbreak with fewer supports, service

    Families, children with autism 'struggling' with isolation amid COVID-19 outbreak with fewer supports, service

    In addition to all the worry and uncertainty in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vanessa Coens is concerned about her two boys with autism regressing during this period of self-isolation.Normally, 12-year-old Owen and 10-year-old Ben would be in school, which Coens said is critically important to developing and maintaining their social skills. Ball hockey and karate are also usually a part of their daily schedule."To get back into that, it's going to be very difficult," Coens said, "I worry about my sons, both of them, regressing socially … I worry about [him] not wanting to have that connection with other people that we've been working on with him."> "As a parent, am I doing enough? Are they happy enough? Are they learning enough?" \- Vanessa Coens, mom of three kidsNow, that sense of normalcy has been temporarily stripped away and the family spends almost all of their time at home as health officials continue to reinforce physical distancing to stop the spread of the coronavirus."It's hard. It's stressful. There's a lot of anxiety happening right now in these uncertain and very strange times," said Coens. "It's been overwhelming."Coens and her husband both work from home, so trying to keep their three children occupied is a challenge in itself. Since school is suspended until at least May, they're also taking on the role of a teacher.Pressure is 'overwhelming'All of this new pressure put on their shoulders is "overwhelming," which makes them begin to question themselves."As a parent, am I doing enough? Are they happy enough? Are they learning enough," Coens asks herself each day.Now that schools began offering some online resources at home, Coens said that's helped. She also said her children can connect with their friends digitally, even through video games, to somewhat keep up with their social skills.Craft time, movie nights or baking with the kids are also things she tries to do regularly to keep them busy and engaged. Even some "screen time" with tablets, computers or TV is on the menu during this period of self-isolation.But adults with developmental disabilities present new sets of challenges, especially if they're non-verbal.That's the case for Mary Beth Rocheleau. Her son Gregory is a 19 year old who is non-verbal with autism, and requires around the clock care."He realizes everything is different … [and] he doesn't understand really what's going on," said Rocheleau.Her son is missing out on a structured day of learning with life skills schooling. But since he's non-verbal, Rocheleau said he doesn't understand why that's no longer a part of his routine.LeeAnn Poisson is in a similar situation with her daughter Abbey. She also has autism and is non-verbal.No day programs, support workers or respiteTypically, she would attend a day program, have support workers on some nights, additional personal support worker assistance and occasional weekend respite."We have had nothing for almost three weeks, caring for her 24/7 and trying to work from home," said Poisson. "Yes, it's been difficult."For Jessica Szucki, caring for three young boys with autism as a single mother while isolating at home is "exhausting."She describes it as being "on 24/7.""No visits from family, no time for myself, no respite worker and no break that school provides. A lot of logistics go into things that we would take for granted, like having a shower," said Szucki. "Trying to provide the structure for three different boys with three different sets of needs is exhausting."Parents want more support during COVID-19Even Rocheleau is concerned she hasn't heard any additional support for people with disabilities from either level of government during the COVID-19 pandemic."I was really disappointed," she said.As a registered nurse, she understands the government is focusing on healthcare and hospitals right now. But Rocheleau said those with developmental disabilities can't be forgotten either.Organizations need to be 'innovative'In Ontario, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services tells CBC News it's encouraging organizations to be "innovative" in offering services remotely."A number of providers are actively pursuing virtual service delivery and tele-practice, especially in the areas of ABA consultation, caregiver training and education and online resources for families," said Truell Huether, spokesperson for the ministry.Autism Ontario is partnering with businesses across the province to provide its families with in-home activities such as craft kits, pizza cuts and cookie decorating kits.The agency will also soon begin to offer online video support groups to connect parents with each other, and "make them feel that they're not alone," said Coens."What can we talk about that is good? Keeping things positive," she said. "Asking them, even, what's the best thing that happened in your day today. It's normal to get stuck in this rut."

  • Health

    Here's how to get emergency dental care in Nova Scotia during COVID-19

    Nova Scotians needing emergency dental work are being steered toward six emergency dental clinics in Halifax and Sydney, but the province's dentistry board plans to open more locations soon.Dr. Martin Gillis, the registrar of the Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia, said all other dental offices in the province are closed to patients. They are, however, taking phone calls from people with dental emergencies.He told CBC News that dental emergencies include trauma affecting your teeth, a significant infection with facial swelling or abscesses, prolonged bleeding, or pain that can't be managed by over-the-counter medications.Dentists listed onlineGillis said people suffering from such an emergency should first call their dentist, or a dentist in their community. The board lists dentists online: pdbns.ca/find-a-dentist"Right now, all dentists in Nova Scotia must be accessible to their patients or people in their communities without a dentist to triage dental emergencies," he said Friday via email. "As a first step, the dentist would triage the dental emergency over the telephone."The local dentist can contact the patient's pharmacy to prescribe antibiotics or pain medication. If the local dentist determines the patient needs to see a dentist, the patient will be referred to one of the emergency clinics in Halifax, which includes ones at Dalhousie University, the QEII Health Science Centre, and the IWK."We expect to announce additional emergency dental clinics in the coming days," Gillis said.The emergency clinics must have personal protection equipment and safety protocols in place to treat people during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. He said some procedures, such as drilling, can spray saliva, and so require more stringent protocols.More clinics on the wayGillis said they're reviewing applications from other dentists to get more clinics approved.Dr. Sathyasai Murty and Dr. Mary-Ann MacDonald at Scotia Dental in Halifax said they've had about 40 calls. Most are people with swelling, pain or trauma.They said the stress of the current situation has led many people to grind their teeth while they sleep. Others worry they've got a tooth infection."They call to seek advice, guidance and reassurance from us. A soothing voice in some cases is all they need," the doctors said via email. Their office manager takes the phone calls and runs through a checklist to start the triage. One of the four dentists at their practice then calls the patient to address their concerns.In some cases, they have prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics, and only a "handful" of patients have been referred onto an emergency clinic."Phone consultations have been an effective temporary method of dealing with dental emergencies in the wake of this pandemic," they said.MORE TOP STORIES

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