Emergency physician with the University Health Network in Toronto, Dr. David Carr says the modelling is alarming but not surprising and it could lead to physicians having to make life and death decisions for patients.
Emergency physician with the University Health Network in Toronto, Dr. David Carr says the modelling is alarming but not surprising and it could lead to physicians having to make life and death decisions for patients.
MIAMI — Phil Neville and David Beckham won Premier League championships together at Manchester United. They’re teaming up again with hopes of winning more trophies with Inter Miami. Neville was hired Monday as Inter Miami’s coach, reuniting with Beckham — a co-owner of the MLS club. Neville was released from his contract as coach of England’s women’s national team earlier Monday in anticipation of the move, and hours later the deal with Inter Miami was announced. “I have known Phil since we were both teenagers at the Manchester United Academy,” Beckham said. “We share a footballing DNA having been trained by some of the best leaders in the game, and it’s those values that I have always wanted running through our club.” Also Monday, Inter Miami said it hired Chris Henderson as chief soccer officer and sporting director. Henderson spent the last 13 seasons with the Seattle Sounders in a similar capacity, helping them win two MLS Cups. Beckham, part of Inter Miami’s ownership group and someone who spent several years trying to get MLS back in South Florida before the team finally got on the field for the first time in 2020, has deep and longstanding ties with Neville. They played 275 matches together and were teammates at Manchester United for more than a decade. They are also part of the ownership group for Salford City, a fourth-tier team in England. "This is a very young club with a lot of promise and upside, and I am committed to challenging myself, my players and everyone around me to grow and build a competitive soccer culture we can all be proud of,” Neville said. He will formally start at Inter Miami once he gets a work visa. Neville led England to the Women’s World Cup semifinals in 2019 and had said he was planning to keep that job until after the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics. But when the Inter Miami job opened earlier this month — the team called it a mutual agreement to part ways with Diego Alonso — speculation rapidly intensified that Neville was on his way. The hirings of Neville and Henderson are part of a major off-season makeover for Inter Miami following an inaugural season that resulted in a playoff berth but was still generally disappointing. Henderson is returning to the Miami market. He played for the Miami Fusion, South Florida’s first MLS team that folded after three seasons because of poor attendance, and called joining Beckham's club “an incredible opportunity." He replaces Paul McDonough, who stepped down last month. “I’m looking forward to joining Inter Miami’s journey and reconnecting with the fanbase in South Florida," Henderson said. Alonso got Inter Miami to the MLS Cup playoffs in 2020, marking the seventh time an MLS newcomer reached the post-season. But Inter Miami was routed by fellow expansion club Nashville in that playoff appearance, finished 10th in the Eastern Conference and wound up with 7 wins, 13 losses and 3 draws. “I am very happy with the leadership group we have established to lead the team as we turn the page following our inaugural season and look forward to having Chris and Phil join us soon," Beckham said. ___ AP Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris in London contributed. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press
Since the new build of the fire hall in 2018, there was never any signage put up, and it was naturally just called the fire hall, as essentially that’s what it is. However, when it comes to naming municipal-owned buildings, Administration recommended that they consider the potential usage and vision when giving a name. In essence, the name must suit the services being operated out of the building now and in the future. The building is jointly owned by the Town of Fox Creek and the MD of Greenview. The partnership is 50/50 as each contributed four million for the project in 2018. Therefore, Fox Creek Administration reached out to the Municipal District of Greenview for their views and ideas. The MD advised that all buildings similar in nature were named the Public Service Building within their district. Six name suggestions were brought forth to the Council for consideration. Three of those included the wording of public services, with the remaining focusing more on emergency or protective services. However, after much discussion during the January 11 council meeting, it was agreed, the wording of public service would not work for this particular building. The term public services are too open-ended and don’t offer a precise meaning for the building. Councillors voted unanimously to name the building Fox Creek Greenview Protective Services. The new name fits within the criteria that town administration and reflects services housed in the building now and in the future. Council was also presented with three variations for the new building signage’s layout and design. The decision was agreed to have a double-sided sign illuminated with floodlights, which would be placed nearer to the property line along Kaybob Drive. The sign is constructed of aluminum, has a woodgrain vinyl finish with white and green lettering, and displays the eight-point red maltese cross near the bottom. The sign itself will be 12 feet wide by six feet in height and be erected on four-foot posts. The sign project is approximately $25,000 and will come out of the General Reserve town funds. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
Notorious Halifax crime figure Jimmy Melvin Jr. has been declared a dangerous offender, meaning he will be locked up indefinitely. Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosinski handed down his decision Monday morning after months of delays caused by the pandemic and by Melvin's decision to fire a succession of lawyers along the way. Melvin, who has been held in various jails and prisons while he awaited sentencing, was convicted in October 2017 of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder for an attack on Terry Marriott Jr. in 2008. Marriott survived the plot against him, but he was killed a few months later. Melvin, 38, was charged with Marriott's murder, but was acquitted. The dangerous offender designation is not just for the attempted murder conviction; it also reflects a pattern of violent behaviour spanning more than two decades and culminating with an assault at the Renous maximum security prison in northern New Brunswick in September. That assault prompted Melvin's transfer to a super-maximum security prison north of Montreal. Nova Scotia prosecutors reopened their arguments on their dangerous offender application in November to provide Rosinski with details of the New Brunswick assault. In their sentencing arguments, the Crown laid out Melvin's history of violence. At one point, gangs led by members of the Melvin and Marriott families battled for control of the Halifax drug trade. Rosinski did not read his full decision on Monday; he just made the declaration of dangerous offender and approved a number of ancillary orders, including that Melvin's DNA be put in a national database and that he be banned from owning or possessing weapons for the rest of his life. Melvin's also banned from having any contact with witnesses and victims, including Joshua Preeper, the man he's accused of assaulting at Renous in September. While Melvin has made most of his previous court appearances via video from various prisons and jails, he was brought to court for the sentencing. The judge took about three minutes to read his bottom-line decision, then closed the court. "Is that it?" Melvin asked. 'His risk is high' Outside court his latest lawyer, Ray Kuszelewski, described it as "a very dark day indeed." Rick Woodburn was one of three Crown prosecutors who argued for the dangerous offender designation. "His risk is high and remains high until he receives the counselling and everything else that he needs in order to lower that risk, his risk to the public and to correctional officers," Woodburn said outside court. If things follow the usual pattern, the Parole Board of Canada will review Melvin's case in about seven years, to see whether he has made any progress on curbing his violent tendencies. If he hasn't, his case will be subject to regular reviews every two years after that. MORE TOP STORIES
