PHILADELPHIA — President Donald Trump’s legal team suffered yet another defeat in court Friday as a federal appeals court in Philadelphia roundly rejected the campaign's latest effort to challenge the state’s election results.Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court despite the judges' assessment that the “campaign’s claims have no merit.”“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” 3rd Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote for the three-judge panel, all appointed by Republican presidents.The case had been argued last week in a lower court by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who insisted during five hours of oral arguments that the 2020 presidential election had been marred by widespread fraud in Pennsylvania. However, Giuliani failed to offer any tangible proof of that in court.U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, another Republican, had said the campaign's error-filled complaint, “like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together” and denied Giuliani the right to amend it for a second time.The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called any revisions “futile.” Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith and Judge Michael Chagares were on the panel with Bibas, a former University of Pennsylvania law professor. Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, sat on the court for 20 years, retiring in 2019.“Voters, not lawyers, choose the president. Ballots, not briefs, decide elections,” Bibas said in the opinion, which also denied the campaign's request to stop the state from certifying its results, a demand he called “breathtaking.”In fact, Pennsylvania officials had announced Tuesday that they had certified their vote count for President-elect Joe Biden, who defeated Trump by more than 80,000 votes in the state. Nationally, Biden and running mate Kamala Harris garnered nearly 80 million votes, a record in U.S. presidential elections.Trump has said he hopes the Supreme Court will intervene in the race as it did in 2000, when its decision to stop the recount in Florida gave the election to Republican George W. Bush. On Nov. 5, as the vote count continued, Trump posted a tweet saying the “U.S. Supreme Court should decide!”Ever since, Trump and his surrogates have attacked the election as flawed and filed a flurry of lawsuits to try to block the results in six battleground states. But they’ve found little sympathy from judges, nearly all of whom dismissed their complaints about the security of mail-in ballots, which millions of people used to vote from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.Trump perhaps hopes a Supreme Court he helped steer toward a conservative 6-3 majority would be more open to his pleas, especially since the high court upheld Pennsylvania’s decision to accept mail-in ballots through Nov. 6 by only a 4-4 vote last month. Since then, Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett has joined the court.“The activist judicial machinery in Pennsylvania continues to cover up the allegations of massive fraud,” Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis tweeted after Friday's ruling. “On to SCOTUS!”In the case at hand, the Trump campaign asked to disenfranchise the state’s 6.8 million voters or at least “cherry-pick” the 1.5 million who voted by mail in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other Democratic-leaning areas, the appeals court said.“One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,” Brann, a member of the conservative Federalist Society, wrote in his scathing ruling on Nov. 21. “That has not happened.”A separate Republican challenge that reached the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week seeks to stop the state from further certifying any races on the ballot. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is fighting that effort, saying it would prevent the state’s legislature and congressional delegation from being seated in the coming weeks.On Thursday, Trump said the Nov. 3 election was still far from over. Yet he said for the first time he would leave the White House on Jan. 20 if the Electoral College formalizes Biden’s win.“Certainly I will. But you know that,” Trump said at the White House, taking questions from reporters for the first time since Election Day.On Twitter Friday, however, he continued to baselessly attack Detroit, Atlanta and other Democratic cities with large Black populations as the source of “massive voter fraud.” And he claimed, without evidence, that a Pennsylvania poll watcher had uncovered computer memory drives that “gave Biden 50,000 votes” apiece.All 50 states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, and any challenge to the results must be resolved by Dec. 8. Biden won both the Electoral College and popular vote by wide margins.___Follow Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MaryclairedaleMaryclaire Dale, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (17,396.56, up 45.22 points.) Bombardier Inc. (TSX: BBD.B). Industrials. Up 6.5 cents, or 15.12 per cent, to 49.5 cents on 21.98 million shares.Score Media and Gaming Inc. (TSX: SCR). Communications. Up 44 cents, or 44.9 per cent, to $1.42 on 18.53 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX: ACB). Health care. Up $2.09, or 17.94 per cent, to $13.74 on 16.88 million shares.Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX: SU). Energy. Down 23 cents, or 1.02 per cent, to $22.41 on 12.36 million shares.Air Canada (TSX: AC). Industrials. Up $1.04, or 4.37 per cent, to $24.86 on 9.62 million shares.Aphria Inc. (TSX: APHA). Health care. Up 73 cents, or 7.76 per cent, to $10.14 on 8.67 million shares. Companies in the news: Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI). Up 12 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $60.90. Rogers Communications Inc. says it was exploring the future of its Toronto stadium before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but the virus has caused it to put those plans on hold. The Globe and Mail reported Friday that Rogers and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. were looking to tear down the stadium as part of a larger development project. Empire Company Ltd. (TSX:EMP). Up nine cents, or 0.25 per cent, to $35.66. Sobeys says it is bringing back pay premiums for staff in locations where COVID-19 lockdowns are in effect. Parent company Empire Company Ltd. says it has reinstated so-called hero pay in Manitoba and Toronto and Peel Region in Ontario as rising cases of the virus in those areas have prompted the shutdown of non-essential businesses.Air Canada. Air Canada pilots have ratified changes to their contract that will help the carrier grow its cargo business, as airlines scramble to minimize the pandemic’s toll on their bottom lines. The Montreal-based airline said in a statement Friday that it would convert several of its retired Boeing 767 aircraft to carry freight and that it had appointed a new executive, Jason Berry, to oversee its cargo division.Calfrac Well Services Ltd. (TSX:CFW). Up one cent, or 4.08 per cent, to 26 cents. Calfrac Well Services says the Alberta Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt by Wilks Brothers LLC to block the approval of the company's recapitalization plan. The company says it has been advised by the court that the Wilks Brothers' appeal of the final order approving the plan has been dismissed.TMAC Resources Inc. (TSX:TMR). Down two cents, or 1.64 per cent, to $1.20. Canadian miner TMAC Resources Inc. says a national security review under the Investment Canada Act of its sale to China's Shandong Gold Mining Co., Ltd., has been extended by 45 days. Shandong announced a deal in May to buy TMAC, owner of the Hope Bay gold mining project in Nunavut, for $230 million.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
