Authorities in East Asia, including South Korea, China and Taiwan, have kept travel-related COVID-19 cases to a minimum through strict rules for testing and quarantine and harsh penalties for violating them.
Authorities in East Asia, including South Korea, China and Taiwan, have kept travel-related COVID-19 cases to a minimum through strict rules for testing and quarantine and harsh penalties for violating them.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Republican lawmaker and doctor who questioned whether members of “the colored population” were disproportionately contracting the coronavirus because of their hygiene is drawing new criticism from Black lawmakers after his appointment to lead the state Senate Health Committee. “Could it just be that African Americans – or the colored population — do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear masks? Or do not socially distance themselves?” state Sen. Stephen Huffman asked a Black health expert in June 11 testimony. “Could that just be the explanation of why there’s a higher incidence?” The comments resulted in calls from Democrats and the ACLU of Ohio for him to resign from the GOP-controlled Senate. Huffman, of Tipp City, was appointed last week by Senate President Matt Huffman, his cousin, to chair the committee even after he was fired from his job as a Dayton-area emergency room physician for his comments. In a letter Wednesday, the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus demanded a health committee leader who understands and can respond to the inequities of healthcare in Ohio “without political influence.” “If the Senate leadership will not replace Sen. Huffman as Chair, then we will expect Sen. Huffman to use his position to improve the health of Ohio’s African-American population by working with OLBC to pass legislation that effectively addresses health disparities in the state of Ohio,” director Tony Bishop said in a news release. Huffman remains a licensed medical doctor in Ohio. “Senator Huffman is a medical doctor and highly qualified to chair the Health Committee," spokesperson John Fortney said Friday in a written statement. "He has a long record of providing healthcare to minority neighbourhoods and has joined multiple mission trips at his own expense to treat those from disadvantaged countries. Fortney added that Huffman apologized at the time “for asking a clumsy and awkwardly worded question.” “Sincere apologies deserve sincere forgiveness, and not the perpetual politically weaponized judgement of the cancel culture,” he said." ___ Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Farnoush Amiri, The Associated Press
The Edmundston region, Zone 4, will go into a full lockdown Saturday at midnight amid climbing case numbers and a series of outbreaks. The evolution of the pandemic is "extremely worrying" in this area of northwestern New Brunswick, Dr. Jennifer Russell said at a live-streamed COVID-19 update Friday. Cases have been reported in schools, workplaces and residences for the elderly, and the region has the highest number of active cases in the province. Russell shared the spiralling case numbers that prompted Public Health to urge a lockdown. On Jan 6, she said, there were seven active cases in Zone 4. That number doubled in just two days. By Jan. 11, the number of active cases doubled again. Four days later, it doubled a third time and by Jan. 19, it had doubled a fourth time. From those seven cases reported two weeks ago, there are now 129 active cases in Zone 4. "At the current rate, that number will exceed 200 active cases early next week and potentially 400 active cases before the month is over," Russell said. "We really can't let this go on." How the Zone 4 lockdown will work The lockdown, which takes effect Saturday night at midnight, will be in effect for 14 days and will be reassessed every seven days. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard, speaking at the Friday update on COVID-19, said the decision to postpone the start of the lockdown to Saturday was to allow residents get the supplies they need before businesses close and to give businesses and the Department of Public Safety time to prepare for the new rules. She provided these details of the lockdown in the Edmundston region: All kindergarten-to-Grade 12 schools will close. Online learning only. Service New Brunswick offices will close. Only essential services can stay open. A wage top-up of $3 an hour will be available to early childhood educators who work during lockdown. Regulated health care professionals can stay open but provide virtual services where possible. Grocery stores, NB Liquor stores and Cannabis NB stores will remain open. Indoor gathering, including religious gatherings, must be virtual only. Funerals will be limited to a single-household bubble. Public spaces, including rinks and ski hills, will close. Outdoor activities with household bubble will be allowed. ATV and snowmobile trails will close. Restaurants, salons, farmers markets will close. Drive-thru and takeout only. Veterinary clinics can stay open with curbside animal dropoff. Libraries will remain open to allow internet access. People will be encouraged to work at home if possible. Lottery tickets will be available online only. Evictions will be banned until 10 days after lockdown ends. Tech support will be available to students and staff experiencing connectivity issues related to online learning at 1-833-453-1140. A complete list of businesses that are allowed to operate will be posted on the provincial government's gnb.ca website. Speaking as a doctor, and as a mom Dr. Jennifer Russell took a moment Friday to reassure parents who are worried about sending their children to school in red zones. As reported by CBC News on Thursday, more than 14,000 students stayed home from school Wednesday, the day Zones 1, 2 and 3 rolled back to red-phase restrictions. Russell said she knows it can be upsetting to be faced with decisions when you don't have access to all the discussions and information that supported them. But as a parent, she said, she wants other parents to know that she weighs the same concerns they do. "When I speak to you up here, I wear my physician hat," Russell said. "But I'm also a parent. I have two kids, two teenagers who attend school here in Fredericton — one of them has asthma — and I wouldn't knowingly do anything to put their health at risk. So unless I get a call from Public Health informing me that they are a close contact of a case, they will be going to school in the red and orange levels." Russell said the decision to keep schools open was made because they're "the safest place for our children to be." "And that's not just an opinion. It's rooted in science." In the 32 New Brunswick schools that have had COVID-19 cases, "we haven't seen a case where the virus was transmitted directly from one student to another." Tightened travel restrictions for all zones Travel into New Brunswick will further be restricted for all health zones as of midnight Saturday night. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard detailed the changes Friday, noting that anyone entering the province will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Exceptions will include those who travel back and forth daily for work, truck drivers, and those who must travel for medical care, child care and child custody. "However," she said, "these travellers will still have to be tested weekly. Residents of Pointe-à-la-Croix and Listuguj First Nation, in Quebec, may still cross the border for medical appointments and to fulfil child custody arrangements. They may also cross once a week to purchase essential items, Shephard said, but they will be subject to mandatory weekly testing. More testing centres set to come online Dr. Jennifer Russell is again urging residents to "get tested, even if you just have one symptom." Testing in some zones is "not where it should be," Russell said at Friday's COVID-19 update. The Miramichi region, Zone 7, has repeatedly been flagged as having a low test rate, and on Friday, Russell said it has the lowest number of tests per 100,000 population in all of New Brunswick. "The Miramichi region is at four tests per 100,000 population," Russell said. By comparison, the Edmundston region is at 308 tests per 100,000, and the rest of province is hovering at around 40 or 50 tests per 100,000, she said. "Zone 7 is needing to have more tests for sure." Several additional testing centres will be opening soon in Sussex, Sackville and Perth-Andover, and a new testing centre opened in the Zone 4 community of Clair this week, Russell said. Police to conduct roadside checks for compliance Residents have been advised to avoid all non-essential travel into and out of the Edmundston region, Zone 4, which enters a full lockdown Saturday night at midnight. Asked how this would be enforced, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said that if there is "obvious non-compliance," Public Safety will be issuing fines and "there will be consequences to some who decide to travel for non-essential reasons." Road checks were set up in Edmundston on Friday to check for compliance with single-household bubbles. The checks were being held to raise awareness of the province's emergency order, the Edmundston Police Force told Radio-Canada. The force noted that checks would continue throughout the weekend, and that people found to be in non-compliance could face fines of $292.50. 30 new cases, including one in Miramichi region There are 30 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, Russell said, including one case in the Miramichi region, the first confirmed case in that region since Boxing Day. The cases break down in this way: Moncton region, Zone 1, eight cases: an individual 20-29; an individual 30-39; two people 40-49; two people 60-69; and two people 70-79. Saint John region, Zone 2, one case: an individual 40-49. Fredericton region, Zone 3, one case: an individual 50-59. Edmundston region, Zone 4, 19 cases: an individual 19 and under; two people 20-29; an individual 30-39; an individual 40-49; three people 50-59; two people 60-69; three people 70-79; six people 80-89. Miramichi region, Zone 7: an individual 60-69. All cases are self-isolating and under investigation. The number of confirmed cases is 1,087 and 742 have recovered. There have been 13 deaths, and the number of active cases is 331. Five patients are hospitalized, three of them in intensive care. As of Friday, 181,797 tests have been conducted, including 2,215 since Thursday's report. Variant cases found in Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil confirmed Friday that two previous cases of COVID-19 were found to be variants of the virus. McNeil told a news briefing the province also detected two variants of the virus in cases previously reported in December. He said the two cases were related to travel outside Atlantic Canada and self-isolated as required. After further testing, one was found to have had the U.K. variant of COVID-19, while the other had the South African variant. In New Brunswick, Dr. Jennifer Russell said no variant cases have been identified yet, but she noted she is "very concerned" about the variant getting into the province. "We have sent 19 specimens to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg since Dec. 23 to get sequenced for the variant and have had eight negative results," she said Friday. "We have six more to come this week." The province has sent more specimens for variant sequencing in the past two weeks, "just because we've had more cases overall," Russell said. Nadeau plant outbreak just one of many clusters The outbreak at the Nadeau poultry plant in the Edmundston area, where 28 employees have tested positive, is only one of multiple clusters of the virus in the region, Dr. Jennifer Russell said Friday. Some of the cases outside the plant were caused by the Nadeau outbreak, but others had a different source, Russell said. The province is still investigating how the outbreak at the poultry plant started. MLA wants crackdown on travelling between zones Miramichi MLA Michelle Conroy is calling on the province to crack down on residents who continue to travel from one health zone to another at a time when non-essential travel is discouraged or against the rules. Conroy said the Miramichi region, which is in the orange phase of recovery, has seen a lot of people from health zones that are in the red phase. She suggested these travellers were visiting Miramichi because it's safer. "People are still travelling region to region," Conroy, of the People's Alliance, said on Information Morning Fredericton. Under Public Health guidelines, necessary travel is only recommended between orange zones or between red zones but not between red and orange zones. Conroy said she has heard of people from the Moncton region visiting stores in the Miramichi area, and she's asked her constituents to report such sightings. It wasn't clear how a Miramichi resident can know someone is from Moncton. But she said residents in other zones need to follow the rules and should face consequences if they don't. "That's completely not acceptable." At the same time she's concerned about visitors from red zones, Conroy is pushing the province to ease restrictions and allow Zone 7 to move back to yellow phase so residents can expand their bubbles. Until Friday, there had been no active cases of COVID-19 in the Miramichi region since Dec. 26. One case was reported on Friday. Conroy said the heavy restrictions are taking a toll on people, particularly on their mental health. "We should be able to see our family and be able to relax the rules around our loved ones a little bit." Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said Conroy had some legitimate points, but stressed that everyone is at risk of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, regardless of their health zone. "Caution is there for everyone to know they are vulnerable as their neighbours." Public Safety has increased enforcement inspections across the province. "We're trying very hard to let people know, zone-to-zone transmission is real." Members of all-party cabinet committee don't always see eye to eye New Brunswick's all-party COVID cabinet committee is still intact, but opposition members say their support has its limits. Earlier this week, People's Alliance leader Kris Austin spoke out in frustration after the government suddenly changed the rules of the red phase of recovery and kept schools open if they didn't have any cases. Interim Liberal Leader Roger Melanson said Friday that he'll support decisions based on advice given by New Brunswick Public Health. But Melanson said he's not on the committee to support Premier Blaine Higgs or the Progressive Conservative government. "We need to do everything we can as political leaders, for people to be in a position to be in the safest possible circumstance," Melanson said during an Information Morning interview with some members of the all-party cabinet. Green Party Leader David Coon said the committee, which was established early in the pandemic, is a great way to include a range of perspectives in decision-making, but he shared Austin's concerns about recent conflicting messages. Coon said the province could have done a better job preparing residents for the new version of the red phase. "Lots of people are worried they're doing the wrong thing and don't want to make a mistake," Coon said. "That's what happens when rules change quickly without warning." Health Minister Dorothy Shephard admits communication hasn't been perfect, but she blamed this on an evolving understanding of COVID-19 and how to manage it. Everyday, officials are learning something new, she said. "This is about supporting the people of New Brunswick." Public exposure warnings Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on the following flight: 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: Edmundston region: Sparta Progression Gym, 113 44th Ave. D., on Jan. 13 and Jan. 15 between 7 and 9 a.m. Moncton region: Goodlife Fitness Centre, 175 Ivan Rand Dr. E., on Jan. 13 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. 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.