Despite the pandemic, the 2020 camping season last year turned out to be quite good, with numbers showing more out-of-town visitors than it has in a long time. Both Glen and Wendy Larsen, operators for the campgrounds, wasted no time last season and began making changes. Improvements were made to the sites regarding clearing the deadfall throughout the campgrounds, and firewood shelters were added to the seasonal sites. Those who love to get on the water, canoes and paddleboats were also available for rent, which is something new that was offered at both lakes. The Larsen’s have grand visions for the campgrounds moving forward. So far, the duo has been on track with enhancements that, in turn, will bring out more visitors, whether camping or staying for the day. The latest change approved by Council is to create seasonal sites on the lakefront at Iosegun Lake. For-Site Environmental proposes converting the current day-use area beside the beach into four seasonal sites. These additional campsites will not impact the group use area, nor will it affect the public's picnic ability for the day. The day-use area will be moved from its current location by the tree line to the beach. A new firepit would also be included to make up for the one lost when the new campsites are constructed. Implementing the new changes will create four ideal locations for camping for those who like to be near the water and the trees. While also providing added security benefits to the beach area. A lot of vandalism to park property occurred in these areas last season, so adding in the camping sites acts as a deterrent for those who feel the need to cause property damage to the public areas. It’s a definite win-win for everyone. Another change at Iosegun Lake is the upgrade of the highly used bridge that joins the Spruce Loop to the beach. The stringers supporting the bridge are rotten, which poses a severe safety hazard for those walking on it. The plans this spring will include having the bridge replaced at the cost of $17,000, which would come out of the town's Parks and Campground Reserve. In addition to that would be replacing three outhouses, two at Iosegun and one at Smoke Lake, for an additional cost of $11,000. The total upset costs for all the enhancements would be in the neighbourhood of $30,000. In previous years, not many changes or repairs to the campgrounds were done, but that has now turned around as little by little, improvements are being done, beautifying the area and making it more enjoyable to camp and visit. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
At last week’s council meeting, the legion’s request for a decision by Council regarding having their signage added on the pillar was approved. The signage cost is $10,500 and will come out of the town’s approved capital sign budget. The legion’s new sign will be pinned to the backside of the 28-foot Multiplex LED sign located at the top of Kaybob Drive. It will consist of two cutout dibond figures with large wording above, stating Lest We Forget. Included will be a large poppy image placed within the lighting box on the town logo’s backside, so it too will be illuminated. There was initial apprehension in 2019 from Legion President Lisa Peterson concerning the town’s 28-foot pillar sign placement. However, after many discussions, it was mutually agreed upon by legion members and town council that the placement of the pillar along the edge of the Cenotaph grounds would be advantageous to both parties concerning utilization and visualization. Ideas for improving the cenotaph grounds have been in the works for many years. Part of that vision is to “transform the current grounds to have more of a visual impact and greater sense of pride for the veterans, the community and all those who visit, “ stated Peterson in an earlier interview. Legion members have had many lengthy discussions over the years about possibly redesigning the grounds to include a sidewalk lined with cement sandbags similar to the trenches, which would lead you to various areas of remembrance and reflection. Installation of the new signage will add to the legion’s sacred grounds’ overall appearance and another visual in which we remember our fallen soldiers. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
MADRID — After losing the Spanish Super Cup final, Barcelona is also in danger of losing Lionel Messi for an extended period after he hit an opponent toward the end of the match. Messi could be suspended for up to 12 games for the red card he received in the final minutes of his team’s 3-2 loss to Athletic Bilbao in Seville on Sunday. After passing the ball out to the left flank, Messi swung his right arm toward the head of Athletic forward Asier Villalibre as they ran forward toward the box. Villalibre immediately fell to the ground and Messi was given his first red card in 753 appearances for Barcelona. Referee Gil Manzano said in his match report that Messi hit his opponent with “excessive force” while the ball was not near him. The Spanish soccer federation’s competitions committee will decide on the charges against Messi, and the player’s eventual suspension could range from one to three matches or from four to 12 matches, depending on how severe the federation considers the incident. Barcelona was already preparing its defence regardless of the charges that would be presented by the federation against its player. If found guilty, Messi will be suspended for matches in the Spanish league or the Copa del Rey. Barcelona is in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey and trails Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid in the league. Messi was visibly frustrated as the match went on and Barcelona struggled to recover from its deficit against Athletic. The Catalan club twice relinquished leads, including conceding a 90th-minute equalizer scored by Villalibre. Antoine Griezmann scored both Barcelona goals, with Messi assisting in the first one. The defeat cost Barcelona a chance to end a title drought that has lingered from last season, the club’s first without a title since 2007-08. While it was Messi's first red card for his club, he has been sent off twice while playing for Argentina’s national team, including a few seconds into his debut in a friendly against Hungary in 2005. The other time was in the 2019 Copa America in a match against Chile. He was also sent off once while playing for Barcelona’s “B” team. Messi, who asked to leave the club in the off-season but had his request denied, is having an average season compared to previous years, having scored 14 goals in 22 matches with Barcelona. He was far from his best on Sunday despite helping set up the team's first goal. Messi had been doubtful to play in the final because of an unspecified fitness issue that had caused coach Ronald Koeman to leave him out of the semifinal against Real Sociedad on Wednesday, when Barcelona prevailed in a penalty shootout. Barcelona's next match is on Thursday at Cornellà in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive arm on Monday defended a decision to send a team of senior officials to Lisbon for a meeting with Portuguese government ministers, after two ministers tested positive for COVID-19 and a number of top officials went into isolation. Eight members of the European Commission paid a one-day visit to Lisbon Friday — as Portugal started a month-long lockdown — for meetings early in the country's six-month term as EU president nation, which began on Jan. 1. Portugal’s finance and labour ministers later tested positive for the virus, while three other ministers have gone into isolation after coming into contact with people who tested positive. Two EU commission vice-presidents and a commissioner are in quarantine. Asked why it was so important for the visit to go ahead, commission spokesman Eric Mamer said the decision to meet face to face rather than via videoconference — like most EU meetings over the past year — was “not taken lightly.” “It is the launch of an extremely important presidency. There are many, many files which need to be carried forward by the Portuguese presidency, and it was felt important to be able to hold in-person discussions on these different political files,” Mamer said. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said Wednesday that the pandemic is “at its most dangerous point” in the country and that the new lockdown would last at least a month. Staying at home is mandatory, including for work, and fines for not complying with rules such as to wear masks oiutdoors have doubled. Schools remain open, along with companies providing essential services. Mamer said the commission officials in quarantine would respect Belgium’s coronavirus rules and take a test on the seventh day after their return from Lisbon. In August, the EU’s chief trade negotiator, Commissioner Phil Hogan, had to resign after he admitted flaunting some measures during a summer stay in his native Ireland. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
