Snow covers the trail and trees.
Snow covers the trail and trees.
From a global perspective, there was nothing unique about the recent raid on the U.S. Capitol. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have backed military coups around the world for decades.
BERLIN — Germany is seeing a promising decline in new coronavirus infections, but must take "very seriously” the risk posed by a more contagious variant and will have to be cautious whenever it starts easing its lockdown, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday. Merkel and Germany’s 16 state governors on Tuesday decided to extend the country’s lockdown by two weeks until Feb. 14 and tighten some measures, for example requiring surgical masks — rather than just fabric face coverings — in shops and on public transportation. On Thursday, Germany’s disease control centre said that 20,398 new cases were reported over the past 24 hours, nearly 5,000 fewer than a week ago. The number of new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days stood at 119, the lowest since the beginning of November — though still well above the level of 50 the government is targeting. There were 1,013 more deaths, bringing Germany’s total so far to 49,783. The new variant, which has been detected in Germany and many other European countries, isn't yet dominant there, but “we must take the danger from this mutation very seriously,” Merkel told reporters. “We must slow the spread of this mutation as far as possible, and that means ... we must not wait until the danger is more tangible here,” she said. “Then it would be too late to prevent a third wave of the pandemic, and possibly an even heavier one than before. We can still prevent this.” Merkel said that Germany won't be able to open up everything at once whenever the lockdown ends, declaring that schools must open first. “We must be very careful that we do not see what happens in many countries: they do a hard lockdown, they open, they open too much, and then they have the result that they are back in exponential growth very quickly,” she said. She pointed to Britain's experience in December, when the new variant took hold. The Associated Press
Toronto police are warning the public as they investigate a report of a man trying to enter a woman’s apartment while threatening her. Toronto Police Service issued an alert Thursday morning about the incident reported Wednesday in the city’s west end. The male suspect allegedly entered an apartment building and tried to open an apartment door. When a woman started to open her door, police say the man tried to force his way inside and threatened to sexually assault her. The woman shut the door and phoned 911, while the man ran away. Police describe suspect as in his 30s with a medium build and black moustache, wearing a navy blue toque, a black and white checkered scarf and a brown leather jacket. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — U.S. home construction jumped 5.8% in December to 1.67 million units, ending a strong year for home building. The better-than-expected gain followed an increase of 9.8% in November, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Housing has been one of the star performers this year even as the overall economy has been wracked by the coronavirus. Record-low mortgage rates and the desire of many people to move to larger homes during the extended stay-at-home period has fueled demand. For December, construction of single-family homes increased 12%. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
LONDON — Crystal Palace signed French striker Jean-Philippe Mateta on an 18-month loan from relegation-threatened German club Mainz on Thursday. Mateta has scored 10 goals in 17 appearances for Mainz in the Bundesliga and German Cup this season. Mainz said the loan deal runs through the end of the 2021-22 season and includes an option to buy. Mateta's arrival adds depth to a Palace attack which has relied heavily on winger Wilfried Zaha's eight Premier League goals this season. Palace's centre forwards have struggled for goals, with three for Christian Benteke, one for Jordan Ayew and none for Michy Batshuayi. Mainz, which is in 17th place in the 18-team standings and faces relegation after 12 years in the first division, will be without its top scorer for the second half of the Bundesliga season. No other player in the squad has scored more than three goals this season. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
On Tuesday night, on the eve of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Mania Darbani’s mother called her from Iran. She was ecstatic that Biden would soon repeal the Trump administration’s so-called "Muslim ban" that barred people from a number of mostly Muslim-majority nations, including Iran, from coming to the United States. "It means I can get to you very soon," Maryam Taghdissi Jani, who is applying for an immigrant visa, told Darbani, a 36-year-old receptionist who lives with her husband in Los Angeles.