La MRC de La Matanie et la Ville de Matane ont décidé d’unir leurs forces pour mettre en branle le projet de « ferme » citoyenne à Matane. Les deux entités lancent donc un appel à participation pour tous les citoyens pouces verts et fervents de jardinage de La Matanie. Ce projet de « ferme citoyenne » vise l’élaboration d’une structure citoyenne dans la Ville de Matane se concentrant sur les univers du maraîchage, de l’apiculture et de l’agriculture urbaine. Selon un communiqué envoyé par la MRC, celui-ci pourrait d’ailleurs comprendre un volet communautaire ainsi qu’un volet collectif et éducatif. La MRC de La Matanie précise qu’au niveau communautaire, il pourrait s’agir de préparer des terrains pour les groupes souhaitant bénéficier de jardins communautaires. Au niveau collectif, il est envisagé que la structure ait une vocation d’éducation populaire. En même temps, elle permettrait la réinsertion et le don de denrées fraîches pour fournir les organismes sociaux. Le projet est encore en construction, et les possibilités sont nombreuses, selon le communiqué de la MRC. C’est pourquoi elle encourage les citoyens intéressés à s’inscrire, afin que le projet puisse se mouler à leur image et naître de leurs idées. La MRC de La Matanie cite notamment le projet d’agriculture communautaire de la MRC d’Argenteuil en exemple. Une première rencontre en ligne est organisée à travers Zoom le jeudi 28 janvier de 19h à 21h. L’objectif de cette consultation sera d’énoncer le constat de la situation actuelle, puis d’établir les étapes de réalisation et l’échéancier du projet. Un comité de travail incluant ceux ayant participé à la rencontre sera par la suite formé. « Je suis impressionnée et motivée par le groupe de citoyennes et citoyens qui a lancé le jardin communautaire les Lopins verts en moins d’un an. Cela montre le grand intérêt de la population matanaise pour ce type de projet. C’est une chance de pouvoir travailler ensemble à développer davantage l’agriculture urbaine », a lancé vivement Véronique Gagné, responsable. Pour s’inscrire, il suffit de remplir le formulaire en ligne avant le 27 janvier à 23h45. Le lien de connexion Zoom pour assister à la rencontre sera ensuite envoyé par courriel.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
The P.E.I. government is opening what it is calling work and study hubs across the province to provide a workspace and reliable internet access to people who need it. Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay said the plan is a response to the increased need for Islanders to work and study online during the pandemic. "Islanders need access to a reliable internet connection now more than ever before," said MacKay in a news release. "Our hope with the work and study hubs is that we can help fill the gap as we continue working towards expanding broadband internet across the province." The hubs will be installed in 13 locations, from one end of the Island to the other. Tignish: Tignish Initiatives. Northport/Alberton: Community Centre. O'Leary: Future Tech West. Wellington: Royal Canadian Legion. Bedeque: Rural Women's Business Centre. Stanley Bridge: Stanley Bridge Hall. Kensington: Credit Union Centre. North Rustico: North Rustico Lions Club. Grand Tracadie: Grand Tracadie Community Centre. St. Peters: St. Peters Community Centre. Souris: Matthew McLean Building. Murray Harbour: Murray Harbour Community Centre. Cardigan: Cardigan Fireman's Office. Users will bring their own devices to connect to the internet. Physical distancing and masks are required at all hubs. They will have space for up to six people at a time. Eight of the hubs will open Monday, with the remaining opening the following week. The government has set up a website with details of opening hours. More from CBC P.E.I.