Calling an emergency responder. Accessing an affordable housing unit. Children learning inside school buildings, not portables. Patients receiving care in a hospital room, not a hallway. The services delivered in cities are the heartbeat of safe and comfortable communities, ones that attract residents, jobs, and investment opportunities for municipal and regional development. Municipalities own 60 percent of Canada’s infrastructure, according to StatsCan, and bear the corresponding duty to maintain its state of good repair with limited resources. Peel’s cities rely on funding from higher levels of government to provide key services to residents, including local children’s aid societies, healthcare, schools, and social services. A tacit feature of funding to Peel is – no matter the party colours at Queen’s Park or Parliament Hill – the hyper-growth region is not getting its “fair share” of public dollars, despite the equal contribution of local income taxpayers. During the pandemic, the latest examples from Ottawa and Queen’s Park include the federal government’s initial decision to give Toronto $14 million for COVID-19 isolation centres and none to Peel, before local efforts to point out the higher infection rates in the region forced the feds to allocate $6.5 million to Peel. Queen’s Park, meanwhile, despite socio-economic conditions that drove higher case counts in Peel, gave Toronto 17 provincial testing centres, but funded only 4 in Peel, which advocates said was one of the reasons the viral spread was not properly contained in the hard hit region. “What the pandemic has done is put more of a spotlight on how we’re chronically underfunded,” said Regional Councillor Martin Medeiros, of Brampton. “The leader of any political party needs the 905 to win a majority, and we’ve delivered…But when it comes to getting love, we don’t get the love. Why is that?” Local leaders have struggled to glean an answer to this for more than three decades. But what was once a booming battle cry to put pressure on upper levels of government – most recently via a campaign called the Peel Fair Share Task Force – has been reduced like a diminuendo to a restless hum. Nine months shy of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in June 2019, Brampton councillors began making some noise through demands for increased funding to address its healthcare emergency. They highlighted the dangerous lack of hospital beds in the city, which has less than half the per capita number of Ontario overall. The city receives $1,000 less in funding for healthcare, per person, about half the provincial average. These inequities have been magnified during the pandemic. The region has had the highest infection rates in the province, and residents were put at increased risk because of the chronic failure of healthcare funding, which has left local hospitals particularly vulnerable to capacity issues. Prior to the pandemic, the three full-service hospitals in Mississauga and Brampton were already among the worst in Ontario for performance, with average wait times to be admitted between two-and-a-half and three times higher than the provincial target of 8 hours. As part of its 2020 budget asks, the City launched a “Fair Deal for Brampton” campaign for immediate funding to expand Peel Memorial hospital’s urgent care capabilities, fund the second phase of its build, and create a third healthcare facility. A city of about 650,000 residents, Brampton currently has only one full-service hospital, Brampton Civic, operated by the William Osler Health System. More than one-third of Brampton’s population has at least one chronic condition, and the City says it is projected to have the highest rate of dementia between 2015 and 2025. According to a 2014 study by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in collaboration with Peel Public Health, the region was headed for a rate of one in six people having diabetes by 2025, largely due to the significant South Asian-Canadian population, which suffers much higher rates of the disease than the general population. At the time, it was one in ten, as reported by Peel’s former medical officer of health in 2018. According to the City’s pre-pandemic data, the emergency department at Brampton Civic was equipped for 90,000 visits a year, but received about 130,000, while Peel Memorial is funded for 10,000 visits a year and received 75,000. Patient-loads have skyrocketed over the course of the pandemic. As of January 15, Osler’s system was treating 109 COVID-19 patients, where about nine weeks ago, patient transfers were triggered around the time when it was treating just 64 people. In October, Premier Doug Ford announced funding to support the addition of 766 beds for 32 hospitals in the province, including 46 at Etobicoke General Hospital, which is also in the Osler system, and 41 beds in Brampton, which has about 60 percent more residents than Etobicoke. The smaller community was also given two testing facilities through Osler during the first half of the pandemic, among the total of 17 in Toronto, while Brampton only had one. The apparent differential treatment between funding the two hospitals under Osler’s management is a snapshot of the issues facing Brampton as it seeks its fair share from the province, Councillor Medeiros said. “They gave [funding] to Etobicoke without any ties. Notwithstanding, it’s the Premier’s riding,” Medeiros said. “Yet, when the City of Brampton is looking for more investment in healthcare, and we're looking to complete the second phase of Peel Memorial Hospital, they say that there’s provincial legislation requirements that we give 20 to 30 percent as a contribution.” A lack of commensurate allocation by the Province and federal governments has also affected Peel’s $1-billion Housing Master Plan, which has not yet been fully funded. The plan seeks to create 280 emergency shelter beds and another 5,300 affordable housing units by 2034. As previously reported by The Pointer, the federal government’s commitment of $276.5 million is on top of the Region’s $333.5 million, which has been criticized by Peel social services staff as being “significantly and disproportionately high.” Regional Councillor Annette Groves, of Caledon, said that local taxes and development charges are not sufficient to support the wealth of services offered by Peel. “I don't think it has anything to do with the current government. I think that it’s been such a long, outstanding battle,” Groves told The Pointer. “The Province has given us some funding to help with the pandemic, and so has the federal government, but again, it’s still not enough because we’re so far behind in terms of, for example, affordable housing.” Both Queen’s Park and Ottawa are guilty of a form of hypocrisy. The federal government sets immigration targets for the whole country, 401,000 for 2021 and growing to 421,000 in 2023. But it does not establish a funding formula for those municipalities that willingly accommodate newcomers. Brampton, over the past two decades, has welcomed more immigrants per capita than any other large city in Canada, but the federal government does little to provide adequate services and infrastructure for the hyper-growth community that openly supports the country’s immigration policies through its growth planning. Queen’s Park, meanwhile, relies desperately on Peel to accommodate the province’s largest share of population growth, but continues to ignore the funding needs it creates through provincial growth legislation, known as the Places To Grow Act. While Mississauga and Brampton rapidly expand, schools, for example, are not brought on line fast enough by the Province, forcing the use of portables, which have become a common feature in Peel’s education landscape. GO services are also glaringly under-funded, as more and more commuters move into the region without proper transportation infrastructure. The list of inadequate funding commitments for Peel grows every year. On top of education and healthcare, affordable housing, transportation, public health, settlement support, legal aid, children’s aid and almost every other funding area are all under-funded in Peel. For example, despite skyrocketing demand, Mississauga’s legal aid clinic receives far less funding per capita than Toronto. In 2019 the co-executive director of the city’s legal aid clinic, Douglas Kwan, said it receives the second lowest funding per capita of all legal aid clinics in Ontario: the lowest – Brampton. Led by Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish, Peel revived efforts in its Fair Share for Peel coalition about four years ago to address its municipalities receiving less than half of the per capita rate of others in Ontario. In the fall of 2017, the Region organized a $90,000 conference with neighbouring municipalities, called the Summit 4 Fair Funding, to encourage a dialogue surrounding funding needs ahead of the 2018 provincial election. According to the Brampton Guardian, the summit was later cancelled after staff were not able to obtain transparent formulas as to how funding transfers were calculated from the provincial and federal governments. The effort followed years of pressure, culminating in an earlier effort in 2011 to assess underfunding and service delivery obstacles including those for seniors, people with disabilities, and victims of violence and abuse. As Peel braces for what February brings during the pandemic, the Region’s Governance Committee continues to advocate for government dollars. After almost a year of neglect, which contributed to Peel’s designation as a COVID-19 hot spot, and its placement in the current lockdown on November 23, the Ontario Ministry of Health recently agreed to a one-time funding disbursement of $14-million to Peel Public Health, to “support extraordinary costs associated with monitoring, detecting, and containing COVID-19 in the province.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