Estevan, Edmonton, Calgary – “New restrictions has forced us to close,” Al Dougherty posted on the marquee of the 106-year old Orpheum Theatre in Estevan on Nov. 27. He and his wife, Jocelyn, have owned and operated the theatre on Estevan’s main drag for going on 23 years, with Jocelyn managing the facility. For the second time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, they’ve been forced to shut their doors, where 13 people used to be employed. They had only re-opened in September. Those new public health restrictions were announced on Nov. 25 and brought into force on Nov. 27. They don’t order theatres to shut down, but they limit attendance in each auditorium to 30 people, whereas before it was 30 per cent capacity. But the last straw, according to theatre operators, is the restrictions on concession sales. The concessions aren’t ordered to close, either, but patrons can’t eat in their seats. Rather, they must woof down their popcorn, pop and candy bars in the lobbies. The government press release of Nov. 25 noted, “Where any of these facilities offer food or beverage service, they must keep the activity separate (i.e. cordoned off) from the food and beverage service. No food or drink may be in the activity area.” As such, a wave of cinema closures swept Saskatchewan on Friday, a day that otherwise would have seen the opening of a much-awaited for animated feature, The Croods 2: A New Age. Al Dougherty said he didn’t see the logic of people being able to sit across from each other at a table in a restaurant, spitting while they’re eating, and yet not being able to sit facing the same way in a theatre. Edmonton-based Tom Hutchinson is president of Magic Lantern Theatres, which operates theatres throughout the province. Hutchinson said by email late on Nov. 26, “We have been having a lively discussion, and have decided that the managers should make the final decision based on their ability to serve their customers. My understanding is that Roxy Saskatoon will operate with its concession stand closed on Friday-Saturday-Sunday and then evaluate. Rainbow Cinema Regina will close. Capitol Theatre in North Battleford will close. Aurora Cinema in Meadow Lake will close.” Landmark Cinemas Canada CEO Bill Walker is based in Calgary. As of Nov. 26, he said by phone that their Regina and Saskatoon locations would remain open for this weekend, and they would go from there. Yorkton’s Tower Theatre has been closed since March. “We're going stay open for the weekend. We had we had staff scheduled and movies planned. And so, we're going to stay open for now. And we're going to see whether customers are still interested in coming to movies where they can’t eat popcorn and watch a movie.” For all, it comes down to the basic business model of movie theatres for the last 100 years. The movie distributors get a little more than half of the ticket prices, which means the theatre operators make much of their income on concession sales. If people can’t eat popcorn in their seats, they’re not likely to buy it, nor are they likely to even attend. The business case collapses. Walker said, “I had to chuckle because the 10th province to announce enhanced restrictions came up with something new. And that something new is that we can be open, and we have 30 people per auditorium, but we can't sell food in the auditorium.” They called the government’s business response line, seeking clarity, but got irony instead. Walker explained, “The concept was you can open your concessions and you can open your theatre; you just can't sell concessions for consumption in the theatre. Sort of somewhat, unreasonably, you can sell the concessions and patrons could consume it in the lobby or in theatre street, kind of in the hallway area, but they can't consume it at their seats in the auditorium. And so, (it) doesn't really seem like a strategic approach, to have people allowed to take their mask off and consume food in those kind of general open areas, versus having them be able to take the mask off while they're seated, in a seat with all of the physical distancing measures in place to be able to take the mask off and consume some food in there.” Additionally, theatres have been fogging their auditoriums between showings. Dougherty showed a $2,000 fogger they purchased to spray Vital Oxide, medical-grade disinfectant. Magic Lantern had been planning to turn Yorkton’s old television studio into a new multiplex theatre in that community, but that idea was blunted by the pandemic. Last year they had built and opened a new four-plex theatre in downtown North Battleford, the Capital Annex, in combination with their fully renovated, older Capital Theatre. The older, standalone theatre has been shut down since February. “We didn’t have any product for it,” Hutchinson said. And that has been another key struggle for theatres since the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. Most big movies, what could usually be banked on as blockbusters, have not hit the silver screen. Tom Hanks’ Second World War action movie Greyhoundwas one of the first that went straight to streaming, picked up by Apple TV+. Top Gun: Maverick has been repeatedly delayed, now well into 2021. Disney’s live action Mulanwent to its Disney Plus streaming service, but for an additional fee. So what have the Saskatchewan theatres had to show, without new product? “E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Halloween. It’s like a Blockbuster Video store exploded,” Hutchinson said with a laugh. Not many people come out for those old movies, especially when combined with COVID concerns. Attendance has been very poor, which also means having plenty of spacing between patrons is not a problem. COVID restrictions, and the push to streaming, could end up being an existential problem. Hutchinson said by phone, “And the worst part of it is that this is simply pushing the trend forward, at lightspeed. For years, people have been relying more on home entertainment for all sorts of reasons. Out of home entertainment, of all types, has been suffering. And for movie theatres, the COVID thing means everybody will have a new flat screen, everybody will have learned how to do streaming. And that will be a real alternative for them, rather than coming to the theatre. So once all the COVID is over, what's going to be left? The movie distributors will have gone straight to streaming or day end date streaming.” Walker is hopeful that theatres will survive, saying, “There is no circumstance in my mind where Top Gun ever goes on any other platform besides an exclusive release in theatres, because frankly, the only way to generate the economics that pay for a movie like Top Gun, is to release it in theaters, In the meantime, they have to survive. So how have they been able to hold on? Hutchinson said, “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the federal subsidy programs.” The wage subsidies and rent subsidies have made a difference. All these operators would like to know the reasoning behind the new COVID regulations which prohibit food and drink in the auditoriums. Walker said, “We don't we don't want to be closed. We think our business and our industry is better served by being open. And we think we can do it safely. And our experience tells us we have done it safely. And so, if they believe we're unsafe, we'd like to understand why. And if they believe we need to be closed, we'd like to understand why, because our alternative is, we think we can be a safe venue for people to join with their family and still enjoy something that that amongst all of the fatigue that exists around us, going to a movie can still feel pretty enjoyable, fun and safe. And I think we need that. And so, if they want us to close? Yes, you we should make that explicit. But ultimately, I don't think that's that's a helpful outcome for anyone.” Jocelyn Dougherty said, “Even with 30 people, it’s questionable with a concession, but without it, it’s not even a question.” Walker said, “We're supportive of the overall community objective of reducing the spread of the virus, and we're quite confident we're not part of the issue.”Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A former member of Labrador's Inuit government is questioning the methods used to quantify whether he is sufficiently Indigenous after he was removed from his government roles last week.Edward Blake Rudkowski said he was informed Nov. 20 that he was no longer a beneficiary of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement after a review of his status determined he had just 17 per cent Inuit blood. According to the land claims agreement, beneficiaries must have at least 25 per cent "blood quantum," as it's called, to be registered as Labrador Inuit, Blake Rudkowski said.