Pendant que la neige tombait à gros flocons samedi dernier, j’ai déniché quelques trésors cachés sur le site web de l’Office national du film, onf.ca. Pour vous, j’ai fait une sélection des meilleurs courts-métrages mettant en vedette la neige, l’hiver et nos paysages nordiques. Idéal pour une soirée de couvre-feu, faute d’aller jouer dehors. Découvrez l’homme derrière la légende qui a sillonné les Laurentides pendant des décennies et qui en a tracé les plus importants sentiers. Ce portrait, réalisé pour le centenaire d’Herman Smith-Johannsen, révèle un explorateur infatigable, sa résilience et son humour. Le documentaire trace des parallèles entre sa Norvège natale et ses Laurentides d’adoption, et nous fait voyager dans le temps. Dans une scène, on le voit racontant ses souvenirs dans une voiture, cigare en bouche, pendant que des paysages enneigés défilent par la fenêtre. En noir et blanc, ce court-métrage offre un regard d’ensemble du ski au Canada, de Banff aux Laurentides. On y retrouve l’enthousiasme des premières neiges, la leçon de ski, le remonte-pente pour les « moins vaillants » (dit le narrateur), et la vue magnifique une fois arrivé au sommet. Somme toute, le sport a bien peu changé, 73 ans plus tard. Une journée à la patinoire, présentée par Gilles Carle, le célèbre cinéaste québécois dans ses débuts. La musique de Claude Léveillée anime même ce court-métrage sans paroles. En bottes ou en patins, on y découvre le simple plaisir de patiner, de glisser et de jouer sur la glace. Pourquoi ne pas jouer une amicale partie de hockey, avant de se déhancher sur la glace au rythme de la musique de l’heure : le rock ‘n’ roll! Suivez ces deux Inuits (appelés Esquimaux dans le film) alors qu’ils bâtissent un iglou pour la nuit, pendant que le narrateur vous explique comment faire. Vous n’aurez besoin que d’un couteau à neige… et de neige. Les Inuits peuvent prendre aussi peu que 40 minutes ou aussi longtemps que 2 jours pour construire leur iglou, selon leurs besoins. Mon préféré. Suivez l’artiste Alexander Young Jackson dans la création de ses paysages uniques. Jackson est membre du Groupe des sept, un rassemblement de paysagistes canadiens qui ont révolutionné l’art durant les années 1920. Pour faire ses ébauches, Jackson part en expédition dans la nature automnale de l’Ontario, au Lac Grace, puis dans les collines enneigées de Saint-Tite-des-Caps, juste au nord de l’Île d’Orléans. On le voit en canot, faire du portage et même escalader les parois rocheuses du bouclier canadien, tout pour trouver le parfait paysage.Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
The Newfoundland and Labrador NDP announced Thursday a commitment to change the Medical Transportation Assistance Program (MTAP) so it would no longer require upfront payment and reimbursement for users. NDP Leader Alison Coffin was in Labrador on Wednesday and Thursday this week, talking to Labradorians and campaigning with the local candidates. Coffin said they’ve been hearing about a variety of issues from people, including affordability, access to medical care and transportation. Coffin said the MTAP, which covers up to $1,000 of a flight, is insufficient for the needs of Labradorians, and changes need to be made. “We’re proposing that the flights be covered. That should be covered by government,” she told SaltWire Network. “If you have a medical appointment or if you have a procedure scheduled, that shouldn't be a burden on families and individuals at a time they’re already concerned about their health. That’s grossly inappropriate, so the right thing to do is fund those flights.” Coffin said the fact that people sometimes have to fundraise to cover the cost of the flights to get medical treatment is "ridiculous," so the NDP wants to make sure it’s meeting the needs of Labradorians. “It’s an example of government downloading the cost of health care to individuals,” she said. “That is not appropriate. We have a universal health-care system. Why are individuals incurring enormous costs to access health care? That’s not a universal health-care system.” People having to travel as much as they do for medical services is another part of the issue, Coffin said, and stressed that the MTAP changes are just part of the changes the NDP sees that are needed to health-care delivery in Labrador. Labrador West resident Dawn Willcott said she agrees the program needs to change, and as it currently stands is prohibitive to Labradorians accessing health care. Willcott said she had to travel from Labrador West to St. John’s for knee surgery and when she arrived was told they didn’t have the time and would have to rebook. “He calls me months later and says, ‘Can you come next week?’” she said. “I was like, ‘Do you know where Labrador City is?’” Willcott said she sees it as just one way that health care needs to be improved in Labrador, and things like more video conferencing and sending specialists to the area even for a few weeks to see patients would cut down on medical travel and the subsequent expenses. The key issue, she said, is finding ways to get doctors to come to the area and to stay. “There is always the stress of leaving family, work and their home (for travellers),” she said. “They should be looking at ways to provide more services locally instead.” She said less travel would improve morale, businesses wouldn’t lose employees for as long, and people would not be so worried about leaving their home and family. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
THUNDER BAY — A Thunder Bay lawyer is facing charges of forcible confinement and assault related to an incident from August 2020. Court documents show Ronald Poirier, 70, and David Poirier, 36, each face charges stemming from an Aug. 28, 2020, incident. Ronald’s charges include forcible confinement and assault and David’s charges are assault, utter threats and breach of a release order. Ronald is a lawyer practicing in private in Thunder Bay. He is also retained as a federal crown agent through the Public Prosecution of Canada (PPSC). The federal agency confirmed this week they are aware of his charges currently before the courts. “The PPSC is aware of the situation and confirms that Mr. Poirier is one of its agents,” Nathalie Houle, a media relations advisor for the PPSC said in an email. “The PPSC has reassigned Mr. Poirier’s files at this time,” she said, adding the agency couldn’t comment any further on the case. There are currently no restrictions on his right to practice law, according to the Law Society of Ontario website. Both individuals are currently not in custody and are scheduled to appear in court next on March 8, according to court documents. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