MADRID — A regional election in Catalonia, initially set for next month, remains up in the air after a court took a preliminary decision Thursday against a 3-month delay ordered by the northeastern Spanish region’s government due to the surge of COVID-19. The Catalonia High Court said that, pending a final decision on the matter before Feb. 8, the election should preventively be kept for Feb. 14 instead of pushing it back to May 30. The court said arguments for its initial decision would be published Friday. The timing leaves little choice to half a dozen political parties divided along the lines of left and right, but also between support or opposition for the region's independence, other than to begin preparations for the vote. The regional Catalan government, in the hands of a separatist coalition, had argued that a delay was needed as the peak of hospital admissions in the current surge in infections would be reached just days before the planned election date. All political parties in the regional vote had agreed to the postponement except for the regional Socialists, whose candidate has the best chances of winning the vote in mid-February according to a Thursday poll by CIS, Spain’s official polling institute. The leading candidate is Salvador Illa, currently serving as the country’s health minister and in charge of the pandemic response. His candidacy was announced in late December. Catalonia's Socialist Party, which is the regional chapter of the main partner in the national ruling centre-left coalition, has not been in power in Catalonia since 2006. The CIS poll predicted the Socialists could win up to 35 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament, above the possible 33 lawmakers projected for the Republican Left pro-independence party. Illa was the preferred choice as regional chief for 22% of those quizzed, twice the popularity of his nearest competitor, Laura Borràs, of the pro-independence Together for Catalonia party, which is currently in power with the Republican Left. The centre quizzed 4,106 people by telephone between Jan. 2 and Jan-15. The poll has a margin of error of 1.6 percentage points. As elsewhere in Spain, virus contagion has surged sharply in recent weeks in the powerful northeastern region, whose capital is Barcelona. With 2,844 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Thursday — 621 of them in intensive care — regional authorities expect ICUs to reach a maximum expanded capacity of 900 beds occupied by coronavirus patients in the coming weeks. The region’s political situation is still heavily dominated by the jailing in 2019 of nine political figures for their role in a secession push two years earlier. The separatist movement, which is supported by roughly half the region’s 7.5 million residents, wants to create a republic in the wealthy northeast corner of Spain. Aritz Parra And CiaráN Giles, The Associated Press
Turkey and the European Union have started the year positively and steps to restart talks with Greece over hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean are welcome, but the EU remains concerned about human rights, the bloc's top envoy said on Thursday. "We have seen an improvement in the overall atmosphere ... we strongly wish to see a sustainable de-escalation in the eastern Mediterranean," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu before their meeting. "We remain concerned about the (human rights) situation in Turkey," Borrell said.
ORANGEVILLE, Ont. — A senior staff member at an Ontario hospital has retired after a relative was vaccinated against COVID-19 at a clinic intended for health-care workers. Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville, Ont., has apologized for what it’s calling an isolated incident on Jan. 14. The centre won’t name the individual beyond the title “staff director,” citing privacy reasons. The CEO says the employee's relative was at the hospital for another reason and was vaccinated during a break in scheduled appointments. Kim Delahunt calls it one person's “failure in sound decision-making,” and that health-care leaders must be held to a higher standard. Delahunt says the individual decided to retire after the incident, adding that the hospital is “deeply sorry.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Portugal will head to the polls on Sunday to choose a new President, despite pandemic lockdown measures still in place. We take a look at Chega!, a right-wing party pushing to get through to the second round.
Indonesian authorities said on Thursday the search for victims of a plane crash that killed all 62 people on board had been halted, but the hunt would continue for the Sriwijaya Air jet's cockpit voice recorder (CVR). "Search operations have been closed, but we will continue to search for the CVR," said Bagus Puruhito, who heads the country's search and rescue agency. Divers last week retrieved from the seabed the other so-called black box, the flight data recorder, of the 26-year-old Boeing Co 737-500 jet.