A woman involved in a fatal collision on Circle Drive last week says barriers separating lanes on the busy stretch of road might have saved the life of a 24-year-old woman. Nicole Gamble was on her way back to the Beardy's and Okemasis's Cree Nation with her husband Hilary when their vehicle was struck head on by a car that had travelled the wrong way into their lane. The woman driving that car died at the scene. Gamble's dealing with bumps and bruises all over and a shattered wrist, and says both she and her husband, who was driving, are feeling sore following the collision — one she says might have not ended in tragedy if something had been separating traffic. "Maybe if there was a barrier, that may have helped to save her life," Gamble said in a phone interview Sunday. What exactly happened on Circle Drive North on Friday that resulted in the collision, which took place between College and Attridge Drive, is still under investigation by the Saskatoon Police Service's collision analyst unit. But Gamble said while the crash appeared to happen in "slow motion," it took place in an instant. "I just looked up and I see the vehicle flying across the other side of the road," she said, as she was texting her children to let them know they were on the way home. "It jumped through the meridian … the little ditch thing, and it just came straight for us. I just remember closing my eyes. It happened so fast, I can still hear the metal crunching. I can't sleep at night thinking of it." She and her family have been smudging and praying for the young woman who lost her life, noting it was a life ended far too soon. "She was too young to go," Gamble said, the pain clear in her voice. "She was just a baby herself." Both her and her husband extend their condolences to the family who is mourning and want to thank those who helped them out of the wreck, which closed traffic for several hours as police responded. Ward 3 Councillor David Kirton campaigned on traffic safety during the recent municipal election. Kirton, who worked as a reporter before he was a city councillor, recalls covering serious collisions on this same stretch of road in the past. Now he hopes to raise the issue of barriers in the area with city administration to see if something can be done to make the stretch of road safer. Kirton says the fact the road has seen more than one serious collision should be enough for the city to take action, without having to do a number of studies to find out the area is dangerous. "We have our own statistical information that this happens, and obviously, it's happened a number of times too many when we have, not just one, but more than one loss of life over the last number of years," he said. "I would love to be able to talk to administration and see if there might be a way that we can get past our mind sometimes, on studies and statistics, and think about, well I guess, the reality that is out there — and that reality took a tragic turn on Friday," he said. When CBC reached out to the City of Saskatoon for a response to the concerns, a city representative pointed to a post on the city's official Twitter account where it indicated it's aware of the incident, noting that sections of Circle Drive "have been identified to receive safety barriers from the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program."
SUDBURY, Ont. — A class has been sent home from a Sudbury, Ont., elementary school following a confirmed case of COVID-19. Parents of a senior kindergarten/Grade 1 class at St. David's Catholic elementary school were told their children should stay home. Director of Education Joanne Benard says in a letter issued to parents on Sunday that the person with the confirmed case of the novel coronavirus is self-isolating. She says public health officials will notify the parents of anyone considered a close contact. Benard also says all students in the class should self-isolate until Jan. 29 and get tested for the virus as soon as possible. She says "it's understandable that this situation may make caregivers anxious" and says parents of children in other classes should notify the school if they choose to keep their youngsters at home. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
Public Health reported 26 new cases of COVID-19, affecting five zones, on Monday and 304 active cases across the province. The department did not hold a public update, but the new cases break down as follows: Moncton region, Zone 1, seven cases: three people 30-39 three people 40-49 an individual 60-69 Saint John region, Zone 2, nine cases: three people 19 or under two people 20-29 two people 30-39 two people 60-69 Fredericton region, Zone 3, seven cases: two people 19 or under two people 30-39 two people 40-49 an individual 60-69 Edmundston region, Zone 4, two cases: an individual 20-29; and an individual 60-69. Bathurst region, Zone 6, one case: an individual 50-59. All of these people are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation. One person is in hospital, and 174,195 tests have been conducted, including 1,487 since Sunday's report. As of Monday, Public Health has received 11,175 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and administered 7,732 doses, with 3,443 held for the second of two required doses. A total of 1,862 New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated so far. In a news release Monday afternoon, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, warned that although New Brunswick cannot shut COVID-19 out completely, "we must do everything we can to prevent it from spreading within our province." "We have kept the avalanche of cases out of New Brunswick so far. We must act now to keep this virus from doing even more damage than we are already seeing, especially with transmission now in workplaces." 20 cases linked to Nadeau poultry plant The Nadeau Ferme Avicole slaughterhouse in Saint-François-de-Madawaska has closed its plant until at least Friday because of a COVID-19 outbreak, director Yves Landry said Monday. New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer of Health Jennifer Russell confirmed that at least 20 cases are linked to the abattoir outbreak, according to Radio-Canada. Landry said he is aware of 16 confirmed cases at the plant, and the other four cases are connected to those individuals. Most workers at Nadeau Ferme Avicole come from the Edmundston and Clair region in New Brunswick, with about 25 workers coming from Quebec and two from Maine, Landry said. The plant is minutes from the New Brunswick-Maine border. A first mass screening at the plant was carried out on Friday and another clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, Landry said. The closure will make it possible to carry out a thorough cleaning of the installations and to complete the search for close contacts. Landry said poultry destined for the slaughterhouse in Saint-François-de-Madawaska will be redistributed in other slaughterhouses, including that of Sunnymel in Clair, but also in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. In December, the two New Brunswick slaughterhouses processed chicken following the closure of a plant in Nova Scotia battling a COVID-19 outbreak. Quebec league postpones regular season games The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced the postponement of regular season games on Monday, a decision it says it made after meetings with government and public health officials of the three provinces of the Maritimes Division. "The league will continue its constructive dialogue with the three provinces to resume playing as soon as possible," it said in a news release Monday, adding that an updated schedule would be published by the end of the week. Postponed games for New Brunswick teams are as follows: Halifax at Moncton, Jan. 22, 7 p.m. Acadie-Bathurst at Saint John, Jan. 22, 7 p.m. Acadie-Bathurst at Halifax, Jan. 23, 7 p.m. Moncton at Saint John, Jan. 23, 7 p.m. Tracking active cases by zones The following chart shows the active case rates and total case rates for each of the province's seven zones, based on population numbers provided by the Department of Health and on current case counts. Region Population Active cases Active case rate* Cases to date Rate of cases to date* Moncton 222,694 69 31 239 107.3 Saint John 176,280 62 35.2 200 113.5 Fredericton 183,421 59 32.2 215 117.2 Edmundston 48,254 76 157.5 115 238.3 Campbellton 25,199 30 119.1 176 698.4 Bathurst 78,858 8 10.1 22 27.9 Miramichi 42,121 0 0 6 14.2 *per 100,000 population At-home learning day for Moncton schools on Tuesday Tuesday will be an at-home learning day for students at Edith Cavell, T.E.S.S (Therapeutic Education Support Site) and Caledonia Regional High School students, the Anglophone East School District announced in a tweet Monday evening. Earlier Tuesday, the Anglophone South School District reported a case of COVID-19 at a school in Quispamsis. In an email to parents, superintendent Zoe Watson said a case has been confirmed at Quispamsis Middle School. Watson said the district is working with Public Health to contact students who may have come in contact with the infected