(ANNews) – The COVID-19 vaccination supply coming to Canada has changed and at least in the short term, it will be much less than was originally planned. Minister of Health Tyler Shandro issued a statement on the latest changes in the amount of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine coming to Canada, saying “I am extremely concerned by the announcement that Pfizer is even further decreasing the amount of COVID-19 vaccine coming to Canada from its factory in Belgium, with no doses expected to arrive next week and further anticipated reductions in the two weeks following.” Alberta’s Health Minister continued by announcing that the focus will be shifted to delivering second doses for those who have already been vaccinated. Elderly people in long-term care homes and healthcare workers who have been administered their first dose are the province’s main priority. First time dose appointments for healthcare workers are postponed as well as some second dose appointments. Shandro then went on to mention that province may not be able to vaccinate elderly people in the general population or Elders living within First Nations territory. “A sharp decrease in vaccines coming to Alberta may also further delay our plans to expand vaccination to all seniors over the age of 75 in the community and individuals over the age of 65 in First Nations communities and Metis Settlements around the province.” “Alberta has the capacity to deliver about 50,000 doses per week and rapidly expand distribution, but we lack supply. Whether we like it or not, Canadian provinces are dependent on the Government of Canada for vaccine supply. We continue to advocate to our federal partners to increase the supply of vaccine as soon as possible,” said Minister Shandro. Meanwhile in Ottawa, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the Federal Government is working with the provinces to prioritize vaccinating Indigenous people against COVID-19. “This is a particularly acute issue and challenge when we’re talking about the deployment of the vaccine,” Miller told a news conference Wednesday Jan 20, in Ottawa. Concerned that Ottawa is not able to vaccinate its Indigenous population living off-reserve, Miller said, “We need participation of the provinces to ensure that needles get into the arms of people that are the most vulnerable.” “The role of the federal government, in my mind, is to offer our assets, offer our co-operation, our resources, our logistical capacities.” In response to the announcements, the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations said that they are dissatisfied with “the COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Plan proposed for our respective Nations without Free, Prior and Informed Consent. “There has been a failure to align resources consistent with the Famine and Pestilence Clause, the Medicine Chest, and the Treaty Right to Health." “Until the past week, our Nations were not informed that Health Canada had engaged Alberta Health Services to determine our vaccine requirements. In the past few months, Canada announced publicly on several occasions that Treaty First Nations were a priority and that vaccines would be provided. First Nations are at a greater risk of exposure due to a number of factors including, overcrowded homes with multi-generational families, lack of housing, remoteness, poverty, and distances to health care facilities and providers,” said the Confederacy in a statement. Also responding to the announcement is Chief Tony Alexis, who issued a statement condemning the vaccination roll-out happening in Alberta, “Meanwhile in Alberta under Minister Shandro’s watch, First Nations communities are seeing case numbers rapidly rise, while the rest of the Alberta covid numbers decline.” “The rate of infections, hospitalizations and ICU admissions for First Nations is increasing at an alarming rate compared to the rest of Alberta. The situation is dire for our people. In my community of Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, over 5 per cent of the population has COVID-19 and numbers rise daily.” Alberta Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Marlene Poitras added, “First Nations communities are reaching a breaking point with new cases of COVID-19. When considering the data provided by Alberta Health, we see hospitalization rates of 4.3 for Alberta in general and 7.1 for First Nations living in Alberta. These disparities are un acceptable. There was some hope that access to a vaccine would help us. However, given recent decisions of the Provincial Government, which lacked meaningful First Nations involvement, trust and commitment to partnership continues to be in question. “I’m calling upon the Provincial Government to ensure First Nations leadership are at the decision making tables…to ensure that all First Nations communities are protected from the ravages of COVID-19. “How many times must it be said that Sovereign First Nations must be involved in the decisions that affect them?” The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout prioritize people who live and work in long-term care homes, people over the age of 80, front-line health workers, and adults in Indigenous communities where an outbreak can be particularly harmful and hard to manage. Indigenous Services Canada said there have been 89 COVID-19 cases, including 15 deaths, in nine long-term care homes on reserves located in Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. The number of COVID-19 active cases in First Nations communities reached an all-time high this week with 5,571 reported cases as of Tuesday Jan. 19 Jacob Cardinl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
France has one of western Europe's highest rates of distrust in modern-day vaccines. On Unreported Europe we take a look at why, what anti-vaxxers have to say and what can bring sceptics rounds. View on euronews
Clyde the Chihuahua gave dozens of would-be dog rescuers a run for their money this week. He went missing last Saturday in Regina's Glencairn neighbourhood, and while many tried to help collar him, he wouldn't let strangers get near him. A "Help Capture Clyde" Facebook page was set up and more than 300 people joined. Kayla Kurcin said she'd seen multiple posts about the wayward pup and wanted to help. "It was amazing to see the amount of support and willingness of the community to come together and drive around for hours and spend time on social media scrolling and searching," Kurchin told CBC's The Morning Edition. Kurcin said he was finding small places to hide, so community members were setting up traps and monitored locations where he'd been seen. On Wednesday, Kurcin said she almost caught him in the Glen Elm Trailer Court, but he got away. Then on Thursday, Clyde was spotted again, under a shed. Kurcin drove to the location and asked her husband to bring snow fences so they could secure the property. "I went fishing under the shed for him and luckily I saw some fur," she said. She tried to offer him treats to gain his trust, but he wasn't interested. Luckily, she was still able to grab him. "I'm just happy that I was able to spot him under that shed and pull him in and take him home to safety." Kurcin said he was returned to the owner and taken to the vet right away. "He's on IV fluids and he's got a little bit of frostbite on his paws, but he's very well and he'll recover." She's now planning on turning the Facebook page she created for Clyde into a lost and recovery page for pets and for the volunteers who want to help. "It was a happy ending for all," Kurcin said. "It was just an amazing experience.… What made this a success was the teamwork of the community and I couldn't have done it without them."
A framed arrangement of quilt blocks made of material from masks, gowns and scrub caps is now on display in the lobby at Campbellford Memorial Hospital (CMH). The unique piece reflects the fabric of a community that came together to make masks, gowns and scrub caps for hospital staff shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. Through the donation of fabric, buttons, pipe cleaners, elastic, thread and financial contributions by the community, the Campbellford Mask Makers sewed and donated close to 2,000 pieces to the hospital in a time when Personal Protective Equipment was in short supply, the hospital noted in a news release. CMH called the artwork a “piece of COVID history.” “We will be forever grateful to this community for helping to protect our staff and patients during the early days of this pandemic,” said Paul Nichols, chair of CMH’s board of directors. “These quilt blocks are a testament to the caring, giving and compassion of volunteers in Trent Hills and the surrounding area. They represent the collaborative efforts of a great many individuals who participated in the making and donation of masks, caps and gowns to CMH during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020.” Cathy Redden, co-ordinator of the Campbellford Mask Makers, said the project exceeded the group’s expectations and was a meaningful experience for many of its participants. “This project had results that reached far and beyond our goal of providing the hospital with needed supplies,” Redden said. “It gave many of us a reason to get up and dressed in the morning. While short in its duration, this project had a lasting impact on the surrounding community, our hospital and those who have participated in it.” CMH also gave thanks to Campbellford’s 2777 Northumberland unit of the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps. and all of the community members who made masks, provided material or supported the project through financial contributions. “CMH staff are forever grateful to be part of such a wonderful community,” the release stated Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News
HALIFAX — The public inquiry into the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced the hiring of six experts who will help set a course for the investigation. Those joining the inquiry include Thomas Cromwell, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice who will serve as commission counsel. Cromwell previously served with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. As well, the inquiry has appointed Christine Hanson as executive director and chief administrative officer. Hanson is director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She also worked as an international lawyer and diplomat in a variety of roles with Global Affairs Canada. The inquiry has also appointed a community liaison, a mental health expert, an investigations co-ordinator and an expert in charge of research. "We are pleased to have secured a group of experienced and dedicated individuals who are among the most highly regarded in the country in their respective fields," the commission said in a statement Thursday. "There are a lot of questions to be asked and evidence to be gathered by the commission in order to fulfil its mandate and we want the best people to help us in this process." The other team members include: — Research director Emma Cunliffe is a professor at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and a visiting professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She is a scholar in complex criminal matters related to violence against women. — Investigations director Barbara McLean is deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service and is originally from Antigonish, N.S. — Mental health director Mary Pyche has worked as an addiction clinical therapist and has held leadership roles in the Nova Scotia Health Department regarding mental health and addiction. — Community liaison director Maureen Wheller co-chaired the first public advisory group that worked with Nova Scotia's mental health and addictions program. The independent federal-provincial inquiry, which has the authority to compel witnesses to testify and produce documents, is expected to produce an interim report by May 1, 2022 and a final report by Nov. 1, 2022. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
L’année 2020 derrière nous, à quoi peut-on s’attendre en 2021? Nous avons discuté des défis économiques qui nous attendent avec Brigitte Alepin, professeure en fiscalité au Campus de Saint-Jérôme de l’UQO. D’entrée de jeu, Mme Alepin veut être claire. « Je ne peux vraiment rien prédire en ce moment. Rien dans cette pandémie n’était prévisible. » Elle indique que plusieurs économistes de renommée se sont aventurés à faire des prévisions en 2020, mais que celles-ci se sont souvent révélées erronées. Elle rappelle aussi que la situation actuelle est sans précédent. Les gouvernements ont dû prendre rapidement des décisions radicales. « On sera longtemps en train d’analyser : est-ce qu’on a pris les bonnes décisions? » Elle souligne que les présents gouvernements sont ceux qui ont le plus d’expérience dans la gestion d’une pandémie. « Je ne sais pas quelle note je donnerais aux gouvernements. Ce n’est pas parfait, mais ils l’ont quand même gérée. On doit toutefois s’attendre, espérer qu’ils ont appris, et qu’ils seront plus proactifs qu’en réaction, en 2021. » Malheureusement, Mme Alepin est certaine d’une chose : les gouvernements continueront à faire des déficits pendant un bon bout de temps. Tant au fédéral qu’au provincial, la dette publique a explosé, gonflée par les mesures pour contenir la pandémie et pour soutenir financièrement les citoyens et les entreprises pendant la crise. Si certains économistes espèrent une relance économique vigoureuse après la vaccination, Mme Alepin croit que cela sera bien insuffisant pour renflouer les coffres de l’État. Sans compter que des investissements supplémentaires seront nécessaires pour cette relance… « Ça va être difficile. Tout le monde s’en vient à sec! » Selon la fiscaliste, nous n’aurons plus le choix d’imposer davantage les « méga-riches » et les multinationales, pour qu’ils contribuent à leur juste part. « Mais la pandémie coûte tellement cher, ça ne sera pas assez », avertit-elle. Ainsi, les déficits et la dette, nécessaires pour vaincre la pandémie, devront être gérés avec prudence. Ce qui inquiète aussi la professeure, c’est l’inflation. « On n’en parle pas assez, il faut poser des questions! » Difficile de connaître l’impact précis des dépenses gouvernementales sur l’inflation, mais déjà les prix des aliments ont augmenté, par exemple. « Quelles seront les conséquences? Comment va-t-on gérer ça? Doit-on s’en soucier? Les taux d’intérêt pourraient augmenter. Là, tout est contenu, nous ne sommes pas en crise, mais ça peut débouler vite! » Si l’inflation s’accélère, elle peut devenir un cercle vicieux et se transformer en hyper-inflation. Alors les prix augmentent exponentiellement, chaque dollar a de moins en moins de valeur, jusqu’à ce que