As Sweta Daboo frames it, Tuesday was the last day that there had never been a woman of colour in the job of vice-president of the United States. "As of yesterday there is now precedent. This will be normalized and this is something incredible to look forward to," said Daboo. Daboo is a woman of colour living on P.E.I., and the the executive director of the P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government. "It was absolutely incredible and very surreal," she said of watching the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris on Wednesday. UPEI biology Prof. Marva Sweeney-Nixon, also woman of colour, was watching as well. "It was emotional, it was gratifying, it was just a really powerful and exciting experience," said Sweeney-Nixon. "I just sat there and thought about how powerful it was for women and for girls and for people of colour to see this. I thought about just how inspiring she is." 'Not the last' Daboo said her favourite moments of the ceremony included the poem by Amanda Gorman and the fist bump between Harris and former president Barack Obama, but it was Harris's actual taking of the oath of office that struck her the most. "I thought about a quote that she had earlier which was, 'You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.'" she said. "Watching her take this oath, and thinking of all the little girls, all the children of colour, all the youth around the world that were watching this moment happen, it was easy to believe that she would not be the last." But both Sweeney-Nixon and Daboo said this is just the beginning of a difficult road for Harris. "People are going to be watching her and expecting more from her just like they did with Barack Obama," said Sweeney-Nixon. "If you make a mistake or you stumble, oftentimes that can be used to say this is why people of this or that group should not be in positions of power," added Daboo. And, they added, the experience of Obama's presidency and what followed also showed electing someone to high office is not enough to change society. "There's a lot of change that needs to follow," said Sweeney-Nixon. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. More from CBC P.E.I.
The Town of Gander wants to hear from you. More precisely, the central Newfoundland town wants to hear from people around the region about their connection to the Gander International Airport and its importance to how they live or conduct business. Last week, Air Canada announced it will drop its remaining flights out of the Gander International Airport, along with flights out of Labrador and some out of St. John’s. The announcement followed the announcement of two previously cancelled routes last summer. The most recent cancelled flights are scheduled to end on Jan. 23. “This is a critical issue,” said Gander Mayor Percy Farwell. “The inability to get in and out of the area … has a great impact on your success.” With that in mind, the town is asking people in the region to submit their stories about how important the airport is to their lives and their families. The town hopes that putting human faces on the issue will put further pressure on the federal and provincial governments to quickly come up with a solution to the problem. “These impacts are personal,” said Farwell, noting the closure will affect several sectors. “People should be telling their stories, and governments need to be aware of it.” In a news release Tuesday, the town said Canada is the only G7 country that has failed to recognize the importance of air links and connectivity. The federal government has yet to offer federal aid to the airline sector. Businesses and health care will also be affected by the decision. ‘’As you can see, all sectors of business are affected by this suspension of services, causing major concerns for our chamber and the business communities we represent,” Sheldon Handcock, chair of the Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a prepared statement. “We urge the federal government to provide support and a fair deal to the struggling national airlines.” While it may be a while before the effects are felt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the areas that will get squeezed by the lack of air travel to central Newfoundland is the tourism industry. The Gander airport represents a critical link between those businesses and their customers. People can’t make plans to visit the province if there is no access to a great deal of it. “We need flights in and out of this province,” said Deborah Bourden, the co-owner of the Anchor Inn Hotel & Suites in Twillingate. “What is the good to have people who want to come here if they can’t get here. “That is absolutely critical to our industry.” Farwell said the effort to collect testimonials is just the first step of a larger communication effort being undertaken in the central region of the province. That will involve a small number of stakeholders in the region and allow them to co-ordinate a collective message. Farwell also said it will be an issue raised when political hopefuls make their way to Gander on the campaign trail in the coming days and weeks. “There are a lot of factors to be considered,” he said. “It's all about co-ordinated advocacy.