“This development is entirely related to a group of people throwing darts at a genealogy board,” he said in an interview Friday. “You can sit there with your membership for over three decades — over three decades — and then someone says, ‘Hey man, you’re not in anymore?’”Blood quantum is a controversial practice of determining the percentage of one's Indigenous ancestry. Blake Rudkowski calls it “junk science" and says his predicament is an example of how it's an inadequate and inaccurate measure of who belongs and who doesn't. He said he's been a beneficiary under the claims agreement for 34 years, and in all that time, nobody questioned his status as a Labrador Inuk. His family has a long, respected history in Goose Bay, in central Labrador, and his grandfather was one of two Inuit families in Sheshatshiu, an Innu community about 40 kilometres north of Goose Bay, he said."The footprints of my grandparents are all over Labrador, and my great-grandparents, and my great-great-grandparents,” he said.He now lives in Toronto. In a 2017 byelection, he won a seat as an ordinary member in the Nunatsiavut Assembly representing Labrador Inuit who live outside the land claim area in Nunatsiavut, and outside the Upper Lake Melville area in central Labrador where many beneficiaries live. He won the seat again in 2018 in the regular election. In 2017, he was also appointed Speaker of the assembly.On Friday, after he was told he was no longer a beneficiary, he says he got a call from Nunatsiavut president Johannes Lampe, who said he could no longer hold his seat in the Nunatsiavut Assembly nor his role as the assembly's Speaker — only Labrador Inuit can be members of the assembly. “I feel raw, I feel disappointed, I feel distraught, I feel upset," he said. "Obviously there’s a whole myriad of negative emotions that get associated with a life event like this."In a statement Monday announcing Blake Rudkowski's removal, the Nunatsiavut government said it “plays no role whatsoever in determining the membership of any individual,” and the beneficiary enrolment process is independent from the Nunatsiavut government.Nobody from the Nunatsiavut government was available Friday to speak about its decision to remove Blake Rudkowski from government, or about the blood quantum determination process.Blake Rudkowski said the documents he received indicating his status was under review showed the review was triggered by a political opponent.“I had to apply as anyone who never had any experience with Nunatsiavut would have to apply,” he said. “It’s as if that previous 34 years didn’t exist.” As required, he included extensive details of his family history in his application.“Their determination was that my blood quantum was 17.4, or it might be 17.3 . . . . So you would think with a number that precise would imply there was an empirical calculation . . . to arrive at that output. And for love nor money, I couldn’t tell you what the process was,” he said. Blake Rudkowski said he hasn’t been offered any means to appeal the decision. He wonders what kind of precedent the decision sets. “If it could happen to me, then who’s next?” he said.As for his own next steps, Blake Rudkowski said he hasn’t yet figured those out but he’s not defeated. “I feel a calling to public service, and my days in the political arena aren’t over,” he said. “I’m really upset that my path with Nunatsiavut came to a halt the way it did, especially when it came to questions of my heritage, which are not questionable in my mind.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.Sarah Smellie, The Canadian Press
Researchers who are using wastewater as a way to detect the virus that causes COVID-19 have discovered it in Wolfville, N.S.While the research is still experimental and the results may not be definitive, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health said it could be a signal that COVID-19 is making its way into communities outside of Halifax."It highlights the importance of everybody following the public health measures no matter where you live in Nova Scotia," said Dr. Robert Strang.Strang said the province is going to increase capacity at the primary assessment centre in Wolfville, and is planning to have pop-up rapid-testing sites in place early next week.Water tested weeklyResearchers with Dalhousie University are partnering with LuminUltra, a private company in Fredericton that holds the contract to supply the reagents to detect the virus, to test wastewater in Halifax and Wolfville.Graham Gagnon, the director of the Dalhousie University Centre for Water Resource Studies, said sampling water from places where community spread is low could help identify where COVID-19 is in communities."If you think about a community in a more broad sense, not necessarily the town of Wolfville or the city of Halifax, but even very localized populations that you want to ensure community spread is minimal, then you can [have] those kinds of opportunities," he said.They have been working with Acadia University in Wolfville to test water at two sites in the town: at the wastewater facility, which collects wastewater from Wolfville's four lift stations, and from a lift station that takes water from Acadia University to the western boundary of the town. The positive test was found at the Acadia lift station, which was a "community of interest" due to the population of 18-to-35-year-olds, which made up more than 70 per cent of COVID-19 cases in November.The COVID-19 virus wasn't detected the following week. Gagnon said that while they are doing weekly tests, they are not structured in terms of what days or time the samples are taken. Because of that, it's hard to say why there was a positive result one week and a negative result the next week."It really requires a focused sample collection, day in, day out, so you can know what was the true outcome," he said."Was it just [a] one-off — someone visited or a bunch of people visited Wolfville — or was that really an accurate result?"Gagnon said they hope to expand the program and implement more routine sampling.'We cannot be complacent'Even if it's unclear how the town got a positive test result, these wastewater tests can act as "a very good early warning system," according to Wolfville Mayor Wendy Donovan."If we needed some more information or more reason to be terribly, terribly cautious, this is a good wake-up call for us," she said."I felt it was very important to get the testing information out to the community, not to scare people, but just to remind people ... we cannot be complacent."Donovan said the town's residents, many of them young university students, have been "largely very, very good" with following public health measures."I absolutely understand that this is no fun to be 20 years old and not being able to socialize and have parties and so on," said Donovan. "For the most part, our young people in the community have been respectful of their neighbours and respectful of the situation that we find ourselves in."MORE TOP STORIES
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, of the Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn, calls a recent ruling by the Supreme Court regarding coronavirus restrictions on religious services a "good decision." (Nov 27)