votre fonds de pension ne vaille plus rien. Difficile d’évaluer si le risque est réel ou non, mais selon Mme Alepin, les gouvernements devraient, à tout le moins, se pencher sur la question. Impossible également de prédire quel impact la pandémie aura eu sur la mondialisation. « Au début, on croyait que ça donnerait peut-être lieu à moins de mondialisation. De plus en plus, je lis des choses qui disent le contraire. » D’un côté, les États ont fermé leurs frontières, ont cherché à produire davantage de biens localement, comme les masques, et les consommateurs, comme au Québec, se sont tournés vers l’achat local. De l’autre côté, les États ont dû collaborer et se coordonner pour certains efforts, et les pressions pour plus de coopération internationale sont grandes. « Aux États-Unis, Joe Biden a tenu tête à la concurrence fiscale internationale, en promettant de rehausser le taux d’imposition des corporations de 21 à 28 %. Il y a aussi un nombre critique de pays qui veulent un impôt minimum mondial. C’est le dernier jalon qu’il nous manquait pour la mondialisation. » Dans tous les cas, l’ordre géopolitique et économique mondial est irrémédiablement bouleversé… même s’il est encore hasardeux d’en prédire les conséquences. Enfin, Mme Alepin prévient que les citoyens seront moins tolérants face à la concentration de la richesse par les milliardaires et les multinationales, qui paient peu ou pas d’impôt. « Quand les gens avaient un emploi, du pain frais à manger, de bons soins médicaux, quand tout allait bien, les gens acceptaient. Mais maintenant, ils n’accepteront plus. »Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
The United Arab Emirates confirmed that it signed agreements with the United States on former President Donald Trump's last full day in office to purchase up to 50 F-35 jets, 18 armed drones and other defense equipment in a deal worth $23 billion. The UAE embassy in Washington said in a statement on its website that the letters of agreement had been finalised on Tuesday confirming terms of purchase, including costs, technical specifications and anticipated delivery schedules. The deal, however, could now be reviewed as the new Biden administration has said it will re-examine the agreements for the sale, which the Trump administration had said supported U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by allowing the UAE to deter Iranian "threats".
ONTARIO – The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks announced members of a new working group they created to deal with the recent changes to the Conservation Act. The new members consist of people from conservation authorities, development and agriculture sectors, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and Conservation Ontario. The group’s first task will be to look at the first phase of proposed regulations that impact conservation authorities and their participating municipalities. These proposed regulations will be available for public consultation in late January 2021. Maitland Conservation general manager Phil Beard told Midwestern Newspapers “MVCA’s members will be discussing the working group and process that the Minister has announced for developing the regulations on mandatory and non-mandatory services and other topics at the Jan. 27 meeting” The working group members are: -Chair Hassaan Basit, President and Chief Executive Officer of Halton Region Conservation Authority -Kim Gavine, General Manager, Conservation Ontario -John MacKenzie, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority -Sommer Casgrain-Robertson, General Manager, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority -Chris Darling, Chief Administrative Officer, Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority -Rob Baldwin, Chief Administrative Officer, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority -Brian Tayler, Chief Administrative Officer, North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority -Samantha Lawson, Chief Administrative Officer, Grand River Conservation Authority -Cathie Brown, Senior Advisor, Association of Municipalities of Ontario -Scott McFadden, Mayor, Township of Cavan Monaghan *Jason Sheldon, Vice-President, Land Development, Remington Group *Gary Gregoris, Senior Vice-President, Land Development, Mattamy Homes *Josh Kardish, Vice-President, EQ Homes *Michelle Sergi, Director Community Development, Region of Waterloo *Leslie Rich, Policy and Planning Liaison, Conservation Ontario *Barb Veale, Director, Planning and Watershed Management, Halton Region Conservation Authority *Laurie Nelson, Director, Policy and Planning, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority *Mark Wales, Past President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture Participants marked with an *asterisk will provide further perspectives to the working group, including on the section 28 Minister’s regulation. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
After a busy year and with ongoing efforts to update its helicopter fleet, the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) has received continuing support from Wheatland County. During the Jan. 12 Wheatland County council regular meeting, a presentation about the organization’s operations in 2020 was provided by Glenda Farden, STARS major gift manager. STARS has been busy, as 2020 had the highest number of calls over the last five years. The organization responded to 135 calls between 2016 and 2020, including 60 inter-facility transfers from the Strathmore Hospital, and 28 scene calls near Strathmore. The May long weekend is the busiest weekend of the year, but most missions occur between September and March. Operations have been directly affected by the pandemic, with about 13 per cent of missions being suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, said Farden. The organization has also seen a rise in stress-related types of missions, including heart attacks, strokes and drug overdoses. The pandemic has also affected the organization’s balance sheets. STARS is experiencing a significant decrease in funding across all areas, including government, said Farden. The organization’s 10-year affiliation agreement with Alberta Health Services has expired. The organization received $9.1 million in government support from AHS in 2019 and funding has been extended until September 2021 while the province reviews health funding. Fundraising has also taken a hit. The 2020 stars lottery did not sell out and resulted in $1.2 million in lost revenue. The calendar campaign is also down by more than half. “With COVID-19 still looming around us, most of STARS fundraising events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future,” said Farden, who added registration revenue is down because of less certainty in the energy sector. There are some promising signs, however. The 2021 STARS lottery is now underway, and in its first week, outperformed predictions. The organization has also seen a rise in individual contributions. “We are humbled that Albertans are continuing to stand by our side,” said Farden. To deal with funding reductions, the organization has reduced administration costs by downsizing the number of staff members across all its bases. STARS is currently upgrading its helicopter fleet to the Airbus H145, which provides safety upgrades, improved avionics, better maneuverability, and increased speed and range. The organization is planning for nine new helicopters, costing about $13 million each. The total cost of the fleet renewal campaign is $135 million, of which about $14 million remains to be secured. Three H145s are now operational, with one each flying from both Calgary and Saskatoon, and the third serving as backup. Two more have recently been delivered. The sixth and seventh will feature a five-bladed system, increasing lift and load capacity. The organization is also deploying new portable ultrasound machines. These allow medical personnel to assess such medical issues as collapsed lungs, trauma-related internal hemorrhaging, heart abnormalities or suspected heart failures. Wheatland County made a three-year commitment in 2018 for funding STARS by $2 per capita. The funding for 2021 equals $17,576. Following the presentation, council voted in favour of a standing motion to continue this support rate within the annual budget, as a long-term pledge with no time commitment. “Wheatland County is grateful for the critical emergency care and transport that STARS provides in Wheatland County,” said Reeve Amber Link. “This service is particularly vital in rural areas.” Link said she and her family know firsthand the difference STARS makes. “Seventeen years ago, when our youngest son was an infant, we were relieved when STARS, with a specialized neonatal team, was there for our critically ill baby,” she said. “I would encourage residents who can, to consider STARS in their donation plans. Now more than ever financial support is needed.” Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
A Nepean retirement home where 10 people have died from COVID-19 is the first in the city to begin vaccinating residents and staff against the illness, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says. "As part of Phase 1 of the COVID vaccine rollout in Ottawa, Valley Stream Retirement Home was identified as a high-risk retirement home and the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was made available and administered to staff, essential caregivers and residents on Jan. 17," OPH confirmed Thursday. OPH finished administering the first vaccine doses to residents in long-term care homes in mid-January, but Valley Stream is the first high-risk retirement home to be offered the same opportunity. At a news conference on Wednesday, Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte said that while second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be delayed for some, one high-risk retirement home and one "congregate home with older adults" would still have a chance to receive first doses of the vaccine. In total, 51 of Valley Stream's 134 residents have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began on Jan. 2. Thirteen of those cases are now considered resolved. Another 27 staff members have also tested positive, 10 of which are now resolved. Jennifer Rose's 80-year-old father Richard Currie lives at Valley Stream, but has tested negative so far. "I'm obviously grateful and thankful that they're getting vaccines, and [with] my dad still testing negative, I'm happy he's getting that protection," Rose said, adding she's sympathetic to families that haven't been so lucky. "I just find it's so hard for the families that did lose somebody to this," she said. "They were close to being able to get that vaccine. It's just heartbreaking that it was almost within their grasp." Cleaning protocols enhanced Revera, which owns numerous long-term care facilities in Ontario and across North America, said it's working closely with OPH to maintain proper protocols and limit the spread of the virus at Valley Stream. "We are doing enhanced cleaning at Valley Stream, frequently disinfecting high touch surfaces like handrails and doors, common areas and staff rooms," the company's chief medical officer, Dr. Rhonda Collins, wrote. Collins said all residents are being monitored and tested if they show symptoms, while staff are screened at the beginning and end of their shifts. Visits are restricted to essential caregivers, as well as essential visits for palliative residents. "We recognize how difficult these measures are for residents and their families, and we appreciate their patience and understanding as we put these precautions in place for the safety of our residents," Collins wrote. According to OPH, the recent delay of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine "did not impact the administration of vaccines at Valley Stream." Earl Brown, professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa, said while it's important to administer the second dose within a specific period of time after the first shot, giving more vulnerable people a single dose may prove the best option — as long as that second dose isn't too far behind. "It really comes down to maximizing your benefit," Brown said. "So numbers-wise, it generally has tended to favour spreading out the first dose and getting the second dose in somewhat of a timely manner. " But while the two vaccines both report higher than 90 per cent effectiveness in stopping the virus, Brown said it's believed they're less effective for older people. "I think the unknowns loom larger with this group."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that Pfizer had reassured him it would meet Canada's vaccine order in full by end-March as, with a second COVID wave spreading across the country, he hinted at a clampdown on citizens leaving home. Pfizer, which is retooling a European manufacturing plant, told Canada on Tuesday it would receive no vaccine next week, promising more pain for provinces already complaining about a shortage of supplies. Pfizer also said it would cut supplies to the European Union.
BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right party said Friday that Armin Laschet, the governor of Germany’s most populous state, has been confirmed as its new leader. The 59-year-old centrist came first in an online vote by party delegates Saturday, ahead of conservative rival Friedrich Merz. Under German law the election had to be officially endorsed with a postal ballot. Laschet received 796 out of 980 valid ballots, amounting to over 83% of the vote. He is the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, which has a population of about 17 million. The party's new chairman will be a strong contender to lead the Christian Democratic Union, or CDU, into this year's national election, in which Merkel will not run again. A decision on who to put forward for chancellor ahead of the Sept. 26 election will have to be made together with the CDU's Bavaria-only sister party. That will likely happen after regional election in several German states take place in March. The Associated Press
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.