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Timmins' Indigenous Advisory Committee is moving ahead with taking Indigenous relations training. At the virtual committee meeting Wednesday, members voted in favour of taking training offered by Bob Joseph, the author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act and the founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. The committee’s interim chair Kristin Murray said it’s more of a self-guided training that can be entered in groups of up to 30 people and that can be completed at an individual pace. The previously suggested training, The San’yas: Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) Training Program, was off the table because some elements of the training weren’t always offered, Murray said. “Not all of our staff could jump on board and get that training at once, which was the downside,” said Murray. During the committee’s last meeting in December, members agreed to take a training program before deciding whether they want to recommend the training for city employees. “There’s racism in the city. Even before we do all this training ourselves, we have to try get out there and try to educate the public,” committee member Irene Camillo said during Wednesday’s meeting. Stacey Vincent Cress of Waubetek Business Development Corporation, who attended the meeting as a guest, said taking online training shouldn’t be “a tick box exercise”. “Something is better than nothing," he said. "However, if we’re going to have some Indigenous awareness and competency training … if you’re going to train 500 members of the community plus the committee, plus the general population, you need to be able to sit and speak with some people on some of the issues that you can’t get from a computer program.” Murray noted the discussions about taking the training have been going on for two years, and there has also been a discussion about taking localized training. “But that’s going to take time. By the time we put these things together, it will be years, it will be after our term as a committee,” she said. “Some of these training opportunities are not click-through, you have to be able to engage.” If approved by council, this will be the first cultural awareness training for city employees since the Ontario Human Rights Commission's visit to Timmins in 2018. Murray said the hope would be to have the members complete the training by the next committee meeting in March. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
A Manitoba family is heartbroken after being asked to exhume their loved one's body because he was mistakenly buried in a previously sold cemetery plot earlier this month. "It's just reopening the wounds that were just starting close," said Angela Griffith, whose 62-year-old father, Dan Griffith, died in his home in Deloraine — about 250 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg — on Christmas Day. The family held a small graveside burial on Jan. 4, Griffith said. They couldn't have a full funeral because of pandemic restrictions. Ten days later, the Griffiths were notified by the Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester that the plot their dad was buried in was sold to them by mistake, and that it, along with two adjacent plots, had previously been sold. Griffith said she was told the family that had originally bought the plots was asked to pick another area, but they refused and wanted Dan's body dug up and relocated instead. The municipality asked the Griffith family to exhume Dan's body. Murray Combs's mother bought four plots, including the one where Dan Griffith is now buried, in 2006. Combs's parents are buried in one, and the three remaining plots are for him and his two brothers. "The burial that took place recently is in the very first plot beside my mom and dad, and there's really no more room to put the other three," said Combs. "It was my mother's wishes, so either we go against my mother's wishes or we don't, I guess." Combs described the mix-up as unfortunate and something that never should have happened. He said his family's arrangements were made 14 years ago. "I certainly don't blame the other family a bit. It's not their fault either. Apparently they have a legal document to the same piece of ground," he said. There are no easy solutions for either family, he acknowledges. "What do we do? Do we dig up my mom and dad's plot, too? Is that what they expect?" he said. "It's a terrible mistake, but mistakes get made and somebody has to be responsible." He said he hasn't heard anything more from the municipality on possible solutions. While Griffith's arrangements were made through a local funeral home, the Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester is responsible for running the cemetery and selling the plots. CBC reached out to various municipal officials for comment but did not receive a response. Told mapping error to blame Griffith said she was only told that a mapping error led to the mistake. "I'm still trying to wrap my head around how such a big mistake happens," said Griffith. Cemetery staff offered to pay for a new plot and cover the costs of moving Dan's body, but the family is uncomfortable with the idea of disturbing his grave, she said. "We just laid him to rest, and now we have to deal with the stress of trying to figure out do we have to exhume our father?" Griffith said while her father was not Indigenous, she and her siblings are Métis, and she has cultural concerns about moving him. "Even from a cultural standpoint, [we're] wondering what's going to happen to his spirit, you know, when we dig him up, if we have to," said Griffith. Seeking legal advice Griffith said her dad was a carpenter who worked hard his whole life and was well-known in the area. While his grave does not yet have a tombstone, she said her son has marked it with a carpenter's measuring tape — something Dan Griffith always had hanging from his belt. "My dad never took a day off his whole life. He worked every single day and literally, I know it's cliché, but my dad would do anything for anybody, and if anyone deserves to be resting in peace it's him," said Griffith. The family is seeking legal advice on how to proceed. "We're not going to willingly exhume him," she said. She said she understands the Combs family is also upset, but hopes they can find a solution. "Just try to understand the pain and how much it just stresses us out, and rips our hearts open to have to think about even exhuming our father."