individual. She said if parents weren't contacted directly, it is safe to send their children to school. On Thursday, a case was reported at Kennebecasis Valley High School, which is also in Quispamsis. Four other schools in the province confirmed COVID-19 cases over the weekend. This includes two more schools in the Anglophone South School District, Belleisle Elementary School in Springfield and Millidgeville North School in Saint John. Two schools in the Anglophone East School District have also announced confirmed cases: Riverview East School and Caledonia Regional High School in Hillsborough. When will Air Canada service return? It's complicated A former executive says it may be a while before Air Canada service resumes at the Fredericton airport. Last week, the airline announced service to Fredericton would be temporarily suspended starting this week Duncan Dee, former chief operating officer of Air Canada, said Monday that with travel restrictions put in place by the federal government, vaccine delays and several health zones in the province either returning to red or on the cusp of it, flying into New Brunswick isn't an easy sell. "The situation is certainly far from ideal for a return to air service into Fredericton," Dee said on Information Morning Fredericton. Even if the pandemic were to end tomorrow, Dee said, service wouldn't be able to start up again immediately. "Aircraft that have been sitting around and not flying, not being operated for some time, have to undergo maintenance and safety checks before they can return to service and that takes time," he said. As well, he said, pilots who are not flying a minimum number of takeoffs and landings a month have to undergo training to get back to service, and airport staff may have had their security clearances expire while they were off work. "Those have to be renewed," Dee said. Currently, the only airport in the province seeing any Air Canada flights is the Moncton airport. Dee said the airline will probably evaluate a return to Saint John and Fredericton based on how well flights in Moncton do. "If they look at the situation and see that they're able to serve the New Brunswick market through just the one airport in Moncton, then they're going to have to seriously consider whether or not it's worth the expense of opening up service in Saint John and Fredericton again," said Dee. COVID-19 numbers increase over weekend Public Health reported 63 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, including a single-day record of 36 cases on Sunday. Thirty-one cases were recorded in Zone 4, the Edmundston region, with 11 of them linked to an outbreak at Nadeau Poultry in Saint-François de Madawaska. The increase forced the province to move Zone 4 back to the red phase, with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell warning that more regions could be moved back as well if the record trend doesn't reverse. "We're at the maximum of what we can deal with in the short term," she said at a media briefing on Sunday. As of Sunday, there were 292 active cases in the province with one person in hospital. Saint Johner in China says it's mostly back to normal A Saint Johner living in China says life has basically returned to normal in the world's most populous country and the first to report cases of COVID-19 more than a year ago. "Aside from everybody still wearing masks, which is mostly voluntary at this point," said Samantha Kim Dean, who lives in Chongqing, about 1,100 kilometres northwest of Hong Kong. COVID-19 was first detected in China in late 2019. This eventually led to a national lockdown that lasted months. Things have changed a lot since then, "Everything's open," Dean said. "All the kids are back to school, they've been back for a while. Movie theatres are open. Restaurants are in full swing. So we're pretty much back to normal where I am." That's not to say the virus is gone in China. There have been several smaller outbreaks of COVID-19 recently in the northeast of the country and China's National Health Commission said Friday that 1,001 people were being treated for COVID-19. Part of China's success with tackling the coronavirus may be related to its totalitarian form of government, which can quickly and forcefully react to the disease. "They're pretty quick with cracking down on it," said Dean. "The contact tracing is extremely fast and everybody gets free testing done. So, yeah, they're pretty fast at containing any small breakouts that happen." Dean said the Communist country has higher rates of compliance with government orders but also has a more collective mindset. "Overall, it was this, sort of, you know, 'we're in this together. If we all do what we're supposed to do now, then we'll be free soon,' which is kind of what happens," said Dean. She said if she could give one piece of advice to New Brunswickers it would be to wear masks. "I know it's a huge nuisance and some people don't think it works," Dean said. "And there's a bunch of debates within, you know, different communities online and things like that. But it seems to work. And if we find out in 10 years that it didn't work, then, you know, that's not a huge inconvenience to wear it." New public exposure warnings issued Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on the following flights: Dec. 31 – Air Canada Flight 8910 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 11:23 a.m. Jan. 3 – Air Canada Flight 8910 from Toronto to Moncton, arrived at 11:23 a.m. Public Health has also issued the following potential COVID-19 exposure warnings: Moncton region: Moncton North After Hours Medical Clinic, 1633 Mountain Rd., on Jan. 14 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Edmundston region: Jean Coutu Kim Levesque-Cote Pharmacy, 276 Broadway Blvd., Grand Falls, on Jan. 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Parts for Trucks,21 Powers Rd., Grand Falls, on Jan. 11, 12 and 14 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
"Alexei Navalny's ideas and hopes for his country come before his own personal ambitions and safety," Red Notice author Bill Browder told Euronews.View on euronews
MANILA, Philippines — Coronavirus infections in the Philippines have surged past 500,000 in a new bleak milestone with the government facing criticism for failing to immediately launch a vaccination program amid a global scramble for COVID-19 vaccines. The Department of Health reported 1,895 new infections Sunday, bringing confirmed coronavirus cases in the country to 500,577, the second highest in Southeast Asia. There have been at least 9,895 deaths. The Philippines has been negotiating with seven Western and Chinese companies to secure 148 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine but the effort has been fraught with uncertainties and confusion. About 50,000 doses from China-based Sinovac Biotech Ltd. may arrive later next month followed by much larger shipments, according to the government, but concerns have been raised over its efficacy. President Rodrigo Duterte says securing the vaccines has been difficult because wealthy nations have secured massive doses for their citizens first. Duterte’s elite guards have acknowledged they have been inoculated with a still-unauthorized COVID-19 vaccine partly to ensure that they would not infect the 75-year-old president. Duterte’s spokesman and other officials have denied the president himself was vaccinated. A flurry of criticism has followed the illegal vaccinations, but few details have been released, including which vaccine was used and how the guards obtained it. Some senators moved to investigate, but Duterte ordered his guards not to appear before the Senate. In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region: — Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowed Monday to get the pandemic under control and hold the already postponed Olympics this summer with ample coronavirus protection. In a speech opening a new parliament session, Suga said his government will revise laws to make anti-virus measures enforceable with penalties and compensation. Early in the pandemic, Japan was able to keep its virus caseload manageable with non-binding requests for businesses to close or operate with social distancing and for people to stay home. But recent weeks have seen several highs in new cases per day, in part blamed on eased attitudes toward the anti-virus measures, and doubts are growing as more-contagious variants spread while people wait for vaccines and the Olympics draw closer. The health ministry also reported Monday that three people who have no record of recent overseas travel had tested positive for the new, more easily transmitted coronavirus variant first reported in Britain, suggesting that it is making its way in Japan. Suga said his government aims to start vaccinations as early as late February. Japan has confirmed more than 330,000 infections and 4,500 deaths from COVID-19, numbers that have surged recently though they are still far smaller than many other countries of its size. — A Chinese province grappling with a spike in coronavirus cases is reinstating tight restrictions on weddings, funerals and other family gatherings, threatening