Selwyn Township council members unanimously decided they want to create more parking spaces as part of the planned project to reconstruct Water Street in Lakefield. Angela Chittick, the township’s manager of community and corporate services, told councillors Tuesday that they have two options to consider for the street which runs along the Otonabee River. “One is to extend the trail from the dam to the bridge, that would create about 16 parking spaces. The other option would be there would be no bridge extension, and with that you would be creating about 21 parking spaces there,” she said. Some residents that provided feedback were interested in the trail connection, while other individuals, particularly from of the business community, were more concerned about parking spaces, Chittick said. Coun. Gerry Herron said he’s all for having additional parking spaces. “We need as much traffic down in the economic engine of Selwyn as we can get. I’ll give you a quick example; when Sears was in operation in Peterborough, each parking spot was about $200 an hour. So, if we factor that down to these five spots, if we’re gaining say $20 an hour and it’s an eight-hour day, it’s $800 per parking spot put into the local economy there,” he said. “We’ve set out on a mission to support our local businesses and I think we need to continue that trend.” Deputy Mayor Sherry Senis said lack of parking in Lakefield has been a perennial issue, so now that there’s the opportunity to add space, they should jump on it. “The parking spaces on Water are invaluable,” she said. “I also presented the options to the economic development business committee last night and their consensus was more is better. So, they also favour option two.” Adding more parking spaces isn’t leaving out the trail connection, Senis added. “There’s still the connection to the trail at the bridge, and it will still accommodate the concrete pad to do any bike repairs that we had heard about,” she said. Chittick said council’s decision will get incorporated into the final design for Water Street. “Then, moving forward from there, we’ll get the concept tidied up, sent back out to the residents and those that provided feedback on the design concepts, and we would post it online,” she said. “That would allow us to get the final engineered drawings prepared and ready for tendering and the hope would be that we could get this tendered in the new year and bring that price proposal back to council with some funding options as well as some staging options, depending on what the quoted amount is.” Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.comMarissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
VICTORIA — British Columbia's top doctor has a message for people who don't follow a provincial order to wear a mask in indoor public spaces: order takeout, shop online or stay home.Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday she was saddened after hearing about store and restaurant employees facing aggressive customers who refuse to wear masks as COVID-19 numbers rise."I remind all of us about the severity of this illness and the fact that we have people who are suffering in our hospitals right now, and their families are suffering too," she said. The RCMP say they arrested a shopper at a Walmart in Dawson Creek this week after he allegedly assaulted an employee who asked him to wear a mask.B.C. set another single-day record with 911 cases of COVID-19, Henry said, adding that a total of 30,884 cases have been diagnosed in the province.Eleven more people have died, bringing the number of fatalities to 395, while a record 301 patients are in hospital.Some faith leaders have questioned Henry's order to ban even limited gatherings at churches, temples and other faith locations while restaurants and bars remain open.Henry said outbreaks have occurred in multiple faith locations despite safety measures in keeping with what is happening around the world."I'd like to be clear that these locations are not doing anything wrong," she said, adding COVID-19 precautions were being followed at the majority of worship places."These are not decisions that we make lightly," she said."We are facing a storm surge, and that is something we are facing globally."Henry said events that were safe even a few weeks ago now threaten the most vulnerable people who attend them as well as entire communities.However, she said most faith leaders understand the measures as they support their congregants from a distance."It is a cruel irony in many ways that when we most need to be with people, that is the most dangerous thing that we can do with this level of transmission we are seeing in communities across the province."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
The Saskatchewan Health Authority is recruiting retirees and volunteers to help with contact tracing investigations, according to a health authority spokesperson.The SHA has more than 350 staff trained for contact tracing, the spokesperson said. But as COVID-19 cases and the number of close contacts rise, the investigations take longer to conduct.So the health authority is recruiting more contact tracers, including retirees and volunteers, in anticipation of a potential surge in cases."Our contact tracing system is certainly under strain," health authority CEO Scott Livingstone said during a news conference Thursday."A single positive case each and every day provides hours of work for contact tracers over the two-week time period" after a positive result, he said. "But that work can grow exponentially when you factor in the number of contacts."As of Thursday, Saskatchewan averaged 214 new COVID-19 cases per day over a two-week period. Each case had about seven or eight close contacts on average, which creates 32,000 total hours of work over the two-week period, said Livingstone.He noted that the average number of contacts is down slightly from recent weeks, but the health authority is planning an effective contact tracing strategy in case the province approaches 450 cases per day.Early in the pandemic, the provincial government authorized retired nurses to obtain emergency licences through the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association, the regulatory body for the province's nurses. The most recent licence was issued Thursday.The association is working with the health authority on the workforce plan, and shares its emergency practice licence list every week with the SHA "and other employers," an association spokesperson said.Once nurses retire, they are no longer part of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses. But if issued an emergency licence, they are unionized temporarily, said SUN president Tracy Zambory."It is just extremely important that the resources are given to [contact tracing] that it requires," she said."It's about resumption of health-care services, and pulling back on some of the slower areas so that the human resources can be freed up to be able to assist in contact tracing."'Real consequences'Contact tracing aims to identify COVID-19 cases before they can unknowingly spread the illness throughout the community, explains Dr. Cory Neudorf, a public health physician and University of Saskatchewan professor of community health and epidemiology.Finding close contacts means they can self-isolate and be tested sooner."You interrupt that chain of transmission, and you can start to get a handle on the pandemic," he said. The health authority's announcement that contact tracing investigations are taking longer signifies that Saskatchewan residents are not following public health rules as closely as they should be, or that COVID-positive people are visiting public spaces, says Neudorf.Time-consuming investigations can also make it tougher to find contacts and curb the spread of COVID-19, because people may forget who they met and where they went over time, he said.But the strain on contact tracing also has consequences for the overall health-care system as well, Livingstone said Thursday.A finite number of workers are trained to do contact tracing, so some health-care workers have been moved around the health-care system to conduct investigations. But that is only a Band-Aid solution, says Neudorf."As the outbreak progresses, and you start getting a lot of COVID-19 cases in the hospital, those workers need to be brought back to care for the COVID-positive patients," he said. "You can't be using the same stuff for both purposes, so that's only a short-term fix."Redeploying staff also causes disruptions in other health-care services, he added.Saskatchewan residents can help reduce the length of contact tracing investigations by only going out in public for essential reasons, regardless of what the province's public health rules allow, to reduce the number of close contacts, Neudorf said.When people do go out, they should mind physical distancing and wear a mask, he added.Neudorf also suggests keeping a weekly list of where you go, who you see and when, especially if you have to be in public often. Such lists help tracers easily track contacts down, should a person test positive.As of Friday, 2,237 COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan are under investigation by public health officials.
All of Fort Chipewyan’s stop signs are now in Cree, Dénesųłiné and English. Mayor Don Scott says similar traffic signs will be put up across the region next year, including in Fort McMurray. The signs are part of an effort to promote the Indigenous languages of the Wood Buffalo region. In a video announcing the news, Scott said boosting Indigenous languages is part of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. “This has always been a diverse region, and our rich culture and heritage make it truly a special place to call home,” he said. This is the first municipal initiative promoting Indigenous languages, although they are not the first Cree and Dénesųłiné signs in Fort Chipewyan. The community has welcome and grocery signs in the three major languages at the K’ai Tailé Market and outside the Athabasca Delta Community School. “Our languages are slowly disappearing because of the effects of residential schools,” said Teri Villebrun, councillor for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), in an interview. Fort Chipewyan was the site of the Holy Angels Residential School, which closed 1974. Between 1880 and 1953, 89 students died at the school. “These signs recognize the needs of promoting our Indigenous languages.” Villebrun said people are excited about the new signs in a community that has centuries of history to share. Founded in 1788, Fort Chipewyan is Alberta’s first European settlement. It was established as a trading post and named after the Chipewyan people already living in the area. “We do really have a sense of pride in our community,” she said. “It’s our traditional land of the Dene, Cree and Métis and we are so proud of our culture.” According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), three-quarters of Indigenous languages in Canada are “definitely,” “severely” or “critically” endangered. The most recent data on languages spoken in Canada comes from the 2016 census, which found only 20 per cent of First Nations people could converse in an Indigenous language. This is a six per cent drop from 2006. “If we continue down the current path, First Nations languages, like many Indigenous languages around the world, may be lost,” states a 2019 report from the Assembly of First Nations. “It is essential that drastic actions are taken to offset the erosion and loss of First Nations languages.” The municipality has posted to its website its own efforts and resources on meeting the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. An October 2019 report commissioned by the municipality also surveyed the attitudes First Nation and Métis leaders had towards their place in the region. At the time, the report found the administration of the day was “proactive” in incorporating the calls to action into its organizational structure, but was lagging on delivering, or lobbying for, basic services in rural communities. firstname.lastname@example.orgSarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today
Par ailleurs, 22% des adultes québécois qui ne possèdent pas déjà un des appareils intelligents évalués dans l'enquête ont l'intention de s'en procurer, ce qui représente une augmentation de 7 points de pourcentage par rapport à 2019. Malgré tout, plusieurs freins persistent, comme c'était le cas en 2019. Le principal frein à l'acquisition d'appareils intelligents pour le foyer demeure la perception d'un manque d'utilité ou de pertinence (62 %). Par ailleurs, plus du tiers des non-détenteurs d'appareils intelligents interrogés affirment qu'ils repoussent l'achat de ce type de produits parce qu'ils ne croient pas qu'ils les utiliseraient assez souvent (39 %). Parmi les deux freins à l'achat ayant la plus forte augmentation depuis 2019, nous retrouvons le prix (37 %) avec une augmentation de 11 points de pourcentage de même que la confidentialité et la sécurité des données (36 %) avec une hausse de 7 points de pourcentage. À propos de l'Académie de la transformation numérique (ATN) L'Université Laval, en partenariat avec le gouvernement du Québec, a créé l'Académie de la transformation numérique (ATN) pour répondre aux besoins des entreprises, des organismes publics, des ministères et des municipalités en matière de transformation numérique. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
OTTAWA — A spokesman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his office accidentally sent out an account of a phone call with Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole that hadn't happened yet.The premature account of the call Friday said Trudeau chided O'Toole about Conservative MPs downplaying the deaths of Albertans and comparing the novel coronavirus to the flu.Alberta MP Rachael Harder shared a newspaper column on her Facebook page this week that pointed out provincial statistics saying that just 10 of 369 Albertans who had died of COVID-19 as of mid-November were otherwise healthy. And Ontario MP Dean Allison described COVID-19 as "influenza" in a talk-radio interview.After the call, the Conservatives said Trudeau raised neither of these incidents with O'Toole.And a second read-out of the call from the PMO, after the call had actually taken place, dropped all mention of the matter.It said simply that the two leaders had discussed "the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as vaccine distribution in Canada," along with issues related to president-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration in the United States.The Tory leader went into the conversation with proposals for how Canada can improve its relationship with the U.S. under Biden.In a letter to Trudeau, O'Toole said responding to the COVID-19 pandemic must be the first priority, including ensuring a continent-wide response to vaccine supply, the production of personal protective equipment and managing the border.O'Toole said after that must come dealing with the threat posed by China, and that Canada should seek to join an existing dialogue among the U.S., Australia, India and Japan to oppose Chinese military expansionism. The letter also talks about the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a project that outgoing President Donald Trump approved but Biden opposes. O'Toole said it must be made clear to Biden the project is important to Canada's view of the bilateral relationship with the U.S.The letter cites a need for a collective effort on combating climate change, and a call to modernize the binational defence agreement known as Norad, which would include having Canada join the ballistic missile defence program. A copy of O'Toole's letter to Trudeau was obtained by The Canadian Press."This period of transition to the incoming Biden administration represents a unique opportunity to advance Canada's interests and values on the world stage," O'Toole wrote in the letter. "It is my sincere hope the Canadian and U.S. governments can work together for the mutual benefit of both our peoples who have endured so much this past year."A Conservative read-out after the call said the two leaders concluded their chat by mutually "reaffirming the importance of eliminating COVID-19 and by wishing their families well."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — As the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise across Canada, the infection rate in Ottawa has been going in the other direction for weeks, putting the city on the right track to flatten the curve of the pandemic once again.The city's chief medical officer, Dr. Vera Etches, said much of the credit goes to the people who live here, who have been wearing masks — in some cases, such as on public transit, forced to do so earlier than others across Canada — and staying at home.There was a time in early October when Ottawa, despite its initial success flattening the curve in the spring, experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases that saw the city have double the number of cases seen in Toronto and Peel Region at that time. Now the number of new cases is once again much lower than in those areas.There were 55 new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa on Friday, which represents a bigger daily jump from earlier in the week but still puts the city at 5.89 new cases per 100,000 people. Toronto, meanwhile, reported 18.08 new cases per 100,000 people on Friday and in Peel Region it was 37.42 new cases per 100,000.“It's really thanks to the people in Ottawa, and thanks to the employers and others who are doing their part to make it possible," Etches told a news conference this week, adding that people increased their distance from others, wore masks and stayed home when they were sick."These are the things that actually can bring COVID down in a community."Etches said Ottawa Public Health emphasized the importance of wearing masks early on in the pandemic and in June, the city became the first in Canada to make them mandatory on public transit."Building a new behaviour, a new culture where you always have a mask with you when you go out, that's been in place a little bit longer, that might have helped," she said.Meanwhile, employers in Ottawa, a city of just over one million people, enabled people to follow the advice of public health officials by allowing them to work from home, and stay home when they were sick, more than in other cities, she said.Twenty-four per cent of workers in Ottawa work in public administration jobs, according to Ottawa Employment Hub, the local workplace planning board. Some 120,000 people in the National Capital Region, which includes nearby Gatineau, Que., work for the federal government, which has allowed most of its employees to work from home since March."The federal government is leading by example," said Lavagnon Ika, a professor of project management at the University of Ottawa. He said managers and directors at the government were often reluctant to allow people to work remotely before the pandemic, but that has changed. "Because of COVID-19, people have learned (how) to make it work," he saidIka said information technology companies in Ottawa have also been allowing their employees to work remotely because they already have the technology to do so and their employees are trained to use it."If you don't have a centralized information system for all your teams, it's not possible to work at a distance," he said. "I'm talking about the video conferencing tools and artificial-intelligence assistance tools."He said some of the high-tech companies in Ottawa had employees working remotely and customers from all over the world before COVID-19, listing homegrown e-commerce giant Shopify as one of them. "They badly need remote work because of a geographical distribution of some of their team members and their clients," Ika said.The well-integrated health care system in eastern Ontario has also helped in responding to the pandemic efficiently, said Dr. Robert Cushman, the acting medical director of health for the Renfrew County and District Health Unit near Ottawa. "What you've seen in Ottawa, for example, is there's very close work between the hospitals, and the public health unit and the city, and this extends out into the peripheral areas," said Cushman, who was Ottawa's chief medical officer from 1996 to 2005. "We've been working together on this since the beginning," he said. "There's a lot of cohesion."Having all the hospital labs working together through a regional association when it comes to testing COVID-19 is another factor, Cushman said, as efficient testing is key to aggressive and thorough tracing of how the novel coronavirus spreads through contacts."Is your lab turnaround time sufficiently short so that you can actually catch up and even get ahead of this?" he said, adding that it has been challenging to do this across Canada and even in the rest of Ontario. "If you're waiting six days for a test, I mean, this virus can get into a second (or) a third generation."There were plenty of stories about long lineups at COVID-19 testing sites in Ottawa in September once children headed back to school, but that has also improved, including through the ability to book testing appointments online.Cushman said he also believes people in Ottawa tend to trust the public health unit and health professionals, which leads to more people following their guidelines."There's a community spirit here to do the right thing," he said.But Etches warned people in Ottawa not to relax too much as COVID-19 cases in the city decline. She was speaking Tuesday, when Ottawa reported 19 new cases. On Friday, there were 55 new COVID-19 cases reported.“We think we're on the right track, but it's very tenuous,” said Etches, who is telling families to celebrate Christmas and other seasonal holidays with only people in their immediate households to avoid potential COVID-19 outbreaks.“Ottawa Public Health has had the highest rate of COVID in early October and we can go back there again.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
SÉCURITÉ. Avec les premières bordées de neige qui tombent, les Québécois ajustent leur conduite. Il demeure que des accidents peuvent survenir. À ce sujet, sauriez-vous quoi faire en cas de collision avec un poteau électrique? Grande règle de base: restez dans votre véhicule et signalez le 911. Cependant, si le fait de rester dans votre véhicule mettait votre vie en danger, voici les étapes à suivre suggérées par Hydro-Québec : 1\. Ouvrez grand la portière en restant dans le véhicule et en ne touchant qu’à la poignée. 2\. Collez vos deux pieds ensemble et placez-les sur le pas de la portière. Gardez les bras près du corps. 3\. Sautez à pieds joints hors du véhicule de manière à ne jamais entrer en contact en même temps avec le véhicule et le sol. 4\. Éloignez-vous en faisant des petits bonds, en gardant toujours les pieds joints, jusqu’à ce que vous ayez atteint une distance d’au moins 10 mètres du véhicule ou des fils au sol. De même, si vous êtes témoin d’une collision avec un poteau électrique et que vous devez porter secours aux victimes, composez d’abord le 911 pour signaler et décrire l’accident. En tout temps, tenez-vous à une distance d’au moins 10 mètres du véhicule et des fils au sol. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Trafficking charges are pending for a male adult and a male youth after Behchokǫ NT RCMP seized more than 90 grams of pre-packaged illegal cannabis and trafficking paraphernalia, it said in a news release Friday.Behchokǫ̀ RCMP started the investigation last Sunday, Nov. 22.Police said they believe the illegal cannabis they seized was for the purpose of trafficking."We listen to our community and work with them to reduce and prevent the harm from the sale of illegal drugs," said Sgt. Ryan Plustwa, detachment commander of the Behchokǫ̀ RCMP, in the release.Behchokǫ̀ RCMP are asking residents who have information about suspicious activity to call the detachment at 392-1111 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. People can also text "nwtnutips" plus a message to 274637.
Derek Mueller, a senior researcher at Carleton University, cut his scientific teeth studying mats of microbes on some of Canada's oldest, thickest and most remote sea ice. "They have some very interesting pigments in their cells to fend off harmful UV radiation," Mueller said in an interview. "It's kind of a tricky thing to do, physiologically. You never know. It could very well be that someday we discover something useful out of that life." That's one reason why he, along with colleagues and Inuit groups, are calling for stronger protections for Canada's northernmost waters as the so-called Last Ice Area rapidly lives up to its name. "It's so poorly understood," said Mueller, co-author of an article in the journal Science that urges the federal government to expand and make permanent the conservation of Tuvaijuittuq, 320,000 square kilometres of frozen ocean off the northern coast of Ellesmere Island. Tuvaijuittuq, which means "the place where ice never melts" in Inuktut, has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic. Because of how ice moves in ocean currents, Tuvaijuittuq is likely to be the last place it remains. The region is provisionally protected until 2024. But Mueller said the pace of Arctic warming argues for permanent status as a Marine Protected Area connected to Quttinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere's north coast. Just last July, 40 per cent of the area's Milne Ice Shelf collapsed within two days -- 80 square kilometres of ice that had been stable for millennia now adrift. It happened so quickly an uninhabited research camp was lost. "(The area's) under threat and we're hoping for conservation measures to mitigate that," Mueller said. The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is working with the federal and Nunavut governments to determine if Tuvaijuittuuq should be permanently protected and, if so, how. "QIA is leading an Inuit knowledge study which will really try to tackle what is current and historical Inuit use of the area," said Andrew Randall, the association's director of marine and wildlife stewardship. "(We're) looking at cultural sites, some of the impacts associated with climate change." Inuit want to understand what resources might lie in the area, Randall said. They also want to ensure Inuit play a role in managing and studying it, he added. "(Research) doesn't only mean bringing in more western scientists," he said. The Arctic sea ice ecosystem may seem desolate, but it's anything but, said Mueller. The ice supports a whole range of life important to humans and animals a long way away. As the rest of the circumpolar world shifts under climate change, ensuring that a piece of the frozen Arctic remains free of human disturbance is key to understanding both how things used to be and what they are becoming, said Mueller. Just this year, scientists discovered a whole ecosystem of shellfish, anemones, starfish and brittle stars living on shelves in pockets within the ice. "What a wonderful surprise!" said Mueller. "We are now just beginning to understand this environment." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2020. Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
Edmonton peace officers now have the authority to hand out $1,000 fines to people violating Alberta's COVID-19 public health orders, city managers confirmed Friday. The city had been waiting for the green light after Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday the province would extend the authority to municipal officers. Interim city manager Adam Laughlin told city council's emergency advisory committee just as he received an email confirmation from the Justice and Solicitor General's office. "We are going to be more aggressive in our enforcement," Laughlin said. "We're at the point where we need to make sure we're doing everything to reduce this." The move comes as COVID-19 cases in the Edmonton zone spike to over 6,000, nearly half the total cases in Alberta and the province imposes new restrictions. Justice Minister Kaycee Madu announced Friday that about 700 peace officers in the province would be given the authority to enforce the province's health orders. Previously, only police and Alberta public health inspectors have the authority to fine businesses and people found breaking provincial health orders in the city. About 150 peace officers will get training in the next week to be equipped with enforcing the orders and coordinating with police and health inspectors. The authority will not be extended to municipal bylaw officers, who have the power to give out fines to people violating the city's face-covering bylaw that's been in effect since Aug. 1. To date, the city has been trying to educate and raise awareness to encourage the public to follow health measures. Laughlin said people will likely notice stronger, quicker actions. "Folks will get upset but quite frankly that's what we need to do at this point in time," Laughlin said during a news conference after the meeting. "Folks need to start honouring these measures that are in place." Public health orders include maintaining two-metre distance from others, no indoor social gatherings, and 25 per cent capacity in retail stores and entertainment venues. The city will explore further restrictions under the Municipal Government Act if cases aren't down by Dec. 15, Laughlin added. Laughlin is also asking people to limit non-essential travel in the city, and shop local Mayor Don Iveson noted that Edmonton's infection rate is 500 per 100,000 people. "In any given group of 200 people passing in and out of any place, one of them is going to have the virus at this point." Iveson said as the risk compounds, he's hearing health experts and university professors call for stronger measures, "which I would personally support." 22 arenas closed The city is closing 22 arenas from Dec. 1 to 18. Laughlin noted a lack of bookings and the provincial restrictions banning group fitness classes until Dec. 13. The Downtown Community Arena will remain open under the provincial exemption granted to the IIHF World Junior Championship. Three city-run senior centres and the St. Francis Xavier Sports Centre will also close. All indoor events and group activities at City facilities will be cancelled. Starting Dec. 1 at recreation facilities and the Edmonton Valley Zoo, anyone not wearing a mask will be refused entry, regardless of the individual's exemption status. Patrons are still allowed to remove their masks while exercising. The perennial favourite Candy Cane Lane will be a drive-thru-only this year. Business concerns Some restaurants have voluntarily closed in-house dining and switched to take out and curb-side pick up because of the risks to staff and patrons, Iveson said. Because it's their choice to close and not an order in Alberta, they're not eligible for a top-up of the federal rent subsidy, Iveson said. "That represents an inequity and a concern for those businesses relative to other parts of the country — where with much lower infection rates than we've seen here, closure orders have come into place." Iveson said the city is going to see whether there's anything they can do to support the entrepreneurs who've chosen to close. Coun. Aaron Paquette said he's worried about businesses not being able to sustain themselves amid dwindling consumer confidence about safety. "I'm deeply concerned," Paquette said. "I'm actually horribly concerned that our economy is being driven into the ground and it will take much longer to recover through inaction." Paquette said Edmonton isn't generating enough revenue and the municipality needs help from the federal government. "I'm just wondering, is there some way that we can move forward, that we can actually help these businesses to shut down, in order to access federal funds?" Paquette asked. Laughlin said the city is reviewing the Municipal Government Act to weigh options of "certain industry closure, depending on what's appropriate." They haven't had enough time to assess the risks associated with that, Laughlin added. @natashariebe
ATLANTA — A panel of U.S. advisers will meet Tuesday to vote on how scarce, initial supplies of a COVID-19 vaccine will be given out once one has been approved. Experts have proposed giving the vaccine to health workers first. High priority also may be given to workers in essential industries, people with certain medical conditions and people age 65 and older. Tuesday's meeting is for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The panel of experts recommends who to vaccinate and when -- advice that the government almost always follows. The agenda for next week's emergency meeting was posted Friday. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have asked the Food and Drug Administration to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Moderna Inc. is expected to also seek emergency use of its vaccine soon. FDA's scientific advisers are holding a public meeting Dec. 10 to review Pfizer's request, and send a recommendation to the FDA. Manufacturers already have begun stockpiling coronavirus vaccine doses in anticipation of eventual approval, but the first shots will be in short supply and rationed. The Associated Press
The City of Calgary launched a buy local campaign last year to get more dollars flowing into local businesses and support the city's economic recovery.But in 2020, with the pandemic further impacting the bottom lines of businesses across the city, business owners say that message is more important than ever.Businesses can utilize the city's free toolkit, which includes marketing tips, print posters and other strategies intended to help get customers in the door.Natasha Qereshniku with the city's business and local economy team said the buy local campaign is aimed at creating more awareness around how to support small business.Qereshniku said that if Calgarians find a local option within their budget for a desired service or product, they should jump at it.Competing with big box storesWhitney Titheridge, owner of Crabapple Clothing Company in Marda Loop, said it hasn't been easy competing with big box store deals — but added she is doing her best."Honestly, as soon as we're on sale, we are no longer making money," Titheridge said. "So it's just something to try and drive traffic and then try to bring people in, and maybe they'll purchase some regular merchandise at the same time." Small businesses also have to cope with the latest COVID-19 health restrictions. Starting Friday, they are required to operate at 25 per cent capacity, which makes buying local crucial."Let's shout it from the rooftops," Titheridge said. "I do think people are listening. I just think we have to make it a priority." The city encourages customers to use the SupportLocalYYC hashtag throughout the holiday season to promote their favourite Calgary businesses and services.Calgary shopper Cam Collingwood said online shopping hasn't helped out many local businesses in recent years, adding that he thinks they need as much support as possible right now."It's those big brands that are offering those great discounts and whatnot," Collingwood said. "So I think it's important for people to not just focus on Black Friday, but go out before and after Black Friday to the local shops and get it done."Plan ahead — don't just get it done online last minute. Support the local shops."
Some online requests for COVID-19 tests got lost in the "technical glitch" involving fax machines that contributed to a backlog of requests, CBC News has learned."We are investigating and do no believe this is widespread," Public Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said in an emailed statement late Friday.It's unclear whether those affected will now drop to the bottom of the wait list.As of Friday at 4:30 p.m., the backlog stood at 690 people — 350 in the Saint John health region (Zone 2) and 340 in the Fredericton region, said Macfarlane.He did not say what the backlog was at its peak.The number of people self-isolating has reached 1,760 — 1,000 in the Saint John region, 386 in the Moncton region (Zone 1) and 377 in the Fredericton region. All three regions are in the orange phase of COVID-19 recovery.Contact tracing has established links between at least two of the regions, Macfarlane confirmed, without elaborating.He did not say how many of those in isolation are health-care workers, but there was "upwards of about 74" in the Saint John area alone on Thursday, Russell had said."Some" of the people isolating "may be waiting on their Day 10 test if they got caught in the fax backlog," said Macfarlane.New goal to clear backlogDr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, had hoped to have the backlog rectified by Friday, at the latest.Public Health now anticipates clearing the backlog by the end of the weekend, said Macfarlane.Processing capacity continues to be expanded, he said.Another testing queue has been established at the Capital Exhibit Centre in Fredericton, and another assessment site will be operating within the city limits "very shortly."In Saint John, an additional assessment site is now operating at St. James the Less Church, 1750 Rothesay Rd., and additional queues have been set up at the Ropewalk Road location.Why faxes are usedDuring Wednesday's COVID-19 news conference, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told reporters that a "technical glitch" earlier this week had delayed online test requests getting through to schedulers.On Thursday, Russell revealed that it "had to do with fax machines" in the Fredericton health region, Zone 3."My understanding is that's been resolved," she added.Asked for more information about the glitch, Macfarlane said only: "There was some backlog created by fax machine but largely was the result of an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing."The online registration forms for COVID-19 tests are received by the designated testing centres by fax, said Macfarlane.Asked why faxes are used, he replied: "With assessment centres being set up and taken down throughout the province on a as needed bases, fax machines have been used in this infrastructure due to their ease of mobility and for confidentiality."He did not elaborate. The Department of Health has electronic medical records. The transition program to an e-health system was implemented in 2012.Positivity rateNew Brunswick's COVID-19 positivity rate between Nov. 11 and Nov. 25 was 0.9 per cent, said Macfarlane.That means of the 690 backlogged, waiting to be tested, about six will likely test positive.By comparison, the national positivity rate is 3.1 per cent. Across Canada, 5,967 cases were reported Friday.