BEIJING — China on Thursday expressed hope the Biden administration will improve prospects for people of both countries and give a boost to relations after an especially rocky patch, while getting in a few final digs at former Trump officials. “I think after this very difficult and extraordinary time, both the Chinese and American people deserve a better future,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing. She said China and the U.S. need to relaunch co-operation in a number of areas. She particularly welcomed the new administration’s decision to remain in the World Health Organization and return to the Paris Agreement on climate change. “Many people of insight in the international community are looking forward to the early return of Sino-U.S. relations to the correct track in making due contributions to jointly address the major and urgent challenges facing the world today,” Hua said. She also criticized ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other former officials, a day after Beijing imposed travel and business sanctions on 28 of them, including Trump's national security adviser Robert O’Brien and U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft. “Over the past few years, the Trump administration, especially Pompeo, has buried too many mines in Sino-U.S. relations that need to be eliminated, burned too many bridges that need to be rebuilt and wrecked too many roads that need to be repaired,” Hua said. Hua on Wednesday described Pompeo as a “doomsday clown” and said his designation of China as a perpetrator of genocide and crimes against humanity was merely “a piece of wastepaper.” Hua's markedly more friendly tone Thursday appeared to signal Chinese hopes to cool the rhetoric on both sides and give the relationship a chance to heal over some of the worst divisions. “I think both China and the United States need to show courage, show wisdom, listen to each other, face up to each other and respect each other," Hua said. “I think this is the responsibility of the two major countries of China and the United States, and it is also the expectation of the international community.” Also Thursday, China’s Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai offered his congratulations to Biden on Twitter, which is widely used by the Chinese government despite being blocked in the country. “Congratulations to President Biden on his inauguration! China looks forward to working with the new administration to promote sound & steady development of China-U.S. relations and jointly address global challenges in public health, climate change & growth,” Cui tweeted. Chinese President and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping congratulated Biden on his election but had no immediate comment on Wednesday’s inauguration. While Biden’s administration is expected to seek to put relations with China back on an even keel, he is unlikely to significantly alter U.S. policies on trade, Taiwan, human rights and the South China Sea that have angered Xi’s increasingly assertive government. ___ This story has been corrected to show that the number of officials sanctioned by China was 28, not 30. The Associated Press
More than a week into the work stoppage at the Burleigh Falls dam project, Parks Canada has issued a statement regarding the land defenders and their rights to the land within their treaty territory. “The Government of Canada is working to advance reconciliation and renew the relationships with Indigenous Peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, collaboration, and partnership,” says David Britton, director of Ontario waterways. Kawartha Nishnawbe land defenders in Burleigh Falls blocked work on the dam project on Jan. 13 after they say they were not consulted about the project. Parks Canada did consult with Curve Lake First Nation in previous meetings, and recently at a Jan 6, 2021 online virtual meeting stated the organization did consult with Kawartha Nishnawbe in 2016. “Parks Canada has offered to meet with Kawartha Nishnawbe,” adds Britton. “Not to my knowledge has there been any consultation with Kawartha Nishnawbe in 2016 regarding the replacement of the dam,” said Nodin Webb, spokesperson for Kawartha Nishnawbe. He went on to say Parks Canada is falsely claiming they consulted with the community as a whole in 2016. “I also do not believe Parks Canada is respecting us, if anything, they’ve ignored us,” adds Webb. Parks Canada says they remain available and hope to connect in a meaningful way through this process. “Parks Canada continues to meet with Curve Lake First Nation and other Williams Treaty First Nations on the upcoming phases of work for the Burleigh Falls dam replacement project and are working together to develop fisheries monitoring and mitigation plans,” says Britton. “We are fully aware of the litigation in court and we will not comment on the issue at this time. The part of the court litigation lies with Crown Indigenous Relations Services Canada,” added Britton. Curve Lake Chief Emily Whetung issued an official statement on the blockade. “Many of our members harvest in or near Burleigh Falls Dam area, and our goal through our consultation process with Parks Canada has been to protect the impacts on the species that our members harvest,” says Chief Whetung. The statement also says while Curve Lake First Nation recognizes the complicated history of the Kawartha Nishnawbe, their relationship to the land at Burleigh Falls, and their assertion with the Federal Government and Curve Lake respect that they have an independent perspective. “The Burleigh Falls Dam is located within the recognized pre-confederation and Williams Treaties Territory and we feel a responsibility to protect the environment and species in the area as the reconstruction project moves forward.” Parks Canada says there are do not know the full cost of the stoppage, but did say there is no impact on the spawning season. Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Peterborough This Week
Canadian pension funds are seeking to boost their real estate investments, betting the slumping property market will recover as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes and office workers and city dwellers return to downtown properties. In a world of slower economic growth, very low interest rates, volatility in equity markets, real estate offers an attractive opportunity for pension funds, which take a long-term investment horizon, say market participants.