violators with criminal charges. The notice from the high court in Hebei province did not give specifics, but said all types of social gatherings were now being regulated to prevent further spread of the virus. Hebei has had one of China’s most serious outbreaks in months that comes amid measures to curb the further spread during February’s Lunar New Year holiday. Authorities have called on citizens not to travel, ordered schools closed a week early and conducted testing on a massive scale. Hebei recorded another 54 cases over the previous 24 hours, the National Health Commission said on Monday, while the northern province of Jilin reported 30 cases and Heilongjiang further north reported seven. Beijing had two new cases and most buildings and housing compounds now require proof of a negative coronavirus test for entry. — Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has unveiled a new 15 billion ringgit ($3.7 billion) stimulus to bolster consumption, with the economy expected to reel from a second coronavirus lockdown and an emergency declaration. Muhyiddin obtained royal consent last week to declare a coronavirus emergency, slammed by critics as a desperate bid to cling to power amid defections from his ruling coalition. The emergency, expected to last until Aug. 1, doesn’t involve any curfew or military intervention but suspends Parliament, halts any election and gives Muhyiddin’s government absolute power, including in introducing new laws. It came at the same time as millions in Kuala Lumpur and several high-risk states were placed under a two-week lockdown to halt a surge in coronavirus cases. Muhyiddin on Monday acknowledged concerns over the emergency but repeated that it was only aimed at curbing the coronavirus. He said the economic impact from the lockdown will be manageable because more activities are being allowed this time. He said the stimulus will provide more funds to battle the pandemic and support livelihoods and businesses. A businessman has filed a lawsuit challenging the emergency declaration and the opposition plans to appeal to the king to rescind his support. Malaysia has recorded more than 158,000 coronavirus cases, including 601 deaths. — Nepal’s health ministry says the country's first cases of the new, more infectious coronavirus variant first found in the United Kingdom have been confirmed in three people who arrived from the U.K. The ministry said Monday that samples from six people who arrived in Nepal last week were sent to a laboratory in Hong Kong with the help of the World Health Organization. Three of the people — two men and a woman — tested positive for the new variant, it said. Two have recovered and one is still sick, the ministry said. Nepal has recorded 267,322 coronavirus cases, including 1,959 deaths. The Associated Press
MAMUJU, Indonesia — Aid was reaching the thousands of people left homeless and struggling after an earthquake that killed at least 84 people on an Indonesian island where rescuers intensified their work Monday to find those buried in the rubble. More rescuers and volunteers were deployed in the hardest-hit city of Mamuju and the neighbouring district of Majene on Sulawesi island, where the magnitude 6.2 quake struck early Friday, said Raditya Jati, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency’s spokesperson. He said nearly 20,000 survivors were moved to shelters and more than 900 people were injured, with nearly 300 of them still receiving treatment for serious injuries. A total of 73 people died in Mamuju and 11 in Majene, said Didi Hamzar, the disaster agency's director of preparedness. He said rescuers also managed to pull 18 people alive from the rubble of a collapsed houses and buildings. Mahatir, a relief co-ordinator for volunteer rescuers, said his team was trying to reach many people in six isolated villages in Majene district after the quake damaged roads and bridges. Aid and other logistic supplies can be distributed only by foot over the severe terrain, said Mahatir who goes by one name. In a virtual news conference, Hamzar said that three helicopters were taking aid supplies Monday to four cut-off villages in Majene. In other hard hit areas. water, which has been in short supply, as well as food and medical supplies were being distributed from trucks. The military said it sent five planes carrying rescue personnel, food, medicine, blankets, field tents and water tankers. Volunteers and rescue personnel erected more temporary shelters for those left homeless in Mamuju and Majene. Most were barely protected by makeshift shelters that were lashed by heavy monsoon downpours. Only a few were lucky to be protected by tarpaulin-covered tents. They said they were running low on food, blankets and other aid, as emergency supplies were rushed to the hard-hit region. Police and soldiers were deployed to guard vehicles carrying relief goods and grocery stores from looting that occurred in some areas, said Muhammad Helmi, who heads the West Sulawesi police’s operation unit. Jati said at least 1,150 houses in Majene were damaged and the agency was still collecting data on damaged houses and buildings in Mamuju. Mamuju, the provincial capital of nearly 300,000 people, was strewn with debris from collapsed buildings. The governor’s office building was almost flattened and a shopping mall was reduced to a crumpled hulk. The disaster agency said the evacuees are in dire need of basic necessities — blankets, mats, tents, baby food and medical services. The disaster agency’s chief, Doni Monardo, said authorities were trying to separate high- and lower-risk groups and provided tens of thousands of anti-coronavirus masks for those needing shelters. He said authorities would also set up health posts at the camps to test people for the virus. People being housed in temporary shelters were seen standing close together, many of them without masks, saying that they difficult to observe health protocols in this emergency situation. West Sulawesi province has recorded more than 2,500 cases of the coronavirus, including 58 deaths. Indonesia has confirmed nearly 908,000 cases and almost 26,000 fatalities. Many on Sulawesi island are still haunted by a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that devastated Palu city in 2018, setting of a tsunami and a phenomenon called liquefaction in which soil collapses into itself. More than 4,000 people were killed, including many who were buried when whole neighbourhoods were swallowed in the falling ground. Indonesia, home to more than 260 million people, is lined with seismic faults and is frequently hit by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. A magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra in 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries. ____ Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia. Niniek Karmini And Yusuf Wahil, The Associated Press
The McKellar council says it supports the upgrade of unassumed roads within the township. Here are five quotes that capture the discussion from the Jan. 12 council meeting: 1. “This is simply formalizing the process that we did last year, and of course, the word unassumed roads means municipally owned unassumed roads — these are not private roads,” said Coun. Don Carmichael. “We’ve already done Bailey’s (subdivision) and Craigmoore is scheduled for the spring.” 2. “Somebody argued, ‘Why should the municipality put any money on these roads?’ Well, it is the betterment of the township overall in the long run,” said Coun. Morely Haskim. “Somebody argued, ‘It doesn’t affect the vast majority,’ but it does, if you have a subdivision like that and all of a sudden they’re selling as a township-owned, maintained year-round road those properties are going to sell for more than a road that is not maintained by the municipality.” 3. “The resolution seemed a little bit too open-ended, I just thought that maybe it should be more specific regarding which roads that this focusing is going to be on … some type of report from the public works superintendent in regard to what this entails,” said Coun. Mike Kekkonen. 4. “As they get approval by the owners, we have a staff agreement/contract ready, then they can start to be moved forward. There’s not that many but it’s going to take time to get them all,” said McKellar’s Mayor Peter Hopkins. “So there’s a timeline, an open-ended one, to get the agreements in place.” 5. “This is supplementary to the roads policy we approved … it’s a policy that talks about the fact that we have legal liability on municipally owned roads even if we don’t assume it — that’s been clearly demonstrated in the courts so that’s part of the reason why we’re actually interested in doing this,” said Carmichael. According to a report submitted to council, featured in the Dec. 8, 2020 agenda package, the 2020 approved capital budget for the Bailey’s subdivision project was $83,360. The report given by Greg Gostick, road superintendent, states that the total cost for the project, excluding municipal staff time, was $76,867.31 and the cost of staff time to complete the project $14,824.91, bringing the total cost to $91,692.22. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
Leon Draisaitl offers his condolences to defencemen on the other six Canadian teams forced to contend with the foot speed of Connor McDavid this shortened NHL season. "It's so hard to defend," Draisaitl says of the Edmonton Oilers captain's burst up ice. "I wouldn't want to be that guy standing at the blue-line with him coming 1,000 miles an hour at me. He just has that gift that no one else has." Whether it be in practice or in games, Draisaitl and the Oilers routinely witness the magic of McDavid's gifts. At six-foot-three, 193 pounds, McDavid skates fast enough to garner speeding tickets in school zones. His drive to the net is relentless. His playmaking abilities sublime. WATCH | Ranking the North division: At age 24, the Richmond Hill, Ont., native is determined improve his game this season, if that's even possible for a player with 164 goals and 474 points in his first 354 NHL appearances. On the eve of training camp, McDavid told reporters that his team must do a better job of keeping the puck out of the Edmonton net. "No one's hiding their head in the sand here," he said at the time. "Everyone understands where we're at." And he plans to lead by example in that regard. "Offensively, I think I check off most of the boxes," he said. "Defensively is where it's at. It's the little things: stopping on pucks, winning battles, hounding pucks on the forecheck. Getting involved in battles and winning faceoffs. "It's just rounding out that game and being solid all over the ice." Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada's seven NHL teams are playing only one another during the 56-game campaign. Treating the fans As such, Canadian hockey fans are in for a treat with McDavid on their tablets, smartphones, and televisions all season long — with many of his games in primetime for those in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. "We're all a little bit more careful against McDavid," said Montreal centre Phillip Danault. "We all know the speed he's got, his quick hands, quick edges. "I don't know how he changes directions like that, but that's one of his strengths." McDavid's many strengths took over the game last Thursday in a 5-2 victory for the Edmonton Oilers over the Vancouver Canucks. The captain dominated with a hat trick and four points. "He was exceptional," said Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green. "One of the best players in the world." With a game plan designed to minimize the damage inflicted by No. 97, the Canadiens limited McDavid to a lone assist Saturday night and, not coincidentally, beat the Oilers 5-1. WATCH | Connor McDavid dominates the Canucks: Leading the charge With the Canadiens up 1-0 in the first period, McDavid stripped the puck from Montreal forward Tyler Toffoli and roared up the ice on a breakaway. Montreal goalie Carey Price slammed his pads shut just in time. "You want to play against the best players in the world," Price says. "Connor, in my opinion, is the best player in the world. "He's so talented, and with his speed and his hands and his vision, it's a pleasure to share the ice with him." The question of who shares the ice with McDavid — on the home side — will no doubt dominate workday chats around the virtual water cooler this week in the Alberta capital. On Saturday, McDavid's linemate Zack Kassian missed the game due to the birth of his daughter Olivia. And the Canadiens were the more rested team. Still, Edmonton's depth looked shaky, especially in comparison to Montreal's contributions from all four lines and the back end. "They were definitely quicker than us," McDavid said. "They got the jump on us early and Price was solid all over. "Playing three games in three-and-half-days is a lot coming out the gate. But not making any excuses for ourselves. We have to be better. We have to win more battles." Rest assured; the captain will lead the charge.
A provincial review of post-secondary institutions is raising questions about whether Red Deer and Grande Prairie Regional colleges will transition into universities as planned. Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides said the decisions are under review as external consultants McKinsey and Company evaluate how post-secondary education is offered across Alberta. "Whether or not they need to become a university I think is a question that's still ongoing," Nicolaides said in an interview with CBC last week. The transformations would be expensive and require changes to the colleges' governance structures, he said. The schools do not need to be classified as universities to be able to grant degrees for programs that Nicolaides approves. It's a departure from the celebratory mood in 2018 when both colleges announced the former NDP government had granted them permission to make the transition. The former Grande Prairie Regional College president called the announcement the proudest moment in his career. Red Deer College hired consultants, sought feedback from hundreds of people, and announced in 2019 it would eventually rebrand itself as Red Deer University. But as part of a provincial review of the province's 26 post-secondary institutions, McKinsey is recommending the government consider creating superboards to oversee multiple institutions. Nicolaides likes the idea. He says he'd like the future oversight bodies to find more ways for polytechnics, colleges and universities to work together, and flag unnecessary duplications in the system. They should not add extra layers of bureaucracy, he says. Amalgamating any schools is also a "no-go" in his mind. That could damage relationships with alumni and donors. "It has to be done in a way that maintains strong institutional identity, maintains the connection to the community, and allows them to continue to build those important partnerships," Nicolaides said. Although the government initially asked the contractor to study the viability of institutions, Nicolaides said shuttering any schools is not the goal. However, he said he's not convinced the colleges in Grande Prairie and Red Deer need to be universities to best serve their communities. Red Deer College (RDC) is looking at adopting a "polytechnic university" model, he said, to retain trade and apprenticeship programs in demand by local employers. "If it did transition to a full research intensive university with graduate programs, you may shed some of those programs that are needed by the local community, so I think we have to find the right balance," Nicolaides said. Instructor sees 'brain drain' from Grande Prairie region Administrators at both colleges declined interview requests. In a written statement, RDC president Peter Nunoda said he is awaiting the outcome of the McKinsey review, which is expected to be released in the summer. "While work continues in our institution behind-the-scenes on program development and other matters relating to our institution's future, we are awaiting the outcomes identified in the Alberta 2030 post-secondary system review to further establish our future direction," the statement said. The college offers two degree programs, which are a bachelors of applied arts in animation and visual effects and a bachelor of applied arts in film production. The college has applied to the advanced education ministry for approval of five more bachelors' degree programs, including a bachelor of science in biological sciences, bachelors of science and arts degrees in psychology, bachelor of education and a bachelor of business administration. Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) CEO Robert Murray said in a written statement the college is still developing proposals for degree-granting programs while the provincial review continues. Ali Al-Asadi, president of the academic staff association at GPRC, said the name and status of the school is less important than its ability to grant degrees. The college had been offering some degree programs in partnership with other institutions. But psychology instructor Al-Asadi said government funding reductions have led some of those other schools to cancel the partnerships, and the college had to end some degree programs. Every time a student leaves northwestern Alberta for university or enrols in another institution online, money leaves the community, he said. He calls it a brain drain. "When a student leaves, very few of them come back." NDP advanced education critic David Eggen said his former government wanted universities in Grande Prairie and Red Deer to help diversify the economies of those communities and give students more educational options near their homes. The closest universities for Grande Prairie students are about 450 kilometres away in Edmonton. Giving the colleges a pathway to become universities was a sign of respect, he said. For the government to consider withdrawing that permission is disturbing, he said. "I think that it's a mistake. "I think that this government clearly does not value post-secondary education." McKinsey is contracted until the end of March to evaluate Alberta's system, highlight best practices from other jurisdictions and propose possible reforms. The government has committed to releasing a plan for the next decade this summer.
For the last four years, the Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Care Centre in Botwood has been without 24-hour emergency services. Just prior to the 2019 provincial election, then-premier Dwight Ball pledged to bring those services back to the hospital in the fall of 2020 once a protective care unit was finished. According to Exploits MHA Pleaman Forsey, the time has come for the Liberal government to come through on its promises. “We are left with a commitment from the Liberal minister of health to review the service after the long-term care facility was finished in Botwood,” Forsey said in a prepared statement this week. “That’s not good enough.” The provincial government stripped the hospital of the service in 2016 in a move by Central Health to reduce its operating budget. An analysis completed by the Department of Health in 2018 indicated patient data supported the decision. Forsey recently sent an email to Central Health about the issue and was told the new health unit is expected to be in use by the end of this month. “This creates added stress to the residents of the Exploits district,” Forsey said of not having 24-hour emergency services. The provincial government's department of health and community services said in a statement the work on the protective unit was nearing completion and the matter of returning to 24-hour service will be looked at when it is done. "Following the completion of construction, the demand and the staffing will be examined to see whether or not there is a need to change the way emergency services are provided to the people in Botwood," wrote a spokesperson for the department. On several occasions since Ball pledged the return of 24-hour emergency services, the Botwood council has written to Gander MHA John Haggie, the minister of health and community services, regarding the status of emergency services at the hospital. Botwood Mayor Scott Sceviour said responses the town has received have not indicated if or when any announcement will be made about the return of regular emergency services. At the time, the town was caught off guard by the decision to alter the emergency services at the hospital. It was expected to help save money, but the mayor says little money has been saved by the decision. “There was no justification for it,” he said. “It was a surprise to all of us.” Now that the area MHA has brought the issue to the forefront again, Sceviour said the town will write to Premier Andrew Furey about the commitments of his predecessor and bring him up to speed on the situation. Botwood is scheduled to have a council meeting this week, where the issue will be on the agenda. “We are going to hold this government to the promise,” said Sceviour. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
P.E.I. is reporting four new unrelated cases of COVID-19 as of Monday. Island dentists are offering their expertise as the province ramps up and rolls out COVID-19 vaccinations. As the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 on P.E.I. continues to climb, some Islanders who are living with underlying health conditions say they've been left wondering when their shots will come. P.E.I. gymnasts got their first chance to compete in almost a year over the weekend. The City of Charlottetown has received a request from local business groups to put a freeze on parking fees. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. is 108, with 10 still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. New Brunswick announced 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. There are now 304 active cases in the province. Nova Scotia reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, marking the second day this month that zero new cases were announced. Also in the news Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park in Brookvale, P.E.I., has opened after delays due to a lack of snow. COVID-19 health measures will be in place for skiers, such as mandatory face coverings and physical distancing at the lifts. Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
NASHVILLE — As their state faced one of its toughest months of the pandemic, Tennesseans watched Gov. Bill Lee’s rare primetime address to see whether new public restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus might be coming. It was late December, and the state’s hospitals were bursting at the seams with virus patients. Spiraling caseloads placed Tennessee among the worst states in the nation per capita, medical experts were warning that the health care system could not survive another coronavirus spike, and Lee had been affected personally -- his wife had the virus and the governor himself was in quarantine. If ever there was a juncture to change course, the speech seemed like the time and place. But as he stood before the camera, the businessman-turned-politician declined to implement recommendations from the experts, instead announcing a soft limit on public gatherings while stressing once again that stopping the spread of COVID-19 was a matter of personal responsibility. Lee’s decision to stick to his approach has dismayed critics who say the state's situation would not be so dire if he had placed more faith in the government’s role in keeping people safe -- criticism he pushes back against as he keeps businesses open. The first term governor’s response has largely been in step with Republican governors in other states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma, which along with Tennessee have ranked among the worst in the country as case numbers, deaths and hospitalizations increase while the governors rebuff calls for new restrictions. As of Friday, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported 1,236 new confirmed cases per 100,000 people in Tennessee over the past two weeks, which ranks eighth in the country. One in every 187 people in Tennessee tested positive in the past week. “We don’t have to be here. We don’t have to continue this trend. We can do something about it,” Dr. Diana Sepehri-Harvey, a Franklin primary care physician told reporters in a video conference Tuesday. Lee, whose office declined a request for an interview for this article, has rejected claims he hasn’t done enough, countering that he aggressively pushed for more expansive COVID-19 testing throughout the state during the early stages of the pandemic and arguing that sweeping mask requirements have become too political to become effective. He says decisions about masks are best left to local jurisdictions, some of which have imposed them in Tennessee, particularly in more populated areas. According to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, about 69% of Tennesseans — but fewer than 30 of 95 counties — are under a face mask requirement. Those researchers found that counties that don’t require wearing masks in public are averaging COVID-19 death rates double or more compared with those that instituted mandates. Dr. Donna Perlin, a Nashville-based pediatric emergency medicine physician, sees mask-wearing and other precautions as basic government safety measures. “Just as we have requirements to stop at red lights, or for children to wear seatbelts, or bans on smoking at schools, so too must we require masks, because the refusal to wear masks is endangering our children and their families,” she wrote in a recent editorial. Despite the criticism, Lee hasn’t wavered from his vow never to close down restaurants, bars and retail stores after Tennessee became one of the first states in the country to lift businesses restrictions last year. He also has long advocated for schools to continue in-person learning and has sent school districts protective equipment for teachers and staffers. The governor is quick to point out the state’s swift COVID-19 vaccine rollout, praising Tennessee for being among the country’s leaders in distributing the immunizations. “In addition to creating a strong infrastructure for distribution, we’re currently one of the top states in the nation for total doses administered, vaccinating more than 150,000 Tennesseans in just two weeks,” Lee said in a statement earlier this month, omitting that the state’s initial goal to vaccinate 200,000 residents got delayed because of shipping issues. The CDC reports that 3.7% of Tennessee’s population has been vaccinated, with more than 251,000 shots administered to date — making it among the top 10 states for administration rates. But community leaders and Democratic lawmakers have tried in vain to appeal to the governor in their campaign for a mask mandate and other public health regulations. “What we are doing now is NOT working!” Democratic state Sen. Raumesh Akbari tweeted. “We need a mask mandate, increased testing and contact tracing, and need to consider some business closures. Our hospitals are at the brink! We must act to save lives!” Some have even appealed to Lee's Christian faith, which he regularly touted on the campaign trail and references while governing. “Wearing a mask is loving your neighbour, and taking care of yourself as a Temple of the Holy Spirit,” the Rev. Jo Ann Barker recently wrote to Lee, speaking for the nonpartisan Southern Christian Coalition. “A statewide mask mandate is caring for the community God gives you to care for. If that isn’t important to you, Governor Lee, then what is?” ___ Associated Press writers Jonathan Mattise and Travis Loller contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. Kimberlee Kruesi, The Associated Press