THE LATEST: Health officials have called off their regular Thursday briefing to hold a Friday-morning news conference instead. 564 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths were reported Thursday afternoon. There are currently 4,450 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C. 309 people are in hospital, with 68 in the ICU. 104,901 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 1,680 second doses. There is new community cluster in and around Williams Lake. There are no new outbreaks in the health-care system, but six have been declared over. On Thursday, B.C. health officials announced 564 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 309 people, 68 of whom are in intensive care. Hospitalizations are now at their lowest level since Nov. 28 A total of 1,119 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Henry and Dix said a new community cluster has been detected in and around Williams Lake. There are no new outbreaks in the health-care system, and six outbreaks have been declared over. So far, 104,901 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 1,680 second doses. Health officials cancelled their regular COVID-19 briefing Thursday as they prepared to update the province's strategy for immunization against the virus, and the daily update was provided in a written statement instead. Henry and Dix will join a news conference Friday with Premier John Horgan and Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization rollout. The four are expected to comment on the next steps in the immunization program that has been complicated by a hiccup in vaccine supply from Pfizer-BioNTech. Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 7 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Canada had reported 724,670 cases of COVID-19, and 18,462 total deaths. A total of 68,413 cases are considered active. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
A cold chain break during the transportation of a COVID-19 vaccine recently is causing Central Health to make changes to its procedures. The break occurred earlier this month when 160 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were being transported from the distribution centre in Gander to the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor. The break came when the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept at a temperature between –60 C and –80 C, went to a temperature that was between two and eight degrees outside what is recommended. Central Health has made changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. “What we do when a situation like this happens, or any situation that happens, we follow a continuous quality improvement approach,” said Joanne Pelley, vice-president of integrated health and chief nursing executive with Central Health. “With that, we would review all processes that occurred and look at anything that we need to do differently.” One of those changes is to have the shipments of the vaccine transported on the day of the clinic instead of the day before. In the days that followed the break, there were no transportation issues and they were able to deliver vaccines to priority health-care workers. “We’ve reviewed the process, we’ve implemented new approaches and we certainly do not want this to happen again,” said Pelley. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the vaccine is transported with a specialized temperature recorder in each box, which indicated the doses had been above that for 15 minutes. “It’s my understanding that it has to do with just the way that the shipping container was conditioned — and the TempTale, the temperature recording device that we use — were conditioned prior to being placed in the … shipping container, and so that can sometimes result in a higher reading,” Fitzgerald said Wednesday. While there was no damage to the vaccine, it became paramount that those doses be administered as quickly as possible. Because of this, officials with Central Health pulled their health-care teams together and quickly started assessing the situation, while determining the best choice of action. None of the doses went to waste, and were delivered to the people who needed them in the six hours when they had to be delivered. “Central looked at this and tried to determine what the reason for that cold chain break was, and to the best of my knowledge at this point, they have figured that out and they have put safeguards in place to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said Fitzgerald. — With files from Peter Jackson Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice